Rural round-up

April 15, 2012

Grape expectations 2012 – Sarah Marquet:

Wine is one of Central Otago’s key industries,      pumping millions of dollars into the local economy, and after      fears a significant amount of fruit would be lost to disease,      a great vintage is predicted from this season. Reporter Sarah      Marquet finds out why.

A warm spring, leading to good flowering and fruit followed by a hot summer allowing growers to apply water stress to  their grapes set up a good season for Central Otago wine      makers, and the “spectacular Indian summer” has dried up any botrytis that was threatening crops. . .   

Season in Waitaki Valley ‘shaping up quite well’ – David Bruce:

It has been a challenging season for Waitaki Valley    winegrowers, but the talk is about quality, not quantity, David    Bruce reports.   

Cool and wet weather from late January will have an effect on      the quantity of grapes picked in the Waitaki Valley this      season, but quality of the wine is expected to be high,      Waitaki Valley Wine Growers’ Association chairman Jim Jerram predicts . . .   

Couple win farm awards – Sally Rae:

North Otago couple Blair and Jane Smith have been named    supreme winners of the 2012 Otago Ballance farm environment awards.   

 Mr and Mrs Smith run Newhaven Farms Ltd, a sheep, beef, forestry and dairy support operation that spans three family-owned properties.  . .  

Diversity within Sharemilker finalists:

The finalists in the 2012 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest are a mix of experienced and new dairy farmers, and small, medium and large-scale operators. There are some migrants to New Zealand, is one man competing against 11 couples, and one equity farm manager competing against 11 sharemilkers.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the 12 regional New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards competitions always discover some talented and interesting finalists to contest for the national titles.

“This year’s finalists are a high calibre group focused and confident in achieving their goal of owning a stake in the dairy industry. They are young, ambitious and growing their businesses at great rates,” Mrs Keeping says. . .

Great muster for merino stud tour – Sally Rae:

When it comes to the history of sheep studs, it is hard to go      past the Taylor family from Tasmania.   

The Winton merino stud, established in 1835, is the oldest continually running stud still in the same family, in Australia.   

The stud was founded by David Taylor, whose great-great-grandson, John Taylor, was on the Central Otago Stud Merino Breeders tour last week with his wife Vera. It was the first time Mr Taylor had been on the tour and he was impressed. . .

Rangiora unscahed by quakes no more:

The closure of PGG Wrightson’s rural supply store and eviction for Farm to Farm Tours is another knock for Rangiora, a town that once looked to have escaped the worst of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Building inspectors have been at work in a big way here since the twin rattles of December 23 and the delicate frontages of High Street are now shielded by shipping containers and a lattice-work of protective fencing. You can still shop in main-street Rangiora but you have to pick your way through a maze of obstacles to do it.

Retailers have watched anxiously as one building after another is either temporarily or permanently put out of bounds because of earthquake damage. Among them is a rural mainstay, Farm to Farm Tours run by long-time farm management consultant Ross Macmillan. . .

Farmer in swimsuit for competition – Shawn McAvinue:

Southland dairy farmer wearing a slinky swimsuit has fleshed out entries in a competition to encourage low effluent ponds.

No Southland dairy farmers had entered the competition a week before it closed on March 30 but shortly after an article in The Southland Times about the poor turnout farmers with low ponds came forward . . .

Remembering Five Forks school days – Ruth Grundy:

For an Oamaru couple who attended schools in the Five Forks district early last century, life on the farm and growing up in their small close-knit community left a lasting impression.

The Five Forks community will celebrate 100 years of schooling at three schools – Maruakoa, Fuchsia Creek and Five Forks, at Queen’s Birthday weekend.

There are no surviving pupils of Maruakoa School, which opened in 1912 and closed in 1918, but there is a good contingent of seniors who remember their school days at Five Forks and Fuchsia Creek primary schools.

Former Fuchsia Creek School pupil Jim Kingan, 82, said generations of the Kingan family had never moved far from the district and most had continued to farm. . .

Health capsules hve cherry on top claims – Andrea Fox:

Business is a bowl of cherries for two Waikato companies – or potentially, many tonnes of cherries, with their launch of a new natural health treatment for stress and sleep difficulty with globally superior claims.

The companies are a Waikato Innovation Park start-up joint venture called Fruision and established health and natural beauty products retailer Moanui Laboratories.

The story behind the commercialisation of their product is complicated and stretches back a few years, but starts simply enough with central Otago’s Summerfruit Orchards, a grower of fine sweet cherries, which wanted to add value to its fruit destined for the pigs because it was not perfectly shaped, or rain-split, or otherwise flawed. . .

All set for success – Ruth Grundy:

As the countdown begins to the opening tomorrow of New Zealand’s most prestigious pony club event, there are four North Otago women who are hoping they have thought of everything.

Tomorrow marks the start of the four-day 2012 New Zealand Community Trust New Zealand Pony Club Association (NZPCA) Horse Trials Championships. . .

The championships are being hosted by the Ashburton-South Canterbury-North Otago Area Pony Club, at the Oamaru Racecourse.


Drink away your tax problem

March 20, 2012

Email from a wine company:

We want to pay more tax and you want to pay less.

Buy a case of (our wine) before 31 March 2012 and write off the total cost this year.

Drink it this year, order another case in April and write yourself off. 

Only available to responsible drinkers and persons domiciled in New Zealand for tax purposes.

I’m not sure our accountant takes the same approach to deductable expenses as theirs.


Wine & cows part 2

December 8, 2011

Following on from the previous post, scientists think that cows fed on the dregs left over from wine making produce less methane.

New research has found a convenient and practical use for the leftover  material from wine-making that will help two sometimes fiercely competing  worlds; the environment and agriculture.

When fed the stems, seeds and skins that were left over from making red wine,  material known as grape marc, the methane emissions from dairy cows dropped by  20 per cent.

The study, conducted at the Victorian Department of Primary Industries dairy  research centre, also found that the cows’ milk production increased by 5 per  cent, while the healthy fatty acids in their milk also rose.

They don’t say how much wine we’d all have to drink to produce the feed, nor whether drinking it would negate any benefits from milk with more healthy fatty acids and antioxidents.


It really does taste of cats’ pee

May 13, 2009

A hot day, a shady spot, and a glass of cool, white wine.

Sauvingnon blanc, preferably, with the key flavours of passionfruit, asparagus and a hint of cats pee.

I’ve heard alcohol called piss before, I’ve heard of people who overindulge described as pissed, but this is the first time I’ve come across scientific verification that wine taste like that.

The isolation of cat’s pee, asparagus and passion fruit compounds are just some of the findings of the sauvignon blanc project – a joint study by Lincoln University, Plant and Food, and Auckland University

The six year, $13 million project will help improve the quality of the product, as well as improve overseas sales – a market worth almost a billion dollars in 2008.

I’ll take their word for it and I’m not going to ask know how they know what cats’ pee tastes like.

But if I was in marketing I think I’d be emphasising the fruit flavours in preference to the feline one;


Just two half glasses

November 30, 2008

As the designated driver for our party of five I took a precautionary approach to alcohol at Friday’s wedding.

I accepted a glass of bubbles when we arrived at the reception and nursed it over the next couple of hours until we sat down for dinner. The glass was still half full but I abandoned it in favour of a still white for the toasts and drank about half of that with the meal.

After just two half glasses of wine over several hours, accompanied by food, I should still have been in full control, but that didn’t stop me tripping over en route to the dance floor.

I fell on my left hand and am now sporting a compression bandage, a sling and relief I hadn’t drunk more because if I can do this much damage on two half glasses, I hate to think of the mess I’d be in had I emptied them.


Key facts for primary sector outlook

August 7, 2008

MAF’s SONZAF (Situation and Outlook for Agriculture and Forestry)  key facts  indicate:  

Dairy

  • Dairy export earnings are projected to peak next year at $12 billion – more than 40% higher than earnings two years ago.
  • Dairy export earnings are projected to ease back to $10.5 billion in 2010 before rising again to just under $12 billion by 2012.
  • The weighted average payout (net of industry goods levy) for the next four years averages around $6 – significantly higher than the previous five year period. Detailed payout projections are $6.90 (2009), $5.78 (2010), $5.98 (2011), $6.32 (2012).
  • Demand is growing from new markets in China and OPEC countries. OPEC countries account for 21% of New Zealand’s total dairy exports.
  • The South Island continues to drive dairy herd expansion. The South Island herd grew by 13% last year – 31% of New Zealand’s dairy herd is now in the South Island.

Beef

  • Manufacturing beef (a type of minced beef) prices are expected to rise by more than 30% over the five year forecast period.
  • Beef export volumes are projected to fall by about 2% next year due to drought but to grow back to 2007 levels by the end of the five year forecast period.
  • Export returns currently at $1.5 billion are expected to climb steadily to $2.26 billion by 2012.

Lamb

  • Sheep numbers were down 4% at June 2007.
  • The drought and recent low prices are pushing further declines in sheep numbers – adult sheep slaughter increased by 28% for the year ended June 2008.
  • Lower stock numbers and lower weights mean lamb export volumes are projected to fall through the five year period by 11% to 287 000 tonnes.
  • Higher prices are set to push overall export earnings over the same period up by 25% from the current $2.1 billion to $2.6 billion.

Wool

  • The average wool sale price is projected to rise by just over 40% over the next five years to $5.35 per kilogram.
  • Wool volumes are projected to plateau as falling sheep numbers balance higher prices at 142 000 tonnes.
  • After an initial fall export earnings are projected to grow by 29% over the five year period to $795 million.

Forestry

  • Log prices and pulp prices are both projected to climb by more than 30% over the next five years.
  • Timber and panel export prices are projected to fall before recovering but volumes remain relatively flat over the next five years.
  • Overall forestry export returns are projected to grow from $3.3 billion in 2008 to $4.5 billion in 2012.

Wine

  • Wine grapes are now the largest single horticultural crop in New Zealand at more than 25 000 hectares.
  • A big harvest this year will boost export volumes by 30% in next year and increased plantings will push exports up by more than 50% by 2012.
  • The value of wine exports is projected to rise by 76% to $1.3 billion by 2012.
  • Sauvignon Blanc makes up 75% of wine exports and is New Zealand’s largest wine export followed by Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot.

Kiwifruit

  • The current average price of $8.1 per tray of kiwifruit is projected to grow to $10.7 a tray by 2012.
  • Predicted kiwifruit export volumes remain static at just under 100 million trays over the next five years.
  • Kiwifruit export returns are projected to grow from $779 million dollars to $1.06 billion by 2012. 

MAF’s assumptions are based on expectations for “normal” climatic conditions with no allowance for domestic or international natural disasters nor major economic changes. Projections are based on Treasury’s exchange rate assumptions from the 2008 Budget.


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