Newsletter 03.05.15

Saffron

You may well be using too much water or too much fertiliser, you should be able to increase your production while saving money and you may well be overlooking magnesium at your peril. The answers to your questions about all that will be answered at a seminar in Ashburton on the 22nd and 23rd June. There’s an impressive line of speakers that will cover the two days.
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Saffron may be labour intensive as a crop but it is about to break into new areas of medical help. Research is underway to see if the medicinal features of the plant can help with reversing brain tumours and other fatal diseases. 

New Zealand produces the world’s best saffron according to an overseas expert. He says the hot summers and cold winters are ideal for the plant, and our soils are exactly what the plants do best in. New Zealand produces very little of the expensive product, but it is growing as more people start to grow it chasing the high returns.
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The recent rains have been great to recharge the soil, but are too late to do much help for drought hit farmers. Jim Grierson says horticulturists have had a great year across the board, but they will need a lot more moisture to set them up for next season.

Hold off using your herbicides; Jim Grierson says the season is still running a few weeks late and the best time to spray herbicides will be late May or early June rather than the traditional time of late March or early May.
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Country schools are vying for thousands of dollars to help them update computers and equipment for their students. Rural Women New Zealand has the details on their website.

Rural Women New Zealand are also campaigning to get all rural doctors registered to provide free medical care for children under 13. Kerry Maw points out that options for rural families aren’t as plentiful as those in urban areas and travelling times restrict choices even more.
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Sheep farmers are facing major concerns over the winter and into lambing if they don’t keep the feed up to their stock. Nick Page, from Rolleston Vet Services says sleepy sickness in ewes is expected to be a major killer while farmers struggle to keep enough feed in front of the stock. He says they will need quality feed and hay and a bit of pasture won’t be enough in many cases. He says farmers and life stylers need to know the limits of stock number that can be carried.

Watch out for heavy parasite burdens in young stock. Nick Page says the season has meant worms have become a major issue and if left can hit production hard.
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That's all for this week. Make sure you watch On The Land on FaceTV, Sky channel 83 on Sunday nights at 8 or repeated Wednesday nights at 11pm or visit our website www.ontheland.co.nz and join us on Facebook. Catch you again soon.

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