Farming sector well prepared for El Nino droughts

The farming sector reckons they are well prepared for El Nino droughts.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has praised farmers’ preparations for this summer’s El Nino climate pattern, as it shapes up to be one of the strongest on record.

“NIWA has released a report last week confirming that El Nino will definitely continue at least over the next three months, and is likely to intensify and peak over the summer,” says Mr Guy.

“This is likely to mean less rainfall in the north and east, which is tough for farmers in Canterbury, Otago and Marlborough who are already feeling the effects of an extended drought.

“The planning that farmers and growers have carried out in anticipation of this has been very worthwhile.   Read more »


Ten years for our farmers to get the stock and effluent out of our waterways

About time…some recommendations worth pursuing for our waterways.

Farmers should have to exclude nearly all livestock from rivers and streams by 2025, the Government has been told.

The Land and Water Forum released its fourth report today, which had 60 new recommendations for the Government on freshwater management.

Chairman Alastair Bisley said that the proposals outlined a “workable and balanced” management system which would facilitate growth within environmental limits.

Mr Bisley expressed disappointment that the Government had not adopted most of the 153 recommendations made in three previous reports, and urged ministers to make further changes “without delay”.

One of the forum’s members, the Environmental Defence Society, reiterated the need for urgent changes.

“Water quality in our lowland streams and rivers is poor and the current system is demonstrably failing to deliver the outcomes the public wants,” chairman Gary Taylor said.    Read more »


NZ farmer orders drone strike on killer cows

Killer cows

Well, sort of…

Janina and Justin Slee are using a drone to muster hard-to-reach cattle on their property near Mount Domett, and the technology has revolutionised the way they operate their farm.

After hearing about the drone at a show in Wanaka about six months ago, the couple decided to bite the bullet and try the technology on their own farm.

The move paid off, and Janina is full of praise for the high-tech tool.

“It’s amazing, it musters a whole hillside in a matter of two minutes,” she said.

“It’s just so easy, so quick.”

It will have to be, as those drones don’t have a particularly long flight time.   But it clearly scares the crap out of the cows for now.   Read more »


End of the Golden Weather?

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions, is being reviewed this year.

A briefing paper produced for the Government by the Ministry for the Environment said it expected the review to consider agriculture’s entry into the scheme.

A ministry spokeswoman said this did not amount to a recommendation to the Government and was simply a comment on the scope of the review. The terms of reference had not yet been determined by the Cabinet, she said.

About half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. The ministry’s briefing paper said there were few options for reducing these apart from cutting stock numbers.

It warned that the ETS was not having a significant impact on emissions and changes would be needed.

The scheme is the Government’s main tool for addressing emissions that contribute to climate change, requiring industry to pay a charge for each tonne of emissions. Read more »


Bludgers too lazy to work, so we import workers instead

Kerre McIvor nails it:

More than 63,000 fit, capable, work-ready New Zealanders are looking for jobs, so why are we importing workers?

Between 2011 and last year, more than 23,000 Filipinos were granted temporary visas to work on New Zealand farms, because, apparently, there were no Kiwis to do the jobs. Yet Government stats state there are.

I can understand why overseas workers might be brought in to work in industries or professions where years of specialist training is required.

But being a good farm worker requires little more than basic common sense and a willingness to work. And the furore over the faked Filipino work visas proves that. It is believed one in three of the thousands of Filipino farmer workers is here with faked documents.

Farmers are beside themselves as this is one of the busiest times of year. They say the Filipino workers may not have had experience before they arrived, but they have proved invaluable and losing them would be devastating for their businesses.    Read more »

EU needs to go on a subsidy diet. 47% of the entire EU budget spent on farming subsidies

Farmers, especially French farmers are having a big sook over subsidies

French farmers are on the brink of open revolt.

Driving their tractors and hay balers, thousands converged on Paris this month, shutting down the city in protest at the lack of support they have received to soften the blow of falling food prices and lower cost imports.

The demonstration was the culmination of months of protests. In panicked response the French government has provided some emergency aid.

French farmers are among the most productive and the most belligerent in the European Union but they are nevertheless being crucified by the fastest drop in global agricultural commodities prices recorded in seven years. This has been caused by a slump in demand from China, Europe’s diplomatic war with Russia and the biggest fundamental problem of all: the European Union itself.    Read more »

Like night follows day: Farmer dies on “low risk farm” one day after new Health and Safety legislation comes in

You couldn’t have written a better script.  Quad bike death on a dairy farm.

A day after the Government pushed new health and safety legislation through Parliament – which classified most farms as low risk – a sharemilker died in a quad bike accident on a Waikato property.

The 45-year-old father of three was killed when the bike he was riding rolled into a ditch on the farm, 12km from Hamilton. His was the latest farm fatality, which now totals 108 deaths since January 2010. The total includes 26 quad bike deaths. Overall, 299 workplace fatalities were reported to Worksafe in that period.

There were 35 mining fatalities and 32 construction deaths. All other industries recorded fewer than 30 deaths over the time period.

Federated Farmers says the new legislation would help the agricultural sector to address the high level of workplace incidents and fatalities on farms.

“Farmers know this performance is not good enough,” said board member Katie Milne.

“We and our members accept that current safety performance is not good enough and the changes being brought about by the bill are just some of the ways that we’ll continue to address this.”

Farmers have always wanted to be in control of their own workplace without government interference.  And Michael Woodhouse has delivered the freedom for farmers to die without the shackles of Health and Safety legislation being too firmly applied to their situation.   Read more »

Half a mil to assist depressed farmers


Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced the increased training measures as part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities, announced by the Ministers at Fieldays.

The Ministers said that The Ministry of Health would work with RHĀNZ to provide the increased training.

RHĀNZ chairperson, Dr Jo Scott-Jones, said improving mental health outcomes and minimising suicide risk for rural populations was a top priority for all 34 members of RHĀNZ. Read more »

Farming quad bike fatalities – some perspective

Another death.  Or so it seems.  And like night follows day, calls for the government to step in and legislate against stupidity.

Farmers are increasingly frustrated and fearful over upcoming changes to health and safety legislation around quad bikes, a farming industry leader says.

Later this year, changes to the Health and Safety Act will result in tougher penalties for non-compliance, including higher fines for people riding quad bikes with passengers.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons said farmers in the meat and wool industry were concerned.

Farms were workplaces as well as homes, and new harsher penalties for having passengers on quad bikes would change things dramatically for families; what was needed was a code of compliance for for quad bikes rather than “draconian” new rules, he said.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said farmers were doing nothing to address the increasing number of deaths caused by quad bikes.

She said farming leaders needed to step up and stop resisting the new laws.

“The accident rate is increasing and a half of New Zealand workplace deaths occur in agriculture and the leadership group – Federated Farmers and Beef and Lamb – do nothing except criticise and resist and changes,” Ms Kelly said.

Yes.  Every one increases the total, but let’s look at the most current available information.   Read more »

Some things Key can’t be blamed for, nor can he fix

via Stuff

via Stuff

The lack of rain in certain parts of the country is starting to bite.  It’s all very well to have petrol under $1.60 a litre, but with lifestock staring at dusty paddocks, a stronger dollar and low payouts, things aren’t looking good.

“There’s no sign of any rain in the forecast anywhere ahead and so we can only expect that things are going to get worse before they get better,” says Phil Wishnowsky, Wairarapa Principal Fire Officer.

Some rivers and streams are running very low in Tararua, Manawatu, Wanganui and Rangitikei.

Water for irrigation is being rationed, while residents are also being urged to conserve every drop. Read more »