Rural-round-up

September 20, 2017

Concerned’ over water policy – Daniel Birchfield:

The Waitaki Irrigators Collective (WIC) believes Labour’s water policy could lead to a growing rural-urban divide and the loss of millions of dollars from the Waitaki and Waimate districts.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher has also let rip at the policy, claiming Waitaki irrigators could lose $25 million to $40 million if there is a change of government on September 23. . .

Embracing old and new:

A North Otago sheep farm uses a mixture of the old-fashioned and new-fangled at lambing time.

Creedmoor is a 50ha block of rolling land at Incholme, west of Oamaru. Owners Julian and Sharyn Price also lease a neighbouring 20ha.

The couple have become lamb whisperers, breeding composite ewes with quiet temperaments that are not fazed by their human handlers in their midst.

Flightiness has been culled out, along with dags.

The Prices call their flock Creedmoor Supersheep – a moniker endorsed by their records. Since 2006 they have exceeded a 200% lambing rate and last year 25% of their surplus lambs were killed at three months. . . 

Tasty bait balls used to poison wallabies:

Waimate’s wily pests are about to be tempted with lethal treats

Green balls flavoured with peanut butter are being placed on stakes in remote Mackenzie district hill country, where they are likely to appeal to the Bennett’s wallaby population. The third batch, following two deliveries of non-toxic balls about a week apart, will contain cyanide that produces a quick death after being eaten by the marsupials.

The project is part of Environment Canterbury’s biosecurity work to reduce pest numbers. . .

Chopping out a career in the mostly male world of butchery – Christina Persico:

Think of a butcher and you generally think of a man – but Kayla Scott thinks it’s a job for anyone.

The 21-year-old is an apprentice at the Kiwi Butcher Shop in New Plymouth, where she has worked on and off for five years.

“It’s quite a full on, energetic kind of job…There’s never a dull moment,” she says.

“It’s usually more challenging because you don’t want it to be labelled as a male’s job, because anyone can do it.

“It is quite tricky trying not to be like, ‘I’m in a male’s job’.” . . .

First crop at New Zealand School of Winegrowing picked and ready – Oliver Lewis:

The first crop of students have signed up to the New Zealand School of Winegrowing, which had its official launch in Blenheim on Wednesday night.

The school, the first of its kind in New Zealand, was set up by Marlborough Boys’ and Marlborough Girls’ colleges with assistance from the wine industry.

About 40 people attended the launch event, which Boys’ College assistant principal James Ryan described as an opportunity to promote the school. . .

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I’ve got mud in my blood.


Rural round-up

March 6, 2014

MIE seek funds from Beef + Lamb – Allan Barber:

MIE Chairman John McCarthy put out a press release on Tuesday pressing Beef + Lamb NZ to put its weight behind the remit to the AGM in March which asks “that Beef + Lamb New Zealand provide funding support to the Meat Industry Excellence Group to secure red meat sector reform.”

This maintains the pressure of a campaign waged by MIE for some months now, but I get the impression the sector reform group is no closer to stating how it intends to achieve the reform it wants. The press release says an estimated $200,000 is needed next year to “meet expenses for travel, meetings and other activities associated with driving the reform process.”

The stated justification is B+LNZ has no mandate beyond the farm gate, whereas MIE has ‘runs on the board’ with the successful election of directors to the boards of Alliance and Silver Fern Farms. MIE’s focus is now on processing and marketing issues in the sector.  . .

Sheep farmers pushing for retention of Invermay – Allan Barber:

A group of southern sheep breeders and sheep and deer farmers is strongly lobbying the government to attend a meeting in Gore to be held next Wednesday 12th March. The meeting, to be chaired by past chairman of Beef + Lamb NZ Jeff Grant, will be the first time AgResearch has fronted up to breeders and farmers to talk to them about the planned transfer of research scientists from Invermay to Lincoln.

The purpose of the meeting with AgResearch Board and Management is to hear them outline the proposed shift to Lincoln and the residual science to be retained at Invermay, and for AgResearch to hear the views of their stakeholders. . .

Brown fat ‘key’ to lamb survival:

AgResearch scientists are investigating a special type of fat that new-born lambs use to generate heat and which has a bearing on survival rates.

A research physiologist at the Grasslands campus in Palmerston North, Sue McCoard, says they’ve found that giving nutritional supplements to ewes during pregnancy can boost the amount of brown fat in lambs.

She says that could hold the key to whether lambs, especially twins or triplets, survive cold weather. . .

Waikato farmers desperate for rain

Waikato farmers are praying for rain amid fears of another drought.

Some rivers and streams are running at near record lows for this time of the year and soil is drying out.

Waikato Regional Council’s Chris McLay says the problem is widespread. . . .

Ballance invests in future science talent:

Five university students studying towards a degree in New Zealand’s vibrant primary industry have been awarded Ballance Agri-Nutrients scholarships.

Each scholarship is worth $4000 a year and can be held for a maximum of three years. Scholarships are open to family members of Ballance shareholders or shareholders of an entity (and beneficiaries of that shareholding) with shares in Ballance, as well as family members of company employees.

Warwick Catto, Research and Development Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, says the calibre of this year’s applicants were again of a very high standard and shows that the industry’s future is in safe hands. . .

Farmers Mill Leading the Way With 100% NZ Flour and Innovative Baking Supplies:

A state-of-the-art, brand new mill is the reason Farmers Mill Flour is providing bakers throughout the country with uniquely customised, fully traceable flour and baking supplies.

Farmers Mill, based in Timaru, boasts new milling equipment which has been designed to mill New Zealand wheat to an exceptionally high standard and produces premium biscuit, all-purpose baking, cake, pastry and bread flours to unique, high end specifications.

Since its opening in June last year, the business has grown substantially to become a leading producer for the New Zealand baking industry supplying to iconic brands such as Griffins Foods, Couplands Bakeries, French Bakery and Baker Boys. Examples of key retail outlets using Farmers Mill flour for artisan breads and pastry based products include Little and Friday in Auckland and Rangiora Bakery in Canterbury. . . .

Local Baby Formula Maker NuZtri joins Infant Nutrition Council:

Locally owned Best Health Products Limited producers of NuZtri Premium Formula and fortified Milk Powder products announced today it has been accepted into the Infant Nutrition Council of Australia and New Zealand (INC). On the 20th February this year, Jan Carey, CEO of the Infant Nutrition Council visited the Best Health Limited’s Head Office and RMP facility (Risk Management Program) in Christchurch to view the operation and sign the agreement.

“After successfully completing INC’s assessment we are truly delighted to be approved as an associated member of this prestigious Infant Nutrition Organisation”, said Craig Calder General Manager of NuZtri. . .

 


Otaaaago!

August 23, 2013

Otago 25 – Waikato 19.

Waikato 19 (Mikkelson try; Renata 4 pen, con)

Otago 26 (Parker, Ioane try; 4 pen, 2 con)

79 mins: Waikato 19 Otago 26

The Blue & Golds have won the Ranfurly Shield for the first time since 1957.

It’s been back on the right side of the Waitaki since then, when Southland won it.

But in spite of many heart-stopping close encounters, and some very good teams, including many All Blacks amongst whom was current coach Tony Brown, it’s taken Otago 56 years to win back the log of wood.


Candidate selection undemocratic and tardy

August 25, 2011

Electoral law requires parties to use democratic processes for their list ranking.

The influence of unions in the Labour Party calls into question their adherence to democratic principles at the best of times.

Its selection timing this year raises even more questions.

The party did list ranking in April but still hasn’t completed its candidate selection for some seats.

The Opposition party’s website yesterday had yet to name candidates for Waikato, Taupo, Tauranga and Hunua but following inquiries from the Waikato Times the party confirmed it had received nominations for both the Waikato and Taupo seats, where until now National had the only confirmed contenders.

There is no requirement for electorate candidates to be given list places, but it would be fairer and more democratic to select them in time to give them a choice.

It would also give the impression Labour was properly organised for the election and putting more than a token effort into contesting seats.

Taupo and Waikato are blue seats. But a party that doesn’t want to look inept and does want to remain one of the major ones ought to at least look like it cares about the people in these electorates who might give it their party vote.


Carbon farming could beat sheep

June 25, 2011

A Waikato study has found that carbon credits from trees grown on poorer hills could provide better returns than sheep.

There can be both economic and environmental gains from planting trees on erosion prone land.

At least some of this steep hill country would never have been developed had it not been for subsidies to boost stock numbers although this was neither economically nor environmentally sustainable.

The circle has turned and trees might now produce a better income with a better environmental outcome.


Economic impact of drought not just local

December 16, 2010

Agriculture MInister David Carter has declared a medium level drought in the Waikato Region and Ruapehu District  which is concerning not just for these areas but the wider economy.

Less production on farms means less employment not just on farms but in businesses which service and supply farms. It also means less export income. As Quote Unquote says:

Slightly more seriously, this affects everyone in New Zealand because the Waikato is the main part of the NZ dairy industry which is the main part of NZ’s exports which are what pays for our imports.

There is dairying in many other regions now but some of them are on the brink of drought too

Declaration of drought triggers government assistance but as Federated Farmers Waikato Provincial President Stew Wadey points out this doesn’t mean hand-outs to individuals.

  “There is no direct financial support to farmers because of this drought declaration. It bothers me when I see letters to the editor making this false point.

“The only way a farmer will qualify for welfare is if they were already eligible for welfare payments. It’s means tested, same as any other WINZ payment, and a drought declaration makes no difference to this criteria.

“There are around 30,000 working farmers nationwide, and less than 100 are actually receiving support. But the facts of life are that with two consecutive droughts some farmers can’t survive.

“This adverse event declaration also gives us access to advisory services that are extremely beneficial for us. That’s not just farm management advice, but also counselling services and Rural Assistance Payments.

“RAPs basically advise and assist extremely marginal farmers who need to exit the business. It’s similar to a small business manager being appointed by a Ministry of Economic Development body to a struggling company in the city.

“The drought declaration also allows Inland Revenue to give farmers the ability to file accounts later, so that’s one less thing to worry about. . .

There is nothing we can do about the weather but more irrigation would help temper the worst effects of a lack of rain.

“But what I think we need to do now is work with the councils and Government on water storage options to help reduce the risk of drought in the future. You can never be too prepared.

“Basically, pasture needs three things: water, sunshine hours and decent soil temperatures.

“Rather than riding the rollercoaster trying to guess what each next season will bring, we can control these conditions much more readily with a reliable and steady supply of water.

North Otago now has sufficient area under irrigation to ensure production continues and money will keep flowing in to town. But there is potential for more irrigation in our area and in many other parts of New Zealand.

Our problem isn’t lack of water, it’s just some of the water isn’t where it’s needed, when it’s needed and storage would help solve that problem.

Irrigation isn’t as good as rain but it is far better than no water at all and the more irrigation there is, the less harm drought does to agriculture and the wider economy.


How dry is it?

March 28, 2010

We were on a farm tour which started in Rotorua and went via the King Country then through the King Country to Port Waikato last week.

It was green around Te Kuiti but everywhere else is desperate for rain.

Back in North Otago we’ve yet to have 24 mls (an inch in old money) this year.

How dry is it?

So dry they’ve had to close a couple of lanes in the school swimming pool.


October 31 in history

October 31, 2009

On October 31:

1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

1795  John Keats, British poet, was born.

1960  Juliette Low American founder of the Girl Scouts was born.

1863  British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron began their Invasion of the Waikato.

1887 Chiang Kai-shek, Nationalist Chinese leader, former Republic of China president, was born.

 1908 – Muriel Duckworth, Canadian activist, was born.

1913 Dedication of the Lincoln Highway, the first automobile road across United States.

LincolnHighwayMarker.svg

1917 The Battle of Beersheba took place, the “last successful cavalry charge in history”.

Charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade
A photograph of a re-enactment of the Charge on Beersheba taken in early February 1918.

1920  Dick Francis, Welsh born jockey & author, was born.

1923 The first of 160 consecutive days of 100 degrees (37.6 C) at Marble Bar, Australia.

1931 Dan Rather, American television journalist, was born.

DanratherGSFC.PNG

1984  Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh security guards.

1985 Keri Hulme’s book The Bone People  won the Booker Prize.

1999  Yachtsman Jesse Martin returns to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigatingthe world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


July 12 in history

July 12, 2009

On July 12:

1543: Catherine Parr became Henry VIII’s sixth, and last, wife.

1863 British forces invaded the Waikato.

1962 the Rolling Stones performed their first concert.

The Rolling Stones (L-R): Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

The Rolling Stones (L-R): Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

Which Province is NZ’s Food Bowl?

July 12, 2008

If Waikato is the food bowl of New Zealand  as Lianne Dalziel said in justifying the appointment of former MP Dianne Yates to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Board, then the province needs to improve its marketing.

I’d have accepted the cream can or horse racing capital, but Waitako wouldn’t immediately come to mind if I was asked which province is the nation’s food bowl.

If we’re going for North Island entrants for the title Hawkes Bay with its wonderful fruit, vegetables, sea food and wine would be a finalist. The Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay and Northland have a delicious range of fruit and vegetables too; and Wairarapa has wine and olives.

In the South Island, Central Otago can claim the country’s best stone fruit, it has pip fruit and wine too. Nelson and Malborough also grow tasty fruit and have delicious sea food and wine. Canterbury produces tasty fruit and good wine too.

Oysters put Southland on the list, though I’m not sure if swedes would be counted for or against them 🙂

Lamb is legend in Hawkes Bay, Canterbury and Southland, though just about anywhere in New Zealand grows it just as well, and the same can be said for beef.

North Otago may not spring to everyone’s mind as the culinary capital but we have a growing appreciation of our primary produce. There’s a fledging viticulture industry, and Fleurs Place at Moeraki has woken our taste buds to the delights of local fish and sea food. Just as the cold winters add intensity of flavour to Central’s stone fruit, the colder water enhances the flavour of fish, particularly blue cod.

Riverstone Kitchen , a finalist in the Cuisine restaurant of the Year, uses as much local produce as possible – including fruit, vegetables and herbs, from its own orchard and garden.

Wasabi is grown in the Waitaki Valley and it also produces very sweet strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, blackberries, tayberries and boysenberries.

Whitestone Cheese has an array of national awards to back up my ever so slightly biased view that they produce the country’s best cheese.

Totara Lowlands  sells the most succulent cherries I have ever eaten – they don’t export so the pick of the crop is sold locally. Their hazelnuts and honey are also top quality.

While we’re in that part of the the district, Totara and nearby Kakanui are renowned for the vegetables from their market gardens and there are simply no better new potatoes in the world than those which grow here. They are no ordinary spuds, they’re more like underground strawberries.

If you don’t understand how proud North Otago would be if we were called the nation’s potato patch then you obviously haven’t tasted the Jersey Bennies which grow here.


Paying for hay because the sun shone too much

July 9, 2008

The price of hay  has tripled to up to $14 a bale in areas hardest hit by last summer and autumn’s drought and baleage has more than doubled from $70 to $160.

Agribusiness consultant David Baker said dairy farmers, who have received record payouts, could afford to pay big prices being demanded for winter feed, and had pushed cash-strapped beef and sheep farmers out of the market.

“Those with dairy cows are paying, in some cases, as much as $21 to $28 per week per head of cattle for grazing.

“Those with beef cows just can’t match that, and many are being forced to get rid of their capital stock at the freezing works because the costs just do not stack up.

“There is a real sense of greed growing out there, as those with the land available for grazing deliberately set out to get top dollar from dairying at the expense of the beef and sheep farmer.”

When does a sensible commercial decision to take the best price become greed? Those with hay are in business too and know the wisdom of making money from hay while the financial sun shines. And dairy farmers won’t pay any more than they have to because the high price for milk is being tempered by rising prices of wages, fuel, power, fertiliser, feed and other inputs.

The lack of feed and the huge prices being asked is biting into farmers’ incomes.

For the past three years, Wairarapa hill country farmer Stu McKenzie has taken a financial battering, and the crisis on the farm on the back of double droughts is far from over.

Mr McKenzie, like other sheep and beef farmers in the worst hit areas in Waikato, Taranaki, Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay, say the escalating feed prices had eaten into any profit.

He has lost more than $300,000 a year over the past three years. “I am paying up to $8 per head per week, where $3 was once the asking price. It does impact when you are talking about hundreds of cows being sent out, and it is not easy finding somewhere for them to go as dairy farmers snap up most of what is available.”

According to the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, the drought will take away $1.24 billion from the farm gate this financial year.

It is difficult to sustain a big loss from one season, even if it is cushioned a little by capital gain. When it happens three years in a row it will be eating into equity and will out pace the rise in the price of land.

Farmers in areas where dairy conversion or support are options are doing the figures and getting out of sheep and beef or selling up altogether, but those options aren’t possible everywhere.

Making matters worse is below average rain in many of the drought affected regions. When we drove from Auckland to the fieldays paddocks which had been bare when we passed through in February, were looking good. But locals told us it was a green drought – there had been enough rain to give a bit of green but not to provide much cover.

As recession bites the dry weather and low incomes won’t just affect farmers and their communities, it will have an impact on the national economy too. But not all sheep farmers are struggling. Four of the last five tractors sold be a machinery dealer in Gore have gone to sheep farmers.


Porn in the Paddock

June 28, 2008

Most city people who move to the country adapt well, but there are always the odd exceptions who can’t, or won’t, understand that agriculture and horticulture are not nine to five businesses; and that necessary activites aren’t always quiet and sweet smelling.

City slickers considering a quieter life in the country be warned: farmers are not going to stop their early morning milking or their dogs from barking so you can get a good night’s sleep.

And some daytime farming practices aren’t exactly seemly:

Waikato Federated Farmers president Stew Wadey said he had fielded a number of complaints from newcomers unused to the smells, sounds and sights in the country.

“We’ve had a straight-laced person from higher society move into a lifestyle block and she was appalled that we had a bull servicing the cows, which is obviously a natural process. She complained it was provocative and pornographic.”


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