2009-03-28

The Mad Bush Guide to REALLY impractical Farming


Just when you thought I would give this little venture up...my sad little mind made me pick up my pencil and create a new species of cow for the new generation of up and coming REALLY Impractical Farmer. The Springing Cow will cause you all kinds of problems. You'll have to garage them during winter otherwise their springs will start to corrode. It might be a good idea to glue them down to the concrete, shove them on a fence post for safe keeping or you can use them as kiddy rides at the next local market. Avoid this breed during thunder storms - you could be struck by a freak bolt of lightning. Great as a new found resource for recycling your used engine oil. She'll give you fresh bucket load of recycled oil each morning and you can toss it into your very impractical one wheeled tractor give her a couple of pints of the old stuff each morning after breakfast. Mad Bush Labs of course won't ever guarantee their Impractical Genetic Products. The Scientists there are completely mad. Beware of living imitations they could be having a calf which of course is only for the traditional Practical Farmer. Back to my hole now....

2009-03-27

Art Stuff - Sleeping Kitten


I couldn't resist grabbing a pencil and sketching Yowie while she was sound asleep and not causing typical kitten trouble. Yes I should be sitting at the computer but it's too hot and too nicer day to be stuck in a chair all day. I'll be good later and get things finalised ready for the printer. I've got something else to blog about but for now I'll leave it until a little later. The only clue I'll give is it has to do with springs apart from that I'll go back to my box now and stay there.

THE KIWI FARMER

Amy sent me this oldie but a goodie on the email just now. I love this old joke it still makes me laugh out loud so I thought I'd shove it on the blog until I get a chance to do a proper post. Deadline to make even though I really don't feel like being stuck in front of computer screen when I could be outside enjoying the day and getting some more gardening done. Joke below.

A big city lawyer from Sydney was holidaying in the New Zealand. He went duck hunting in rural Waikato. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing. The litigator responded, I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going to retrieve it."

The old farmer replied, "This is my property, and you are not coming over here."

The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial attorneys in Australasia and, if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we settle disputes in the Waikato. We settle small disagreements like this with the Waikato Three Kick Rule."

The lawyer asked, "What is the Waikato Three Kick Rule?"

The Farmer replied, "Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times and so on back and forth until someone gives up."

The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger who looked extremely frail and was really quite elderly. The lawyer agreed to abide by the local custom.

The old farmer carefully and slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the attorney. With his first kick he planted the toe of his heavy steel toed work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees. His second kick went to the midriff and sent the lawyer's last meal gushing from his mouth. The barrister was on all fours when the farmer's third kick to his rear end sent him face-first into a fresh cow pie. The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet. Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he felt that it was retribution time. He felt truly great as he said, "Okay, you old sweetheart. Now it's my turn."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Nah, I give up. You can have the duck!"




2009-03-26

Meat & Wool New Zealand must show value for money

“Meat & Wool New Zealand (MWNZ) needs to convince farmers that increasing its levy is both justified and warranted,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers meat and fibre spokesperson.

“The consultation document released by MWNZ on proposed levy increases represents the first phase of a detailed consultation process with farmers. Federated Farmers believes the most important issue to address during this process is the quality of the spend, rather than the quantity.

“Although the scale of these levy increases may have surprised some, it cannot be denied that farmers and the meat and wool industry are in desperate need of investment beyond the farm gate. It is here that we have the most potential to improve returns.

“Federated Farmers is mindful of MWNZ’s large expenditure on market development. This is an area where we believe meat processing companies are ultimately best placed to invest. As exporters deal directly with customers on a daily basis, it is these organisations that should be undertaking market development work.

“Innovation and uptake is another large spend for MWNZ. Money spent on science and innovation is vitally important for the future of meat and wool farmers. But here, MWNZ has a real challenge ensuring new science is readily and easily available to levy payers.

“Too many farmers are telling me they are unaware of what MWNZ does in this area. As a result, they do not believe they are benefiting from their levy spend. I look forward to these concerns being answered during levy consultations.

“Meanwhile, we strongly encourage all farmers to participate in the upcoming consultation process to make sure MWNZ’s industry investment meets farmers’ needs,” Mr Wills concluded.

Great Danes show the way on emissions trading

“Denmark is showing the way for New Zealand to follow on emissions trading by ditching its proposed tax on farm animal emissions,” says Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers.

In February, the Danish Tax Commission had proposed to levy DKK 600 (NZ$191.83) per cow. If this was applied to the entire New Zealand dairy and beef herd, it would represent a net cost to the New Zealand agricultural industry of around NZ$1.85 billion. Put another way, the loss is greater than New Zealand’s entire exports to the United Kingdom, our fifth largest trading partner.

“Federated Farmers has repeatedly asked our politicians to take a global view. Federated Farmers doesn’t support agriculture in an emissions trading scheme,” Mr Nicolson continued.

“Some politicians seem to think climate change begins and ends with New Zealand, but climate change is a global issue needing global solutions.

“New Zealand’s farmers get that by being the world’s most efficient producers. We can feed almost one percent of the world’s population off the back of only a tenth of that in emissions. That’s how good New Zealand’s farmers really are.

“If farm animal emissions were included in the emissions trading scheme, New Zealand products would be priced out of markets while less efficient producers would take our place. That would turn the ETS into an efficiency transfer scheme and we would all be poorer for it while seeing global emissions increase.

“The Danish Government has grasped this reality by saying no and seeking a response to emissions without putting its agricultural sector to the sword. The time has come for National and Labour to bury the hatchet and reach a cross party consensus to the same end.

“What Denmark is saying with this decision is that the international competitiveness of food production is something countries need to secure in a world which sees some 800 million people living in food poverty.

“This makes it very important for the New Zealand negotiating team in Bonn next week to put the case for excluding farm animal emissions from the Copenhagen negotiations, a potential successor to the Kyoto Treaty,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

According to the Copenhagen Post of 17 February 2009, both the Danish Government’s Liberal Party and the Danish People’s Party (DF) voiced opposition to any farm animal methane tax. The Danish People’s Party Jørn Dohrmann said,

“While the agricultural industry should contribute to solving the climate problems, a methane tax should not be levied in a way that does not make sense. It will be a catastrophe for Danish production, giving products from other countries free rein,” said Dohrmann.

Tina Nedegaard, of the Danish Liberal Party added that a tax should not be levelled on the Danish agricultural industry that would make it anti-competitive:

“I am not in total agreement with the proposal for the simple reason that cows need to break wind, whereas machines do not have to pollute,” said Nedegaard.

WEST COAST DAIRY WINNERS AT WILDFOODS

The 2009 West Coast Top of the South Sharemilkers of the Year Walter Hwata and Olga Mashazhike ran a stall at the recent Wildfoods Festival to support the Kumara School and the less privileged in Zimbabwe.

The couple, who 21% sharemilk 680 cows near Kumara, are also active in the local community. Walter Hwata is an Agriculture ITO assessor and member of the Dairy Action Team while Olga Mashazhike is a member of the Kumara Community Club and Women in Dairying.

They won $10,000 in cash and prizes for their competition win, after entering for a second time to keep them focused on their goals and to network.

“The competition has helped us scrutinise our business in-depth, it has kept us focused on our goals and it has boosted our overall confidence.

“We also thought the feedback we got from the judges was very beneficial.”

The couple say a strength of their business is its low debt level combined with strong cash flows. “This has helped us consolidate our business as we work towards achieving our goals.”

They have already achieved their first goal – to win the competition. Other goals are to achieve milk production of 235,000kg milksolids this season ending May 31 and to own their own herd.

Second place in the West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker of the Year competition went to Murchison 30% sharemilkers Chris and Donna Murphy. They won $7000 in cash and prizes. Kaikoura 50% sharemilkers John and Johanna O’Callaghan placed third, winning $2750 in cash and prizes.

The 2009 West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year winner, Shane Kelly, and 2009 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year, Jamie Knight, were also announced at the awards dinner held at Shantytown last night.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Wellington on May 16.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2009 West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year Shane Kelly says he entered the competition for the third time to assess his dairy career goals, network and have some fun.

“A big benefit of entering is the chance to step back and have a good look at where I want to be in the future and put plans in place to achieve goals. It’s also a great excuse to have a good night out.”

Mr Kelly is managing a 400ha Landcorp farm milking 1140 cows at Dobson, near Greymouth. He won $5000 in cash and prizes.

“Working for a corporate like Landcorp has some strengths, particularly in training and upskilling its staff. It’s allowed me to pursue opportunities that I may not have had elsewhere.”

His future goals are to stay with Landcorp but move into a business manager position, overseeing a number of properties before entering an equity partnership.

Springs Junction farm managers Sarel and Sonja Jacobs placed second in the West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year competition, winning $3000 in cash and prizes. They oversee a 315ha farm milking 725 cows for West Coast Dairy. Havelock farm manager Maria Carlson, originally from Sweden, placed third winning $2000 in cash and prizes.

West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year Jamie Knight, 21, is an assistant manager on a 400-cow Golden Bay farm owned by Bernal Reily.

“The farm size allows me to gain a diverse range of skills and qualities. I also have the ability to change systems that have been put into place previously, which is great as I like to see what changes I can make to help the farm run better.”

Mr Knight would like to move into farm management and eventually become a lower order sharemilker. He won $2420.

West Coast Top of the South Sharemilkers of the Year Walter Hwata and Olga Mashazhike will host a field day on Tuesday April 21, while West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year Shane Kelly will host a field day on the Lake Brunner farm he manages on Thursday April 23. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • Kinzett Livestock Ltd Farm Pride & Presentation Award – Chris & Donna Murphy
  • Honda ATV Safety Award – Doug Butcher & Caroline Newick
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Chris & Donna Murphy
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhike
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhike
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – John & Johanna O’Callaghan
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Chris & Donna Murphy

· Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Chris & Donna Murphy

· Westpac Business Performance Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhike

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • Gordon Handy Ltd Farm Pride & Presentation Award – Sarel & Sonja Jacobs
  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Gordon & Rabecca Storer
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Maria Carlson
  • Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Shane Kelly

DAIRY WINNERS HAVE ‘CAN-DO’ ATTITUDE

The 2009 Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua Sharemilkers of the Year Rowan and Rachel Baker are relative newcomers to the industry equipped with the skills to succeed.

“We are a complementary and comprehensive team – in terms of our personalities, skills, qualifications and work history,” they say.

Rowan Baker has a Certificate in Engineering and has worked as a Team Leader for Gallagher Group in Hamilton and Massey University in Palmerston North while Rachel Baker is a veterinarian who has been working as a dairy consultant.

“We have a fresh approach and a ‘can-do’ attitude with no preconceived ideas, as our parents are not farmers. We have been on the other side of the fence and appreciate the benefits of a farming business and lifestyle.”

The Bakers are currently 50% sharemilking 240 cows for Peter and Denise Ritchie at Shannon, targeting milk production of 102,000kg milksolids this season ending May 31.

It was the first time they had entered the competition, winning $14,000 in cash and prizes.

“We entered the contest to stand back and have a good look at the way we run our business and to get feedback from people within the industry.”

The Bakers aim to progress to a larger sharemilking position or equity partnership and to ultimately be the major or outright shareholder in a dairy farm.

Bunnythorpe 50% sharemilkers Jack Zwart and Terri Standish-Zwart placed second, winning $6000 in cash and prizes. They are milking 290 cows for Peter and Val Donald.

Third place went to Kyle and Virginia Marshall, who are 50% sharemilking 340 cows at Rongotea. They won $2500 in cash and prizes.

The 2009 Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua Farm Manager of the Year winner, Josh Dondertman, and 2009 Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua Dairy Trainee of the Year, Luke Cosgrove, were also announced at the awards dinner held at the Travelodge in Palmerston North last night.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Wellington on May 16.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2009 Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua Farm Manager of the Year Josh Dondertman, 24, is managing a 450ha farm milking 1500 cows for Kevin and Anna Cvitanovich at Waituna West. He won $7000 in cash and prizes.

Mr Dondertman has been in the industry three years, after gaining a Bachelor of Applied Science.

“I entered the competition for the first time this year as I had previously been part of a farm that won the Sharemilker of the Year competition and I could see the benefits to be had for my personal and business development.”

His goals are to continue to progress through the industry to farm ownership.

Neighbouring Landcorp farm managers Matt Johnson, 22, and Kyle Falconer, 34, placed second and third in the competition winning $5000 and $1500 respectively. Both men manage Landcorp farms at Moutoa near Foxton.

Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua Dairy Trainee of the Year Luke Cosgrove, 21, is second in charge on a 450-cow farm owned by Wayne Lynch, near Palmerston North.

Mr Cosgrove says the position enables him to work closely with the farm manager and provide input into farm decision-making.

He is completing his Level 4 National Certificate in Agriculture through Agriculture ITO and plans to move into a management position in 2010. He won $2420.

Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua Sharemilkers of the Year Rowan and Rachel Baker will host a field day on Tuesday April 7, while Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua Farm Manager of the Year Josh Dondertman will host a field day on the Waituna West farm he manages on Thursday April 16. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • Naylor Lawrence & Assoc Financial & Farm Records Award – Rowan & Rachel Baker
  • Honda ATV Safety Award – Jason & Ann-Maree McEwan
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Shayne & Rochelle Hutchinson
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Jason & Ann-Maree McEwan
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Rowan & Rachel Baker
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Shayne & Rochelle Hutchinson
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Jack Zwart & Terri Standish-Zwart
  • Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Rowan & Rachel Baker
  • Westpac Business Performance Award – Rowan & Rachel Baker

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • Joyclas Farms Property and Pride Award – Roy Tiller
  • P&T Holdings Aims and Attitude Award – Matt Johnson
  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Scott Harris
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Josh Dondertman
  • Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Matt Johnson

BEE happy with 150th anniversary of bees’ introduction to New Zealand

Released 19th March

“Today’s 150th anniversary of the introduction of bees to New Zealand represents a milestone for the industry in this country,” said John Hartnell, Federated Farmers bee industry group spokesperson.

“Many New Zealanders are unaware of the crucial but unheralded role bees have played in pastoral farming and horticulture over the past 150 years and their valuable contribution must not be under-estimated.

“Although honey is a breakfast staple and vital to the New Zealand economy, by far the greatest reward to New Zealand is pollination. Without the bee, key industries New Zealand is renowned for such as horticulture, small seed and pastoral farming would effectively die while everyday food such as fresh vegetables and table fruits would be lost. A conservative estimate would put the contribution to New Zealand’s economy at $12 billion annually - a little bee but a mind-boggling effort.

“Bees have historically been taken for granted as the free pollinator, however our allied industries are now acutely aware that there is no substitute for the bee, and absolutely no better pollinator on the planet. Therefore, we must have a united approach and we must strive to protect New Zealand’s apicultural industry, continued Mr Hartnell.

"Every day, bees are exposed to, or are at risk from, chemicals sprayed on trees, crops and pasture where bees are foraging. Bees can even be drowned by some irrigation systems. Farmers need to work closely with the beekeeping community to ensure they are fully conversant with the needs and lifecycle requirements of the bee.

“It is clear that globally bees are a threatened population, yet research clearly shows that more hives will be required in the future to meet increased demands for food production.

“It is important that the agricultural and horticultural sectors, policy-makers and wider New Zealand create an environment where bee populations can thrive and carry out their task of pollinating crops,” concluded Mr Hartnell.

Fast-tracking electricity projects will railroad farmers

“The Government’s draft policy statement on electricity governance opens the door for landowners to be railroaded in the haste to fast-track major electricity projects,” says Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson.

“The policy proposes that ‘minor investments’, with a price tag of less than $20 million, be fast-tracked through a streamlined process. The proposed criteria seems to be vague but appears to significantly reduce the Electricity Commission’s oversight.

“In no way do we view $20 million as being a ‘minor investment’. Right now there are several projects around the country with major impacts on farmers that have been submitted to the Electricity Commission below the proposed $20 million threshold.

“Projects that require new lines or which cause “injurious effect,” may well come in at under $20 million. Electricity projects represent a major imposition on farmers and farm management in terms of access, disruption to operations, liability and compensation,” continued Mr Nicolson.

“Furthermore, large projects could conceivably be split into smaller $20 million bite-size pieces. The cost of some supposedly ‘small’ projects could be underestimated and they would escape oversight. Federated Farmers believes both scenarios could become loopholes and need to be closed.

“Most importantly, we are concerned a streamlined approval process may signal to Transpower that it no longer has to discuss suitable easement agreements with farmers or provide appropriate compensation.

“Federated Farmers has worked hard to arrive at a suitable easement agreement with Transpower on behalf of members and there is goodwill. Simply put, this work needs to continue and reduced oversight by the Electricity Commission will not help,” concluded Mr Nicolson.

DAIRY WINNERS ACHIEVE MANY FIRSTS

The 2009 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Sharemilker of the Year Matthew Gibson is experiencing a number of firsts this month. He has won the competition on his first time entering and with partner, Sarah; they have just had their first baby.

Mr Gibson is 50% sharemilking 470 cows on his parents, Buster and Denise Gibson, farm near Dannevirke. He is targeting production of 210,000kg milksolids this season, ending May 31.

“We entered the competition as we didn’t think we could grow our business in isolation. The valuable scrutiny and feedback from judges will enable us to refine and further develop our business and having participated will enable us to attract future opportunities and provide us with a solid reputation amongst our farming peers and financiers.”

Mr Gibson, who has a Bachelor of Applied Science, won $12,000 in cash and prizes.

He says people and the ability to make timely decisions in all aspects of the sharemilking business are its strengths.

“Our goals are to have a healthy, happy, profitable dairy farming business that enables us to achieve wider family goals of wealth creation, distribution and succession.”

Carterton sharemilkers Bryce and Kylie Baron placed second in the Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Sharemilker of the Year, winning $6000 in cash and prizes. They 50% sharemilk 380 cows for Patricia Smith.

Third place went to Carterton lower order sharemilkers Clarence and Elise Stolte. They won $4500 in cash and prizes and are 16% sharemilking 450 cows for Stolte Dairy.

The 2009 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Farm Manager of the Year winner, Matthew Honeysett, and 2009 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year, John Wyatt, were also announced at the awards dinner held at Copthorne Hotel Solway Park, Masterton, last night.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Wellington on May 16.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2009 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Farm Manager of the Year Matthew Honeysett, 27, is managing a 175ha Masterton farm milking 800 cows for Selwyn and Jenny McLachlan. He won $7700 in cash and prizes.

“I am originally from England and moved here to chase my dream of dairy farm ownership. This is my sixth season in New Zealand.”

Mr Honeysett says his farm employers are extremely supportive. “They have a vision to keep moving this farm and their business forward and embrace new technologies and ideas. This allows me to implement new ideas and trial new methods to try and improve efficiencies within the system.

“To achieve my long term goal of farm ownership, my current employers are willing to help me by establishing an equity partnership.”

Ashley Clinton farm manager Richard Greaves placed second in the Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Farm Manager of the Year, winning $5500 in cash and prizes. He is managing a 375ha farm milking 1200 cows for Dean and Kristen Nikora.

Takapau farm manager Monty Monteith placed third, winning $1500 in cash and prizes. He is managing a 188ha farm milking 520 cows for Paddy Fogarty.

Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year John Wyatt, 29, is a dairy farm assistant on a 154ha Dannevirke farm owned by Sydney and Tracey Hikawai. He won prizes worth $2420.

“I like working outside and the variety, challenge and responsibilities I have. I also like achieving goals and targets.”

Mr Wyatt says his next goal is to obtain a good farm manager’s position that will enable him to increase his knowledge and skill base.

Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Sharemilker of the Year Matthew Gibson will host a field day on Wednesday April 1, while Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Farm Manager of the Year Matthew Honeysett will host a field day on the Masterton farm he manages on Wednesday April 8. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • MacDougalls Best Variable Order Sharemilker Award – Kiel & Michelle Berry
  • Honda ATV Safety Award - Kiel & Michelle Berry
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Clarence & Elise Stolte
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Shaun & Kate Mitchell
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Bryce & Kylie Baron
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Matthew Gibson
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Matthew Gibson
  • Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Sam Capes
  • Westpac Business Performance Award – Clarence & Elise Stolte

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • Tararua Vets Animal Husbandry Award – Dale Marshall & Sherryn Barrett
  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Richard Greaves
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Matthew Honeysett
  • Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Richard Greaves

CENTRAL PLATEAU DAIRY WINNERS BUSINESS BOOMING

The 2009 Central Plateau Sharemilkers of the Year Chris and Teresa Moore say the competition offers a great opportunity to analyse their sharemilking business.

“There is nothing more beneficial to your business than being able to scrutinise your business across the board and realise your successes and, more importantly, the areas where you can make improvement.”

Chris and Teresa Moore are 50% sharemilking 600 cows on an 180ha Ngongotaha farm owned by Mark and Sophie Dibley. They are targeting 210,000kg milksolids this season, ending May 31.

It was the second time the couple had entered the competition, placing third last year, but this time winning and pocketing cash and prizes worth $13,300.

“The competition has been invaluable in getting us motivated about succeeding in the industry,” they say. “We think the dairy industry is dynamic, exciting and always provides a challenging business environment. It is easy to remain motivated when the opportunities to grow financially are still possible even in these tough times.”

Through increasing stock numbers and debt repayment, the Moore’s are aiming to increase their equity by 20% each year.

“We aim to have a land investment within 10 years where we can take ourselves out of the cowshed and have the flexibility to work on our business rather than 100% in it. We would like to think we can incorporate our loyal and hardworking staff into that plan.”

Reporoa sharemilkers Shaun Gardner and Michele Walker placed second, winning $7350 in cash and prizes. They are 25% sharemilking 400 cows for Phillip and Patricia Berry.

The 2009 Central Plateau Farm Managers of the Year, Mark and Jamie Perrott, and 2009 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year, Andrew Gerritsen, were also announced at the awards dinner held at the Bayview Wairakei Resort near Taupo last night.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Wellington on May 16.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2009 Central Plateau Farm Managers of the Year Mark and Jamie Perrott are contract milking two farms at Atiamuri for Paul and Karen Hilhorst. The 165ha and 103ha farms milk 465 and 307 cows respectively.

The Perrotts say they have great employers and great staff.

It was a family affair for the second year running for the Perrott’s, with Corina Perrott placing third in the 2009 Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year. Splitting the party was Japie and Yolandi Nortje, who placed second, winning $3800 in cash and prizes. The Nortjes manage two farms milking 1400 cows at Mangakino for Wairarapa Moana Inc.

Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year Andrew Gerritsen, 22, is a herd manager on a 750-cow Rotorua farm owned by Peter Schwizer. Mr Gerritsen says the position is helping him develop farm business management and human resource skills.

“It’s taught me the value of money and given me the opportunity to make decisions myself.”

He is currently studying Production Management Level 5 through the Agriculture ITO and has plans to go contract milking and then sharemilking or equity farming. He won $2420 in cash and prizes.

Central Plateau Sharemilkers of the Year Chris and Teresa Moore will host a field day on Thursday April 9, while Central Plateau Farm Managers of the Year Mark and Jamie Perrott will host a field day on the Atiamuri farm they manage on Thursday April 2. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • Farm and Garden Pride and Passion Award – Joel McKay & Angela Brown
  • Blackman Spargo Legal Audit Award – Grant & Margaret Bolstad
  • Honda ATV Safety Award – Chris & Teresa Moore
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Shaun Gardner & Michele Walker
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Shaun Gardner & Michele Walker
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Shaun Gardner & Michele Walker
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Chris & Teresa Moore
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Joel McKay & Angela Brown
  • Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Chris & Teresa Moore
  • Westpac Business Performance Award – Chris & Teresa Moore

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • Vet Club Rotorua Animal Health Management Award – Japie & Yolandi Nortje
  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Japie & Yolandi Nortje
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Mark & Jamie Perrott
  • Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Mark & Jamie Perrott

2009-03-25

The Mad Bush Guide to utterly impractical Farming - Cows


Some time ago it was suggested to me that I should write a book. About what? Perhaps I could have written one on Lifestyle Farming or small animals. That's if I lived on a farm that was actually *normal*. Nothing here including me is normal. I have a chicken that thinks she should be sitting on my kitchen bench each morning for breakfast instead of waiting outside. The one bovine chosen to go into our freezer ended up with a name. The Terrorist would rather sleep inside my lounge than outside in the paddock. I have a grown Jersey cow that still thinks I'm her mother and I hammered three earthing rods several feet into the ground stood on a beer crate using a sledgehammer and a block of wood. So what does that tell you? This farm is truly mad of that I am certain. Why is it I have four cats? I never planned to have any cats but here I am being surrounded by them. At this rate I'll be a cat farmer as well. Bad enough last year with those two sheep - where did they go not in my freezer they should have. No they ended up being pets for a guy up in Maunu in Whangarei instead and got send away in a van? Today has been well...too quiet. So quiet I got bored even though I have several thousand jobs to do and a publication to finish putting together. Well I'm going to write that book anyway or more draw it. So above...is my take on the Farming Term for Bloat (as in bloat in cows aka Brucillosis) Oh and the best impractical way to handle this condition is to throw a rope around the end of the cow's tail and tie her to your tractor. I would avoid walking underneath your cow just in case of accidents. Very useful for advertising Goodyear tyres (you could make millions) or your kids could take your cow to Kite Flying competitions. She'll come down in a couple of weeks - that's if a plane doesn't hit her first.

Fonterra half-year results ‘none too shabby’

The half-year result for Fonterra Co-operative Group has been welcomed by Federated Farmers as excellent, given the unprecedented negative international trading environment.

“Fonterra’s result is much better than what could have been expected and its board and management should be applauded,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“It’s fair to say the words ‘implosion’ and ‘commodities’ have been inextricably linked since the world economy found a big deep hole last year, then jumped right into it.

“If Toyota, GM or a home appliance manufacturer presented numbers like this, they’d be cracking open the champagne. Whole milkpowder prices are down by a half yet Fonterra’s adjusted revenue is down by just 7.6 percent, when compared year-on-year.

“Fonterra has ridden itself hard controlling costs, as well as seeing some spectacular revenue growth from the ASEAN block especially. This vindicates the value add strategy and clearly demonstrates that innovation and agriculture go hand in hand.

“Fonterra is to New Zealand what Nokia is to Finland generating a quarter of all our exports. It really underscores just how important dairy is to every single New Zealander, though some people forget that fact.

“Despite being bullish, farmers are now acting with justified financial conservatism. A number are staring down at a loss for the current season after having their forecast payouts revised sharply downwards on two occasions. This has put a scythe through farm budgets.

“With the stellar months of December and January now reported in the first half results, Federated Farmers expects the outlook for the second half to be somewhat flatter. Farmers are putting capital projects on hold as they prioritise debt reduction.

“Tradespeople, who depend on farmers for revenue, have seen capital projects deferred and this is yet to fully reverberate throughout the economy. While the current forecast of $5.10 kg/MS remains the third best for this decade, input costs have risen sharply. Interest rates, fertiliser, fuel and council rates have all eaten away at profitability and margins are being squeezed.

“Let’s congratulate Fonterra for some alchemy in the current international trading environment. They deserve it,” Mr McKenzie concluded

2009-03-22

Packing Away the Ovines - literally (revisited)

This story is about two sheep that came onto our farm last winter from the side of the road. Believe me they weren't wanted.Sheep Farmer I'm not.
Rachel, Amy and Lisa had already read this story on another blog of which shall not be named. I wrote this one last year. Read this one if you have had a bad day and need a good laugh. It's one story I'll still be laughing over for another few years. . Story below.

This post is literally about packing away a certain species known as ovine aka sheep into the back of an SPCA van. Well they were close to making it there after busting out several of insulators and letting two of the heifers out. Let's just say my mother wanted a very big gun when she got home and found her newly planted garden turned into the exact replica of a WWII battle field. The cause all the havoc - two walking carpets with fleeces several inches long no set of shearing blades would get a look in on. After having a chat with the local SPCA the two girls Kyra and Rachel showed up one cloudy winter's day to tell yours truly they had a nice kind home for our unwanted woolly ovine pals. I hate sheep. Cattle I'll take any day over those dumb useless ovine creatures then again they did give us a few laughs. Problem - catching the beggars. But wait...I had a cunning plan...

The second part of this sorry little saga begins with..Kyra and Rachel from the SPCA turning up with a van. Well I'm used to seeing sheep in stock trailers not..a van? They eye the two woolly sods staring back up there on the hill.........as for me well I'm used to dealing with sheep and their obnoxious habit of running everywhere but where you want the sods to go. I had a plan so cunning ..and to quote the famous Black Adder himself

"I have a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel." Thanks Black Adder.

The cunning plan involved the following.
  • Item 1 - one times set of yards.
  • Item 2: Two kids and Mum. Item
  • Three: Three Bovines who think they are people and last but not least ..
  • Item 4 SPCA Inspectors and their van.
And the story continues. Kyra and Rachel headed up the top in their van much to my poor mother's dismay that perhaps this visit wasn't about anything good. No all good - thing was would the cunning plan work? I follow with kids. Head over to Terry's place -close off the gates and open up the yards. Head back to where Rachel and Kyra a now attempting to round up the two woolly sods. No need I tell 'em. Cows are suspicious of the two new humans in their paddock..and won't shift out. Of course they won't they don't like strangers - but love their "mummy". Easy to solve. Call cows - cows follow - woolly sods do the typical ovine follow the leader act..heh heh heh..... Get cows into yarding paddock with woolley sods now realising they have been duped..and attempting to do the runner. Unsuccessful of course. We yarded the sods!!! Cut out the now hacked off ovine beggars and ran them up the crush. Now the fun part.....getting the heavy woolly beggars into the back of the van. Master Cavalier was first on the list. Nabbed him by the wool rope on - Kyra and Rachel both trying in vain to shove said sheep into the van. Help required. Two on back end while avoiding being crapped on - one attempting to take front end. Trouble was the fleece on the sod was so long we couldn't find the legs. Solution tip sheep over - bad idea - sheep ends on standing on head. Reversed sheep back. Sheep sulks. Won't move....darn. Kyra can't get in to pull sheep forward. I'm smaller get in with sheep. Grab ears and pull head forward. Find a leg...move leg. Grab fleece..sheep heavy...shove mutter..yank..ouch my back...Kyra and Rachel shoving from sheep's rear end.....ten minutes later...sheep now in. I sit on sheep. Comfortable...take rope off sheep get out. Lock in first sheep. Back now killing me. Everyone totalled. Now for the next one....Three grab sheep two (Master Bremworth) Lift sheep off ground...our aching backs.....are...killing...us....mutter..whine..complain..Sheep gets the drift. Stands up on front legs. Gumboots used to shove sheep in the rest of the way. Sheep locked in....mission completed. Kyra and Rachel get in van and drive away with the two woolly sods sulking in the back. I won't miss them.