Sunday 17th September
A new dispute over water in Hawke's Bay has erupted with conservationists and recreational boat users opposing orchardists and irrigators in the Ngaruroro River catchment. Opponents to a Water Conservation Order application on the catchment are organising a protest rally on September 19. In December 2015, five parties applied for a water conservation order for the Ngaruroro and the smaller Clive rivers. The applicants claim the Upper and Lower Ngaruroro and the Clive River had outstanding amenity values and should be protected. They are seeking an order to preserve the Upper Ngaruroro Waters in their near natural state. This application would place restrictions on any additional water takes or discharges and dams. Orchardists believe the application would hugely impact communities, as hundreds of jobs will be lost and horticulture on the Heretaunga Plains will be decimated.
The country’s largest supplier of dairy genetics says will test its artificial breeding bulls for Mycoplasma bovis to provide its farmers with greater peace of mind through the dairy mating season. Farmer-owned co-operative LIC says it will supply approximately three-quarters of the dairy industry’s bull semen this spring mating period. Dr Richard Spelman says it is understandable that farmers are concerned about the disease and any risk of transmission through bull semen. “Given there is currently no evidence to suggest that the disease is widespread in New Zealand, we can be confident this disease is not present in our bulls or semen supply,” he says.
A re-elected National Government says it will strengthen bio-security rules, toughen penalties for stock rustling and help exporters add value. National Party Primary Industries Spokesperson Nathan Guy says these policies will help grow and protect the primary sector sustainably, and support the goal of doubling the value of NZ’s agri exports to $64 billion by 2025. Guy says National is proud to support the primary sector, which he describes as the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy, that helps the country earn a living and pay for its social services.
Saturday 16th September
The lease and sale of Landcorp farms could help young farmers buy their first farm under a re-elected National government. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy revealed this new dimension to National’s primary industry policy, last week in Gisborne. He says National would direct Landcorp to lease farms to young farmers, with the opportunity to buy them at market rates when they had built up enough capital. But to qualify they would have to work the land for five to ten years – or longer if they needed – to get the cash to buy. Guy says the farms would be awarded on a lease-to- buy arrangement, with leases awarded by a panel and ballot.
First-term Fonterra director Leonie Guiney has missed out on re-nomination for dairy the co-op’s upcoming director election. The Fairlie farmer, a staunch supporter of 100% farmer control and ownership, was not recommended as one of three candidates by the independent selection panel and a board nominations sub-committee. Guiney says she’s disappointed to miss out. “I think I was a necessary antidote to 'group think' on that board; I was a constant reminder of who the cooperative owners are and the supply strength that could come from trusting them more,” she says.
More than 400 farmers and other rural business owners turned out in Ashburton this week to hear National’s policies on the primary sector and the environment and discuss concerns on a raft of new proposed taxes by Greens and Labour. The event at Ashburton Events Centre was organised by Irrigation New Zealand. The day also included a visit to an irrigated arable and dairy farm so the Prime Minister could see first-hand the kind of environmental improvements farmers are undertaking that are already making a difference to New Zealand’s rivers. Prime Minister Bill English told the packed meeting: “The strength of the regions has underpinned the success of New Zealand. We need to enable farmers to farm sustainably, not punish them.”
A tool to help farmers lower their environmental footprint has been developed in a partnership between researchers and a farmer-owned co-operative – Ravensdown. Bethanna Jackson of Victoria University's School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences originally developed for application in Wales, where she has been working since 2006 on land-use interventions to provide environmental benefits. Dr Jackson and her research team began collaborating with co-op Ravensdown in 2015 to see how the tool could be applied to New Zealand farms. As a result of this partnership, newly developed software will be used by Ravensdown specialists to help farmers identify "at-risk" areas for nutrient loss. Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell said partnering with university researchers was part of its desire to focus on "sound science and smarter farming"
REX Rural News with Farmsource.