Rural round-up

November 2, 2013

Fonterra on notice – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra is on notice from its leading independent director, Sir Ralph Norris, that another food safety scare would have serious global implications.

While it may be inaccurate and unfair, Fonterra is saddled with the melamine adulteration in China in 2008 and the DCD fertiliser concerns earlier this year, followed by the precautionary recall because of a botulism scare in August.

“That means it is important for Fonterra to learn from the whey protein concentrate events. The fact that the botulism scare was a false alarm doesn’t diminish the work of (our) inquiry,” Norris said. . .

Focus goes on communication – Alan Williams:

Fonterra’s communications team is being renewed as public relations contractor Baldwin Boyle Group (BBG) makes way for more in-house employees.

Five of the 33 recommendations made by the independent inquiry for the board concerning the botulism scare in whey protein concentrate are aimed at better communication.

The first recommendation is that Fonterra needs to continue building a directly employed, strong, specialist, and experienced communications team.

That should be done in key global markets, supplemented with contracted, high-calibre local expertise where appropriate. . .

Tough year for tulip grower – Alison Rudd:

Spring brings magnificent swathes of colour to Southland as hundreds of hectares of tulips bloom. But for tulip producers, the flowers are a byproduct and the real value of the plant lies in its bulb. Reporter Allison Rudd talks to one of the van Eeden family about the changing industry.

For many decades, van Eeden Tulips was the only tulip bulb producer in New Zealand of any significance.

For 45 years, it supplied most of the bulbs grown by commercial flower growers, home gardeners and council parks and reserves departments, before branching out into exports in the late 1990s. . . .

More Southland dairy farms expected – Terri Russell:

Low sheep returns and high milk prices have contributed to a rise in dairy farm conversions in Southland.

New dairy farm conversions totalled just seven for the 18-month period to July. But a recent spike in new conversions comes after Fonterra announced its record forecast payout of $8.30 per kilogram.

Environment Southland consents manager Stephen West said there had been more dairy farm conversion applications in the past four months than there had been in almost two years.

The surge in conversion numbers also coincides with the plan change 13 deliberations drawing to a close.

Plan change 13 has required all new dairy farms to obtain a resource consent before becoming operational since April last year, and the decision on whether the rule will become permanent will be made in December. . . .

No dividend, but Alliance’s system sorted – Sally Brooker:

Shareholders who packed out the Alliance Group Ltd roadshow meeting in Oamaru last week were told they are not getting a dividend.

Chairman Murray Taggart, an Oxford farmer who has taken over since Owen Poole retired on September 30, said times had been ”tough for meat processors and exporters”.

The equity ratio and operating cash flow were good, but not sufficient for a dividend. . .

Fonterra Acquires Stake in Bega Cheese Ltd:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has acquired a 6 per cent shareholding in Australian dairy company Bega Cheese Limited.

The 9.3 million shares were purchased at AUD4.95 per share for a total cost of AUD46 million.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said, “Australia is an important market for Fonterra, and we are committed to growing our already strong presence.

“There has recently been a lot of consolidation activity in the Australian dairy industry. It is important that Fonterra participates, and we have confidence in Bega and the strategy it is pursuing,” said Mr Spierings. . .

Foreign investors buy more South Island farmland:

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has approved the application by a Singaporean investment management company to buy half the shares of New Zealand Pastures Limited, a locally-owned company that operates seven South Island sheep and beef farms.

The farms :Three Rivers, Grantham Springs, Hitchin Hills, Quailburn, Hills Creek, The Styx and Huntleigh, cover almost 23,500 hectares.

Singapore company Duxton Asset Management is buying the shares on behalf of itself and two other overseas investment funds. . . .

Stalwart’s last stand gets support of mates – Ruth Grundy:

When his mates got wind John Hough was making his ”last stand”, they thought they would go along for the ride.

The Rakaia shearer and Shearing Sports New Zealand official who will only admit to being ”not 70 yet” began shearing at 18 and first competed in open-class shearing 40 years ago. . . .

#gigatownoamaru appreciates its rural hinterland.


Rural round-up

June 15, 2013

Field Days opinion poll reveals effects of the drought is seen as biggest challenge for agricultural industry:

An opinion poll of visitors to the annual Agricultural Field Days 2013 shows that 54% of respondents believe the effects of the nationwide drought are the biggest challenge facing New Zealand’s agricultural industry this year.

The Aggreko Thought Generator poll was conducted during the first three days of Field Days event. Visitors completed an iPad questionnaire hosted by Aggreko, the world leader in the supply of temporary power and temperature control solutions. The poll aimed to gauge industry sentiment around a number of topical issues. . .

Key notes: supporting rural communities:

New Zealand’s primary industries have been in the spotlight this week, with the annual Fieldays taking place at Mystery Creek near Hamilton.  I’m enjoying talking to farmers, exhibitors, and members of the public at the event today.

Fieldays is an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of our rural communities.  Agriculture and the wider primary sector are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy.  When it succeeds, New Zealand succeeds.

National’s economic plan has real benefits for the primary sector. When we cut the company tax rate to 28 cents in the dollar in 2010, we knew this would make life easier for New Zealand businesses, including farmers. And it has. . . .

Bloody Friday – Offsetting Behaviour:

Saturday mornings, I cook pancakes. While cooking pancakes, I listen to Duncan Smith and Susan Murray’s Country Life programme on Radio New Zealand (as do all good Kiwis). It’s often a wonderful celebration of rural entrepreneurship.

I had never heard of Bloody Friday. And so I last week learned something new.

Friday, 9 June, 1978: 300 farmers released 1300 ewes onto the streets of Invercargill, herded them through the streets, then slaughtered them right there to the surprise of onlookers.

The Meatworkers’ Union had made it impossible for the farmers to get their stock to slaughter. Sheep were starving in the paddocks because the feed had run out; the farmers had planned on getting their stock to market rather earlier. . .

Bloody Friday farmers praised for bravery -Terri Russell:

 Hundreds of Southland farmers involved in the 1978 “Bloody Friday” protest were praised for their bravery at the weekend.

About 200 people gathered at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club for the 35th anniversary of the protest, when farmers ran 1300 ewes down Dee St before slaughtering them on a Victoria Ave section.

Farmers were frustrated by industrial chaos across the meat industry, exacerbated by the worst drought much of the province had seen since 1956.

Protest leader Syd Slee said there were about 200 people at the reunion and half were involved in the protest. “We’re very proud looking back on the protest,” he said. . . .

New Leadership for Young Farmers:

Cole Groves has been voted the new Chairman for New Zealand Young Farmers. Mr Groves takes the helm after Paul Olsen who stepped down from his two-year term.

“It’s a fantastic group of people”, Mr Groves said. “It’s a big honour”.

Mr Groves previously served on the board as an elected member for two years, and he views his new appointment as an opportunity to give back to an organisation that has given him plenty.

“I’ve gotten so much out of my involvement with Young Farmers; from self-development to growing my business contacts”, commented Mr Groves. . .

Wools of NZ appoints new CEO:

Wools of New Zealand Limited is pleased to announce the appointment of Ross Townshend as its new Chief Executive Officer. The appointment follows the successful capitalisation of Wools of New Zealand completed in March of this year and is in line with the company’s strategy of putting the necessary people and processes in place to effectively run a 100% grower-owned sales and marketing company.

Mark Shadbolt, Chairman of Wools of New Zealand, said that after a rigorous selection process spanning several months the Board was delighted that Townshend, a Waikato sheep farmer and a shareholder of Wools of New Zealand, had accepted the role. . . .

Bioenergy association  statement – Woodscape:

Bioenergy Association is encouraged by the wood processing sector identification of the value of business opportunities from biofuels.

Recent research undertaken for the forestry and wood processing sector has identified that some emerging biofuel technologies can provide attractive additional revenue streams for existing businesses.

Speaking today, Mr Brian Cox, Executive Officer of the Bioenergy Association of New Zealand (BANZ) said that “BANZ welcomes the release of the Woodco research project (WoodScape) which evaluates a number of possible investment opportunities for the wood processing sector. The report shows that the emerging technologies for producing transport biofuels can be financially attractive as new enterprises. However these would be even more attractive as bolt-ons to existing business which already have the infrastructure and technical capabilities to extend into these new products.” . . .

Industry Happy to Talk About Sharing the Otago-Southland Paua Fishery:

The Otago Southland paua industry says it wants to make the most of the next few months to try to reach agreement with recreational and customary paua divers over shared access for areas of the coastline.

The Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, has announced that consultation on commercial access would continue for areas that previously had been closed because of a health risk. . .

Release of new fish stock assessment:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released the latest comprehensive scientific assessment of the status of New Zealand’s fisheries.

“The 2013 plenary report provides us with valuable, peer-reviewed scientific information on the status of our fish stocks and fisheries” says Dr Pamela Mace, Principal Advisor Fisheries Science for MPI.

“Many of the assessments indicate there is scope for increases in current catch limits. Hoki is the “star” performer. A few short years ago, there was concern that the western stock had become depleted. Science has driven strong and decisive management action and ensured the full restoration of hoki New Zealand-wide, even surpassing management benchmarks.” . . .


Rural round-up

April 6, 2013

Gore couple take home Sharemilker of Year title – Terri Russell:

More than 500 people attended the 2013 Southland Dairy Industry Awards in Invercargill last night to celebrate the achievements of standout individuals in Southland’s dairy industry.

Gore sharemilkers Don and Jess Moore, who are in their second season 50 per cent sharemilking 950 cows, were named the Sharemilker-Equity Farmers of the Year.

The couple said that entering into the awards made them look at their business closely – from the day-to-day running to goals for the future.

“We also enjoy the opportunity to network with some of the standout leaders within the dairy industry, as that is what makes this industry so strong,” they said. . .

Government’s irrigation promises offer hope to farmers:

The comments from Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy re-confirming the government’s commitment to supporting large scale irrigation projects are exactly what drought-stricken farmers needed to hear, Federated Farmers national president Bruce Wills says.

“It is great to see Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy publically reiterating the Government’s commitment to investing up to $400 million to encourage third-party capital investment in regional water storage projects to better insure farmers against droughts such as the one currently ravaging the North Island,” Wills says.

“We need these schemes because no matter how many on-farm water dams farmers build, they will never have enough capacity to see us through droughts like this one.

“It is not just farmers who will feel the effects of the prolonged dry season. The entire New Zealand economy is set to take a $2 billion hit, which will affect everyone, from all walks of life, everywhere in the country. . .

Shear speed triumph for Fagan:

Veteran shearer David Fagan threw down the gauntlet to his rivals on the first night of the 29th New Zealand Shearing Championships when he won the competition’s annual Speedshear in Te Kuiti last night.

The 51-year-old Fagan blasted the wool off his final sheep in 22.52 seconds to win the $1000 first prize in front of his home crowd in the Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre, where he’s been the star of the show since the Championships were first held in Te Kuiti in 1985.

Hastings shearer Dion King, who had headed the 10 qualifiers after the heats, finished second in 23.1sec, while Digger Balme, originally from Tuakau but based in Te Kuiti for many years, was third, in 24.26sec. . .

SFF firms stance against co-op:

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper has further distanced the company from calls to centralise the red meat industry.

A Meat Industry Excellence Group meeting in Gore last month attracted about 1000 farmers wanting changes to the meat industry and many supported reordering the country’s meat companies into one co-operative controlling a majority of product.

The Southland Times reported Silver Fern Farms did not support the idea because it felt it did not necessarily reflect the best interests of its shareholders. . .

Sealord’s results marred by Argentinian impairment as other units prosper – Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Sealord, New Zealand’s second-largest fishing company, reported a full-year profit that was dented by a charge against its Argentinian business, where a soaring peso and rampant inflation are driving up costs.

Profit was $5.2 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, from $13.4 million in the corresponding 15 month period, according to the Nelson-based company’s annual report. Sealord’s holding company, Kura, changed its balance sheet in the interim. Sales were $487 million in the latest year.

Sealord, which is jointly owned by Maori tribal interests through Aotearoa Fisheries and Japan’s Nippon Suisan Kaisha, took a $10 million charge against its Yuken business in Argentina in 2012, notes to its accounts show. That business also had an operating loss of $7 million in the period, so effectively $17 million was shaved off Sealord’s results in the latest period. . .

Seize the day – Valerie Davies:

Today was not one of those days, but One of Those Days.  Yesterday, as I watched the tiny, greenery- yallery birds we call silver- eyes in the trees, hunting for insects and the like, I thought how I hadn’t seen the cock pheasant for months. He must have found another home, I thought.

When I awoke this morning I jumped out of bed and looked out of the open window to the sea as usual. There, right below my window, was the pheasant, in the garden bed with the bromeliads. He slowly pecked and ambled his way down through the vegetable beds to the petanque court, and then sauntereded off down the path into the wild patch. A moment earlier or later, and I would have missed him. Do I believe in coincidences, or did the pheasant pick up my wave-length? . . . (you’ll have to click the link above to get to the rural theme and a good read).

Sheep etiquette in New Zealand:

Follow the journey of Luca an Italian tourist exploring Lake Tekapo. In this beautiful alpine village in the heart of the South Island, Luca enjoys the stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and the hospitality of the locals. What he wasn’t prepared for was the uninvited but special friendship he would establish with Lulu…….. confirming for Luca, South Canterbury is a great place to make friends! . . .

And from Facebook:

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Rural round-up

April 2, 2013

‘Inspiring’ kiwi landscape in the blood decades on

Life is still a laugh for 88-year-old environmentalist Gordon Stephenson.

While he was “gobsmacked” to learn that Waikato University wanted to bestow its highest honour on his shoulders, he isn’t above making light of it.

“What do I do in public when somebody says is there a doctor in the house, please?”

“Yes,” he says with a laugh, “that is worrying me.”

But on that score there’s still time up his sleeve – April 16 is the day Mr Stephenson will receive his honorary doctorate at Claudelands Events Centre for his lengthy and ongoing contribution to the environment. . .

Dyed in the wool innovation partners to go global – Peter Kerr:

The time it takes to convert a good idea into something that another person’s willing to buy is almost invariably longer than you think.

A couple of years ago, sticK reported on BGI Developments’ winning the right to commercialise AgResearch’s new textile fabric dyeing process.

The beauty of this process is different dye colours don’t bleed into each other – the picture or pattern remains sharp and embedded in the fabric (unlike say printing on top of a T-shirt for example).

BGI (stands for Bloody Good Ideas) directors Robyn George-Neich and Brent Gregory have spent part of the past two years looking for the right company to take the technology to the global market. . .

Time to shore-up water supplies for the future – Terri Russell:

Southland river levels are the lowest they have been for years. Environment Southland has stopped some farmers from irrigating. No significant rain is in sight. Terri Russell talks to industry experts to find out what is being done to help future-proof the agricultural industry in times of a changing climate.

From flooding in January to a prolonged dry period, the Southland Federated Farmers boss says it is time to look at water storage options for the future.

MetService duty forecaster Ian Gall said parts of Southland were forecast to receive about 10mm to 15mm of rain yesterday but there would be no more significant rain before the end of the week. . .

Orchard optimism follows tough times – Peter Watson:

Turners & Growers has had to make big writedowns in the value of its Nelson orchards for the second consecutive year, but chief executive Geoff Hipkins hopes they are at an end, with market prospects looking brighter.

Bruised by $29 million in asset writedowns, the fruit and vegetables marketer posted a full-year loss of $15.3m for 2012.

The loss, although deep, was an improvement on the previous year’s $18.9m deficit, also a result of asset writedowns, and better than the $16m to $19m loss it forecast in December. . .

Ballance Farm Award finalists chosen – Sally Rae:

The finalists have been selected for the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

There were 10 entries in the awards, which were judged by Matt Harcombe, Andrea Ludemann, Bernard Lynch and John Barkla.

The winners will be announced at an awards dinner to be held at The Venue in Wanaka on Friday, April 12. . .

Venison gets exposure:

The deer industry has just hosted four young German chefs and eight German journalists to New Zealand, to learn more about farmed venison here.

Manager for Deer Industry New Zealand, Innes Moffat, said the aim was to enthuse them about farm-raised venison and develop relationships with these influential people within German cuisine.

“Some of the feedback from both the young chefs and journalists reveals that there is an ongoing need to improve the level of understanding of how NZ venison is grown and how it can be prepared.” . .

Technology important part of farming – Terri Russell:

New Zealand dairy farmer co- operative LIC delivered its farmer workshops in Southland and Otago. 

Last week sessions were held in Gore, Invercargill and Balclutha as part of a series of workshops throughout the country. It provided dairy farmers with the knowledge to plan and record drying- off of cows and and the culling of cows.

There were two sessions on how to enter and access data in MINDApro, a herd management software program, and a more advanced session on how to produce more tailored reports using the program. . .

Agland goes to market:

A $150 million-plus portfolio of Australian agricultural land, including the remaining PrimeAg Australia assets, is being offered to institutional investors just as they start to show greater enthusiasm for the alternative asset class.

Last week the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s largest pension funds, said it planned to start buying Australian farmland.

That follows two Swedish pension funds known as ­AP-fonden, the Michigan Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, US-based fund manager TIAA CREF and the Qatar Investment Authority buying Australian ­agricultural land in the past 12 to 18 months. . .


Rural round-up

February 21, 2013

Fish war on canals :

”Greedy” salmon anglers threatening to turn a salmon bonanza in the Waitaki hydro canals into a free-for-all are being accused of ignoring catch limits and using illegal methods to catch easy prey.

Following the release of 36,000 salmon smolt from the Mt Cook Alpine Salmon hatchery at Ohau 18 months ago, anglers have reported being able to hook a fish on every cast at some spots on the Tekapo and Ohau canals.

However, Central South Island Fish and Game field officer Graeme Hughes said the easy fishing had resulted in more people fishing illegally and ignoring the two-salmon quota. .  .

Tarras scheme reprieve – Rebecca Fox:

Potential irrigator Tarras Water Ltd has had a reprieve, but it has come with a stern warning from the Otago Regional Council.

The council voted 7-3 to overturn its own hearing panel’s recommendation not to amend the long-term plan to allow for investment in the irrigation scheme at a meeting in Dunedin yesterday. Instead, the ORC is proposing the amendment go ahead.

As the decision gives the council the option to invest in the scheme, a meeting will be held, possibly as early as next month, when councillors will make the decision whether to invest – with conditions attached – or not. . .

Cautious steps in goat milk expansion:

An Australasian goat milk company, CapriLac, is looking to expand “in a cautious way” in the Waikato.

Co-owner Rupert Soar said the family-owned company was advertising for goat farmers who were interested in selling their goat milk or leasing their operations to the company.

The company had received “quite a bit of interest”, and was following up leads, Soar said.

Farmers did not need to buy shares to get involved, as the company was not a co-operative. . .

Mining rights unlikely to affect farm sales – Terri Russell:

Solid Energy’s decision to sell farmland and keep mineral rights for mining would not turn away potential buyers, a Southland rural agent says.

About 1000 hectares of farmland near Mataura have been put on the market, and the mining giant plans to retain rights to lignite resources under the surface for about 30 years.

Last year, the company reviewed its land holdings after a drop in coal prices and a $40m loss for the year ending June 2012.

Southern Wide Real Estate director Philip Ryan said potential buyers would not be put-off if it were reserved for mining because about half of Southland had mineral rights. . .

A finalist but best still home – Gerald Piddock:

Doug and Jeannie Brown have made the final of the 2013 Glammies.

The North Otago farmers made the cut in the best of breed – traditional for one of his romney lambs grown on his farm at Maheno.

It was the third time they had entered the Golden Lamb Awards and the first time they have made the finals. This year four sheep were entered into the competition.

Their entry was one of 20 finalists which made the cut out of 180 entries from around the country. . . .

 

 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

February 19, 2013

Better Lake Rotorua = Farmers + Community + Councils:

A “third way” to better water quality is the promise of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective signed between Federated Farmers, Te Arawa and councils.
“The positive reaction has been pretty amazing,” says Neil Heather, Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo provincial president.

“This is the application of a Land and Water Partnership type approach at a local level.

“Despite one academic taking a pot shot, most Kiwis will see farmers and landowners working hard with regulators to improve what is our lake too. . .

A telling quote about co-ops – Milking on the Moove:

“There seemed little room for entrepreneurial creativity; virtually every decision was politicized.  The most politically active members controlled the co-op with the own personal agendas, and much more energy was focused on deciding which companies to boycott than on how to improve the quality of products and services for customers.  I thought I could create a better store than any of the co-ops I belonged to, and decided to become an entrepreneur to prove it.”

This  quote is from Whole Foods CEO John Mckey. The quote is from his recent book Conscious Capitalism and Forbes has run an article about John and his book, which I found interesting.

John was a hippy in the 60s and 70s and was involved in a commune and various food co-ops.

It appears he became disillusioned with the co-ops and started his own natural food store which grew to be the now famous Whole Foods Market. . .

Failure a huge spur as record-breaking shearer faces biggest challenge

Tackling the biggest job of your life might not be the best time to talk about failures.

But that’s not the way for Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia who on Tuesday tackles possibly the greatest shearing record of them all, hoping to shear more than 721 strongwool ewes in nine hours in a remote a King Country woolshed.

The record has not been tried by any other shearer in the six years since it was set by Southern Hawke’s Bay shearing ironman Rodney Sutton.

Tuesday’s bid will be a at Te Hape B, east of Benneydale on SH30 between Te Kuiti and Taupo, and will start at 5am and end at 5pm, including meal and smoko breaks). . .

Gang of four rips through record – Terri Russell:

A lively crowd of about 800 people cheered as four shearers, two from Southland, set a world shearing record near Mossburn yesterday.

Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, Ohai’s Eru Weeds – who battled on despite being injured – and North Island shearers John Kirkpatrick and James Mack, shore 2556 sheep in eight hours.

The gang set the record in the previously unattempted Heiniger four-stand crossbred lamb eight-hour event. They shore the sheep in four two-hour runs.

The final countdown was heated, as the crowd screamed and shearers sweated it out. Some members of the crowd also performed a surprise haka to the shearers when they finished shearing. . . .

‘Wiggy’ working to better his skills – Sally Rae:

Meet Wiggy from Wales.

Paul ”Wiggy” Davies has been in North Otago working for shearing contractor Owen Rowland, having met Mr Rowland when he was over shearing in Wales.

Mr Davies (27), who had been shearing with former Oamaru man Grant Rowland, now living in Wales, wanted to improve his shearing. . .

Downright ‘grumpy’ over schedule – Rob Tipa:

NEW Zealand meat companies really should listen to their suppliers, because there are some very frustrated, disillusioned and downright grumpy sheep farmers out there.

And with good reason. Those who have withstood the financial pressures experienced by the meat industry in recent years are survivors who deserve a medal for their enduring loyalty to their respective meat processors.

They have listened patiently to promises of greater co-operation between meat companies in one meat industry review after another going back decades.

When the tide turned on low sheepmeat prices in the last couple of seasons, farmers were rewarded for their loyalty with record returns of an average $117 a head for lambs in 2010/11 and $113 a head in 2011/12. . .

Rabobank strengthens NZ research division – new animal proteins analyst appointed:

Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory division has announced the appointment of its new animal proteins analyst for New Zealand, Matt Costello.

Rabobank’s head of Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory Luke Chandler said Mr Costello – who has strong experience as a researcher in the meat industry – was an excellent addition to the bank’s New Zealand food and agribusiness research team, joining senior analyst Hayley Moynihan, who specialises in the dairy sector.

“We’re pleased to welcome Matt into our team here at Rabobank and I am confident his strong background in the animal proteins sector will be a great asset to help further support our clients in this industry in New Zealand,” Mr Chandler said. . .


Rural round-up

February 16, 2013

OSPRI New Zealand seeking to add value to primary sector:

The name of the new organisation being formed through the merger of the Animal Health Board (AHB) and NAIT has been announced.

Chairman of the board, Jeff Grant, told a Stakeholders’ Council meeting today that in line with its intention to provide operational solutions for New Zealand’s primary industries, the organisation would be called OSPRI New Zealand.

“I would like to think that in five years’ time we will have gained recognition for having one of the best biosecurity and pest management strategies anywhere in the world,” said Mr Grant after the meeting. . .

Purchase of unique North Otago reserve announced:

Critically endangered plants and a rare limestone ecosystem have been protected through the purchase of a 20 hectare reserve at Gards Road, near Duntroon in the Waitaki Valley, Minister of Conservation Dr Nick Smith announced today.

The purchase of the new scenic reserve, from David and Lorraine Parker’s farm, was completed through the Nature Heritage Fund and is the first of its kind in the region.

“In the past we have seen a greater focus on protecting the high country in this area through processes such as tenure review, so it is a credit to the Parkers that we have now secured the protection of this threatened lowland habitat,” Dr Smith says. . .

Improvement in Bay dairy farm compliance:

Bay of Plenty farmers are doing better in complying with Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s dairy farm effluent requirements – but they could improve.

This week’s Regional Council Operations, Monitoring and Regulation Committee meeting heard that 74 percent of the 297 farms visited during the dairy season were fully complying with their consent conditions, an improvement on last season’s 67 percent. Significant non-compliance, where effluent is overflowing to land where it could, or did, flow into a water course, dropped from 14 to 11 percent.

Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said the number of significant non-complying farms was the lowest since the 2008-2009 season. . .

Crowds turn out for Southern Shears – Terri Russell:

About 100 people have braved Gore’s wet weather this morning to catch the start of the 2013 Southern Shears.

The event kicked-off at 9am with the open wooldhandling competitions. There are junior, senior and open heats, semi-finals and finals, as well as a North v South challenge.

Southern Shears chairman Chas Tohiariki said it was good to see such strong numbers in the lower grades, with fifteen entries in the junior heats.

Woolhandlers were judged on their workmanship on the board, sorting and quality of fleece, throws, tidiness and times, Mr Tohiariki said. . .

More products in UK store tainted by horse meat:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s British supermarket arm, Asda, said on Thursday it had discovered horse DNA in its beef bolognese sauce and was withdrawing that product and three others from its stores.”We have a preliminary test result that suggests the presence of horse DNA in our 500g Beef Bolognese sauce. As you’d expect, we have withdrawn this product from our shelves,”

Asda spokeswoman Jo Newbould said. Asda has about 550 shops across the UK.”We are taking a belt-and-braces approach so in addition, as a precaution, we’re also withdrawing three other beef-based products produced by the same supplier,” she said.The three other products are beef broth soup, meat feast pasta sauce and chilli con carne soup. Asda said it does not have positive test results for horse DNA in those products. It said the products were made at the Irish food group Greencore’s plant in Bristol. . .

Goats Chuffed, Not Gruff:

An agreement among various producer representatives to have equal representation on the Federated Farmers Goats Industry Group means the industry can look forward to a brighter future, says John Woodward, Mohair New Zealand (Inc.) chairman.

“Goat meat is the world’s most consumed meat and, with fewer calories, fat and cholesterol than chicken, is a very healthy option, but at present the New Zealand goat industries remain under rated and under utilised,” Woodward says.

“We expect that as a result of changes made at the Federated Farmers goats industry group conference held at Pukekohe earlier this week, this will start to change. . .


Rural round-up

January 6, 2013

An inspiring start to farming life – Diane Bishop:

The Otago Southland farmer names Tangaroa Walker as its 2012 newsmaker of the year.

The world is Tangaroa Walker’s oyster.

Since winning the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee-Cadet of the Year Award in June last year, he has taken up a lower order sharemilking position on the farm he previously managed at Rimu, near Invercargill.

“I’m really loving it,” Tangaroa said. . .

Beekeepers eschew kiwifruit orchards as Psa sprays create ‘hazard’ – Jonathan Underhill:

Some beekeepers have pulled their hives out of kiwifruit orchards, concerned that sprays used to control the Psa vine-wilting bacteria are the latest hazard for an under-siege bee population.

“More than one beekeeper has withdrawn their hives,” said John Hartnell, honey exporter and bees spokesman at Federated Farmers. He wouldn’t put his own hives on a kiwifruit orchard, saying “that would destroy my business overnight.” . . .

Varroa spread takes heavy toll – Tim Cronshaw:

Some South Island beekeepers with hives freshly exposed to varroa mites have lost up to 25 per cent of their bees.

They have been forced to replenish their hives with new bees by putting in a man- grafted queen cell in the top box of a non-infected colony and shifting it across to restore a full population.

Varroa has continued its run to as far south as Invercargill now, with the few remaining pockets in the South Island expected to be infected by autumn. . .

Pasture for dairy cows under trial – Terri Russell:

A Southland agricultural research centre is participating in its first trial of grass that will be grazed by dairy cows instead of sheep, a likely result of the shift to dairying in Southland, the centre manager says.

Woodlands Research Station is one of four sites throughout New Zealand hosting the trial, run by DairyNZ and AgResearch, to measure the growth of different pasture varieties.

The centre is monitoring eight varieties of grass over five years and across 20 paddocks. . .

Outlook cloudy for 2013 – Allan Barber:

As we head into the New Year, the Christmas break has provided an opportunity to consider how the meat industry is likely to pan out during 2013. But literally as I write this speculative opinion piece, the fate of the American economy is still uncertain – although the Senate approved a restructured deal on taxes and expenditure yesterday, Republican dominated Congress has yet again balked at reaching an acceptable conclusion.

By the time you read this, the situation will no doubt have changed again for the better or the worse, but it isn’t easy to predict which. . .

Ministry needs recreational quad bike focus:

Farmers are taking quad bike safety seriously, but the latest incident in the Hawke’s Bay, again highlights this message is not getting through to recreational users.

“Recreational users, quad bikes and alcohol are a cocktail for disaster,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers spokesperson for health and safety.

“While many farmers are heeding the safety message, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment need to find a better way to convey safety when it comes to recreational users. . .


Rural round-up

October 30, 2012

Tasty lambs’ tails may soon be off the barbecue menu – Jon Morgan:

FIRST, there’s the acrid smell of burning wool, closely followed by a frenzied crackling as the lanolin sizzles. But then comes the mouth-watering aroma of roasting meat.

Barbecued lambs’ tails are a delicacy savoured by many farmers at this time of year as tailing, or docking, gets under way.

It’s a time of short-lived pain for the lambs but is necessary to prevent greater pain later. The long dangling tail can become encrusted with faeces and attract blowflies. Their maggots feed on the lamb’s flesh, causing great pain and distress.

There’s an art to docking.

Many farms have modern equipment that clamps the lamb and presents it breech-forward to the man or woman wielding a hot iron. With a swift flourish, the tail is severed and the lamb is set free to run bleating to its mother.

Rubber rings can also be used. They cut off the blood supply so the tail drops off in seven to 10 days.

Enough of the tail must be left to protect the genitals and so it can still wag. That’s not so farmers will know if it is happy or not, but so the lamb can spray its faeces away from its body. . .

Tails could prove winner – Terri Russell:

A Southland sheep farmer started docking his lambs this month as part of new research that looks at the effect of docking tails at different lengths.

The three-year docking trial is the first of its kind documented worldwide and was launched by Alliance Group last month when lamb tagging started.

Tail docking is common practice in New Zealand to try to reduce dag formation and the risk of fly strike.

Alliance Group livestock general manager Murray Behrent said the research would help shed light on claims that docking tails too short was an animal welfare issue, and that longer tails improved the growth rate of lambs. . .

Pressure on meat,wool farmers to improve outputs – Tim Cronshaw:

Farmers will put their energies into improving meat and wool production as markets meet a strong headwind from the debt crisis in Europe.

The European recession and unfavourable currency exchange rates would lead to weaker sale prices for lamb and wool in the 2012-13 season, said Beef + Lamb New Zealand economic service executive director Rob Davison.

The forecast for average lamb price at $94 was down on the likely $113 for the 2011-12 season just completed. . .

Dairy chairman urges more focus on image – Neil Ratley:

Southland dairy farmers were congratulated for a job well done but also asked to continue working to improve the industry’s public image at the DairyNZ annual general meeting in Wallacetown.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the dairy industry pumped millions of dollars into the regional economy.

“The average annual revenue from milk production is more than $1.2 million per farm,” he said. “At least half of that money is being spent on farm working expenses and circulating through the local economy.”

Dairy NZ chairman John Luxton said the New Zealand and Southland dairy industry had shown considerable growth and resilience to factors impacting other industries. . .

The way you’d farm if you farmed yourself – Pasture Harmonies:

Think for a moment that you’re a Western consumer contemplating buying some animal protein for dinner that night.

Faced with an array of red and white meat choices, you have a tiny thought in the back of your mind about how the animal that produced that steak or mince or breast grew up.

(Ignoring anthropomorphism) mostly, you’re going to be aware that its life was pretty confined and squashed, and bears very little resemblance to how it would’ve existed in a ‘natural’ world.

However, you’ve got to eat, and pretty much you have Hobson’s choice when it comes to the production source of the meat. . .

New Leadership for Grape and Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, announced today the election of Steve Green as Chair and John Clarke as Deputy Chair.

Mr Green is proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery; he succeeds Stuart Smith of Marlborough who has stepped down after six years in the role. Mr Green has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994. He has previously served as Chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005, serving for the last three years as Deputy Chair.

Mr Clarke is a Gisborne grapegrower with over 30 years experience in the grape and wine industry. Mr Clarke, who is a former Gisborne Mayor, has previously served for ten years as the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. . .

More calculators to make the most of nitrogen:

A broader range of online calculators developed to assist farmers to gauge the possible benefits of using urea treated with a urease inhibitor are now available

Summer is just around the corner which in New Zealand typically means drier weather conditions making it difficult to assess the best time to apply nitrogen fertiliser.

Urea treated with the urease inhibitor AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabiliser addresses ammonia volatilisation and offers farmers more flexibility to apply nitrogen when it’s needed most or when it suits them better even if the weather or soil conditions are not optimal. . .

World’s first compostable fruit label for Zespri Kiwifruit:

Zespri will introduce the world’s first and only fully compostable fruit labels on all Zespri® Organic Kiwifruit next season.

Zespri’s Global Marketing Manager – Organic, Glen Arrowsmith, explains this initiative is part of Zespri’s leadership role and ongoing commitment to improving the environmental credentials of its products.

“Our international customers – retailers, wholesalers, consumers, governments – are increasingly interested in the sustainability of products arriving in their markets and we’ve invested in research and development to continue to lead the market in this area.” . . .


Rural round-up

October 21, 2012
Landcorp pursues dairy growth:
 
Landcorp Farming expects substantial further growth in last year’s record dairy production, through the joint venture with Shanghai Pengxin of China and enlargement of established dairy complexes including Wairakei Estate in the central North Island.

Subject to the outcome of legal proceedings in the Supreme Court, Landcorp and Shanghai Pengxin intend forming a joint venture company, Milk New Zealand Farm Management Ltd, to operate the farms and explore other opportunities for growth in dairy production in this country. . .

BNZ Appointment Reflects Growing Importance of Irrigation Projects:
 

Guy Ensor is on a mission to support some of the most critical infrastructure developments New Zealand will see this decade. He has been appointed BNZ’s first national manager, water and irrigation. The position has been established in recognition of the growing significance of the national freshwater resource.“Our long-standing relationship with the agricultural sector has made us acutely aware that the sustainable management of New Zealand’s freshwater resource is absolutely critical to New Zealand’s future,” says head of agribusiness, Richard Bowman.

“All New Zealanders have a common interest in ensuring the country’s freshwater lakes, rivers, aquifers and wetlands are managed wisely. Guy’s specific combination of experience will ensure BNZ contributes to that,” he says. . .

 
Research unit going 50 years: Annette Scott:
The Lincoln University-based Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (AERU) was established in 1962. Its key objective was to better integrate research in respect to the place of agriculture in New Zealand. The core mission of the AERU is to exercise leadership in research for sustainable well-being with researchers working together to produce and deliver new knowledge.AERU operates as a semi-autonomous research centre at Lincoln University providing research expertise to a wide range of organisations in the public and private sectors.

Research is focused on economic, resource, environmental and social issues with the unit also co-ordinating some of the external research undertaken by academic staff from other Lincoln University faculties. . .

 
A country a day for Peterson:
 
BLNZ CHAIRMAN Mike Petersen is in Europe this week on a whistle-stop visit to farming leaders in seven countries in just eight days.

It’s an annual event, meeting officials from the European Commission in Brussels, and farming leaders in Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France and Germany.

“Europe is such an important market for sheepmeat and increasingly for beef. I will meet EU officials to talk about our expectations of the sheepmeat quota. It’s no secret we’ll be well under with quota – about the 80% mark – well below where were three years ago when we were 98%,” he says.

 
Woman survives ramming by 650kg steer: Caroline King:
 
A woman repeatedly rammed by a 650-kilogram steer walked away from the attack with no broken bones after the heroic actions of her boss.Tania Kiely was tagging steers at a farm at Decanter Bay, Banks Peninsula, about 12.30pm on Monday when the steer attacked.

Kiely, 40, was only a couple of metres away from the animal when it charged.

“I was pushing them up into the race at the time.

“I remember it looking at me,” she said.

“It put its head down and ran at me. . .

 

The social impacts on snow on farmers – Terri Russell:

Making new friends is one way Southland farmers can cope with the stress of snowstorms, new research says.

Farmers were hit hard during the September 2010 snowstorm when about one million lambs died in the south and milk production was disrupted.

A research team from the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University have looked at ways that Southland farmers can better prepare for a similar event.

Lead researcher Zachary Whitman said findings so far showed a significant social impact on farmers. . .


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