Is it sheep’s time?

There has been a noticeable lift in sheep farmers’ confidence around the country.

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  • From gumboots to ball gowns

    It was a beauty pageant with a twist, and highly successful.

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  • Cracking the big time

    Neville Kenealy has Fonterra to thank for hatching his Fresh Manuka Smoked Eggs business. In 2009, when calf prices plummeted from $480 to $180 in an hour because of milk powder shenanigans in China, the calf rearer knew it was time to come up with a Plan B.

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  • 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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Porridge is cool

Following the oat milling process at New Zealand’s only oat mill is like being part of a giant game of snakes and ladders.

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Playing for the team

“Good things come to those that wait” is an old cliche that springs to mind when describing the sheep-and-beef industry at present.

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  • The road to happiness

    I can now say from experience that looking for a property to buy when your previous one has already been sold is rather unnerving.

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  • Horses for courses

    It has been just over 12 months since the sale of our sheep-and-beef farm although the sound of rain on the roof at night can occasionally cause me concern for our former livestock.

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  • Held to ransom

    I’m grumpy, but more about that later.

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  • Season’s first greetings

    With our calving start date a few days away we decided to gamble against Murphy’s law and let the brains and brawn of the operation – that’s TJL (Trent) – have one final night off-farm. This left me, the chief cook and bottle washer, home in charge of the morning fence break shifts.

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Contract tailing in demand

Demand for contract tailing in the Otago region is increasing because there are fewer casual farm workers around, contractors say.

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  • Livestock rocket fuel

    Rocket-fuel characteristics and cost-effectiveness are rapidly sending fodder beet’s popularity into orbit as the most exciting supplement to hit the New Zealand livestock industry for many years.

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  • Cropping and sheep good fit

    An intensive farming operation in Southland is making the most of improved sheep and pasture genetics.

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  • Road to success

    Peter Bee always wanted to be a sheep and beef farmer. Box2

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  • History in the making

    Many farmers continue to grapple with their responsibilities under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, but for one South Island company it means more accurate information for its clients.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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Consistent yields needed

Growing oats doesn’t bring the headaches it used to.

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Playing it cool

An Irish innovation is opening up opportunities for establishing maize earlier in cooler parts of New Zealand.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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Trees strike the right note

Beauty, bird life and shelter motivate tree planting at The Throne, Waihopai Valley, in Marlborough.

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  • Working through the repairs

    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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  • Eroding our reputation

    I often feel that politicians suffer an unjustified level of opprobrium, as if election to office automatically makes them fair game. But then some politician opens their mouth and justifies all the cynicism the public heaps upon them. 

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  • Challenging land

    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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  • 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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Passport to adventure

I have recently renewed my passport to attend the 55th-year reunion of my veterinary graduation class. It is in Cooloongatta, Queensland at the end of October – eat your hearts out! 

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  • The future in hand

    Anyone who is making the most of their smartphone or tablet should be able to tell you how certain apps make life easier.

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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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  • 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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The pipes are calling

Few family-owned businesses in New Zealand are 130 years old like Norton Brick and Tile at Pukerau, in Southland.

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  • Otago remembers

    A graphic and poignant reminder of the supreme sacrifice made by men in New Zealand rural communities during the Great War of 1914-18 opened in Milton recently, marking the start of nationwide WW100 commemorations.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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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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  • Smartfert trials advance to next stage

    A slow-release nitrogen fertiliser suitable for both crop and grassland application has taken a step closer to scientific sign-off with field trials due to commence in coming weeks.

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  • An attention to detail

    Looking for ways to increase efficiencies and productivity, while reducing inputs?

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  • Integrated data made easy

    An interactive farm management tool is changing the way farmers collect information, and is helping with management decisions.

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  • Irrigation advice distilled

    Long-line sprinklers are commonly used on areas unable to be covered by larger irrigators – they are also a common system on rolling irrigated country.

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Beef or dairy in north

A farm at Ahipara offers 153ha of land with half of it flat.

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Transition into final phase

Farmers have less than a year to make sure all cattle are tagged and registered with NAIT (the National Animal Identification and Tracing system).

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Thanks for your decade long advertising support

10 years 4

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