Rural round-up

05/06/2014

 Flock House sold to local iwi:

Flock House farm near Bulls has been sold by AgResearch to Rangitikei iwi Nga Wairiki-Ngati Apa for an undisclosed sum.

The 1100 hectare property has a 332ha dairy unit and a 768ha sheep-and-beef unit. . . .

Synlait profit forecast dips again – Alan Williams:

Synlait Milk’s latest profit downgrade raises the possibility it might not meet last year’s prospectus forecast leading up to its NZX listing, after at one stage expecting a result up to 70% higher.

The dairy product manufacturer and exporter’s latest after-tax profit range is from $17.5 million-$22.5m, compared with its forecast of $19.8m for the year ended July 31. . .

Spotlight on farm safety – Sue O’Dowd:

Health and safety will be the focus of more than 100 rural contractors when they assemble for their annual conference in New Plymouth later this month.

The conference, Stay Alert on the Dirt, is being held in New Plymouth from June 23 to June 26.

Representatives of WorkSafe New Zealand, the Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency will address the conference and answer questions around new legislation affecting the contracting industry. . .

Flour Producer Gets Grant to Develop Nutrition Focussed Products:

Farmers Mill is the first independent grower-owned and operated flour producer in the country to receive funding from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), for the specific development of nutrition focussed flour and baking products.

Farmers Mill, which has partnered with Lincoln University and the Food Innovation Network, will receive support from Agmardt aimed at exploring market opportunities and encouraging innovative ideas within the agribusiness sector. . . .

New Online Fertiliser Store Launched To Cut Costs for Kiwi Farmers

 The cost of buying fertiliser in New Zealand is about to fall substantially thanks to a new online store which will save farmers as much as $85 per tonne on standard products.

FertDirect launched its new website over Queen’s Birthday weekend (www.fertdirect.co.nz) and supplies both New Zealand-based and import-to-order products.

It’s the first online service of its kind to be offered nationwide and FertDirect Business Manager Rob Williams says it’s designed to save farmers money without compromising on quality. . .

New president for Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei:

Federated Farmers would like to welcome our new Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president, James Stewart, who is replacing Andrew Hoggard, following their Annual General Meeting.

“James joined the Federation three years ago as Manawatu-Rangitikei’s dairy Chair, and we are thrilled to have him on as provincial president,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“We are in a year of change within the Federation, with leadership changes throughout the organisation both nationally and provincially, James is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job,” said Mr Wills. . .


Rural round-up

26/02/2014

Govt invests $540,000 in Lake Horowhenua clean-up:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government will invest $540,000 towards cleaning up Lake Horowhenua.

Combined with funding from Horizon’s Regional Council and Horowhenua District Council, as well as in-kind contributions from Dairy NZ and the Tararua Growers’ Association, the total funding for the project will be $1.27 million.

The project will improve the water quality through sediment and nutrient management on the lake and its tributaries, improving water quality for recreation and wild life.

The project includes stream fencing, planting, building a wetland, harvesting lake weeds, and developing farm plans. . .

Irrigation supplies shut-down begins:

Irrigation water supplies to some parts of Marlborough are being shut down as the continuing hot, dry weather takes its toll on river levels.

The Marlborough District Council is advising property owners that water for irrigation is being shut off to about 5000 hectares of farmland and vineyards along the Wairau River.

Further Wairau consents, including all those from the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme, were expected to be cut off by today.

Waihopai consents will be suspended in the next day or two.

The shutdown is necessary slightly earlier than last year because there has been no real rain since Christmas. . .

 

Safety group astonished as farmers flout helmet law – Sue O’Dowd:

Worksafe New Zealand has savaged organisers of a farmers’ day out for failing to require helmets on quad bikes in Taranaki hill country.

About 200 people visited Aotuhia Station when Beef + Lamb New Zealand – the farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers – hosted what it called a Big Day Out last week.

Only about five people on a cavalcade of bikes touring the 2240ha Aotuhia Station, 65km east of Stratford, wore helmets, and many riders carried passengers.

Worksafe New Zealand would have issued enforcement notices to the organisers, those not wearing helmets and those carrying passengers if it had been there, quad bike national programme manager Francois Barton said yesterday. . . .

Eyes wide open – James Houghton:

Employment relationships are a key factor in setting a positive working environment and ensuring your farm is productive. The general work relationships in rural New Zealand have been traditionally informal. This has had to change with stronger workplace protection for employees.  It means the farm employer has had to learn new skills, involving contractual agreements and human resources.

When it comes to dairy agreements with sharemilkers, who are arguably what makes New Zealand dairying so successful; there have been breakdowns between some employers and their sharemilker.  Sharemilking is a hybrid between self-employment and employment but that hasn’t stopped some harsh treatments of sharemilkers. Such as an employer not honouring either a handshake agreement or misusing clauses in their agreement, which causes sheer misery for the sharemilker involved.

Over the past year, Federated Farmers has been revising the industry standard Herd Owing Sharemilking Agreement, looking to remove outdated clauses and with it, issues within the industry like harsh treatment, which may deter new entrants. . .

Strong growth and profitability increases from PGG Wrightson:

PGG Wrightson Ltd* (PGW) has announced a strong half-year performance under its new Chief Executive.

For the six-months ended 31 December 2013, PGW achieved operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Operating EBITDA)** of $22.3 million, up from $18.0 million for the corresponding period last year.

Mark Dewdney, who took up the role of PGW Chief Executive on 1 July 2013, called it a strong result with increases recorded across most areas of the business. . .

New Zealand Drives Global Pet Addiction:

Imagine a Singaporean company making premium pet food from possums in the Bay of Plenty and exporting successfully for eight years. That’s what Jerel Kwek of Addiction Foods has accomplished, along with a vision to improve pet nutrition globally.

While cats and dogs around the world have fallen for Addiction, it’s only now with a recent plant upgrade in Te Puke that Kwek can make his natural NZ pet food available in the NZ market.

Addiction use a selection of premium proteins and game meats, including New Zealand possum to produce a range of dry and raw dehydrated natural foods designed to prevent allergies and promote long-term health in cats and dogs. . .

Loan package to grow pasture productivity:

New Zealand’s largest rural lender today launched a lending package for farmers wanting toboost farm productivity by improving pasture and forage growth.

ANZ Bank’s Pasture Productivity Loan offers an interest rate of 4%* p.a with a maximumloan amount of $100,000. The maximum loan term is five years, principal reducing, andthere are no establishment fees.

“Renewing pasture and forage is one of the key things red meat farmers can do to improveproductivity and profit,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .


Rural round-up

12/02/2014

Syndicate farming a growing venture – Sue O’Dowd:

School didn’t fit the bill for a young Taranaki man wanting to party and make money.

The man behind Taranaki’s Farm Venture, a business that establishes syndicates to buy and operate dairy farms in Taranaki and the King Country, wanted to get on with life.

Tim Barrett was a pupil at Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth and principal Brother Peter Bray was adamant he wanted the 15-year-old to stay at school so he could go to university.

“But I had stuff I wanted to do,” the now 50-year-old millionaire businessman said, “and I needed money to do it.” .

So Barrett got his way and embarked on a farming career. He managed to fit in some partying but he was more focused on becoming a farmer, so he followed the traditional path of working for wages and as a variable order and 50/50 sharemilker to dairy farm ownership at Te Kiri in South Taranaki. Along the way he also spent a year in Canada working on beef and cropping farms. . .

Changing world for sheep farming and sheep meat – Allan Barber:

It may be a statement of the obvious, but the world for sheep farming, processing and sheep meat has changed dramatically, particularly in the past 30 years.

The age of massive single shift plants, high wool prices, large stations, the frozen carcase trade with the UK and farm subsidies has disappeared for ever. It has been replaced by a new era in which the main characteristics are no subsidies, less sheep and lambs, smaller, more flexible plants, an increasing proportion of chilled product, higher value co-products with less income from wool, and progressively more trade with markets other than the UK and Europe.

To a casual observer or time traveller who has spent the last 30 years elsewhere, there are still some obvious similarities, but a more careful study would show the differences pretty quickly. For example the swathes of irrigated land from mid Canterbury to Southland with dairy cattle instead of sheep grazing, thousands of hectares now covered with vines in Central Otago, Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne, the size of lambs going to slaughter, the volume and price of wool at auction and the number of saleyards round the country would all indicate more than a token shift in farming practice. . .

The South Island’s best farmer grows grapes:

The colourful Peter Yealands, who was named 2013 South Island Farmer of the Year, is hosting the winner’s Field Day at his multi award winning Marlborough winery this Thursday (13 February).

“Federated Farmers congratulates the Lincoln University Foundation for recognising the best of South Island farming through its South Island Farmer of the Year competition,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“This Thursday, farmers will have a chance to see just why Marlborough entrepreneur and winemaker, Peter Yealands, was named the South Island’s best farmer for 2013.

“From biological lawn mowers using “baby-doll” sheep to his overall ‘vine to bottle’ approach, the Lincoln Foundation is right to say the knowledge shared at this field day will not just be inspirational, but have relevance to all primary industries. . .

Loyalty and contribution to the betterment of the people of Sarawak honoured:

A man whose career has been marked by an outstanding ability to relate to people across a wide spectrum, from poor indigenous farmers and their communities through to commercial agribusiness and industrial companies, senior government officials and political figures at state and federal level, was today (11 February) awarded the Lincoln Alumni International Medal.

Datu Dr Ngenang Ak Jangu of Sarawak, Malaysia has made an outstanding contribution in his home country, in his chosen field of agriculture.

The Lincoln Alumni International Medal is awarded to a former student, or a past or current staff member of Lincoln University who, in the opinion of the Lincoln University Council, has made an outstanding contribution to his or her chosen field, and brought credit to Lincoln University through achievements in a country other than New Zealand. . .

Weakened milk price predicted to fall back to $7 – Gerald Piddock:

An expected softening in milk prices in mid 2014 has bank economists predicting a milk price of around $7/kg milk solids for the 2014-15 season.

This weakened payout is predicted to occur when northern hemisphere production peaks later this year. The resulting extra supply would push prices down, Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said. The bank had forecast an opening price of $7.10/kg MS for the 2014-15 season.

“We’re expecting dairy prices to soften a little bit over the course of 2014 as global supply increases.

“It was still a good price. It’s not quite as good as 2013-2014, but not too bad either.” . . .

A floral fight against green terrorists:

Flower power is alive and well in the Waikato. No, it’s not a hemp-wearing, nettle-tea drinking hippy commune promoting pacifism. Rather, depending on where you stand in the food chain, this one’s a bit more sinister. In fact, it’s designed for death.

No need to alert the authorities, however. The horror is taking place at a more microscopic level, and it’s all for a good cause.

To promote biodiversity and reduce the use of pesticides, award winning food company Snap Fresh Foods has teamed up with Lincoln University to harness the pest-killing attributes of flowers. More to the point, the flowers are being used to attract the right kind of killer insects. . .

Enjoy your kiwi heritage – rafting the Clarence – Stephen Franks:

I’ve just come off 6 days rafting down the Clarence River with 13 friends. We’re raving about good times that surpassed all expectation.

The river starts above Hanmer and reaches the sea near Kaikoura. Rafting it should be on every New Zealander’s heritage ‘must do’ list, like the Otago Rail Trail.

Do it for the scale of the country, its emptiness, the clarity of the sky, the alternating serenity and rush of rafting. Do it to enjoy the chatter of your raft-mates, the walking and climbing from campsites among scrub and snowgrass. Do it to swim in deep blue pools and drink the water you swim in all the way down. Do it to boil the billy on wood fires and taste the difference between manuka  and willow smoke in your tea. Do it to be without electronic contact for the entire trip.

Do it to sip your Waipara wines as the swallows zip and dart over your camp after insects in the evening. . . .


Rural round-up

18/01/2014

Meat Options Paper Seeks Farmer Opinions – Allan Barber:

Federated Farmers’ Meat Options discussion paper, written by Sarah Crofoot, does an extremely good job of laying out the alternative market orientations companies can adopt. It presents three different focus options from which farmers are asked to select their set of preferences.

It should be noted up front that the discussion paper is aimed at Federated Farmers’ farmer members and its key purpose is to engage those farmers in thinking about what they want their industry to look like in 5,10 or 20 years from now. The final output will not be binding on anybody, but it will provide a more comprehensive summary of farmer opinion than the feedback from the series of Meat industry Excellence meetings.

The paper starts with a late 1980s definition of the industry’s unique characteristics quoting Anita Busby, Editor of Meat Producer at the time:

“Meat industry people don’t need to take advice or listen to new ideas. They already have the answers. They strangle new thoughts at conception. If that fails, they discredit the source. If you haven’t been in the meat industry for years, you don’t know what you are talking about. If you have, you’re washed up…”

Sarah Crofoot with the confidence of youth has nevertheless taken the bold step of producing a set of ideas which merit serious consideration. It is now 30 years since subsidies were removed, even longer since the deregulation of the meat industry, and despite many positive developments, the industry still has fundamental structural problems. . .

More than 4000 sheep perish on live export:

More than 4000 Australian sheep have died from heat exhaustion after 21 days on board a live export ship bound for Qatar from Fremantle.

Exporter Livestock Shipping Service said 4179 sheep perished in August aboard their Bader III vessel – the same ship that was loaded with animals last weekend in Perth despite searing 44-degree heat.

LSS are a Jordanian-owned company based in Perth and are already under investigation by Australian Federal Authorities for two breaches of live export regulations in Jordan and Gaza. . .

No downtime for shearing gangs – Jill Galloway:

When it has been too wet for shearing in one area, sheep have been dry enough in another so shearing has cracked on.

Shearers and contractors say they are not behind, in spite of the recent moist weather. “The boys have not had a day off,” said Feilding-based contractor Erin Bailey.

“They had a few days off over New Year, but they have been working since,” she said.

She and her husband Scott run two shearing gangs from their Feilding base, but shear a lot around Marton and Apiti, she said. . .

Taranaki Trust leads dairy research – Sue O’Dowd:

The Taranaki Agricultural Research Trust provides two platforms for cutting-edge research beneficial to the dairy industry.

The trust leases a 126ha (111ha effective) research farm across the road from Fonterra’s Whareroa site near Hawera and owns the 350 cows milked there. DairyNZ manages the Westpac Taranaki Agricultural Research Station (WTARS) under contract to the trust.

The station, established at Normanby in 1974, has done research into areas as diverse as grass grub, nitrogen and phosphate use, once-a- day-milking and feed conversion efficiency.

It had made a significant contribution to New Zealand farming over the last 40 years, said trust chairman Brendan Attrill. . .

Neil’s pinot empire expands – James Beech:

Actor Sam Neill says his winery’s fourth vineyard acquisition demonstrates ”faith and confidence” in Central Otago and its pinot noir for the global market.

Two Paddocks announced this week it had become the only Central Otago winery with a foothold in all three Central Otago wine-producing sub-regions, owning vineyards in Gibbston, the Alexandra basin and now the Cromwell basin.

Neill said a sum of money which was ”considerable, but both vendors and purchasers think it fair” had bought the established 6ha Desert Heart Vineyard, plus woolshed and house, at the end of Felton Rd, Bannockburn, last week. . .

Don’t let Fonterra’s lawyers run off with the fresh cream – Willy Leferink:

They say bad things come in threes.  We’ve had the news Fonterra is going to “vigorously defend any proceedings” taken by Danone against it for US$400 million.  In recent days, Fonterra Brands has voluntarily recalled 330ml and 500ml bottles of fresh cream sold under the Anchor and Pams brands in the upper North Island. 

As a farmer you wonder, what’s next?

First of all Fonterra is doing things by the book in voluntarily recalling affected bottles of fresh cream stamped “best before 21 January”.  Visit foodsmart.govt.nz and you’ll quickly learn that food product recalls happen irrespective of who’s in government.  In 2008, there were 19 recalls versus the 14 last year and they have involved everything from hash browns to fish fillets to soy milk powder.

While the timing of this is far from ideal given last year’s events, this voluntary recall came from Fonterra’s own testing.  It shows consumers that a company owned by thousands of Kiwi farmers puts food safety first.  When consumers take a Fonterra product off the shelf, they deserve to know someone back at Fonterra is testing it. . .


Rural round-up

04/01/2014

MP: Tractor protest well worth it – Sue O’Dowd:

The retiring politician who once drove a tractor up the steps of Parliament would do it all again.

Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern famously gunned the tractor called Myrtle up Parliament’s steps in a 2003 protest against the Labour Government’s proposed flatulence tax on ruminants. It was later described as the single most effective protest in scuttling what was deemed an idiotic proposal.

Today Ardern is still incensed the Government sacked eminent ruminant scientists conducting research into harnessing methane emission to improve production, even as it was proposing to tax those emissions.

“The scientists were working on something that would potentially overcome the problem, but the Labour Government sacked them because it wanted to introduce a tax on the productive sector that drives the economy of New Zealand.

“It was a lie and it still is a lie. [The proposed tax] was nothing to do with environmental problems. It was about getting extra revenue from the productive sector and it was about wealth redistribution. . .

Fonterra scare could have been prevented– Catherine Harris:

The botched Fonterra botulism scare in August last year might have been prevented if an independent food safety centre had existed, a top toxicologist says.

Professor Ian Shaw, of the University of Canterbury, is among those to welcome the idea of a $5 million food safety centre, which was recommended last month by a government inquiry into New Zealand’s food safety systems.

Shaw, who has chaired a food safety body in the UK, said the Government’s proposal was “a bloody good idea”.

If there had been a food safety centre in place when the Fonterra scare occurred, the test results might have been known more quickly and the false alarm possibly avoided, he said. . .

Sheep injures man:

A man has been airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital with serious chest injuries after being ‘‘rammed’’ by a sheep on a farm north of Hunterville.

Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter pilot Lance Burns said the man did not appear to have been trampled but had obviously been headbutted relatively hard by the sheep.

It was thought he was in a pen with the sheep at the time of the incident.

He stabilised by St John paramedics on board the rescue helicopter and arrived at Palmerston North Hospital in a serious condition. . .

DOC targets rats to help save struggling bats – Neil Ratley:

The Department of Conservation is going in to bat for a critically endangered mammal species in Fiordland.

A low count of long-tailed bats in the Kepler Mountains is prompting DOC to design and undertake rat control to protect the rare species.

The rat control will emulate that undertaken by DOC in the Eglington Valley, the only other known long-tailed bat habitat in Fiordland.

There was excitement surrounding the discovery of the long-tailed bat colony near the Kepler track in December 2011, with DOC staff estimating the population was close to 70. . .

The Myth About Seed Choice – Foodie Farmer:

I recently had a twitter conversation on a topic that seemed to perpetuate an urban myth – that farmers do not have a choice when it comes to planting seed or that seed companies “impose” their seeds on farmers, as if it is a dictatorship… Last time I checked, America was a pretty free country. Most people are able to make choices on what they buy at the store… So why would that be different for farmers?

As a family farm, we grow both GMO (we don’t actually use this term but for the sake of this blog, am using it for the reader for whom it may be a descriptor) and non-GMO crops and choose our seed produced from a variety of different seed companies, buying directly from our neighbors, which frankly, is the whole point of the fabric of rural America. We support one another. . .

Donkey meat contamination scare in China’s Walmart – Horsetalk:

Several Walmart outlets in China have withdrawn “five-spice donkey meat” after tests revealed the presence of fox meat.

The company is helping authorities in eastern Shandong province investigate the Chinese supplier.

Walmart confirmed it found traces of DNA from animals other than donkey after testing the product. The Shandong Food and Drug Administration had been reported as saying the product contained fox meat. . .


Rural round-up

22/11/2013

Farmers welcome the PCE’s water contribution:

Federated Farmers has welcomed the report of Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, entitled, Water quality in New Zealand: Land use and nutrient pollution and is offering to help ground truth some of the modelled assumptions.

“Federated Farmers has consistently said we need good science to underpin policy decision making,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers environment spokesperson.

“As Dr Wright conceded at the launch water is complex and the modelling arguably represents the worst case.  It does however highlight the cumulative effects of land use intensity upon water.  It represents our future if we do absolutely nothing but that is not a future we’d like to be a part of.

“Farmers understand there are some challenges but we mustn’t forget that New Zealand has some of the best quality water on earth.  There is also enormous resource and work being put into finding practical workable solutions and we have made some good progress. . .

Time and tide waits for no man or woman – Jeanette Maxwell:

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Zambia for the inaugural World Farming Organisation Women’s committee meeting, the international day of Rural Women and the Zambian National Farmers Union conference.

This has much resonance for the issues we will be discussing over the next two days.

Travelling to a country like Zambia gave me an opportunity to see how farmers do business in a developing nation.  A working farm there can be anything from 10 hectares to many thousands of hectares.

In Zambia I found that 62 percent of all farmers are women.  Women also make up a large share of the labour force and much of the weeding and crop maintenance is done by women.

For many farmers the land is transferred by succession and while there are opportunities to buy land you do need to know the right people.   In Zambia, succession is seen as being critical for the continuation of farming and for feeding the nation.   Sounds familiar. . . .

New DOC boss signals cultural shift:

Farming leaders are applauding a cultural shift signalled by new Department of Conservation (DOC) boss Lou Sanson.

Mr Sanson, who took over as DOC chief executive about two months ago, told the Federated Farmers’ national council in Wellington on Tuesday that DOC would be focusing more on partnership arrangements with farmers and other community and commercial interests, including fishing and mining.

He said Canterbury’s Hakataramea Basin was an example of what he meant by a cultural change for DOC, with a lot of land taken back into its control through tenure review.

“We’ve also taken a lot of musterers’ huts. Generally a farmer 100 years ago put a poplar or a willow beside the hut to give him firewood for the hut,” Mr Sanson said. . .

Contest gives credit to sharemilking role – Sue O’Dowd:

New Zealand’s premier dairy farming contest can be traced to a Taranaki man who thought a sharemilkers’ competition would provide a window to show off their skills.

Murray Cross was a sharemilker at Ngaere when he suggested the Taranaki Sharemilkers Association should run a Sharemilker of the Year competition. At the time he and wife Ruth were on the farm his father, Sydney Hamilton Cross, had bought after he returned from World War II.

Murray Cross drew his inspiration for the competition from going through the process for a Nuffield scholarship. Although he was unsuccessful, he thought he could apply what he had learned to a competition in Taranaki for sharemilkers.   . .

Meat co-ops see obstacles to merger:

Silver Fern Farms and the Alliance Group, agree that further consolidation is needed in the meat industry.

But both big farmer-owned co-operatives see different obstacles in the way of the farmer campaign to merge the two co-ops as the starting point for forcing wider changes in the industry.

The Meat Industry Excellence group is frustrated at the failure of the major processors and exporters to agree on any reform measures after months of discussions. It is pushing a merger idea in co-op board elections currently underway.

However, Alliance Group chair Murray Taggart of Canterbury says it does not support the view that the co-operatives should be the main vehicle for consolidation and bear the costs. . .

Sustained crop returns for wheat and maize:

Digging a little deeper into the budget for grain fertiliser has valuable paybacks in terms of crop yields for maize and wheat, according to recent studies funded by Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

Trials were undertaken in Canterbury, Southland and Waikato in spring 2012 to evaluate the performance of standard urea against Ballance Agri-Nutrient’s SustaiN, which is urea coated with the urease inhibitor AGROTAIN®. Agrotain is a nitrogen stabiliser that has been proven to suppress ammonia volatilisation, delivering more nitrogen directly to the soil where it can contribute to plant growth.

The trials showed that the additional cost of $11/ha for SustaiN (applied at 100 kg N/ha) was readily recouped. . .

 


Rural round-up

18/10/2013

Flagship dairy farm showed off – Sue O’Dowd:

Maori incorporation Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) showed off its flagship dairy farm near Matapu in South Taranaki to the board of directors and senior managers of DairyNZ yesterday.

The organisation, which is funded by levies on dairy farmers’ milksolids, is holding its annual general meeting in Hawera today. It’s the first time DairyNZ has held its AGM in Taranaki since it was formed in 2007.

PKW chief executive Dion Tuuta said the DairyNZ visit was an endorsement of the excellent practices the incorporation was demonstrating. . .

China meat sales boom comes with warning – Gerald Piddock:

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie has warned the country’s meat companies against becoming too reliant on the booming Chinese export market.

China is now New Zealand’s largest single market for sheepmeat by volume and value, but the industry had to try to have a balance of trade outside of China, he said.

“It’s about getting that balance right.”

He feared a repeat of New Zealand’s dependence on meat exports to Iran in the 1980s. . .

Cattle grazing stockmen take a stand – Sue O’Dowd:

Long-time grazier Ian Marshall relies on his reputation rather than contracts when he grazes heifers and weaners for Taranaki dairy farmers.

Ian and Julie Marshall have owned the 550ha Wild Stream Cattle Station near Ratapiko for 20 years and now share-farm it with son Alec and daughter-in-law Clair, who have been managing the property for four years.

The Marshalls graze 1150 friesian, cross-bred and jersey yearling heifers and weaners for 16 dairy farmers each year and run steers and sheep as well. . .

Whanganui farmer praises flood warning system:

A Whanganui farmer has praised the regional council’s river warning system which she says gave farmers plenty of time to prepare for this week’s flooding and move stock out of harm’s way.

Manawatu-Whanganui regional council installed the automated monitoring system after the disastrous 2004 floods.

And Kirsten Bryant who farms at Fordell and also has hill country farms in the upper Whanganui catchment, says it’s been invaluable. . .

Share the wealth – Willy Leferink:

While there’s been a right brouhaha over asset sales something big has slipped under the radar. I am not talking about the Trans Pacific Partnership, awesome though that will be. I am not even talking One Direction hitting New Zealand. What I am talking is the dividend which recently hit the bank accounts of fully shared up Fonterra shareholders.

Alright, dividends aren’t exactly new to Fonterra shareholders but what is, is the way many farmers are now active players on the NZX sharemarket.

Since the Fonterra Shareholders Fund kicked off some eight months ago, the unit price has surged from $5.50 to a high point of $7.30. It’s now trading at $6.92 despite a drought–affected season and that false alarm involving the whey concentrate WPC80. Danone is lining up for compensation across many markets and I suspect they won’t be alone. That the Shareholders Fund is still about 26 percent up on the listing price tells me ‘the market’ believes any compensation won’t sink the coop. . .

New traps could be key to kiwi survival:

Revolutionary new traps that can hold up to 24 dead predators at a time are being touted as the possible saviour of the kiwi.

The traps use a mixture of gas and toxic sprays to wipe out the pests and do not have to be cleared as often as the models they are replacing.

There are roughly 70,000 kiwi left but 27 die each week. . .


Rural round-up

12/10/2013

Living up to our global responsibilities – Bruce Wills:

Not to give you the wrong impression, but I am writing this column from Geneva, where I have co-presented the World Farmers Organisation’s trade policy to the World Trade Organisation. I am back in Europe thanks to the WTO but it has helped to advance New Zealand’s agricultural diplomacy.

As a trading nation, we absolutely depend on trade in a world that is utterly dependent upon food. There are some things which keep me awake at night. Adverse weather events and biosecuirty being chief among them but there is a third which increasingly gnaws at me. That is a perfect storm of food production not keeping pace with a world population expected to hit 9.3 billion stomachs in the year 2050; an amazing 2.3 billion more than today.

Henk-Jen Brinkman, of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, called food insecurity “a threat multiplier”. . .

Angus farmers see grass is greener – Tim Cronshaw:

New Zealand’s grass-based feeding system for cattle was the main talking point of 110 international visitors at Te Mania Angus, during one of the first stops of a South Island tour, before the World Angus Forum in Rotorua next week.

Overseas visitors were treated to a wide selection of angus heifers with calves, mature calving cows, yearling bulls and herd sires, at the breeding operation at Conway Flats, south of Kaikoura.

They were also impressed by food prepared by celebrity chef Al Brown for their Monday visit at one of the largest angus breeding operations in New Zealand, and its setting next to the sea, with a snow-topped mountain backdrop. . . .

Milk powder scare will cause long term disruption – Alan Barber:

It may be a statement of the obvious, but the effects of Fonterra’s botulism scare will last much longer than originally hoped or imagined. Its impact on New Zealand’s international trade reputation gives the impression of being more disastrous than an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, always assumed to be the biggest disaster that could possibly happen.

Economically there is no comparison between the two, because the botulism that wasn’t has initially done no more than cause infant formula manufacturers a loss of business. There has been no apparent impact on dairy payouts or even global auction prices. Fonterra appears to be pretending the whole saga wasn’t even its fault, if its reaction to Danone’s damages claim is any guide.   . .

Sainsbury’s evaluating merits of docking – Alan Williams:

Big United Kingdom supermarket chain Sainsbury’s will be guided by the science on issues it is working on with leading lamb supplier Alliance Group.

These are the docking of lambs’ tails and the use of high-sugar grasses as a livestock feed in New Zealand.

Animal welfare and sustainable production were key parts of Sainsbury’s strategic vision and its work with Alliance was part of the process to have matching values between the main UK lamb supply group and NZ suppliers, the chain’s agriculture manager Philip Hambling said.

The first year of a three-year tail-docking research programme, reported in The New Zealand Farmers Weekly, has been completed.

It produced interesting findings but it was too early to draw conclusions, Hambling said. . .

Gisborne forest boom predicted – Pam Graham:

The harvesting of forests in the Gisborne-Tairawhiti region on the East Coast will create 630 jobs by 2020, potentially reducing drug abuse and crime in the region, according to a report.

A study by Waikato University for the Eastland Wood Council says that by 2020 up to 10 percent of the population of Gisborne will be involved in, or derive a living from forestry.

Salaries and wages to Gisborne residents are likely to increase to $151 million a year in that period.

The number of people receiving welfare benefits will go down, schools will benefit from having parents employed and there may be less drug abuse and crime. . .

Weather helping croppers – Murray Robertson:

THE weather has been helping the district’s croppers in the past week to catch up with their planting programmes after heavy rain last month.

This is a crucial time for every crop and cropper in the district.

Leaderbrand general manager Richard Burke said they had everything they needed at this time.

“Things are pretty good really. . .

Awards offer chance to put spotlight on sustainability – Sue O’Dowd:

There’s no time like the present to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, says national judging co-ordinator Jamie Strang.

Earlier this week the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFET) confirmed eight entries had been received for the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The prestigious awards, which are held in 12 regions, are being staged in the province for the first time.

While some farmers said they wanted to delay entering the competition because they thought their farm wasn’t quite ready, often they’d say the same thing in following years, Strang said.

Many farmers did not like being in the spotlight, but entering the awards offered many benefits. . .

Solid start to avocado export sales:

The first of this season’s New Zealand avocados have started hitting the supermarket shelves in Japan this week in a buoyant start to export sales there, and opening prices in Australia are at their best.

Rival Mexican supply is lower, which has allowed Avanza, the international export brand channel for AVOCO, to start early season negotiations in Japan at significantly improved market prices. While this is partly offset by an unfavourable exchange rate it still reflects a significant improvement in grower OGR (orchard gate returns).

At the same time, interest in New Zealand avocados is proving to be strong in developing markets such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia and there are encouraging signs that Avanza sales will resume in Hong Kong after a two-year absence. . .


Rural round-up

07/10/2013

Company proves it’s in the business of growth – Sally Rae:

At Mosgiel-based Superior Minerals, manager David Hoseason-Smith says it is ”not just about selling fertiliser”.

The company was recently named Otago and lower South Island regional winner in the fastest-growing manufacturer category in the Deloitte Fast 50.

Superior Minerals was established in 2001 to ”provide a point of difference” in the marketplace for solid fertiliser, director Lawrence Alloo said. . .

Donation helps get Noslam restarted:

A donation from the North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) will allow the newly re-established North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group (Noslam) to begin its vision for the district.

That vision is to create an integrated team approach to sustainable land and water quality management for the greater good of both farmers and the community.

In March last year, NOIC received an Irrigation New Zealand innovation award including cash prize of $2500 which, in turn, it has given to Noslam to be used as a seeding grant.

Noslam’s goals to promote a healthy environment with all North Otago farmers by identifying measures that secured and improved the environment and considered the economic and social issues and constraints, resonated strongly with the company, NOIC chief executive Robyn Wells said. . .

Farmer places clean-up faith in watercress – Matthew Littlewood:

A South Canterbury farmer hopes watercress could be used to help clean the area’s degraded catchment.

Rory Foley is working with Environment Canterbury on a project that  involves not only fencing and replanting alongside the streams on his Wainono property near Waimate, but also planting watercress in the stream itself.

”I’m really conscious of the environment, because I work on the land. I want to help improve the habitat for future generations, we have a responsibility to do so,” he said.

”We’ve lost a lot of the native wetlands, we need to restore them.” . . .

Wool NZ eyes market’s top end – Sue O’Dowd:

New Zealand’s new farmer-owned wool sales and marketing company is focusing on the luxury market.

“Our focus has to be on the top end of the market, on luxury,” Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) chief Ross Townshend told about 40 farmer shareholders at Stratford, the fifth stop on the company’s 17-venue roadshow.

Townshend, a foundation shareholder supplying the company with 20,000kg of wool a year from 2500 ewes on his north Waikato property, said as a commercial company, WNZ had to have a global focus so it could get value from its products.

He was responding to questions from Tarata sheep and beef farmer Bryan Hocken, who said he was running out of time to become a wool baron and was concerned at how difficult it was to buy a wool carpet in New Zealand. . .

Wool growers called on to be patient – Sally Rae:

Strong-wool growers have been urged to be patient as Wools of New Zealand continues its mission to improve the profitability of its grower shareholders.

A series of roadshows have been held throughout the country to give an update on the company’s progress since capitalisation was completed in March.

More than 700 applications for shares, totalling about $6 million, were received, allowing it to proceed with a grower-owned sales and marketing company. . .

Rural achiever to pit skills against Aussies – Jill Galloway:

It’s a good thing Cameron Lewis is in a talking competition, rather than a practical contest, he says.

But it pays to be multi-skilled all the same.

“It is like the Young Farmers contest, you have to be an all-rounder. Learn to shear sheep, fence and put machinery together. You have to put aside a few years to compete.”

Lewis won the National Royal Agricultural Society’s Young Rural Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch. He was representing the Western District.

Now he’ll be up against winners from five Australian states. It is the Australasian final being held at the Royal Show hosted by the Manawatu Consortium at Manfeild Park in Feilding from December 6 to 8. . .

Aussie claims honours at merino champs – Lynda van Kempen:

An Australian shearer has claimed the New Zealand Merino Shearing Championship open title for the third year in a row.

Defending champion Damien Boyle, of Broomehill, Western Australia, won his third successive title by seven points ahead of Chris Vickers, of Palmerston, in the final staged in Alexandra last night

New Zealanders Tony Coster, Mana Te Whata, Charlie O’Neill and Nathan Stratford also made the final. . .

 


Rural round-up

18/08/2013

Lamb prices down but prospects positive – Tim Cronshaw:

Average lamb prices look as though they will be down 25 per cent nationally at $84 to $85 a lamb for the 2012-13 season ending next month.

Softer overseas markets in the northern hemisphere and smaller lamb weights from the drought drove prices down from $113.60 the previous season.

While it’s early days yet the Economic Service at Beef + Lamb New Zealand expects prices will be somewhere between $90 to $100 for the coming 2013-14 season. That will depend heavily on the state of the dollar with the latest analysis for it to weaken slightly. . .

Fonterra trialling RTVs as quad bike replacement – Sue O’Dowd:

FONTERRA’S year-long trial of rough terrain vehicles to replace quad bikes on its farms looks promising as it draws to a close.

Two vehicles are being tested at the 225ha Whareroa Research Farm near Hawera, where 640 cows are being milked this year.

The company is testing five RTVs on drystock farms in the South Island and four on dairy farms.

The trial, which began before the Government Taskforce on Health and Safety completed its report in April this year, will conclude in December. By then, it will have covered the entire farm season. . .

Dam ‘scary challenge’ to nature – Tony Benny:

Opponents of the planned 8.2 million cubic metre storage dam for the Waimakariri irrigation scheme have vowed to fight the proposal, saying it will put lives at risk if breached in a earthquake.

About 70 people attended a meeting in West Eyreton Hall last week to hear from the Eyre Community Environmental Safety Society (ECESS), the group set up to oppose the dam.

“ECESS believes WIL’s [Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd] solution of a 13-metre-high one kilometre square dam in a seismically active climate is wilfully placing lives at risk to keep shareholder company costs down,” said society chairperson Catherine Ballinger. . .

Why it’s time to get off the grass:

New Zealand can climb its way back up the international wealth tables, argue two scientists in a book* launched last night. But we won’t do it if we continue to rely so heavily on agriculture.

*From Get Off the Grass: Kickstarting New Zealand’s Innovation Economy, by Shaun Hendy and Paul Callaghan (Auckland University Press, $34.99)

Prosperity describes a state of flourishing or thriving. In New Zealand there is a sense that we have flourished less than we might, and especially less than many other countries we like to compare ourselves with. Through insufficient resources, our health system is unable to provide the treatments that are available for free in countries such as Australia or Canada. Our infrastructure is decrepit, our roads are poor, our passenger train systems are an embarrassment to us, and many of our houses are inadequate or, even when new, badly built. Our native forests are in decline because we cannot afford to address pest control in a comprehensive manner. . .

Spierings’ profile unstained by taint scare – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings’ job looks increasingly safe after the botulism contamination scare, with chairman John Wilson repeating the board’s support for the Dutchman’s handling of the incident.

In a letter to Fonterra’s 10,500 farmer-shareholders Wilson said he wanted to “reiterate” the board’s confidence in Spierings’ handling of the scare and the actions that have followed.

Wilson said he expected the board’s inquiry into the scare to be finished in six weeks.

The scare sparked panic in Asian and China consumer markets, and big recalls of baby formula made by one of Fonterra’s biggest customers, Danone. . .

Farmers sorry to see Romano go – Hugh Stringleman:

Farmers were quick to express sympathy for Gary Romano, who resigned last week as head of Fonterra processing after the botulism scare that happened on his watch.

Romano apparently felt responsible and resigned before results are known from four inquiries into the Hautapu plant dirty pipe and its aftermath.

“I presume he didn’t feel comfortable, felt his time was up and left on his own terms,” Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink said.

“He was well liked and farmers will be very sorry to see him go.” . . .

The difference between a career and a job – Art 4 Agriculture:

Today’s guest blog comes from Cotton Young Farming Champion Liz Lobsey. You can read all about Liz here

Liz is an agronomist aka Plant Doctor and she loves her “career” and she loves to tell people why

This is what Liz has to say ………………….

I have recently had the pleasure of visiting 4 schools involved in the Archibull Prize for the Art4Agriculture program and I can honestly say that they all have been a different learning experience.

In the past week I can honestly say that I have spoken to children in kindergarten in Sydney who believe that all farmers have animals to children in cotton growing regions who weren’t quite sure what a cotton plant was. . .


Rural round-up

07/06/2013

Skills with people and equity keys – Sue O’Dowd:

A young Hawera farming couple who have just bought their first dairy farm are proud to have reached their goal, even though neither of them grew up on a farm.

Thirteen years ago Bryce Savage, 30, landed his first job on a Manaia dairy farm. He and wife Amanda, 29, have since followed the tried and true method of variable order sharemilking and 50:50 sharemilking to put them in a position to buy their own farm.

Last week they took ownership of a 74 hectare dairy farm at Pukengahu, near Stratford, buying it from Bryce’s uncle and aunt, Ross and Stephanie Tong, who told them early last season it was for sale. . .

Vineyards to form grape waste company:

Eight Marlborough wine companies are working on finding new uses for the large amounts of grape waste left over after wine making.

Each year the country’s biggest wine region generates about 40,000 tonnes of grape marc, the skins, seeds and other residue left over after grapes are pressed.

With the support of Marlborough District Council, the wineries are proposing to form a company, Grape Marc Ltd.

Spokesman Eric Hughes of Brancott Estate says it will explore more profitable ways of disposing of the grape waste which at the moment, mostly ends up as basic compost or stock feed. . .

Farmers urged to build up humus levels in the soil:

Farmers are being told they can play a vital role in slowing warming of the planet by protecting and building up the humus in their soil.

The head of an Australian-based company that sells biological farming products describes humus as the soil’s glue, and a vital storage system for carbon, minerals and water.

Humus is a layer of organic material in the soil produced by the decay of plant and animal material.

Nutritech Solutions chief executive Graeme Sait says 150 years of intensive, extractive agriculture has led to a loss of two thirds of the world’s humus, and the massive loss of the carbon that humus stores into the atmosphere. . .

100 years of shorthorn cows:

It is 100 years on for the Milking Shorthorn Society and the cows get the thumbs up for their longevity and ease of care from the 50 people at the national conference.

It is being held in Palmerston North after starting with a meeting at the Railway Hotel in Main St in July 1913.

About 40 people went to see David and Johanna Wood’s milking shorthorns at their Hiwinui farm. . .

Lucerne lifts mood and profit – Andrew Swallow:

DRYLAND SHEEP and beef farmers Gundy and Lisa Anderson have a new spring in their step, and it’s largely thanks to one crop: lucerne.

As they earlier this month relayed to a CRT-organised field day on their farm, Bog Roy Station,  Omarama, four or five years ago they “were doing a fair bit of soul searching.”

“We were going backwards, spending a 100 days every winter feeding everything. We were even feeding cows a bit,” Gundy told the crowd.

They were also embroiled in tenure review and “haemorrhaging” money on an irrigation consent renewal, spending too much time in Christchurch lobbying bureaucrats and talking to lawyers. . .

Alliance extends rowing sponsorship:

Alliance Group has joined forces with Rowing NZ in a new sponsorship that will see the Pure South export brand associated with the New Zealand Rowing team in New Zealand and around the world.

The sponsorship builds on Alliance’s involvement at a lower level with rowing in 2012 which included Alliance’s supply of red meat to the New Zealand rowing team as they prepared for the Olympic regatta in England, and an association with Southland rowers Nathan Cohen and Storm Uru. . .

Foresters Head to Taranaki

Forestry professionals will head to the centre of dairy farming country at the end of this month to attend the NZ Institute of Forestry’s annual conference. Entitled “The Place of Forests in Collaborative Land Use Decisions”, the conference will be of interest to a broad cross section of rural land users, regulators and conservationists and is also the time when the forestry profession recognises its achievers including new Fellows, Forester of the Year and various scholarships awarded through the NZ Institute of Forestry Foundation. .

While containing less than 1% of the nation’s productive plantation forest, Taranaki is nevertheless unique in the way land use decision making to balance the multiple use interests of the mountain, the intensive dairying ring plain and the eastern hill country is managed.  . .


Rural round-up

17/05/2013

Building water storage too important to become ‘political football’:

IrrigationNZ says it is increasingly concerned about political rhetoric around water storage and a cross-political party agreement is needed to advance the issue.

The national body representing irrigators and the irrigation industry was responding to comments from former Labour MP Stuart Nash that a future Labour Government wouldn’t fund water storage developments.

“As water storage has multiple benefits, from improved river flows to more productive farms and job creation for towns and cities, we struggle to understand why some politicians continue to see water storage as a negative. It’s far too important to be treated as a ’political football’. It’s an investment in New Zealand’s future and one we need to make now,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis. . .

Mt Duthie manager single-minded – Sue O’Dowd:

A sheep and beef farmer near Taranaki’s northern gateway wants to see more farmers committing their stock to specific meat processing plants.

Grant Lowry, who manages the 1700ha (1000ha effective) Mt Duthie Station, near Awakino, backs the establishment of a single meat co-operative in New Zealand and the Meat Industry Excellence group’s efforts to get a mandate for industry reform.

The group is hosting its fifth meeting in Te Kuiti tomorrow afternoon, following meetings in Gore, Christchurch, Gisborne and Feilding attended by about 3000 farmers over the last month. . .

Farmers welcome ‘steady as she goes’ Budget 2013:

Federated Farmers is describing Budget 2013 as a ‘steady as she goes’ affair. While there is an increase in new operating spending, this $900 million increase is modest relative to total Government operating spending of $72 billion.

“Budget 2013 continues to move in the right direction as far as farmers are concerned and it is broadly consistent with Federated Farmers’ advocacy,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“We have called for Government spending to be capped and reduced over time to 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product. This is forecast to be achieved in 2016/17. . .

Ultimate Rural Challenge underway in Auckland:

Crowds gathered in Auckland at Aotea Square as the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest officially began.

Auckland City Councillor George Wood opened the proceedings and was delighted this leading agricultural event has come to the ‘City of Sails’.

“We townies look in awe as these young farmers from all over the country get into these different challenges and do such a great job”, Councillor Wood said.

The seven Grand Finalists, each representing a different region, rode into the square on farm bikes and were introduced to the public by Contest announcer Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins and Contest Chairman Bevan Proffit. “It takes a lot of passion and a lot of determination, you also have to be a good all-rounder”, commented Mr Proffit on what it takes to be the Contest Champion. . .

$80m for irrigation – boost to economy, environment:

Budget 2013 has confirmed $80 million in funding for regional irrigation projects, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“After the extreme drought that most of the country has struggled through this year, the need for better water storage is obvious,” he says.

“There is no shortage of water in New Zealand, but we lack the ability to store and use that water when it’s needed most. Currently, only 2 per cent of rainfall is used for irrigation. We need to do a better job of using this resource.

“Increasing irrigation could see a further 420,000 hectares of irrigated land becoming available, creating thousands of new jobs and boosting exports by $4 billion a year. . .

New Zealand has record year of success at International Wine Challenge:

New Zealand collect 38 Gold medals at IWC including 13 gold for their Pinot Noirs.

New Zealand winemakers demonstrated their excellence at the 30th International Wine Challenge winning 38 Gold medals in a record year of success.

Thirteen of the much-coveted Gold medals were awarded to Pinot Noir. “New Zealand’s Pinot just gets better and better and it is hard to beat in terms of quality, consistency and value. One theme that came through in judging this year was the regional diversity. This is great news for New Zealand Pinot and one that suggests that vine age is now starting to have a significant impact” said Sam Harrop MW, Co-Chairman of the IWC. Sauvignon Blanc also scored highly collecting eleven of the 38 Gold medals awarded to New Zealand. . .

‘Waitaki Wine Doctors see double’:

Drs John Forrest of Forrest Wines and Jim Jerram of Ostler Wines are today celebrating double successes with gold medals for their 2010 Waitaki Valley Pinot Noirs.

Awarded by the prestigious 2013 London International Wine Challenge, this echoes the 2012 event when the John Forrest Collection 2009 Pinot Noir was awarded a gold medal together with the Ostler Caroline 2009 Pinot Noir 2012 also winning gold at the equivalent event in Shanghai.

Waitaki Valley in New Zealand’s picturesque North Otago, was first planted in 2001 and the vineyards are mostly small, intensively managed and produce a range of distinctive cool-climate wines. The key viticultural characteristics are the area’s cool climate with warm summers and long, usually dry, autumn seasons. Its geological origins are complex with limestone, alluvial greywacke and schist being found in close proximity at different sites. . .

Coffee harvest plunges in Puerto Rico – Danica Coto:

Coffee production in Puerto Rico has hit the lowest level ever in the island’s history, leaving farmers and government officials worried about how to revive a once burgeoning industry amid a deep economic crisis.

Farmers produced some 39,900 kilograms of coffee during the most recent harvest, which represents only a third of local consumption, Agriculture Secretary Myrna Comas says.

Production in previous years has fluctuated between 47,600 kilograms and 68,000 kilograms, according to department statistics. . .


Rural round-up

11/08/2012

Shanghai Pengxin finally able to get on with its dairy investment – Allan Barber:

After one of the most drawn out sagas of recent times, the Court of Appeal’s ruling at last looks as if Shanghai Pengxin can complete its takeover of the Crafar farms.

The Fay/Maori Purchase Group has announced it will not make any further appeal, but, in Sir Michael Fay’s case, it will go back to business as usual and, in the case of the two Maori trusts, continue to negotiate the acquisition of two farms. However the iwi are still considering an appeal against the latest decision, while negotiations continue.

This sale process has caused much debate and involved very costly court cases which in the end have merely served to review and confirm the original decision and it’s hard to see on what basis a further appeal could expect to succeed. . .

Wintering barns ‘good idea’ not obligatory – Shawn McAvinue:

Wintering barns are a good idea but shouldn’t be made mandatory, says a Western Southland dairy farmer. 

    Dairy farmer Philip van der Bijl said the new winter shed on his Broad Acres farm, near Mossburn, was worth the investment. 

    If Environment Southland forced farmers to build sheds that would take money out of the farming community and only make Australian banks wealthier, he said. . .

Red cattle light up Shannon farm – Jon Morgan:

The late afternoon rain clouds have fled to the Tararua Range and a watery sun casts a soft light across the rolling pastures. In this light, a mob of cattle take on an exotic hue, their velvety, chocolate-red coats radiating a warm, lustrous glow. 

    It would be wrong to say farmer Kelvin Lane is unmoved, but he’s showing off his cows and his eyes are on their straight backs, muscled bodies and calf-bearing hips. 

    It is the dark red colour that first attracted him to the cattle, which are of the uncommon red poll breed. “They’re different, aren’t they?” he says. . .

A Hereford fan for life – Sue O’Dowd:

North Taranaki beef breeder Rodney Jupp is on a mission to introduce “Hereford Prime” beef to the region’s palates. 

    Right now he’s negotiating a deal with a Taranaki butchery, and hopes the meat will be on sale in the province within the next month. 

    “I’m working really hard to get Hereford Prime launched in Taranaki,” he said. . .

Pipfruit Growers Expect Slightly Improved Profitability

Pipfruit growers are expecting a small improvement in profitability this year, due to a lift in prices.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has released an analysis of pipfruit production and profitability as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The report is based on models of a Hawke’s Bay and a Nelson orchard and an overview of the financial performance of typical orchards, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders.

A cool spring delayed flowering and harvest by around two weeks this season. Hawke’s Bay also had below-average temperatures and lack of sunny weather over summer. . .

Anti-GM campaigners warn of dangers – Gerald Piddock:

Two Australian farmers are warning New Zealanders to make sure their country remains free of genetically engineered and modified organisms. 

    Allowing GM products to be produced would put at risk New Zealand’s clean green brand, they say. 

    Western Australian farmer Bob Mackley and Victorian farmer and anti-GM advocate Julie Newman are touring New Zealand to deliver their message. With them is Green Party primary industries spokesman Steffan Browning. They were in Ashburton last week. . .

Entries open for 2013 Ballance Farm Awards:

Entries are now open for the 2013 Canterbury Ballance Environment Farm Awards.

The Awards, which have been running in the region for 10 years, celebrate responsible land stewardship and sustainable farm management practices.

Jocelyn Muller, the Canterbury Regional Coordinator for the Ballance Awards, said the awards continue to go from strength – to – strength in Canterbury.

“The Awards recognise and celebrate that best practice on-farm management is good for business and good for the environment.   . .


Rural round-up

11/01/2012

Educating the politicians – Hugh Stringleman:

Farmers were criticised as “affluent and effluent-rich” during the general election. They responded by voting blue (National) in every rural electorate except the West Coast. But the green wave in the 50th parliament will now grab farmers’ attention.

For the first time since 1996, under the MMP election system, a minor party gained more than 10% of the party vote in the recent election, and that was the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Greens gained nearly 11% of the party votes cast and will have 13 MPs in the new parliament.

They include young urban activists, environmental campaigners, party officials, academics, and an organic farmer. . .

Farming 2011 a year to celebrate despite the sorrow – Tim Cronshaw:

It’s not often the planets line up to form a near-perfect farming year.

History shows it’s a long time between drinks before the party hats come out. The 1890s were memorable as a period of recovering wool prices and the advent of refrigeration when sheep meat could be safely shuttled off to the motherland.

So was the wool boom of 1951 when prices tripled overnight from United States troops needing warm uniforms during the Korean War.

Otherwise, there have been more mundane than good years in Canterbury farming and, at times, it’s bordered on the ugly as debt levels pile up. Not this season though. . .

Taranaki farm’s spirited growth strategy – Sue O’Dowd:

Establishing stands of native bush on his farm has been a spiritual journey as much as a practical one for an Egmont Village farmer who now sees himself as a custodian of the land.

Last month, Prime Minister John Key presented a Taranaki Regional Council certificate to Wayne Peters and Alan and Barbara Harvey, of Opunake, for completing the riparian planting programme on their farms.

What started as idle curiosity led to Mr Peters developing a passion for Maoridom and embarking on a spiritual journey, during which he studied te reo, established links with Maori organisations promoting health and wellbeing and learned about New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. . .

Cartels protect producers not consumers – Offsetting Behaviour:

Mark Schatzker explainshow Canada’s agricultural cartels help keep quality produce from Canadian foodies (HT: @acoyne):

But here’s what hasn’t been said about supply management: It is the enemy of deliciousness.
If you have ever wondered why you can buy heritage chickens such as the famed poulet de Bresse in France but not in Canada, or pastured butter the colour of an autumn sunset in Ireland but not in Canada, or why it’s so hard to find pastured eggs here, the reason is supply management. . . 

From city to country – Eileen Goodwin:

Ask Sandy Price for tips to give prospective lifestyle farmers and she does not muck around.   

 “If you’re not prepared to get your hands dirty, don’t get into animals.   

 “Where there’s livestock, there’s dead stock.”   

 Sheep were high maintenance, so dealing with unpleasant problems, such as flystrike and maggots, or a complication of  lambing when a ewe pushed its innards out, were part of the      job. . .

Olives heart of family’s new lifestyle – Lynda Van Kempen:

For the good oil on Bannockburn, look no further than Trevor and Sue McNamara.   

The married couple “walked out of our life” in South Otago 18  years ago and shifted to Central Otago with their two young children, for a change of lifestyle.   

They have never looked back or regretted taking the gamble, and say they are truly living the good life on their 0.8ha property . . .

Remarkables Park Stud rivals best antlers in country:

Remarkables Park Stud in Queenstown, renowned for consistently producing huge two year old stud sire stags, says its successful breeding programme now has it rivaling the best antlers in the country.

In 2012 its breeding programme has produced many multi-pointed yearling Spikers, including a massive 27-point Spiker sired by Craigie, crossed over a daughter of Hamberg, a German trophy stag.

Craigie, with a 601 SCI (Safari Club International) international trophy score, is famous for having produced one of the biggest sets of antlers ever seen in the world. . .

Countrywide’s November issue is available here.


Rural round-up

22/10/2011

Contamination claims rubbished – Richard Rennie:

Taranaki farmers and their regional council are demanding critics of an oil and gas drilling method show more science to prove claims about damage to their environment.

“Fracking” or deep rock fracturing for extraction of hydrocarbons in under scrutiny in Taranaki following claims by an environmental group the practice is responsible for ground water contamination, water table loss and even earthquakes . . .

Interested in more than rugby – Jackie Harrigan:

Scoping out opportunities in the New Zealand dairy industry was fitted in around rugby fixtures by a handful of Argentinian farmers in the Manawatu for the Argentina vs Georgia pool match.

Taking the opportunity to network with Kiwi agricultural businesses, the Argentinian farmers were hosted by the NZ Agribusiness Roadshow and shown facets of Kiwi pastoral farming which fitted their individual interests.

One Argentinean who visited was Miguel Rohrer, a beef and cropping farmer who grows soybean, corn, rice, peanuts and beans alongside dairy units running 1200 Holstein cows. Cows are generally run at lower stocking rates than New Zealand at around 1.5cows/ha and fed mainly on alfalfa with grain supplements to produce around 26l/cow/day . . .

Lamb docking a community affair – Jill Galloway:

There used to be 70 million sheep in New Zealand. Now there are around 32 million overwintered each year. So, fewer lambs to dock?

Maybe, but it is still a big job on sheep and beef farms.

Jacquetta Ward is just one of the many farmers docking. And she has nearby farmers, mates and people from the district helping her.

Today, they plan to dock 1200 lambs. A goodly number. But some stations dock 6000 a day. They may have 60,000 lambs to get through . . .

Lorraine hangs up the apron – Jill Galloway:

It is the cafe you can wear your working clothes into, and your gumboots.

The Feilding Saleyards Cafe is synonymous with good mugs of tea, great pies and gravy with chips, and the highly sought-after lamb shanks.

Lorraine Pretious left last Friday after 30 years preparing and serving meals to stock agents, truck drivers and farmers . . .

Women get to grips with using guns – Jill Galloway:

Women In Farming is a non-competitive group, and its members wanted to learn about guns and have a go at shooting on a range.

They get a thorough safety lesson from Marton Smallbore Rifle Club member and mountain safety instructor Peter Lissington. He takes people for their firearms licences, so he knows all about guns, the law and safety.

“I want people to know all about firearms, and feel confident about using them,” he says.

Twelve Women in Farming members find out more about rifles, what types there are and how to safely store and use them . . .

Faster internet offers potential for big gains:

Dairy farmer co-operative Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) believes that not enough attention has been given to how the Government’s rural broadband initiative will affect farmers.

Infrastructure for faster broadband to rural areas, including those in Southland, will be invested over the next six years, at a cost of $285 million.

LIC general manager of farm systems Rob Ford said people had heard about how high-speed broadband in rural areas would help schools and hospitals, but not about the connection between farming, the internet, productivity and profit.

Free website helps global sharing – Collette Devlin:

A former Southland researcher has developed an easy-to-use, free website specifically for farmers.

Gary Hutchinson, originally from Taranaki, was the project manager for Topoclimate South, a successful three-year soil and microclimate mapping programme that finished in October 2001, after mapping 830,000 hectares of Southland’s farmlands . . .

Angus burger demand boosts Southland beef sales – Collette Devlin:

Southern angus beef farms are being boosted by the popularity of McDonald’s angus burgers in the region.

Taramoa angus beef breeder David Marshall said the high sales of angus burgers at the fast-food restaurant has had a direct influence on the market, which has led to a record sales of Southland angus beef and it looked as if they were set to rise further.

Mr Marshall’s family have been breeding angus since the 1940s and his herd can be traced back to the 1860s when the first angus cattle arrived in New Zealand.

The only show in town – Shelley Bridgeman:

A & P Shows – with their prize-winning heifers, farm machinery, highland dancing, wood-chopping, sheep dog trials and carnival atmosphere – are as Kiwi as No. 8 wire and gumboots.

Last season I attended eleven, from as far north as Whangarei right down to Hawke’s Bay . . .

Focus farm is the real thing – Sue O’Dowd:

DairyNZ’s focus farm in Taranaki is being promoted as a real-life farm with challenges ordinary farmers can understand.

The first field day, with a focus on mating, attracted more than 80 people.

Chris and Kathy Prankerd’s Tariki farm was chosen earlier this year as the focus farm after 20 farmers expressed interest in the project . . .

Beef lull then bonanza tipped:

Rabobank is picking United States beef prices to soar to record highs later next year.

But first, the bank says in a new report, New Zealand will have to weather a supply “bulge”.

Escalating exchange rates, global economic uncertainty and climate risks are short-term obstacles for global beef markets, but the longer outlook remains positive, report co-author Rebecca Redmond says.

Breaking lactose down in fresh milk – Collette Devlin:

Diary giant Fonterra is now producing a lactose-free fresh milk, which means it is now in direct competition with a small Southland organic dairy company.

Early last month, Retro Organics released the first lactose-free fresh milk and yoghurt in New Zealand, which company owner Robin Greer said was the solution to a growing need.

Until now, an Australian company, Liddells, dominated the lactose-free milk market here . . .

Druming upsupport for drum use:

Avoiding accidents with agrichemicals is high on the agenda with a new drum recovery programme launched by Agrecovery Rural Recycling.  

The Agrecovery Drum programme offers farmers and growers around the country free on property collection for plastic or steel drums from 61 – 1000L in size. Drums must be empty and triple rinsed . . .

Paediatrict product move at Westland:

WESTLAND SUPPLIERS can look forward to their processor moving more of their milk up the value chain from next season. The Hokitika-based cooperative last week announced a multi-million dollar investment in a state-of-the-art paediatric nutritional product plant.  

“It’s principally about adding more value,” chief executive Rod Quin told Rural News . . .

Havard reports good return form NZ forest investments – Pam Graham:

Harvard Management, the manager of Harvard University’s US$32 billion endowment, made an 18.8 percent annual return on its natural resource portfolio, which includes majority ownership of the cutting rights to the Kaingaroa forest.

Harvard, the oldest and most richly endowed university in the US, has put 10 percent of its portfolio into natural resources, which it says is mostly timberland, and agricultural and other resource-bearing properties on five continents . . .

Ballance dinners demonstrate path to profitability:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has pulled together a raft of experts to present at its Business Development Dinner series over the next few months.

Ballance Sales and Marketing General Manager Graeme Smith says the business development dinners are held every year as part of the co-operative’s programme to provide more information and tools to farmers.

“We want to be able to seed new ideas and new ways of thinking with our customers as part of our commitment to help them farm more profitability and more sustainably,” Mr Smith says . . .

Claim wool is losing ground to nylon carpets:

A textile industry representative says resurrecting the fortunes of strong wool is going to take more than the wool sector has come up with so far.

Carpet makers say there has been a significant drop in carpet sales, which have been blamed on unsettled world economic conditions and the rapid rise in wool prices over the past year . . .


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