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Have your say on who will represent you in the Taupo District

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PHOTO: Mike Hendon, Jet Photography/Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre

Federated Farmers takes a look at what our industry needs to do to attract, recruit and keep great people to work on farm. Pages 6, 7 & 8


National Farming Review October 2016

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EDERATED FARMERS PRESIDENT Dr William Rolleston has been appointed acting president of the World Farmers’ Organisation. Dr Rolleston has been the WFO’s vice president and will guide the organisation though until the next general assembly in Helsinki 2017 during which a new president will be appointed. “It’s a privilege to be appointed to this role in an acting capacity. The WFO actively promotes the critical importance of a sustainable global farming sector for the future of our planet, says Dr Rolleston. “The WFO is the global voice of farming and partners with the public and private sector to improving farmer’s efficiency and effectiveness in the value chain. “It helps to overcome the global and local barriers to resource and market access.” Dr Rolleston will now be more involved in the many activities, events, policy proposals and advocacy work that WFO is conducting on behalf of its members. “Some of WFO’s current work includes world food security, climate change policy and practice, WFO’s Strategic Plan 2018-2028 and a number of policy initiatives.” Dr Rolleston farms in the

The WFO actively promotes the critical importance of a sustainable global farming sector for the future of our planet. South Island and operates a family owned biological manufacturing business there supplying biologicals to pharmaceutical, diagnostic and research industries around the world. He has held board positions relating to agriculture, science and economic development and sits on the New Zealand Government’s Science Board. He was the founding chairman of New Zealand’s Biotechnology Industry Organisation (now NZBio) and of the Life Sciences Network — an umbrella organisation of science and industry organisations who advocated for science based regulation of genetic modification.



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October 2016 National Farming Review




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on local, national and international issues

NEWS SHORTCUTS ■ Local Government Bill: The Local Government Act Amendment Bill is proving to be controversial with strong opposition from many in the local government sector. At recent hearings on the bill, Federated Farmers agreed with its intent to make local government more efficient and effective through more shared services, but we were less keen on ministerial powers to direct the Local Government Commission on reorganisations and an apparent lack of polls for some reorganisation proposals. ■ Paris Agreement: Federated Farmers has submitted in favour of

New Zealand ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It is particularly positive that the agreement recognises the vital importance of food security and the role agriculture plays in feeding a growing global population. New Zealand farmers are already among the world’s least emissions intensive animal protein producers, and have been steadily reducing their carbon footprint. ■ Fire Changes: Federated Farmers has submitted in support of the Fire & Emergency NZ Bill, including the merger of the Fire Service with the multitude of rural fire authorities. However, we said it is vital that the key differences between rural and urban fire are acknowledged and provided for in the legislation and in the ongoing

operations of the new organisation Fire & Emergency NZ. ■ Biosecurity 2025: The Government is consulting on a refreshed strategy for biosecurity. Federated Farmers supports the high level intent but it is very aspirational and much will depend on how a more resilient biosecurity system can be achieved. It is particularly important that all the component parts of the wider biosecurity system (preborder, border and post-border) work seamlessly.

POLITICAL BRIEFS As at September 23, a number of

bills relevant to farming were before Parliament, at various stages. For example (all are government bills unless stated): ■ Land Transfer (Foreign Ownership of Land Register) Amendment Bill — First Reading (member’s bill) ■ Telecommunications (Property Access and Other Matters) Amendment Bill — Commerce Select Committee. ■ Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill — Foreign Affairs Defence & Trade Select Committee. ■ Fire & Emergency New Zealand Bill — Government

Administration Select Committee. ■ Local Government Act Amendment Bill (No 2) — Local Government & Environment Select Committee. ■ Resource Legislation Amendment Bill — Local Government & Environment Select Committee. ■ Food Safety Law Reform Bill — Primary Production Select Committee. ■ Regulatory Standards Bill — second reading. ■ Agricultural Compounds & Veterinary Medicines Amendment Bill — committee stage.

We invited KiwiRail to comment on recent issues we’ve been working on with them

KIWIRAIL: committed to working with Federated Farmers By: DAVID GORDON Group General Manager Asset Management and Investment


IWIrAIL understands that the farming community are upset about the increase in the costs of using rail land. No one likes having to pay higher charges for something they have previously used at little or no cost. KiwiRail welcomes the chance to put its side of the story. There are two key issues KiwiRail is addressing; use of KiwiRail land (land leases) and the administration of level crossings. These are separate issues. Firstly, lease rental rates are

driven by the requirement that KiwiRail operates in a commercial fashion, just as farmers do. KiwiRail has an obligation to act as a responsible steward of public finances to the Crown shareholder who invests in the company on an ongoing basis on taxpayers’ behalf. KiwiRail is responsible for managing 17,500ha of Crown rail estate land and in order to treat all occupiers fairly, we need to do this in a consistent manner. Currently there are more than 2000 customers using KiwiRail land. This is documented by way of a licence to occupy or lease. Historically, KiwiRail land has provided free or very low rates to some categories of lease or licence holders while other users paid commercial rates. Nearly 650

third parties have been paying 50 cents or less a year for the rail land they occupy and use. This rate does not cover KiwiRail’s annual administration costs or rates separately levied by councils, much less deliver any return to our shareholder. In setting the new rates KiwiRail has endeavoured to strike a reasonable balance. The rents are based on independent valuation advice and market evidence. The approach to valuing the land is on an unimproved basis and doesn’t take into account any improvement that the tenant has undertaken on the land. Further, when setting the rental based on the minimum fee, this is set on a purely cost recovery basis to cover rates, and administration and

documentation costs. KiwiRail accepts that some third parties may think the new fees are too high. However, they can choose not to continue using KiwiRail land if they do not consider that the use is worth this level of annual fee. The issues driving the levelcrossing programme are different. KiwiRail is actively ensuring that every crossing has a legal document formalising its use, and is inspecting level crossings to ensure that they meet appropriate legal and safety standards. We estimate there are approximately 700 undocumented or unauthorised private level crossings spread across the country. Ensuring crossings are up to standard is vital to protecting the

health and safety of crossing users, KiwiRail staff and passengers and the rail property. The annual inspection and administration fees for crossings are charged on a cost-recovery basis. KiwiRail is not making money from this. The fee covers costs for staff to maintain a legal agreement, and is required to ensure users maintain the crossing to an agreed standard, and thus meet minimum health and safety requirements in areas such as the approach to the crossing, sight lines, signage and formation. We are committed to working with Federated Farmers to ensure that there is better communication around changes and that the rail corridor remains a safe, viable and efficient network for New Zealand.

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National Farming Review October 2016

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Satisfaction strong but

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ORE FARMERS ARE experiencing ‘undue pressure’ from their banks, but overall satisfaction remains strong, according to the August 2016 Federated Farmers Banking Survey. Sharemilkers continue to be most vulnerable when dealing with banks with around 22 per cent reporting that they had come under ‘undue pressure’ with their mortgages. Around 12 per cent of all farms and 16 per cent of dairy farms reported coming under ‘undue pressure’ from their banks. These are up on the May survey and continue a steady upwards trend evident since last August. Other ‘non-dairy’ farmers, including sheep and beef farmers, are much less likely to report coming under pressure. The survey shows 80 per cent of all farmers and 78 per cent of dairy farmers were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with their banks. Sharemilkers were a bit lower at 73 per cent but this is an improvement on May’s survey. Sharemilkers are the most likely to have a detailed and up-to-date budget with 84 per cent having one for the current season and 42 per cent having one for future seasons.

Having detailed and up-to-date budgets is much lower for all farms with 64 per cent for the current season and 20 per cent for future seasons. There is definite room for improvement on budgets, with decreases on the same time last year. Mortgage interest rates continue to edge down but rates for overdrafts climbed a little. The reduction in average mortgage rates is largely due to farmers moving from older higher fixed rates to current fixed and floating rates which are lower than those two or three years ago. Changed conditions have been identified as an issue in the latest survey. Some farmers thought banks seemed a bit more reluctant to transfer overdrafts to mortgages and there have been increases in the risk margins added to interest rates. We are particularly concerned about the possibility of higher risk margins being imposed on some farmers with the potentially perverse impact of making otherwise sustainable farms more vulnerable. Thank you to the nearly 700 farmers who completed the August survey. The next survey will be held in November.

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All staff must have the appropriate records including: ■ An appropriate employment agreement ■ A record of time actually worked ■ A record of wages paid ■ A record of leave taken accrued and outstanding

By: NICK HANSON Policy Advisor

All staff must be paid the minimum per hour wage across a maximum of two weeks regardless of whether they are on a salary or not.


EPTEMBER WAS A BAD MONTH for agriculture in terms of employment law compliance as it was hit by a double whammy of disappointing news. The Labour Inspectorate released a report detailing 50 per cent non-compliance in a sweep of 28 farms in Waikato and the Employment Relations Authority handed fine and reparation of $87,000 to a farming business in South Taranaki. Federated Farmers employment spokesman Andrew Hoggard, in relation to both cases, reiterated that there was no excuse for non-compliance now with the suite of tools available to farmers through Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and the Labour Inspectorate, not to mention the countless commercial payroll systems and professional services available in the marketplace. Although these news stories, and others previously, have focused on compliance with employment law as a minimum, farmers have a much greater incentive to be providing a good quality work environment. Agriculture, and dairy in particular, is in the middle of a titanic struggle to attract good quality, motivated potential staff

All staff must be paid the right holiday pay and must given the right entitlements when working on a public holiday.


Agriculture, and dairy in particular, is in the middle of a titanic struggle to attract good quality, motivated potential staff into the industry. into the industry. Good people have options so if all they know about the agriculture industry is that there has been high profile instances of staff exploitation then they will, and do, exercise those other options. During what has been described as the biggest residential building boom since the 1980s and with a static or

falling rural population, farmers need to pull out all the stops to ensure that practically inclined, motivated (mostly) young people who may not come from farming backgrounds are incentivised to choose agriculture. This means ensuring that they are providing them with the minimum entitlements due to all employees, but it really means

much more. If the industry is to attract the people it needs to drive productivity gains and improve profitability then they are going to need to provide a quality working environment, including competitive remuneration, a positive and safe team culture and realistic working hours. Farmers work hard and that doesn’t need to change. Most enthusiastic young people like a challenge, but the No 1 reason that people exit the dairy industry is because they are exhausted from the working hours. Those people are lost to the industry and the cost of training and nurturing them, as well as the recruitment costs, go down the drain.

While short-term demand for skilled labour due to rapid growth, mainly in the dairy industry, has been filled at least in part by migrant labour, this is unsustainable over the long term because of the limited time that work visas are granted for, and the unstable supply of labour as many have seen lately as the entry requirements for migrant labour have been tightened by Immigration NZ. For any dairy farmers looking for information on how to work toward providing a quality working environment, Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ have developed the Sustainable Dairying: Workplace Action Plan. Any Federated Farmers member who is concerned about compliance with employment law can call the Federated Farmers legal helpline.

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National Farming Review October 2016

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They can make your day or they can ruin it, and they’ve got the potential to do the same to your business, writes CHRIS PETERS.


10 Top tips to keeping good staff


OOD STAFF ARE ONE of the prime assets of any farming operation, and the key is to find them and keep them. Get it right and the job becomes a whole lot easier. Get it wrong and you’ve got a lot of extra work on your hands. Federated Farmers Waikato president Chris Lewis said the key elements he looks for in staff are personality and attitude. “We can teach someone the skills they need but if they’ve got those two — plus they are smart as well — that is what we want,” he said. “When you’re putting a team together you want motivated staff. I expect staff to come to work with the right attitude — it’s just the same as for a business in town.” Chris, who farms about 1150 dairy cows on 330 hectares at Pukeatua in the Waikato and has five fulltime staff and two parttimers, said there were important elements in finding good staff: ■ Be clear about what the job entails, the hours, and what’s included in the package ■ Listen to what the applicant asks — and what they don’t ask ■ If they are going to be part of a team, involve a team member in the process — perhaps to show a promising applicant around the farm

1. Competitive, clear and fair employment package, including comfortable accommodation 2. A workable, fair, flexible roster system with hours and jobs recorded on timesheets 3. Regular performance reviews to get and give feedback, and understand what motivates your staff 4. Support their non-farm activities such as sports 5. Regular workplace meetings so staff understand the farm strategy and what you are trying to achieve 6. A strong team culture they feel part of 7. The opportunity for staff to expand their skills and education


Farming is the same as any business. You want to upskill yourself and your staff and there is a lot of help out there to do that.

■ Make it clear to the applicant what your expectations are ■ Check their references “Farmers these days are very reliant on staff to help them

Cont on P7

8. Modern reliable equipment for them to work with 9. A good health and safety plan and equipment, which they must use 10. Ask what their goals are and help them achieve a rewarding career



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October 2016 National Farming Review



The right staff means

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OR MARTIN KEANE, good staff means knowing his farm is in good hands when he’s not there. That comes from selecting the right person and then looking after them and their family. “I want someone I can mould to do the job the way I want it done, to think for themselves and take the initiative,” he said. “It can be difficult to get good staff. Selection is important — I have to work with them so I have to get on with them.” Martin, who milks 350 cows on his Pipiroa farm near Thames, employs one fulltime staffer — who has been with him for seven years — and one part-timer. He’s taken on a range of parttime workers over the years, including some who have been on home detention and people from overseas. He gets a lot of applicants through friends, and meets people through the community. Most are people who come with good recommendations. “I want someone who wants to work, and then you reward them,” he said. “That means good housing and good wages.”


And the staff also get intangible benefits. “People get credit because businesses know we stand behind them,” he said. “We also support their families and do things like providing the kids with a calf for calf club.”

KEY ELEMENTS INCLUDE: ■ Helping staff expand their education ■ Keeping them informed about the strategy so they take ownership of what they do ■ Giving good feedback and making them proud of their work ■ Including staff in the family and the wider community ■ Having a happy working relationship

LONG-TERM STAFF: Joe Baleilase (right) has worked with Martin Keane at Pipiroa for seven years. Martin says having good staff means he knows the work will get done the way he wants it and the farm is in good hands when he’s away. PHOTO/NIKKI KEANE

“I want my guys to see this as a lifestyle rather than just a job, and to stay ahead of the game,” he said. “That means that when I have a break, I know the farm is in good hands.”

10 STEPS: To keeping and employing good staff Cont from P6 achieve their goals of producing quality milk and meat,” Chris said. “I couldn’t do the job without good staff who are loyal. Any team needs good members — you have to have confidence the jobs will get done well, and you have to trust each other.

“That’s no different to any other operation, whether it’s big or small, a farm or a business in town. You need good staff.” It takes time to work out what staff are good at and where they need upskilling. “I’ve got staff ranging from very experienced to those with little experience. So you give them work within their capabilities — you don’t set

them up to fail.” He also encourages staff to take responsibility for their time management — to be efficient and do a job in a timely manner to keep their hours down — and to improve their skills, including through formal training. “Farming is the same as any business. You want to upskill yourself and your staff and

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there is a lot of help out there to do that,” Chris said. Working on a farm is a lifestyle, but Chris said perceptions that it’s all about long hours and low pay were generally wide of the mark in all but a small percentage of farms. “Anyone who starts out in any job gets low pay,” he said. “In town you’ve got high rents, while on a farm

accommodation is usually provided. On the farm there’s no travel to get to work, and the housing shortage in the towns makes farming more attractive. “It’s a balancing act — there’s more money in town but there are more expenses as well. “We need to change the perception of farming. It’s about having people achieve what they want to achieve.”


National Farming Review October 2016

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Federated Farmers’ presidents advise on how to ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■


We asked our provincial presidents to tell us what they think is the one thing farming could do to recruit and retain the best people to work in our industry.

clever lady tell a farming group (BNZ employment workshop about 15 years ago) that ‘we all do the best we can with the resources we have got’ and it’s a beauty I have thought of often. When she drilled down — there are often gaps from assumption by BOTH parties but as employers the power to change the employment environment and relationship sits in your hands.”

This is what they said: “Blow our own trumpets a bit as the best farmers in the world — economically, environmentally, ethically; everyone loves to be part of a winning team.”

Sue Brown, Golden Bay

FROM LEFT: Lynda Murchison, Bronwyn Muir, Sue Brown and Chris Lewis.

some training on being a great employer and never forget someone gave you the break it took to get into farming.”

Lynda Murchison, North Canterbury

Bronwyn Muir, Taranaki

“Get behind the Young Farmers Agrikids & Teen Ag programmes — encourage those intermediate aged kids to follow their farming passion, stay at school, get a good education, and stick to your guns — don’t let the secondary school careers adviser persuade you to take art or physical education! If you haven’t done it before, get

“I have to say this sentence of Bronwyn’s put it perfectly for me. ‘If you haven’t done it before, get some training on being a great employer and never forget someone gave you the break it took to get into farming.’ “It is about respect — so tired of the put-downs of those who don’t

If you get a good start in farming and learn the basics well, the opportunities will come and your CV will look impressive. farm or understand it. Overhearing how hard the life is — I reckon many farmers wouldn’t survive town jobs —

imagine being nicely dressed and smiling to customers (who, by the way are always right!) all day. “On this subject — I heard a

“The basics when I started out are the same for all new entrants now, get some good training, choose a great employer with good rosters and a great team. If you get a good start in farming and learn the basics well, the opportunities will come and your CV will look impressive. This is the same for any career in trades. Choose employers on training and opportunities to learn, not the highest payer in your first two jobs.” Chris Lewis, Waikato

It’s all about the FARM CULTURE OOD SELECTION is the key to finding the right staff, but the key to keeping them is the on-farm culture. For Andrew McGiven, who farms near Te Aroha with a contract milker and one other staff member, once he’s got the

right person, they become like family. “I look at this as a lifestyle rather than a job,” he said. “And good staff help you make the business work. You need a good selection and induction process to get the attributes you’re after.


A key part of the process is offering good accommodation and conditions, then it is down to the on-farm culture. “Don’t give your staff any job that you wouldn’t do yourself,” he said. “Look after your staff like they’re your own family — I

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encourage a family-like culture.” That extends to encouraging staff to follow their dreams and achieve their goals — three of Andrew’s staff have moved up the chain into other jobs, including one who is now 50:50 sharemilking.

Andrew’s key elements for keeping good staff include: ■ Respect ■ Honesty ■ Variety ■ Good conditions and accommodation ■ Appropriate remuneration

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October 2016 National Farming Review




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being produced for more than 100 years By: KRISTIN SVENDSEN


NCREASING ENTHUSIASM from ‘city kids’ for careers in agriculture is being met by training centres like Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, which has been meeting the demand for skilled employees for more than 100 years. Taratahi is noticing an increasing number of students now coming from urban backgrounds, with roughly 40 per cent of the current student body fitting into this category. Some of the benefits of a career in the agriculture industry that may be influencing this trend are the generous pay rates, the opportunity to pursue independent employment, the lifestyle alternative it offers, and the opportunity to work with new technology and equipment. Chief executive Arthur Graves says the programmes on offer at Taratahi set students up for employment in the industry or higher study. “Our unique vocational model is a huge advantage to those seeking a career in agriculture. The farms are used as classrooms which provides students with an authentic learning experience and practical training they can’t attain indoors. “In addition to this, our programmes build on students’ personal and professional development, ensuring they are fully equipped to start their career once they leave us,” says Arthur. Taratahi offers 15 agriculture programmes, including a four day on-site Taster Programme, an

The farms are used as classrooms which provides students with an authentic learning experience and practical training. Agriculture in Schools programme, and a range of different certificates and diplomas. The programmes cover

areas of agriculture such as farming skills, apiculture, equine, dairy, agribusiness management and dairy management.

With campuses in eight different regions across the country — Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Masterton — Taratahi’s programmes are easily accessible to all New Zealanders. The Masterton campus is Taratahi’s only residential campus, with 150 student spaces available, which are all currently filled. “Because our students in Masterton live on campus while

they study, they receive a fully grounded learning experience and are able to link what they’re learning to the whole farming experience. “This full immersion learning experience also exposes students to management opportunities in the industry they may not have considered previously.” Arthur believes it’s important to make young people aware of these management opportunities as early as possible, which is why the Agriculture in Schools programme is used to educate secondary school students about the career opportunities available to them. “We currently have partnerships with over 60 secondary schools across the North Island, and over 400 students enrolled in the programme. “The NCEA course is 80 per cent practical and 20 per cent theoretical, giving students a real taste of the industry they’ll be working in if they choose to pursue a career in agriculture.” There is a key focus to make this programme available in urban areas where agriculture is often overlooked as a career option. It is because of the introduction of new technologies and equipment, along with other influencing factors, that Taratahi’s programmes are constantly being adapted to align with current trends in the industry, says Arthur. “We are continuously looking for ways to improve our programmes to keep up with changing industry trends to ensure we keep producing quality graduates and employees for years to come.”

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National Farming Review

October 2016 Ph 0800 327 646




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taking training seriously

By: RICK POWDRELL Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Industry group Chair


S THE WOOL INDUSTRY comes through the back end of a rough couple of years, a new joint partnership, Te Ako Wools is ready to deliver shearing, wool handling and pressing training to a new generation of workers. For more than 150 years wool has been a key part of New Zealand’s meat and fibre supply chain, offering another revenue stream for sheep farmers across the country. A wool harvesting team consists of shearers, who clip the sheep, wool handlers who remove faults and prepare fleeces, and wool pressers who work with the wool-pressing equipment, packing the wool into bales and ensuring the shearers’ pens remain full of sheep. Previously harvesting staff mostly trained through Tectra, and its closure in 2015 left aspiring shearers to seek training through many individual training institutions. The industry was at risk of not having a continuous supply of efficiently trained workers. This provided a real opportunity to develop a national training footprint to enable the wool harvesting industry to unlock future talent and create a cohesive

and collaborative approach to training. If teams are poorly trained, the clip’s quality severely suffers, along with farmer’s returns, resulting in up to a year’s worth of work going down the drain. Fast forward to 2016 and the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association and Primary ITO have teamed up to develop and launch Te Ako Wools, with guidance from Federated Farmers. Te Ako Wools is a non-profit company owned by the association and contracted by the Primary ITO to train wool harvesting staff. Newly appointed Te Ako operations manager Jock Martin says being industry owned is exactly what the industry requires, as the industry best understands what it wants and needs. “One key element with Te Ako is that we have the ability to engage directly with individual contractors and their staff. “It allows individual employers to address the training needs of their staff so we can tailor a training package. “Demand is high for the course which has redefined the student

SKILLED: Te Ako Wools is turning out smart, skilled and employable wool harvest workers.

Top shearers can earn up to $130,000 per year, and even students can earn money while they learn. learning experience, bringing training on-farm and to real-world environments for beginners right through to experienced staff wanting to fine-tune their craft,” Jock says. There’s a good reason to train properly too, as Kiwis are being

sought after worldwide — including in Australia, the UK, the USA and Norway — for our rhythmic style and ability to deliver the desired results consistently. Top shearers can earn up to $130,000 per year, and even


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students can earn money while they learn. But it’s no desk job. “You’ll need to put in the hard yards — get up early, work in all climates, winter or summer and take care of your wellbeing including nutrition and exercise,” Jock says. Te Ako is noticing renewed interest in training from people wanting to join the industry, many coming from a variety of backgrounds, including students wanting to use the industry as a vehicle to help fund their studies. The past six weeks has seen 80 new trainees going through initial training to enter the wool

workforce and another 120 will be trained before Christmas 2016. “And with more than 400 who are presently in the industry and would like to upskill, re-engage or are on a waitlist to upskill, it is busy times ahead. Te Ako provides courses at levels two, three and four for advanced learners. It can even tailor course delivery to suit employers and trainees. “We’ll continue to hold block courses but trainers can also visit wool harvesters on the job to help with training and remove the need to have staff off work attending courses,” Jock says.

Ph 0800 327 646


October 2016 National Farming Review




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for that farm of yours

By: ANN THOMPSON Dairy Policy Advisor


HE DEBATE about immigration numbers has ramped up recently. There are apparently too many people in Auckland, and all farmers know that anything north of the Bombay Hills must count. Actually, with the housing creep forcing prime vegetable growing land in the area to be covered with concrete as more people are forced to live outside the Auckland CBD, one wonders what the world is coming to. And where will our vegetarian population will get their veges from? But that’s another story! Dairy farmers will be well aware that finding workers to help on the farm has been made a whole lot more difficult with the changes made to the Immediate Short term Skills List (ISSL). No longer can Herd Managers and Assistant Herd Managers be sourced from this list. This change has been driven by government policy of wanting more New Zealanders to be in work and not on a benefit. We here at Federated Farmers can’t fault that, because we do want all our sons and daughters to get jobs within New Zealand. However, we are also aware

that in some parts of the country it is difficult to find a suitable New Zealander to work on the farm. Yes, working on a farm is hard work, and yes, dairy farming has not had the best track record when it comes to employment. However, Federated Farmers and DairyNZ have been working hard to bring the standard up, developing the Workplace Action Plan. This assists the dairy industry to adopt good workplace management practices. We’re also encouraging more students to take up agriculture as a career and are assisting with training. In the meantime, farmers need to recruit locally within New Zealand before they can apply for a migrant worker to work on their farm at the skill level of Herd Manager or lower. The process is: ■ List the vacancy with Work and Income. ■ Advertise locally. ■ If you are sure there is a worker shortage in your area, and you think you will most likely need to employ a migrant, you can contact Immigration

SITUATION VACANT: You need to advertise locally if you’re looking for a herd manager.

Federated Farmers and DairyNZ have been working hard to bring the standard up, developing the Workplace Action Plan New Zealand at the same time — but you still need to list your vacancy with Work and Income. Their new website ( employ-migrants) really does

have useful information ■ Interview suitable candidates. Work and Income will send you the details of any suitable people they have, too.

■ If none are suitable, go back to Work and Income with evidence of the process carried out. ■ If Work and Income accepts your process, they will support your application to Immigration New Zealand for a migrant worker, by providing a Skills Match Report. ■ Note that Farm Managers and Assistant Farm Managers remain on the ISSL Some important points to hammer down:


■ Check the documentation before your migrant comes to work for you. You can do it via Immigration New Zealand’s website or you can ask to see the visa and any other documentation necessary for them to work on your farm. ■ Keep accurate timesheets and records. We will continue to talk with government about the need for keen, reliable workers for our farms, be they from New Zealand or overseas.

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National Farming Review

October 2016 Ph 0800 327 646



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By: RICHARD WAGSTAFF President of the NZ Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi


WAS BORN AND RAISED on a farm in the Thames Valley. I could see the responsibility and sheer hard work involved in maintaining a herd of cows. Day in, day out, it required incredible commitment and tenacity. I could see that being a farmer meant being able to turn your hand to numerous practical challenges to overcome the weather, the machinery, and the terrain. As a kid, I tagged along to learn about how fences were built, trees were cut down, hay was made, cows were milked and grass was grown. The thing I have learnt now is that farming is also very dangerous. Farming in NZ should be a safer occupation and we need to change attitudes to make people do things differently. Farming is very important to New Zealand and farmers are very dedicated and committed to their work and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions believe we can do better. We must ensure that people who work on our farms are safe at work. According to a study undertaken on behalf of the Independent Taskforce, agriculture in New Zealand has higher fatality rates than the UK, France, Canada

Farmers work hard and have some of the longest hours of any industry and so fatigue is a real hazard. and Australia. We’ve got to do better than this. Clearly “she won’t be right”. In agriculture, one of the major safety problems is the operation of quad bikes. Quad bikes aren’t the

only risk but they are responsible for about a quarter of all deaths on farms. And far too many kids are being killed. According to the Child and

Youth Mortality Review Committee, 33 children were killed on motorbikes and quads between 2002 and 2012. The CYMRC recommended “extreme caution to parents and caregivers with regard to the use of quad bikes by anyone under 16 years of age, and to consider [stopping under-16s from using quads] until New Zealand data or safety modifications indicate another approach”. We support the restriction of the use of quads by under-16s (either as drivers or passengers). Quads should be subject to licensing for off-road as well as onroad use to ensure that users

understand active riding and the hazards they may face. Helmets should be mandatory as well. We are all responsible for keeping our children safe. We also know fatigue is a serious factor in workplace injury and fatality. Farmers work hard and have some of the longest hours of any industry and so fatigue is a real hazard. Fatigue is a killer, particularly in relation to vehicular accidents. When you and your workers go long hours without a break or work 12 or 14 days in a row then accidents become much more likely. There needs to be a better understanding about the danger of fatigue and the link to workplace accidents in the agricultural sector. And it seems that far too many farmers aren’t meeting basic employment law requirements such as giving workers written employment agreements, recording their hours of work, paying holidays properly or even meeting the minimum wage. Whether everyone likes it or not, farmers as employers need to recognise they are part of a bigger system that regulates people in employment. These regulations, including Health and Safety regulations, are designed to support and protect everyone’s interests. They have been developed from experience of what works and what doesn’t work. We need people to embrace them, because when they do everyone will be better off. I know farmers care more than anyone else about their families and the employees who work on their land. People aren’t just worrying about getting caught by the inspectorate, they want to keep people safe. The trick is turning that desire into an improved safety record. Because once an accident happens it’s too late to learn the lesson. The damage is already done.

Ph 0800 327 646


October 2016 National Farming Review



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By: DON CHITTOCK CWMS programme manager Environment Canterbury


WO RECENT REPORTS on irrigated land area show there has been a significant move by farmers over the past 10 years to convert to more efficient spray irrigation systems. Environment Canterbury commissioned Aqualinc to analyse irrigation areas and irrigation application types from 2002 until early 2015. Aqualinc used remote sensing techniques (aerial photographs, satellite multi-spectral analysis) together with Environment Canterbury’s resource consent database to accurately map irrigation area at a farm scale. The reports show over the five years from mid-2010 to 2015 the amount of efficient spray irrigation went from 371,000ha to 479,000ha, an increase of 29 per cent. Total irrigation went from 425,000ha to 507,000ha (up 19 per cent). Over the same period there was a 48 per cent reduction in the amount of surface (borderdyke) irrigation from 54,000ha to 28,000ha. We are pleased to have confirmation that many farms are changing from the inefficient borderdyke system to centre

Improved irrigation efficiency is a key contributor to reducing nutrient leaching, as well as providing production and profitability benefits.

pivot spray irrigation, which uses about half as much water to the same effect. The reports also estimate around 60 per cent of irrigation is happening at 80 per cent efficiency or more (which meets the targets set for Good Management Practice). Improved irrigation efficiency is a key contributor to reducing nutrient leaching, as well as providing production and profitability benefits.

I would also like to acknowledge the information provided by Amuri Irrigation, Morven Glenavy Ikawai Irrigation, Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation, Barhill Chertsey Irrigation, and DairyNZ (Hinds nutrient zone). Having access to this information allowed us take a consistent approach to the irrigated area mapping. Link to reports: publications/Pages/IrrigatedLand.aspx

Professional development: Take the NEXT STEP W

HETHER ALREADY IN a leadership role on farm or in industry or looking to move into a leadership role in the rural or primary sector, the Kellogg programme is an industry focused, cost and time effective option. Join a great group of people from across sectors and develop leadership skills and tools, lifelong friendships and industry networks.

■ 6 month programme with two course start options


■ 4 modules of experiential learning including 3 residentials

New Zealand needs more skilled leaders on farm and in agribusiness management and governance. We need people

who can (and want) to think creatively and critically to meet the challenges of a disruptive environment.


■ Supportive environment with skilled facilitators who link themes and discussions

■ A research project targeted to individual leadership aspirations and influence

leadership skills including communication, decision making, critical analysis, working in leadership teams

respected industry programme, becoming part of an achieving alumni

■ Understanding of New Zealand’s primary sector strategy, leadership and management issues, including New Zealand’s global context



■ Introductions to industry leaders and strategic influencers in the primary sector

■ Course 1: January 24 to June 29. Applications close October 17, 2016

■ Confidence and leadership skills to take into management, governance and community leadership roles

■ Understanding of the political process, how to influence decision making, effective advocacy, ways to influence

■ A toolkit of personal and

■ Graduation from a highly

■ Future development and mentorship planning

■ Strong engagement with cross sector industry leaders and influencers

■ Course 2: June 20 to November 23. Applications close March 20, 2017 Check out the website or email


National Farming Review

October 2016 Ph 0800 327 646



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By: PROF JACQUELINE ROWARTH The University of Waikato


OOD PEOPLE WANT to make a difference. They want to develop a business, contribute to society, and feel that they have added ‘something’ by living. The excitement is in overcoming the challenge, whatever that challenge happens to be, and the reward is in feeling valued for the effort in making the contribution, whatever that contribution is. These factors are particularly apparent in members of what are termed the millennial generation (born after 1980) who have grown up in a period of relative affluence with considerable attention focused on them by parents. For all sorts of documented reasons, reflecting small family size and determination to instil confidence in order to be able to survive in a ‘great big global

and scary world’, the younger generations are more focussed on the excitement and rewards in employment than previous generations. They also have more choices than previous generations; they know that good people can do anything and are choosing careers according to perceived rewards and kudos. Agriculture, in all its many guises, is suffering, not the least because of the ongoing beat-up of agriculture in the media. The action plan is promotion. The challenge is counteracting the

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negatives with positives. The really big challenge is that it takes nine good statements to overwrite one bad one (at least according to parenting experts). The key is to appeal to what the young want most and build from there. Number one on the Robert Half International list of what graduates want is salary. Second is benefits and third is career development. The more the industry can promote the financial rewards and possibilities in agriculture and agribusiness, the better. Scholarships and reducing fees in areas of priority (agriculture, agribusiness, agriscience) would assist with getting the message out. Publishing starting salaries for various jobs, rather than allowing them to be published as part of a degree category, or as career averages, would allow informed choices to be made. What can you earn at 16 versus 21 versus 30? What’s possible in accruing assets? The Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment produces Occupation Outlook each year, but doesn’t give starting salaries, or benefits and career development potential which appear to be the immediate concerns of the young. The opportunity is there for the taking. The average graduate starting salary is

$38,000. In agriculture the fertiliser industry offers $48,000 plus a car; the banking package is $55,000 with the car within six to 12 months. On farm the potential to build from dairy assistant to herd manager is high for those who are motivated. Farm ownership by 30 is still possible for those who work the hours and save the dollars. The DairyNZ Economic Survey in 2014 showed that milk profits in the last 10 years allowed paying off land in less time than two decades ago, despite the increase in land value. Leadership and brand are also in the top 10 of ‘wants’. Traditional leadership is not enough to retain and develop staff. Younger generations want to be part of the decision-making and feel that they are influencing progress. This means explaining how their role contributes to the operation and what their opportunities will be in the future. Explanation, with feedback on contribution and potential for improvement, must be regular and frequent. It isn’t just the young that benefit from this approach — encouragement assists all employees to achieve. The Harvard Business Review Achievers’ Report published in 2013 indicated that high achievers were able to say that they had been recognised for good work within the last week, they had a manager who encouraged their development, and that their associates were committed to doing quality work. This ‘coaching’ creates motivation and engagement and is even more important for high achievers than ‘average’. Universum research published in September reported that top achievers actively sought employment opportunities where ‘leaders will support my development’. Coaching takes more time than simply telling somebody what to do, but creates an engaged employee who adds value to the business. Engaged employees tell their mates through social media and ripples spread. As for brand, nine positives to counteract one negative statement is a tall order. A campaign with the slogan Future Food Farming: are you up to the challenge? could be the start.


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October 2016 National Farming Review



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SOLATED RURAL FARM houses are unfortunately ideal places to produce and use the drug methamphetamine, ‘meth’, also known as ‘P’. Even more unfortunately, the manufacture of this drug can have extremely harmful and long-term affects on the environment it is made and used in. The vapour given off by the use of the drug lingers in the house materials for a long time, potentially poisoning the environment in the property long after the manufacture or use has stopped. This is why property owners are having to become much more vigilant about the likelihood their properties have been misused in this way. Any property owner who suspects their property has been used in this way should contact the police. It is also possible to contact a qualified assessor who can determine if the property should be tested for the drug. A qualified assessor will start by checking the outside of the property, particularly the drains and pipes around the house. Residue from the drug manufacture can be sometimes seen in drain discolouration. Inside the house, the assessor is looking for signs of contamination, like pinkish or reddish stains on flooring, a distinctive smell and missing lightbulbs. Lightbulbs can be used to melt the drug crystals for burning. Often not all the rooms in the house will be contaminated. A good testing company will test rooms that are most likely to have been used, and this can even include the garage. A lab test can be done for each individual room, or rooms that have returned a positive reading in the initial screen test. This is done to help assess just how extensive the problem is. Regular use of P in one room is enough to contaminate the room, but it may not have affected the rest of the house. An assessor will also look at what kinds of materials are used in particular rooms. Wooden doors and framing absorb meth contamination vapours much more easily than other materials — even when painted. Testing should be done in grids of 10 x 10cm squares, so that if contamination is detected, it is easier to establish how it can be fixed — with remedial treatment ranging from ‘washing’ the surfaces to removing and replacing them.

METHS TEST WARNING SIGNS Warning signs that your property is being used as a meth lab:

Ridgeline Farm Essentials

■ Renter pays with cash ■ Residencies with windows blacked out ■ Frequent visitors or traffic in and out of the residence at unusual times ■ Excessive rubbish (often put outside neighbouring or vacant address) ■ Secretive/protective area surrounding residence (cameras, alarms)

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■ Paranoid behaviour ■ Chemical staining on walls and floors. Alternatively brand new flooring or carpets and repaints

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■ Unusual odours — cat urine, ether ammonia, acetone or other chemicals

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■ Burnt or dead grass or vegetation ■ Kitty litter to absorb chemical spills in unusual places ■ Strange plumbing, venting systems, electrical connections ■ Different form of glassware and plastic bottles

A qualified assessor will start by checking the outside of the property, particularly the drains and pipes around the house. Residue from the drug manufacture can be sometimes seen in drain discolouration.

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Hansen to the rescue

When Burt Hansen designed and made the first cold fit poly pipe fitting in the 70's he had no idea of how his revolutionary design would change kiwi farmers water systems! 40 4 years on, Hansen iss still manufacturing t their fittings and v valves in Whangarei w the same basic with principles that Burt Hansen instilled in the company; all products have to be high quality, easy to use and carry a company life time warranty.

Steve Sharpe from Hansen says “Over the years we have tried to listen to our customers and continue to improve our products to accommodate the changing demands of the regular kiwi farmer. We are often approached by people to design and manufacture new products and or improve existing products. Sometimes these approaches come about from customers finding problems when installing products in their existing or new water systems.” Recently this was the case when Bronwyn Tily of Tisbury,

(Invercargill) contacted one of the Hansen Water System Specialists about the problems she was having connecting up an extension to her water system.

“We recently purchased a new block of land and I wanted to connect up a new line of poly pipe to my existing water system on my current property” said Bronwyn. “I went to my local Rural supply store and grabbed a roll of 25mm poly pipe and of course some more Hansen fittings, the fittings were not foreign to me as I have used them for years.” “Upon installing the new line with off takes for more troughs and lines, I noticed the connection between the old pipe from my existing system and the new 25mm pipe was leaking. Despite a number of attempts it just kept leaking. Frustrated, wet and very grumpy I was convinced the buggers at Hansen had changed the fittings! I saw an ad in a local paper from Hansen saying they had on-farm guys who would help sort out water system problems so I thought, right let's see them fix this! I called a chap, Nigel Henigan, told him my problem and he said no problem, he would come and have a look.” “Unbelievably he turned up the next day!” Bronwyn continued “After a brief look at the problem N Nigel said, ‘I think I know what’s wrong but I’ll check I on the right track.’ He went to his truck and grabbed I’m a orange rain gauge, well that's what I thought it was. an T Turns out it was a tool Hansen had invented a few years b back to help customers work out what Hansen fitting would fit pipes when we didn’t know what size or type we had. He called it a Hansen Hantool. Within 30 seconds of using the Hantool he had worked out both what pipe size and type I had and said, ‘sorry you have the wrong fittings

to join these two pipes together.’ ” “Turns out the pipe on my existing block was a different type and size than the new poly pipe I had bought”. “He wrote me out a list of the fittings I needed to replace and sent me off to the local rural supply store to purchase them. When I came back he even helped me install them! Best thing was Hansen made all the fittings I needed for the new pipe and the old.” “The new system is now working perfectly just as my old system was” Bronwyn warmly commented. “Turns out, Hansen had not changed there fittings and in fact they now make another range of fittings so you can attach your new type of pipe to your old type of pipe”. “Thanks Hansen, oh and thanks for the free Hantool too!”


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Ph 0800 327 646


October 2016 National Farming Review




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by working together

By: DR LISA HARPER Regional Policy Adviser


ECENT HIGH PROFILE stock thefts have put rural security firmly in the spotlight, but initiatives are already under way to combat rural crime. Rural security affects the livelihood, safety and peace of mind of many rural families. In Federated Farmers’ last stock theft survey 46 per cent of farmers said they had been the victims of stock theft in the last five years. Not only does theft damage the business, the physiological toll can be enormous. Farmers, like many other small business owners, live and work in the same place. Having the safety of your home and workplace threatened can affect sleep and increase stress significantly. It all begins with you starting to listen for the unusual, waking and worrying when a vehicle passes through at night. If it stops where it shouldn’t, you may go out to check, leaving a partner and family at home concerned for your safety. Federated Farmers recognises the damage done by rural crime, particularly stock theft, which brings with it animal welfare concerns as well. We are working with

Having the safety of your home and workplace threatened can affect sleep and increase stress significantly. politicians to increase penalties for stock theft, reflecting the impact of the crime and the fact that firearms are often involved. Some regions such as

Taranaki have an active Rural Security Committee, where farmers meet with police monthly to share information and work together on local issues.

This has resulted in much improved relationships between farmers and local police, a greater flow of information, quicker response times when crimes occur and the resolving of a number of thefts. In partnership with rural insurer FMG and the police, Federated Farmers is also holding Rural Crime Prevention Workshops around the country to provide information and advice around rural security issues. Tips are shared on how to

protect your property, but perhaps even more importantly, the workshops allow people to share experiences, improve information flow and strengthen community ties. These are often the most effective way to combat crime and restore people’s sense of security. If you or your neighbours are affected by rural crime, please contact your provincial Federated Farmers executive for support.

Take practical steps to protect YOUR PROPERTY By: TANITH ROBB Senior Policy Adviser


HE RECENT SPATE of stock thefts in Southland and other regions is a timely reminder to think about on-farm security and how to keep your property safe. There are approximately

54,000 reported burglaries in New Zealand every year. That is one every 10 minutes, and many more go unreported. Under-reporting is one of the key issues for rural security. If the police do not know about criminal or suspicious activity occurring in rural communities, they cannot take action to combat it. It is also important to keep in touch with your neighbours and rural support groups so the community is alerted to any potential issues. The cost to rural communities is both economic (stock theft alone is estimated to cost $120 million each year in lost income) and psychological. The mental and emotional impact can be significant as a result of losing farm or family

property or when the safety of family members is put at risk, for example through poaching or illegal hunting. The key message for farmers is to take all practical steps to protect your property, keeping in mind these steps will vary from property to property. There are additional challenges in a rural setting, but by working through a sensible security checklist, farmers may be able to find small but significant ways to increase their protection. The key thing is to be vigilant. Alert your neighbours and call the police about any worrying or unusual activity — if you can provide a licence plate number, or a take a photo on your cellphone, all the better. But as always, your safety is the main

priority. Secondly, take steps to ensure your property is secure. Keep your buildings, gates and vehicles locked if possible and keys secured. Sensor lights and yard alarms can be useful deterrents, and place farm dogs near buildings or fuel tanks. Police figures indicate that around two-thirds of reported burglaries are from open sheds or insecure buildings, so keep in mind these are a popular target for would-be thieves. Emerging new technologies are also assisting farmers protect their property, such as GPS tracking of farm bikes and vehicles, and remote video surveillance which can be accessed via your smartphone. Signs indicating these cameras on the outside of your

property and buildings are also a good deterrent. New GPS technology has already managed to track down stolen farm machinery shipped overseas, so it can pay to look into the new technology available. FMG, the New Zealand Police, and Federated Farmers have developed a Rural Crime Prevention Advice Guide which provides great tips on how to protect your property and family from theft. This is available on the FMG website and we recommend you have a read. Most important is to keep in touch with your neighbours, be vigilant, and if there is a Rural Community Support Group in your area, join up. Statistics prove that where such groups are active, crime is less.


National Farming Review

October 2016 Ph 0800 327 646



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By: SARAH CROFOOT Meat & Fibre Policy Adviser


RE YOU YOUNG, passionate and concerned about the future sustainability of agriculture and how we are going to feed a hungry planet? Bayer New Zealand is looking for two youth delegates to represent New Zealand at the Global Youth Ag-Summit in the European capital of Brussels in Belgium, during October 2017. Last year I had the privilege of attending the Global Youth AgSummit in Canberra, Australia. I was fortunate to be one of 100 delegates, from 33 countries selected to be part of this fantastic initiative. Everyone was between 18 and 25 and they were some of the brightest, most passionate young people I have ever come across. There was a rich diversity of backgrounds, views, education and experience, but we were all connected through a common desire to help feed a hungry planet. It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to share ideas and debate issues with young fresh, innovative thinkers on a global platform. Interspersed with the fantastic discussions with delegates and mentors were some world-class speakers, a field trip and fantastic social events.

COULD THIS BE YOU?: More than 100 delegates from 33 countries at the Global Youth Ag-Summit in Canberra, Australia.

It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to share ideas and debate issues with young fresh, innovative thinkers on a global platform. The week’s discussion which started with the themes from our application essays as a base led to the creation of the Canberra Youth-Ag Declaration. Our declaration was taken by two of the delegates and presented at the UN Committee on World Food Security in Rome. The declaration included solutions and actions for each of the five priority themes. These were themes we felt as young people we could have the biggest immediate impact in helping to


feed a hungry planet: ■ Education and skills building — develop a fair and open multichannel platform for formal and informal educators in the agriculture industry to build greater skills through ongoing education. ■ Communicate the value of agriculture careers and farming — globally promote the importance of agriculture and enhance the image of farmers and the breadth of opportunities in the agriculture industry.


■ Promote socially acceptable and responsible consumption — empower consumers to directly improve the sustainability of supply chins by developing educational platforms and resources which promote utilisation of current resources and social change. ■ R&D and innovation for sustainable intensification and new production systems — Create a global network that links young innovators to agricultural needs to drive information, sharing and funding solutions. ■ Foster personal and organisational leadership — boost youth leadership skills and impact through membership of various youth organisations to provide experience, mentorship and support for their vision. Each delegate and mentor developed ‘3 little things’. These

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were actions we could take back to our countries and communities to do our bit to keep the ideas from the summit progressing and play our role in helping to feed a hungry planet. The buzz and energy throughout the summit was very special. A crucial part of this is the strong connections that were formed, providing a network to support one another, develop our ideas and inspire our generation. It is great to see that one year on, this network is going from strength to strength and great progress has been made on all the ‘3 little things’. If this sounds like something you want to be part of, essay applications are accepted online until January 13, 2017. Find out more about the application process and the Summit at


National Farming Review

October 2016 Ph 0800 327 646

NFR: Figure 1, upper plot

REGIONAL WEATHER Figure 2, upper plot

Filtering out the noise of our ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■


By: GEORGINA GRIFFITHS MetService Meteorologist


S EVERY FARMER KNOWS, New Zealand gets rather changeable weather. It is quite common to see several lows, fronts, or highs on any given weather map. But it can be more insightful to step back and examine the largerscale weather patterns, as seen over a much longer window of time. MetService forecasters regularly analyse weather map characteristics at the weekly to monthly time scale, in order to identify why certain regions of the country have run wetter or

Figure 1, lower plot

warmer, cooler or drier, than is normal. Filtering out the detail, also known as the ‘weather noise’, means we zoom out from individual fronts, lows and highs, and instead look at the big picture to explain what is going on. We also use this technique to forecast what is coming next, at the intra-seasonal time scale (for the coming few weeks to months).

Figure 2, lower plot

RECENT PATTERNS In broad terms, we have yet to see really typical spring weather. The spring westerlies, or equinoctial gales, have largely been absent. Instead, highs have dominated the weather map over the South Island during September. Southerlies and easterlies have often affected the North Island,

due to frequent lows rolling across the top of New Zealand. Overall, this has produced a relatively dry period for most of the South Island, but useful rainfall for the north and east of the North Island. Looking at the Waikato, we see Hamilton saw a sustained cold period in August (Figure 1, upper plot), with large swings in temperatures experienced in September. After a dry autumn in

the Waikato, healthy late winter and early spring rainfall has brought the rainfall accumulation fairly close to the early spring normal (Figure 1, lower plot). Examining the Hurunui District, we see Culverden also recorded a sustained cold period during early August (Figure 2, upper plot), with large swings in temperatures seen in September. The district continues to run drier than normal (Figure 2, lower plot).

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Industry outlook panel looks to

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By: SARAH CROFOOT Meat & Fibre Policy Adviser


HE RECENT Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre AGM included an industry outlook panel with John Loughlin, the chairman of the Meat Industry Association, Ian Proudfoot, head of global agribusiness at KPMG, and

Con Williams, a rural economist at ANZ. It was great session to challenge people’s thinking, generate discussion and explore the changes we may see in the industry over the next five years. A few major themes resonated through the speakers including the need to tell our story, get closer to the consumer and the role of disruptive technology in this, and the importance of clear market signals. We live in a world where consumers are increasingly discerning, with high expectations. They are further removed from agriculture and the production of food. They are hungry for information about where their food comes from and how it was produced. The door is open for us to tell our story, and we need to take the opportunity and lead the discussion because if we don’t, someone else will, who we may not agree with. We need to be close to the consumer, understand their concerns and provide

The world is changing quickly so we need to remain innovative and be flexible to evolving demands solutions to their problems. E-commerce and many other direct sales channels are disrupting the traditional supply chain and providing the opportunity to get closer to the consumer and articulate our story directly from the farmgate. What for many in New Zealand is considered business as usual is considered exceptional in other parts of the world. We mustn’t take this for granted. We must share the passion that goes in to caring for our animals and being great stewards of the land. Let people know about our grass fed system, free from hormones and antibiotics. The world is changing quickly so we need to remain innovative and be flexible and responsive to evolving demands. We can’t afford to be complacent, what got us to where we are today won’t get us to where we want to be in the future. Market signals are really important to

ensure we stay responsive to the everchanging consumer demands and are delivering products that meet these needs. Con talked about the need for more grading and greater price signals in the meat industry in order to foster the culture change in how we grow animals in New Zealand focused on delivering a consistent, quality eating experience to the consumer. In a similar way to how the kiwifruit industry is rewarded on time, taste and quality; the meat industry could benefit from rewarding based on tenderness, texture, production characteristics, etc. The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system is a good example of how this can be successful. Silver Fern Farms has also been going down the consumer focused grading track with their BeefEQ programme. However, there is still plenty of scope in the industry to be rewarding the farmer for those traits valued by the consumer to incentivise and inform their production and investment decisions. Achieving a consistent, high quality product is critical. With today’s consumers, trust takes a long time to build and an instant to destroy. You only let them down once. We are only as strong as our weakest link so we all need to be in it together, sharing our story through all available channels, helping the consumer understand what we do and why we do it and ensuring we have integrity in our practices.

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National Farming Review

October 2016 Ph 0800 327 646




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and work together with industry and MPI

BUYER BEWARE If you are considering purchasing fodder beet seed this growing season, we encourage you to do your due diligence before purchasing seed. Farmers should consider:

By: PHILIPPA RAWLINSON, Grain & Seed Policy Advisor

■ Asking the retailer for the results of the purity and germination test.


N THE FEBRUARY EDITION of the National Farming Review Arable Industry Group Chairperson Guy Wigley recognised it promises to be a busy year in biosecurity policy. Little did we know two weeks later Federated Farmers would be informed that velvetleaf, the world’s worst cropping weed, had been found in a North Canterbury fodder beet crop and start a triad of responses affecting New Zealand’s primary industries. Any naı¨ve enthusiasm about the beginning of a biosecurity incursion was soon gone as the enormity of the task at hand for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Federated Farmers and industry stakeholders shone through. Throughout the velvetleaf response Federated Farmers was actively encouraging members to check their fodder beet crops for the presence of velvetleaf and working with industry and MPI to feed information into the response to preserve long term response and eradication options. Just as we were deep in the velvetleaf response, Federated Farmers was notified of the presence of three blackgrass seeds in a line of domestically produced ryegrass and then pea weevil in a seed store in

■ Ask the retailer for the results of the bolter test. ■ Ask the retailer where the seed was grown and if it was straight off the harvester. ■ If you are asked to sign a disclaimer when purchasing any fodder beet seed, is it worth it?

If you planted fodder beet in 2015, check your paddocks for the presence of velvetleaf again and report any sightings to MPI. Masterton. Suddenly the arable industry found itself dealing with three incursion responses in the space of two months, each with their own intricacies and responses. Federated Farmers has been at the forefront, working with MPI and other stakeholders to communicate key messages to farmers and ensure decisions made and the implications of those decisions are grounded by practicality and good scientific

decision making. Of course, when viewed with the benefit of hindsight different response options may have been chosen or different decisions could have been made. The response by industry and MPI to these incursions is not perfect and we will all learn from these responses and be better for it. What is intensely frustrating is the lack of buy-in from industry and farmers, who know what steps they need to be taking to

Why we’re Feds members

mitigate the threat posed by these incursions, yet make individual decisions which make it difficult to preserve future response options or achieve the eradication goal desired by industry and MPI. While ultimately the buck stops with MPI as the agency responsible for protecting New Zealand from biological risk, there are steps farmers and industry can take to contribute to the containment goal for velvetleaf and eradication goal for pea weevil. If you planted fodder beet in 2015, check your paddocks for the presence of velvetleaf again this growing season and report any sightings to MPI immediately 0800 80 99 66. If you are living in the Wairarapa, and find sprouting peas growing in your paddocks from previous years don’t wait for the knock on the

■ Keep all dockets and seed labels to identify what line and variety you planted. ■ If you have a contractor sowing the seed, ensure the drill arrives on-farm empty and cleaned down and the lines of fodder beet you have purchased for planting are the ones being planted on your farm. door from MPI, get proactive and remove it. If you are growing pea crops outside the Wairarapa, monitor crops for the presence of pea weevil and report any suspected sightings to MPI 0800 80 99 66. Federated Farmers will continue to advocate on behalf of farmers in these incursions and work with MPI to ensure practices and processes at the border are fit for purpose, but you need to do your bit as well.

Daniel and Emily Woolsey Southland

“We have been dairy farming in Southland for the past 12 years. We initially joined Federated Farmers to utilise their Employment Agreements and continue to do so. Following this we learned a lot more about Federated Farmers involvement in New Zealand agriculture, from community to parliamentary level. Federated Farmers ensures farmers are represented and the farmers voice is heard. We see value in our membership in and out of the farm gate, and encourage others to join.”

Want to know more about becoming a member? Contact us on 0800 327 646 or visit our website

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October 2016 National Farming Review


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Celebrating 10 years of practising ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■



HE AGRECOVERY FOUNDATION is celebrating a decade of success for its recycling programmes, enabling New Zealand farmers and growers to recycle over 1.5 million kilograms of plastic, and safely dispose of over 100,000 kilograms of agrichemicals since 2007. The foundation’s goal is to prevent the burning or burying of these items — practices now actively discouraged due to the environmental and health impacts they pose. Agrecovery chairwoman and Matamata dairy farmer Adrienne Wilcock says farmers and growers have a responsibility to implement safe, sustainable farming practices now so it sets a precedent for future generations. “There will come a day when it’s illegal to burn or bury inorganic waste, so we need to come up with alternative solutions, which Agrecovery offers.” The not-for-profit charitable trust provides three programmes for farmers, growers and other users of agrichemicals to dispose of unwanted chemicals, recycle plastic containers, and to recycle drums and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). Each programme requires slightly more effort than sorting the weekly recycling. Containers need to be well rinsed and free of chemical residue, and an inventory needs to be made of unwanted chemicals before items are either booked online for collection or dropped off at an Agrecovery collection point. As a dairy farmer with 30 years practical experience in the industry, Adrienne believes the key to getting farmers and

Adrienne believes the key to getting farmers and growers to recycle is to remove the barriers growers to recycle is to remove the barriers. “Once the barriers to recycle are removed, farmers and growers become more willing to do it.” One of these barriers is cost, which is not a factor for farmers and growers using agrichemicals from one of the Agrecovery’s 65 participating brands. These brands pay the Agrecovery Foundation fees and levies, making the recycling programmes free for their customers. “It’s a way for these brands to take responsibility for the safe disposal of their products and packaging at the end of their useful life.” Adrienne joined Agrecovery in 2013 before being appointed chairwoman in 2015 after recognising it as a way to show leadership in this area on behalf of the dairy sector. “I saw it as an opportunity to prove that dairy farmers are proactively implementing sustainable farming practices and taking measures to minimise

our environmental impact.” With membership numbers rising to 11,000 over the past decade, it’s evident that other farmers and growers across New Zealand are adopting the same mindset as Adrienne. While there is currently no

regulation from local or national governing bodies requiring farmers and growers to recycle their chemicals and containers, Adrienne is confident Agrecovery can pave the way for future generations of farmers and growers.

Agrecovery’s chairwoman, Adrienne Wilcox.

“I like to go by the saying, ‘the industry raises the ceiling and legislation raises the floor’, meaning if we continue to implement change from the ground up, the governing bodies will, at some point, move to meet us.”

OFFAL PIT: A bone to pick over vets’ comments D OGS HAVE RECENTLY been in the firing line, not about microchipping or chasing cats, but two crazy articles from vet associations. The first was that dogs should not be fed real bones. These are bad for their health and can cause blockages and damage to their guts. This came out of the UK and I would have thought the vets should have known better. Firstly, because by not giving a dog a bone they are hitting vets in the pocket by no massive vet bills when one gets stuck. Secondly, they are taking way the pleasure that a dog gets out of having a big bone. We’ve all seen them when one gets the bone and the others miss out. There is

usually plenty of growling and prancing around showing off the bone. Their solution is fake bones, not plastic ones but ones still made in a factory. A UK supermarket has jumped on the band wagon and have banned selling “real” bones. The second article was from the NZ Vet Association and this probably wasn’t meant to offend farmers by calling them stupid but did it perfectly. This is about the sale of bark collars in a pet store. One person got the pip and complained, calling for a ban on electric dog collars. The NZ Vet Association waded in and put the boot into farmers. “They are a crude training

method, and if you don’t possess the skill to train your dog through positive reinforcement then you certainly don’t have the

level of education needed to use an electric collar correctly.” It carries on about skilled behaviourists using positive

reinforcement, etc. I’d like to see one of these people with the dog biscuits in the pocket coming out sorting out the dog that is just about to cause the lamb break. Most of the time you just put the collar on and the naughty dog turns into the expert. Stops, barks, does exactly what it is told, all while well out of missile range from thrown stones and without the need for a zap. I wouldn’t be without my collar but it looks like farmers might have to be without the support of the NZ Vet Association. An apology would be the least farmers would expect and maybe 10 per cent off the next bill would sooth our hurt feelings about being called stupid.



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