Farming shift surprises – Peter Watson:
A rapid move from sheep and beef farming into dairying in the Tasman District is revealed in the latest agricultural production figures released by Statistics New Zealand.
They show that sheep, beef and deer numbers each fell by more than 20 per cent in the five years to 2012, while dairy cows increased by almost 13 per cent.
Longtime Duke & Cooke rural valuer Dick Bennison said he was surprised by the size of the switch, but not by the trend, which was driven by poor sheep and beef returns compared with healthy milkfat payouts. . .
Water accord could backfire – Gerald Piddock:
A Waikato organic farmer fears parts of the new environmental code for dairy farming could be misinterpreted by farmers.
This could result in the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord having the opposite effect of its intent, Waikato Organic Agricultural Group facilitator Bill Quinn said.
The accord was released earlier this month and sets out new environmental benchmarks for dairy farmers.
Quinn believed the critical part of the document was the glossary at the back. . . .
Public unaware of farming hardship says survey – Jonathan Riley:
The general public is overwhelmingly supportive of farmers, but is unaware of the “silent crisis” facing agriculture, a survey has revealed.
The survey was carried out by pollster YouGov for Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Countryside Fund.
It showed less than one-quarter (22%) of the British public would describe the farming industry as in dire straits and facing the worst crisis since foot-and-mouth disease. Only 5% correctly estimated that more than 100,000 animals died as a result of the snow and other poor weather this year between January and April. . .
An age-old endeavour – Jill Galloway:
Sue Fielder loves her coloured sheep. She loves the fleeces, spinning, knitting and felting the wool.
She has about 25 ewes, and 14 younger sheep – hoggets. Most are grey, brown or black. There are a few white sheep, but they carry coloured genes. They are romneys and english leicesters.
She and her husband have about 5 hectares at Taonui near Feilding. They have a few dexter cattle, and although Fielder loves them, they will go to make more room for more sheep. . .
A Maori consultancy firm is thinking of ways to protect manuka honey products after research has found properties of the honey can be chemically faked.
Genuine New Zealand manuka honey contains naturally occurring bioactive compounds and can fetch up to $250 a kilogram overseas.
Research by a consortium of universities and Crown Research Institutes, which has yet to be published, discovered those properties can be synthesised by adding chemicals to normal honey, such as regular clover or low grade manuka honey. . .
With just six weeks until spring Ballance Agri-Nutrients has reduced the price on the majority of fertiliser nutrients.
This current round of price reductions follows the lead Ballance made to drop domestic prices in June, with Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau saying lower prices will help farmers plan ahead with confidence. . .
Amisfield Wine Company is expanding its Asian market presence after securing an exclusive distribution deal with high-end Chinese wine distributor Kerry Wines.
The Central Otago-based specialist wine producer of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines has this month started selling its range of wines to the Greater China region, including Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
“This is an important step in our strategic goal of becoming a globally recognised brand and making our wines available to the broader international market,” said Amisfield Wine Company’s CEO Craig Erasmus. . .