Wool a good yarn

For most sheep farmers wool is still an important part of farm income. Not surprisingly then any initiative to lift the wool price would be of interest to them.

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  • Milk plant about to yield results

    Oceania Dairy Company's milk processing plant at Glenavy, south of Timaru, is nearing completion and due to start production in September this year.

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  • All will be revealed

    Competition is going to be fierce between contestants of the Miss Waitaki Valley Beauty Pageant 2014 being held at Kurow on August 2.

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  • Bridge spans the generations

    The Cathill Arch bridge in North Canterbury stands as a monument to Kiwi ingenuity and a “can-do” attitude.

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  • Razing the steaks

    Work is well underway on demolishing the sheep section of Alliance Group's 121-year-old Mataura meat processing plant in Southland. 

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Back to the future?

On October 10 this year New Zealand woolgrowers vote on whether or not to return to paying a wool levy. In the first of a series *Trudi Baird* looks at the industry’s past, present, and possible future to gauge whether the levy will be robust enough to avoid the pitfalls.

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  • Realising your potential

    Simply working hard does not guarantee you the best jobs or the greatest career opportunities.

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  • Family conversation starter

    Family farm succession requires family members sharing the same vision for the future and that includes the in-laws, Rabobank’s Tony Hammington says.

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  • ‘Killer questions’ on succession

    Speaker, author, and business consultant Joan Baker told about 240 farmers at a seminar in Winton that succession is in their hands.

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  • From go to whoa with Xero

    There’s much hype over Xero’s launch of its latest farm accounting application, Farming in the Cloud. It is comprehensive but even without its hefty price tag it’s not going to suit every farmer.

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Stooks and stacks of surprises

Winter is a time for us to slow down a bit. With our mid-winter week having 63 more hours of nocturnal darkness than in mid-summer we just don’t have the same daylight to get things done. 

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  • A battle of minds

    A thousand freshly shorn lambs flow across the slope as white and fluid as spilt milk, the edge of the mob a meniscus kept smooth by a heading dog on a slow cast.

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  • If it weren’t for your gumboots

    Even on a sunny day the discerning Lincoln student may have to be skilled at identifying their own footwear as they dash out of the library and off to a lecture.

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  • In full swing

    I thought we had a lot of growth last autumn but this year has exceeded 2013. With 150mm of rain in March and then again in April the only problem was finding days fine enough to do the farm work. 

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  • Best of both worlds

    How, might you ask, did an urbanite like me end up at Lincoln University studying agricultural science? 

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Can’t beet it

Fodder beet is fast becoming the mainstay of John and Rachel Jefferson’s dairy support block as they become more comfortable with the crop and its management.

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  • All systems go

    There are many good reasons why Justin King and partner Meg Campion are happy to contract graze dairy heifers on their 1100ha property – Brookwood, in Takapau. 

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  • Save our seeds

    University of Warwick’s Crop Centre at the has won a five year contract from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to continue to host the United Kingdom Vegetable Gene Bank (VGB).

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  • Feed sheep not cows

    Farmers with high performing sheep flocks are far better off feeding them than selling the feed to dairy farmers.

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  • A work in progress

    Maintaining good cow and young stock condition in the most economical way is the bottom line at Eden Bank, the winter support block for Concept Farms, a large-scale dairy farm on the Maniototo.

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Capturing the pasture advantage

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  • Demand drops for malting barley

    A shrinking number of Kiwi beer drinkers is creating less demand for malting barley.

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  • Tight supply boosts grain prices

    Feed grain is at its highest August average price in several years, with domestic supply tight, figures from the Arable Marketing Initiative (AMI) survey show.

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  • Flow-on effect high on agenda

    Nutrient management was a recurring theme at last month’s Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) conference in Palmerston North.

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  • A double-edged sword

    On the one hand Otago dairy expansion has opened a better paying market for cropping farmer Barrie Allison, on the other hand it has gobbled up land he used to lease and shrunk his farming operation.

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Syndicate ventures

Machinery syndicates have evolved over time and range from sharing equipment with neighbours to extensive contracting businesses with shared ownership.

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  • The right stuff

    Keeping the machines of primary industry well lubricated and running smoothly is key to getting the job done. *James Hoban* provides advice.

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  • Learn not to burn

    With the price of fuel an increasing onfarm cost Country-Wide has 14 tips to help understand and maximise efficiency when using a tractor.

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  • Ground-breaking advance

    The Diskavator, a 2005 National Fieldays’ new inventions award winner, has been lying low for the last nine years waiting for the agricultural cultivation industry to accept its revolutionary tillage concepts. It’s now about to awaken and give the industry a good old dose of reality that it badly needs.

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  • Labour of love

    Amuri identity Carl McKay has been working with earthmoving equipment for nearly 50 years – over that time he’s also built up an impressive array of vintage machinery.* *

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Seeing red over a green wave?

Recently I have noticed a number of meat industry commentators and campaigners claiming forestry is posing a threat to land being used for sheep-and-beef production and unless the meat industry gets its house in order a green tide of trees will smother all their grazing land. 

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  • A harsh introduction

    For farmers in many parts of Hawke’s Bay Easter of 2011 will be memorable for all the wrong reasons. A storm over two days in April dumped more than half a metre of rain on an already wet landscape with devastating results. Under climate change it is expected storms of this severity will become more frequent so a Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund project is studying the aftermath of the storm and what lessons can be learnt.

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  • The long way back

    For farmers in many parts of Hawke’s Bay Easter of 2011 will be memorable for all the wrong reasons. A storm over two days in April dumped more than half a metre of rain on an already wet landscape with devastating results. Under climate change it is expected storms of this severity will become more frequent so a Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund project is studying the aftermath of the storm and what lessons can be learnt. 

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  • Inputs and outcomes

    Now that Overseer and Farm Environmental Plans have been examined in recent issues of Country-Wide it’s timely to take a step back and ask the question: “Why do we care about nutrient losses from farms anyway?”

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  • All aboard for water quality

    More onerous tasks for overworked farmers? This may not necessarily be the case – a farm environmental plan could lead to long-term benefits onfarm and off. Consultant *Keri Johnston* explains.

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Lines of defence

I work from home and before I got caller ID I was interrupted several times a day by people trying to survey me, sell me something or, most irritatingly, claiming to be from Microsoft’s “technical department” – invariably these calls are generated by an India-based telemarketing and computer-fraud ring known as GuruAid.

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  • A smart move

    A Central Otago Tech Expo in June proved to be a crowd pleaser with more than 120 farmers taking the time to look at and hear about farm technologies ranging from DNA parentage recording and farm management software to soil moisture mapping and farm benchmarking tools.

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  • Read all about it

    While you and I may like the tangible nature of a book in the hand we have to accept that the digital revolution is changing this desire.

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  • Get smart

    Last month we looked at malicious software that can cause severe problems on your computer. This month we take a look at things that are less of a problem but still worrisome.

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  • Scanning the scammers

    The first week in June was Fraud Awareness Week 2014 (FAW2014) which is run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Consumer Affairs team in support of a global education campaign initiated by the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN).

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Meat the herd

Lambing is in full swing at Peter and Tessa McKay’s Maraekakaho farm in Hawke’s Bay when Country-Wide visited in early June.

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  • Show your true colours

    When you first pick up your new digital camera the impulse is to shoot anything that moves but often the images you’ve taken somehow don’t quite match up to what you intended.

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  • Focus on speed

    Every consumer camera today comes with a sports mode feature – it’s the “running man” icon on the menu or main control knob on top of the camera.

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  • Sharing the road

    Freedom camping has endured some blight but it comprises two distinct groups.

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  • Posts, possums, pigs – prosperity

    Raetihi’s Maurice Cole is a living example of the adage that hard work never killed anybody.  *Russell Priest* and photographer *Graeme Brown* paid the spritely 87-year-old a visit.

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The velvet route

ponty3 Ponty von Dadelszen is upbeat about the future of velvet.

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Head to Head: A comparison of dairy bull beef and traditional beef R2 finishing policies

Rising two-year dairy bull beef production is more efficient than rising two-year traditional beef steer production.

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  • AgInnovation bulks up

    Whether you are a stud breeder, commercial beef farmer, an established or aspiring farmer, there is something for everyone at this year’s AgInnovation.

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  • Black cattle blueprint

    Mendip Hills Station’s Simon Lee is in his eighth season as manager of the 6130ha property. He’s a fan of Hereford cattle but also a fan of hybrid vigour – thus the station’s slightly unusual cattle policy.

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  • Quiet achievers

    Twenty years of cross breeding commercial cattle has thrown up a genetic mix that suits Heughan and Carol Gordon’s Hawke’s Bay farming business.

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  • Balancing traits

    Genetic improvement relies heavily on achieving balanced change in all the traits that influence productivity and profitability. Unfortunately, genetic improvement is much more difficult to achieve than is genetic change.

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Leg prices recover

The demand from China has helped meat companies clear stocks of frozen lamb cuts and the new season will start positively for all players, writes Hugh Stringleman.

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Top two inches the key

It is often said that New Zealand’s fortune lies in its top two inches of soil.

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Genuine sheep and cattle farm

Kumeroa Station is a genuine sheep and cattle breeding farm offering a good standard of improvements.

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Recycling success creates bottleneck

Onfarm plastic recycling specialist Plasback is expanding to better accommodate farmers though the growing volume of used silage wrap it now handles is creating challenges.

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  • New nitrophoska is made for maize

    Granule consistency of Ravensdown’s new Nitrophoska Maize (12-10-10) is a key way to keep dust to a minimum, the firm’s fertiliser product manager Lloyd Glenny says. 

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  • The root of the problem

    Maize, lucerne, forage sorghum, and inoculant producer Pioneer Brand Products (Genetic Technologies) is giving Lincoln University $5000 a year for sustainable farming projects.

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  • She won’t be right

    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Agcarm, and WorkSafe New Zealand have launched a campaign to promote wearing the right safety gear when using farm chemicals.

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  • Lifting the wool on sheep genetics

    A University of Otago researcher is among an international team that has sequenced the sheep genome pinpointing genes that are unique to sheep including those that help support secretion of the grease needed to maintain wool.

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