Newsletter 01.06.15

Animal Health & Welfare
Be very careful when feeding ryegrasses or brassicas that may kill stock off with nitrate poisoning. That’s the advice of Nick Page from Rolleston Vet Services. He says as the days get shorter and more overcast days, the lack of sunshine promotes the risk. He adds that the drought has added to the risks. There are tests available to ensure pastures and brassicas are safe, but ensuring stock are fed hay or straw before going onto affected crops helps.

Silage can also be dangerous because of Listeria that takes a hold in poorly preserved silage.
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Livestock
Early indications are that this seasons bull sales will be strong as demand drives up the prices. Anthony Cox of Rural Livestock says the National Bull sales were strong with demand now flowing onto on farm sales. He says while the Herefords and Angus breeds were very popular, other breeds such as Simmental are also positive. The demand, he says, shows there’s a very positive feeling within the beef industry.
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Cropping/ Horticulture
The pruning of grapes and fruit trees is about to get underway, but what is done now will determine the results up to two years out. Jim Grierson says the coming season’s crop is already set in place, hence the pruning to ensure buds are in the right area and best placed to produce fruit, but the following season growth will be set up backing what will be produced in the spring. He adds that while obvious trimming and removal of bulk is quite simple, the important cuts are made after the first pass through the orchard or vineyard, and that needs experts.
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Our wines are being sold using beer technology. Brent Rawstron says overseas bars and restaurants are using pressurised kegs to serve the wines because it is easier for staff and there’s no risk of wine going off as it does in a bottle that has been opened.
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Flour mills have become fewer in number, but much more focussed. Garth Gillam from Champion Flour says, while promoting a book on the industry, that there are now 6 mills in New Zealand as opposed to about 28 in the industries' heyday. However a few years ago there were two types of flour, white and wholemeal, now mills are expected to produce up to 30 different types as the baking industry become more niche. 
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Livestock
The drought in North Canterbury continues to bite with some farmers reducing stock levels and others using all their supplementary feed reserves to keep them going. Tim Wilding of Te Mania has been feeding his young stock on a feed pad for months and is running very low on reserves. he says all they can do is hope there is some growth before winter hits and the pastures stop growing. But despite the dry, his line up of bulls looks great and he not only topped the National Bull sale, but got the top prize for his bull.
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Bees
The bee keeping industry is getting very close to presenting a united front. John Hartnell from Federated Farmers says the two main bodies are close to an agreement, and there is a major plan to bring hobby bee keepers into the fold by assisting them in every-way possible and offering information and formal training to those who are commercial.
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