8 April 2016                                                                                                                                                                                               

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Blackgrass detection and investigation

Federated Farmers and other arable industry groups, including Foundation of Arable Research and New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association, are working with MPI in their investigation and response following the detection of blackgrass seeds during a routine sampling of rye grass seed in Canterbury last month. 

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The 'X factor' a future reality

From next month dairy farmers will have the option of greater certainty around seasonal returns after the Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank formally approved NZX’s milk price futures and options contracts. In principle, the 'NZ X Futures' scheme is designed to address growing demand from both producers and purchasers of milk and to manage risk around price fluctuations.

Federated Farmers welcomes the inititative; “It won’t be for everyone, but this will give New Zealand dairy farmers a risk management tool that makes their business less susceptible to significant price fluctuations and in doing so puts us on a more level playing field with most of our international competitors, who already have this sort of tool available to them,” says Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Chair Andrew Hoggard.

Those farmers interested in the contracts are advised to seek professional help. “While it will provide farmers with certainty around price there’s always someone on the downside when futures are traded. It will be important for farmers to get sound independent advice so that they're aware of how this approach changes their risk profile and what this might look like for them at the end of the season," adds Mr Hoggard.

Velvetleaf biosecurity incursion update

MPI have confirmed positive identifications of velvetleaf on 132 properties throughout New Zealand. It is likely more positive identifications will occur as MPI and regional councils visit farms that have been identified through tracing to have planted Kyros or Bangor fodder beet seed. Federated Farmers urges farmers to check fodder beet crops for the presence of velvetleaf and if you find any, please call MPI on 0800 80 99 66.

To help stop the spread, MPI have made some changes to seed import rules including:
•    Placing an immediate ban on the importation of Kyros and Bangor fodder beet seed
•    Requiring sign-off by one of MPI’s two chief technical officers before all other fodder beet seed can be released at the border
•    Subjecting all pelleted seed imports (not just fodder beet) to further lab tests in New Zealand for the presence of contaminants.

MPI, in partnership with DairyNZ, FAR, Federated Farmers, AgResearch and PGG-W, have developed a farm management plan to assist farmers affected with velvetleaf. The document provides management plans to restrict the spread of velvetleaf from farmer’s paddocks to other areas. Click here to download the Farm Management Plan.

For more information, contact Philippa Rawlinson, 021 512 971, prawlinson@fedfarm.org.nz, or visit MPI’s website.

Economic week

The increase in the GDT auction price this week was certainly unexpected and not predicted. Forecasts prior to the auction suggested there would be a further fall in prices but instead the GDT Price Index rose 2.1 percent. This is only the second increase in seven auctions this year and the GDT Price Index is still 12.2 percent lower than it was at the end of December. The Index is also 18.3 percent lower than the same time last year. The picture for non-dairy meanwhile was mixed, but up 0.7 percent overall. Beef was up 3.1 percent, skins up 2.0 percent, and lamb up 1.1 percent.  

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Ballance Regional Supreme award winners

Martinborough sheep and beef farmers Daniel and Reidun Nicholson are the Supreme winners of the 2016 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards. They were awarded the Supreme title at a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on Wednesday. They also received the CB Norwood Distributors Agri-business Management Award, Massey University Innovation Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award. Judges said their property, Tokaroa Farm, is “an excellent example of dry land farming in the Wairarapa”.

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Still turning them (tractors) on at 85

North Otago's Don Fraser is a man who loves his tractors. His love affair has been so intense he is still driving them at the ripe old age of 85.

Part of the hard-working team at EGL Pastoral for 26 years, and a farmer most of his life, Mr Fraser remembers the old style tractors (crawlers) when he first started out and recalls they were so noisy you needed hearing aids. "There was no silencers then and we didn't have air con back in the day, but then we didn't need it when a keen souwester was blowing through."

During the summer season he works a five day week putting in around eight hours daily. "It's a great place to work and we all have our programmes organised. The atmosphere is excellent here and everyone helps," he said. 

Mr Fraser has no plans to retire soon. "I'm still healthy and like to get up early in the morning. Some people might think it's funny what I do - but I don't care, it's a good job that makes me happy." This week he had his driving licence renewed and next he's off to the United States for a well earned winter break with family.

What's happening on your farm?

We’ve launched a series of videos on social media this week featuring Federated Farmers executives, members, and New Zealand politicians describing good farming practices on their farms. We’ll continue to share these videos on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the coming weeks. Join the conversation and share your farm stories using the hashtag #onmyfarm.

Budding rural photographers

Have you taken part in the Fedphoto Project yet? We've had lots of great entries that we are sharing through our social media channels. You can email your photos to photos@fedfarm.org.nz or post them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #fedphoto. Please include where the photo is taken and what’s happening. There's a chance to win a Feds hoodie each month.


Waikato Federated Farmers AGMs

Come and hear about the important issues that we are dealing with and what issues will impact farming businesses in the future, such as the Land & Water Forum and the Waikato Regional Council’s Healthy Rivers Plan for Change; these will affect the way you farm.

Te Aroha Branch AGM
When & where: 7.30pm, Tuesday, 12 April at the Waihou Tavern Lounge Bar, SH25, Te Aroha.  Guest Speaker: Community Crime Prevention Officer talking about Rural Security and Crime Prevention. Refreshments provided. For further information contact: Andrew McGiven, Chair,  Ph: 07 884 4360  or Michael Cooper, Sec, Ph: 07 884 9801

Matamata AGM
When & where: 7.30pm, Monday, 18 April, Matamata Club, Rawhiti Room, 9 Waharoa Rd East, Matamata 
Guest speaker: Andrew McGiven, Vice President. For further information contact: Stew Wadey, Chair   Ph:  07 880 9549 or 0272 779 996.

Tokoroa Branch AGM
When & where:  7pm, Tuesday, 19 April at the Central Café, 38 Bridge Street, Tokoroa. Guest Speakers: Greg Peters, Health and Safety Inspector from Worksafe NZ - An informal talk about his work in the area and to discuss some of the concerns farmers have about the new rules. Chris Lewis, Provincial President Waikato Federated Farmers - A review of worked completed over the 2015/16 year. Refreshments provided. For further information contact: Mary-Ann Mathis, Chair, Ph: 07 886 9493 or Mark Nicholas, Sec, Ph: 021 455 539.

Hamilton Branch meeting – all members welcome
When & where: 7pm, Thursday, 21 April at Waikato Federated Farmers, Level 5 Boardroom, 169 London Street, Hamilton. An invitation to a special meeting with National MPs and local body politicians.  An opportunity to discuss issues surrounding reduced farming incomes, and ways the Government can address community’s social needs.  For your rsvp contact: Gaylene Bamford, 07 858 0820 or gbamford@fedfarm.org.nz For further information contact: Tony Armstrong, Chair 07 829 8609 or 021 224 4708.

Otago farmers -water meetings

The Otago Regional Council has ongoing maintenance and development programmes in place for the Tokomairiro Drainage Scheme: Come along to our public meeting to find out how the scheme is operating or, affects you. Proposed work for future land drainage will also be discussed.

When : Thursday, April 14 from 1pm-2.30pm

Where : Coronation Hall, Milton

Taieri River management Strategy -Strath reach- Hyde to Matarae

When: Wednesday, April 20 from 6pm-9pm

Where Strath-Taieri Community Centre, Middlemarch

More information

Irrigated land use options - Wairarapa field days
Investigations into the feasibility of storing water for irrigation and community uses in Wairarapa are entering a crucial stage.  
In mid-2016, local farmers will be asked to take part in an important independent survey that will influence the proposed scheme’s feasibility and ownership structure.

The survey will ask farmers to indicate their interest in any future irrigation scheme so that they have the option to access stored water for irrigation in future. It won’t be asking for any form of commitment.

In the lead-up to the survey, three farm field days during April will present a series of land use case studies completed on three local dryland farms. Livestock finishing, dairy conversion, apple orchard, sheep dairy and a mixed use (livestock, specialist seeds, arable) were tested as theoretical scenarios on the dryland properties. Each case study assessed the financial viability of converting from dryland to the irrigated land use, environmental impacts and management and lifestyle implications.

Field Days When & Where:
Tuesday 12 April        48, Kemptons Line Greytown
Thursday 14 April      463, Masterton-Castlepoint Road Masterton
Thursday 20 April      575, East Taratahi Road Carterton

All field days are 2.00-5.00pm followed by a BBQ.

Registrations are appreciated by email to fieldday@gw.govt.nz, but it’s ok to turn up on the day. For more information, click here or call Greg Ordish, Wairarapa Water Use Project, on 06 826 1513 or 027 667 609.

Free Farmers family day in South Waikato
We know times are tough and we want to show our support so join us for a day of fun at the Kiwiana Leisure Park! 
Free mini golf, sausage sizzle, batting cages, facepainting, lolly scramble, bouncy castle and surprise guests make for a perfect day to get off the farm and into some fun with the family!

When: Sunday, April 17 from 11am-3pm

Where:  Kiwiana Leisure Park, 7 Alex Telfer Drive, Otorohanga, Waikato


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