Rural round-up

21/05/2014

Finding alternatives to dairy – Keith Woodford:

New Zealand dairy production has increased by 80% since Year 2000. This has come almost equally from both more dairy hectares and more production per hectare. However, the limits to pastoral dairying in New Zealand have largely been reached. Where do we go from here?

First, there is a need to recognise the two reasons why pastoral dairying has largely reached its limits.

The most important reason is that society is no longer willing to accept the effects of cow urine leaching from pastures into waterways and aquifers. Huge progress has been made in fencing off livestock from waterways, and in tree planting alongside the streams, but that does not solve the problem of the urine patch. This 2013/14 year is therefore the last year of large-scale conversion of sheep and beef farms to pastoral dairying. New environmental regulations have effectively closed that door. . . .

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are hoping for another record year.

“Last year we had entries from throughout the South Island, the quality of which were such that we were obliged to select six finalists instead of the usual four,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “This, plus the very successful winner’s field day at Yealands Wine Estate, generated a lot of interest.

Todhunter says that one of the attractions of the competition is that size really doesn’t matter and is not one of the criteria for judging.

“We’re looking for leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, which can be found equally in a small family-owned farm business as they can within a large commercial agricultural entity. . . .

Central South too wet to drill:

CROPPING FARMERS in Canterbury and North Otago face a soggy battle to get winter cereals sown after another belt of rain swept the region this week.

Paddocks had only just become passable after an unusually wet April and now some fear they will not get back on again until spring. Where crops have been sown agronomists say slugs are having a field day.

“Slug pellet use has gone through the roof,” Mid Canterbury agronomist Roger Lasham told Rural News.
“Where people have gone on with pellets before any damage has been done it’s not too bad but if they’re late they’ll never get those plants back.”  . . .

Fresh look for Fieldays partnership:

A mutual interest in contributing to – and growing – New Zealand’s agricultural sector is behind an enduring strategic partnership between two iconic regional organisations.

The University of Waikato is into its eighth year as a strategic partner of the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says it is an important partnership for both organisations.

“The University has a shared interest with Fieldays in the agricultural sector, from our research which we will be showcasing on our stand, to our students who undertake internships with many agricultural organisations and our graduates who are employed in the agricultural sector,” he says.

The University and the New Zealand National Fieldays Society signed their latest strategic partnership in March and Fieldays Chief Executive Jon Calder says the relationship has developed well over the years “to the point where we now have a true partnership”. . .

Deal to develop wine tourism:

New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand have signed a deal which will see them jointly promote the country as a destination for wine tourists.

They believe that more than a million visitors have toured the country’s vineyards and wineries over the last five years and the sector has tremendous opportunity for future growth.

Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the North American and Asian markets will be targetted in the promotion. . .

Giesen single vineyard first release wins international recognition:

Giesen Wines has won international plaudits with its first release of premium single vineyard wines from Marlborough.

Three different single vineyard selections have won gold at two prestigious UK competitions. The Brookby Rd Pinor Noir 2012 and Clayvin Pinot Noir 2012 were awarded gold in the coveted Decanter competition while Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2012 captured gold at the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

Theo Giesen, of Giesen Wines, says this is the first time its wines have been awarded gold at either of the UK competitions. . . .


Rural round-up

27/08/2013

Salmonella kills hundreds of sheep:

Hundreds of sheep in Otago and Southland have died following an outbreak of Salmonella.

The bacteria causes pregnant ewes to abort their foetuses and may cause the death of the ewe.

The strain is salmonella brandenburg and it can be transferred to humans.

Clutha Vets veterinarian John Smart says about 30 farms are affected in the Balclutha area and he knows of others further south. . .

Wine industry looks ‘back to the future’:

Only 40 years ago, the first grapevines selected for the modern New Zealand wine industry were planted in Marlborough. This week more than 550 grape growers, winemakers and industry leaders will converge in Blenheim to attend the annual wine industry conference.

The Romeo Bragato conference is named after one of the early pioneers of the industry. The conference will be held in Blenheim at the Marlborough Convention Centre from 28-30 August.

New Zealand Winegrowers General Manager Research Dr Simon Hooker says that after a few challenging years the wine industry has regained a sense of confidence thanks to successful ventures into new markets and a stellar 2013 vintage. . .

Delegat’s post 62% gain in annual profit as value of vineyards, grapes increase – Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – Delegat’s Group, the New Zealand winemaker which has been snapping up the distressed assets of rivals, posted a 62 percent gain in profit as it benefited from an increase in the value of its vineyards and grapes after a bigger grape harvest and higher prices.

Net income rose to $41.2 million in the year ended June 30 from $25.5 million the year earlier, Auckland-based Delegat’s said in a statement. The value of the company’s vineyards, grapes and financial derivatives rose $14.9 million, compared with a $100,000 writedown the year earlier. . .

Giesen increases focus on organics:

Giesen Wines is placing growing importance on its organic plantings, with 15% of its vineyards now converted or in transition.

The winery has has just released its second certified organic Sauvignon Blanc, Giesen Organic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012, following a highly successful launch last year.

Giesen Wines, privately owned by brothers Theo, Alex and Marcel Giesen, is one of New Zealand’s largest wineries. It owns 13 vineyards in Marlborough’s highly regarded Wairau Valley and this year celebrates the 30th vintage of its acclaimed Marlborough Sauvignon.

Marcel Giesen says the family is committed to environmentally sustainable wine production practice. . .


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