Increased interest in dairy goat farming has in turn increased demand for new milking technology.

Dairy goat milk processors, looking to increase their supplier numbers, are helping to drive interest among farmers in New Zealand’s growing goat milk industry.

Swap Stockfoods has opened a new site in Christchurch.

Swap Stockfoods has operated in the South Island for a while now but has opened a new site in Christchurch that will give more stockfood options to farmers in Canterbury, the West Coast and further north. 

Richard Wyeth, Westland Milk Products' new chief executive-elect says he is looking forward to running the company.

The chief executive-elect of Yili-owned Westland Milk Products Richard Wyeth says he’s looking forward to the challenge of running the company.

Dairy processors say direct market access gains from RCEP will be "modest".

While the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement last week is being hailed as a positive move, the reality is that its benefit to the dairy sector is limited.

As countries gradually get on top of Covid and the global economy rebounds in the coming years, dairy demand will firm up, says Nathan Penny, Westpac.

Demand for dairy will firm over the next two years as  the global economy rebounds from Covid, says Westpac senior agri economist Nathan Penny.

Some parts of the West Coast can get up to three metres of rain per year.

The government's new freshwater regulations are creating a few headaches for West Coast dairy farmers, according to DairyNZ South Island head Tony Finch.

MPI's Mycoplasma Bovis Programme Director is assuring farmers that the increase in the number of cases is expected for this time of year.

Stuart Anderson, Ministry for Primary Industries Mycoplasma Bovis Programme Director, is assuring farmers that a recent increase in confirmed infected farms is only to be expected at this time of year.

Mid-Canterbury farmer Duncan Barr recounts his M. bovis nightmare.

The mental anguish of dealing with bureaucracy is the hard part of managing a Mycoplasma bovis infection, says Mid-Canterbury farmer and self-appointed advocate for the victims, Duncan Barr.

From tasting the world’s hottest chilis to analysing grapevine phenology, Ghouse Peera has long been fascinated with plants.

Romeo Bragato continues to make his mark on New Zealand’s wine industry, 125 years after he first offered advice on the prospects for viticulture. The Bragato Trust granted a total of $23,000 to seven wine and viticulture students last year, with 45 grants worth $240,000 since the trust was established in 2008.

Covid-19 is creating “amazing opportunities” for wine and viticulture students, says the head of Hawke’s Bay’s viticulture and wine science school. Sue Blackmore, from Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), says closed borders will make wine students far more valuable to companies during vintage, and vintage experience more valuable for students. “We have to enable these students to get out into industry as soon as possible… to hit the ground running.”

The school has been working with wine companies in Hawke’s Bay to ascertain needs for the 2021 vintage, and has responded with two additional fees-free programmes, including a basic cellar operations course, which will give students enough knowledge to kick off their first vintage, undertaken as part of the qualification. The school has also made plans to enable more students in its wine and viticulture programmes - including all but the first year of its degree course - to work a full vintage. The students will provide a premium resource to wineries short of experienced cellar staff, and the students will have invaluable opportunities to build contacts and experience, says Sue.

EIT will launch its fees-free Certificate in Cellar Operations (Level 3) in January, with the hands-on one-semester programme culminating in vintage at a Hawke’s Bay winery. “We are basically trying to help people get into the industry who want a taste of it without doing a degree,” says Sue. “Hawke’s Bay wine companies are very keen to be part of it.” The new programmes join the existing fees-free Graduate Diploma in Oenology, for those who already have a science-related qualification or industry experience, and Graduate Diploma in Viticulture (Level 7), both available online or on campus.

Covid-19 has seen enrolments boosted, as people out of work look to a career change, says Sue. “Before the courses were fully announced, we were getting enquiries.” She’s also seeing more interest from school leavers and careers advisors, who thought it was “amazing” to have a paid vintage amid the study. “It’s not only fees-free, but they will get paid and get instant hands-on experience.”

Meanwhile, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), has developed a new delivery of cellar hand training which includes condensed training options in January to ensure skilled students are on hand for vintage 2021.

From now on, the Level 3 and Level 4 Cellar Operations programmes will enable more trainees to study while they work within industry. Classes will pause for up to eight weeks of vintage, and students will be assisted in finding a paid practical vintage placement. Pam Wood, NMIT’s Curriculum Manager for Primary Industries, says that gives the students excellent hands-on experience and offers support to vineyards and wineries. NMIT also offer an online delivery of Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking, Level 7, which allows students nationwide to study from the wine region they work in, she says.

Wine Marlborough Advocacy Manager Vance Kerslake says the evolving courses are evidence of necessity breeding invention. “Wine schools like NMIT are working hand in hand with wine companies, for the good of the students and the industry - which can really do with their help.”

Lincoln University is also working to address the labour crisis affecting all New Zealand’s primary industries, including wine, says Practical Work Coordinator Barbara Nicholson.

Teaching times for third-year students can be rearranged so they can complete their academic requirements and their practical work by starting the semester a month early, she says. “This means that they can have an extra-long break and go and work on a vintage, then come back and complete their academic work.”

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