Rural round-up

September 7, 2019

Farmer’s open letter to Jacinda Ardern: Part 2 –  Andrew Stewart:

 Last month Rangitikei farmer Andrew Stewart wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about his concerns over climate change and farming. In his follow up letter, he calculates his farm’s emissions profile and finds some worrying statistics.

Nearly a month ago I wrote an emotive open letter to Jacinda Ardern and the farming leaders of New Zealand.

My motivation was to try and articulate what I was feeling as a sheep and beef farmer in regards to climate change obligations.

Now I want to share the facts about my own farm and my emissions profile that inspired me to write the open letter. . . 

Time to recognise real progress made by dairy farmers – Tim Mackle:

I can remember a time not so long ago when more than 70 per cent of the country loved our dairy farmers, but it feels like things have changed in recent times. Farmers are doing their best to stay “relentlessly positive” in the face of relentless criticism, but it’s not easy.

Some commentators are quick to stand back and fire shots at farmers from a distance, but what does that actually achieve? It’s easy to criticise our dairy sector in the New York Times.

It’s much harder to voluntarily put in fencing at your own cost that almost runs the equivalent of New Zealand to New York and back – but that’s exactly what our dairy farmers have done.

New Zealand dairy farmers have fenced off 24,744km of waterways. That means that 97.5 per cent of the significant waterways on New Zealand dairy farms are now excluded from dairy cattle. We have also constructed bridges and culverts for more than 99.7 per cent of 44,386 regular stock crossing points on dairy farms. . . 

Water plan cautiously welcomed, but deadline tight, say dairy, beef, lamb sectors :

The Government’s water proposals will not work as a one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to dairy and sheep and beef farmers, says Sam McIvor. The Beef+Lamb chief executive spoke to The Country’s Jamie Mackay, along with DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle about the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways which was announced yesterday.

While both Mackle and McIvor said they welcomed the idea behind the freshwater plan, they still have concerns for their industries.

Government figures showed the average annual cost on the proposals would be $9350 for a lowland dairy farm, but a hill country sheep and beef farmer could be looking at $14,850. . . 

Social licence to operate just as important as methane reduction – Allan Barber:

Amid all the debate about agriculture’s responsibility to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, and the appropriate levels for those targets, it may seem counterintuitive to claim an equally pressing problem is to earn a licence to operate. Just as great a threat to agriculture’s future is not whether it faces a potentially unachievable government imposed target, but a business environment in which consumers make their decisions based on their perception of the acceptability of the food they eat.

All primary production sectors – red meat, dairy, horticulture, fisheries, forestry and the rest – must recognise they are in competition for the attention of consumers who increasingly have the luxury and the right to decide between products they consume on the basis of multiple dimensions, way beyond the traditional choice based on taste, price and availability. While we are continually told the world’s population will provide ready markets for more than New Zealand can produce, we are also being made increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability and working with instead of exploiting the environment. . .

Oamaru’s Berry family are breaking the mound with special blue cheese – Lucy Corry:

Simon Berry eats blue cheese on toast for breakfast. Not every day, of course, but he has to do his bit to support the family business. “I love all our cheeses, but the blue’s the best,” he says. “It depends on the season, because there’s so much scope. I mean, I do love the halloumi. But yeah, I’m definitely a blue cheese guy.”

It’s not as if he doesn’t have a wide variety to choose from. Whitestone Cheese, the company started by his father Bob and mother Sue back in 1987, now produces 25 different cheeses from its Oamaru factory. One of those cheeses — the Vintage Windsor Blue that Simon is so fond of having on his toast of a morning — is now exported to France. It also won a gold medal in the 2019 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, along with Whitestone’s Ferry Road Halloumi (the highest scoring cheese in the awards) and its Vintage Five Forks.

Wool footwear:

Thanks to our more active lifestyles and casual approach to dressing, runners are undoubtedly one of the most popular items in today’s global market. The success of wool in footwear lies not only in the fibre’s natural properties, but also in its ability to be constructed in a way that aids performance.

Using the latest fully-fashioned knitting technology, wool footwear can be knitted to its final shape, reducing the amount of wastage associated with regular cut-and-sew techniques.

Wool fibres can absorb large quantities of moisture vapour and then allow it to evaporate, helping keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cool. . .


Rural round-up

December 14, 2018

Windsor Blue off to home of cheese– Simon Hartley:

Oamaru cheesemaker Whitestone Cheese has clinched an important export deal, having just delivered its first consignment of 100 rounds of Vintage Windsor Blue cheese to France.

Whitestone managing director Simon Berry said that to be shipping to Europe where cheesemaking was established showed that ”as new-world cheesemakers we’re coming of age”.

The first pallet-sized consignment, weighing about 250kg, was pre-sold to multiple customers and then delivered to France last month, with a follow-up order expected in the new year. . .

Grape, cheery growers competing for land – Guy Williams:

Wine and cherry growers are competing for land, resources and labour as both industries experience strong growth.

Mt Difficulty Wines co-owner James Dicey, of Bannockburn, said much of the planned investment in horticulture in Central Otago was expected to be in new cherry orchards.

That industry was undergoing a boom after several good years, with the total number of hectares planted in cherries poised to overtake grapes. . .

Farmers want DIRA gone – Annette Scott:

Farmers delivered a consistent message to the Ministry for Primary Industries when they met in Ashburton to consult on the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act review.

“We are a bit over it, and that’s an understatement,” Mid Canterbury dairying stalwart Ted Rollinson said.

His sentiment was largely echoed by all farmers at the meeting that unanimously agreed it’s time for open entry and exit to go, followed by raw milk regulations and access to regulated milk for Goodman Fielder. . . 

Approval given for Alliance to bring in workers – Alan Williams:

Meat processor Alliance has approval to bring in 100 workers from overseas for its Lorneville sheep plant in Invercargill.

They’re expected to be on hand for the peak February to May period, Alliance people and safety general manager Chris Selbie said.

“We’re delighted as it will make a real difference in addressing the staff shortages we had last season.

“We’ll start now to get on and find them.” . . .

Ahead with technology – Anne Hardie:

A cow chewing her cud has long been an indicator of cow health. Anne Hardie reports how monitoring collars can help show how a cow’s ruminations are affected by the state of their health.

Information from cow monitoring collars shows Adam McManaway and Kirsten Daymond the changes in ruminations and activity of every cow in their 465-cow herd so they know the state of their health long before an issue is picked up by eye.

Whether it’s calving, cycling, lameness, mastitis or anything that interrupts their usual grazing pattern, it will affect rumination and activity which is revealed on the computer graphs, or in acute situations prompt a notification from the phone app.

The couple are 50:50 sharemilkers 15 minutes north of Murchison in the Top of the South and were a demonstration farm for the Allflex Livestock Intelligence collars for the first couple of years. It was a convincing experiment for them and when it finished a year ago, they invested in collars for the entire herd which was a big financial commitment for a couple who had just taken on their first sharemilking contract. . . 

Local lingo keeps Uruguay pair on toes – Yvonne O’Hara:

Central Otago farmers have their own way of speaking, which makes it interesting for Uruguayan students Lorena Andiarena (21) and Ana Goncalvez (24).

Ms Andiarena comes from Salto and usually works on her parents’ 350ha beef property while studying to be a veterinarian. ‘

‘I have been all my life in agriculture,” she said. Ms Goncalvez is from Tacuarembo and had been studying farm management


365 days of gratitude

August 23, 2018

In the old days wedding cakes were fruit cakes.

Traditionally they were iced with almond icing, often with a great deal of artistic decoration.

These days wedding cakes aren’t necessarily even baked – Whitestone Cheese does a wonder line of celebration “cakes” in cheese.

The one I’ve been asked to bake is a chocolate cake to from the base of a tier.

So far so easy. But the request came for the cake to be 35 centimeters and the recipe I wanted to use was for a 28 centimeter tin.

I enlisted the assistance of someone who’s much better with numbers than I am and he said I should increase all the ingredients by half.

So far so easy, until I got to three eggs. Do I try to halve an egg or use five instead of 4 1/2?

I opted for five.

It worked and I’m grateful for that (and our dairy staff who will get the rest of this practice version probably will be too).

 


Rural round-up

May 24, 2018

Farm conversion considers environment – Nicole Sharp:

Kanadale Farms is no ordinary dairy farm.

First to stick out are the rolling hills and steeper landscapes, obvious signs it was once home to animals of a different kind, combined with planting of trees around the property.

It was the diversity of the 355ha property, and the work and investment the Moseby family has put into it, which resulted in their being crowned the 2018 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Award supreme winners. . . 

Hoki Dokey: NZ fish skin facemasks to launch in China – Emma Hatton:

It’s not quite a slap in the face with a wet fish but hoki skins, once destined for pet food, are now in a facemask and going on sale in China this month. 

Sanfords fishing group and Auckland science company Revolution Fibres have teamed up to produce a skincare range, which they claim can reduce wrinkles by up to 31.5 percent.

Revolution Fibres recently created a product called a nanofibre, which is a particle 500 times smaller than the width of a human hair. . . 

Sanford lifts first-half profit 43% with focus on higher value fish fillets – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed seafood company, lifted first-half profit 43 percent as it continued to focus on higher value items such as fish fillets rather than frozen commodity products.

Profit rose to $27.3 million, or 29.2 cents per share, in the six months ended March 31, from $19 million, or 20.4 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue from continuing operations lifted 18 percent to $272.7 million. Earnings before interest and tax lifted 14 percent to $35.4 million. . . 

(That tweet is form yesterday, today is National Lamb Day).

Zespri annual profit rises 38%, lifts grower payment – Rebecca Howard:

 (BusinessDesk) – Zespri Group reported a 38 percent lift in full-year profit and tripled its dividend after revenue growth was driven by the release of 400 hectares of licences for the profitable SunGold variety in 2017.

Net profit for the season ended March 31 was $101.8 million with global kiwifruit sales for the year up 6 percent at $2.39 billion, the Tauranga-based business said in a statement. Total revenue, which includes the license income, was $2.51 billion.

Zespri said the total dividend returned to shareholders was 76 cents per share, versus 25 cents per share in the previous season.  . . 

Sheep and Beef sector welcomes agreement to start NZ-EU FTA negotiations:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) welcome the agreement to start the New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations following the agreement from all European Union Member States on the negotiating mandate.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Sam McIvor says the agreement to start negotiations represents a significant milestone for the sector in the face of growing protectionist rhetoric worldwide. . . 

Specialty cheesemakers ‘worse off’ in EU trade deal – Chris Bramwell:

An award-winning cheese producer says a trade deal with the European Union will hurt the specialty cheese industry.

The EU, the world’s biggest trading bloc, overnight approved the beginning of negotiations with New Zealand and Australia.

Whitestone Cheese company produces a range of products from blue to feta in its Oamaru-based factory.

Whitestone Cheese chief executive Simon Berry said for cheesemakers in the specialty trade like his, the news of a trade deal with the EU was not that great. . . 

NZ Apple Industry Leads the World Four Years Running:

The World Apple Review has for the fourth year running named New Zealand’s apple industry the most competitive on the global stage, against 33 major apple growing countries.

Released this week by Belrose Inc, the US based world fruit market analysts, the World Apple Review, stated that the innovations emerging from New Zealand’s apple industry will increasingly impact production and marketing throughout the world.

New Zealand’s high productivity gains helped deliver the outstanding performance, ahead of its closest rivals Chile and the United States. . . 

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The Farmer’s dilemma.

Many have said “farming is easy.” “All farmers get rich.” “Farmers only work a few months out of the year.”

However, if farming is so easy, so profitable, & requires so little work; why are only 2% of the population brave enough to be farmers.

Australians buzzing about New Zealand honey as Manuka Health wins most ‘Trusted Honey Brand’ across the Tasman:

Reader’s Digest ‘Trusted Brands’ survey reveals Aussies prefer New Zealand’s Manuka honey to homegrown brands

Leader in the Manuka honey industry for more than a decade, New Zealand natural healthcare company, Manuka Health New Zealand, has been voted the ‘Most Trusted Honey Brand’ by Australians – topping brands including Capilano and Beechworth.

The award has been revealed as Reader’s Digest releases the results of its 2018 ‘Trusted Brands’ survey, highlighting the most trusted brands in Australia from across 70 categories, as chosen by more than 2,400 members of the Australian public.. . 

FQC produces guidelines for bulk fertiliser storage and handling:

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) has produced a set of storage and handling guidelines for manufacturers and distributors who deal with bulk fertiliser.

The guidelines, which can also be applied to the storage and handling of fertiliser on-farm, aim to ensure that the physical quality of the product is maintained from when it arrives at the depot (or farm) to the point it is distributed on the land. . . 

 


Rural round-up

April 27, 2018

Direct link between irrigation and polluted waterways is ‘wrong’ says mayor – Jo McKenzie McLean:

Wide opinion that an “incontrovertible” direct link exists between irrigation and the degradation of New Zealand’s waterways “is wrong”, Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan says.

Cadogan delivered an opening speech at Irrigation New Zealand’s national conference being held in Alexandra, Central Otago, on Wednesday and Thursday. 

He told a crowd of over 400 that he was one of the few at the conference who had an “unbiased view” and in the past had drawn criticism from both ends of the spectrum. . . .

Goats blue is gold for cheese maker – Daniel Birchfield:

The accolades just keep coming for Oamaru cheesemaker Whitestone Cheese.

Following its successful showing at last month’s Wisconsin World Champion Cheese Contest in the United States, where it picked up two top-five placings, Whitestone was last week awarded one gold and two silver medals in the dairy category of the 2018 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

Its Ohau Goat’s Blue cheese claimed gold and Lindis Pass Brie and Camembert silver.

Whitestone’s Shenley Station cheese was highly commended. . .

Ballance Agri-Nutrients reaps savings, health and safety benefits with new app:

A new locally developed mobile app is helping Ballance Agri-Nutrients provide a safer environment for staff and customers, while removing paper-work, streamlining business processes and providing cost efficiencies for the company and its shareholders alike.

The New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative, which provides fertilisers as part of its business, called on its trusted technology partner, Soltius, to develop the mobile app which plugs into the company’s traditional SAP enterprise software.

The Loader Driver app mobilises the company’s SAP S/4 HANA system, providing ‘a shopping cart in your loader cab’ for the drivers to be able to more easily load spreading trucks picking up fertiliser from Ballance Agri-Nutrients centres around New Zealand. . .

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Rural round-up

April 5, 2018

Feds welcomes NAIT recommendations:

Federated Farmers says its members will jump at the chance to contribute to the drive for improvements to the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme.

A report detailing a major review of NAIT, with 38 recommendations aimed at streamlining processes and boosting access and compliance, was released today after a long process involving OSPRI, MPI and a host of industry groups including Federated Farmers. . . 

Organic produce sitting pretty in a tasty $90 billion global market – Neil Hodgson:

The perception of organic fruit and vegetables is often of misshapen produce that doesn’t look very appetising, and it is fair comment.

However, the reality is many of those perfect looking fruits and vegetables have a beautiful appearance because producers use synthetic products to treat various bugs and diseases.

If you grow your own produce at home, then chances are they won’t look as perfect as the goods piled high on the supermarket or general food store shelves because chances are you don’t use too many synthetics in your garden at home.

You might use a bug spray and you probably add fertilisers and that is about it. . . 

Unusually, farmers and meat processors doing well at the same time. Beef prices slip. Deer prices get boost from pet food market – Guy Trafford:

SHEEP
Since allowing Shanghai Maling to purchase 50% of Silver Fern Farms (SFF) the meat company has had a significant turn around of fortune. For the twelve months from the $261 mln injection from Shanghai Maling, SFF has paid of $203 mln worth of debt and has managed to achieve a $15.4 mln after tax profit.

In the past it has often been a toss up between farmers and processors as to whom makes the profit. Rarely is it both. . . 

International acclaim for Whitestone:

Whitestone Cheese Co. is riding a wave of international critical acclaim after recent achievements at the world’s biggest cheese competition in Wisconsin USA and a trophy from the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

At Wisconsin, Ohau Goat’s Blue achieved the highest accolade with 4th place in its category with a near perfect 99.7 out of a 100 – an incredible result and just 0.1 points off the bronze medal. Ohau Goat’s Blue is a new addition to Whitestone’s Premium Black Label range. The goat milk comes from a Washdyke farm just north of Whitestone’s Oamaru cheese factory, and the cheese is made with Whitestone’s Windsor Blue culture. . . 

Samantha is a cut above the rest – Robyn Bristow:

The knives were out last week as Samantha Weller, from New World Rangiora, trimmed her way to the title of World Champion Apprentice Butcher.

The 23-year-old travelled to Belfast, Northern Ireland, with New Zealand’s butchery team, the Pure South Sharp Blacks, to compete in the cutting test.

She competed against 10 others from five countries, who had two hours to turn a beef rump on the bone, a side of lamb, and a loin of pork belly into a display of value-added cuts – much like that seen in a butcher shop or supermarket. . . 

Seeka  sells out of Zespri after opposing changes to constitution tying shares to trays – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka, New Zealand’s biggest kiwifruit grower, has sold out of Zespri Group after opposing constitutional changes at the monopoly export body that tie shareholdings to trays of fruit produced.

The changes were approved by more than 75 percent of shareholders last month but among the resolutions was that shareholders who voted all their shares against the overhaul could require Zespri to buy back their shares. . . 

OIO signs off on Icebreaker sale to US clothing giant VF Corp – Sophie Boot:

Icebreaker Holdings has been sold to US-based VF Corporation for at least $100 million after the Overseas Investment Office approved the deal.

In a media release today, North Carolina-based VF Corp said the OIO signed off on the transaction, which completed the transaction. The acquisition “is an ideal complement to VF’s Smartwool brand, which also features merino wool in its clothing and accessories. Together, the Smartwool and Icebreaker brands will position VF as a global leader in the merino wool and natural fibre categories.” The brand is expected to be immediately accretive to VF’s earnings per share, it said. . . 

Kiwi apple remains ‘Envy’ of others in USA:

American’s have once again selected New Zealand-born Envy™ apple as their favourite in a consumer competition run by the US Apple Association.

The interactive tournament-style competition called on American apple fans to vote for their favourite from 16 different apple varieties during the month of March.

Kiwi grower, T&G Global, was well represented in the competition with three of its premium apples namely JAZZ™, Envy™ and Pacific Rose™ being voted on by apple-lovers. . . 

Berry orchard sale offers horticultural operators a sweet growth opportunity:

One of the North Island’s most diverse boutique orchards –encompassing blueberry, raspberry and avocado production operations – has been placed on the market for sale.

Tomo Orchard at Pukenui near Houhora in the Far North, is an intensive 6.2 hectare horticultural venture growing blueberries under some 10,000 square metres of fully-enclosed framed canopies and 8000 square metres of covered netting. . . 


365 days of gratitude

January 12, 2018

The advertisement encouraged us to buy a bigger block.

It was talking about cheese and in those days it meant mild or tasty.

These days we have much more choice in cheese, imported and local.

It might be parochialism, but my favourite is Whitestone Cheese.

Today I’ve been enjoying their Lindis Pass Camembert.

It’s creamy, delicious and I”m grateful for it.


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