Central Otago rabbits will be trying to hide this long weekend as the annual Alexandra Easter Bunny hunt gets underway. The hunt is in its 24th year and includes 26 teams of 12 trying to kill as many rabbits as possible over 24 hours. Event organiser Dave Ramsay says traditional good hunting zones may not be as good this year, with an influx of rabbits in the lower Clutha area but numbers around Tarras down significantly.
Some years shooters have shot more than 20,000 rabbits but with a smaller amount of land available for the hunt means numbers could be down this year. The shoot begins at midday tomorrow.
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Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have both signed voluntary global guidelines on land tenure.
The guidelines are designed to safeguard local people's rights to land and food as developing nations struggle to keep their land over rich overseas buyers.
Oxfam New Zealand says an area of land the size of Auckland is being sold to foreign investors for farming every four days in poor countries.
While the land is sold as unused or undeveloped, Oxfam says poor families are often living there and growing food.
PepsiCo signed this week and also pledged to carry out social and environmental assessments across its global supply chains, beginning in Brazil, its top sugar-sourcing country.
Coca-Cola signed in November.
While farmers in the North are hanging out for it, Marlborough wine growers have had enough of the rain. And it’s not only the vineyards feeling the pain, harvester drivers, hand-pickers and truck driver’s transporter the fruit are struggling in wet conditions. Ground conditions are making it difficult for trucks to get fruit off the trees and out of orchards. Many wineries have capped their intake as normal, but at the end of a good season, some are taking an extra 5 to 10 tonne per hectare.
Hundreds of millimetres of rain have fallen in the region over the past week with more forecast over the next few days.
AgResearch’s innovation science hubs are a step closer with the appointment of a company to manage the campus relocation plans.
Christchurch-based ‘The Project Office’ has been appointed to manage plans for the Lincoln Hub and the Food-HQ Hub in Palmerston North.
The hubs are will join universities, researchers, sector and private interests at the two sites where they can collaborate on specific areas of science.
AgResearch has the support of Lincoln and Massey Universities as well as DairyNZ. However, with the hubs moving hundreds of AgResearch staff away from Waikato and Otago, many local farmers are upset. A group of Southern sheep breeders are calling for a vote of no confidence in the Crown owned Institute.
North Island Dairy Farmers are being urged to look out for Theileriosis in cattle, as reports of an increase in cases emerge.
A Theileria outbreak last spring affected more than 350 farms across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Northland and Central North Island.
The disease spread by ticks causes anaemia in cattle. DairyNZ chief scientist Dr Eric Hillerton says risk of another outbreak is high with autumn calving, stock movements and recent rain. As the transition into autumn calving and milking begins, cow’s immune systems become less efficient and cattle become more susceptible to infection.
Eric Hillerton says with gypsy day looming and tick activity bound to increase, the risk of infecting healthy herds is high.
DairyNZ are urging farmers to check stock for ticks before moving them off or onto their property and treat cattle accordingly.
Turners and Growers is planning to buy out Hawke’s Bay apple company Apollo Apples, to help meet growing international demand. Apollo grows packs and exports around 1.4 million cartons of apples annually while also owning or leasing more than 500 hectares of apple orchards.
Turners & Growers CEO Alastair Hulbert says the $36 million acquisition would improve returns to growers and increase exports.
As part of the deal Turners & Growers will also buy a 50% shareholding in Apollo Foods Limited.
The purchase is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.
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