Rural round-up


Promising results from biodiversity stocktake of North Canterbury irrigation scheme – Emma Dangerfield:

Freshwater mussels have been found during a stocktake of land and waterways within the Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL) scheme. 

More than 200 sites of biodiversity interest were discovered, and CEO Brent Walton said the stocktake had provided WIL with an overview of sites which could be further developed to enhance Waimakariri’s biodiversity values.

“WIL shareholders are committed to improving the environment and this process has provided us with some key areas of potential for further development.” . .

Rogue cattle and local officials create biosecurity risk:

A ho-hum attitude to wandering stock in Northland highlights continuing ignorance around biosecurity, says Federated Farmers Northland provincial president John Blackwell.

This week in Northland local council officers found wandering cows and placed them in a nearby paddock without telling the farmer who owned the property, John says.

The farmer found his own heifers the next day socialising with the lost stock. . .

Sustainable Whanganui celebrates 10 years with talk by farmer and conservationist Dan Steele

Floods, river rescues, evacuations by helicopter and honey extraction are all part of the working life of Blue Duck Station owner and manager Dan Steele.

He’s the guest speaker as Sustainable Whanganui Trust celebrates its 10th anniversary on October 14. The talk is open to the public and starts at 2pm in the Harakeke/Education Room at the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre in Maria Pl, next door to the Fire Station.

Blue Duck Station had two major events in close succession this year. In February 14 young whio (rare and endangered blue ducks) were released there . .

New resource launched to help measure farm abusiness performance:

A new resource designed to help farmers measure their farm business performance has been launched by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) booklet includes detailed descriptions of 16 core KPIs, some example calculations and resources for farmers who are considering how improvements can be made to their farm business.

The KPIs, which were developed in conjunction with a group of industry professionals and farmers, include lambing percentage, ewe flock efficiency, calving percentage, fawn weaning percentage, gross farm revenue per effective hectare and live weight gain. . .

NZ merino prices jump as Australian drought dents supply of luxury fibre – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand merino wool prices are being pushed up as drought in Australia prompt farmers across the Tasman to cull stock, reducing the amount of the fine premium wool available for sale.

Eighteen-micron Merino wool, considered a benchmark for the fibre, sold at $28.90/kg at this week’s South Island auction. That was up from $22.40/kg at the same time last year and the five-year average of $16.70/kg for this time of year, according to AgriHQ. . .

Wool surfboard is ‘a drop in the ocean’ of potential composite product uses – Terry Sim:

WOOL will replace fibreglass in revolutionary surfboards to hit the Australian market next year. The boards will be released in Australia in February next year under the Firewire Surfboards brand ‘Woolight’. . .

Rural round-up


 Manuka honey dressings to be used against some ‘super bugs’

Approval from European health authorities is expected shortly for a medical manuka honey-based wound-care dressings said to be capable of fighting antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Laboratory studies by Professor Rose Cooper and colleagues at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, show medical-grade manuka honey interacts with three bacteria that commonly infect wounds, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). . .

Centuries of tradition at the Pushkar Camel Fair – Allan Barber writes:

I have just spent three weeks inIndiawith two days at Pushkar in Rajasthan during the annual Camel Fair. The fair coincides with the full moon and attracts around 25000 animals (17000 camels, 5000 cattle, 2000 horses and assorted buffaloes, goats and donkeys) for trading in two enormous ‘paddocks’ in the sand on the edge of the desert. Total turnover is up to Rupees 100 million ($3.5 million) measured at road checks on the way in and out of town. . .

Leadership award for North Otago sharemilker – Sally Rae writes:

A strong involvement in Young Farmers, which included helping to raise $70,000 for the Christchurch earthquake appeal, has paid off for lower order sharemilker and equity partner Greig Moore.

Mr Moore (26) received the Federated Farmers of New Zealand leadership award at the Canterbury North Otago Dairy Industry Awards. . .

New Hope from small start to giant now – Richard Rennie in NZ Farmers Weekly:

New Hope Group, the company seeking to partner with Agria on the PGG Wrightson deal claims at its roots a founder who started his fortune raising quails’ eggs.

In the 1980s New Hope Group founder Liu Yonghao and his three brothers started raising chickens and quails’ eggs while China opened up to economic reform.

The company is today claimed to have $NZ700 million in assets and sales of over NZ$1.4 billion a year in the food and agribusiness sector. . .

Maori dairy factory eyes Asian markets –  from Rural News:

 NEW milk plant for a Maori-owned farming operation is on track for opening August 1. It will make whole milkpowder (WMP) for Vietnam and other Asian countries.

The plant owner Miraka is 80% owned by Maori and 20% by Vietnam’s largest dairy company Vinamilk.
Miraka chairman Kingi Smiler says the plant, west of Taupo, is on budget and two weeks ahead of schedule. . .

The ups and downs of coping with drought – Jon Morgan writes:

Farming has been a rollercoaster ride for Tom and Anna Clouston since they took over Tangmere, the family property at Flemington, near Waipukurau, in the middle of the 2007 drought.

Like all farms, they depend on late summer and autumn rains to grow enough grass to get them through till spring.

It is a feed bank farmers draw on through winter to keep their capital stock well fed and healthy so they can deliver the lambs and calves that are their main income source.

But for the Cloustons, and many other farmers throughout New Zealand, over the past few years the rains have been erratic – turning up one year, not the next. . .

Pork Industry pays the price –  by  Jon Morgan:

The pork industry has been going through a turgid time in the last couple of years. Night raids on piggeries by animal welfare activists have been followed by new controls on farrowing conditions.

It is a double blow – to pig farmers’ public image and to their pockets when they have to pay for the remedy.

Now, they have to deal with a new threat. The easing of regulations threatens to open the way to disease-carrying imported pork.

Or so you would believe if you swallowed the line put out by the industry’s public relations firm.

It is a shame NZPork didn’t crank up its PR machine earlier, when it was under attack by the rabid forces of the anti-farming lobby, assisted by a gullible TV channel. Then, it had a much better case for eliciting public sympathies. . .

Opportunities for beekeeper – Sally Rae in the ODT:

Middlemarch beekeeper Blair Dale is used to dealing with the vagaries of the weather.

Following a “fantastic” spring – probably the best Mr Dale has seen for at least 15 years – he thought it was going to be a good summer.

But while the cool, wet weather was good for pasture growth and there was lots of feed for stock and bees, it was not good for “little flying insects” who needed warm weather to go and forage. . .

Couple increase kelpie profile in US – Terry Sim in Stock and Land:

MONTANA ranchers Bill and Janice Mytton are riding a rising tide of interest in the Kelpie in the United States, but shipping home a good Australian working dog is getting expensive.

When they brought their first kelpie off Tom Gilchrist, Casterton, seven years ago it cost $75 to get it home, now it takes $2000 to get your dog stateside.

“I really think that limits the agriculture sector,” Mr Mytton said.

The Myttons now have nine Kelpies on their cattle ranch at Absarokee in central Montana.

They muster cattle on horseback at up to 1500 metres above sea level in temperatures of up to 32 degree Celsius. . .

Why grassfed beef has problems in the US –  Rod Smith in Stock and Land:

DEMAND for “grass-fed beef” – beef from cattle exclusively grazed on pastures and ranges, often qualifying as natural or organic product – is rapidly increasing in the US, and now makes up three per cent of the US beef market, according to Kenneth H. Mathews Jr. and Rachel J. Johnson at the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

Consumers who prefer this kind of beef are willing to pay premium prices for it, and the market “survived the challenges of the last two years,” Mathews and Johnson noted in a special article of a recent ERS “Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook” report.

Historically, US beef production has been grass oriented, with cattle grazed on pasture and rangeland that’s not suitable for crops and other harvested forages, they said. . .


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