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From the farmgate to the kitchen table this years Hawkes Bay A&P show is coming soon.

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Hawke's Bay A&P Society events manager Anna Hamilton is hard at work planning this years show for October 22-24.

Ms Hamilton, aged 31, says the planning of A&P shows has it's challenges including how to find a balance between the rural traditions of the past and the demands of the public in the future as well as keeping up with the competition.

Now, while planning this year's show for October 22-24, she will also look at planning for the royal shows in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

She said that at present the show is in the process of rebranding and a focus will be on following the produce chain from the farm gate to the kitchen table.

Lamb and beef precincts are expected to be features of the show, but other sectors will also be tackled as it aims to remove some of the mystique around the rural sector.

Ms Hamilton said that the socitey is aware of the cost and would love to have a show with an open gate but at $16 for an adult, and $35 for a family of two adults and three children she thinks the cost is modest.

 

Napier's John Kirkpatrick is coming up trumps at the Elders Primary Wook UK Tour

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An ancient Northern Ireland castle estate used for filming fantasy drama Game of Thrones has been the unlikely scene of the New Zealand shearing team’s latest victories on the Elders Primary Wool UK Tour.

John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and David Fagan, of Te Kuiti, beat an Ulster team of Northern Ireland shearer Jack Robinson and Ivan Scott, from the Republic of Ireland, in a test match in a marquee alongside the ruins of Shane’s Castle, near Belfast, on Monday.

Kirkpatrick also won the Northern Irish Sheep Shearing Association event’s first Open final on the castle estate by a narrow margin from England-based New Zealand shearer Matthew Smith, with Fagan in third place.

New Zealanders were also to the fore in the Senior final, with a breakthrough victory for Marton shearer Jacob Moore. South Island-based Masterton shearer Ethan Pankhurst was runner-up.

Kirkpatrick and Fagan have now had two wins and a loss in tests against Scotland, England and Ulster, and their tour ends with a four-test series against Wales, starting at Cothi on Friday and ending at the Royal Welsh Show next week.

The Green Party vision does not include the Hawkes Bay dam.

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The Green Party's environmental election policy, aimed at making every river in New Zealand clean enough to swim in, will look to ban new dams on wild rivers, further drainage of wetlands and tighten rules on irrigation and pollution.

"The Green Party has a vision for New Zealand where families can head down to their local swimming hole or beach and jump right in the water without worrying about getting sick," co-leader Russel Normal said during the the Green's major election policies launch in Hamilton.

"There are over 180,000 kilometres of rivers in New Zealand ... Latest figures show that nearly two-thirds of our monitored river sites are too polluted for swimming, one-third of our lakes are unhealthy, and three quarters of our native freshwater fish are at risk of extinction."

The Greens say they would like to create a network of protected rivers which would restrict irrigation, dams and pollution, while maintaining rights for food gathering and recreation.

Dr Norman said the Government's National Objectives Framework, which comes into force in August, would allow rivers to have as much nitrogen pollution as the Yangtze River in China and would mean that some rivers could become so polluted people would only be able to dip their feet in but would not be able to put their head under.

The Greens say they will look at strengthening the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, and implement a National Environmental Standard for water quality and water flows in rivers which will be enforced by local councils.

Councils would have until 2020 to implement new water quality standards - among them a maximum level for pollutants including nitrate, phosphorous, zinc, and cadmium, and minimum levels for clarity and dissolved oxygen.

A standard for water flows would prohibit all further drainage of wetlands.

Environment Minister Amy Adams said earlier this month that at present there are no requirement for any particular standard for human health and that putting in place a minimum requirement such as making fresh water areas safe for wading and boating is a big step forward.

 

Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick and partner David Fagan win their second test.

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The New Zealand team of John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and David Fagan, of Te Kuiti, won their second test during their Elders Primary Wool UK tour by beating the England team of Adam Berry and Antony Rooke.

Result:

Great Yorkshire Show Ladies shearing final (3 sheep): Catherine Mullooly (Matawai, New Zealand) 3min 57sec, 18.9pts, 1; Natalie Crisp (Calton, England) 5min 36sec, 24.53pts, 2; Alice Petch (Stokesley, England) 5min, 30pts, 3; Joy Armstrong (Menston, England) 6min 23sec, 31.43pts, 4; Sarah Higgins (Havelock, New Zealand) 7min 51sec, 32.03pts, 5; Liz Scott (-) 7min 36sec, 45.2pts, 6.

In other shearing news two young New Zealand shearers have figured in an historic first ladies' event at the Great Yorkshire Show in England, watched by Princess Anne.

The three-sheep, six-shearer final on Wednesday was won by full-time shearer Catherine Mullooly, from Matawai, near Gisborne, and fifth was university graduate Sarah Higgins, of Havelock, in Marlborough, both in the UK on their Big OE.

Mullooly last summer became the first female to top Shearing Sports New Zealand's annual rankings in any grade when she dominated Intermediate competition in the lower North Island and Higgins, the 2013 Golden Shears Junior woolhandling champion, graduated as a Bachelor in Commerce from Lincoln University in May.

Higgins, expecting to head back downunder next month to eventually settle into a career with H Dawson Wool NZ, described the experience as "awesome," although she didn't personally get to chat with the Princess Royal, who was intrigued, as were local media, that a women's contest had emerged at one of the World's oldest agricultural shows.

The Great Yorkshire Show dates back to the formation of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society in 1837.

"Of course they can," fourth placegetter and Yorskshire lassie Joy Armstrong told media at the show when asked if women can shear as well as men. "It's a skill like any other. I think we have shown we can do it as well as anyone."

Stories in the Yorkshire Post and the Northern Echo didn't say who won.

A fall in log prices has many Hawkes Bay forestry workers concerned for their jobs

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Despite New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF) councillor and Hawke's Bay forestry consultant Bob Pocknall's assurances that the future demand for forestry workers was assured many are worried that they may be left without a job following a recent fall in log prices.

China is one of the largest importers of New Zealand logs but a recent price correction has many in the industry wondering how low it will go.

Larger harvesters such as Pan Pac and Rayonier are still harvesting but many of the smaller operators have already shut down.

Rayonier say they are still selling everything that they produce and are still making money although it is not always at a profit.

During winter many of the smaller operators do close early due to rising cost because of the weather but many in the industry are saying that forestry crews are being laid off by log exporters left, right and centre although there have been no definite figures.

However Mr Pocknall say's talk of widespread layoffs was just scaremongering and that the industry was in a very good position despite the log price correction.

He said there will be a dent in returns but the focus should be on the long-term picture and that picture is still good.

 

Wind turbines could be the answer for cash strapped Hawkes Bay farmers.

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Wind turbines could be the answer for cash strapped Hawkes Bay farmers after Wellington landowners rake it in.

A Wellington beef and sheep farmer, who has a 440-hectare property with eight Meridian Energy turbines, said the turbines made a big difference to the economics of his business.

Not only do Meridian provide income but they also create high quality roading, which they also maintain, making it easier for farming.

Landowners are paid a percentage of the revenue generated on the site, as well as a land rental during construction with revenue fluctuating according to how much wind blows, and the market price of electricity.

The typical footprint of the turbines was about 3 per cent of a farm, so they made little impact on its day-to-day running.

Meridian recently bought two farms in Hawkes Bay which they will use for wind turbines but say that it is easier to lease from landowners.

A Hastings based scientist could save the wine industry millions of dollars.

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The New Zealand wine industry is better equipped to battle a devastating plant pathogen that is costing the country tens of millions of dollars each year, thanks to new research carried out by Vaughn Bell, a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington.

Economic losses from Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 total tens of millions of dollars in New Zealand alone (a country that accounts for 0.9% of world wine production). The virus is transmitted by insects called mealybugs, which spread the disease while feeding on grapevines. Leafroll 3 reduces grapes' sugar content, flavour and yields-particularly for premium red-grape varieties such as Pinot Noir.

There is no cure for leafroll 3 and, once infected, vines eventually succumb to the disease, leaving growers with no option but to remove them and replant entire vineyards at considerable expense.

Vaughn, a scientist with The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited based in Havelock North, has shown that the virus can be accurately diagnosed by visual assessment on red varieties. Growers can then remove individual infected vines annually-a process known as 'roguing'.

The research has also demonstrated that only infected vines need to be removed, not the healthy nearest neighbouring vines as well, as was previously assumed. In addition, Vaughn's work has added much-needed clarity to the relationship between the disease and the mealybugs that carry it.

"The complete elimination of mealybugs from vineyards is not needed and would probably be impossible," says Vaughn, "but to control the virus, we do need low population densities of vectors. So growers must not only manage their infected vines, but also the mealybug populations in their vineyards."

Vaughn completed both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Victoria University. His doctoral research is supported by New Zealand Winegrowers, the national wine industry organisation, and Plant & Food Research.

Vaughn's supervisors, Professor Phil Lester from Victoria University and Professor Gerhard Pietersen from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, say his work is significant and demonstrates the value of dedicated scientific research for New Zealand wine and viticulture.

For the past five years, Vaughn has been a key team member of a New Zealand Winegrowers' project that is tackling both leafroll 3 and mealybugs in participating vineyards.

The project, co-funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries' Sustainable Farming Fund, extends over Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and Marlborough. Using protocols that incorporate findings from Vaughn's research, many vineyard managers have been able to reduce disease incidence to less than one percent, improving the longevity and economic viability of their vineyards.

"Vaughn's work has helped halt the spread of leafroll 3 within New Zealand vineyards," says Dr Simon Hooker, General Manager Research at New Zealand Winegrowers. "His ongoing engagement with the sector has also helped generate greater awareness among growers about the disease and the role played by mealybugs."

Vaughn says his work on finding ways to reduce the impact of leafroll 3 is far from over.

"We've developed what seems to be an effective virus management programme in red-grape varieties. The next challenge is to do the same for the vines of white grape varieties which, when virus-infected, lack the visual symptoms."

The Environmental Defence Society call the Hawkes Bay dam a questionable investment.

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The Environmental Defence Society have called the controversial Ruataniwha dam scheme questionable following a board of inquiry's decision to stick with a dual nutrient management regime.

EDS chairman Gary Taylor said the board's nitrogen limits effectively limit the intensity of land uses in the Tukituki catchment and will negatively impact on the commercial viability of the investment, which was marginal anyway.

He went on to say that the decision is a big win for the Tukituki catchment and also has wider implications for the management of freshwater quality elsewhere in the country.

The plan is being backed by $80m from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council who say they will need to take some time to digest the final decision.

Federated Farmers are also saying they will need some time to go through the massive volume of information handed down by the board.

However local president Will Foley maintain's the scheme is an environmental solution to help tackle nuisance algae found in the Tukituki during summer which also had economic benefits.

The project which will create a 83 metre high dam to store 104 million cubic metres of water, has struggled to attract institutional investors with both TrustPower and Ngai Tahu withdrawing planned investment.