Country Editorial and Insights

Wood value boosted with processing


With 60 percent of New Zealand’s annual timber harvest felled for raw export logs, there are calls for more added-value processing into products like panelling and engineered timber. It’s a tough call for little ol’ New Zealand to compete on the world stage in this arena – can we do it?


Hopping to a better brew


Hops are playing a big part in New Zealand’s craft brewing success story. It’s a niche crop that’s been grown in a distinct and confined geographic region, running from Upper Moutere in the Tasman district to nearby Motueka. Cheers, to that.


Heading to town to grow farm wealth


Farmers considering retirement, succession and wealth creation are increasingly turning to the commercial and industrial property sector for a passive income after a lifetime of hard graft on the land. We look at the ins and outs of property investment for farmers.


It’s show time again


The local A&P Show remains a must-do on most New Zealanders’ social calendars – despite the changing world we live in and the creep of cities towards the rural hinterland. We take a look at four thriving A&P Shows and how they’re reinventing themselves for 21st century life.


Ribbons and cups for lambs and calves


Learning how to raise and care for an animal is a quintessential part of a country upbringing. Calf Days, Pet Days and Ag’ Clubs still play an important role in rural schools and the fundamental principles remain. Now that deserves a ribbon.


Brave new world for forecasters ahead


Weather Watch director Philip Duncan takes a look at the new technology and vast data sources which when combined mean New Zealand farmers will soon have forecasts tailored to their farming needs.


Farms to boost forests’ fortunes


Whether for carbon or for timber, there is a buzz in forestry circles. Once again this major industry is on target to play a big part in re-booting regional economies, and putting New Zealand on track to meet its environmental commitments to the rest of the world.


New minister kicks off at pace


We chat to Damien O’Connor, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities, about his goals for the portfolios he is tasked to lead. He shares his take on the challenges and opportunities ahead for the primary sector.


To market, to market


Farmers’ markets around New Zealand are the ideal place for lifestyle block owners to tout their locally-grown produce. We look at the philosophy behind the farmers’ market movement and talk to a couple of growers about getting seasonal produce to the stall.


Help is on its way


You’ve bought the lifestyle block, got some sheep to keep the grass down and for now, everything’s sweet. With some help from professionals and others in your local community, we show you how you can manage your block – and still have a life.


Farming smarter, not harder


Information technology and associated high-tech’ applications are making their presence felt. These advances can help New Zealand farmers farm smarter, reduce their environmental impact and improve efficiencies – in a way that is accessible, affordable and downright clever.


Young guns fire on the land


New Zealand’s primary production future is assured with high-calibre talent now making their mark on the land. The next generation are challenging the established ways of the land and providing innovative and practical future-led ideas and solutions.


Having the tough talk


Planning for smooth and fair farm succession is never an easy issue to front. Talking about the practicalities along with the pros and cons earlier, rather than later, can have some surprising upsides – so let’s get succession on the table for discussion.


Organic way of life


The decision to “go organic” on a lifestyle block goes beyond the soil and the produce. It involves a holistic approach to the production and consumption cycle. We talk to a couple of lifestyle property owners who have gone down the organics route.


Hi honey, I’m home


Beehives are hitting the sweet spot for lifestyle block owners, with the upsides of honey and pollination being the main drivers. There’s plenty of help at hand to set you on the honey trail and, as with most things in life, good preparation is key.


A profession off the sheep’s back


Shearings quiet contribution to rural New Zealand and the economy belies a colourful, inventive and competitive history. Its history, its evolution and its role make a fascinating strand in our nationhood.


More milk, less cow


Cows are no longer the only means to generate dairy returns, with exciting new developments in sheep and goat milking afoot. Is the non cow dairy sector worth a look?


Heading for the hills


Land values remain strong across the spectrum of rural New Zealand, with good market prospects and strong buyer interest helping kick off the new year in the provinces.


Sense to make dollars


Turning a dollar on a lifestyle block takes research, planning and passion. Country checks out three properties which are proving profitable for their owners.


From A to B&B


Opening a B&B operation on a lifestyle property could be a way to tap into New Zealand’s growing tourism market. Here’s some pointers to consider.


More Bang for their Buck


Venison prices are at their highest level since 2011 and demand for New Zealand produce is huge, but deer numbers are at their lowest level in 26 years. Is now the time to invest in a deer farm?


A Sporting Chance


Sports clubs are the beating heart of rural New Zealand. They have the power to bring communities together and raise spirits when times are tough.


The Undiscovered Country


A small rural town’s heart-warming story shows just how desirable country New Zealand can be, not only to inner-city Kiwis but also to the rest of the world.


Early Start a Good Start for Succession Planning


Aging farmers without farm succession plans to help them step into well earned, enjoyable retirements are among the greatest concerns for realtors, financiers and farm advisors in New Zealand.


Manuka Gold Flows Through Back Country


The humble honey bee is contributing to a quiet land use revolution in some of the country’s more remote farming regions, bringing options and opportunities for farmers and rural communities.


Digesting the Goat sector


There is strong international demand for goat products but any possible growth in the New Zealand goat farming sector will be coming off a small production base. Country looks at the three main areas of the goat industry – dairy, fibre and meat.


Food for Thought


With the Ministry for Primary Industries seeking to lift the productivity and profitability of New Zealand’s primary sector and double export returns by 2025, Country looks at some of the value-add challenges we face.


Putting the Glam into Camping


As urbanisation has taken hold in New Zealand, it has become increasingly difficult for city dwellers to access rural life in a meaningful way. Glamping is giving urban dwellers a chance to reconnect with this country’s pastoral roots, have a break and help farmers’ incomes. Country speaks to some glamping site entrepreneurs.


La Dolce Vita


The good life is what those choosing to own a lifestyle block hanker after – a life where the land expands horizons beyond fenced-in suburbia. For one Italian couple, a parcel of land in Northland allows them to live their life with zest.