Rural News with Farm Source

Rural Exchange 03/02/2018

Sunday 4th February, 2018

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the flow-on effects of the drought in Southland and Otago will be significant. His comments following the declaration of a medium scale adverse event in the regions because of the drought. Damien O’Connor says many farmers will face ongoing problems with the likely shortage of winter feed and getting their stock killed when they need it done. MPI staff had been monitoring the situation in the regions and when special government assistance was applied for it was approved within 24 hours, triggering up to $130,000 extra for the regions; rural support trusts and industry groups to coordinate recovery support. “We’ve been working with local farming groups, councils and NIWA to monitor how the drought has been progressing and the impact on the farming communities,” Damien O’Connor says.

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) says it is saddened to hear of the death of a nine-year- old boy whilst riding a quad bike in rural Waikato last week. RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower says it is very sad, but it need not have occurred. “We need to prevent families and friends from the heartbreak of losing a loved one in such tragic circumstances,” she says. “RWNZ are concerned on two levels, one is children riding age appropriate quad bikes unsupervised and the other is children under the age of 16 riding adult-sized quad bikes.” Fiona Gower says the latest incident is a timely reminder of manufacturers recommendations that children under the age of 16 should not be riding adult-sized quad bikes. “Children do not have the weight, strength or judgement to be operating these vehicles,”she adds. RWNZ encourages anyone planning to use any form of machinery on farms to receive training and learn safe practices.

A Bill designed to deter livestock theft was introduced to Parliament last week under the name of National MP Ian McKelvie. Mr McKelvie says his Bill intends to introduce stricter measures for judges to draw on when sentencing thieves caught stock rustling. He says the current law offers no deterrent and the penalties don’t reflect the gravity of the crime or the likely suffering of an animal being slaughtered by a rank amateur. Mr McKelvie adds that small-scale, opportunistic grabs of half a dozen sheep or cows are relatively common, but police and MPI say sophisticated gangs with links to organised crime are increasingly mounting well-planned raids on farms. He hopes the Bill will give more confidence to victims of livestock rustling that there is an additional deterrent in place to discourage this type of crime and also give the police a more vigorous tool to take more action.

The New Zealand apple and pear industry is forecasting a modest gross crop for 2018, according to the annual crop estimate just released. The forecast gross crop of 576,172 metric tonnes, is down on forecast for 2017 and similar to that achieved in 2015. New Zealand Apples & Pears Chief Executive, Alan Pollard said that growing conditions this season have been exceptional. Notable in this year’s forecast is the continued trend away from some of the more traditional varieties. The basket of products offered by the New Zealand industry has significantly changed since 2005. In 2005, Royal Gala and Braeburn accounted for about 77% of New Zealand’s exported varieties. Today, no one variety accounts for more than 30%, with a much more diverse range of varieties now on offer.

Saturday 3rd February, 2018

Dairy farmers buoyed by higher forecast milk payout are spending more on artificial breeding, says LIC. The farmer-owned co-op’s half-year earnings to November 30, 2017 rose 17% on last year's to $153 million. Gross profit rose 37% to $57.5m. The half year results include most of the revenue from artificial breeding.

A grant of $565,000 to the South Island Dairying Development Centre (SIDDC) heads the projects supported in the latest round of grants from MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF). The project ‘Making Fodder Beet Sustainable for Dairy Cattle’ is aimed at solving animal health issues arising from fodder beet feeding, and to ensure that fodder beet has a sustainable future in dairying. The grant was the single-largest by MPI just before Christmas, when it handed $7.15 million to 28 new SFF projects.

Farmers in and around the Taihape /Hunterville regions of the North Island are being warned to watch for signs of facial eczema (FE). Local vet and farm consultant Martin Walshe says the area has had more heat and humidity than is normal for this time of year. Walshe says FE does not occur annually in his area but there was a major outbreak about three years ago in April which hit farmers badly.

About 1000 people will this month travel to New Zealand for three prestigious animal recording andgenetics conferences. For the first time, the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (WCGALP) will hold its four-yearly conference in NZ. The congress will be combined with the annual conferences for the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR) and Interbull – the leading event for research and development in animal improvement, milk testing, DNA parentage analysis, genomics and genetics. LIC chief scientist and ICAR conference co-chair, Bevin Harris, says the events – attended mainly by researchers, scientists and other professionals – are something for the NZ animal industry to be  proud of.

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

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.