Rural News with Farm Source

23/09/2017

Sunday 24th September 2017

Recent Horizons Regional Council and Environment Southland figures show a dramatic decrease in land being converted to dairy farms. In the Manawatu and Wanganui region the number of conversions per year has decreased from 24 in 2017 to zero this year, while in Southland conversions have decreased from 35 in 2014 to two this year. DairyNZ Senior Economist, Matt Newman said the decrease in number of conversions was due to the dairy downturn straining farmers financially and an uncertainty around environmental requirements and regulations and the potential investment required.

 

Shareholders in Westland Milk Products will vote on a package of proposed changes on 5 October to improve the company’s governance after it reported an operating loss last year and offered a milk price well below those of its competitors. The recommendations included a reduction in the total number of directors from eleven to eight, and a cut in the number of shareholder elected directors from eight to five. The proposals followed an extensive governance review conducted by a sub-committee of the board.

Apiculture New Zealand Chief Executive, Karin Kos says that the theft of honey and beehives is a growing issue for beekeepers, with police now taking the increase in thefts very seriously. Apiculture NZ and the police are working together on improving intelligence at national and regional levels, and are educating beekeepers on how to keep their honey and hives safe. Hawke’s Bay’s largest honey producer, Arataki Honey recently had approximately 500,000 bees, worth around $20,000, stolen from a pine forest block in northern Hawke’s Bay. Arataki Honey Beekeeper, Duncan Johnstone says theft is the worst it has ever been and is driven by Manuka honey as it was one of New Zealand’s highest priced exports.

A series of climate change workshops throughout New Zealand wound up this week, after attracting 420 rural professionals. Kara Lok, DairyNZ’s senior adviser leading climate change, says nine greenhouse gas workshops were run as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change, and targeted rural professionals around New Zealand who wanted to hear about the science of climate change, mitigation options available to farmers, and how they can help their farmer clients reduce emissions. Lok says addressing on-farm emissions – methane, which is formed when ruminant animals burp, and nitrous oxide, formed when nitrogen escapes into the atmosphere – is one of the most challenging issues facing the dairy and food producing sectors, globally and in New Zealand. DairyNZ says it will be running climate change workshops for farmers in early 2018.

Saturday 23rd September 2017

DairyNZ, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries, this week, endorsed the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam – marking New Zealand’s commitment towards global sustainable dairy development. The declaration signals both a commitment towards feeding the world with safe and sustainable products, and enhancing sustainability.  “We are pleased to endorse the declaration as a signal of strong support for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for the important role of the dairy sector in the global community’s efforts toward sustainable development,” says Kimberly Crewther, executive director of DCANZ. Crewther says the declaration highlights many areas where the dairy sector can support the achievement of its Sustainable Development Goals from an economic, social, environmental and health perspective— which she says are all priorities for New Zealand.

 

Invercargill-based Alliance Group has acquired Goldkiwi Asia, a Singapore-based marketing and sales company, as the meat company seeks to capture more value from its markets in Asia. Chief executive David Surveyor says the new business will be known as Alliance Asia. He says the acquisition represents an important step in the company’s vision to create a stronger co-operative to benefit its 5,000 farmer shareholders and staff. “This will ensure we are now closer than ever to our Asian customers and end-consumers with our new Asian headquarters in Singapore connecting us to some of the world’s largest populations and their growing demand for quality foods,” Surveyor says.

 

DairyNZ has developed an app, called EnviroWalk, which it says will make it easier for farmers to assess their fertiliser use, effluent, waterways, races, cropping, water use and irrigation, and create an action plan on their smartphone. 

About 1500 farmers have already downloaded the free app since it was launched in July.DairyNZ’s Adam Duker, who led the development of the app, says farmers are always looking for ways to improve their environment and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them. He says the app has a series of yes/no questions to help farmers identify areas on their farm that have opportunities to do things differently and get better environmental outcomes. Depending on the answers to the questions, the app suggests solutions or actions. These form the basis of the action plan, which can be downloaded, printed and updated at any time. 

 

The pastoral sector is reacting to negative news reporting and comment, rather than being proactive and talking about its vision for water quality in New Zealand, claims Beef + Lamb NZ chairman James Parsons.

He says when you are always reacting it is always coming across as defensive when you are trying to bat off accusations.”

Parsons was commenting on the thinking behind the swimmable rivers pledge by farming leaders, including himself. He says what the pledge is about – is talking to the public of NZ, not just the farming community, the majority of whom are aware of the great work going on to try to improve water quality.

Parsons says the farmers pledge was really to start having a dialogue with the public of NZ and let them hear farmers’ vision; who he says are very much on the same page as the public of NZ.

Rural News on REX thanks to Farm Source.