Rural round-up

August 31, 2017

South Canterbury coastal plan will become operative in September – Elena McPhee:

A change to coastal South Canterbury’s farming rules will come into force next month and despite an initial challenge, farmers say they are now looking forward to helping protect a nationally significant wetland area.

The South Coastal Canterbury Plan Change addresses both water quality and water quantity in the catchment, which includes Wainono Lagoon.

Environment Canterbury councillor Peter Skelton said the schedule set out good farming practices relating to nutrient management, irrigation management, grazing intensively-farmed stock, farm cultivation, and animal effluent. . .

‘Retirement’ is apples for Murray – Yvonne O’Hara:

Former Alexandra retailer Murray Bell has given up heels and soles for Honeycrisp and Jazz.

Mr Bell, 63, retired from his shoe retailing business earlier this year, but relaxing with his feet up has yet to happen.

He and partner Rachel Samuel have Crag-an-oir Orchard, which is 15ha of apple trees on the outskirts of Alexandra.

They originally grew some apricots, but they now focus solely on growing several apple varieties, using organic principles. The orchard is certified under BioGro as part of the Springvale Apple Growers Partnership. . .

TracMap gets room to expand:

TracMap founder Colin Brown addresses the crowd at the opening of the company’s new offices in Dukes Rd, Mosgiel, last week.

The company supplies precision guidance systems to the primary food production industries with the cloud-based system allowing accurate task management and placement reporting for products, people and vehicles in-field. . .

Agrifood sector is tech-savvy but not ready for major disruption:

A new agrifood sector report has found that New Zealand farmers have been quick to adopt smart farming techniques, but few are preparing for major technological disruption.

The report, funded through Microsoft’s Academic Programs initiative and prepared by researchers from the Massey Business School, examined the impact of cloud computing and other potentially disruptive technologies on the sector.

Researchers interviewed both technologists and members of the agrifood industry – and found there was a gap between how the two groups perceive the future. . . 

Red Stag Timber plans to lift production from its Waipa ‘super mill’ to meet demand – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – Red Stag Timber, which developed New Zealand’s first ‘super mill’ a year ago, plans to step up production next year to meet demand in its local and overseas markets.

The Rotorua-based Waipa Mill increased its production of sawn timber to an annual 550,000 cubic metres from 450,000 cubic metres after investing over $100 million in more efficient machinery, transforming the mill, and plans to lift production further to 600,000 cubic metres from next year, general manager Tim Rigter told BusinessDesk in an interview at the Waipa State Mill Road site. . . 

Telco minnow joins giants by winning rural broadband contract:

A no-frills approach has seen Hawke’s Bay-based rural wireless broadband company AoNet Broadband successfully compete with the giants of the industry to win a slice of the Government’s latest rural broadband funding package.

Telecommunications Minister Simon Bridges today announced AoNet Broadband as the Wireless Internet Service Provider for the King Country, making it responsible for connecting homes over an area that includes remote and mountainous terrain.

The appointment is part of a $150 million funding package for telco companies to partner with the Government through Crown Fibre Holdings Limited (CFH) to bring better broadband and mobile services to an increased number of under-served rural areas, state highways, businesses, residents and tourists in New Zealand. . . 

First chilled meat shipments to China – Allan Barber:

According to a press release from SFF the company’s first sea container leaves this week for arrival early next month, claimed by the company to be the first sea freight consignment of chilled product to the Chinese market which has only recently opened up to New Zealand meat exporters. However, I have since been informed that the first shipment from Greenlea arrived on 18th August and a chilled container of AFFCO product is already on the water, arriving on Friday 1st September, with a container of chilled mutton being shipped next week.

According to SFF’s press release the company has already trialled small quantities of chilled beef cuts to food service distributors for high end restaurants and lamb cuts to a multinational supermarket chain. But the sea shipment is planned to test the port and supply chain protocols for large scale consignments of chilled product. . . 

Swiss meat is expensive in dollars, cheap in minutes – Catherine Bosley:

Swiss meat prices are pretty hard to stomach at first glance.

At $49.68, Switzerland tops the ranking for a kilogram of beef leg round. Yet that seemingly eye-watering sum – around 150 percent higher than the world average – gets more reasonable when you factor in what locals get paid: An unskilled worker needs just 3.1 hours to afford it.

The 2017 Meat Price Index is a foray into the study of relative price levels of goods and labor. According to publisher Caterwings, the cost of beef, fish, chicken, pork and lamb in each country’s biggest cities were compared to the minimum wage and then calculations were run for affordability. In those where there is no federal statutory minimum, it used the average pay for unskilled labor. . . 

Allied Farmers posts 60% lift in full-year profit as livestock division outperforms – Rebecca Howard:

 (BusinessDesk) – Rural services firm Allied Farmers reported a 60 percent lift in net profit on an improved result from its livestock division, particularly in the second half, and further cost reduction.

The Hawera-based company said net profit was $2.2 million in the year ended June 30 versus $1.4 million in the prior year. Pretax earnings were up 52 percent to $2.4 million, which was ahead of the guidance it gave in June when it forecast a 40 percent gain. . . 

 

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Rural round-up

August 25, 2017

Clues to cow disease spread – Hamish MacLean:

The South Canterbury farmer whose property was first identified as infected with Mycoplasma bovis now fears the disease might also be present further north.

Glenavy farmer Aad van Leeuwen’s comments come after the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced yesterday the cattle disease was present in Otago.

It had been hoped the outbreak, first detected on Mr van Leeuwen’s Bennetts Rd farm on July 22, and then on his nearby Dog Kennel Rd farm on July 31, was confined to the South Canterbury area.

MPI said blood test results from a farm in the Oamaru area – known to have had a ”direct connection” with the Bennetts Rd farm prior to its current lockdown – showed ”some animals have been infected with the disease”. . .

Flux-meter data relevant for south – Yvonne O’Hara:

Information on nutrient losses from the Foundation for Arable Research’s (Far) flux-meter data-collection project will have applications for Otago and Southland arable farmers.
Far heard earlier this month it had been given $485,168 for its

”Protecting our groundwater: measuring and managing diffuse nutrient losses from cropping systems” project from the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund.

The $1million project has been under way for three years in partnership with HortNZ, Ravensdown, five regional councils and Plant and Food Research. The balance of funding comes from industry and regional council partners. . .

Record 2016/17 season recounted at Zespri AGM

Zespri reported to around 500 grower-shareholders today at its Annual Meeting on a record 2016/17 season, with global sales up 19 percent from last season to $2.26 billion on the back of exceptionally high yields.

Pool results
Zespri Chairman Peter McBride explains the high yields and late start to the New Zealand season meant lower per-tray returns for Zespri Green but continued strong per-hectare returns for the Green business. . . 

New initiative prepares women for calf rearing:

Canterbury dairy farm contractor Nicole Jackson is on a mission to reduce the number of injuries to female calf rearers during the physically demanding calving season.

She’s created a six-week online conditioning and strengthening initiative for women to prepare their bodies for the physically gruelling calving season, which is currently under way in many parts of the country.

“There’s a lot of information out there about things like getting meals and the kids ready for calving season but not a lot about getting your body ready,” says Nicole, a mother of two young boys.

“Women are often involved in calf rearing and it’s really hard physical work. Women are often busy juggling kids and work so it’s hard for them sometimes to stay active and find time to work on their fitness . . .

The secret to cutting nitrogen leaching – Laurel Stowell:

Napier-based farming expert Barrie Ridler has some answers for farmers struggling to curb their nitrogen leaching.

Dairy farmers, especially in the Tararua District, are waiting to see how Horizons Regional Council reacts to the Environment Court’s April declarations – but are already under pressure to reduce the nitrogen they leach.

Mr Ridler says matching stock numbers to pasture growth is the secret, and keeping the two in balance will limit greenhouse gas emissions. . .

Youth scholarships help develop Ag careers – Esther Taunton:

A former Inglewood High School student is among the first recipients of a Silver Fern Farms Pasture to Plate Youth Scholarship.

Jake Jarman, who grew up on a central Taranaki dairy farm, will receive $5000 to help further his career in farming.

The scholarships are aimed at helping young people develop their careers in the red meat, food and farming industries and SFF chief executive Dean Hamilton said the talent emerging from applications indicated a bright future for the broader red meat sector. . .

 

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I’m a farmer. I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I”m done.


Rural round-up

August 12, 2017

Farming to end –  Annette Scott:

FARMING will have to shut down in Canterbury’s Selwyn district to meet national water quality standards for the region’s polluted Lake Ellesmere, Environment Canterbury has told the Government.

In a business case analysis provided to the Ministry for the Environment, ECan outlined significant fundamental change needed to bring the lake, one of New Zealand’s most polluted, into line.

“On the current basis to achieve Government freshwater outcomes as mandated it would mean taking all intensive agriculture, not just dairy, out of the play,” ECan councillor and Selwyn district farmer John Sunckell said. . .

Mycoplasma bovis update:

MPI’s progress in the response to the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis was the focus of a well-attended public meeting in Waimate last night.

Around 100 people turned out to hear MPI officials and a number of industry body partners outline the current surveillance and testing regime and timelines, the robustness of disease containment measures and the actions farmers can take to protect their farms.

There remains no change to the number of properties with confirmed positive test results for Mycoplasma bovis – 2 farms, both within the wider Van Leeuwen group of farms. . .

Beltex lambs hit the ground – Annette Scott:

THE first lamb has hit the ground marking the beginning of an exciting new meat breed for the New Zealand sheep industry.

And for the partners in the venture it was almost more exciting than getting grandchildren.

Beltex embryos imported from England were transferred to four-year-old Perendale ewes on Blair Gallagher’s Mid Canterbury foothills Rangiatea farm in March. . .

Demand for vets ‘unprecedented‘ – Yvonne O’Hara:

As the southern dairy industry improves after seasons of low payouts and on-farm cost-cutting, some of the region’s veterinarian practices are finding it difficult to fill staff vacancies, a trend that is reflected nationally.

They are also in competition with overseas recruiting agencies, which are eyeing New Zealand to fill their clients’ needs.

The increasing demand for both production and companion animal vet services as practices get busier, is a good indicator of how well the economy is doing, New Zealand Veterinary Association’s Veterinary Business Group chairwoman Debra Gates said. . .

Catchment group and iwi join forces – Nicole Sharp:

The Pourakino Catchment Group and local iwi are putting a game plan in place for increasing plantings and improving water quality in the catchment by working together.

The group hosted a field day at Oraka Aparima Runaka marae recently, talking about the nursery run by the marae and how the two groups would work together to grow and plant trees in the catchment.

The group saw itself as a driver of change in Southland, as one of the earliest formed catchment groups in the region. . .

Too wet to sow pick-your-own verges for Palmerston North grower – Jill Galloway:

A pick-your-own garden is running to crunch point to get some vegetables planted so they’re ready for the week before Christmas, when everybody wants fresh potatoes, peas and berries.

Neville Dickey from Delta Gardens near Palmerston North said he was feeling the pinch of continual wet weather after 34 years of vegetable growing and meeting the Christmas market.

The 12 hectare block was on river silt, gravel and sand, and would dry out soon if there was a break in the weather, he said.

“There are not many years that have we have seen so much rain. We have had rain on and off since September last year.” . .


Rural round-up

April 21, 2017

Feeding the demand – Alan Williams:

Hawke’s Bay farmers who quit many of their lambs as stores in the severe drought of January and February have been buying back in to keep on top of the remarkable turnaround in feed conditions.

They have to restock because of the strong pasture growth that started with warm rains in March, but their buying is also a sign of confidence in lamb values over the finishing period ahead, through winter and early spring, NZX Agri analyst Rachel Agnew said. . . . 

Landcorp’s future in value-add – Alan Williams:

Some complex plans are involved in Landcorp’s move to a value-add strategy and all the shifts required will take some time, chief executive Steven Carden says.

Farms will be sold to free-up cash for the new investment, which includes plans for alternative land uses and growing more crops across all its properties. The state-owned farmer is doing due diligence on a couple of areas, but Carden couldn’t give further details yet. . .

Dairy farmer shares her knowledge in Sri Lanka – Yvonne O’Hara:

Kelso dairy farmer and dairy adviser Marloes Levelink’s background in tropical agriculture proved useful when she was chosen to be part of Fonterra’s farmer volunteer scheme.

Earlier this year she flew to Sri Lanka to provide training and advice to Fonterra’s supplier relationship officers for three weeks as part of its Dairy Development programme.

The programme supports the growth of sustainable dairy industries in key markets where Fonterra operates, including Sri Lanka, by sharing its expertise and working together with local farmers, governments and industry players. . .

Submitters fear for area’s rural character – Tim Miller:

What is rural and what is not was one of the questions posed at a resource consent hearing in Wanaka this week.

Ballantyne Barker Holdings Ltd, owned by Michael and Caroline Garnham, has applied for resource consent to turn 48ha of land near the Cardrona River in Ballantyne Rd into nine residential lots.

Wendy Baker and David Whitney were the independent commissioners appointed to the hearing. . .

Texel conference to mix it up in style – Yvonne O’Hara:

What do goat and sheep cheeses, the Clyde dam, wine, whisky and wild food have in common?

They are all part of Texel New Zealand’s conference from May 1 to 4.

Organising committee spokesman Alistair McLeod said about 50 delegates were expected for the conference, which would be based in Cromwell. . .

Free range cows and robots in future:

Greg Gemmell is a rare man – a dairy farmer who doesn’t get out of bed at 4.30am to milk the cows. His robots do it for him.

What’s more, he believes he is one of the pioneers in new technology that will change the face of New Zealand dairying.

“This isn’t common now,” says the Bunnythorpe farmer who, with wife Amy and farm owners Margaret and Brian Schnell (Amy’s parents), have invested just under $1 million into three Lely Astronaut robot milking machines and a cowshed renovation and retrofit. “But I’ll bet it is in about 10 years – it’s a life-changer.” . . .


Rural round-up

March 13, 2017

Red meat needs change – Sally Rae:

Red Meat Profit Partnership chairman Malcolm Bailey has a simple message for farmers – ”nothing changes unless you’re prepared to change something on your farm”.

”You have to be involved and make changes,” Mr Bailey said, referring to the future of the red meat sector during a recent visit to Dunedin.

RMPP is a seven-year Primary Growth Partnership programme working to help the red meat sector increase productivity and profitability. . . .

Rural spirit shines bright as Olympians star:

The third annual Hilux New Zealand Rural Games began on The Square, Palmerston North today with Olympians Dame Valerie Adams and Mahé Drysdale making guest appearances in an unfamiliar sport.

The double gold medallists swapped shot puts and rowing oars for Red Bands as they competed as wild card entries in the New Zealand Gumboot Throwing Championship in association with Skellerup.

Mahé finished an uncharacteristic last in the men’s competition that was won by James Kellow of Whanganui with a throw of 42.24m. James just edged reigning champion, Olympic decathlete Brent Newdick into second place but couldn’t take Brent’s national record of 44.97m set in 2015. . . .

Tree climbers, coal shovellers and shearers take centre stage on final day of Hilux New Zealand Rural Games 2017:

The final day of the third annual Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North saw national champions decided in ‘sports that built the nation’ including speed shearing, coal shovelling and tree climbing plus an attempt on the egg throwing and catching world record.

News of yesterday’s action, including Dame Valerie Adams winning the NZ Gumboot Throwing Championship, brought even greater numbers to The Square in the city centre to watch top rural sportspeople and have a go themselves. . .

Changes made after 2015 bovine Tb outbreak:

Testing and surveillance changes have been made around Mt Cargill, near Dunedin, after a bovine Tb outbreak in 2015.

TBfree has increased the testing requirements for cattle and deer and designated the area a movement control area to avoid the spread of Tb through movement of stock.

As of March 1, all cattle and deer in the wider Mt Cargill area need a Tb test within 60 days before being moved to another property. . . 

Elusive wallabies prompt pest control campaign

A privately owned Otago pest-control company and the regional council are working to tackle the growing problem of wallabies in the region.

Two of the pests had been shot near Ranfurly in the last few months, one on the golf course.

Maniototo Pest Management said the problem was getting worse and the animal could be devastating to farmers’ crops and pastures.

Company manager Ossie Brown said wallabies were mobile creatures and could travel long distances. . . 

Rockit Global Limited Positioned for Significant International Growth

Havelock North Fruit Company (HNFC), home of delicious, miniature Rockit™ apple snacks, today announced exciting and significant company changes. Effective immediately, the Hawke’s Bay based company will begin trading as Rockit Global Limited. Two experienced growth equity investors have taken a significant stake in the new company and Austin Mortimer has been appointed as its Chief Executive Officer. . . 

Seeking new members – Yvonne O’Hara:

Increasing membership in Young Farmers’ Clubs in Otago and Southland is one of the key goals for the new Otago-Southland regional chairman James Heslip.

The Moa Flat farm manager was voted into his new role at the region’s annual meeting on February 19.

He replaced Chris Pemberton, of Teviot.

”I want to make it so Otago-Southland is the best region in the country,” Mr Heslip said. . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 20, 2016

Merino at heart of firm’s special textiles – Sally Rae:

Global Merino truly lives up to its name.

In August, the company’s founder and chief executive Jose Fernandez and his family moved from the United States to Spain.

The company itself remains based in California, there is an office in Bangkok, its technical director is in Melbourne and much of its merino wool is sourced from New Zealand.

Global Merino is a technical textile manufacturer, founded by Mr Fernandez in 2007, which uses merino wool as a primary ingredient and in a variety of ways. . . 

Livestock learning experience – Sally Rae:

A long day in the sheep yards weaning lambs might not be everyone’s idea of fun  but Scottish teen Jessica England reckons she is living the dream.

Miss England (18), who left school this year, is having a gap experience in New Zealand working on farms.

Her family has a strong connection with New Zealand. She is the great-granddaughter of James Galloway who, with his father Robert, founded the J. W. Galloway business. . . 

Central Otago win tourism growing – Yvonne O’Hhara:

Central Otago is seeing an increase in wine tourism as more tourists wend their way around the region’s cellar doors.

Tourism Central Otago and Central Otago Winegrowers manager Glenys Coughlan said as a result many of the area’s wineries were investing in additional facilities to take advantage of the growth.

”We have certainly seen an increase in interest and investment in wine tourism and I would estimate several million dollars [going] into new and improved facilities in recent times,” Ms Coughlan said. . . 

Up to 40 wasp nests per hectare in Nelson, ecologist says:

A new campaign is under way to combat the heavy wasp population in Nelson-Tasman.

Victoria University insect ecologist Phil Lester said the region, home to honeydew beech forests, has one of the greatest wasp densities in the world, with up to 40 nests per hectare.

A community-led project, which started this week, has been encouraging locals to sign up to put down bait stations containing a wasp poison, Vespex. . . 

Ryan looks forward to challenges :

The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s new General Manager James Ryan is looking forward to the challenges the new job will bring.

Christchurch-based James Ryan, a former policy manager with DairyNZ, was appointed in October this year.

He says the Trust will play a crucial role in guiding farmers through an era of increasingly complex sustainability issues. . .

 

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Pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later.


Rural round-up

December 19, 2016

Alliance develops super lamb – Jamie Gray:

Invercargill-based meat company Alliance Group has developed what it says is a new, tastier, class of lamb.

Alliance is part of the Omega Lamb Primary Growth Partnership – a group of 50 high country farmers and the Ministry for Primary industries – which was formed to come up with an improved product aimed at the premium end of the market.

The partnership aims to increase the total value of lamb and the share of value captured in New Zealand by building high quality, branded products.

Initial feedback from chefs and high end restaurants for the new class has so far been favourable, Mike Tate, general manager of the project, said. . . .

Tinwald bows out – Annette Scott:

The hub of Mid Canterbury’s livestock trading sold stock for the final time last Tuesday marking the end of a once-thriving sheep industry in the district.

As he opened the last-ever weekly sale PGG Wrighston Mid Canterbury livestock manager Greg Cook welcomed a large gathering of farmers, transport operators and drivers, former yardmen and past and present livestock agents.

“This a big turnout to acknowledge the history that goes with the end of an era for Tinwald,” Cook said.

The big yarding of more than 1500 prime sheep was a fitting farewell for 138 years of memories for the local farming community, he said. . .

Greaney at home as Tatum leader – Hugh Strigleman:

Brendhan Greaney feels right at home as the new chief executive of Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company and not just because he has served six years as operations general manager before his promotion.

He was born and raised three kilometres down State Highway 26 from Tatuanui, at Waitoa, where his father Claude was a site manager for New Zealand Dairy Group. . . 

Grass proves most profitable at research farm :

A grass-system dairy farm returned the best profit in the 2015-16 season compared to a cropping farm and a PKE supplement system in an ongoing trial in Northland.

The trial, on the Northland Agricultural Research Farm (NARF) is run by the Northland Dairy Development Trust (with NARF) and is funded by DairyNZ, MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund and Hine Rangi Trust.

Farm working expenses per kg of milk solids were $3.59, $4.20 and $4.01, respectively, for the grass-only, cropping and PKE farms, says Chris Boom, AgFirst Northland, and Kate Reed, NARF farm manager, speaking at a field day this month. . . 

Last bid at world shearing record – Yvonne O’Hara:

Attempting a world shearing record over eight hours is similar to running two marathons, Roxburgh shearer Eru Weeds says.
However, regardless of whether he and his team-mates succeed or fail in the attempt, it will be the last time he attempts such a challenge.

Along with fellow shearers James Mack, of Dannevirke, and Luke Mullins, of Taihape, Mr Weeds, who is in Hawke’s Bay working, will attempt to set a world record for shearing ewes over eight hours on January 17 at Waitara Station near Napier.

He said the record was 1349. . . 

Theft of stock alleged  – Simon Hartley:

Allegations of widespread stock theft across the lower South Island have rocked Otago’s farming community, which collectively could be hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Whether the allegations could be defined as poaching, theft or fraud is as yet unclear.

While the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is potentially looking at a wider alleged-fraud operation, police are only dealing with reports of individual cases of theft.

However, shell companies may have been used and there are claims farmers across Otago, and further afield, could collectively be hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket, with hundreds of cattle stolen. . . 

 


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