Rural round-up

05/06/2021

Canterbury flooding: Historic Grigg family farm wiped out by worst rain they’ve ever seen – Kurt Bayer:

Canterbury farmers bordering rivers have been devastated by the hundred-year flood, with lost animals, thousands of kilometres of smashed fencing, and green fields turned overnight into shingle. Surrey Hills Station farmer Arthur Grigg, whose access bridge, driveway and paddocks have been wiped out, says the Government needs to step up after the “extraordinary” event. Kurt Bayer reports.

From the picturesque plateau where he was married just weeks ago in the shadow of the century-old family homestead, Arthur Grigg surveys the damage.

“It’s a kick in the guts,” he says, shaking his head.

The place, Surrey Hills Station near Mt Somers, up until the weekend, had been looking good too. Grigg had been thinking about a mid-winter break, maybe a spot of fishing. . . 

Nothing – not even a hug – Tim GIlbertson:

Jacinda breezed in to town recently, with Damien in tow.

Following his triumphant decapitation of the live export trade, Damien was presumably looking for another prospering rural enterprise to put the taiaha into. But mother nature’s drought is successfully doing the job for him. So, he would have left disappointed.

The PM greeted local councillors and discussed the success of the mayoral task force for jobs, which has created 12 new positions. Loud applause. Then she visited a regenerative dairy farm.

What she did not do was look out the window of the ministerial BMW and say: “My God! You are having another massive drought leading to the massive long term economic and social damage to the entire region. We must act on water storage at once!” . .

Adopting a plant-based diet can help shrink a person’s carbon footprint, but a new study finds that improving the efficiency of livestock production will be an even more effective strategy for reducing global methane emissions.

The study looked at the intensity of methane emissions from livestock production around the world – in other words, how much methane is released for each kilogram of animal protein produced – and made projections for future emissions.

The authors found in the past two decades, advances in farming had made it possible to produce meat, eggs and milk with an increasingly smaller methane footprint.

Some countries, however, had not had access to the technology enabling these advances. . . 

Trophy win elates Trust boss -Peter Burke:

Tataiwhetu Trust chairman Paki Nikora is elated to have won this year’s Ahuwhenua trophy for the top Maori dairy farm. He never thought the trust would reach such heights in the agricultural sector.

Nikora says Maori tend to belittle themselves all the time. However, when push came to shove, the trust decided to give it a go and enter the competition. There were scenes of great excitement as Tataiwhetu, which runs an organic dairy farm in the Ruatoki Valley, south of Whakatane, was announced the winner and presented with the trophy by the Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

When Nikora was presented with the trophy there were scenes of great jubilation as whānau came on stage to join in the celebrations, which included waiata and a haka.

Tataiwhetu runs 432 Kiwi cross cows and carries 188 replacement stock on its two support blocks. They milk once-a-day with the herd producing 129,140 kgMS a year. . . 

Calf rearing workshops to run through-out New Zealand:

Practical workshops on successful calf rearing by Dairy Women’s Network and SealesWinslow are ensuring New Zealand farmers are entering the season confidently with the right tools and knowledge to raise healthy calves.

Calf rearing is a critical time for dairy farmers, with success determined by the quality and management of newborn calves from the time of birth through to 12 weeks of age.

Each of the workshops will focus on the best practice behind providing food and shelter for newborns, with SealesWinslow’s Nutrition and Quality Manager, Natalie Hughes, presenting on calf housing and pen design for optimal health and stimulation. 

“During the workshops we’ll explore the latest research and look at how we translate this into practical tips and advice to set you up for a successful calf season,” said Hughes. . .

Farm working to give back more than it takes – Curtis Baines:

A farm on the outskirts of Melbourne is making waves within its local community, and it’s all thanks to an initiative connecting producers with consumers.

Sunbury’s Lakey Farms produces pastured lamb, beef, goat, mutton and wine.

The farm works with the philosophy that it puts back more than it takes, through ethical treatment of livestock and regenerative farming.

Lakey Farms owner John Lakey believes in the ideology that animals – particularly livestock – deserve fair treatment and an abundance of roaming space. . . 


Rural round-up

27/02/2017

We will be sorry when we say Bye Bye birdie – Tim Gilbertson:

Slow motion catastrophe: Another massive Hawke’s Bay drought is looming.

Fifteen years ago climate scientists predicted that severe droughts would strike every five years rather than every 20 years. The boffins were close to the mark. The 2006/7 drought cost the East Coast $700 million in lost production and set the region back for years. That’s what droughts do. This one won’t be much different. That’s why we started to look at water storage and irrigation.

But since New Zealand is now 95 per cent urban and 30 per cent of us live in Auckland, there is little or no understanding of rural issues amongst the population at large. Last week on talkback radio, an Auckland DJ was lamenting the fact that he lost cellphone coverage when he went under motorway bridges and that Auckland didn’t have 4G.

“We live,” he said “in a Third World country.” He certainly lives in a different country from much of rural New Zealand where there is no cellphone coverage at all. . . 

Kiwi farmers take risks every day – it’s what they do – Simon Edwards:

Massey University professor Nicola Shadbolt says it always makes her laugh the number of well-meaning commentators who pronounce that we need to teach farmers how to manage risk.

“I think ‘have you any idea how much risk our farmers handle on a day-to-day basis’? It’s what they do, and they’ve done it well for many years.

“Ever since subsidies came off it’s been ‘you’re it. There’s no one to prop you up,” she says.

“There are always new tools to use, and new worries sitting on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean our farmers don’t have some of the innate characteristics to make it work. They do. Just see how quickly our farmers adapt to things.” . . 

Hill country water well worth it – Annette Scott:

A new report has revealed huge environmental and economic gains for hill country farmers investing in stock water reticulation.

The first such study, done by AgFirst agricultural economists Erica van Reenen and Phil Journeaux, quantified the benefits of installing onfarm stock water systems on hill country farms.

The study last year involved investment analysis of 11 hill country sheep and beef farms across New Zealand where farmers had invested in stock water systems.

“There had been anecdotal reports of how good stock water systems contributed to production but not a lot of evidence. . .

Poachers fined for shooting $5000 stag on Te Puke farm – Allison Hess:

Two men have been fined for shooting and killing a stag worth $5000 on private farmland in Te Puke, in a bid to deter others from poaching.

Shane Robert Williamson and Matthew Warren Miller were sentenced to pay $750 each plus court costs in Tauranga District Court yesterday by Judge David Cameron.

The Te Puke men pleaded guilty to theft of an animal, after shooting a stag on private property owned by farmer Murray Jensen on Te Matai Rd on April 10 last year.

Judge Cameron said the two friends left their vehicle near Mr Jensen’s farm on Sunday April 10, 2016 and made their way onto the farmland, where stag and hines run freely through a mix of dense bush, pine trees and open paddocks. . . 

Scholarship to bring Shaun’s farming dream closer – Esther Taunton:

Former Stratford High School head boy Shaun Rowe has been awarded an FMG agriculture scholarship for this year

Rowe, who grew up on a 10-hectare lifestyle farm near Stratford, will receive $5000 towards his tuition fees for each year of his agricultural science degree at Massey University.

It is the second agriculture scholarship Rowe has received in recent months, having been a recipient of a $5000 award from the Alexander and Gladys Shepherd Scholarships Trust in November.

The FMG scholarship recognised his academic, sporting and leadership achievements, as well as a passion for agriculture. . .

Farming with children – how to do it safely – FarmingMumsNZ:

Farming offers a unique environment and wonderful opportunities for children/adolescents to learn, grow, develop in and to learn the value of hard work and responsibilities. Traditionally we have seen farming as a ‘family affair’ with parents, children and grandchildren by the generations, learning and passing on the skills of our land.

With the changes to our now not so typical farming communities, we are seeing people from all sorts of backgrounds bring their skills into our agricultural industry, from city slickers to foreigners – looking for a better life or a new career. With this we often loose the common sense that comes with being raised on a farm, meaning more training in Health and Safety needs to become a priority. . . 

Farmer gets frank in job advert for stock man: ‘Can be a smoker – but won’t have the time’ – Tess Brenton:

Tired of phone-obsessed people, a Waimate farmer decided to employ a more direct approach for his next hire.

Initially, the community newspaper advertisement appeared straight forward, with a stockman and a labourer position available.

But then, contractor and farmer Geoff Wallace said he wanted to make it very clear the people he wanted and the people he did not. . .


Rural round-up

07/10/2016

NZ meat industry pioneer honoured:

New Zealand meat industry pioneer Sir Graeme Harrison has won this year’s Rabobank Leadership Award in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors.

Harrison, the founder and chairman of one of NZ’s largest exporters, Anzco Foods, was presented with the trans-Tasman award at the annual Rabobank Leadership Dinner in Sydney, Australia, last night.

It is the second year in a row a New Zealander has taken the honour with former Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden the recipient of the award last year.

Presenting the award, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group managing director Peter Knoblanche said Sir Graeme was a “true champion of agribusiness” who had made an enormous contribution not only as a NZ business leader, but also in the international meat industry trade”. . .

Farmers say river plan will kill businesses – Glenys Christian:

Many of the more than 150 farmers who gathered in Pukekohe last Monday believe the Waikato Regional Council’s Healthy Rivers Wai Ora plan will drive them out of business or severely limit what they can do on their properties.  

And Waikato University Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth told them if the plan came into force there would be a dearth of young people returning to the land.  

New Zealand enjoyed some of the best quality wild water in the world, backed up by a huge amount of environmental protection.  

She questioned comparisons made and said a lot of the research work used by the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora collaborative stakeholder group (CSG) was based on modelling without giving enough attention to the constraints and uncertainties involved, especially went it came to Overseer programme predictions. . . 

Farmers praise Northland plan – Hugh Stringleman:

Northland’s draft regional plan is pragmatic and headed in the right direction, Federated Farmers says.  

Federated Farmers Northland province found the overall thrust of Northland Regional Council policy-making was appropriate for dairy, sheep and beef cattle farmers.  

In particular, it responded to livestock exclusion rules, setback distance from waterways, farm wastewater storage, wetlands and catchment plans for improving water quality.  

It said Northland’s freshwater resources were in a reasonable state and over-allocation and nitrate loadings were not issues. . . 

A damn load of emotional effluent – Tim Gilbertson:

The Ruataniwha water storage scheme saga has gone far beyond soap opera territory: fantasy has long since replaced fact, the noisy quashing any sense.

Here are some examples. Serial anti-RWSS crusader Grenville Christie claims riparian planting stops only phosphate from entering the waterways (CHB Mail Sept 20). Incorrect. It stops virtually everything except nitrogen.

Filtering improves water quality, in some cases by up to 80% within a few months. Nitrogen enters the rivers via groundwater, so riparian planting is ineffective. But nitrogen will be severely limited by Plan Change 6, so Grenville can rest easy. . . 

Time to wake up and get safe! – Mark Daniel:

While quad fatalities keep fuelling a media frenzy, it’s time to look at the broader picture and try to understand what makes our farms such dangerous places.

Dangerous they are: statistics between 2013 and December 2015 show farmers suffered 63 deaths*; the next-highest sectors, transport and warehousing, had 17 and forestry 14 respectively during the same period.  

So the death rate on farms is around four times higher; why is that? If you’ve visited a quarry, warehouse or forest lately, you’ll know that before you get to the action you’ll be hit with rules, hazard identification, hi-vis vests, hard hats and steel-toe boots. Easy to do, you say, on a compact ring fenced site, but much harder to do in the backblocks of New Zealand. . . 

New challenge in milking goats –  Sudesh Kissun:

South Auckland farmer Hamish Noakes had no crystal ball four years ago when he pulled out of cow dairying and started milking goats.

The 40ha family-run farm at Karaka was “just too small and milking 160 cows just wasn’t working”.  

“I was always chasing my tail; I had a lot of leased blocks so I was always running around between leased blocks and running this farm,” Hamish told Rural News. . . 

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