Massey University's beef research team put GPS collars on 30 cows within three herds of 20-30 cows and monitored their movements over two winters, as part of a project looking at pugging and cows' environmental impactFOUR of the grapegrowing industry's finest prospects will be lining up in Hawke's Bay next week battling for the title of national Young Viticulturist of the Year.

The competition will run over three days, starting on Tuesday with practical questions and the especially challenging Biostart Hortysports at the Gimblett Gravels vineyards of Te Awa Winery.

It's run in conjunction with the New Zealand Winegrowers' annual Romeo Bragato conference, starting in Napier the next day, with the competition ending at the conference dinner and awards next Thursday night.

Local hopes will be carried by Craggy Range viticulturist Caleb Dennis, who won the Hawke's Bay final seven weeks ago. He will be up against Central Otago representative Mike Winter, Matt Duggan, of Marlborough, and Wairarapa entry Scott Lanceley.

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The winning prize package includes the use of a Hyundai Santa Fe for a year, a $5000 travel voucher, $2000 cash, Spiegelau wine glasses donated by Winejobsonline, and the sector's place in the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition in November.

A deer future

Almost 50 of the deer industry's future leaders are in Hawke's Bay today and tomorrow for a Next Generation Deer Industry Field Day, the first to be held in the North Island.

Tikokino deer farmer Grant Charteris said the first two Deer Farmers Association field days were held in the South Island and focused on the venison side of the industry. This year's focuses on velvet, of which he produces about two tonnes on his 327ha farm.

Next Generation Deer starts at the Napier Sailing Club today with sessions and experts focusing on development aspects, including management and viability, and tomorrow the group will go on-farm at Tikokino, with final stages at the Onga Tiko Rugby Clubrooms.

Walking the cows

A study of cow movement on hill country yielded some surprises, including that cows walk about 3km per day.

Massey University's beef research team put GPS collars on 30 cows within three herds of 20-30 cows and monitored their movements over two winters, as part of a project looking at pugging and cows' environmental impact.

The GPS collars were fitted for the wettest, coldest week of that period, during which cows did only 5 per cent of their walking on steep slopes, and walked about 3km per day. After two months of grazing, 23-51 per cent of a paddock had pugging damage. The pasture growth rate in spring was 40 per cent less in damaged areas, compared to undamaged areas. Each paddock had rest areas where cows congregated.