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Theileria spreads as autumn calving begins

A rise in the number of Theileria cases in cattle has prompted a warning for farmers to check stock for symptoms of the disease.

Theilerisosis is caused by a blood-borne parasite transmitted by ticks and causes anaemia in cattle.

It’s estimated 13 new herds a week are being infected with the disease.

DairyNZ's chief scientist Dr Eric Hillerton says cattle that are stressed are more susceptible to disease.
With recent rain likely to see tick activity to liven up and Gypsy Day drawing closer Dr Hillerton says farmers need to be prepared.

Signs of theileriosis include lethargy, pale mucous membranes, exercise intolerance, and increased respiratory and heart rates.
Farmers with cattle they suspect are infected should separate the beast from the herd and seek veterinary advice.

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Out of tenure; High Country station hits the market

Bendrose Station, a large pastoral property near Twizel is for sale for the first time in its 94 year history.
Owned by the Allan family, Bendrose covers 3580 hecatres of partially irrigated flat land in the McKenzie Country.

Historically part of the Ben Ohau Station, freehold in Bednrose Station was created through tenure review in 2011, meaning this is the first time the property has ever been offered to the market.
The station, which is next to Pukaki Airport and the Ocean to Apls cycle trail, is for sale by tender.

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Last ANZ Young Farmers Grand Finalist named

The last of the seven Grand Finalists for the ANZ Young Farmer Contest has been found.

25 year old Mayfield Dairy Farm Manager  James Davidson took out the Aorangi regional final at the 116th Mackenzie A&P Highland Show in Fairlie on Easter Monday.

James is a member of the Hinds club and competed against six other men and one woman to reach the Grand Final…to be held in Christchurch in July.

With his victory, in perfect weather conditions, James won nearly $14,000 in prizes and  the opportunity to become NZ’s Young Farmer of the Year.

The Mackenzie A&P Highland Show is the largest one day show in Australasia and attractions nearly 15,000 people each Easter Monday.

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Southland weevil control underway

Scientists have almost reached the halfway mark of their target of sucking up one million wasps from Canterbury paddocks to send them down to Southland to combat clover root weevil.
AgResearch teams are using modified leaf blowers to suck up weevils infected with Irish wasps.

The wasps are being sent to 1000 Southland farms overrun by weevil, which since arriving in 2010, has attacked Southland clover in pastures limiting sheep, beef and dairy production.

AgResearch scientist Dr Scott Hardwick says the weevil is costing some farmers more than $30,000 in productivity and major drop-offs in milk solids.

There are no effective pesticides for the bug that was originally discovered in the Waikato in the 1990’s.
But since the release of the Irish wasp throughout Northland the weevil population has dropped by 90%.
Southland farmers are told clover content will return to normal two to four years after the wasp’s release.

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Mites could solve wasp problem

Miniscule mites could be the answer to New Zealand’s foreign wasp problem.
Landcare research has been granted $430,000 over the next several years, to look at ways to use mites to control wasp populations threatening local wildlife.

Two species of European wasp are major pests, stealing the food of native birds, ‘beating up’ and raiding beehives and feeding on grapevines around the country.

With some areas getting up to 30 nests per hectare, the insects also threaten people’s health and safety.

However, a Kiwi researcher has found a mite that could help control the pest.
PhD student Bob Brown discovered mites attaching themselves to the wasps...
Infected wasps had deformed wings and colonies with high levels of mite infection died out.

The parasite has been suggested as a cheap, effective way to control the pest.

The Landcare Research team’s first task is to ensure the mite poses no risk to honeybees, bumblebees and native bees before any further action is taken.

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Cyclone Ita annihilates West Coast

West Coast farmers in the South Island are still cleaning up after the effects of Cyclone Ita last week.
The storm destroyed buildings, toppled trees, blocked roads and caused widespread power outages.
West Coast dairy farmer and Federated Farmers’ adverse events spokesperson, Katie Milne, says she had never experienced a storm so widespread and vicious in the area.
Federated Farmers advise farmers to take photos of any damage as evidence for their insurance companies.

West Coast Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Dianne Milne says power outages came at a bad time for dairy farmers trying to take advantage of this season’s high payout.

Farmers severely affected by the storm are being urged to call the West Coast Rural Support Trust.

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No fruit fly found; restrictions lifted

Restrictions imposed on fruit and vegetable movements in Whangarei were lifted on Sunday, with no further trace of Queensland fruit flies.

A single, male fruit fly was caught in a Whangarei trap on April 1, just 400 metres from where another male fly had been found in January.
The Ministry for Primary Industries maintains the two flies are not connected.

The Queensland fruit fly is regarded as a serious threat to New Zealand’s $4 billion Horticultural industry.

While New Zealand’s fruit fly-free status remains intact, the Ministry for Primary Industry says it may never know how the flies arrived in New Zealand.

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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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