From the Farm

Mar 20, 2013

20 March 2013


Wow now that settled the dust and the ute looks cleaner. The smaller ponds have water in them and the chewed off front paddocks are greening up just. Maybe we may get some mushrooms. Last night the power went off due to the thunder and the rain was REAL rain all the drains got a wash. This morning I went down and looked at the Makuri stream and it was running well but very dirty and fill of silt and soil washed from the farmland around us. Yet our drains were running clear due to the fact we are humus farmers and this holds and filters the water.

At least I have fixed the leaks in the house truck as Ruth is living there until we get her building sorted. I have dismantled the shower for painting and Ruth has done that so will be finishing it once the paint is dry.

I have shifted the greatest majority of the stock onto the hills and into the Sabbatical fallow that will allow the now greening flats to grow.

Last week I finished the shearing of the Dorset horns Thank goodness I have selected over the years those that have less wool and in many cases shed their belly wool as the sheep are fat and big and I'm not the fastest sheerer in the world so that awkward belly and clean legs is well gone .So now they are also on the hills in the feed ..not that they needed it .

Ruth has been full time in the Hemp crop as the seeding heads are ready to harvest and the birds are in getting their share mostly sparrows and waxeyes. Beate and her visitor Andrea have been helping as well. We have put down large tarps in the workshop and I have put a large fan blower at one end to dry the water off and stop it heating and I am turning it 2 or 3 times a day. We are still not sure what fibres and building material we will get as the plants are so stunted due to the late sowing and lack of water but the seeds seem fine. Talking to other growers around the country it seems the crop will ripen regardless of sowing time, as most around the country are ripe as well. Both Ila and myself will be helping today as we want all the seed we can get and every day more is ready to cut.
It is working real well with Ila on the farm, I'm not sure how long it will be as she is looking for a good job to set her up so we will see. In the meantime I just give her a list of jobs in the morning and away she goes. In her spare time she is breaking 3 horses for and with me.
Some bad news has come for pig farmers today with the statement from the pork industry. Quote:
"I am disappointed to advise that it was announced this morning that the NZPORK Appeal regarding PRRRS has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal. A copy of the decision is attached for your information. This is disappointing for the Industry."
This is going to have a devastating effect on pig farming in NZ BUT I think the hardest to be hit will be the smaller farmers, the family farms, the sustainable farms and people with rare breeds. IT now will allow cuts of pork in packs as low as 3 kg of FRESH UNTREATED pork from countries that have the PRRRS Disease.  NZ is one of the few countries that are clear of it. At the moment over 50% of the pork in NZ is imported. All or most of the bacon in the supermarkets is made from imported pork. This is about globalisation not local or NZ. REMEMBER PRRRS IS LIKE PIG FOOT AND MOUTH in my eyes. PLEASE DON'T SWITCH OFF NOW as that's how these things win. PLEASE READ TO THE END..
Here are my predictions.
1.  Tighter controls on what pigs can be fed, ie: no scraps in case the pigs eat contaminated pork.This will push the smaller farmers out.
2.  The price of pork will drop or at least not follow inflation, remembering that most pig farmers are not making anything now, so it will push more to the wall.
3.  Most smaller pig farmers will move out and there will be only very large corporate type pig farms, just as the dairy industry is going.
4.  There will be a core group of small pig keen people, maybe organic, rarebreed, show pigs, left to farm for the love of it rather than money.This is like right now.
5.  PRRRS will break out in NZ (and yes it must). It will get in to the wild pig population.
6.  At this stage most of the small farmers just can't keep going as their pigs are also infected.
7.  There will be more tagging and identification of pigs, movement control like in the USA. Wild pigs will come under government (DOC) culling even spreading to farmed pigs that look or come from feral stock like the Kunekune and Canterbury Blue, etc, that are the best breeds for organic, etc.
8.  Those that are left can't work out how that happened.
9.  Game over.

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