Rural round-up

April 13, 2013

Sheep and beef farming leaders focus on environment:

Twenty-five sheep and beef farming leaders from across New Zealand will attend the first Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington next week.

The Forum is being funded by B+LNZ and delivered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. It is based on a successful programme – also run by the Trust, in partnership with DairyNZ – for dairy farming leaders.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Officer, Dr Scott Champion says the forum is designed to equip the farmers with some of the skills they need to engage effectively with regional councils and take on leadership roles within their communities. . .

Experts gather to address issues for bees, trees and farming in New Zealand:

An inaugural conference involving some of New Zealand’s top agricultural and environmental experts is being held in Gisborne this month to address the apparent decline of nutritional forage for bees in this country.

Nutritional stress is considered to be one of the main factors behind large-scale bee losses as reported overseas. The Trees for Bees research project aims to help avoid this happening in New Zealand.

The ‘Trees for Bees’ conference is being held at Eastwoodhill Arboretum and has been organised by the Eastwoodhill Trust and the East Coast Farm Forestry Association with help from the National Beekeepers Association. It will be held on April 26th and 27th at Eastwoodhill arboretum and at two field day sites. . .

Energetic Dairy Pioneers Win Supreme in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Dairy conversion pioneers Abe and Anita de Wolde have been named Supreme winners of the 2013 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges were “impressed and inspired” by the couple’s 2800-cow business ‘Woldwide Farming Group’, praising their “boundless energy towards finding a better way and doing the right thing”.

While the de Woldes are heavily focussed on their production goals of 650kg/MS per cow and 2000kg/MS per ha, judges said they are just as committed to reducing their environmental footprint.

At a BFEA ceremony on April 10 the de Woldes also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients – Nutrient Management Award, the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the Massey University Discovery Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Meridian Energy Excellence Award. . .

Second Triumph for Southland Dairy Awards Winners:

The goals of the 2013 Southland Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Don and Jess Moore, are to optimise production and maximise profit to reach farm ownership and enjoy a balanced lifestyle.

The Moores, who won $18,400 in prizes, aim to achieve this by growing their business using sustainable farming and human resource practices.

The other big winners at the 2013 Southland Dairy Industry Awards held at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club last night were Daniel and Emma Todd, the region’s 2013 Farm Managers of the Year, and James Warren, the Southland Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Coast Dairy Awards Winners Do It Again:

It is the second time the 2013 West Coast/Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Peter and Helen McLaren, have won one of the region’s top farming awards.

In 2008 the couple claimed the region’s Farm Manager of the Year title. Last night they went one better to win $19,000 in cash and prizes. “Entering the awards in 2008 gave us a lot of confidence in knowing that our farm systems are working and it also enabled us to pursue further opportunities and go 50:50 sharemilking,” the McLarens said.

The other major winners at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at Shantytown, Greymouth, were Blue Benseman, the Farm Manager of the Year, and Sam Riley, the Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

3 Dairy Awards Entrants Win Bikes:

Three entrants in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have won farm bikes worth $4000, just for entering.

All those that entered the awards before December 1 last year and progressed through the judging process were eligible for the Early Bird Prize Draw to win one of three Honda XR125 Duster farm bikes valued at $4000.

The draw took place on Friday and one bike was drawn from early entrants in each contest – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.. . 

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (already) tackling issue of false organic claims:

“The steady 8% per annum growth in the organic sector over the past three years* has been great for existing organic customers”, says Brendan Hoare, Chair of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ).

“People want what we provide and consumers who are already in the market for safer, healthier, more environmentally-friendly food now have a greater range of choices at a better range of prices.”

“However”, said Mr Hoare, “the move from being a niche market into the mainstream is raising issues around how truthful some of the claims of being organic really are.” . . .

Te Motu Vineyard back under founding family’s control:

Waiheke Island’s iconic vineyard, TeMotu, is back under management of the Dunleavy family who developed it in 1988, but sold to Richina Pacific two years ago. A group including the Poland family and others with strong connections to Waiheke, along with Sam Harrop MW and Paul Dunleavy, TeMotu’s former managing director, have just settled the purchase to buy the original vineyard in Onetangi Valley back from Richina Pacific.

Paul Dunleavy, who resumes the role of managing director, says “This is a hugely significant acquisition. We have a great team of investors who are committed to maximizing the potential from this exceptional, world-class vineyard site.” . . .


Rural round-up

August 25, 2012

Wet winter helping to spread killer kiwifruit infection – Jamie Morton:

The wettest winter some kiwifruit growers have seen is hampering efforts to stop Psa-V, at a time when the vine-killing disease is attacking New Zealand’s most popular variety.

The disease, which has ravaged gold kiwifruit orchards throughout the country since its discovery in Te Puke two years ago, is now being seen in a spate of serious cases among the green variety that makes up the bulk of the industry.

More than 60 orchards have notified industry group Kiwifruit Vine Health of possible Psa-V, and it is feared the disease could eventually reach up to half of New Zealand’s green kiwifruit growers. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand working for farmers to get more Americans eating lamb

Two Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer directors are meeting with the project partners involved with the Tri-Lamb Group which has a goal to get more Americans eating lamb.

Central South Island Director, Anne Munro and Southern South Island Director, Leon Black are in Idaho, representing New Zealand sheep farmers alongside their fellow Tri- Lamb Group representatives from Australia and the United States.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion said the collaborative promotion by the three sheep producing nations is built around the understanding that the profitability and sustainability of the lamb market in the US is important for farmers in all three countries. . .

Unlike humans, fat bees are healthy bees:

Federated Farmers is highlighting how everyone can make a difference to whether bees are healthily ‘fat’ or sickly skinny.

“Just like with all livestock, the health of bees reflects the protein and energy sources available to them,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees spokesperson and an exporter of bee products.

“Good protein and nectar produces fat bees and in nature, fat bees are healthy bees. Federated Farmers I guess is standing up for the right of bees to become fat.

“We are keen to work with anyone and everyone to provide positive environments for the honeybee to flourish. 

“After several years’ work, Federated Farmers Trees for Bees now has ten regional planting guides available for anyone to create a bee friendly space.  While they are available from a number of websites, all you have to do is type “trees for bees” into Google. . .

Varroa is not the only threat to our honey bees – Bruce Wills:

In 2000, the sum of all fears for New Zealand’s beekeepers took place when the Varroa Destructor Mite was confirmed in Auckland.

A mere six years later, Varroa had jumped the Cook Strait to reach Nelson and progressively, over the past six years, has spread south.

This year it reached as south as you can travel in mainland New Zealand; Bluff. If it wasn’t for human intervention, the economic and agronomic effects of Varroa would be like Foot & Mouth disease.

Our economy and farming system depends on honeybees and a pollination workforce involving some 430,000 hives.

While people may judge the bee industry by the honey they purchase at a farmer’s market or the supermarket, that is a drop in the bucket.

The real value of honeybees is as pollinators par-excellence. . .

Varroa spreads but the battle for bees goes on:

By reaching Bluff in the 12 years since the Varroa Mite was first confirmed in Auckland, one of the world’s worst bee threats is close to completing its colonisation of New Zealand.

“Has Varrora had an impact on New Zealand? Absolutely,” confirms John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees chairperson and a major exporter of bee products.

“If it wasn’t for human intervention, the economic and agronomic effects of Varroa would be like Foot & Mouth disease. Our economy and farming system depends on honeybees and a pollination workforce involving some 430,000 hives. . . .

“That should give pause for thought as we celebrate the Honey Bee this week and the massive contribution this mighty insect makes to us all. The value of pollination alone is conservatively estimated at $5 billion each year.

Forest industry transforming itself

The forest and wood processing industries are moving quickly on a strategy to transform the sector.

The Wood Council (Woodco) has just given the go-ahead to a $400,000 research-based initiative which aims to get the highest value out of every cubic metre of timber harvested. Known as Woodscape, it is modelled on a major study carried out for the Canadian forest products industry in 2009.

“In the next decade we will see an increase in the harvest. We are determined to extract the best value we can from this resource and reinvigorate our sector,” says Woodco chair Doug Ducker. . .

PGG Wrightson reports $55m turnaround in bottom line profits

Rural services leader PGG Wrightson Limited (NZX: PGW) has announced an improved operating performance with earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (EBITDA) for the year ended 30 June 2012 at $55.2m compared to $49.4m in the year ended June 2011.

Operating revenue was up 7.2% at $1,336.8m compared with $1,247.2m for 2011, while net profit after tax (NPAT) was at $24.5m, a $55.2m turnaround from the 2011 loss of $30.7m. A substantial turnaround in net operating cash flow to $58.6m (2011: $4.9m) reflected a strong focus on working capital and particularly debtor management, while enabling the company to reduce bank debt. Net interest costs were reduced to $13.8m from $28.1m for the prior period . .

New Zealand’s first Albariño wine awarded a Trophy on debut:

In 2011 one barrel of New Zealand’s first Albariño wine was made by Coopers Creek Vineyard and praised by wine critics. The second vintage has just been released and in its very first outing has been awarded a Trophy at the prestigious Bragato Wine Awards, held during the wine industry’s annual conference. The Select Vineyards Gisborne Albariño 2012 is available in restaurants and fine wine stores nationally. . .


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