Owen Poland

Irrigation is getting more high-tech and water efficient as time goes on – which is just as well, as access to the essential fluid gets more and more restricted and expensive. OWEN POLAND looks at the latest in on-farm water management.

We have experienced, innovative and inspiring stewards of the country’s natural resources, but who will be the next generation of people to lead New Zealand’s primary sector to dizzying commercial heights? Well, we haven’t got a crystal ball, but our judges are pretty sure we’ll all be hearing a lot more about the following 10 folk in years to come.

The electronic ID tag system for cattle known as NAIT – soon to include deer - is live and mandatory, and uptake rates are high. But that’s not to say the system is without its hiccups – or its naysayers, reports Owen Poland.

The Prince of Wales has often been ridiculed for his supposedly 'wooly thinking' on the environment, spiritual meaning, and holistic medicine. But his support for actual wool is unquestioned and, far from being sheepish about the royal endorsement, the industry is loving it, says Owen Poland.

They were the best of times for meat prices, but by the end of 2012 they were the worst of times, with losses all around for a sector struggling to keep its earnings consistent. Are contracts between farmers and processors the key to consistency, asks Owen Poland?

The costs to the dairy sector from mastitis is put at hundreds of millions of dollars, and science is racing to find a magic bullet for the problem. But for many, the answer is more managerial than medicinal, reports Owen Poland.

Shanghai Pengxin is a hair’s-breadth away from taking ownership of the Crafar Farms, with its local subsidiary already advertising for management positions. Assuming the Michael Fay-led consortium can’t halt proceedings, what will things look like down on the (Chinese-backed, Landcorp-run) farm? OWEN POLAND reports.

Imagine a leg of prime Kiwi lamb implanted with an edible Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag that has tracked its journey from pasture to plate. Imagine, too, if the consumer’s ‘plate’ could read the tag and thereby ‘pump out’ all sorts of information like calories or fat, details about the lamb’s ‘trading’ history and even food miles.