Rural news in brief

The tuatara is one of a number of birds showing signs of climate change stress.
The tuatara is one of a number of birds showing signs of climate change stress.

KEY POINTS

Yellow eyed penguins, kea, and tuatara are already showing signs of climate change stress, says Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague.

Shearing record broken

A crowd packed into a King Country woolshed had to wait till the last moments of a 480-minutes day before seeing a world ewe-shearing record broken by just two sheep on Tuesday. Shearing at Te Hape, on State Highway 30 between Te Kuiti and Taupo, Coel L'Huillier, of Te Akau, and Kelvin Walker, of Taumarunui, shore 1068 to beat the two-stand eight-hours strongwool ewes record of 1066 set by Ruawai brothers Rowland and Doug Smith in January 2011.

Dairy price rises forecast

Reduced milk supply out of key dairy export regions - including New Zealand - will fuel further dairy price increases early this year, according to Rabobank's latest global dairy outlook. In its recent Dairy Quarterly - Supply 'Crunch' Bites report, Rabobank says dairy production in the second half of 2016 dropped significantly in six of seven key dairy export regions with 2.6 million tonnes less milk produced compared with the second half of 2015. The report says only the United States bucks the trend of falling production.

Company widens loss

Shanghai Pengxin's Milk New Zealand Holdings unit widened its annual loss in 2016 as revenue sank by more than a third on a lower global milk price and the company's sharemilking agreement with state-owned enterprise Landcorp. The Auckland-based farm owner posted a loss of $10.9 million in the 12 months ended June 30, widening from $9.4m a year earlier, financial statements lodged with the Companies Office show. Revenue dropped 38 per cent to $10.7m, of which milk sales slumped 40 per cent to $9m. At the same time, Milk NZ's cost of sales rose 27 per cent to $11.8m, registering a gross loss of $1m in the year.

Birds show climate stress

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research figures show 2016 was the hottest year on record for New Zealand and yellow eyed penguins, kea, and tuatara are already showing signs of climate change stress, says Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague. Urging the Government to cut emissions and fund environmental research, he says the number of yellow-eyed penguins has plummeted from 491 breeding pairs in 2012 to an estimated 190 pairs last year and kea face more predation as warmer temperatures allow introduced pests like rats and stoats to live at higher altitudes. And as the sex ratio of baby tuatara changes with temperature, with more males developing if it is warmer, at 4C warming it is possible only male tuatara will develop, spelling the end of the species.

- The Country

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