Rural round-up

September 1, 2019

Spring venison spike back – Annette Scott:

The return of the spring peak in venison prices is not expected to reach the unprecedented highs of last year.

Deer farmers are starting to see a return of the seasonal venison price increase that traditionally occurs each spring, Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Dan Coup says. 

It follows an unusual 2017-18 season when venison prices climbed steadily from January 2017 before peaking in October last year. 

The return of the spring peak doesn’t come as a surprise but Coup hopes the peaks and troughs in the seasonal price curve will be less marked than in the past.  . . 

Chasing the rainbow – Tim Fulton:

He can play it for laughs and he can play it serious. There’s a discerning side to social media star farmer Tangaroa Walker. Tim Fulton reports.

Media sensation Tangaroa Walker has X-factor in spades and he wants to use it to lift other farmers out of the mire.

Walker has a virtual arena for the job, his vividly upbeat and out-there Facebook page, Farm 4 Life.

He is a contract milker on a 550-cow farm at Invercargill.

The page is a funny but sometimes poignant look at the industry’s challenges. . .

Crown to net $5 million from Westland Milk sale – Eric Frykberg:

The profit made by the country’s largest farmer from the sale of its shares in Westland Milk Products, will disappear into government coffers via a special dividend.

Pāmu, or Landcorp, owns 10 farms supplying to Westland and is its second-largest shareholder.

Earlier this month Westland’s 350 farmer shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of selling Westland to China’s Yili dairy conglomerate at a rate of $3.41 per share.

This will net the Crown $5m from a sale that ministers always strongly opposed.

The payment of the dividend is being made despite the fact that overall, state-owned Pāmu suffered a big loss. . . 

Important to choose right crop for right animals on right land – Yvonne O’Hara:

Sediment traps, back fencing, portable water troughs and buffer zones are some of the key elements of good winter grazing practices that Wilden sheep and beef farmers Simon O’Meara, and Peter Adam, recommend.

By careful management, both farmers ensure their sheep and cattle are well fed and as sheltered and comfortable as possible during winter break feeding and adverse weather events.

At the same time, by using the same principles, they can also reduce nitrate and sediment loss and enhance water quality on their properties. . . 

Women in wool take on shearing challenge – Linda Hall:

THE ACRYLIC nails are gone, so has the nail polish, their high heels replaced with moccasins.

They don’t meet for coffee on a Saturday morning, instead this group of amazing women dressed in black head to a woolshed ready for some hard yakka.

Every Saturday since March this group of professional women have been training hard. They call themselves Women in Wool and their goal is to raise as much money as possible for Farmstrong — a nationwide rural wellbeing programme for farmers and growers to help them live well to farm well. . . 

Kea playground to be installed – Kerrie Waterworth:

Complaints of missing gloves, stolen food and shredded windscreen wipers at Treble Cone skifield could soon be a thing of the past when a new kea playground is installed.

The familiar mountain parrot has been a regular visitor to Wanaka’s closest skifield for many years, attracted primarily by the prospect of food scraps.

Treble Cone brand manager Richard Birkby said despite erecting signs and staff educating guests about the thieving habits of kea, the skifield still received regular complaints about kea knocking over mugs, flying off with trays of chips and destroying gloves.

Health and safety officer Jessica Griffin said the idea for the kea playground at Treble Cone skifield was prompted by the kea gyms in Nelson and at the Homer Tunnel and Manapouri power station at West Arm, established primarily to keep kea away from roads and damaging cars. . . 

 


Rural round-up

May 15, 2017

Invercargill dairy farmer wins Dairy Community Leadership award:

It was the call of the land that saw Katrina Thomas return to the farm after 21 years working in the tourism industry in New Zealand and abroad.

Thomas is this year’s Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) Dairy Community Leadership award winner, winning the title out of a group of three nominees which included dairy farmers Alison Ferris, from Te Kuiti, and Cathy Prendergast, from Arohena in Waikato. The awards ceremony was held tonight in Queenstown as part of a gala dinner during DWN’s annual conference.

The award recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women have in leading their communities and sharing their time and skills beyond the farm gate. . .

NZ tea grower wins top award  – Alexa Cook:

New Zealand’s sole commercial tea grower has won gold at the Global Tea Championships in the US.

The Zealong Tea Estate, near Hamilton, was started over 20 years ago with 130 seedlings. It is now a 1.2 million plant operation.

Zealong produces about 20 tonnes of organic loose and bagged green, oolong and black teas a year and exports 75 percent of it to London, France, China and the US. . .

Pukekohe grower wins best young vegetable grower:

Scott Wilcox from Pukekohe has emerged victorious against six other entrants to be named New Zealands Young Vegetable Grower of 2017.12 May 2017

Scott Wilcox from Pukekohe has emerged victorious against six other entrants to be named New Zealand’s Young Vegetable Grower of 2017. .

Winners thrive on a challenge – Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand’s 2017 Share Farmers of the Year, Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley, had a roller-coaster ride of emotions at the NZ Dairy Industry Awards national finals in Auckland, they told Hugh Stringleman.

Exhiliration was the best word used by Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley to describe their feelings after being named 2017 Share Farmers of the Year, at the third time of entering.

All the time and effort in preparing for the prestigious Dairy Industry Awards had earned national honours, considerable prize money and a big boost along the farm ownership path. . .

DAIRYLIVE: Stream Streamed Live From the Farm:

On Monday morning, Kiwis nationwide can spend some time on a working dairy farm courtesy of live camera streams featuring, amongst other things, paddocks, streams, vistas and of course, cows.

The video streams from four high-definition cameras will go live on DairyNZ’s website at 5am on Monday to coincide with the launch of a report on the work that dairy farmers have been doing to protect their waterways.

The Sustainable Dairying – Water Accord report is a three-year progress update on sector-wide efforts to protect water quality and the environment. It will be formally launched at an event at Te Papa in Wellington on Monday, 2pm. . . 

Weaker dollar moves wool up:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the slightly weaker New Zealand dollar compared to last weeks’ sale helped lift local prices.
Of the 6000 bales on offer, 78.0 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.35 percent week on week. . .

Extra Snow Guns Announced for Start of 2017 Season:

Treble Cone are proud to announce extra snowmaking facilities for the 2017 season, in addition to the new SMI snowmaking system recently commissioned on Upper East Rider. The new snow guns will be added to the fleet as an investment by TCRA (Treble Cone Racing Academy) to support the snowmaking production on all of Treble Cone’s accessible snowmaking terrain and for the training venues Big Skite and Sinclair’s runs.

Guenther Birgmann, Director of TCRA has provided an additional 6 fully automatic SUFAG Snow Guns, which are currently being shipped to New Zealand from America. These will be added to the 5 SuperPuma Snow guns and 9 new hydrants installed over the summer. Completing the snow making capabilities to service Easy Rider from the top of Home Basin all the way down to the base lodge, and providing security around snow cover on all main trails in the Home Basin. . . 

Queenstown’s Nomad Safaris offers more off-road tours than ever before:

Nomad Safaris, Queenstown’s oldest off-road tour company, has introduced two new activities to its adventure menu for 2017.

Established in 1988, Nomad Safaris specialises in small, personalised off-road tours and after substantial investment, now offers more adventures in and around the resort town than ever before.

The new 360° Queenstown tours showcase the region’s spectacular scenery in thrilling style. Visitors climb aboard a powerful, purpose-built UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) and are taken by an experienced and knowledgeable driver-guide onto an exclusively accessed high country sheep station, high above the resort town. . . 


Rural round-up

September 30, 2015

Deer, sheep and cattle spread the risk in uncertain times – Kate Taylor:

Diversification is one of the keys to success for Central Hawke’s Bay sheep, beef and deer farmer Matt von Dadelszen on Mangapurakau Station.

Combining breeding deer, velvet stags, bull beef, breeding ewes and finishing lambs gives the von Dadelszens a mix of stock classes on the property at any time of the year… and a buffer when prices drop in one sector.

“The way we’re set up it’s easier to react,” he says. “Changes can be made quickly for different markets. Every year is a good solid year thanks to the diversity of the farm. We’re not at the mercy of one market.”

Matt and Paula von Dadelszen farm in partnership with Matt’s parents Ponty and Jane on the 1000-hectare property in the Flemington farming district, south of Waipukurau. They are on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s southern boundary with Horizons Regional Council with two-thirds of the farm in Hawke’s Bay. It is a summer-safe farm with an altitude of 370 metres above sea level up to 620m and an annual rainfall of about 1250mm. . . .

Cold winds bring death to East Coast farms – Kate Taylor:

Hawke’s Bay farmers still in the middle of lambing are counting the costs of this week’s rain deluge.

More than 400mm of cold rain fell at Trelinnoe, the Te Pohue property farmed by former Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills and his brother Scott. They started lambing the day before the rain began.

“There is hardly a lamb surviving,” Bruce Wills said. “It’s not good … finding it hard to find a live lamb anywhere. It’s frustrating and annoying to do all the work all year and then, flipping heck, Mother Nature comes and does her thing.

“A week ago we were talking drought. On our country once we get 350mm, even with all of our 15,000 trees and all our good work, Mother Nature takes over.” . . 

Farmers ‘would really struggle’ without Filipinos:

A North Canterbury dairy farmer who helps support migrants when they move to the area says she’s not surprised to hear Filipino workers falsified documents to secure visas.

Hundreds of Filipino workers on dairy farms are under scrutiny after authorities in the Philippines revealed dozens have arrived on visas based on false documents.

They are also looking into claims some of the men paid as much as $1,500 to a recruiter who falsified work experience and qualifications in a bid to get them a better job.

Sharron Davie-Martin is based at Culverden, North Canterbury and said there’s about 70 Filipinos working on local dairy farms and without them, farmers would really struggle. . . 

Concerns about water quality computer-modelling:

Waikato Federated Farmers is warning that there would be a massive impact on the local economy if computer-modelling to improve water quality in the region was followed through.

The modelling has been produced to look at the impacts of implementing changes, such as land-use and in particular moving away from dairying.

It is estimated it would cost anywhere between $1 and nearly $8 billion over a 25-year period to clean up the Waikato and Waipa rivers and their tributaries.

It is based on scenarios ranging from making the rivers suitable for swimming, fishing and healthy biodiversity, to no further water quality decline, but with some improvements, or just holding-the-line with no further degradation. . . 

$10k Rates Club Raising the Bar

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the formation of Federated Farmers $10k Rates Club – an informal grouping of members who share the unwelcome bond of payment more than $10,000 a year in general rates.

“The club has been a way for us to capture stories, gauge the trends in general rates and add another string to our lobbying bow,” says Senior Policy Advisor Nigel Billings, who helped found the club back in 2005.

The club remains strong but times have changed – and, as Nigel admits, it might be time for a rebrand.

“Unfortunately, $10,000 rates notices are not as rare as they used to be for those in our rural communities. We’re thinking we might need to change the name to the $15k Rates Club. It may even need to be $20k.” . . .

Rural theft is gut wrenching – Chris Irons:

Rural crime is getting out of hand and something has to happen or we may need armed defender callouts to rural communities. The recent spate of thefts in the Waikato has been sickening especially for sharemilkers who are doing it tough trying to stay afloat with the downturn in dairy prices.

Huntly farmer Philip Thomas had his four- wheeler stolen in broad daylight and then suffered the indignation of watching the thieves ride off brazenly out his farm.

As most farmers know quad bikes are key part of the daily running of our business, it’s not a toy, more a necessity. The Huntly farmer had all his aids and ropes stored on his bike which he needed for calving. . . 

NZ Dairy Awards Develops Future Leaders:

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is proving to be a breeding ground for future industry leaders.

Six of the 10 candidates currently seeking election to the Board of Directors of DairyNZ cite their participation in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on their curriculum vitae.

Two candidates, Ben Allomes, a Director seeking re-election, and Elaine Cook are former New Zealand Sharemilkers of the Year while another candidate Greg Maughan is a former longstanding chair of the Awards executive organising committee and former regional winner in the Sharemilker of the Year competition.

Another former regional Sharemilker of the Year winner is seeking election, Murray Jamieson, while Steve Hines is a past entrant and judge. Grant Wills has judged entrants in the awards. . . .

Treble Cone’s busiest ever snow season:

Treble Cone Ski Area (Wanaka, New Zealand) celebrated the Closing Day of a successful snow season that achieved a number of key milestones last Sunday.

This winter Treble Cone received it’s highest ever visitation since forming as a company in 1968 and installing the first rope tow in 1969, with a record number of skier visits in 2015.

The momentum and vibe at Treble Cone has been building over recent years, with stability in pricing coupled with tweaks and improvements across the guest experience.

Anticipation prior to this season was fantastic, with record online interaction and engagement, and increases in early bird season pass and pre-season lift pass sales.

Leading into winter 2015 Treble Cone introduced additional groomed intermediate trails in the Saddle Basin through summer earthworks and snow fencing which proved very popular. . . 


Rural round-up

August 1, 2015

A Free Trade Deal must include Free Trade:

Federated Farmers says the Government must hold firm on a deal for agriculture at the Trans Pacific Partnership talks in Hawaii.

Federated Farmers’ Dairy Chair Andrew Hoggard is adamant that the reason for New Zealand being at the 12 nation talks is to establish free trade in the region, and a trade deal that doesn’t include meaningful access for dairy is not a free trade deal.

“Let’s be clear. Dairy is our largest export earner. It would be like the Japanese concluding a deal that didn’t have anything in it for automotive or technology trade.” . .

 

Like Uber but for dairy – Offsetting Behaviour:

There could be a lot of opportunities for Canadian dairy in opening up their markets to foreign competition, and in having foreign markets opened to their products. But there would be transitional costs.

The Globe and Mail reports on some relevant aspects here. But they miss the supply management angle. One important reason that Canadian dairy farmers oppose changes to the system is that they own a lot of quota rights. Under the Canadian system, the right to milk a cow costs money. And just like taxi permit owners in regulated markets hate Uber, Canadian dairy farmers hate New Zealand. But who can really blame them? If you were sitting on a big regulatory asset somebody proposed wiping out, wouldn’t you object?  . . .

Health and Safety — some way to go – Katie Milne:

The long awaited report back to the Select Committee on the Health and Safety Reform Bill has now occurred.

We don’t totally know what we are getting. The Labour Party will be opposing the legislation.  The Council of Trade Unions doesn’t like it. The Government has signalled a Supplementary Order Paper to amend the Bill before it goes through its final stages before becoming law and there are regulations to be drafted to sit under the eventual Act as well.

Besides this, WorkSafe New Zealand has considerable discretion how it implements the new Act and the interpretation courts put on the sections and regulations will keep a whole lot of lawyers busy for some years to come. . .

Farmers warned to prepare for more milk cuts:

National dairy industry body DairyNZ is warning farmers to prepare for further cuts to companies’ already low milk price forecasts.

It comes as ASB announced this morning it expects Fonterra to slash its forecast by $1 to $4.25 per kilo of milk solids when it reviews its payout next week.

However, the bank is predicting an end of season payout of $4.50. . .

T&G Global strengthens position as asparagus marketer –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – T&G Global, the fruit marketer controlled by Germany’s BayWa, has acquired assets from long-term Australian partner M&G Vizzarri, strengthening its position as a major asparagus trader.

T&G’s 50 percent-owned Australian subsidiary Delica will buy Vizzarri Farms, the asparagus marketer founded by Mario and Gina Vizzarri, from its Delica co-shareholder M&G Vizzarri. No price was disclosed.

The joint venture will be renamed T&G Vizzarri Farms and will become “one of the leading asparagus traders in the southern hemisphere,” T&G Global said in a statement. Targeted revenue from the enlarged business is about $40 million in its first year and more than 5,000 tonnes, it said. Currently Delica handles export sales for Vizzarri Farms, which owns 29 properties with a combined 1,900 acres. . .

Treble Cone’s Busiest Ever Start to a Snow Season:

The South Island’s largest ski area – Treble Cone (Wanaka, New Zealand) has enjoyed its busiest ever start to a snow season and has set new records for both its ‘busiest week overall’ and ‘busiest July ever’.

With fantastic pre-season and early season snowfalls the entire mountain including the Home and Saddle Basins, the right-of-passage Summit Slopes, the revered expert only Motatapu Chutes, and the Matukituki Basin were all open from Opening Day.

Over the first week of the New Zealand school holidays Treble Cone enjoyed its busiest ever week of skier visits, with all terrain open spreading guests across the entire mountain enjoying the cold dry snow.

 


Rural round-up

November 25, 2014

China investment to create 50 new jobs:

Fifty new jobs for Southland and a guaranteed supply chain into China for sheep and beef farmers have been secured in the latest in a series of Chinese investments in the New Zealand primary sector.

Lianhua Trading Group has increased its shareholding in Prime Range Meats in Invercargill to 75 percent from 24.9 percent, with the creation of 50 new jobs at the original Southland abattoir and meat processing plant.

Prime Range Meats’ new director and Lianhua adviser, Rick Braddock, said today that Lianhua is getting a guaranteed supply chain for its retail brand in China. . .

Dairy deal latest in China investment:

Chinese dairy giant Yili’s plan to spend a further $400 million on developments at its South Canterbury processing site has capped a flurry of investment announcements coinciding with the visit of China’s president to New Zealand.

As well as processing milk powder at its new Oceania production site near Waimate, Yili has plans for producing UHT or long life milk, packaging infant formula and processing other nutritional products. Yili has also signed an agreement with Lincoln University.

The memorandum of understanding is wide ranging and includes investigating new dairy farming and processing technology and improving the production and processing of dairy products here and in China. . .

Research priorities needs sorting:

 FUNDING FOR science and extension in the sheep and beef industry needs better coordination and Beef + Lamb NZ should step up, says a long-standing New Zealand Grassland Association member and scientist.

 “One of the roadblocks to more co-ordinated science and extension in the [sector] is the large number of funding bodies,” Jeff Morton told delegates at the association’s annual conference in Alexandra.

“There is a need for identification of industry priorities by all parties and co-ordination of the funding through one agency, probably Beef + Lamb.”

Delivering the keynote Levy Oration* at the conference, Morton said BLNZ with its levy funds is “a major player”, but other funders such as Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment with its Pastoral 21 Programme and MPI with its Primary Growth Partnerships and Sustainable Farming Funds make for “a piecemeal approach.”

Treble Cone Wins New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort Back-to-Back in 2014:

Treble Cone (Wanaka, NZ) has been announced as the winner of New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort for the second consecutive year at the 2nd annual World Ski Awards over the weekend.

‘Hundreds of thousands of travel professionals and skiers across the globe voted for their favourite resorts, chalets, and hotels’ World Ski Awards website.
The World Ski Awards Ceremony was attended by Treble Cone’s Snow Sports School Manager Klaus Mair who received the award on behalf of Treble Cone, and in interviews following accepting the award used the opportunity in front of ski industry peers from around the world to touch on the strengths, offering and accessibility of skiing and snowboarding at Treble Cone and in New Zealand. . .

 

Texel lamb crowned as best in the country

Ashburton farmer Paul Gardner took out the 2014 Mint Lamb Competition at the Canterbury A&P Show on November 12. His Texel lamb was judged as the country’s best lamb from paddock to plate.

Farmers from throughout New Zealand were invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the competition that celebrates the quality and variety of lamb available in New Zealand with a focus on increasing consumption of one of the country’s largest export earners.

Lambs were judged on the hook at an Alliance plant for Best Overall Yield. The top four lambs in each class (dual purpose,
dual purpose/cross terminal, composite/crossbred cross terminal and terminal) were selected as semi-finalists and sent to be Tender Tested at Lincoln University. Based on the result of the Tender Test, the top three lambs in each class were selected as finalists. All finalists were Taste Tested at the 2014 Canterbury A&P Show to decide the overall winner of the Mint Lamb Competition. . .

 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Calls for Remits:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is calling for remits to next year’s annual meeting, being held on Tuesday 10 March in the Southern South Island electorate.

Livestock farmers who want to propose written remits are invited to submit them by 7 January 2015.

Written remits need to be submitted on the official form that can be obtained from Beef + Lamb New Zealand general counsel, Mark Dunlop, by freephoning 0800 233 352. . .

 

Dairy Awards Entries Close in One Week:

The New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition is again attracting strong interest with more than 200 entered so far in the popular nationwide contest.

All entries in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards – including the dairy trainee, New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year competitions – close at midnight on Sunday, November 30.

Entries are being accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz. . .


The best day walk in the world

May 31, 2009

The road from Wanaka travels up the side of the lake, past Glendhu Bay then past Treble Cone, Cattle Flat Station and on to Aspiring Station, into the West Matukituki Valley to the end of the road at Raspberry Hut.

After a fifteen minute amble along the side of the river we came to a swing bridge across the river and in to the bush to start the Rob Roy Glacier walk.

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After a  good hour’s climb on a clearly marked track we came out of the bushline and less than 10 minutes later we reached the end of the track.

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One of the signs at the top has an extract from a book written by Maud Moreland who did the walk in 1908.

We were now at the entrance of a gorge that looked as if the mountains had been cleft by some terrific force: on one side they rose black and precipitous with trees clinging wherever they could find a little soil but generally they were sheer walls of rock. On our side the mountains were clothed to within a few hundred feet of the top with dense bush.

Leaving the horses tied below we began a toilsome ascent through a belt of tutu – a stout herb growing as high as our shoulders. This bit was very steep, followed by a belt of fern, then across screeds of slate, shale and faces of bare rock with only cracks for footholds when we clung by our fingertips.

The heat grew greater every moment and the glare from the rocks scorched us and made us terribly thirsty as we worked our way from gully to gully.

After a tedious climb we at last saw the head of the gorge – a wonderful sight on which not many eyes have gazed. It is closed by a semi circle of cliffs, precipitous and black. And wedged as it were between three mountain peaks lies an enormous glacier. Not a long river of ice, but a mighty mass of ice, breaking off sharp at the top of the stupendous peaks.

How much easier it was for us today, on a well formed track and not encumbered by the clothes a young woman would have had to wear in 1908.

This is the fifth time I’ve done the walk, although the first time in winter. Each time I’m awe struck by the beauty from the river flats, through the bush to the view of the glacier.

A friend reckons it’s the best day walk in the county.

In my – biased and parochial opinion – I agree and that puts it up with the best day walks in the world.


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