Page 1


Teamwork is the key


Castle Ridge

progress on a high

ATS Dairy Days Out 2013 It’s a

deadly topic



From the CEO

Upcoming Events

It is appropriate that this edition of the ATS News has a strong focus on the latest technology and processes available given we have recently held our successful ATS Dairy Days Out and attended the South Island Field Days at Lincoln. Both events are primarily focused with sharing new ideas and innovations with farmers.

Sunday 7 April Daylight Savings Ends Don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour!

Thursday 11 April Exclusive Genetics Discussion For more information or to RSVP call 0800 BUY ATS (289 287) or email by Tuesday 5 April.

One such innovation which is increasingly popular is livestock genetics, and one local farming family shares their thoughts on how it impacts on their cattle, sheep and deer operation. The Harmer family at Castle Ridge have used strong genetics to optimise animal growth rates and to create generations of stock capable of managing the high country climate. In another article, Richard Rennie looks at the importance of genomics—the selection of bulls based on their DNA profile rather than having to wait for information on their performance through the success or otherwise of their progeny.

Tuesday 16 April and Tuesday 21 May Farm Safety Manual and Training For more information or to RSVP call 0800 BUY ATS (289 287) or email

Wednesday 17 April 50th Anniversary Morning Tea For more information or to RSVP call 0800 BUY ATS (289 287) or email by Wednesday 10 April.

Friday 19 April–Monday 6 May (exclusive)

We also take a closer look at the recent announcement that the national dairy database is to be transferred to DairyNZ custody—a move which has been welcomed by farmers and the genetics industry.

School Holidays

Thursday 25 April


Anzac Day ATS will be closed 25 April. If members have any emergency requirements the Duty Manager can be reached on 03 307 5100 or 027 487 6865.

Health and safety issues are also highlighted in this edition, with Federated Farmers’ agricultural health and safety spokesperson, Jeanette Maxwell sharing her support for a new Government goal aimed at reducing workplace injuries and fatalities. Recent statistics show 20 people die every year in accidents on farms, with four of those attributed to quad bike accidents.

Saturday 4 May

Complying with and developing best health and safety practices can be an onerous task for many farmers, but help is at hand in the form of a new course being run for ATS members. Cindy Meadows will run the course and you’ll find more information on page 18. As always, you’ll find plenty of other interesting reading in addition to the above-mentioned articles inside this edition of the ATS News.

ATS Stocktake ATS Ashburton will be closed for stocktake. If members have any urgent requirements please contact the duty manager on 03 307 5100 or 027 487 6865.

Thursday 9 May NZDIA Canterbury/North Otago Awards Visit www.dairyindustryawards. for more information.


Neal Shaw, Chief Executive ASHBURTON


Editorial Enquiries

97 Burnett St Tel: 03 307 5100 Fax: 03 307 6721

88 Main St Tel: 03 303 2020 Fax: 03 302 8184

Our team welcome your contributions, enquiries and letters. Please post or email to: Charlotte Mackenzie



68 Elizabeth Ave Tel: 03 303 5440 Fax: 03 303 5430

PO Box 131 Ashburton Tel: 03 307 5100 Fax: 03 307 6721

Find ATS on Facebook 0800BUYATS

Advertising Enquiries:

Please contact the Marketing Department on: Tel: 03 307 5100



Marie Taylor, Richard Rennie, Ele Ludemann, Linda Clarke, Craig Trotter, Anita Body

Stu Jackson, Marloes Leferink, Charlotte Mackenzie, Melody Shaw

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within ATS News is to the best

Front Page Photo

of the author’s knowledge true and accurate. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not of Ashburton Trading Society. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice. This newsletter is issued as a helpful guide to members.

Heather, Craig and Jan Clucas


12 44


6 25 Features




2 Teamwork is the key ingredient 6 Castle Ridge progress on a high 12 Caveats remain around genomics 18 It’s a deadly topic 21 Phosphorous issues in high producing dairy cows 25 ATS Dairy Days Out 2013

5 Irrigation efficiency begins with installation

15 Covering your risks FMG

9 Nutrient budgets—a gain not a pain 11 Ele Ludemann

17 Business is Blooming Lushingtons

44 News at ATS 46 Have a warm ATS winter 47 ATS out and about 48 Classifieds

23 Pneumonia in sheep and cattle 35 Getting your girls in top shape

29 Getting the heart pumping Fitbiz 31 37

Convenience is key Dixon Machinery Working with nature Mainland Minerals


Teamwork is the key ingredient Jan Clucas and her son Craig’s team approach is paying dividends on their Lismore farm, Foxdale. By Marie Taylor Both keen sportspeople, Jan and Craig have gathered a strong and supportive team around them as they build their arable business.

In 1983 Jan married Norman, Bob and May’s only son, and the young couple took over the farm, with Bob and May retiring to Ashburton.

Foxdale, on the south bank of the Hinds River, has been in Clucas hands since 1952 when Jan’s in-laws Bob and May Clucas bought the first 255ha.

Jan, who kept all the farm diaries for Norman, recorded a lamb price of $22 and two-tooths selling for $32 that year. Wool averaged $2.76/kg then.

They named the farm Foxdale after a town on the Isle of Man where Bob’s ancestors emigrated from in the 1860s.

Sheep produced 70% of the farm’s income that year, with cropping wheat, grass seeds and peas bringing in 22%, and the 150 beef cattle 8%.

Bob was one of the first 100 Shareholders of the Ashburton Trading Society. He and May farmed it first as a dryland sheep operation, then putting in border dyke irrigation from the Rangitata Irrigation Scheme.



At that stage the farm had 145ha of border dyke irrigation. When they added 87ha next door in 1984 they pushed up the irrigation area with a hard hose gun to create a more reliable growing season for grass and cereals.

By 2002 they were irrigating 71% of the farm, and had reduced ewe numbers by 500 to 1,500, increasing the cropping area. The farm income was split between 41% sheep and wool, 31% cropping and 28% cattle. Then in 2003 Norman died, and with the help of Jason Templeton, Jan ran the farm in her own name, not even thinking for a minute about selling up. She used Norman’s diaries then: “they were very useful.” The farm was always too big to run by herself, and she says they’ve always had good staff. Then in 2007 she added 86ha from a neighbouring property, and Craig came home to farm full-time after completing an engineering and welding apprenticeship.

FEATURE Craig, 27, is an enthusiast for cropping, and enjoys the variety of work and the “gear side of things” so it was a natural fit to crop more land. At the same time a neighbour encouraged them to employ a farm consultant, and since then Barry Croucher of the Lauriston Farm Improvement Club has been an important part of the Foxdale team. “His advice has been pivotal in the direction our farm is progressing,” Jan says. “He visits once every six weeks to two months, for a morning or an afternoon, and we drive around the farm and then all sit around the table.” In 2009 they converted the irrigation on their home block to pivots. They removed all the shelter, flattened the borders, then refenced and built a 7ha pond to store irrigation water from the Mayfield/Hinds scheme. Now they have three pivots and a gun irrigating 300ha, with 80ha of border dyke on a separate block where the stock are run. Of the total area of 428ha, 89% is irrigated. Stock manager Brian Stonestreet who started in 2007, looks after 1,100 ewes, 800 grazing lambs in winter and 110 grazing dairy heifers, which have replaced the beef cattle. With the emphasis on cropping, they have built new drying silos and “replacing tractors and farm machinery is at the top of the wish list.” This summer the farm grew 9ha of milling wheat, 43ha of feed wheat, 63ha of feed barley and 60ha of grass seed. The family leases a 21ha paddock for potatoes, and only has to supply the water. They also grow 20ha of maize for silage. There were 73ha of kale crops and 90ha of pasture. Craig is enthusiastic about how this cropping season has gone, especially as the crops have been harvested when they were ready, and they didn’t have to wait on the weather. “Yields have been up, probably above average and everything we have done we are happy with. We have two paddocks of wheat to go, and then we will be all tidied up on the cereal side.” He says they are always looking for a new challenge on the farm, and trying different crops such as growing carrots for seed.

Currently, their cropping rotation works around grass seed been followed by kale, feed wheat and barley. Potatoes and maize are followed by early wheat. In spring they are growing more barley as they need the straw for the 1,000 to 1,200 cows grazing 60ha of kale during two months of winter. Craig explains they sell the kale standing, getting it paddock tested first. Two dairying neighbours graze their cows on the crops, which is very convenient for both parties.

“This farming operation wouldn’t have been as successful if it wasn’t for the great staff we have had since 1983. We started with farm cadets and now employ married couples.” The cow grazing now makes up 20% of their income, Jan says. Sheep only make up 12% of income, with cropping 62%, cattle 2%, and a little bit of contracting. “This farming operation wouldn’t have been as successful if it wasn’t for the great staff we have had since 1983. We started with farm cadets and now employ married couples.” “At present we have Craig and Brian full-time and I work part-time and we have other casual help.” Craig makes all the arable decisions, and Brian the stock decisions, but they run them past Jan for approval too.

above: Craig, Jan and Heather Clucas below: Teamwork is key opposite: Craig is an enthusiast for cropping

“I do all the farm bookwork, and it’s much easier nowadays with computers. I help on the farm where needed with tractor work, harvesting, irrigation, weighing stock and lambing.” But not on Tuesdays, when she heads off to golf, and the farm team know not to make other appointments for her! For the past two years she’s been secretary of the Mayfield Golf Club, and plays off a 14.5 handicap. “It’s a way of getting out and meeting other women, and I’m reasonably competitive. I just love the walk. On a nice day there is nothing better – Mayfield is a lovely nine-hole course.” As well, she plays social tennis and does secretarial work for local organisations. “Local businesses, including ATS, have supported us very well, especially when Norman was unwell. Norman was a progressive farmer, willing to try new ideas and I am sure he would have been right behind the changes we have made to the farm.” Jan regrets seeing most of the trees on the farm which Bob had planted go as they have put in pivots. “But that is progress, and if it fits into your farming operation you have to keep up with new developments.” The family farming company Clucas Farming Limited also involves Jan’s daughter Heather, who lives next door and works on the neighbouring dairy farm. Heather, 24, has been on the home payroll once or twice, and has Diplomas in Agriculture and Farm Management from Lincoln University. Then she went overseas to do her OE working in horse stables in the UK, and a mixed stud beef arable ranch in Alberta, Canada. She’s just as sporty as the rest of her family, being keen on rodeo and netball. Craig plays senior hockey for Wakanui Black, which won the local competition last year. “It’s as serious as you can get in Ashburton.” “A lot of farmers play, and for me it’s an excuse to socialise.” And that’s an important part of teamwork! ATS N E W S






Irrigation efficiency begins with installation Prospects of continued irrigation investment through the Canterbury region have been buoyed by government support for infrastructure, and the recent $80 million funding scheme announced. By Richard Rennie This is matched by growing investor sentiment that investment in food production provides positive long term returns in an increasingly uncertain global investment environment.

He is urging clients to conduct some thorough cost/benefit analysis and fully understand the scheme’s economics before walking away from their deep well bores altogether.

analysis over 10 years based on a per kg of production per mm of water used, and per dollar capital invested including depreciation, running costs and repairs.

But Canterbury presents its own unique challenges to on farm irrigation schemes, and these start even before the farm gate and need consideration before making the sizable investments required to get water flowing.

When it comes to laying out an individual farm’s irrigation system, there is a need to install one that “future proofs” the farm, in several respects.

Over spec’ing an irrigation plant further future proofs its design, allowing for greater water supplies if available in the future, and possible changes in land use that may require more water delivery.

The growth in irrigation schemes has some users having to consider whether they continue with deep well bores when revising their farm irrigation scheme. Mark Everest, Irrigation Consultant from Macfarlane Rural Business is getting calls from clients about how to decide on winding back or even shutting off deep well use, and switching to schemes when revising farm irrigation plans.

One is by installing a system that is adaptive, that “Rates of 3.5mm per ha per day are not enough. can optimise the chosen farm system within its design, rather than the farm system having to work It is easier to oversize pipes and nozzles from the start. The marginal cost is minimal and is less than around it. Long term considerations are critical. trying to boost volume by ramping up pressure.” “Have a fully irrigated farm master plan you can work towards. The idea you will only ever milk cows, graze dry stock or crop in most cases is incorrect, farm systems do change over time.”

This can bring greater risks of blowouts and leaks as inadequate infrastructure gets pushed beyond its specified capacity.

Mark brings a holistic farm view to irrigation system design, incorporating an understanding of livestock and cropping systems along with his engineering expertise.

Once installed, moisture strips offer invaluable data on soil moisture levels, and optimal application times. The costs of such technology are minimal in comparison to the money they can save from unnecessary or over application of water.

Plastic piped schemes provide the pressure and volume without the on-going future costs that As simple as it sounds, he urges clients to operating deep well bores bring, and “irrigation will thoroughly understand the constraints and never be cheaper than it is now”. requirements of their water consents before embarking on any scheme installation. Otherwise However schemes also face the need to lift subscribers before they can offer greater surety in dry they risk learning too late that certain take limits years, by being able to build dams and reserve ponds. may drive the proposed system below a volume that makes it economic to install and operate. “You have to ask the question then, do you see 3-10 years as a gap in reliability you can farm with, or do you put in a pond to cover you?” “Farmers with wells are covered, but before retiring or combining a well with a scheme, you need to critically analyse all your resources to see if you will have sufficient volume and reliability for your farm without it.”

While it is always tempting on a tight development budget to opt for a cheap “off the shelf system”, lower upfront capital costs usually involve a trade off with lower efficiencies and greater operating expenses. Farmers are urged to take a long term view on the proposed system, conducting an economic

Irrigation NZ has also established a website offering updated evapotranspiration rates, and a simple water budgeting tool for greater application efficiency— To learn more contact ATS Energy Account Manager Tracey Gordon on 0800 BUY ATS (289 287).

Tracey Gordon ATS Energy Account Manager Tel: 0800 BUY ATS (289 287)
 Mobile: 027 652 2133 ATS N E W S



Castle Ridge progress on a high A progressive and positive approach to high country farming is underscoring Castle Ridge station owners’ achievements in the past decade, and plans for the future. By Richard Rennie Owned by the Harmer family since 1992, the station has undergone some serious redevelopment work that puts it in a good position to fine tune its stock ratios and types, whilst aiming to meeting the demands the Canterbury Land and Water plan will bring with it.

Kerry is a qualified farm advisor, and is well tuned into Castle Ridge’s evolution into a productive, sustainable high country operation.

Paul Harmer and wife Kerry today run the operation, with help from two paid staff and the continuing involvement of Paul’s parents.

Pasture renovation at Castle Ridge has played a key part to providing today’s platform for high performing stock and excellent growth rates in country that can deliver a frost at any time of the year, regardless of season.

When the family purchased the original 2700ha block, it lacked much subdivision and required significant development work including turning extensive native country into productive pasture areas. Over time cultivation moved to direct drilling, and today Castle Ridge has its own Cross Slot drill. The machine that sets a benchmark for minimal soil disturbance earns its keep sowing brassica crops seasonally, and sowing grass seed in the renovation programme.



She has continued with her career in between juggling children and farm operations.

A typical renovation process sees ryecorn planted first, followed by two years of brassica crop, typically swedes and turnips. The pasture mix that follows comprises of cocksfoot, with white clover and a short rotation ryegrass. Two years ago the family bought neighbouring Barrosa Station, taking the total area to 5,860ha and as Kerry puts it, “created

a station of two halves which balance each other.” Barrosa starts at a lower altitude of 500m, and has a moister climate than the “high dry” one experienced on the main block. A 100ha block has just being renovated on Barrosa, with the pasture sward to be based on a high quality rye grass combined with Timothy and red and white clover well suited to the block’s wetter nature. The flexibility of having Barrosa is to enable the cows to be grazed there as feed tightens up on the main block, as was happening in late February this year. The Merinos however stay in the higher, drier country, and flourish in the free ranging country where plenty of space for natural browsing sees the animals relatively free of pests and few worm problems. In the last couple of years the ratio of cattle to sheep has been increased, and today Kerry

FEATURE looks at the figure of 650 Angus cows plus 150 replacements consolidating against the 16,500 head of sheep. Deer numbers at 650 are also stable. She sees the next 10 years more about fine tuning the numbers they have and maintaining and improving stock productivity by keeping ratios that fit with the demands of the country. Underlying that is an awareness of the demands that will come with the Canterbury Land and Water Plan. This will include putting together a Land and Environment Plan for the station, which Kerry maintains will involve writing down much of what they are already doing on the property to protect waterways and avoid damaging the fragile environment. “The simple fact is you cannot live in this environment, expect to make money from it and not look after it.” With the station in a sensitive lakes zone, the demands of the plan are likely to be more than those facing farmers on the flats, and likely to include controls around water access by stock. “We are working closely with the Ashburton Water Zone committee to come up with practical and useful solutions for the area.” She believes managing the demands and expectations of the environmental side of the business are likely to be clockwise from top: Peter Harmer (Paul’s Father); Paul Harmer with daughters Annabel and Samantha and wife Kerry; the biggest challenge for stations like Castle Ridge Annabel and Samantha helping out in the yard; Castle Ridge station in coming years.

Good blood plays vital part in Castle Ridge success Strong genetics have played a big part over recent years at Castle Ridge in helping optimise animal growth rates over the spring-summer growth season, and create generations of stock capable of managing the tough, cold periods. Across the three types of stock on the station, Kerry describes the deer policy as the most straightforward. They put an almost 100% full Wapiti stag over their red hinds to help inject good body size into the weaners. Kerry says this has helped deliver good finishing weaners with a reasonable carcass size and good yield figures. For the cattle, the station’s 650 head of Angus beef cows were founded on Cleardale genetics, in the Rakaia Gorge. Castle Ridge continues to bring in Cleardale bulls, helping them to achieve the goal of producing good fast growing steers that have good shape and growth rates. Many buyers of their calves are ultimately on-selling to Five Star Feedlot. With the top steers weighing in at 300kg in the autumn means the amount of work required to get the calves to Five Star weights is minimal. The Cleardale genetics also provide the type of cow that is well suited to Castle Ridge’s challenging conditions. Kerry says they look for a cow with a good deep body and good feet that enable it to cope with roaming winter hillsides to

maximise feed intake, given altitude soars from 700m at the homestead to almost 1,100m. She acknowledges the station’s sheep policy is “a bit different” from a typical high country Merino operation. Two years ago they took on neighbouring Barrosa station, and with that acquired 4,500 Romney-Merino cross half-bred ewes. They along with all their older age group ewes go to a Poll Dorset ram, while the 2,400 Merino two tooths go to a Merino ram. Around a third of their wool goes to an Icebreaker contract for 18.5 micron wool, and the rest to market. They took a “wait and see” approach on how the half-bred ewes would perform, and so far Kerry sees them holding their own financially. “Initially our aim was to not breed any more, but they do have a better lambing percentage, they are easier care than the Merinos and being half-breds mated to a terminal sire, there is a level of hybrid vigour there. At the moment they will be staying.” The Poll Dorset rams come from George Lowe’s Windermere farm which have proven to produce

the stretchy lean lambs that are highly sort after. Putting only the two tooths to the Merino ram means the station does not breed quite enough ewe lambs for replacements, so they typically buy in stock to top up numbers. Castle Ridge’s similarities to Central Otago’s climate, with its high dry summer weather and cold dry winters see them sourcing the ewe replacements from country typical of their own, around Omarama, Tekapo and Cromwell. The proof is in the selling for Castle Ridge’s genetics. Year after year the same buyers return to purchase quality calves, deer and lambs. This year’s lamb prices in early February saw the almost 10,000 on offer average $90.70 and range from $76 to $114 a head. Growth rates are well suited to the country with this year’s $114 lambs killing out at 26kgCW in early February, delivering an average solid growth rate of 360g a day. “Last year saw an average of just over $134 a head, but that was one out of the box, we were still very happy with this year’s prices,” says Kerry. ATS N E W S






Nutrient budgets—a gain not a pain Nutrient budgets may seem like a real challenge to create, but the benefits gained will more than pay back the effort required. Article supplied by Ballance Agri-Nutrients

A nutrient budget has financial and environmental benefits.

A nutrient budget is often required for regulatory compliance.

Ballance can help you to develop your nutrient budget.

What are nutrient budgets? Nutrient budgets measure a farm’s nutrient inputs and outputs under a given level of production. The goal is to optimise your farm management practices so that all of the nutrients are in balance, resulting in a sustainable system which doesn’t negatively impact on the environment.

What are the benefits of nutrient budgets? Nutrient budgets are sometimes viewed as simply regulatory necessities, but they actually offer farmers a number of benefits: They help to ensure you apply the right nutrients, at the right rate, to the right places. They allow you to proactively manage environmentally sensitive parts of your farm, e.g. by fencing off streams, standing stock off and timing your fertiliser applications appropriately, and they show the actual benefits of these actions. They can help in the development of a comprehensive fertiliser plan, identifying the most economic and efficient fertiliser strategies to keep soil fertility levels within the optimum range.

They allow you to assess the impact of any proposed changes to your farm management so that you can fine tune your plans.

growing, i.e. when soils are not too cold or wet. Take care where it is applied, i.e. not near waterways or on unproductive land. Apply lower rates on light soils and don’t overirrigate after an application.

Developing a nutrient budget The OVERSEER® nutrient budgeting program is generally used in New Zealand to create nutrient budgets. It is a decision support tool, developed by AgResearch, and incorporates information gained by years of scientific research. The model lets you investigate different management scenarios to see which will work best on different blocks and highlights any issues which might arise. You can put together your own nutrient management plan - the Fertiliser Association has put out a template to help with this process. Alternatively, you can ask your Ballance rep for assistance – they have specialist training in this area, and can take a lot of the stress out of the job.

What you might find this year Overseer is under continuous development so that it reflects the most recent research findings. For example, the latest model includes the effect of soil texture on nitrate leaching, which means that on soils like stony silt loams, nitrate leaching values will be greater than previously. This could mean that additional strategies need to be put in place to reduce nitrate leaching. •

Only apply the amount of fertiliser plants can use. Split applications, i.e. little and often, are best. Apply nutrients when plants are actively

Make sure you fence off, and maintain, waterways and drains, and use riparian strips. Ensure your tracks are well designed and maintained, so that they do not collect and channel nutrients into waterways. Only irrigate effluent when soils are capable of handling it, i.e. they are not too wet.

Keep cattle off pasture if conditions are wet—use stand-off pads or off-farm grazing. Use supplements with low N levels, such as maize.

If feeding crops use on/off grazing and back fencing. When planting crops minimise the time the soil is bare, use less intensive cultivation methods and sow autumn crops early so they have time to establish and start using nitrogen before the colder winter months arrive.

Contact your ATS or Ballance representative for more advice on nutrient budgeting and managing nitrate leaching.

Anna Bedford 027 499 7617 Russell Hamilton 027 677 4499 Michael Robertson 027 464 2972

Tel: 0800 222 090 ATS N E W S






Thoughts from across the rivers Keats described this as the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. By Ele Ludemann

It’s a romantic description but one which suggests he hadn’t spent an autumn on a farm where the fruitfulness while welcome also leads to a lot of work. Unless the weather gods have been kind irrigation is still in full swing; there’s drafting, crutching and/ or shearing, hay and silage to make and a long list of pre-winter repairs and maintenance tasks to attend to. And there’s harvest and with harvest often comes extra mouths to feed. I’d been well and truly initiated into the demands of feeding shearers before I had to deal with harvest. Shearing proved to be useful experience but harvesting brought different challenges.

place from the one expected. And a change in the weather or breakdown would alter the number of people working and the times they needed food. That isn’t so much of a problem now when those working in the fields have mobile phones. But I was feeding harvesters back in the mid-1980s when communication from paddock to kitchen was more difficult.

“A friend once timed the shearers and found that it took one just six minutes to come in, sit down, eat the meal she’d spent all morning preparing.”

Shearers require lots of food at regular intervals and specific times. Harvest workers also require lots of food but it’s not always at regular intervals and can be at almost any time.

We did have a radio telephone but it was no use when it was sitting in a ute and the bloke I was calling was in a header somewhere else in the paddock.

When feeding shearers I generally knew how many I was catering for, where and when. With harvest the numbers, time and location were subject to change with little notice.

Calls from base weren’t the only ones which weren’t always answered. We shared the RT frequency with several other businesses which generated lots of chatter. I was sometimes guilty of turning down the volume when I got sick of listening to that then forgetting to turn it up again so hungry calls sometimes went unheeded.

Better or worse progress than anticipated could mean delivering food to a completely different

A friend once timed the shearers and found that it took one just six minutes to come in, sit down, eat the meal she’d spent all morning preparing. Harvesters often stop only long enough to grab a handful of food, get back in the cab and eat on the go. It’s not that they don’t appreciate the meals, it’s just they’re there to do a job while the weather permits and food is just the fuel to help them do it. Our venture into cropping lasted only a couple of seasons but it gave me a very real appreciation of the people in that business and the work involved. So much effort, and money, goes into growing the crops and the results can vary so much owing to factors beyond the farmers’ control. The mists Keats wrote of are welcome if it’s just heat haze but harvest is a lot less fruitful if they turn into prolonged rain.

Ele Ludemann




Caveats remain around genomics Dairy geneticists around the globe are deeply involved in developing genomics as a means of enhancing animal selection, with every dairying nation committing significant resources to the technology. By Richard Rennie At its simplest level genomic selection, or “genomics” involves the selection of bulls for use based on their DNA profile, rather than having to wait for information on their performance based on their progeny’s (daughters) performance. Such selection results in a generation interval between sire and progeny that is shorter by around three years. The benefits of the technology include identifying bulls at a younger age exhibiting positive DNA traits on their profile, and introducing them into genetic company sire teams sooner as a result. The bull’s DNA profile has to be screened and compared against a sample population of bulls and cows to identify gene “markers”, that have demonstrated a significant effect in the comparison population. The markers have a complex title, “single nucleotide polymorphisms”, SNPs for short. They are effectively “snips” or snapshots at different points along the DNA strand that are worth highlighting. Today hundreds of thousands of SNPs or markers have been identified on the bovine genome for commercial research. The computer horsepower required for genomic selection is significant. The 50,000 individual test result markers from each bull is examined for seven economic traits, plus longevity and 16 “traits other than production” (TOP). The results for each individual are then compared to the base sample population of bulls. In theory complex statistical analysis allows geneticists to identify the SNPs on bulls whose daughters exhibit the superior trait, and contrast

it with an archive of those bulls whose daughters may not share that trait.

indication at this stage when the genomic data may be re-installed into the official BW figures.

This allows them to determine which traits held by bulls are being passed through to their daughter progeny. At this point scientists have two sets of information for that bull. One set is the usual parent average information based on its ancestry and the other is the extra information found from his SNPs. Combined they form the bull’s “Genomic Breeding Value” or GBV.

New Zealand is not alone in experiencing difficulties in getting the genomic prediction to match the flesh and blood reality of a bull’s daughter’s performance.

As a means of determining the accuracy of the genomic “predictions” for the bulls selected this way, their daughters provide herd test and TOP data that provides a check of daughter actual performance and conformation traits against what was predicted.

United States experience indicates similar problems, with the reliability of the genomic breeding values varying from 55% to 78%, compared to daughter proven progeny values that are 80-95% for first born daughters. Importantly the traits within those breeding values have even greater fluctuations, a major caveat for farmers seeking to lift specific aspects of animal performance when selecting genomically proven bulls.

Unfortunately, currently around the world researchers are finding the predicted genetic superiority and the reality of that bull’s daughter’s performance are parting company.

Dr Dave Hayman, Liberty’s Manager of Genetic Development, believes the technology still has considerable distance to go before farmer confidence can be restored and maintained in it.

In New Zealand an independent report in 2010 revealed daughters of Jersey and Friesian genomically proven sires actually contributed negatively to farm profit. There was however a gain from cross-bred sires’ daughters but the gap had proven greatest in Jersey breeds. As a result of the geneticist’s report, the genomic data has been withdrawn from the national Breeding Worth (BW) data calculations.

“We are still systematically seeing the top bulls overestimated, and the bottom underestimated for breeding value.”

This came after industry genetics watchdog New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL) issued a memorandum stating it was not confident it could provide an accurate estimate of genetic merit, including genomic data. There is no

“There is some slight advantage delivered comparable to proven sires available at the same time, but that should happen with elite young sire models anyway. The real test is for genomics to add extra value over and above current tools like ancestry and sire proving scheme, particularly in light of the extra cost it incurs.”

He said even this season when comparing the top bulls at August last year versus December with their daughter proof, the percent staying in the top echelon was no better than using ancestry information for determination of best performing bulls.

He is concerned that the genomic science continues to struggle to pick the right winners in New Zealand, based on a reference population of around 5,000 bulls across the three breeds. “Even the United States is struggling to get accuracy out of 20,000 reference bulls.” He notes that breeders are hit by the accuracy of genomics to date when they have bought bulls promoted with top genetic rankings to use over their top breeding females, only to see the progeny become devalued as the sire’s daughter proof is revealed. “You do get the odd lucky strike, but it needs to be delivering something better than that level of success.” 12



Database transfer all go The official announcement that the national dairy database is to be transferred to DairyNZ custody has been welcomed by the genetics industry. By Richard Rennie At the LIC AGM late last year it was confirmed the hand over of the data base would take place, with expectations DairyNZ would have a full operating system in place by 2017. In the meantime the LIC database will continue to run in parallel until handover is complete. The vote from LIC farmer shareholders was 88% in support, a resounding “yes” to an issue that has taken over two years to resolve, and one that gives the database’s future a definite direction. Similarly the move has been welcomed by genetics companies. Dr Dave Hayman of Liberty Genetics says the move levels the playing field across all companies, and eases the complexity of managing the database. “Importantly it is now going to be possible to get hold of top cow information, data that was previously not available in New Zealand,” he said. The LIC proprietary database contains 18,000 fields of information but the industry core

database has only 46 data fields. These relate to cow production, mating and calving data. The move to transfer to DairyNZ was initiated by the Anderson Report, a comprehensive review done in 2009 of the database, with several recommendations on its future contained within it. The key one was the database be run by an independent organisation, making an industry good body like DairyNZ an obvious choice. LIC’s ownership of the database stemmed back to the company’s beginnings as the original dairy genetics company in New Zealand. After the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) was created to allow deregulation of the dairy industry and the creation of Fonterra, LIC retained control of the database. The Anderson Report included a recommendation that new database fields should be defined and added to support farm management decisions. While the core database of 46 fields of information are at the centre of

the transfer, “non core data” will also be provided by LIC for the purpose of industry research and animal evaluation. If classed as “unrestricted” an overseeing access panel can grant access to it, and if “restricted” then terms for its use will be required. Genomic data has been excluded from the agreement at this stage, tacit acknowledgement most genetics companies are already well advanced with their own commercial genomic plans. At the LIC AGM last year concerns were voiced by some shareholders about how secure the IP would be when transferred to the new database. However DairyNZ CEO Dr Tim Mackle said the Commodities Levies Act had strict rules in it around privacy and security expected of an industry good body like DairyNZ. The database’s management is being overseen by a stakeholder group, consisting of members including Federated Farmers, genetics companies and breed societies.

ATS invites you to a

Genetics Presentation & Open Discussion An opportunity to listen and engage with genetic industry leaders. Date:

Thursday 11 April 2013, 7pm–9.30 pm


Bradford Room, Ashburton Trust Events Centre


Online: Or call: 0800 BUY ATS (289 287)

Working together for farmers






Covering your risks FMG’s new rural manager in Mid Canterbury, Simon Kenny, is no stranger to the district. By Linda Clarke

The 25-year-old Lincoln University graduate has spent plenty of time putting on cups in cowsheds or holding wriggly lambs for tailing. He knows farming life doesn’t always go smoothly.

“Rural insurance plays a vital role in the prosperity of the country’s commerce and trade. To continue to lead through innovation and best practice, farmers and growers need the confidence to take risks.”

Cowsheds can burn down, crops can be devastated by hail, escaped stock can cause serious car crashes.

Simon was working in the Waikato when Canterbury’s big earthquakes struck. It was a testing time for all in the industry, with businesses on and off farms around the region disrupted.

His job with FMG is to make sure farmers know the risks associated with their diverse operations and how to manage them. No dairy farmer wants to flush a vat full of milk down the drain because of plant or people failure and FMG has plenty of advice to prevent that and other catastrophes. Simon was in his last year of a BCom in agriculture and marketing at Lincoln when he won a place on FMG’s graduate programme. By the end of the year, the former Christchurch Boys’ High School student found himself in Palmerston North being welcomed into the company and learning about FMG’s unique advice and product offerings. A city boy during the school term, he spent time on family friends’ farms in the holidays. He worked on dairy farms during his university holidays to earn both money and an insight into the industry. He said FMG offered a chance to work in a diverse industry, with plenty of time spent on the road talking to clients and helping them understand, manage and take risks to achieve their goals.

above: Simon Kenny, Mid Canterbury FMG Rural Manager

“I talk to them about risk management and give advice to prevent these claims from happening.”

His FMG farming clients are mostly on the eastern side of State Highway 1 and cover a range of farming situations, from big-time cropping to dairy and sheep and beef.

Another product and service offering FMG specialises in involves providing insurance and risk advice for sharemilkers, especially those entering sharemilking positions for the first time. “They need all sorts of advice – from insuring farm vehicles and implements to considering on-farm liability exposures, such as stock getting out onto the road, or pooling effluent resulting in potential breaches of statutory acts, to name just two. They need good advice upfront to help ensure their business can endure any unforeseen and costly interruptions to their operations.”

Simon said FMG regularly runs campaigns to help farmers reduce or understand some of their risks, like insurance for crops against hail or fire, or milk contamination. The company deals with over 800 claims a year for milk spoilage and contamination with the main causes being antibiotics, plant failure, power failure, human error.

FMG has been around for more than 100 years and was started by farmers fed up with city insurers charging outrageous premiums for rural risks they didn’t understand. Today, the company is still 100% owned by its rural members, with profits put back into the business to keep premiums fair and affordable.

He returned to Canterbury in October 2012 and has set about re-establishing old networks. While his grandparents live in Ashburton, he lives with his partner at Te Pirita on a 250ha dry stock farm that runs sheep, beef and dairy grazing - he helps out with jobs like tailing and feeding the calves.

FMG 131 Alford Forest Road Ashburton

Tel: 0800 366 466 Fax: 0800 366 455 ATS N E W S




Business is Blooming


To say sisters Miranda Sinton and Sophie Morrow have been busy in the past year is an understatement. By Linda Clarke most popular shrubs) and passing that cost saving on to customers.” Lushingtons’ website has plenty of ideas about plant selection and some helpful advice about what to do in the garden and when. Sophie said the hard work had been shared by all the family members involved in the garden centre venture, including parents Nicky and Mark, and Miranda’s husband Matt. Like the flowers they sell, the business is blooming. Top tips for the winter garden:

1. Prune back perennials and shrubs, and lay peastraw for winter protection. 2. Clean away all dead and diseased foliage to prevent disease spread. 3. Have your winter sprays ready to go, especially for roses and fruit trees. 4. Continue planting winter vegetables, so a consistent crop is always on hand. 5. Plant winter colour.

above left: Front view of Lushingtons below: The cafe seating area; Gorgeous plants on display

The owners and operators of Lushingtons Garden, Gift and Cafe have expanded their food service to include outside catering and now lease a nursery to grow shrubs from seedlings. The pair are entering their third year as business partners and are hands-on in the busy complex, on the main road just south of the Ashburton River. Miranda looks after the garden centre and giftware, while Sophie runs the café, a sevenday-a-week operation involving café, catering and the sale of fresh produce. “It’s been busy, yes,” Sophie said. “We’ve been expanding on all fronts. Food-wise we have been trying to increase our range of quality fresh produce and are now selling meat from the family farm.” Lamb bred on their parents’ Mayfield farm is being processed weekly and sold chilled and vacuum-packed from the café. Butter-fly lamb, loin chops, leg roasts and rack of lamb are all popular and Sophie is working on recipe cards to accompany the cuts. Amongst other fresh produce sold at the café are avocados, free-range eggs, courgettes and garlic. The café itself is a favourite with locals, also with tourists and others regularly travelling the highway. The menu has something for everyone, and can include a glass of wine. A new venture for Sophie and her food team is outside catering, from small soirees to weddings with 200 guests.

“It’s a side of the business that is growing, though it takes a bit of co-ordination in a such a busy kitchen.” The sisters have also converted a sizeable upstairs area at the garden centre into a boardroom facility for hire. “We have a big Macrocraft table with 10 chairs and it is set up with power points and projectors, suitable for business meetings.” Catering to the room can be arranged. The large café area is also popular for after-hours functions. A Christchurch school uses the area at night to interact with parents of its Ashburton students, women’s groups use it for meetings and local businesses for staff and customer meetings. While the café has been growing, so has the plant side. Lushingtons now leases part of the former Allenton Nursery near Ashburton and grow their own potted shrubs from seedlings. Sophie said three new staff have been employed to work at the nursery, which has purpose-built shadecloth and watering systems to nurture the young plants. The potted plants are then relocated to the Tinwald centre for sale. “We are growing our own star performers (the Lushingtons 5 Archibald Street Tinwald Ashburton

Garden Centre: 03 308 6858 Café: 03 308 6857 Fax: 03 308 5858 ATS N E W S



It’s a deadly topic Twenty people die every year in accidents on farms— four of those are in quad bike accidents. This is a toll Jeanette Maxwell is determined to do something about—and soon. By Marie Taylor As well as being a foothills farmer and ATS shareholder, she is Federated Farmers’ agricultural health and safety spokesperson on its national board. Jeanette is encouraged by a new Government goal to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities by 20% before 2020.That’s a drop by four in the farming tally, and to make that change farmers should start reviewing their health and safety on farm, she says. She’s part of a working group in the new ministerial task force set up to look at health and safety issues across all industries. The Government had to sit up and take notice of the Pike Report, and has formed this task force as a result. Farm accidents and injuries span the whole range of farm activities, and are in the top five for accident rates of any industry in the country. Ensuring a safe farm environment is a farmer’s responsibility. They must take all practical steps to ensure safety in their workplace—and not just for staff but for contractors too Jeanette says.

document. Keep it on the shelf where it is handy. Make a note to remind yourself at least annually to pull it out, check it over and refine it. This doesn’t need to be a complicated or a hugely expensive thing to do.” A Health and Safety plan needs to cover issues such as contractors working on your property. You have obligations, the contractor has obligations and you need the contractor to prove to you they are operating safely on your farm. Serious farm accidents will involve a full investigation, however many farmers don’t keep a record of their near misses because they don’t think of them as accidents. Jeanette says “if you keep track of your near misses, there is potential to pick up a regular pattern - an accident waiting to happen—and you need to deal with it.” She says that “People don’t think about this, they just come in at the end of the day and say “I was lucky today”. Jeanette says “One of the high priority things at the moment is our focus on mental and physical well-being”, things start slipping off the radar if you are not mentally feeling very happy. For example, things like the health and safety plan just drop by the wayside, maintenance falls off, there’s more stress in relationships, and home life starts to fall down.

Inattention to small things starts to become a problem, and as a farmer’s mental health drops, animal welfare can become an issue. “You have to think about health and safety and “In my time in the industry, I’ve only seen one have a formal process. First and foremost, everyone case of animal cruelty, but the other animal must have a health and safety plan at their place of welfare issues were caused by farmer mental work whether they are an owner operator or not. health problems” says Jeanette. Secondly a health and safety plan is an active living 18


Depression is an increasing issue for rural communities with rural suicide rates at 16 per 100,000 people, being higher than urban rates at 11.1 suicides per 100,000 people. Jeanette explains there’s a lot of good work being done around the country on mental health issues, for example the Dairy Farmer Wellness and Wellbeing Programme led by the Dairy Women’s Network. At Federated Farmers they are working with such organisations to pool their knowledge, and bring it together for the common good. That way rural people will be better off, she says. Federated Farmers have also put out a depression card, with contacts for when things go wrong (see below). Farmers are notorious for staying away from a doctor unless they are really sick, she says. “For many farmers it will have been a while since they went to have a blood pressure check or since they hopped on the scales or put a tape measure around their waistline. Get your blood pressure, hearing and eye-sight checked. It is okay to go to the doctor.” Dealing with these issues when they are more manageable will help overall well-being. Fatigue is also a big issue in farming, and farmers do make hay while the sun shines Jeanette says. “That adage absolutely applies to farming. Keeping safe on a daily basis is often a matter of making sure farmers have a good diet, and drink enough water. Good nutrition helps stave off fatigue and helps good brain function” she says. If you would like more information: or phone 0800 111 757 Lifeline 0800 543 354 Or in an emergency, call 111


Stepping you through the health and safety process On-farm health and safety is the focus of a new course Cindy Meadows is running with ATS. By Marie Taylor

Last year the health and safety specialist set up her own Ashburton-based company Unique Solutions to build on her background of human resources and health and safety. She’s been involved in the meat, roading and engineering industries, and is now working with ATS to provide courses for members on farm health and safety. “Health and safety is something everyone knows they have to do—but it often seems too big to tackle.” Cindy is running courses especially for ATS members where she will be helping employers with on-farm health and safety management, and development of their own farm safety manual. She wants to move people from being reactive and thinking about health and safety after accidents have happened to being proactive, “I want to create procedures to help make working on farms safer from the beginning.”

“We are trying to ensure that the work environment is safe for all staff, visitors and contractors.”

The manual covers eight elements: •

Commitment to a healthy and safe work environment

Owners, managers and employees all have responsibilities under the Health and Safety Act but it is more than a legal requirement, getting up to speed with health and safety is a social requirement too, she says.

Planning and reviewing the programme

Hazard identification and management

Supervision, training and information

Accident, incident and investigation

Employee participation

Emergency planning and readiness

Contractors and visitors on farm

“Health and safety is something everyone knows they have to do—but it often seems too big to tackle.” “No one ever wants to make the call to tell someone their loved one isn’t coming home from work.” The farm safety training day will give participants the foundation to implement a health and safety plan for the farm.

“What I am trying to do is give a good balance of what is meaningful to the farmer. It’s easy to manage and makes work safer for everybody.” “My objective is to get this foundation document entrenched in their working operation.” At the conclusion of the day-long course, ATS members will be in a good position to apply to ACC for a workplace safety discount.



Available at all ATS Stores




Phosphorous issues in high producing dairy cows

Apparent phosphorous (P) deficiency in spring calving dairy cows is becoming an increasingly discussed issue on many farms throughout Canterbury and Otago. In the December edition of the ATS News, an article discussed the issues of potential phosphorous deficiency and some of the signs and main issues involved in high producing dairy cows. by craig trotter enough. This does not mean phosphorus supplementation is necessary on all farms, but it is recommended that feed testing is performed on feed types offered to cows through the winter. Crude protein and phosphorus content of feeds are tightly interlinked, with feed having low crude protein also having low phosphorus content and vice versa. Fodderbeet, cereal straws and meadow hay have very low phosphorus concentrations. Autumn-saved and winter-grown first rotation pasture was more variable and lower in phosphorus than other pasture varieties.

In the 2011/2012 season the deficiency showed up as Post-Parturient Haemoglobinuria (PPH) across several farms throughout the eastern South Island. Clinical phosphorus deficiency manifests itself in two ways: the rise of creeper cows and cows with PPH. Creeper cows seem to be associated with widespread feeding of fodder beet, typically deficient in phosphorus, and is seen in some specific regions across the South Island.

Dairy farmers will soon have a new tool to help prevent cows suffering from a lack of phosphorus. A new interactive website will help individual farmers work out if there is enough phosphorus in herd diets. The website is part of a Sustainable Farming Fund research project to look at phosphorus deficiency in New Zealand concentrations and three to four cows had very milking cows which is also an increasing problem low concentrations below 1 mmol/L. We expect in spring calving cows on many Canterbury and these levels below 1.2 mmol/L in freshly calved Otago farms. Farmers will be able to select their cows due to the changes in metabolic demand feed type and enter individual feed test data, and requirements for phosphorus immediately and the website will calculate if there is enough post calving as milk production increases. phosphorus in the diet for the cows. It will also In two of these farms, August-calved cows showed list a range of feed options and ways to add signs of pica—they were picking up rocks from phosphorus to avoid any future phosphorus the lane and chewing on them during milking. deficiency problems. On a third farm a large number of cows needed Call your vet or advisor to discuss phosphorus treatment for milk fever within the first two weeks deficiency and if you would like any further after calving. We wanted to find out what is information about the project please email me causing the problems on these farms. anytime at Keep an eye

PPH reports are sporadic in New Zealand production systems but the reports last spring spurred on the Vetlife team to look further at Feed analysis showed several times particularly the issue. We wanted to see if phosphorous deficiency was occurring on farms at a sub-clinical through winter, the intake of phosphorus wasn’t level across the eastern South Island dairy herds and investigate potential losses which may be 2.50 AUGUST occurring as a result. The Sustainable Farming SEPTEMBER Fund research project looked at 16 farms from Mid-Canterbury to Central Otago. On each farm 20 2.00 recently calved cows were chosen in early August and blood samples taken for mineral analysis of 1.50 phosphorous, calcium and magnesium. In addition to these animals, another 20 recently calved cows were sampled in early September, with the August 1.00 cows sampled once more. Samples from all the feed types eaten by the herds were analysed for phosphorus and calcium content along with 0.50 expected feed intake information. CONCENTRATION OF P IN BLOOD (MMOL/L)

out for more information about the website soon.

Blood sample results showed a lot of variability in phosphorus levels. Four of the 16 farms had plasma phosphorus at or near normal levels of 1.2 mmol/L (Figure 1). About half of the cows had low























Animal Health

Pneumonia in sheep and cattle

Pneumonia in sheep and cattle poses a significant threat to production through reduced live weight gains and higher than normal levels of mortality. By Ian Hodge BVSc.,MACVSc. Vetent Riverside

Infections of the lungs and the external linings of the lungs and inside of the rib cage can result from viral or bacterial infections or both. In lambs, bacterial pneumonia and pleurisy is common and can result in lambs becoming sub clinically infected. This means we cannot see any outward signs of the lambs being ill, but the disease is present and is having an effect on the ability of that lamb to grow. A Meat and Wool New Zealand study of ovine pneumonia in 2006 showed the estimated annual average cost of pneumonia is $28m, and that of pleurisy $25m. The combined cost of pneumonia and pleurisy to New Zealand farmers is estimated to average $53m per annum. Clearly this is a significant disease process costing us dearly in terms of lost production.

“A Meat and Wool New Zealand study of ovine pneumonia in 2006 showed the estimated annual average cost of pneumonia is $28m, and that of pleurisy $25m.” Pneumonia and pleurisy in sheep is very common in Canterbury. This may be due to colder nights and warm humid days through late summer and autumn. Dust can play a role in pneumonia especially when lambs are yarded or driven longer distances by road. As with many other diseases stress plays an important role. Shearing can produce stress and weaning can also be a significantly stressful event and is often the start of the pneumonic process. Trace element deficiencies, especially selenium, may be part of the reason Canterbury sees a higher than average prevalence of respiratory disease in sheep. Feed changes resulting in transient hunger are significant stressors in sheep and should be avoided. Parasite infections can also lead to malnutrition, low protein levels and compromised immunity. Risk factors associated with pneumonia include shearing lambs at or near to weaning, breeding ewe replacements on farm, number of lambs sold (which is an indicator of flock size: population density is correlated with a higher risk of pneumonia) and poor ventilation when sheep are housed overnight.

Weaning and tailing are perhaps the greatest stressors to lambs and can clearly result in a high prevalence of sub clinical pneumonia and pleurisy. So it follows that all practicable steps should be taken to mitigate the chance of lung disease becoming significant at these times.

“Shearing can produce stress and weaning can also be a significantly stressful event and is often the start of the pneumonic process.” Weaning and tailing should be as stress free as possible with minimum handling, droving and yarding. When yarded, ventilation for the lambs should be very good. Dogs should be kept under control and not used excessively. Lambs should receive Vitamin B12 and selenium injections at tailing and weaning as this has been shown to be protective against pneumonia, and lambs should ideally be set stocked after weaning. At present there is no available vaccine in

above: Pneumonia is a significant threat to sheep and


New Zealand which can reduce the effect of sub clinical pneumonia and pleurisy so we have to use management tools to reduce the effect of the disease. The best approach to prevent pneumonia and pleurisy is to tail and wean lambs at good body weights. Maintain low levels of stress at these times and maintain good consistent animal health and nutrition at and after weaning. A planned animal health programme as discussed with your Vet is strongly recommended so that the obvious and important things are not over looked. Ref. Pneumonia and Pleurisy in Sheep. Meat and Wool New Zealand study 2006.

VetEnt Riverside Ashburton 03 308 2321 Timaru 03 687 4445 Mayfield 03 303 6042 Rakaia 03 302 7931

VetEnt Lincoln Leeston Halswell

03 325 2808 03 324 3575 03 322 8331 ATS ATS N NEEW WS S






ATS Dairy Days Out 2013 Showcasing new and innovative products while getting a head start on the planning for the next dairy season, are the keys to the success of the recent ATS Dairy Days Out. By Anita Body

The two day event was held last month and is dedicated to the dairy sector while following a format similar to that of the ever-popular Instore Days. Around 40 exhibitors displayed their wares under the big marquee in the ATS carpark. ATS General Manager of Operations, Jono Pavey says it is a genuine dairy event with all of those taking part being directly related to the dairy sector. “The event is dairy-focused so ATS members can find out about what is new and exciting within the industry, and they can take advantage of some great deals when planning for the next season.” “No matter what you were looking for it was all there—from conversions, to shed chemicals and pasture management.” It is the second time ATS has staged the event, and although visitor numbers don’t match those of Instore Days, those who attended had a genuine interest in the displays and the special offers available. Site holders were pleased with the event saying it was a great opportunity for them to meet and greet new and existing clients. The event was also useful for gauging the marketplace and what goods and services are currently in demand.

Bryan Dunn of RX Plastics says many of their products are born from ideas discussed with farmers, which makes events like the Dairy Days Out an important opportunity for further developments. It’s also an ideal chance to showcase and demonstrate the newest products on the market. Other attendees such as Deosan, EcoLab, Liberty Genetics and Bell Booth all agreed the opportunity to be available to meet and talk with new and existing clients was invaluable. They said there was plenty of genuine interest in their respective dairy related products and services and many locals took the opportunity to discuss options and plan ahead for the coming season. The relaxed and informal atmosphere added to the success of the event, with plenty of activities including a cooking demonstration on Thursday by New Zealand beef and lamb ambassador, and local restaurateur, Darren Wright. His award winning Harbour 71 restaurant at Akaroa, which he operated for 10 years, was well known to locals, and he has recently opened a new restaurant in Christchurch called Chillingworth Road. Friday saw the cooking demonstration area

top: Site Judges Rachel Roadley and John Low with Daisy the Dairy Cow; ABOVE: Duncan McLachlan with Jorja opposite PAGE (clockwise from top left):

Shane Stocker with Tom, Leanne and Abbie Heneghan; Daniel and Shannon Topp; Ana Edkins; Laura Gilmour and Dorothy Shannon; Chef Darren Wright

transformed into a corner dairy, complete with ice creams and milkshakes which were quickly snapped up by attendees on what was a very warm day. Jono Pavey says ATS was very pleased with the event and believes it has come up with a winning formula. ATS N E W S









Getting the heart pumping Now the days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping, it’s all too easy to let healthy exercise habits fall by the wayside. By Linda Clarke Who wants to run down a dark country road at 8pm or scrape frost from the windscreen to drive into town for a workout?

A common theme is the desire to lose weight. “Some lose the weight in 12 weeks, for others it requires a real commitment to stick with it for longer.”

The solution is simple. Hire or buy a treadmill. Or a rowing machine, or a cross trainer, or an exercycle. All great machines to get the heart pumping and deliver a good cardio workout in the comfort of your own home.

An increasing number of people in their 50’s and older are also using exercise equipment, some to help rehabilitate muscles and joints after knee or hip surgery.

FitBiz owner operator Eion Johnson says business booms in winter when people seek indoor solutions to keep their exercise programmes on track. His business hires and sells exercise equipment and customers range from weekend warriors and recreational athletes to those recovering from hip and knee injuries. Others also hire equipment at times of the year they know they will be pressed for time. “Quite a number of farmers’ wives come in and hire machines over calving and busy seasons on the farm when they know they can’t get away from home as easily. It helps them maintain their fitness and health.” Hiring is popular for many reasons and there are about 150 machines on hire at any one time. “A lot of people don’t know what piece of equipment they want to buy, so they try them by hiring and find the one that works best for them.” Treadmills remain the most sought-after exercise equipment at FitBiz, for rehabilitative walking right through to training for a marathon. The modern machines can be set to mimic walking or running on hills or flats, with speed settings from 1–20km/h.

While FitBiz can supply basic programmes for the machines, Eion says they are easy to operate and come with pre-programmed options. Most customers already have a goal to keep them motivated. For most, the aim is to burn up more calories than they consume and keep healthy. Eion operates FitBiz from premises in both Ashburton and Timaru, six days a week. Exercise machines, hired or bought, are delivered free within urban areas and for a fee to further destinations. The business has been running since 2004 when Eion and his business partner, noticed a growing trend in the number of people wanting to hire and buy equipment for home. Machines can be hired for a minimum of four weeks, with discounts for periods 12 weeks or longer. Those in the market to buy can check out these and other exercise equipment, like weights and benches instore.

main image: The FitBiz Ashburton Store above: Some of the equipment range for hire

FitBiz also stock and sells a full range of nutritional supplements, including protein shakes, vitamins and minerals and energy boosters, these are also available instore and online.

FitBiz 161 Tancred St, Ashburton Tel 03 307 1600, Fax 03 307 6386

84 Stafford St, Timaru Tel 03 688 8200 ATS N E W S





Convenience is key Paul Dixon has always enjoyed getting his hands dirty. The trained diesel mechanic has lived and worked near Methven for most of his life, selling and repairing machinery to keep the district’s busy agricultural community up and running. By Linda Clarke

Dixon Farm Machinery Ltd. has just ticked over its 33rd year in business and Paul is as involved in workshop life as he was in the early days. From 1979 to 2005, the business operated from Methven Chertsey Road, opposite the police station, then moved to bigger and better premises on Line Road. Like the farming community it serves, the business has adapted and changed. “We still sell disc mowers and the like, and have a full range of spare parts for farm machinery, but the emphasis has changed to reflect what has happened in the farming community,” Paul said. The latest addition to the Dixon farm machinery business is a mobile hydraulic repair truck. Paul bought a mobile service truck from Cookes when it closed in Ashburton, he has refitted and repainted it ready to run in the Methven area. “We have always done hydraulics but now we are mobile.” A client who breaks a hydraulic hose in a combine during harvest can simply ring up and ask for a visit. “We have a press in the back and fittings, and we can fix it. The alternative is that clients can bring the hose to our workshop.” Convenience is a key aspect for Dixons. Paul knows farmers need a quick response and his team can also service or repair cars, trucks and tractors, especially diesel-powered vehicles, in the workshop while customers wait.

Another line of work aimed at keeping farmers and cowsheds running 24-7 whatever the weather, involves servicing the huge generators commonly being installed around the district as an alternative power source in the event electricity is cut off.

above: Paul Dixon main image: Dixon Farm Machinery Ltd. in Methven

“We import big generators out of China now and install them on dairy farms. If you lose power when you are milking that’s pretty inconvenient, or if you can’t milk for two days you lose money. The cost of a generator is around the value of one day’s milking, so it pays off.”

Paul is also a long-time supplier of Husqvarna mowers and other outdoor equipment made by the Swedish company. He says the equipment is hardworking and durable, a good fit for his Methven business.

Paul says servicing the generators is regular and important work, as the generators are also used to power irrigators. The Line Road service centre is geared for all manner of machinery emergencies, with shelves of spare parts. Paul and his team are busiest from November to March and while the workshop is open MondayFriday, the afterhours number is Paul’s home and he thinks nothing of slipping down to the yard to help a customer. His clientele are loyal in return and Paul prides himself on the fact that he can service or repair any machine he has sold over the years.

Trade fairs in China and other business trips keep Paul abreast of new products and development within the industry. He is always on the lookout for items he knows will be a hit with clients and is currently selling mechanical workstations with lockable drawers and cabinets, a great addition to any farm workshop “A couple of customers have said they have a good industrial look that wouldn’t be out of place in a kitchen.” A new means Dixon’s customers can keep track of machinery happenings and seek online quotes for products or services.

Dixon Machinery & Diesel Tech Ltd 12 Line Road Methven

Tel: 03 302 8946 Mobile: 0274 345637 ATS N E W S










Getting your girls in top shape As dairy farmers look towards the end of the season, SealesWinslow Technical Manager James Hague has some topical tips for keeping cows in condition. article supplied by sealeswinslow ltd

Getting in shape

The next couple of months are pretty much the most important in the dairy farmer’s calendar, with a lot of focus going on getting cows to a Body Condition Score of 5.0 at calving. At the same time, you’ll likely be trying to cope with falling pasture supply, looking at your winter feeding options, and thinking about building pasture covers for calving. One option is to dry off cows, which helps to reduce feed demand. It also means you’re not at risk of milking the condition off the back of the cow – important when you consider that it’s more difficult (and usually more expensive) to put this condition back on. There’s another factor to consider too—it’s easier to put condition on the cow when she is still milking.

100 kg MS at a $5.50 payout). If the cost of your feed ration is lower than this—and if it delivers the cow condition you need—then feeding is a good bet. Remember that if you need to go from condition a score of 4.0 to a score of 5.0, your cows need to gain 0.5kg each day for the last two months of lactation—that’s extra feed, over and above maintenance. Balancing feed intake and calculating the cost of that feed can be tricky, and that’s where SealesWinslow and ATS can help—talk to us before you make your decision, to see what options are available to you. Is it the end or just the beginning?

Ultimately, if you can keep your cows milking, then it’s usually best to do so.

The dry period is often seen as the end of the season, but in reality, it is the beginning of the next one and should be managed to maximise intakes in early lactation and avoid metabolic issues.

Feed availability and finances will influence your decision, and you need to see what gives you the best business result. If a cow is dry for 10 weeks, that’s a potential income loss of $550 (based on

The early dry period is about maintaining body condition. The cow will require around 70-85MJ of energy through this period and will eat around 10kgDM, therefore low ME feeds like straw can

be used. Beware of sprouted grains, mouldy feeds and re-using uneaten older feeds, as the mycotoxin load can cause dietary upset and even slipped calves. One of the recognised risks of putting stock on winter forage is that their feed intake is often a lot less than you think. This is where in-shed feeding has a big advantage, because you really know what the cows are getting. If you’re going to feed your stock a large amount of crop, make sure they have access to plenty of long fibre and provide the magnesium, trace elements and iodine they will need. Closer to calving, the cows’ metabolism needs to change and stock should be introduced gradually to the milking ration. A transition diet should have the key elements of low calcium, adequate magnesium, some bypass protein and be slightly acidic. If in doubt, seek advice.

The range of SealesWinslow nutritional products are available through ATS. ATS N E W S





Working with nature Pressure is mounting on Canterbury farmers to reduce their impact on the environment. By Linda Clarke With regional councils around the country setting nutrient limits, farmers could save both money and the environment by better utilisation of the nutrients they are applying to the soil. They are looking for alternatives to traditional nitrogen application programmes. Mainland Mineral’s Sales Manager Stephen Booth said “All farmers want to have well managed farms and healthy stock. Making money would be good too. It is about having the foresight to break out and have a look at plausible alternatives. It will be no more expensive than what they are currently doing and with much more to gain.” So how does a farmer encourage grass and crops to grow without loading up on N? Some farmers are thinking outside the square and opting for a sustainable approach incorporating specifically prescribed and blended fine particle and/or granular fertiliser for their land. Stephen says farmers are increasingly concerned about the excess use of nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients being washed through the soil profile and are choosing fine particle fertilisers that are more rapidly absorbed and evenly distributed. Mainland Minerals’ Timaru plant has been making fine particle fertiliser since 1988 and Stephen says they are a “Rolls-Royce” option compared to traditional granulated fertiliser. The company’s philosophy on nutrient application is to work with nature to achieve the maximum possible results. “Fine particles are evenly distributed and taken up immediately, rather than being washed through the soil profile. It’s better for the environment, better for the plant and results in better stock health.”

The process starts with a simple spade, digging a hole to check for the presence of soil helpers like worms and keeping an eye out for undesirables. Afterwards field agents collect soil samples, which are analysed in a New Zealand laboratory. A soil test can analyse a wide range of things e.g. organic matter, total phosphorus, total sulphur or levels of trace minerals. The resulting data are used alongside the physical inspection of the soil to establish what is going on. “Then you can make an informed decision on the best course of action. Generally we find farmers are coming to us when they are not getting results from their current fertiliser programme and/ or are having stock health issues. Dairy farmers are also asking how they can increase production without denigrating the environment,” Stephen said. Mainland Minerals’ new, state of the art factory in Meadows Road, Timaru, has been fitted out to produce both fine particle fertiliser and granular blends. Frequently a biological stimulant is added, to enhance microbial activity. In combination with the fertiliser, this enhances the breakdown of dung and urine in the soil and improves nutrient movement between the soil and plant. The company has specialized spreading equipment, using trucks, helicopters or planes. Mainland Minerals moved into a new purpose built factory in January this year. Its huge 3,500 square metre building houses equipment used in the blending and crushing process. Mainland Minerals 126 Meadows Road Washdyke, Timaru

above: Applicator truck and plane; fine particle product main image: The root system

Mainland Minerals will be having an open day later in the year when we’ll be inviting farmers, suppliers and other interested parties to come and have a look around. Tel: 03 688 2309 Fax: 03 688 7039 ATS N E W S






Concrete Water/Feed Troughs • Septic Tanks • Silage Pits • Water Tanks/Effluent Tanks Concrete Bunkers • Pump/Agri-Chemical/Killing Sheds For any quotes or enquiries contact us on

03 308 4816 40


Or call into the yard at 205 Wilkins Rd, Tinwald Ashburton







News at ATS Meridian Chios Outdoor Lounge Suite Winner Stuart Leadley and his partner Liz were the lucky winners of the Meridian Christmas giveaway advertised in the December/January ATS News. Anna Taylor, Meridian Agribusiness Partnership Manager for ATS and Tracey Gordon, ATS Energy Account Manager, presented the fabulous suite from Hunter Furniture to the pair.

ATS member exclusive online deals Check out the exclusive online deals from ATS suppliers on the ATS website. Weekly specials will be posted at the start of each week, so keep an eye out for this tile on the ATS website to direct you to a variety of great deals. Visit to see the latest specials.

Farm Safety Manual and Training for members Today’s farmers and land owners are required to actively manage all aspects of health and safety around the farm. To assist with this process ATS can provide members with access to a Farm Safety Manual and relevant training. Upon completion of the training, members will be able to apply for a discount on their ACC levies. Training dates are on the 16 April 2013 or 21 May 2013 and the cost is $550 (GST and member discount inclusive). Seating is limited so get in fast. For more information or to reserve your spot please contact Peter Jacob on 03 307 5100 or 0800 BUY ATS (289 287), email or reserve your spot online at Check out page 19 for more information.

Brazilian Farm Tour Visit Owners and directors of Brazilian fertiliser and limestone companies recently took part in a fact-finding tour around Mid Canterbury which included a visit to ATS Ashburton. The 15 strong-party spent six days visiting different businesses throughout New Zealand with a view to gaining a greater understanding of the fertiliser industry within New Zealand. One day was spent in Mid Canterbury and included a visit to Agri-Optics NZ Ltd at Methven. The group also visited two local quarries—Mt Alford and Mt Somers, and were given a fertiliser and lime spreading demonstration before heading to ATS Ashburton for a tour of the local rural farm supplies store. The visit was a great information sharing exercise for all parties and gave the visitors the opportunity to see and touch products, and to have their questions on the local industry answered by those in the know. 44


The convenience of online shopping ATS online shopping continues to grow with many more products constantly becoming available to members all the time via the ATS website. Taking a few minutes to peruse the online store could save you time and money, especially if you take advantage of ATS’s freight free* service. Product ordered online (excluding food items) is delivered via our free* on-farm delivery service. If you have any feedback or suggestions on what you would like from the ATS online shopping experience then we would love to hear from you. Send us an email at or contact us on 03 307 5100.

50th Anniversary Morning Tea The last 50 years of agriculture in Mid-Canterbury has seen some vast growth, development and technological improvement. ATS wants to celebrate the last 50 years with you, and we would like to invite you to share your stories with us over our 50th Anniversary Morning Tea celebration.



17 April 2013 Hotel Ashburton, Heron Lounge 10am–11.30am To RSVP, email or contact us on 03 307 5100 by Wednesday 10 April.

*Delivered to you within 48 hours, Monday to Friday (subject to stock being available). Terms and conditions apply

ATS Rainfall Charts 2013 Lady Crusader Lunch Four lucky ATS members won the opportunity to attend the 2013 Lady Crusader Lunch at Christchurch’s Addington Raceway following a recent ATS promotion. The Canterbury Rugby Football Union event was hosted by MoreFM’s Simon Barnett and Gary McCormick and was an afternoon of fun, laughter and networking. The winners—Virginia Waller, Philippa Waters, Natasha Rankin and Nikki Jones—were each able to bring a friend. All thoroughly enjoyed the experience and took every opportunity to get up close with the men in red and black. See ATS out and about on page 47 for some of the photos from this exciting event.

Your mobile weather forecast Need weather on the go? Be sure to visit our website which can be easily viewed from mobile devices via the login called My ATS. Easy to follow instructions are available online. Visit

Our popular rainfall charts have been refreshed and revamped. They are now available in three formats: Printed copies available from reception at ATS Ashburton or over the counter at the Methven and Rakaia stores Electronic word document or a PDF, both available from the ATS website—visit

Meridian Invoices Meridian has recently changed the look of its invoices, which includes the way individual invoices are identified. This has created a number of issues for members who use Cashmanager Rural and are trying to match previous invoice numbers. After discussions with Meridian it was agreed that the account number will be used to identify individual invoices, as this number will not change for each connection. It differs from the previous invoice numbers used so members will need to update their systems to now recognise the account number. If you need any help with this or you need a list of your connections please contact Tracey Gordon at ATS Energy on 0800 BUY ATS (289 287).



Scanpan Accent Range Stockpot, chefs pan, saucepans, and milkpan available from $42.50

Living Light icicle candles

Mohair throws In a great range of colours. $181.60.

Available in three sizes from $20.60. Multiple colours available.

have a warm ATS winter Raco bakeware available in many options Loaf pans, muffin tins, cake pans, roasters, tart pans plus more from $13.50

Emile Henry cookware range Stewpot, tagine, braiser, casserole dish and more from $59.00

Kloverbland premium non-stick cookware. Ramekin $5.60 Rectangle dish $38.60 Oval dish $37.10

Fantastic selection of mens and womans possum merino in store

Selk Bags Possum Merino Gloves $38.90 Hat $40.40 Scarf $60.60 46


Available in childrens and adults $50.00 WHILE STOCKS LAST

Disclaimer: Products available through ATS Stores, members price as pictured. We cannot guarantee availability of stock on all pictured items.












ATS out and about Lady Crusader Lunch 2013 1. Natasha Rankin and Sue Prouting / 2. Georgie Waters and Sue Prouting with Todd Blackadder / 3. Dan Carter and Natasha Rankin / 4. The Line Up—Nelle McKeown, Virgina Waller, Natasha Rankin, Georgie Waters, Sue Prouting and Mel Munro / 5. Georgie Waters and Kieran Read / 6. Kieran Read and Dom Bird with Karen Hyde / 7. Philippa Waters and Marie Vanderweg / 8. Sue Prouting, Natasha Rankin, Philippa Waters, Virginia Waller, Marie Vanderweg and Georgie Waters / 9. Philippa Waters, Marie Vanderweg with Robbie Fruean / 10. Sue Prouting and Natasha Rankin / 11. Israel Dagg with Marie Vanderweg






Bells Auto Electrical For batteries, air conditioning and absolutely everything auto electrical.

For your farm truck we have a huge range of tail lights, headlights and indicators—non genuine at lower prices. Specialists in AUTO RECYCLING for all your panels, parts and tyres

PHONE 308 8634 40 Robinson St, Riverside Industrial Estate, Ashburton



Ashburton’s leading computer company. 144 Moore St Ashburton Ph: 03 308 5077 Fax: 03 308 3401 Email:



• • • • •

Accessories Sales Service Fibreglass Repairs Servicing of all makes & models

177 Alford Forest Road Ashburton Tel 03 308 58 42 Fax 03 308 5842



4 Watson Street, Ashburton

Phone: 03 308 5222



Electronic Farm Scales from $780+GST Well Depth Meters from $285+GST Weather Stations from $149+GST Irrigation Monitoring Equipment from $195+GST Farm Weigh Bridges from $3800+GST For free information on our wide range of products contact Alastair Frizzell on 03 318 1333, or your local contact Viv McLachlan on 03 302 7065 or 027 506 6434 or OFFICE SUPPLIES




Mobile Abattoir for on-farm slaughtering Processing Pack and label Ph: 03 302 8450 Fax: 03 302 8854 Email: 21 Dolma Street, Methven


Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning New AT Stain Supplie S r Treatment Carpet & Fabric Protection Flood Restoration

Classic Upholstery • • • • • •

Furniture Cushions Auto Interiors Sail Shades Hay Covers Carpet Binding


• Caravan Squabs • Outdoor Sun Blinds • PVC Bin Covers • And more…

Call today for a friendly local qualified technician Ray & Kathy De’Ath 40 Cambridge Street Ashburton Ph: 03 308 3676 Fax: 03 308 1686 Mob: 027 670 0691

115 Main South Road, Tel 03 307 2354 Tinwald, Ashburton




Valentines Gift Baskets and Bouquets Made to order, complement your flower arrangement and incorporate a special gift, wine, chocolates or aromatherapy.

Ph 0274 399 322 PEST CONTROL



| | | |

03 308 3342 03 308 3035

85 Harrison St, Ashburton



Time to make burgers not milk


It’s an ideal time to control



0800 556 778 308 0051

Marty Amos 0274 620 122 Hayden Ross 0274 620 133 Geoff Wright 0274 620 131 David Hazlett 0272 355 300

Repairs, Refurbishment and Maintenance of…

Insurance Work

Call HRL now to discuss the optimal outcome for when it’s time to cull your dairy cows. From farm to processing we have you covered.


Trucks, Buses, Coaches & Motorhomes, Caravans, Trailers & Farm Machinery, Horse Coaches & Floats, Jet Boats & Light Engineering. 17 Range St (Industrial Estate) Ashburton Phone 307 0378 ATS N E W S


ATS News April 2013  

ATS News April 2013

ATS News April 2013  

ATS News April 2013