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24th Easter Bunny Hunt set to run

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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Coke and Pepsi sign for fair land tenure

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.

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Marlborough wine growers struggle in rain

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.

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AgResearch closer to hub relocation

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.

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Potential Theileria outbreak on the horizon

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.

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Apollo Apples to be sold overseas

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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MacKenzie Highland Show

MacKenzie Highland Show

Mackenzie A&P Showgrounds  (Fairlie)

The 116th Mackenzie A&P Highland Show will be held on the 21st of April 2014. The Mackenzie Show is always held on Easter Monday. It is the largest one day Show in Australasia with 12-15,000 through the gates. We sell over 400 Trade Sites, have more than 2100 classes to choose from in our schedule of classes and, each year, offer the patrons many forms of entertainment, competitions and attractions. Some of the standard classes held annually are: equestrian (from miniatures to draught), show jumping, sheep, wool, cattle, goats, poultry (chickens, ducks and pigeons), donkeys/mules, home and farm produce, wine and home brew, cooking, flowers, patchwork, needlework, art, crafts (card making, scrapbooking, jewellery, etc), photography and school industry to name a few. Other, more unique classes include dog trials, local pet dog, highland dancing, piping and solo drumming, alpacas and wearable art. The Schedule of Classes for the 2014 Show will be due in your mailboxes the first week of February. Closing date for most entries is on March 14th which gives you plenty of time to prepare your entries.
Annual competitions include a NZKC Show (we are one of the last A&P’s to host a New Zealand Kennel Club Show), Wood Chopping, Mackenzie Shears (a Shearing Sports NZ competition- it is the last round to select the New Zealand machine and blade shearing teams to travel to Ireland. These teams will be announced at the Show), Mackenzie Cowboy Challenge (a points approved NZCCA competition), Country Kidz Agricultural Challenge and a Gift Lamb Competition (average 30, judged on hoof on the day, and on hook at the works). This year Beef + Lamb NZ will be show casing through a butcher’s demonstration and a cooking demonstration by an ambassador chef. We will also host the Regional Final of the Young Farmers competition as well as the inaugural “Mackenzie Country Mile” running competition. The “Country Mile” will be two races. One a celebrity race with invited guests. The other race will be a competition between different farming, or farming support groups, putting up a runner for a separate one mile race- beef, crop, dairy, sheep, shearers, stock agents, truckies, etc. Other attractions this year include a fashion parade, vintage machinery, a band, a roving children’s entertainer and a carnival. The theme for this year’s Show is “Better by a Country Mile”.
We look forward to seeing you there!

More info: