Rural round-up

March 5, 2014

Good news keeps on coming for New Zealand dairy farmers with record prices and production figures – Jeff Smith:

Record production and milk prices bode well for confidence in dairying areas and will overcome some of the problems in areas affected by dry conditions.

Rural communities across the country will be celebrating record milk production as well as an increase in Fonterra’s forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2013/14 season by 35 cents to a record level of $8.65 per kilogram of milksolids.

“Milk production across the country is looking great for most areas, with Bay of Plenty in particular up nine percent on the drought reduced production in 2012-13. Production in Canterbury is also seven percent up on last year, but some of this extra milk is from more cows being milked,” says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. . .

Kansas farm boys put ag in national spotlight with parody videos – Karoline Rose :

“We are seriously just normal guys,” said Greg Peterson, the oldest of the three “Peterson brothers.” The Kansas farm boys have put agriculture in the national spotlight by producing and starring in farming parody videos of top music hits.

Peterson said the boys think it is “hilarious” that fellow agriculturalists are treating them like celebrities. “We are just down-to-earth Kansas farm kids,” he said.

It all started June of 2012, when “I’m Farming and I Grow it” hit YouTube.com. Greg, an agricultural communications major at Kansas State said, “Professors were always challenging us to find new ways to advocate for agriculture. I was browsing YouTube one day and noticed that the most popular YouTube videos were music videos. At that point I decided I wanted to make a farming music video with my brothers.” After hearing “I’m Sexy and I Know it,” Greg jokingly changed it to “I’m Farming and I Grow it.” The idea caught fire and after writing the song, he took it home to his brothers and they filmed their first humorous mock video. . . .

Ballance signals CEO’s retirement plans:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman David Peacocke has announced that Larry Bilodeau will be retiring as Chief Executive of the co-operative at the end of September. His retirement will end 17 years with the co-operative, 14 of them as Chief Executive.

Mr Peacocke said that under Mr Bilodeau’s leadership Ballance had evolved from a fertiliser business to a co-operative covering the full spectrum of farm nutrient requirements.

“Larry has always ensured our co-operative has stayed one step ahead of our shareholders’ and customers’ needs. He developed and led our strategy and ensured we earned our place as a trusted name in complete farm nutrient management. That trust is reflected in our consistent financial performance.” . . .

Comvita looks to new manuka types:

Honey and natural health products company Comvita expects plantings of manuka to make a significant contribution to increasing the supply of the sought-after honey.

The company, which produces and markets manuka honey for medicinal as well as culinary use, has been running trials of new varieties of the tree, with the aim of establishing plantations to supplement naturally growing stands.

Gathering manuka honey.

Gathering manuka honey.                                                                                                                     Photo: PHOTO NZ

Chief executive Brett Hewlett says crosses of indigenous varieties and special varieties are making progress.

“We’ve got some 25 different planting programmes and trials around the country where we’re studying the behaviour of these unique varieties. . .

Hamilton-based SummerGlow Apiaries – what you need to know about medical grade manuka honey:

TE KOWHAI’S SummerGlow Apiaries believe a recent UK television show has done a great job in showing consumers the difference between medical grade manuka honey and the honeys you eat.

Food Unwrapped presenter Jimmy Doherty recently investigated whether manuka honey has any medicinal properties.

He found that while all honey – even that which you buy in the supermarket – could have benefits, only medical grade manuka honey should be used to treat wounds, cuts, scratches, burns and skin ulcers as it has a naturally present activity not found in other honeys. . .

te Pā strikes again: Gold Medal at Royal Easter Wine Show:

Wairau Bar based vineyard, te Pā, has been awarded again for its 2013 Sauvignon Blanc with a Gold Medal win at the 2014 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, racking up a double Gold record in just four months.

The Royal Easter Wine Show win follows up te Pā’s almost perfect score in the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in November, where the Sauvignon Blanc was awarded 19 points out of a possible 20.

Winemaker at te Pā Liam McElhinney says of the win: “The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc offers a rich, full and honest taste, which is due in part to the fact that we source our grapes from a single site. Because of te Pā’s unique position on the Wairau Bar, the soil and climate creates the ideal conditions for the highest quality wine. We create limited volume because we’re about quality and perfection – and this second Gold nod in just a few months shows that critics and consumers love what we are doing.” . . .


Rural round-up

November 20, 2013

Speech to the New Zealand Society of Large Dams (NZSOLD) – Nathan Guy:

. . . For over a century, dams and the infrastructure associated with them have been a vital but often overlooked part of the fabric of this country.

Back in the 1880s, gold dredgers dammed a tributary of the Shotover River to provide hydropower for the nearby mine.

Early freezing works and dairy factories ran on hydro and it even helped power early municipal lighting at Reefton on the West Coast.

Today we still tend to associate dams with generating electricity for the national grid.

We think of Benmore, Tekapo and Clyde in the South Island, and the massive Tongariro Power Development here in the North.

Dams – a variety of roles

In fact dams and reservoirs  – large and small – contribute to our society in a variety of ways. . .

Dairy farmers show they can deliver:

Federated Farmers commends its dairy farmers and Fonterra for the effort that has gone in to fencing off 20,400km of farm waterways.

“This is a great feat by our dairy farmers to help improve water quality, as around 90 percent of our dairy members are Fonterra farmers,” says Willy Leferink Federated Farmers Dairy Chairman.

“In two weeks time we are looking to have 24,400 km of waterways fenced off, which is half way around the world, if you count the second wire we’ve gone all the way. These are the first steps on a long and winding road to a positive and sustainable dairy future. . .

Speech to Executive Roundtable, Bangkok, Thailand – Nathan Guy:

It gives me great pleasure to speak to you today about global food security, and New Zealand’s journey to become a ‘kitchen of the world’.

Coming from a nation of 4.5 million people that feeds 40 million people around the world, I would like to offer a few insights on the topic.

New Zealand’s story

New Zealand has always been a farming and food producing nation. It is our passion, and part of our DNA.

The introduction of refrigeration in the 1880s meant we could export our meat and dairy products overseas, and for a long time we were known as the United Kingdom’s farm.

Things changed in 1973 however when the UK joined the European Economic Community, which meant losing our privileged market access.

This was a massive wake-up call for us as a nation, and forced us to diversify into new markets. It was the beginning of a major period of change. . .

Researchers get in behind working dogs – Sally Rae:

Dogs might be man’s best friend but on many New Zealand farms they are also often their best employees.

A research project has been launched to look at New Zealand working dogs’ health, welfare and survival.

The TeamMate project is being led by Dr Lori Linney, from Vetlife Alexandra, who will work alongside Dr Naomi Cogger, from the EpiCentre at Massey University, the largest veterinary epidemiology training and research centre in Australasia. . .

Hot air could control some weeds – researcher:

The Future Farming Centre in Lincoln is looking for funding to field test a non-chemical method of weed control, using heat.

The centre has adapted a Danish thermal system which uses steam to kill weed seeds in the soil, before crops are planted.

The centre’s head, Dr Charles Merfield, says using hot air instead instead of steam would be just as effective and use a lot less fuel. . .

te Pā is Pure Gold at 2013 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

A 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from the critically-acclaimed te Pā Wines has won a prestigious Pure Gold Medal in the Air New Zealand Wine Awards held on 12 November. The Pure category awards 100% sustainably grown and produced wines.

With grapes from te Pā vineyard in the historically significant Wairau Bar in the Marlborough region, the 2013 te Pā Sauvignon Blanc was noted for its vibrance and concentration by this year’s 26-strong expert judging panel.

te Pā Director and Proprietor Haysley MacDonald says: “To see our Sauvignon Blanc take out a top medal in New Zealand’s pre-eminent wine awards highlights the passion, innovation and expertise of our team and it also showcases the quality and sustainability of the wines we produce. . .


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