Two prominent plant science academics have called for the establishment of an expert panel of scientists to review claims made about regenerative agriculture.
In a letter to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Dr Derrick Moot, a professor of plant science at Lincoln University, and retired senior lecturer Dr Warwick Scott said they were concerned about the “mythology” of regenerative agriculture “and its worrying increased profile in the New Zealand media and farming sectors”.
New Zealand sheep and beef farmers had world-leading agricultural practices and the underpinning scientific principles of the country’s current agricultural systems were in danger of being devalued by a system they believed had several serious shortcomings, they said.
They were particularly concerned the “erroneous publicity” about regenerative agriculture would divert the limited New Zealand agricultural science resources from more important, substantive issues.
To define regenerative agriculture was difficult, the pair said. . .
Dairy industry needs skilled, willing workers, wherever they’re from – Esther Taunton:
“New Zealand’s dairy industry has a shortage of skilled and willing workers.”
It’s a simple sentence so why does such a large chunk of the non-dairy farming population seem to have a problem understanding the key words – “skilled” and “willing”?
When Stuff ran the story of two South Island farmers desperately trying to get their skilled migrant workers back across our closed borders before the start of calving, it took just minutes for the keyboard warriors to roll out the same tired accusations and arguments.
“Serves them right for choosing migrants over Kiwis!” they cried.
But they didn’t. Not without trying to find Kiwi workers first, anyway. Because even if they didn’t want to employ New Zealanders, farmers have a legal obligation to advertise for local staff before they’re able to start recruiting offshore. . .
2019/20 Financial Results Summary:
• Total Operating revenue: NZ$3.36 billion
• Total fruit sales revenue: NZ$3.14 billion
• Total New Zealand-grown fruit and service payments: $1.96 billion
• New Zealand and Non-New Zealand trays sold: 164.4 million trays
• Zespri’s net profit after tax NZ$200.8 million
• Expected Total Dividends: NZ$0.94
Almost NZ$2 billion was returned to New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry following Zespri’s 2019/20 season, helping support thousands of businesses, workers and regional communities around the country.
Zespri’s 2019/20 Financial Results show total fruit and service payments, which are returns direct to the New Zealand industry, increased by 8 percent year on year to NZ$1.96 billion. . .
While COVID-19 lockdown rules have now been eased, many New Zealand foodbanks remain under huge pressure as breadwinners lose their jobs and savings run dry.
To help keep up with this demand and to provide something a bit different from the regular food box items, a charity set up by farmers is connecting donated produce from farmers with processors and foodbanks.
‘Meat The Need’ was founded by South Island farmers Wayne Langford and Siobhan O’Malley. Since it started in mid-April, meat from more than 200 animals, including cattle, sheep and deer, has been donated to food banks around the South Island, enough for a staggering 90,000 meals for vulnerable families! . .
Expos aimed at creating win-win – Tracey Roxburgh:
A Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) initiative is hoping to create a win-win from the Covid-19 economic crisis.
The SIT is holding two Agricultural Redeployment Expos, one each in Queenstown and Te Anau, this week, hoping to attract people who may have lost jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector to retrain in the agricultural sector, which is facing a shortage of about 150 skilled machinery operators this year.
Annually, the agriculture sector has sought fill those roles with workers from the United Kingdom and Ireland, in particular, but given border closures this year due to the global pandemic, that will not be possible. . .
Native plants sequester carbon for longer – Marc Daalder:
A new study indicates native plants, despite their tendency to grow more slowly than exotic species like Pinus Radiata, are better at storing carbon in the soil for longer periods of time, Marc Daalder reports
Exotic plant species release 150 percent more carbon dioxide from the soil than native New Zealand plants, according to a new study from the Bio-Protection Research Centre published in Science.
The research is the latest development in an extended scientific debate over whether to prioritise planting native or exotic species to increase biodiversity and fight climate change.
While it doesn’t upset the longstanding scientific consensus that faster-growing plants sequester more carbon – and that exotic species planted outside their usual range will grow faster – the study does complicate the picture of the carbon cycle. . .
The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker’s statement that it is unacceptable for New Zealand exporters to continue facing an ‘unlevel playing field’ in the EU.
Details leaked ahead of the 8th round of EU-NZ FTA negotiations have revealed the EU is seeking to maintain an extreme level of market access restriction against New Zealand dairy exports. The leaked EU market access offer comes despite both parties having committed to ‘work towards a deep, comprehensive, and high-quality Free Trade Agreement’.
DCANZ Chairman, Malcolm Bailey, says the reported EU offer, comprised of miniscule quota volumes and high in-quota tariffs, could never credibly form part of a free trade agreement between the economies. . .