The annual sheep industry awards, first held in 2012, take a break this year as the event and its accolades are re-evaluated in the hope they will again be staged next year.

The awards ceremony has alternated between the North and the South islands. Napier hosted them in 2014 and Masterton two years ago, and were due to be held in the North Island this year.

Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor said the organisation has chosen to take a one-year break to re-evaluate and, where necessary, re-purpose the awards, to ensure they stay relevant and reflect the changing nature of the industry.

"We will be reviewing the format, timing and criteria for all the awards and throughout the process will be talking with farmers and all other stakeholders to ensure that when they return in 2019, the Sheep Industry Awards will be as successful as they have been in the past."


Seven set for growers Napier showdown
The seven finalists for the national Young Grower of the Year finals in Napier next month have been confirmed after the last of the preliminary competitions near Gisborne.

For the first time, there are two winners of the Young Vegetable Grower of the Year competition. Esteban Ibanez and Gurjant Singh will compete against four regional fruit grower award winners in Napier on August 22.

The others are Hawke's Bay orchard operations assistant Lisa Arnold, Te Puke avocado services manager and Bay of Plenty winner Danni van der Heijden, Cromwell orchardist and North Otago winner Hamish Darling, Nelson representative Dillon Peterson, and Gisborne Young Fruit Grower of the Year Matt Gomm.

Honey bizz all abuzz
It's been a buzzy week in Blenheim where more than 900 people attended the Apiculture NZ conference.

Among them were former Hawke's Bay and national Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills, who is now the independent chairman of Apiculture NZ, and former Hawke's Bay and international rugby referee Kelvin Deaker, now chief financial officer of Marlborough company Taylor Pass Honey.

The organisation was formed two years ago in a restructuring of the industry, and is grappling with the rapid emergence of manuka honey and consequently the number of hives, up close to 10 per cent in the past year to just under 890,000.

Wills notes an irony, where his father broke-in the farm near Te Pohue by clearing hectare upon hectare of manuka, which the country is now planting as quickly as it can.

Shear hard work
The CP Wool New Zealand shearing team in the UK, the first for several years to be without at least one member from Hawke's Bay, is making hard work of its current tour, with four losses in four tests.


Going into this morning's match at the Royal Welsh Show, the team of Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill, and David Buick, of Pongaroa, had been beaten in single tests by Scotland and England, and the first two of four tests against Wales.

But the results highlight the variation in conditions from New Zealand to the UK, with New Zealand unable to win any of the annual series against Wales in Wales since 2011, including a 4-0 defeat last year for world champions Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick, of Hawke's Bay, with Jack Fagan, of Te Kuiti, standing-in for Smith in two tests.

Conversely, the Welsh team of Matthew Evans, of Swansea, and Alun Lloyd Jones, of Llangollen and who shears for Napier contractor Brendan Mahony when in New Zealand, was beaten 4-0 by Smith and Kirkpatrick in New Zealand earlier this year.

The only time any shearing team from the UK has beaten New Zealand in New Zealand was when Scotland won the 1996 world teams title in Masterton, after the Kiwi team was disqualified.

The major success for the team on tour was Stratford's win in the Great Yorkshire Show open final in England.

Red meat in Napier
The Red Meat Sector conference is all set to go in Napier, starting with registration and meet-and-greet on Sunday evening ahead of two days of keynote speakers and forums in the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre.

The annual conference is jointly hosted by the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand, a voluntary trade association representing New Zealand meat processors, marketers and exporters, and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand's sheep and beef farmers.

The goal of the conference is to promote and foster the red meat sector by providing a framework for engagement between farmers, industry and service providers, as well as showcasing expertise and best practice.