Rural News with Farm Source

Rural Exchange 28/01/2018

Sunday 28th January

The fire service is urging people in the rural sector to postpone machine work as the country scorches. It says the exhaust of farm machinery and even cars has the potential to spark a fire in long grass. National rural manager, Tim Mitchell, says farmers should put off machine work to cooler times of the day. The fire danger’s particularly extreme for  Southland, Otago and eastern parts of the South Island.

Concerns are rising for arable farmers, as a red clover pest spreads across the country. The casebearer moth was first found in Auckland over a year ago and destroys crop yields. The Foundation for Arable Research is urging crop growers to look out for millimetre sized holes or distinctive black droppings. Seed Research Manager Richard Chynoweth says if you find the moth, contact your crop agrichemical advisor straight away.

Demand for sire stags is soaring, with some prices up by more than 50 percent. A three year old stag in Canterbury has even sold for 95 thousand dollars, the highest price this year. Deer Industry data shows overall clearance rates are also up 94 percent compared to last year’s 83 percent. Chief executive Dan Coup says it points to increasing prices for both venison and velvet.

Meetings are being held in Culverden this week for farmers wanting information about Mycoplasma Bovis. 18 farms have now been infected with the disease and restricted notices cover 34 others. There’s 10 in South Canterbury, five in Southland, two in Ashburton and on in Hawke’s Bay.

The first regional final for the Young Farmer of the Year competition has been set. East Coast contestants will be going head to head on the February 17th at the Masterton A and P showgrounds. The iconic competition’s celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, with the grand final in July.

And Government support for drought-stricken farmers hopes to ease some pressure. Applications for Rural Assistance Payments are now open, as well as previous tax relief announcements. RAPs are to help those in dire need cover living expenses with the payment equal to Jobseeker Support. It covers farmers and growers in the lower North Island and on the West Coast of the South Island.

Saturday 27th January

Temperatures are tipped to soar into the 40s next week. The highest the mercury’s hit has been 37 degrees...and the heatwave is far from finished. NIWA Forecaster Chris Brandolino says...it has been a record breaking summer.  

Meanwhile the Rural Support Trust wants drought-stricken farmers to ask for help, not suffer in silence. Rural Assistance Payments from the Government have opened up this week, on top of previous tax relief announcements. The RAPs are to help those in dire need cover living expenses with the payment equal to Jobseeker Support. The Government assistance covers farmers and growers in the lower North Island and on the West Coast of the South Island.

New Zealand genetic engineers have developed a new sheep breed that more than doubles the average production. It’s Called the Southern Cross… comprising of three specialist milking breeds with a Coopworth Base. Maui Milk says it can produce up to 400 litres per ewe over 200 days, compared to the current average of 150 litres per ewe. The breed is being presented to the public for the first time next week at Waikino Station near Turangi.

President Donald Trump has indicated the US could be interested in rejoining the TPP if negotiators can secure a better deal for the country. New Zealand and 10 other nations are set to sign a new version of the deal in March.

Federated Farmers expects the Government's new employment legislation will renew confidence around hiring staff. 90-day-trials have been given the scrap, but there’s an exemption for small businesses. Those with fewer than 20 employees can still use the trial period.

A council in Waikato is being accused of mismanagement over a deadly outbreak of botulism. At least 50 ducks have been killed by the ponds at Te Aroha Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is owned by the Matamata Piako District Council. Fish and Game regional bird manager, David Klee, says it may have spread to nearby wetlands. He says the Waikato Regional Council needs to force the local council to fix up its practices.

Rural News on REX thanks to our partners at Farm Source.