Country Life

Friday 17 April 2015, with Carol Stiles, Susan Murray, Cosmo Kentish-Barnes & Duncan Smith

Farm to Floor

chric richIn 2009 a group of Banks Peninsula sheep farmers pooled resources in a bid to increase the value of the wool and to strengthen their farming community.

Chris Chamberlain (above left) is chairman of the Banks Peninsula Farms Wool Growers company. He also runs a sheep and beef property with his wife Jacqui near Port Levy on Banks Peninsula. “It was originally started from the farm discussion group we had running on the Peninsula. We were just disillusioned with the price of wool and we decided to be proactive and ask the question, why?”

The group realised it had to take a long term view. The idea was to link with manufacturers and retailers in the international marketplace and to establish long-term supply contracts. It has also established its own brand – Banks Peninsula Farms – and is aligned to Laneve branded wool under the Wools of New Zealand programme.

Richard Barnett (above right) is one of 40 or so shareholders in Banks Peninsula Farms Wool Growers Limited. He farms with his wife Clare across the bay from the Chamberlains. “One of the problems wool growers in general have had is that we’ve been kept very well divided and not badly served, but it’s been in a lot of other people’s interests to keep us rather ignorant of the wool growing, processing and marketing process”.

To set themselves apart from other wool growers, the shareholder farmers must adhere to a strict on farm quality control programme that includes an extra focus on clip preparation, a dip residue test, low pesticide use and a range of other on-farm practices.

A recent initiative has been the creation of designer rugs made entirely from Banks Peninsula wool. Jacqui Gibbs Chamberlain (below) is a painter and was asked do the artwork. "As a group they decided that they wanted to see the product finished in a way that was different from anybody else. So they choose me to design some rugs which was very exciting."

The company proudly says it takes Banks Peninsula wool from the farm to the floor.

c jacky

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Making Milk - the Yashili Factory in Pokeno


carolCans of infant milk powder are due to start rolling off the production line at New Zealand's only decicated baby formula plant in Pokeno next month.

The north Waikato town is home to the Chinese-owned Yashili plant. All of its products will be exported to China.

Yashili New Zealand spokeperson Leon Fung (below) says the factory is the biggest single drying plant for infant milk in Asia.

It can produce 8.4 tonnes of infant milk powder an hour.

Built at a cost of between $210 and $220 million, it will process 300-thousand litres of milk a day when it reaches full production.

The milk is being bought from Fonterra and from Open Country Dairy.

Mr Fung says the plant currently employs 45 to 50 people but, as production increases, staff numbers will build to about 120.

He says the recent threats to contaminate infant formula with 1080 have caused Yashili to ramp up security even more at the factory.

Additional CCTV cameras have been installed at the plant. The public only has access to the reception area and finger print recognition technology only allows registered individuals to enter the factory. People are scanned for a second time before they are allowed on the production floor.


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Fiona Greig is a is a nutritionist with Beef and Lamb NZ. She's promoting World Iron Week.

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Regional Wrap

Grass growth is bouncing back in the North Island following the cold snap. In Canterbury, snow settled on the plains for the first time since 1992.

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