Rural News with Farm Source


Sunday 15th October 2017

Some 4000 cattle worth up to $8 million will be slaughtered to halt the spread of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. Five properties are owned by Aad and Wilma van Leeuwen, and are located in the South Canterbury/North Otago region. A small number of cattle on the other two farms, which included a lifestyle block in Rangiora, had already been culled.

Mycoplasma is common globally in cattle, but was discovered for the first time in New Zealand in July, prompting thousands of tests and raising questions about how it came into the country, which have not yet been answered. MPI said the affected farmers can apply for compensation for verifiable losses relating to MPI exercising legal powers under the Biosecurity Act.


Fewer farmers have been killed on the job in the first nine months of this year than for the same period in each of the last three years. So far to the beginning of October, nine farmers have died compared to an average of 15 for 2014, 2015 and 2016. If the last three months of the year mirror these years, there will be four more deaths by the end of the year. Farming is New Zealand's most dangerous occupation. Over the last seven years, 124 farmers have died while working, far eclipsing the numbers killed in construction (35) and forestry (33).  

However, WorkSafe agriculture sector leader Al McCone said while the figures showed the beginning of a positive trend, they needed to be treated with caution because they could change from year to year. He says the big drop in tractor deaths may be because the wet weather of the last nine months which may have restricted the way farmers use their tractors and it may also have restricted the use of contractor tractors. Compared with previous years where there was an average of five tractor deaths during the first nine months this year, there had been just one.


Invercargill's World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships was the best international event in the country. The competition hosting the best shearers in the world won two honours at the New Zealand Events Association Awards.

During a gala event at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland this week, the February 8-11 championships was named Best International Event, while the Invercargill's ILT Stadium, a sports stadium which was turned into the world's biggest woolshed for a week and housed 4000 fans on the final night, was named Best Industry Supplier for an Event.


The country’s newest milk processing factory is on track to start operating next August. Mataura Valley Milk is building a dedicated nutritional plant north of Gore and plant manager Bernard May said the formulas it produced would comply with some of the highest quality standards in the world.

May says construction of the $250 million plant was on track for opening next August with work now focused on installing the machinery and technology needed to produce formula. It had held discussions with farmers and in coming months would provide those interested in supplying the company with information so they could make decisions. The company needed only 30 to 35 farmer suppliers because milk constituted only about 20% of the content of infant formula.


Saturday 14th October 2017

Farmers are backing moves by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to cull animals on farms affected by the disease Mycoplasma bovis.

DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and Fed Farmers have all publicly backed MPI’s decision to cull 4000 cattle from five of the seven infected farms.

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says he is supportive of MPI’s decision to step up control measures by culling these animals. However, he acknowledges that the decision will create heartache for the affected farmers, and our sympathies are with all those involved on-farm.

Mackle says the decision follows extensive work and testing by MPI, with significant support from DairyNZ and many other agencies. Since the disease was first identified in July over 30,000 tests have been carried out by MPI. MPI says it is increasingly confident that infection has not spread outside the primary farming enterprise involved with this outbreak, or any of the other farms also under restricted place notices.


Sheep and beef farmers will not be paying extra levies for the year starting October 1.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says the board has reviewed budgets and activities for the financial year; the sheep meat levy on all sheep slaughtered would remain $0.60 per head and the beef levy, on all cattle slaughtered (including beef cattle and dairy cattle but excluding bobby calves), at $4.40 per head GST (exclusive). Parsons says BLNZ recently completed a consultation round with farmers and asked for feedback on it updated strategy through to 2022. Parsons says farmers are getting real value out of recent workshops and seminars across some of these key issues, particularly health and safety and environmental planning.


The 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will be launched next week. Organisers of the regional competitions are ready to host launch events and general manager Chris Keeping says the launch events provide an opportunity to find out more information about the Awards and which category they are eligible to enter.

Entries in the New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year categories will be accepted online at from Friday 20 October. The first regional launch events will be held in Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa, Manawatu and Southland Otago on Wednesday October 18, while launch events in other regions will be held over the next two weeks.


The dairy sector wants the new Government to lead a strategy supporting the growth of a skilled workforce for the dairy sector. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says young people deserve the opportunity to do well within the agricultural industry.

“We need a strong long-term plan that aligns training through the school curriculum with practical experience on the farm,” says Mackle. He says the dairy sector should no longer be a “no options left” career. Mackle also noted that the major parties all had policies to attract young New Zealanders into work, and NZ First in particular has a focus on providing jobs for New Zealanders before migrants. “We definitely want to see more kiwi candidates in the regions where the jobs are,” says Mackle.