Rural round-up

June 15, 2019

Susan Murray wins the Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year award:

Radio New Zealand’s Country Life producer and presenter Susan Murray has been named the 2019 Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the year.

The award, presented last night at Mystery Creek Fieldays, recognises people making a significant contribution to communicating agricultural issues, events and information.

Susan has worked on the popular farming-based radio programme for more than two decades, bringing a wealth of agricultural knowledge to the show and building a greater public understanding of the practical and technical aspects of farming life in New Zealand. . . 

Agri-innovations on show at Fieldays – Maja Burry:

Some of the best new agri-innovations have been recognised at National Agricultural Fieldays near Hamilton.

Winners at the Fieldays Innovation Awards included a ‘fit bit’ for rivers, which monitors water quality, an online service to help orchardists find seasonal workers, and a device that keeps a trough free of algae.

The company, Future Post, was also recognised for its work turning 100 percent recycled plastic waste into durable fence posts.

Judges said the product provided a way for farmers to participate in addressing what is a massive environmental problem for New Zealand. . . 

AgResearch wins supreme Fieldays award:

AgResearch and three other Crown Research Institute collaborators have won the overall Supreme Site Award for Best Stand at National Fieldays.

Scion, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and Environmental Science and Research joined forces with AgResearch to showcase innovative science and the research they do to improve New Zealand farming and the food sector.

The award was announced today. It also received a second award – Best Agribusiness Indoor Site award at Fieldays. . . 

ClearTech wins Fieldays innovation award:

Ravensdown’s ClearTech dairy effluent treatment system which was developed in conjunction with Lincoln University has won a Highly Commended Award at the Fieldays innovation awards.

The system uses a coagulant to bind effluent colloidal particles together in order to settle them out from the water. This clarifying process reduces freshwater use, helps existing effluent storage go further and reduces the environmental and safety risk linked with farm dairy effluent (FDE).

“ClearTech is ideal for those dairy farmers who want to save on effluent pond storage and take back control of their capacity and compliance,” said Product Manager Carl Ahlfeld. . . 

Tractor driving bachelor named Fieldays Rural Catch 2019

An Otorohanga tractor driver has taken out the 2019 Fieldays Rural Catch top honours, while a Hamilton dairy technician was named as the People’s Choice.

Eight rural singles showed off their farm skills at the Fieldays at Mystery Creek, hoping to catch the eye of employers – and a potential love interest.

This year’s competition had them brushing up their confidence with some media interviews and sponsor engagements and showing off their skills in the areas of fencing, innovations, chainsaws, health and wellbeing, finance and ATV skills.

Lewis Nichols, who is a heavy machinery operator for agricultural contracting company Bradfields based in Otorohanga was announced as the winner on Friday. . . 

China’s appetite for NZ red meat is surging – Jenny Ruth:

(BusinessDesk) – China has been New Zealand’s largest market for red meat for some time and growth in that market is surging.

Meat Industry Association analysis of Stats NZ figures shows China accounted for 36 percent of total red meat exports in April and sales there that month jumped 62 percent by value from the previous April.

That’s down a little from the 70 percent year-on-year growth in the month of March, although growth in the year ended March was a slightly more sedate 47 percent. . .

Dairy industry receives boost with $25 million sustainable innovation programme:

A new $25.68 million innovation programme for New Zealand’s dairy industry will drive improvements in the health and wellbeing of the national dairy herd and a step-change in sustainable milk production.

The seven-year programme, called Resilient Dairy: Innovative Breeding for a Sustainable Future, launched today and is being led by farmer-owned herd improvement co-operative Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), with investment and support from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and DairyNZ. . .

A Nelson based company creates a world first non-toxic in fighting grape splitting:

Agricultural fertiliser and biostimulant company Waikaitu Ltd has developed a product that could significantly impact the wine growing industry.

Waikaitu Ltd has produced the world’s first seaweed-based product called FruitGuard to help grapes naturally regulate the water pressure inside the fruit and significantly reduce splitting.

Grape splitting can occur at the end of the season just before harvest, potentially ruining harvests with even a single late season rain event. A grape that has split may then allow fungal infection, like Botrytis, to get established in the grape bunches. If the fungus infection is bad enough the grower can lose their entire crop. Fungal pressure intensifies late in grape development – just before the harvest. . . 

Why govt’s GM policy defers logic, hurts farmers :

As farmers under the umbrella of the Shetkari Sangathana start their civil disobedience movement and plant the banned Herbicide Tolerant (HT) GM seeds as well as Bt brinjal, chances are the authorities will treat this as yet another law and order issue and will arrest them; it is, however, not a simple law and order issue. Of course, farmers cannot be allowed to break the law, but it is also true that their protest is against an irrational and farmer-unfriendly policy; more than anything else, it is yet another attempt to get the government to see sense and reverse its policies; indeed, given the prime minister’s avowed goal of doubling farmers’ incomes, the government’s policy on GM make even less sense.

The advantages of Bt cotton in raising crop yields and farmer profits are well known, and that is why almost all India’s cotton acreage is based on Bt cotton; and as a result of productivity surge, India is one of the world’s largest exporter of cotton. . .

 


Rural round-up

September 3, 2017

Irrigation brings environmental improvements Greenpeace wants – Andrew Curtis:

I am sure Greenpeace felt very proud of themselves when they locked themselves inside a Central Plains Water irrigation pipe to “protest dairy intensification”.

They shouldn’t be. Quite apart from putting themselves at risk on a dangerous construction site, breaking the law and tying up police time, they were wrong on a number of counts.

The first problem with the Greenpeace protest was the idea that irrigation schemes like Central Plains Water automatically lead to more dairy intensification. This is not true. The new farms connecting to Central Plains Water are traditional mixed cropping farms. The same holds true for other new irrigation developments like the Hurunui Water Project in North Canterbury, the North Otago Irrigation Company and Hunter Downs in South Canterbury. Across the country, around 50 percent of irrigated land has other uses – growing food, raising sheep and beef cattle, and for wineries. . .

Hawke’s Bay honey company stung by theft:

A Hawke’s Bay honey company has been stung by the theft of almost 500,000 bees.

Nineteen hives of Arataki Honey were stolen from a remote forestry block in Putere, an hour and a half north of Napier, this week.

The site was hidden from the road and Arataki Honey’s field manager Duncan Johnstone said the thieves must have known where to find the bees.

It was an expensive loss for the company – each hive is valued at $700 and all up it was a $20,000 loss. . .

QE II Trust Members reappointed:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced the re-appointment of two members of the Queen Elizabeth ll National Trust.

“I’m delighted Chairperson James Guild (MNZA) and Director Bruce Wills have agreed to stay on the board and continue the excellent work underway as the Trust celebrates its 40th anniversary,” Ms Barry says.

“Both men will serve another 3-year term and use their considerable skills and experience to ensure the Trust continues to win support from landowners willing to covenant their land for future generations. . .

Dairy industry set for big crash – Susan Murray:

The dairy sector faces another big price drop if the industry doesn’t continue to push for innovative ways to use dairy protein, warns KPMG.

Dairy companies need to think of themselves as protein or nutrition companies, said KPMG global head of agribusiness Ian Proudfoot.

He said there will be 10 or more items able to compete with traditional natural cow’s milk in a supermarket chiller.

“It’s interesting to me when I look at what’s happened in the last sort of six months – as the dairy price has gone up, the desire for change has gone down. . . 

Powering up Predator Free 2050:

National will boost Predator Free 2050 with $69.2 million of new funding over the next four years to ramp up the ambitious, world-leading pest eradication programme, Conservation Spokeswoman Maggie Barry says.

“We have been absolutely thrilled with the enthusiasm of communities up and down the country about Predator Free since it was launched one year ago,” Ms Barry says.

“National in Government will match the commitment of our volunteers, councils and philanthropists and turn this project into something that will achieve what Sir Paul Callaghan called “New Zealand’s moonshot”.” . . 

Smith welcomes sanctuary pest control work:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith is hailing today’s pest control operation in the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary as a win for the survival of New Zealand’s native birds.

“The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust has fought long and hard for today’s pest control operation. It has had to go to court three times as a result of action by the Brook Valley Community Trust to try to stop it, and three times the court has backed the Sanctuary Trust,” Dr Smith says.

“The science is clear that the only way birds like kiwi, kokako, kea and kaka will survive is to effectively control the pests that have decimated their populations. I can appreciate people’s angst at killing rats, stoats and possums but every year these pests brutally kill 25 million native birds. . . 

This tiny country feeds the world – Frank Viviano:

In a potato field near the Netherlands’ border with Belgium, Dutch farmer Jacob van den Borne is seated in the cabin of an immense harvester before an instrument panel worthy of the starship Enterprise.

From his perch 10 feet above the ground, he’s monitoring two drones—a driverless tractor roaming the fields and a quadcopter in the air—that provide detailed readings on soil chemistry, water content, nutrients, and growth, measuring the progress of every plant down to the individual potato. Van den Borne’s production numbers testify to the power of this “precision farming,” as it’s known. The global average yield of potatoes per acre is about nine tons. Van den Borne’s fields reliably produce more than 20.

That copious output is made all the more remarkable by the other side of the balance sheet: inputs. Almost two decades ago, the Dutch made a national commitment to sustainable agriculture under the rallying cry “Twice as much food using half as many resources.”  . .

#LoveLambWeek: Sheep farmers call on consumers to put lamb back on plates –

The next generation of sheep farmers has called on the next generation of shoppers to put lamb back on plates across Britain through Love Lamb Week.

Over the past 15 years, fewer people have been regularly eating the very British meat, and with those aged 55 years and over making up the lion’s share of the market, time is ticking for lamb.

This year the annual campaign runs from 1-7 September, and social media users are being urged to tweet the hashtag #LoveLambWeek . . .

 


Rural round-up

July 20, 2017

Woman of the land counts herself lucky – Rose Harding:

Kate MacFarlane has always known what she wanted to do.

She grew up on Waiterenui Angus Stud at Raukawa so is a farm girl “to her DNA” and considers herself lucky in her life.

Lucky that her parents, Will and Viv, told her to follow her dreams, lucky she was able to travel and gain experience overseas, lucky she got the jobs she wanted and lucky with all the “amazing people” who have helped her. . . 

The mysteries of grass-fed milk – Keith Woodford:

Here in New Zealand, we live the notion that milk from grass-fed cows is superior to milk from cows fed other rations. Supposedly it is better for health. And supposedly the cows are happier if they can dance around in the sunshine doing what comes naturally. And supposedly it makes us more cost-efficient than our international competitors.

There is an element of truth to all of the above notions. But more often than not there is lots of myth intertwined with truth. Here, I want to tease out what is truth, what is myth, what depends on specific context, and some things that are still unknown. . . 

Sunless season dries up olive oil production – Susan Murray:

New Zealand’s olive oil producers have had a tough production season.

Harvesting is just ending, and for some growers their fruit volume and oil production is less than half last year’s.

Andrew Priddle is a Wairarapa olive grower and harvester and said there has been a lack of sunshine hours in summer and autumn, and the crops had matured three weeks later than usual.

He said the late crops led to more bird damage and coincided with an “off” year for the biennially producing trees. . . 

“Nightmare’ kumara season for farmers:

A kumara famer has described this year as a nightmare, with horrendous weather cutting the yield of red kumara by up to 45 percent.

The low yield of all varieties has had a big impact on prices as Statistics New Zealand reported kumara hit a high of more than $8 a kilo last month.

John Adolf from the kumara co-operative Delta Produce, said this year had been a shock for farmers after last season’s bumper crop.

A wet, cold spring, a long dry summer and heavy downpours through autumn caused major headaches for farmers, he said. . . 

$300,000 to help preserve native bush and fauna:

The Forest Bridge Trust has been awarded $300,000 from the Community Environment Fund, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.

“The vision of The Forest Bridge Trust is to create a connected landscape of healthy forest and flourishing indigenous wildlife from the Kaipara Harbour in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. They plan to achieve that vision by connecting up bush remnants, fencing, planting and doing weed and pest control throughout the area,” Mr Simpson says. . . 

CropLogic plans A$8 mln IPO in ASX listing – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – CropLogic, the agricultural technology company, has launched its prospectus and is planning an A$8 million capital raising before listing on the ASX.

The Christchurch-based company is offering 40 million shares at 20 Australian cents each with a minimum subscription of 25 million shares, or A$5 million. The capital will be used to fund market development, research & development, ASX listing costs and working capital, it said. In May, it completed an A$2 million pre-initial public offering funding round. . . 

Polluted waterways issue widens town and country divide:

The contentious issue of our polluted waterways is deepening a country and town divide, with many farmers saying they are being unfairly blamed by city folk.

“We get lambasted by these allegations for polluting the rivers when in Canterbury we have very few polluted rivers whatsoever,” Canterbury dairy farmer Willie Leferenk said.

Further north sheep and beef farmer Lydia Murchison has noticed that townies seem to have lumped all farmers together. . . 

Farm sales and prices inch down in three months to June on year – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – The number of farms sold in the three months inched down on the year as did the median price per hectare for all farms, pointing to a softening tone in the rural real estate market, the Real Estate Institute said.

There were 459 sales in the year ended June 2017, 13 fewer than the same period a year earlier, or a decline of 2.8 percent. The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June 2017 was $25,992 versus $26,361 in the same period a year earlier, a decline of 1.4 percent.

Eight regions recorded increases in sales volumes on the year in the three months ended June. Otago recorded the largest increase in sales, with 13 more sales, followed by Gisborne where nine more farms were sold. . . 

Nominations for Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election Open Monday:

Nominations for the Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election open Monday, 17 July with an election to be held for three farmer-elected Directors.

The Independent Nomination process will be run first with nominations needing to have been received by the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp of electionz.com by 12 noon on Monday, 7 August 2017.

The Returning Officer will announce the Independent Nomination process candidates on Monday, 11 September 2017. . . 

Autogrow announces global first API Solution for indoor agriculture:

Autogrow has become the first of the established players to launch an API (Application Programming Interface) for indoor agricultural growers; greenhouses, vertical urban, containers, plant factories, offering access to data traditionally not available to them.

Called MyData(v0.2), this is the first release in a series of cloud-based solutions offering a universally accessible API to recent and historical growing data including light and relative humidity, wind speed, pH and EC. With a 24-hour data refresh and 180-day historical data available, growers will be able to utilise their information to discover operational insights or even custom-build or develop their own data solutions, services or apps without limitations. . . 

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Oh you did 20 reps at the gym? Cool story Bro. #AgProud


Rural round-up

October 24, 2013

Many avoiding discussions on meat industry – Sally Rae:

Wider meat industry discussions over its structure are involving too small a group and there are ”a whole lot of people” not bothering to attend, Alliance Group chief executive Grant Cuff says.

Addressing a shareholders-suppliers meeting in Oamaru this week, Mr Cuff said it seemed an ”awfully big chunk of the industry just doesn’t want to discuss it any further”.

”Those of us that are willing and trying to talk still do, but you can’t do it in isolation,” he said. . .

Critical deadline for Central Plains Water scheme:

For the Central Plains Water Ltd irrigation project to proceed, it needs a minimum shareholder commitment to irrigate 18,000 ha of Stage I of the 60,000ha scheme by October 31.

After 13 years of development, CPWL aims to raise $45 million from shareholders of which $35 million will be used to construct Stage I of the scheme and the remaining to fund the design for Stage II and Stage III and also to contribute to the building of extra capacity in the Stage I headrace to allow for the future stages.

“The deadline is 5pm on October 31 to commit to Stage I Construction Shares and Stage II & III Pre-Construction shares. We need this commitment not only for the viability of the project but also to get on with the tendering process for the scheme construction,” said CEO, Derek Crombie. . .

Even in bad dairy news there is good – Willy Leferink:

Part of my volunteer work at Federated Farmers is handling some tricky stuff from time to time and there’s none trickier when one of our guys let the side down.  I mean of course when a dairy farmer takes the wrong fork in the road and rightly gets nabbed for it.  I’ve heard heaps of stories that farming is like some secret society in that, nudge nudge, wink wink, we look after one another and look the other way.   That view is wrong.

We have a good story to tell given water quality is trending in the right direction according to the Ministry for the Environment.  There are plans to light the after burners on what we do environmentally given positive payout forecasts.  I’ve also read that a group of scientists writing in Nature say pastoral agriculture helps to form clouds.  Given clouds reflect the sun’s energy and trap moisture they help to keep the earth a temperate place to be.  Could our cows, sheep, goats and crops be climate heroes; that’s effectively what one environmental professor at Auckland University wrote in the NZ Herald.

But you cannot shout from the rooftops about what we do well without owning what we don’t do so well.  . .

Radio NZ journalist takes Rongo Award:

Radio New Zealand’s Country Life programme came up trumps at this year’s Agricultural Journalism Awards.

Susan Murray won the TBFree New Zealand Rongo Award for two programmes that featured in Country Life.

That’s the top award for agricultural journalists in the country. . .

Primary Growth Partnership delivering major results:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming more success stories from the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) scheme, with five major projects announcing breakthroughs this month.

“The programme ‘Transforming the Dairy Value Chain’ is helping to develop a patented technology for developing frozen mozzarella cheese in one day rather than the previous two months. Last week Fonterra announced a new $72 million investment into its Clandeboye plant near Timaru to expand production of this cheese.

“It has also helped DairyNZ and Rezare Systems, with support from Beef and Lamb NZ, to develop the ‘Pasture Growth Forecaster’. This is an online tool to predict pasture growth up to 15 days and two months ahead, which will be a great tool for many farmers. . . .

Forrest Wines recognised in Asia for outstanding quality:

The John Forrest Collection Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir 2010 has added another accolade to its name receiving a gold medal at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards.

Co-chaired by Jeannie Cho Lee MW, the first Asian Master of Wine and a Contributing Editor to Decanter, and Steven Spurrier, Chairman of the Decanter World Wine Awards and Decanter’s Consultant Editor, the Decanter Asia Wine Awards aims to recognise quality wines and provide consumers across Asia with a trusted source of recommendations.

The John Forrest Collection range celebrates the best of New Zealand wine from family owned land in key wine producing regions, made from carefully selected grapes and only in the best years. The Waitaki Valley in North Otago is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with for premium Pinot Noir production, offering a unique style. . . .

Amisfield Wine Company Pinot Noir Wins Top Asia Trophy:

Queenstown’s Amisfield Wine Company has beaten stiff competition to take out a top trophy in the largest wine competition in Asia.

The company’s 2010 Pinot Noir has been awarded the New Zealand Regional Pinot Noir Trophy, Best in Show and a prestigious Gold Medal in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA) announced today (October 23).

Judging took place in Hong Kong late last month, with over 40 top wine experts from across Asia joining the judging panel.

DAWA is the continent’s largest wine competition in its second year running with over 2,300 entrants from all over the world. . .

Cattermoles Butchery in Kaiapoi has won the Supreme Gold Award in the 100% NZ Ham Competition:

Just in time for Christmas New Zealand’s finest ham has been revealed following the 100% New Zealand Ham Competition. Cattermoles Butchery in Kaiapoi, Canterbury has taken out the supreme award for their sugar cured, leg ham on the bone.

The competition celebrates the finest bone-in and boneless hams crafted by New Zealand butchers using only 100% New Zealand pork. The four judges of the ‘Grand Final’ round were unanimous that Cattermoles delivered the most “ham-tastic” experience of aroma, texture, taste and all-important colour.

With nearly twenty years as Cattermoles Butchery owner, Chris Beach is absolutely delighted to step up to the supreme award, after coming away with Silver in 2012. . . .


Benedict Collins wins Rongo

October 15, 2012

The TBfree New Zealand Rongo Award, the supreme prize at the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators  awards has been won by  Benedict Collins for programmes prepared for Country99TV.

The runner up was Shawn McAvinue  for articles which appeared in the Southland Times. He now works for the Otago Daily Times.

The Rural Women NZ Journalism Award was won by Jackie Harrigan for articles that appeared in Country-Wide magazine. Andrew Stewart of Young Country, another NZX Agri group publication was runner up.

The award recognises journalism that portrays the important contribution women make to farm businesses and in rural communities.

In presenting the award, Rural Women NZ national president, Liz Evans, said the winning entries were refreshing, informative and topical and reflected the true professionalism of the farming women whose stories they told.
One story, for example, involved school leaver Anita, who finally got her dream job as a shepherd on a North Island hill country station, only to experience a quad bike accident that left her in a wheelchair. But Anita’s fighting spirit has ensured that she is still pursuing a career in agriculture. . . 
Liz Evans said, “Rural Women New Zealand continues to support these awards as we see the calibre and content of the entries about rural women, their lives, businesses and communities grow more dynamic each time.”
Other awards went to:
AGMARDT Agribusiness Award –  Hugh Stringleman
AgResearch Science Writers Award – Tim Cronshaw, The Press;  runner up Peter Burke, Rural News
Beef + Lamb NZ News Award – Richard Rennie
Ballance Agri-Nutrients –  Tim Cronshaw, The Press;  runner up, Ali Tocker, Waikato Times
Guild Encouragement Award  –  John  Watson, Country99TV
Federated Farmers Rural Photograph Award   –  Jonathan Cameron, Taranaki Daily News
Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award -Tim Fulton, NZ Farmers Weekly;  runner up, Susan Murray, Country Life
PGG Wrightson Sustainable Land Management Award –  Susan Murray, Country Life.

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