Rural round-up

14/12/2020

Environmental Protection Authority releases annual report on aerial use of 1080 :

The latest annual report on aerial use of 1080 has been released, showing that while use of the pest control poison increased in 2019, new research into alternatives is continuing.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) report, titled 1080 use in Aotearoa New Zealand 2019, showed there were 44 aerial operations covering 918,000 hectares of land.

Aerial operations rose due to a mega-mast event in 2019, where beech seed, tussock seed, or podocarp fruit flower at once in forests, dropping seed and driving rat populations up, which then threaten native species.

However, according to the report, the average application rate was just above three grams of 1080 per hectare, which equates to roughly one teaspoonful of 1080 on a rugby field. This is well below the maximum allowable rate of 30 grams per hectare, the report stated. . . 

Working on an orchard – how hard could it be? – Marty Sharpe:

So how hard is it really to pick fruit?

It’s a topical question, what with the horticultural sector crying out for workers in light of their regular labour force drying up.

Covid-19 has meant the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme has been slashed and backpackers are scarce.This has led the sector to implore Kiwis to have a crack at working in the fields.

In a quest to get an idea of just how hard this could be, I arranged to spend a sweltering Wednesday this past week on an orchard just outside Hastings. . . 

Time to cut the No 8 wire concept – Peter Burke:

Scottie Chapman says New Zealanders should stop extolling the virtues of the No 8 wire concept.

The head of Spring Sheep Dairy says the No 8 wire concept was a success story of our past when, because of travel times, NZ was a long way from everywhere and we had to find a way to improvise

However, Chapman believes the link to improvisation in the form of the No 8 wire concept – from the past to the way we operate today with modern technology and transport – is completely wrong.

“The No 8 concept was important 150 years ago because it helped get us where we are today,” he told Dairy News. . .

Passion for chasing sheep key trait – Matthew Mckew:

Walter Peak High Country Farm rural operations co-ordinator Peter Hamilton is in the business of showing the public what the working dog can do.

His demonstrations educate people on the rich agricultural heritage of the country and display how dogs help keep the economy moving.

Mr Hamilton got his first dog — Sprite — when he was just 12, and has worked with the short-haired English collie since then.

Sprite is no longer able to get over the fence and chase the sheep, but she still watched from the sidelines. . . 

 

Kudos for landmark fertility research :

Ground-breaking collaborative research into improving dairy fertility genetics has been recognised in the annual Kudos Awards.

The Improving Dairy Fertility Genetics research project has determined new ways to select inherently fertile cows and that genetic selection for cow fertility will improve herd reproduction.

The project is part of DairyNZ’s Pillars of a New Dairy System research, which has funding from DairyNZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Additional support comes from AgResearch, LIC, CRV Ambreed and AbacusBio. . .

Fewer anti-drug laws lets cannabis research gather pace :

Cannabis research and genetic improvements are gathering pace thanks to new genomic technologies, combined with fewer restrictive laws governing cultivation, research and use of the plant, according to a La Trobe University study.

In their paper published in New Phytologist, researchers from the La Trobe Institute of Agriculture and Food, home for the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Medicinal Agriculture (ARC MedAg Hub), reviewed international studies of cannabis genomics and identified significant gaps in the research.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Mathew Lewsey said cannabis is one of the oldest cultivated plants believed to have unique medicinal properties, but for decades research into identifying those properties had been restricted by anti-drug laws.

“These rules have meant that while our understanding of the basic biology and properties of other crop species has advanced through the use of genomics for example, our knowledge of cannabis has lagged,” Lewsey, who is Deputy Director of the ARC MedAg Hub, said. . . 


Rural round-up

13/01/2020

OZ farmers suffer heavy losses – NFF – Sudesh Kissun:

Australian farmers have lost significant livestock in bushfires raging across the country, says National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson. 

Simson says many farmers had lost homes, livestock and infrastructure.

“While we don’t know exact numbers yet, there has been a significant loss of livestock in parts of the country, most recently in areas such as northern Victoria and the south coast of NSW,” she says. . . 

‘Sheer weight’ of multiple issues taking toll on farmers – Sally Rae:

The ‘‘sheer weight’’ of issues facing farmers in Otago and Southland is taking a serious toll on their mental health and wellbeing, a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service report says.

The annual lamb crop report, released this week, said morale among sheep and beef farmers in the two regions was low.

The implications for farming practices and effects on profitability of government policies announced affecting the sector were unclear but likely to be far reaching.

While policies covering freshwater and greenhouse gas emissions were prominent, the likes of Mycoplasma bovis, reform of the National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme, tightening of bank lending arrangements, the One Billion Trees programme, winter grazing practices, biodiversity, urban perception of farming, and how to manage succession were also having notable impacts. . . 

New boss sees pastoral potential – Richard Rennie:

The vast grassland expanses of South America offer some exciting opportunities for Gallagher’s new general manager Darrell Jones.

Jones is a couple of months into his new role but almost 20 years into working for the agri-tech company. 

Formerly the company’s national sales manager he is excited by what his recent business excursion to South America revealed.

“We have had a presence in South America for some time but everything sold over there is basically from behind the counter. 

“We want to really work on what our point of difference is for electric fence systems there and a big part of that is farmer education.  . .

Farmlands moves focus forward – Neal Wallace:

New Farmlands chairman Rob Hewett wants the farm supplies retailer to shift its focus to meeting the anticipated needs of farmers five years in the future.

Given the requirement for farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address freshwater quality Farmlands needs to help its 70,000 shareholder-owners make those adjustments and that means supplying advice, services and technology they will need in the future.

“Farmers want a road map and hope and we are moving the company from being very good at providing something farmers needed five years ago to provide things we anticipate farmers will need five years from now.” . . 

Mechanisation new for the US – Tessa Nicholson:

The impetus behind developing the Klima stripper back in 2007 was a continual lack of labour during the pruning season.

Growers and companies all over the country were facing shortages and every year there was the underlying fear that pruning would not be completed in time for bud burst.

The Klima quickly caught the attention of grape growers in both New Zealand and Australia, but breaking into the US has until recently been a difficult one, says Klima founder Marcus Wickham. . . 

Australian celebrity chef samples both sides of the dining experience at Walter Peak High Country Farm:

Visiting Australian celebrity chef Justin North enjoyed a chance to sample the gourmet BBQ lunch menu before heading to the kitchen to work with Executive Chef Mauro Battaglia at Walter Peak High Country Farm in Queenstown on Tuesday 7 January.

North says the first impression when walking through the doors into the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant is the absolutely beautiful aroma.

“Credit to Executive Chef Mauro Battaglia and his whole team as it’s clear that a lot of love, care and thought goes into the food. You can see there is such a lovely culture within the kitchen team, and everyone is so passionate about what they are doing. You can tell it’s more than just a job to everyone.” . . 

 

The insidious flaw in the “Less Meat” argument — we need soil, not soy – Seth Itzkan:

The insidious flaw with the “less meat” argument is that it implies that meat is bad (when, of course, it isn’t) while looking the other way as it advances soil-depleting, GMO soy, faux meat products at the expense of nutritionally superior, regenerative beef and dairy alternatives that are essential for enhancing soil carbon, reviving pasture ecosystems, and just now gaining a foothold in supermarkets.

What Burger King and other franchises should do instead of carrying Impossible Foods paddies, is to insist that each region source at least 10% of their meats locally and via ecologically restorative production. That would jumpstart the food revolution genuinely poised to deliver a safe climate. . .

 


Rural round-up

06/02/2015

Project to reduce nitrate levels in Ashburton:

A project looking to reduce nitrate levels in groundwater around Ashburton is underway.

The Hinds Drains working party was exploring ways to address what it said were consistently high levels of nitrates in the lower Hinds Plains’ groundwater.

The working party was helping the Ashburton Zone Committee, which was responsible for local water management, with recommendations on minimum flows and water allocations.

Committee chair Donna Field said a Managed Aquifer Recharge, or MAR, project was being explored to manage declining water quality and quantity in the catchment. . .

Delays at slaughter houses:

Dry conditions throughout much of the country means some cockies are now facing long waits to get their stock slaughtered, a Hawkes Bay farmer says.

Federated Farmers Hawkes Bay president Will Foley said the long delays were piling more pressure on farmers who were trying to offload stock.

Mr Foley said huge stock numbers were being sent to the meat works and that was creating a big backlog. . .

ANZ AgriFocus forecasts farmgate milk price of $4.50-to-$4.70/kgMS – Fiona Rotheram:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s farmgate milk price may be $4.50-to-$4.70 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2014/2015 season with dairy incomes a key downside risk for the economy, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group’s AgriFocus report says.

That compares with the AgriHQ seasonal farmgate milk price of $4.55/kgMS and Fonterra Cooperative Group’s December forecast of $4.70/kgMS, which was down 60 cents on its earlier estimate following a halving of dairy prices during the season.

In its latest Agri Focus report, the bank’s economists said this week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, which led to a larger-than-expected jump in the price of whole milk powder to US$3,042 per tonne from US$2,758 two weeks ago, suggests the tide has turned for dairy prices. The question is whether the bounce will be strong enough to ward off further cuts in the 2014/2015 outlook. . .

 

Minimal impact to farm price values from falling commodity price index:

A drop in the latest primary produce commodity price index will have little effect on the valuation matrices many farmers will use for base data when calculating their potential rural property purchasing levels, according to a senior figurehead in the real estate industry.

The latest ANZ Commodity Price Index released this week recorded an overall 0.9 percent fall in January – the 11th consecutive monthly decrease in the index, which is now down some 18.8 percent over the past 12 months. . .

Walter Peak Land Restoration Project:

Real Journeys is embarking on large scale restoration of its land at Walter Peak to ensure visitors continue to have an authentically New Zealand experience.

Almost 90 hectares of wilding Douglas Fir will be removed by logging or spraying (around 40 hectares of the area consists of dense trees – the rest are scattered) in partnership with the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group (WCCG) and Department of Conservation. A further 30 hectares of land will be cleared of invasive weeds such as broom, gorse and hawthorne.

Commercial Director, Tony McQuilkin is behind the move, which he says is both exciting and necessary for a company with a proud tradition in conservation and as a responsible landowner. (Real Journeys purchased 155 hectares at Walter Peak in December 2013.) . . .

 

 


Rural round-up

13/09/2013

Minister announces manuka honey consultation:

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye today announced consultation has begun to define manuka honey to enable truth in labelling.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will be asking the honey industry, scientists and other interested stakeholders for their say through this consultation process,” Ms Kaye says.

“The New Zealand honey industry has been working for many years to come up with an accurate way to label, market and brand manuka honey and unfortunately has been unable to reach consensus. There is no international standard for a definition of manuka honey.

“Recently, the authenticity of some New Zealand manuka honey has been queried in overseas markets. This puts the integrity of our country’s export reputation at risk and so steps need to be taken to ensure consumer confidence. . .

Warning to all dairy farmers:

All dairy farmers are being warned by DairyNZ to look for signs of Theileria infection and anaemia in cattle with severe cases recently reported in the North Island.

Theileria infection is caused by Theileria orientalis, a parasite transmitted by ticks when they feed on the animal’s blood.

There is a heightened risk of Theileria infection, especially in the North Island, as the tick population is likely to have increased thanks to a dry summer and a mild winter. . .

Concern over sulfite levels in raw meat:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is concerned about a potential increase in the use of sulfites in raw meat and is awaiting test results after taking samples from butchers and supermarkets in Auckland.

Sulfites, such as sulfur dioxide, are used as a preservative in some foods, including meat products like sausages, luncheon meat and manufactured ham.

However, foods containing sulfites can cause serious reactions in those people who are intolerant to them.

As such, the use of sulfites is strictly controlled by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and they are permitted only in certain meat products and maximum permitted levels are specified. . .

Stock switch a step up –  Jana Flynn:

An allergy to dairy cows and a determination to upskill are just two of the reasons Juan-Paul Theron is excelling in the sheep and beef industry.

The 30-year-old New Zealand resident, originally from Cape Town in South Africa, had zig-zagged through various farming options early in his career, but he’s found his niche with a move to dry stock and a National Diploma in Agribusiness Management under his belt.

“I’m currently in Rotorua and have been here five years. It’s the second dry-stock job I’ve taken on and I’ve been farm manager for 12 months,” says Theron. . .

From the Beehive – Eric Roy:

Our sheep-meat exports to China expanded in the last twelve months from under $250 million to over $550 million. Already China has moved from our fourth market to overtaking Europe as our largest market and it has taken one year to do it. There is nothing in our trading history like that.

It took our predecessors decades to build our old supply chains into the Anglo-Saxon dominated trading world of the second half of the 20th Century. We have a goal to increase the ratio of exports to GDP by around ten percentage points to 40% of GDP by 2025.

On the basis of projections of GDP growth, it requires us to grow our exports of goods and services between around 6.5 to 7.5% on average per annum for the next 12 years. . .

Real Journeys upgrading Walter Peak offering:

Key tourism player Real Journeys is significantly upgrading its Walter Peak offering with the intention of making it a destination that “locals and tourists alike want to visit”, says Chief Executive Richard Lauder.

The upgrade will include a new gourmet BBQ menu, with localised matching wine list, and refurbishments across the facilities. Renowned restaurateurs Fleur Caulton and Josh Emett have consulted on the overall concept of the project.

Lauder says Real Journeys are focused on making Walter Peak a quality New Zealand dining experience and have hired a new executive chef, Justin Koen – previously of Queenstown’s Wai Waterfront Restaurant – to champion this. . .

Recycling more popular – Carmen Hall:

Bay of Plenty farmers have thrown their support behind voluntary rural recycling and diverted thousands of kilograms of rubbish away from the landfill.

Waste that was recycled in the region included 12,599kg of plastic containers and 36,278kg of silage wrap.

Agrecovery sales and marketing manager Duncan Scotland says the scheme has received a positive response. . .


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