Rural round-up

April 30, 2014

PM turns first sod on Central Plains Water irrigation scheme:

Prime Minister John Key today turned the first sod of the $375 million Central Plains Irrigation Scheme near Hororata in Canterbury.

First conceived in 2001, Stage 1 of the 60,000 ha scheme is expected to deliver water to 20,000 ha of Central Canterbury in September next year.

Chief executive Derek Crombie said that the first major work on the $140m first stage, comprising the 17km-long headrace canal and bridges, will commence immediately, with construction of the 130km-long pipeline network picking up momentum mid-year.

“We expect to have up to 150 contractors working on a number of sites in the near future and to this end we are heartened by the experience of our two major contractors, Fulton Hogan/John Holland JV on the headrace canal and Downers, supported by subcontractors Aquaduct NZ Ltd, for the pipe network. . .

Construction begins on Central Plains Water irrigation scheme in Canterbury:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the official start of construction on the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme in Canterbury, which has the potential to create up to $1.4 billion in new economic activity.

“This is a proud day for the Canterbury region, with major benefits both economically and environmentally.

“When fully completed the scheme will irrigate about 60,000ha in the central Canterbury area, bounded by the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers, and the foothills and State Highway 1.

“It’s estimated there will be additional economic activity of between $1 billion and $1.4 billion created, an export boost of $300 million per year, and around 1,100 new fulltime equivalent jobs. . .

Sheep and beef farm profits forecast to increase 35 per cent:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s latest forecast, released today, tells a positive story for farmers and the wider industry.

The organisation’s Mid-Season Update predicts better pricing and strong demand for sheepmeat and beef products from key markets.

The report outlined improved product prices which are expected to drive average sheep and beef farm profit up by 35 per cent on the drought-affected level of last season. The Mid-Season Update estimates that farm profit before tax for the 2013-14 season will rise to an average of $113,700 per farm.

B+LNZ Economic Service Chief Economist Andrew Burtt says total gross farm revenue is expected to increase 9.2 per cent to $460,200, reflecting a 12 per cent increase in sheep revenue. Total farm expenditure is estimated to be up 2.8 per cent, to $346,500, on the back of increases in repairs and maintenance expenditures. Interest expenditure dropped by 2.6 per cent, thanks to a slight decrease in farm debt and lower interest rates. . .

The full report is here.

Agricultural footprint risks getting out of balance – Allan Barber:

While not exactly a new or revolutionary call for action, Fish and Game’s call last week for an independent review of water use and leaching into waterways was another bit of pressure on the future development of New Zealand farming. The organisation has long been agitating for such a review, but the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s critical report on land use and nutrient pollution in waterways has provided it with further ammunition.

Inevitably dairy is cited as the main culprit for the increase in pollution because stocking rates are higher and there is more runoff into rivers and waterways from dairy than from sheep and beef. Fonterra says it has collected nutrient data from nearly 4000 farms which will provide information on how to mitigate the impact of nutrients; in addition fencing of waterways is now an obligatory condition of milk collection, although Fish and Game questions how rigorously this is being audited.

According to modelling by NIWA and Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, by 2020 a further 400,000 hectares of sheep and beef farm land will have been converted to dairy. There will be a large increase in nitrogen runoff in most regions including Canterbury, Southland, Otago and Wellington. . .

Kiwi and Korean deer farmers to work together:

The deer industry plans to work with Korean deer farmers to further build demand for New Zealand deer antler velvet in South Korea, its largest market.

“The Korean Deer Breeders Association used to be opposed to velvet imports, but they now accept that by working together we can grow the pie for their farmers, as well as ours,” says Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) chief executive Dan Coup.

Long part of the allure of deer farming, with an Asian medical pedigree going back thousands of years, velvet has recently stepped into the modern era.

“In South Korea there is growing demand among affluent consumers for health foods and tonics based on traditional ingredients like velvet and ginseng. Because of New Zealand’s reputation for natural, safe and quality-assured product, respected Korean food companies see us as the ideal source of velvet,” Mr Coup says. . . .

Fonterra takes sustainable dairy farming to YouTube:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited is putting dairy farm water and environmental conservation in the spotlight with the launch of a series of YouTube videos focusing on responsible dairying initiatives taking place on New Zealand farms.

Entitled Farm Focus, the series begins today and will feature one farm every Wednesday for four weeks on Fonterra’s YouTube channel. The videos will also be posted on Fonterra’s Facebook and Twitter pages under the hashtag #farmfocus.

The four farms featured are from the central and eastern North Island of New Zealand. Each video accounts for one farm and the activities undertaken to protect waterways and natural resources while enhancing the economic viability of a farm. . . .

Birds are on the menu once more:

The 2014 Gamebird Food Festival is opening this Saturday with restaurants from Kerikeri to Invercargill opening their kitchens to cook either this year’s catch of duck, pheasant and quail, or commercially sourced birds.

So far 13 restaurants have confirmed they are taking part in this year’s Gamebird Food Festival to celebrate the hunting season, which opens on Saturday (3 May).

The aim of Fish & Game New Zealand’s Festival is to promote game birds as a delicious, free-range food source: Hunters can take their own birds into participating restaurants to have them prepared by professional chefs, or non-hunters can choose commercially sourced duck, pheasant or quail from the menu. . .

Yealands Family Wines wins ‘Green Company of the Year’ in leading global sustainability awards:

Yealands Estate has been selected as the “Green Company of the Year” by the UK’s leading drinks publisher, Drinks Business.

The Green Awards are the world’s largest programme in the drinks trade raising awareness of green issues and recognising those leading the way in sustainability and environmental practice.

Founder of Yealands Family Wines, Peter Yealands, says this global recognition is another welcome endorsement of their philosophy, culture and focus on continual environmental improvement. . .


Rural round-up

June 10, 2013

Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries:

The primary industries are continuing to perform well in the face of significant challenges this year, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the medium-term outlook is very positive.

The Ministry has released the annual Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report, which includes production, trade and pricing statistics for the current season and for three or four years out.

“It’s been a season of two halves for the land-based industries, with many areas impacted by drought in the second half,” says Jarred Mair, Sector Policy director.

“The impacts of the severe drought continue and could continue for several seasons, for example many sheep and beef farms need to build breeding stock numbers back up.” . . .

Vintage year for Zespri Kiwifruit:

The 2013 New Zealand kiwifruit season has already set records for the best-tasting Zespri Kiwifruit ever.

With harvest nearly completed, on-orchard sampling has confirmed what Zespri consumers have been saying – that this year is a vintage taste year for Zespri Kiwifruit.

Carol Ward, Zespri General Manager Marketing, says every block of every Zespri-supplying orchard is tested for levels of dry matter before harvest, with dry matter corresponding to sweetness in ripe fruit. . . .

Synlait Milk Attracts Leading Infant Nutrition Quality Executive:

Michael Stein, a former Director of Quality for one the world’s leading companies in paediatric nutrition will join Synlait Milk as General Manager Quality later this month.

Synlait Milk Chief Executive Officer John Penno says he is delighted that a person of Michael’s experience and reputation will join the Company further reinforcing its reputation as a trusted supplier of ingredient and infant nutritional products.

“The integrity of our products is of paramount importance to us and our customers. It is a task that is constantly evolving to meet customer and regulatory requirements. That has encouraged our decision to seek a high calibre General Manager Quality with a depth of experience in international markets.” . . .

Manuka Health seeks to strengthen links with Japan:

Manuka Health was one of a select group of New Zealand functional food companies to be invited by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to a workshop in Japan to introduce leading-edge research to Japanese food and beverage companies.

The “New Zealand Innovation to Industry Workshop”, was held at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology recently where Manuka Health was invited to speak on the topic of generating intellectual property for natural products and functional foods.

The workshop was the first of its kind organised by MBIE in Japan to help New Zealand’s research-based, innovation to form research and commercial partnerships with another country. . .

Yealands Estate recognised for leadership in sustainability at Green Ribbon Awards

Yealands Estate has won the ‘Large business leadership’ award at the Ministry for the Environment Green Ribbon Awards, at an awards ceremony at the Parliament Buildings, Wellington. The winery was one of 11 winners and the only wine producer to receive an award.

Environment Minister Amy Adams presented the award for the ‘Large business leadership’ category, which acknowledges businesses with over 100 employees who demonstrate an on-going commitment to environmental best practices. . .

Decanter Magazine selects Yealands Estate as best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:

Prestigious UK publication Decanter Magazine has recognised Yealands Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2011 as “Outstanding” in a review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Of the 91 wines tasted, Yealands Estate Reserve was the only wine to receive the top accolade, with an impressive score of 95 out of 100.

The article praises the overall quality of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with the Yealands Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc coming out on top. The wines were tasted and rated by three experts: Melanie Brown, Roger Jones and Peter McCombie MW. Peter McCombie MW commented ‘my highest scores were all Marlborough in origin, and half of those were from the cooler Awatere sub-zone. The Awatere style is more tomato stalk, rather than overtly tropical wines from the much more planted Wairau Valley, and the best have a degree of restraint that appeals to me.’ . . .

It’s not a fantasy: Seattle to build nation’s first food forest:

Forget meadows. The city’s new park will be filled with edible plants, and everything from pears to herbs will be free for the taking.

Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest. . .


Rural round-up

September 14, 2012

“Healthy bastards” outlive hard ones – Laura Richards:

Men are not meant to die earlier than women, but they do, according to Doctor Dave Baldwin. Men live four years less than women, on average, he said.

“They have higher rates of suicide, heart disease and cancer.”

Known as the Bulls Flying Doctor throughout the country, Dr Baldwin was the keynote speaker at this year’s final Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Manawatu Finishing Farm seminar series held in Feilding.

While the message of “How to be a healthy bastard – a farmer’s guide” was more geared to the men in the audience, everyone enjoyed the politically incorrect chuckles along the way. . .

Kangaroo meat healthier: foodies:

CHEFS and nutritionists are hopping on the kangaroo train, urging diners to eat roo meat for its health benefits.

Executive chef John Lawson, from Mr Hive restaurant, says Australia should embrace roo on the menu.

There needs to be more marketing around kangaroos and how to cook them,” he said.

“People have avoided roo because of the perception it is a wild animal so it is tough and lean, but they cultivate them now so they do have more fat on them.”

Nutritionist Lola Berry said it was great for losing weight . . .

Lavender oils award success out of the blue – Sally Rae:

When Barry and Jo Todd entered their lavender oil in the New Zealand Lavender Growers Association’s awards, they wanted    to ascertain the quality of their oil.   

The first-time entrants were “totally gobsmacked” to win the Ken Wilson Memorial Trophy and the Eoin Johnson Memorial Cup  for the best grosso and best lavandin oil respectively, along with a silver award.   

Mr and Mrs Todd own a boutique lavender farm, Danseys Pass Lavender, in the remote Danseys Pass in North Otago. . .

Decision to Enter Ballance Farm Environment Awards Pays Off:

Frank Portegys almost didn’t enter the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he felt his family-owned dairy farm wasn’t ready.

He can see the irony in this because as a former fertiliser and dairy farm consultant he’d often encouraged other people to enter in the past. He’d even been a judge for the competition.

“So I’ve heard the excuses about the farm not being ready. I’ve always wanted to enter the Awards but we are only in our fifth season here and our riparian plantings are in the very early stages, so I was a little hesitant at the start.” . . .

Best Sauvignon Blanc in the World and a Trio of Trophies for Yealands Estate at the International Wine Challenge

Yealands Estate has collected a trio of trophies at the International Wine Challenge Awards ceremony held in London last night.

In addition to the International Sauvignon Blanc and the White Marlborough trophy, Yealands Estate Single Block S1 Sauvignon Blanc 2011 was also awarded the 2012 James Roger Trophy. . . .

Bay’s wine website now with Chinese subtitles

As more Hawke’s Bay wineries move to tempt the growing number of Chinese wine drinkers, the region’s wine organisation is gearing up to support them with an updated website that features Chinese translation of both copy and videos.

Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Inc., executive officer Lyn Bevin reports there are 26 local wineries now exporting to China, up from 18 late last year. . .


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