Rural round-up

March 23, 2013

Forestry helps economy grow at fastest pace in three years – Paul McBeth:

The New Zealand economy grew at the fastest quarterly pace in three years in the tail end of last year as demand for forestry exports underpinned gains in the primary sector. The kiwi dollar climbed on the figures.

Gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent to $36.81 billion in the three months ended December 31, from a 0.2 percent pace in the September period, according to Statistics New Zealand.

That is almost twice the 0.8 percent pace of expansion predicted by the Reserve Bank in its latest forecasts published last week and the fastest pace since December 2009. . .

Dairy price rise not the breaking dawn:

Federated Farmers is warning against overstating the 14.8 percent rise in the latest GlobalDairyTrade online auction, saying the increase is driven solely by supply and demand.

“New Zealand’s drought needs to be taken with the one that the United States suffered and unexceptional production out of Europe,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“When you look at the global picture it is no wonder prices have spiked upwards. Westpac is forecasting New Zealand’s production may actually decline for the first time in years. The truth is that the supply of milk and global demand is finely balanced.

“This makes markets skitty and while any increase in international price is welcome, it is moot when you are yet to be fully paid-out for what you have produced. In the North Island many herds have either stopped production or are in the process of drying off early. . .

Local TBfree stalwart retires after three decades:

Well-known Helensville farmer John Glasson will retire from the TBfree Auckland Committee this month after 30 years at the forefront of the region’s mission to control bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Mr Glasson played an important role in reducing possum numbers and cattle and deer herd TB testing requirements in the South Kaipara Head area. “I recall my first experience with bovine TB in 1953 when 48 out of my father’s 100 cattle tested positive to the disease,” said Mr Glasson. These kinds of figures are unheard of today in the Auckland region.

His father’s encounter with the disease, and the experiences of others, prompted Mr Glasson to become involved with the TB control programme as a member of the Regional Animal Health Committee in the early 1980s. He recalls large numbers of possums that were passing the disease to farmed cattle and deer in the region. . .

East Coast still dry – 11mm not enough Fed head says – Kristen Paterson:

The huge low that spread across New Zealand days ago brought rain and relief to most areas of the country but the East Coast is still dry after a minimal fall.

The region is in the grips of what is a 70-year serious drought event, Federated Farmers President Bruce Wills told BusinessDesk.

“There’s a long way to go yet. All the rain did was give us some hope and a bit of a reprieve,” he says. But even after the rain it’s going to take two to three weeks to grow grass on the dry, parched paddocks. . .

Kiwifruit helps maintain muscles at optimum levels

Researchers at the University of Otago, Christchurch, have found a daily vitamin C intake equivalent to eating two kiwifruit a day is required to ensure muscles maintain optimal levels.

Professor Margreet Vissers and her team at the Centre for Free Radical Research gave 54 males aged 18-35 either half a kiwifruit or two kiwifruit a day over a six-week period.

They then measured the vitamin C content in muscle and elsewhere in the body. . .

Lincoln University experts on tourism and water:

Potential water shortages and water stress will present a significant threat to the future growth and development of the tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region states a white paper on Tourism and Water released today in Singapore.

The international white paper was prepared by a leading research consortium supported by the EarthCheck Research Institute and EcoLab international a global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies.

Susanne Becken, Adjunct Professor at Lincoln University and Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University, together with Dr Raj Rajan, Vice-President of Global Sustainability for Ecolab, presented the findings of the white paper at the Singapore International Water Festival.  . .

World Wine Trade Group conclude Treaty Protocol on wine labelling:

Trade Minister Tim Groser has welcomed the new Treaty Protocol on Wine Labelling, agreed today by members of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG).

In 2007, the WWTG negotiated a Treaty on Wine Labelling which set new standards in the field. The Protocol takes this further by requiring participant countries to allow the importation and sale of wine from other signatories, provided it meets minimum standards for labelling (relating to alcohol tolerance, variety, vintage and wine region), and the exporting country’s laws and regulations.

The key benefits of the Protocol for New Zealand producers are that, once in force, it should provide enhanced access to overseas markets, enhanced predictability about regulation in key markets; and will set a useful benchmark for WWTG observer countries and other non-members. . .

Waikato Times letter of the month: runner up – Quote Unquote:

Another drought-related letter, this time blaming gay marriage rather than PKE, as the winner did. From yesterday’s issue, 21 March:

God and the drought

I have a thought about the drought in this country, which affects our country at its grass roots.

Perhaps a contributing factor is the new marriage law proposed in Parliament. . .


Rural round-up

November 7, 2012

Fonterra man’s new international post – Caleb Allison:

Fonterra’s director of research, science and technology  has been elected president of the International Dairy Federation.

Dr Jeremy Hill, who replaces Richard Doyle, was elected yesterday at the IDF’s World Dairy Summit in South Africa.

The IDF bills itself as a “non-profit private sector organisation representing the interests of various stakeholders in dairying at the international level”. . .

Nugget from the Cavalcades:

Otago Daily Times agri-business editor Sally Rae and illustrations editor Stephen Jaquiery teamed up to add a book to the already groaning New Zealand bookseller’s shelves. This is their story of how that happened.

One a writer, the other a photographer, and between us we have been on more than half of the 20 cavalcades, so co-producing a book on the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust’s horse and cart pilgrimages seemed to make sense.

We had an idea, a vision, a collection of many thousands of photographs and loads of potential subjects for compelling, highly entertaining stories. But before getting too serious, we had to find a publisher. . .

Make no excuses, just enter – Sally Rae:

Lorraine Johnson is ready to counter any excuses people may have for not entering the 2013 Otago regional competition of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

The awards will be launched at a function at the Cross Recreation Centre in Balclutha tomorrow at 7.30pm.

Mrs Johnson, who is regional convener, urged people to “come along and launch yourself and your career”. . .

Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation scheme gets piping mandate:

A decision to pipe the Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation scheme will result in significant energy savings and improved water use efficiency.

The 234 shareholders in the Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation Limited (ALIL) have voted 82% in favour of piping over 200km of the scheme’s open water races.

ALIL’s chairman, John van Polanen, says the energy saved by piping the scheme is equivalent to the energy used by 2000 homes. . .

Sky farms are here – Misc-Science:

I’ve blogged before about sky farms, and how I think they’re a truly excellent idea. When last I wrote about it in 2009, it was a mad (yet extremely rational), science fictional solution to agriculture.

Now, as with so much of its ilk, it’s HERE.

I literally just threw my hands up in the air and shouted ‘F**k yeah!’ 🙂

Singapore has built the world’s first sky farm: it opened this year. And now, it’s begun selling its produce. . .

Global wine meetings in Auckland:

Two international wine meetings are being held in Auckland this week – the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Wine Regulatory Forum (November 5-6) and the World Wine Trade Group meeting (November 7-9).

The two-day APEC Wine Regulatory Forum will bring together 67 wine regulators and industry representatives from 15 APEC economies to discuss wine trade risk assessment and management as well as coordinating approaches to wine certification. Participants will also develop a set of recommendations for future APEC activities aimed at tackling unnecessary wine-related non-tariff barriers in the region. . .


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