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Rural roundup: Fertiliser; animal welfare; debt pressures

Rural roundup: Fertiliser; animal welfare; debt pressures
Here are a selection of current stories from Superphosphate rise tipped Hill-country farmers are feeling gloomy about expected price rises for superphosphate even though major fertiliser co-operative Ravensdown intends to delay any increase to the middle of the year. Overseas phosphate commodity prices have increased by 60 per cent in the past few months, forcing Ravensdown to lift diammonium phosphate (DAP) on Friday by $88 a tonne to $915 a tonne. Rival co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients was set on Saturday to add $91 a tonne to its price of $921 a tonne, up 10.8 per cent reports Stuff. Read the rest of this entry » New dairy welfare code under fire A new welfare code for dairy cattle has been criticised by Federated Farmers for "confusing legal requirements with best recommended practices" reports The NZ Herald. Federated Farmers Dairy vice chairperson John Bluett says he is worried the new code could mean farmers are punished if the way they farm does not meet the recommendations. The latest Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010 released last week consolidates a range of already existing documents. "It'll be fine if it's used as a training guide for stockmanship, then it would help, " said Bluett. Read the rest of this entry » Financial pressure will lead to more sales Debt levels mean more farmers may have to sell land and leave the business, a rural valuer says, despite Fonterra announcing the second-highest payout in 10 years for dairy farmers. The number of farms sold in the Manawatu-Whanganui region fell almost 60 per cent in 2009, compared with the year before. There have been so few farm sales lately that valuers have found it difficult to put a value on some rural properties, and often need to use their experience to make judgment calls reports The Manawatu Standard. Hobson and Associates senior member of the Property Institute of New Zealand (PINZ), Neil Hobson, said only four dairy farms had been sold in Manawatu, Rangitikei and Horowhenua in the past 10 months. There had also been four "significant" sheep and beef farms sold. "There are a number of buyers and sellers out there, but it is a matter of reaching prices that are acceptable to both parties and that are bankable for the purchaser and their financiers," he said. Read the rest of this entry » Vaccine to calm bulls released A new product unveiled in Hanmer last week will make bulls less aggressive and destructive, according to The Vet Centre's Pete Anderson. BOPRIVA, a vaccine which reduces testosterone in bulls for about three months, was released last Thursday after trials throughout NZ reports The Marlborough Express. Mr Anderson said one property in Marlborough had experimented with the product early last year with good results. "Everyone who we've talked to has been really excited," he said. The vaccine temporarily knocked out a pituitary hormone that stimulated testosterone production, he said. It was developed because farmers and vets needed a way to calm bulls down. Read the rest of this entry » For up-to-date schedule and saleyard prices, see - Bulls - Steers - Lamb - Wool - Dairy cows - Stags

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