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Beef performance focus part of

Inverary’s history

ATS Dairy

Days Out Opportunities abound for Argentine family

Power price surge on way

Greater efficiency

a driver for irrigation technology

From the CEO

Upcoming Events

Navigating financial and climatic highs and lows is never-ending for farmers, and we are certainly experiencing a mixed bag at present.

FMG in store

Lamb prices have been at near record levels and have now dropped away, while the dairy sector continues to grow with a large number of conversions in the pipeline. The irrigation season has been relatively kind, with plenty of rain resulting in an extremely good growing season; but continued rain and grey days have presented plenty of challenges to the arable sector during the recent harvest. Farmers have to be forward thinking and have the ability to think outside the square to navigate these types of challenges and it would seem our district has many that fit that description. We are fortunate they continue to share their stories with us in the ATS News. In this edition one such farmer is John Chapman of Inverary Station. He gives an insight into his operation, and especially the Station’s long history of producing high quality Angus cattle. Also sharing their story are Argentine couple Paco and Lou Mones-Cazon and their six children. The family talks about where they have come from and life on the Dorie dairy farm where they are low order sharemilkers. Now the irrigation season has ended, it is a good time for farmers to take stock of their irrigation infrastructure. Agricultural journalist Richard Rennie has caught up with farm advisor and irrigation design specialist Mark Everest to provide some timely information on irrigation upgrades and compliance. As always, rural commentator Ele Ludemann gives us food for thought in her column, and this time it’s about the promotion of beef and lamb as our national dishes. She asks if we can take some lessons from our Australian neighbours.

Visit Alan Giles, Business Development Manager from FMG at your local ATS branch on the following dates to answer any insurance queries. Friday 30th March ATS Ashburton 2pm–4pm Friday 13th April ATS Rakaia 2pm–4pm Friday 27th April ATS Methven 2pm–4pm

2–4 April Irrigation New Zealand Conference Timaru For more info: conference/

5 April–23 April School Holidays


Also featured in this edition is a look at the inaugural ATS Dairy Days Out event held last month. It was such a success plans are already underway for another to be held in the future. It was a valuable platform for dairy industry representatives and ATS Members to get together. I hope you enjoy reading about this and all the other informative articles in this edition.

6 April–9 April Easter ATS will be closed from Friday 6 April to Monday 9 April and will re-open on Tuesday 10 April.

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

Neal Shaw, Chief Executive


7 Contents 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



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

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

Our team welcome your contributions, enquiries and letters. Please post or email to: Chris Bristol Nikki Craig Marketing Assistant/Assistant Editor

Advertising Enquiries:

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



Richard Rennie, Anita Body, Ele Ludemann, Pip Hume, Dr Rob Derrick, Ian Walsh and Ian Hodge

Chris Bristol, Jason McKenzie, Pip Hume, Nikki Craig, Charlotte Mckenzie, Desme Daniels and Noel Lowe

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.

Inverary Station— Bert Oliver, Richie Falloon and John Chapman



10 15 Features




2 Beef performance focus part of Inverary’s history Inverary Station

7 Power price surge on way ATS Energy

23 Country garage exceeds expectations Hinds Mechanical Services

19 38 40 41

4 Greater efficiency a driver for irrigation technology 10 Opportunities abound for Argentine family Paco Mones-Cazon 15 Inaugural event a success ATS Dairy Days Out

9 Ele Ludemann Thoughts from across the rivers 13 Balancing diets SealesWinslow Ltd 17 Close to 1,000 farms sell over past year Property Brokers 27 New pasture—best practice to boost productivity Ballance Agri-Nutrients 29 Innovation adds value to the farm business VetEnt Riverside

31 Eliminating the stress Ashburton Cleaning Services 33 Success leads to relocation Rakaia Service Centre Ltd

ATS Kids News at ATS Out and about Classifieds


Beef performance focus part of Inverary’s history Even though it may be almost 90 years since Leo Chapman founded his first Angus bloodlines on Inverary Station, he created a legacy of breeding excellence confirmed today in the work of his son John. By Richard Rennie

The station sits high up in front of the country that contains iconic stations including Mesopotamia and Erewhon. While it may not have the same well known profile as these almost mystical place names, Inverary has its own history of quietly producing high quality, durable Angus cattle bred for the country and the times. With 600 head of Angus mix age cows, 220 yearlings and 100 older cattle, the Inverary breeding herd has been performance tested for over 40 years.

Today that is a three level system, with John and staff progeny recording the first and second calvers, with results dictating which of three herds the three year old cows will go into. Those in the top 10% head into an elite herd, used for breeding bulls, the next 40% into an “A” herd, for breeding replacements and another 40% into a “B” herd for selling progeny from. The bottom 10% are culled.

Through past comparisons, John has found a single year’s analysis of calf weaning weight of heifers in the same age group is a reasonably highly accurate indication of ongoing performance. The statistics have shown the top third of heifers produced calves 12% above the average, with an average weaning weight of 241kg. In contrast the bottom third averaged 213kg, 12% below the average.

Low birth-weight bulls are used on first calving Overall in the herd of 600 cows, John estimates rising two-year old heifers, while replacements are drawn from second calvers, the elite herd and retaining the top 66% of his heifers and culling the remainder will lift beef production by an additional The performance programme was started by Leo A team. 5000kg of calf weaning weight every year. This does in conjunction with a trial being run at Lincoln After scanning, the first 120 heifers to calve College with renowned cattle expert Alistair within the first 30 days are kept. Once calved, calf not account for genetic progress, and it makes the extra work in recording worth while. Nichols. The performance trial he was running birth-weight is recorded, followed by their 200 prompted Leo to pick it up and run with it every day weights. Two year olds are mated to two year “Using a single year’s data means we are able to year as part of Inverary’s herd improvement aims, old bulls, with progeny also recorded for birthidentify and select the top performing heifers in and from that evolved into an elite breeding the commercial herd that are suitable for the elite weight and 200 day calf weight. herd and the station’s tiered herd system. herd a year sooner.” 2


“Great country” now home for manager

However offspring weights are not the only performance parameter John uses. In the cow herd he has been recording cow bodyweights relative to animals across a mob, and relative to calf weaning weights which has given a good insight to relative cow performance.

Bert Oliver has worked in a range of impressive landscapes, but his latest choice at Inverary Station sees him keen to make it home.

When analysing a cow between her first and second calf, one that loses body weight relative to her peer group, despite weaning a superior calf will be down graded in mob status.

With his wife Kate and now their young daughter Lily, Bert sees plenty of potential at Inverary capable of being unlocked under John Chapman’s guidance, and he is excited by the prospect.

“I am not sure of the level of heritability, but common sense tells me that there must be a strong element of that there.” The focus on a cow’s ability to retain body weight without sacrificing it for calf weight helps ensure when the cows are run in difficult conditions they will be more inclined to get in calf in a timely fashion.

Bert has spent much time working in the fine wool country around Omarama and Otago, but five years ago was ready to make the move north, and welcomed the opportunity to take up as manager at Inverary.

The attention to maternal bodyweights is resulting in strong in calf rates, with percentages of 94–95% over recent years. This focus on maternal traits is a consistent theme of John’s management. The elegance and simplicity of the tiered system provides a means of placing more focus on individual first calver performance of maternal traits within a defined mob, rather than simply culling dry heifers and putting the rest into a single mob.

ABOVE: The sheep yards on Inverary Station ABOVE TOP: The Ashburton River that runs through the


“Most of the year the elite herd are not treated too differently from the hill country cows, and will end up on some quite difficult country.”

“There is always a destination for the cows, you may not want their genetics within your breeding herd, but with the differing herd status you still have the opportunity to keep them, albeit isolated from the superior genetics.” He likens it to having a blackface mob on a sheep operation.

Ultimately he is seeking a cow that will get a good calf on the ground, but also be more than capable of feeding herself on country that can provide some feed quality challenges, including late spring pasture that can builds up quickly and deteriorate in quality.

The elite herd and first-second calvers are brought in to the flats just prior to calving for recording, and fed kale and straw, while the hill cows are set stocked prior to calving.

Inverary’s topography includes much north facing country, exposed to unforgiving nor westerly winds that will dry pasture off quickly over late spring to summer, and despite that still has high rainfall. The bulk of the station ranges from over 600m, rising to 1500m. For bull blood lines John is a long time client of renowned Turihaua Stud in Gisborne, appreciating the stud’s strong commercial goals and the slightly smaller framed bulls that it produces from animals that are not “over pampered.” He also appreciates the Williams family’s professional approach to their clients. John is currently entering his records in the PRAC system (Performance Recorded Angus Cattle Register), and he is hoping to be part of a system that makes recording his own data, and analysis against other breeders, easier. Meantime John’s attention is also occupied by the launch of Kumanu Lamb, a joint venture between Canterbury Meat Packers and farmers within the AgriNetworks StockCare programme to produce and market lamb into Europe that meets strict environmental, social and animal welfare standards. Still in its early stages with product just going on shelves this season, John is finding the experience a challenging and exciting addition to the daily business of growing quality stock. opposite PAGE & left: Bert Oliver, John Chapman and

Richie Falloon

“No doubt, those high dry fine wool properties are great places to work. However it is also country where you have to ride out the seasons, there is not a great deal of opportunity to open up the ground and push production.” He is enjoying the opportunity to alter and improve the more marginal country at Inverary, with the 1000mm-plus annual rainfall meaning there is potential to grow better quality, more consistent pastures post- development. John says he knew Bert was the man for the job the minute he met him. “He had a CV that looked like it was written for the place, and he has proven it. He is well involved in the community, has got the local Young Farmers club humming, he has a great social responsibility, and is very enthusiastic on the job,” he says. For his part Bert says he enjoys pitching ideas to John, whose lifetime’s experience on the station is a good determinant of the likely success of those ideas. “John and his father before him have not just taken someone’s word, they have done a lot of their own trial work over the years, they have not been afraid to see how things actually work here.” Recent development work Bert has enjoyed has involved re-grassing, using a Cross Slot drill on relatively steep country, combining with re-fencing and subdivision work. “Ultimately we want to be able to winter all the hoggets here and reach a level of self sufficiency. In the scheme of things there is a lot that can be done here, and we are really looking to ramp up our sheep production.”

Inverary Station vital statistics Area:

4250ha—3500 pastoral lease, 607ha freehold, 139ha private.

Stock wintered: 8000 Perendales—6000 ewes,

1800 ewe hoggets, 200 other. Cattle:

1050, Angus—600 breeding cows, 250 yearlings, 100 other.


520m–1400m. ATS N E W S


Greater efficiency a driver for irrigation technology Many early dairy conversions and crop operations in Canterbury have irrigation infrastructure rapidly approaching either the end of its useful economic life, or demanding some major maintenance to push that life out further. By Richard Rennie

Sooner rather than later many farm owners will be forced to do their sums on replacement versus maintenance of that equipment. For dry land farmers new technology also means they now have some efficient, innovative options to consider for their farm operations. Farm advisor and irrigation design specialist Mark Everest of McFarlane Rural Business in Ashburton deals first hand with the challenges of upgrading existing irrigation systems to capture greater area. This may involve either more water, greater use efficiency of existing technology resources, or both. “Typically even systems that are 5–10 years old have been done on a tight budget, with the lowest tender usually accepted for the project, meaning pumps have been working to their maximum capacity much of that time, and pipes have little extra capacity for greater volumes. ”There has been a trade off between upfront cost of capital and on going running charges, with most having traditionally elected for lower capital costs and higher running costs, rather than the other way around. However he has noticed a maturing in recent years through the industry, around both the knowledge suppliers are bringing to any new project discussions, and the questions farmers are asking of them. “There is a greater preparedness there by farmers also to look beyond just the immediate project cost, further into capacity to future proof and upgrade in later years, should land holdings expand or more water become available.” Upgrading from a less sophisticated system to another more advanced one will in itself put significant demands on existing pump/pipe infrastructure. For example moving from border dyke to K line in itself will require greater pump and pipe capacity demands to get the full benefits from the upgrade. Typically such a move will generate the ability to cover 20-30% more land area with the same water, and moving from Roto-Rainer to centre pivot will push that out even further. “Key problems we see are around the pump and delivery line, with neither having the capacity to deal with the increase in area the new systems can allow.” Typically the equipment associated with the redundant system will be discarded, sold for 4


relatively little. The ability of the new system to generate extra dry matter (and ultimately crop, meat or milk solids) justifies the extra cost of going completely new.

pivot infrastructure. Variable rate application irrigation is one example, the subject of several field days around the region and touted as the “next big thing” in irrigation technology.

Mark cites as an example the estimated return on investment that can come from moving from a Roto-Rainer to a centre pivot.

“As a system it allows different rates of application to different parts of a paddock through a centre pivot. It brings some real benefits for mixed crop growers and farmers on variable soil types.”

“Typically you would grow on average around 1,500kg of dry matter/ha more each year. Depending on what you are farming you can value that extra grass at an average of 20¢ a kg dry matter, but it might range from 18–24¢. “The extra $300/ha that amounts to across a 100ha farm with two Roto-Rainers replaced by a $300,000 centre pivot, delivers $30,000 a year. Add in $15,000 a year in saved electricity and you have a return on investment by upgrading of 12–15%. There is no doubt, the technology pays.”

Varying application via solenoids in irrigator nozzles means light soils can receive more, and heavier less, removing the unhappy compromise farmers have usually had to accept. Meantime cereal crops approaching harvest can have reduced applications, while growing crops get more in the same irrigation round.

Early indications on variable application is that it can provide savings of between 15% and 28%. Combining this with the relatively low cost technology of moisture strips also sees more However he does not dismiss outright the option of repairing equipment already in use. Revamping a knowledgeable irrigation decisions being made. Roto-Rainer could cost $35,000 on a machine worth The Aquaflex type moisture strips are ensuring environmental and economic benefits accrue to $70,000 new, and the repairs have the potential to deliver a return of $5,200 a year on saved water and all water users, not just the farmers installing them. “Knowing when moisture levels need increasing electricity, and a return also of around 14%. means we are using less water, and with that “However, most people will also be seeking having less fertiliser losses through leaching, into savings in areas like labour inputs for irrigators. This is a key driver for upgrading, and the outlay in water systems. Even if it is zero nett benefit we the capital cost of new technology also includes a find most farmers will opt for them, and feel better savings on the operational cost of labour required about it.” during operation.” In relative terms the cost of new irrigation investment has generally fallen in recent years, thanks to the strengthening Kiwi dollar against US dollar priced components. While a lower proportion of a total farm conversion cost, Mark says most farmers would still be surprised at the total cost sunk into irrigation infrastructure on farms in Canterbury. “There is a range there of $5,500 to $7,500 a hectare, excluding wells, ponds and shares. An average 250ha Canterbury dairy farm would struggle to be set up for under $4,000 a hectare just with the centre pivot, many would struggle to do it for under a million. You could be as high as $1.8 million.” The improved return possible around new equipment has also increased thanks to some smart technology being adopted around centre

The strips are a cheap technology to improve accuracy. On a 250ha property costing around $1,100 a day to irrigate it may only take three less days of irrigation to pay for them. The new irrigation season will also see efficiencies in existing systems enforced thanks to the compulsory requirement that irrigators use flow meters on their systems. “ECAN are not taking this lightly—you have to either have it installed or be on the list to have it installed by November.” Mark urges farmers to also look on the meters as another means of increasing their irrigation system’s accuracy. “With a telemetry system also installed farmers on consents with limited daily takes can keep a far more accurate eye on how much water they are actually using, and optimise their allowance far better.”


Irrigation plant checklist 1. Pump

Check for cavitation/vibration. If present find out why. A blocked screen or air leak may need attention. Surface pumps should be checked at least every two years, have a service technician take apart and check bearings, casings, etc. Ensure pressure gauges are disconnected for winter so they don’t break under frost—failure could cause a failure to shut pressure switches off.

2. Main lines

Check for cracks or damage from machines/stock (indicated by unusual wetness in paddocks or abnormally low pressure at your machine or pump.)

3. Irrigator

Ensure a winter maintenance visit, checking gearbox, steering gear on centre pivots. For Guns and Roto-Rainers check and lubricate all grease points, check tyre pressure. For K Line check nozzles, and any leaking points.







Energy Tracey Gordon ATS Energy Account Manager Tel: 0800 BUY ATS
 Mobile: 027 652 2133

Power price surge on way The silver lining in the summer rain clouds for Canterbury farmers has been significantly reduced irrigation costs for pasture and crops. By Richard Rennie

There are reports of some farmers saving as much as $60,000 this summer, with reduced growing costs going straight to their bottom line profit. If this all seems too good to last, it is. Prospects are for electricity prices to start hiking up from April 1 this year, and with the irrigation season tailing off now is a good time to review plans and future options to minimise the increase’s impact.

“New Zealand is unique as a country where the bulk of the electricity is generated in the lower half of the country, while almost half the population reside north of Taupo.” While the first impulse is to blame electricity supply companies for the increase, they are not responsible for the forthcoming hikes. Going further back down the distribution network, the rise stops at the door of the national grid operator Transpower. Transpower is tasked with the job of delivering electricity via its national grid system, comprising high voltage lines and substations throughout the country. New Zealand is unique as a country where the bulk of the electricity is generated in the lower half of the country, while almost half the population reside north of Taupo. With such a distance from supply to demand, the country needs a high quality delivery system capable of transporting a significant portion of the country’s electricity load great distances.

Transpower’s communications manager Rebecca Wilson says the increases due to start flowing through are a result of the need to re-invest into this grid.

“Feedback through major electricity distributors is that the increase will be approximately 4% over total electricity costs this year.” “Through the nineties and early 2000s there was relatively little re-investment into the grid, and we are now having to play catch up.” Transpower has a mandate from the government to ensure targeted grid investment takes place to ensure economic growth can be maintained. Key areas of grid investment in the South Island include the high profile Roxburgh to Islington upgrade to ensure supply to Christchurch. Further north the largest project underway is the North Island Grid Upgrade Project, a 186km pathway of new 400kV pylons from South Waikato to South Auckland, costing $800 million. In order to fund the grid upgrades, Transpower is having to increase the amount it charges for delivering power to lines company nodes from where they in turn distribute it to customers. Feedback through major electricity distributors is that the increase will be approximately 4% over total electricity costs this year. Rebecca Wilson points out that transmission costs are a small portion of power bills, forming approximately 8% of total electricity costs.

10%, even after the current major reinvestment period is over.” Capital investment by Transpower is peaking now, and likely to ease back by 2015. The North Island project for example is due to be commissioned late this year. ATS Energy account manager Tracey Gordon says it is still difficult to determine exactly how much farmers’ electricity bills will increase as a result, but the publicly reported figures of 4–5% are indicative. She cautions that farmers who are on a fixed contract will be not be safe from these price increases.

“Capital investment by Transpower is peaking now, and likely to ease back by 2015. The North Island project for example is due to be commissioned late this year.” “Contracts with retailers are usually only for fixed energy, and unit rates are a mix of energy and network costs. This latest increase is a rise in the network cost so they will not be immune.” With winter approaching, and the threat of lower hydro levels pushing prices up further, she urges farmers to contact ATS and discuss their energy needs. “It pays to look at the different contract options. While many customers are aware of the different lines companies, many may not be aware of the options within company supply that are at least worth examining.”

“We forecast transmission costs will remain below ATS N E W S






Ele Ludemann

Thoughts from across the rivers The name Sam Kekovich might not mean much on this side of the Tasman Sea but he is well known in Australia as the country’s Lambassador. BY Ele Ludemann

His mission is to put Australian lamb on the tables of the world and convince his fellow Aussies they would be un-Australian if they didn’t throw some lamb on the barbie beside the prawns on Australia Day. Beef+Lamb New Zealand does have ambassador chefs who do their best with the best of our produce in commercial kitchens here and abroad. They’ve also sponsored the iron maidens— sports champions who include beef and lamb in their training and are good role models for young women who sometimes skimp on red meat and suffer from iron deficiency as a result.

“But would anyone consider themselves lacking in patriotism if they didn’t serve lamb on our national day…” Beef+Lamb also runs the Glammies, the Golden Lamb Awards, and Steak of Origin, to showcase our best meat and the people who produce it. As farmers we almost always serve visitors beef or lamb and most of our better restaurants have both on their menus. But would anyone

consider themselves lacking in patriotism if they didn’t serve lamb on our national day, or given there is some controversy over which if any is our national day, at any celebration at which meat was appropriate?

“Sheep and beef farmers haven’t come in for the same level of criticism over the price of meat as dairy farmers have for the price of milk…” I doubt it and for the last year or two cost will have been a factor. The high prices farmers have been receiving have been very welcome to us and the people and businesses who finance, supply and service us. They’ve also been good for the economy but they have made it difficult for many consumers. A few weeks ago I was perusing the meat in the supermarket when a woman beside me picked up a leg of lamb, looked at the price and said, “How on earth do you feed teenagers on a budget?” Sheep and beef farmers haven’t come in for the same level of criticism over the price of meat as dairy farmers have for the price of milk, cheese and yoghurt but there are more

alternatives to beef and lamb than there are to dairy products. However, it’s not just price that puts people off our produce, health advice on eating less red meat does too. A few decades ago many families would have had meat twice or even three times a day. That would be unusual now and it’s not uncommon for people to not only have meat-free meals but meat-free days. Supermarkets now cater for people who don’t want meat and also some who don’t know how to cook it.

“When prices fall we don’t want to find New Zealanders have lost their taste for beef and lamb…” This might not be a problem while prices are high but even with predictions of growing demand and dwindling supply, we can’t count on good returns forever. When prices fall we don’t want to find New Zealanders have lost their taste for beef and lamb and if we want a lesson on how to ensure they don’t, we could do worse than someone who could emulate the enthusiasm of Sam Kekovich. ATS N E W S



Opportunities abound for Argentine family A new dairy conversion on the Canterbury coast near Dorie is a long way away from their homeland for Argentine couple Paco and Lou Mones-Cazon and their six children – but they are happy to call it ‘home’. By PIP HUME

Photo: Paco and Lou Mones-Cazon with (from left) Angeles (2), Nicolas (7), Rosario (4), Benjamin (8 months), Francisco (6) and Tomas (10)



“Our life here is rich in many ways,” explains Lou. “Dorie is a great place to raise children. It’s a very active community, quite social, lovely families with young children. There are lots of opportunities for our kids here, and I enjoy my involvement with the school and pre-school.” And with the technology available these days, they say it is easy to keep in touch via modern technologies such as the Internet and Skype. The six children are Tomas (10), Nicolas (7), Francisco (6), Rosario (4), Angeles (2) and Benjamin (8 months). Nicolas, Francisco and Benjamin were all born in New Zealand, and due to difficulties with Argentine bureaucracy they don’t currently have Argentine nationality. They are typical farm children who love getting out and about on the farm. They are very sports minded and all enjoy swimming, with the older boys also involved with rugby and tennis.

“When Paco and Lou first came to New Zealand they were struck by the compact socioeconomic range compared with the extremes of rich and poor in Argentina.”

above: New milking shed showing the feed and molasses silos

support—the children were home-schooled under the New Zealand system.” There are many contrasts between Argentina and New Zealand. When Paco and Lou first came to New Zealand they were struck by the compact socio-economic range compared with the extremes of rich and poor in Argentina. There are many challenges facing farming there. In 1999, dairy production figures were similar to New Zealand’s output, but over-regulation and a lack of investment into agriculture has led to production figures remaining static. Paco feels that with significant external investment into agriculture the other South American countries are moving forward, and Argentina is being left behind.”

Traditionally in Argentina the families who own property are not involved with farming on a day-toPaco and Lou see the farm environment is an ideal day basis. The land-owners are often not in touch place to bring up children, who can see their parents with what is happening on-farm or in the agricultural at work and taking care of their responsibilities. They sector and through the chain of command and feel that helps the children develop their own work inefficiencies a lot of money can be lost. Investment ethic. “Children in towns and cities often have no into agriculture is severely limited by the impossibility idea what their parents do all day.” of borrowing money, which is leading to the Paco and Lou are both from rural backgrounds in family owned operations are being swallowed up Argentina. They both attained the equivalent of by corporate ownership and the area of extensive the B.Ag.Sci. at Buenos Aires University, following cropping land increasing. This is bringing about the which Paco joined a soybean seed company, while demise of rural schools and infrastructure. at a very young age Lou took over the running of Paco and Lou’s farming interests in Argentina are three family farms in Uruguay. centred on a family farming partnership with Paco’s “The farms had been in the care of a consultant who was not honest,” she says. When she became interested, a new consultant was engaged and she worked alongside him, until she was able to take over the management of the farms by the time she was 21 years old. When Paco and Lou came to New Zealand, Lou’s sister took over the role, but found the eight-hour drive from Buenos Aires to the three farms in Uruguay too challenging, and they were eventually sold.

brothers, based 100km south of Buenos Aires. Farm purchase is not an option for most people due to the difficulties of borrowing capital, so the land area they farm is made up of eight leased blocks surrounding the original 75 ha family dairy farm. The total area is 560ha, utilised for cropping and dairying.

Paco and Lou’s first farming stint in New Zealand was in the Waikato, where Paco was employed as a Farm Manager and Lou worked beside John Wilson as an assistant business manager involved in accounts, feed budgeting and business planning. It was a role she thoroughly enjoyed, and she says that she learnt a lot. During that five year period Nicolas and Francis were born, and they also applied for and were granted New Zealand Residency, followed by New Zealand Citizenship.

The operation of the dairy farm is significantly different to a New Zealand situation. The farm is situated along 20km of dirt road, which becomes unusable in wet weather, so there’s no milk pick up. Instead, there’s a small processing facility on the property where the milk is processed into 20kg bricks of unsalted mozzarella cheese, which can be stored refrigerated if necessary.

The couple opted to return to Argentina to start their own farming business on leased land, but after three years ultimately decided that New Zealand was where they wanted to bring up their family. “When we returned to Argentina we were farming with no infrastructure and no

Paco comments that the farming business in Argentina is very sound. There’s no debt because of the impossibility of borrowing money, so they farm out of cashflow.

The national dairy herd is mainly American Holsteins, and they are grazed outdoors all year round. Paco says that animal management is difficult under the extremes in temperatures experienced there due to the Continental climate. The Kiwi genetics they are slowly bringing into the herd help overcome this issue, as well as giving plenty of other advantages.

Paco and Lou moved to Dorie in June 2011 and are currently in their first year as lower order sharemilkers on a first year conversion with farm owners Brendon and Catrina Dolan. The property was formerly a mixed farm operated as one block; it is now operated as two dairy farms with two milking sheds and a shared run-off for calf rearing and youngstock. They run a 550 cow Friesian herd on 137 ha. As a well planned and designed new conversion all of the infrastructure is of very high quality, but particularly the state-of-the-art milking shed, which is a new 54-bail rotary with Waikato plant with automated teat spray and cup removers, as well as walk-over scales and auto-drafting. The cows have electronic identification for inshed monitoring of somatic cell counts as well as production volumes, fat, protein and lactose. Paco says that the automated teat spray and monitoring of somatic cell counts has resulted in a massive improvement through this first season. The cows receive top of the range nutrition, with the shed set up for in-shed feeding based on individual cow production by volume. Each cow can receive up to three different concentrates— rolled wheat or barley, protein pellets, mineral pellets (which he is not currently feeding) plus molasses.

“In New Zealand, if you work hard you can achieve what you want.” They employ two full-time staff, Alejandro Fissore and Erwin Reusora. Alejandro and his wife Roxana are also Argentine, and have been in New Zealand for four years. They have two children who attend Dorie School. Erwin, who is Filipino, is in his first year on-farm, and “going great”. Paco and Lou are very pleased with the way the first season is going. Production is currently running ahead of budget and with pasture quality being maintained, they expect to produce 1940kgMS/ha or 480kgMS/cow this season. Further down the track, they will be looking to build equity in stock to go to a 50:50 sharemilking arrangement. And looking even further forward, Paco is also attracted by the opportunities that can come in a corporate farming environment, working with like-minded people and enjoying the synergies that arise. But above all, it is the opportunities for their family that they are most enthusiastic about. “In New Zealand, if you work hard you can achieve what you want.” ATS N E W S





Nutrition The range of SealesWinslow nutritional products are available through ATS.

Balancing diets Very simple diets can sustain life but have their limitations. The Vikings were apparently able to conquer nations largely on a diet of beer but by-and-large a balanced diet supports better productivity and health. BY Dr Rob Derrick, SealesWinslow Ltd

Dairy farmers who decide to move from an allgrass system to filling feed deficits at the shoulders of the season and then progressing to feeding for production are likely to see benefits from utilising a range of supplementary feeds. Dry supplementary feeds fall largely into three distinct groups - cereal grains, by-products and oilseeds. Canterbury dairy farmers have tended to favour barley and wheat cereal grains which typically possess a high starch content and low fibre level. Grains store well provided they contain 13% moisture or less but the seed coat must be broken for effective utilisation by cattle. Grains are a good way for arable farmers to produce feed for neighbouring livestock farmers. The livestock industry is a good market for feed grains and also for sub-standard milling wheat and malting barleys that may not make the best bread or beer but make good quality animal feed. Feeding by-products to livestock is a legitimate use of feed material which is not suitable for human consumption to produce meat and milk which is ideal for human consumption. Processing harvested crops to produce human food tends to remove the most readily available energy from the raw material. For example sugar is removed from sugar cane leaving a syrupy residue which still contains some sugar which is no longer economically viable to expend energy to remove more from the juices which are sold as molasses. Molasses makes a palatable feedstuff with about 50% sugar which makes a good complement to

starchy cereals. Similarly, when flour millers process As cow production levels rise and lower protein forages like maize silage are introduced alongside wheat, the husk from the grain is sold as various by-products including wheat bran and wheat feed. grain feeding, the need for additional protein becomes more likely. The actual feed value of by-products can vary greatly depending on the manufacturing process they have endured. For example, Rice Hulls which are the by-product from the production of brown rice from paddy rice, have very different nutritional content to Rice Bran which is the by-product when brown rice is processed to make white rice preferred for making rice puddings.

Oilseed crops are grown primarily to produce oil such as soya oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil and cottonseed oil. After the oil has been extracted to economic levels, the meal remaining contains a high level of protein which can be utilised to balance grain based diets for both calves and higher yielding cows (or lower yielding cows in drought conditions).

Typical nutritional values (actual values depend on the particular source) Grains


Oilseed Meals

(starch rich)

(general purpose, economical)

(protein rich)

Barley (13 ME, 11.5% CP, 54% starch, 18.5% NDF)

Broll (10.5 ME, 12.5% CP, 20% starch, 12% NDF)

Canola Meal* (12.1 ME, 38.5% CP, 5% starch, 36.5% NDF)

Maize grain (13.5 ME, 8% CP, 74% starch, 9% NDF)

Molasses (11.6 ME, 5% CP, no starch or NDF)

High Protein Cottonseed Meal* (13.3 ME, 48% CP, 27% NDF)

Oats (11.5 ME, 13 % CP, 43% starch, 31% NDF)

PKE (11.0 ME, 14% CP, 4% starch, 70% NDF)

Soya bean meal (12.5 ME, 50% CP, 15% NDF)

Wheat (13.25 ME, 13% CP, 63% starch, 12.5% NDF)

RiceBran* (14 ME, 14% CP, 28% starch, 27% NDF)

Sunflower meal* (11.7 ME, 32% CP, 6% starch, 41% NDF)

All figures are in dry matter—taken from DairyNZ apart from feeds with * ME = metabolisable protein in MJ/kg DM, CP = crude protein, NDF = neutral detergent fibre ATS N E W S


Win Me!

Simply use your ATS card at The Blue Pub, Methven and be in to

win a Sony Wi-Fi Tablet

TERMS & CONDITIONS: Any purchase over $35 at The Blue Pub between 16 April–16 May 2012 qualifies to go in the draw to win a Sony Wi-Fi Tablet. Purchases can include meals, beverages or accommodation.

The Blue Pub, Barkers Road, Mt Hutt Village, Methven Phone: +64 3 302 8046 | 14



Inaugural event a success A wealth of knowledge, expertise and cutting edge innovation were on display at the inaugural ATS Dairy Days Out. By Anita Body

The two day event was held last month and was a new opportunity to provide dairy farmers with access to great deals while also providing a platform for dairy farmers to network with other ATS Members and industry players. ATS General Manager of Operations, Jono Pavey says the event provided a unique opportunity to create a one-stop dairy event. “Dairy farmers were able to take the hassle out of planning for the next season by relying on the expertise and knowledge of ATS staff, suppliers and retailers on one site.”

The two day event was so successful plans are already underway for another to be held next year. Site holders were pleased with the event, saying business leads were strong. Several described the event as “brilliant” and a great opportunity to showcase their businesses and products. Many also commented on how it was great to see so many new faces at an ATS event.

Winner of the best site and newcomer to an ATS event, United Travel also enjoyed the event. “It’s a first for us but has been very good. It’s about getting the brand out there and letting people know what we are about,” says Kevin Crequer.

presents Pam Speedy with a cookbook donated by Nikki Cameron of the Ashburton Guardian

BELOW: United Travel were the winners of the Best Site Award. Left to right: Kevin Crequer, Caryn Mullinger, Jono Pavey, Hamish Paterson, Desme Daniels, Lynn McGregor and Beverley Daniels

Grant Norton of Ecolab concurred with these thoughts saying there were lots of business opportunities. “The people that are here are here to do business.” An Instore Days regular, Brian McFelin of Tru-Test says he saw a number of new faces as well as familiar customers, and the event was a great opportunity to build on the already strong relationship the company has with ATS.

above: Jeremy Griffiths (Beef + Lamb Ambassador)

ABOVE: Annabelle White presents a signed copy of her cookbook to Shona Knight that was donated by Whitcoulls MAIN IMAGE: Steph Beeston, Martine and Pam Tait

Bruce Smith of FIL concurred saying the event was “a good opportunity for people to see things in one place that pertain to the dairy industry.” Farmer feedback was also positive with Members taking advantage of the deals on offer. Members

were also complimentary about the relevance of the services and products on show, and of the timing of the event which suited the dairy calendar. While there were plenty of business opportunities throughout the event, there were also a number of other activities including cooking demonstrations by New Zealand foodie Annabelle White and Beef + Lamb ambassador Jeremy Griffiths. The two day event proved popular with participants and several are already keen to take part in the next ATS Dairy Days Out. ATS N E W S





Property Property Brokers— Hastings McLeod 324 East Street Ashburton Tel: 03 308 8209
 Fax: 03 308 8206

Close to 1,000 farms sell over past year Almost 1000 farms changed hands in New Zealand during the 2011 calendar year, according to analysis of real estate institute statistics. By Ian Walsh, Property Brokers—Hastings McLeod

The 969 properties sold included arable, fattening, dairying and grazing farms over 20 hectares in size. The numbers reflect the second year in a row of increased sales, with volumes up 50% nationally (and 67% in the South Island) on the previous year. Graph 1 shows the farm sales volume for the past 10 years nationally and Graph 2 shows the numbers for the South Island. While sale numbers are still down on the peaks of the early-to-mid 2000’s, there is a noticeable trend of improving volumes as the markets adjust to the new values.

this area are typically selling within a four week window with demand remaining strong.

Canterbury sales

Rural debt stable

Canterbury sales mirrored the national trend with 275 farms sold in 2011, up from 180 in the previous year.

Availability of finance, interest rates and commodity prices each has an impact on farm sale numbers and value. Graph 3 shows the trend of total rural debt over the last 20 years. The fact that the rural debt market has reached a plateau

A shortage of farms available for sale in Mid Canterbury has restricted further sales. Farms in

shows both farmers and bankers have heeded the calls for a less heated debt driven rural market. Despite this, the $47bn figure at the end of last year is still double what it was in 2005.

Dairy conversions are still the dominant land-use change and are driven by larger organisations like Ngai Tahu and neighboring dairy support blocks being converted into milking platforms by traditional operators. With Westland Dairy Company now picking up some supply locally, Central and Mid Canterbury farmers now have three dairy companies to choose from.

Livestock values get buyers thinking

The almost doubling of sheep and cattle prices means the livestock component of an overall farm sale has become far greater. In extreme cases, up to one third of the total cost of a new farming venture could be tied up in livestock.

Regional irrigation scheme enhancements and expansions are also driving these changes.

GRAPH 1: new zealand FARM SALES

Accordingly buyers must devote a good portion of their time doing due diligence to reduce risk in this area. This could increase the time it takes to get the transaction together with accountants and others advice being sought. For clients selling farms, they can still select their timing to achieve better livestock prices based on seasonal trends. GRAPH 3: RURAL SECTOR DEBT

Annual Sales for past 10 years: Arable, Dairy, Finishing, Grazing Farms > 20ha 2500 2000


1500 1000 500

40,000 2002












Arable, Dairy, Finishing, Grazing Farms > 20ha



800 600

NOV 2010

JUL 2008

SEP 2009

MAY 2007

MAR 2006

JAN 2005

NOV 2003


JUL 2001


SEP 2002


MAY 2000


MAR 1999


JUN 1998


OCT 1996


JUN 1994


AUG 1995


FEB 1992


APR 1993


400 200 0


DEC 1990


Past 20 years 60,000





April / May 2012

Fun for the family... Trip of a life-time for Mid Canterbury school teacher Lauriston School teacher, Judith McKendry has recently returned from a 30 day sea journey to Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. The trip’s aim was to raise awareness about this very special part of the world and was an amazing opportunity to learn first-hand about the unique wildlife, flora and fauna of this region and how we can protect it from possible threats. Judith has been interested in Antarctica for many years and says the trip was even better than she imagined it would be. She particularly enjoyed visiting the sub Antarctic islands, including the Snares, Auckland, Campbell, Bounty and Antipodes Islands—which are all part of New Zealand. “They are all part of our backyard, and with that comes the responsibility to look after them,” she says. Judith was one of about 50 crew members on the Our Far South ship which travelled to McMurdo Sound and Scott Base, visiting many islands on the way. Scientists and a great mix of everyday people made up the crew, including TV personality Te Radar who plans to make a documentary about the adventure. Crew members attended daily seminars and discussions about issues affecting the sub Antarctic islands, Antarctica and the surrounding

seas. Judith says this was one of the great things about the trip and she really appreciated the opportunity to pass this information on to others. “You are never too old to keep learning.” While she was away Judith wrote updates about the trip for school children and people here in New Zealand. Here is an excerpt from her blog on the Our Far South website: “As I stood on Macquarie Island’s Sandy Bay I wanted to magically transport all New Zealand school children to the spot where I was privileged to be. All around me were King Penguins, waddling, stretching, preening, calling to one another and playing in the water. As we sat on the beach the penguins would come to within half a metre of us, stretching their beautiful necks forward to see who these strange creatures in a variety of different coat colours were.” To read more you can visit Judith’s blog www/ judith Judith will also share more about her fantastic trip in the next issue of the ATS News.

For more great learning activities visit

Antarctica jokes Q: What did the sea say to the iceberg?  A: Nothing, it just waved

Q: What do penguins eat for lunch? A: Ice burg-ers

Q: Who's the penguin's favourite Aunt? A: Aunt-arctica

Q: Where do penguins go to dance? A: At the snow ball 

Q: How do penguins drink? A: Out of beak-ers

Q: How does a penguin make pancakes? A: With its flippers

Q: What's a penguin's favourite salad? A: Iceberg lettuce 



Antarctica Crossword 1

2 3 4











DOWN 1 Antarctica’s most active volcano 2 The Earth’s southern most point 3 The temperature that liquid turns to ice 5 The first explorer to reach the South Pole 9 A large piece of ice floating in the ocean 10 A flightless sea bird with webbed feet and flipper-shaped wings 11 Antarctica can be found in the __________ Ocean 12 These fish eating mammals are found in the Antarctic

Across 4. Crevasse 6. Antarctica 7. Glacier 8. Rookery 14. Sir Robert Falcon Scott Down 1. Mount Erebus 2. South Pole 3. Freezing point 5. Roald Amundsen 9. Iceberg 10. Penguin 11. Southern 12. Seals

ACROSS 4 A large break in the Antartic ice 6 The continent where the South Pole can be found 7 A valley of slow moving ice 8 A place where large numbers of birds or marine animals nest 14 The British explorer who dies while trying to reach the South Pole


Antarctica Quiz Icebergs are made of…. a. Stones b. Larva c. Ice d. Sea water

2. The Navy officer who first flew over the South Pole was named… a. Amundsen b. Crozier c. Scott d. Byrd


4. Happy Feet was a… a. Whale b. Albatross c. Seal d. Penguin 5. These tiny, shrimp-like creatures eaten by Antarctica’s whales are called… a. Krill b. Baleen c. Algae d. Bait 6.



The South Pole was discovered in… a. 2011 b. 1920 c. 1911 d. 1840

Antarctica’s most active volcano is… a. Mount Vinson b. Mount Terror c. Mount Erebus d. Mount Tyree


Antarctica is found in… a. The Atlantic Ocean b. The Southern Ocean c. The Tasman Sea d. The Indian Ocean


Antarctica is… a. An island b. A continent c. A country d. An iceberg


Ice is… a. Liquid b. Solid c. Gas d. Oily

10. These fish eating mammals are found in Antarctica… a. Albatrosses b. Penguins c. Seals d. Polar Bears

Answers: 1. Ice 2. Byrd 3. 1911 4. Penguin 5. Krill 6. Mount Erebus 7. The Southern Ocean 8. A continent 9. Solid 10. Seals







Country garage exceeds expectations It’s been a busy year for Hinds Mechanical Services and owners Ian and Alison King couldn’t be happier. By Anita Body

A year ago when they bought the business they set themselves a long list of tasks. Neither of them expected to have ticked off so many within the first 12 months. “We’ve exceeded our expectations,” says Ian. High on the list was WOF certification and this became a reality in September although the process was lengthier than expected because of the February 22 earthquake. Ian was attending a course in Christchurch when the earthquake struck, forcing the course to be abandoned and re-scheduled for a much later date. But it has been worth the wait and the WOF service is now an important part of the business with many locals pleased to have this service virtually on their doorstep, saving them a trip to town. “It has definitely filled a need here in this community and people have been very supportive and given us a chance,” says Alison. Another major achievement has been the establishment of a retail shop on the premises. It stocks items such as spark plugs, filters, oils, belts and bulbs—basically a full range of parts for many vehicles and engines including chainsaws and mowers. The business is also a stockist and distributor of Kumho tyres, with a growing range of tyres to meet a variety of needs; it also became an MTA member; and the office is now within the premises instead of being home-based.

A year ago Ian and Alison hoped they would be able to employ another full time mechanic to work with Ian. This became a reality when they employed Richard last September, and in January this year Ian’s brother-in-law Wayne also joined the team as a mechanic. It’s an indication of the level of support the local community has shown and the hard work the couple have put into the business. Their goal was to establish a reputation for providing quality, reliable and quick turnaround service, and the need for extra staff and the growing number of loyal customers shows they have achieved this goal. Ian and Alison set out to run the business as a country garage, concentrating on the servicing and repairs of everyday vehicles, agricultural vehicles and machinery (including tractors), farm bikes and commercial vehicles. They saw Hinds as an ideal community to establish such a business in and they haven’t been disappointed. They say locals, local businesses and suppliers have all been very supportive. Support goes two ways, and the couple are keen to give back with both involved in local organisations—Ian’s joined the Lions and Alison

above: Hinds Mechanical Services main image: The Hinds Mechanical Services team

(left to right) Richard Morten, Ian King, Alison King and Wayne Drake

is on both the Hinds Playcentre and Hinds Swimming Pool committees. They also held a successful drinks and sausage sizzle evening last Christmas as their way of saying thanks. “We’re trying to put back into our community. We think it is important for a business in a small community to do that,” says Ian. Despite the successes experienced during the last year, Ian and Alison still have plenty more they’d like to achieve. They already offer a towing service which they’d like to see grow; they would like to operate a service vehicle in the future; and they’d like to come up with options to further utilise their State Highway 1 road frontage and forecourt. “We have lots of ideas for the future—we’ll never get to the end of the road. There are lots of options to grow,” says Ian.

Hinds Mechanical Services 103 Peters Street Hinds

Tel: 03 303 7822










Fertiliser Anna Bedford 027 499 7617 Russell Hamilton 027 677 4499 Michael Robertson 027 464 2972 Tel: 0800 222 090

New pasture—best practice to boost productivity New pasture requires careful management to ensure it lasts the distance and produces its best. It is particularly important to get this management right in the first year and to manage it differently from older, established pasture. Article supplied by Ballance Agri-Nutrients

If it is treated like an established sward too early, then you can damage it and end up with a less persistent and productive pasture. Micheal Keaney, Technical Extension Officer for Ballance Agri-Nutrients, points out that getting your fertiliser strategy right is important. Nitrogen (30–40 kg N/ha) should be applied four to six weeks after sowing to encourage tillering and leaf expansion, which will lead to faster leaf canopy cover and weed suppression. In the first 12 months, regular nitrogen fertiliser applications should continue, as clover takes up to 18 months to fix sufficient nitrogen to feed itself and its companion grasses. How much nitrogen is needed, and when, will depend in part on the method used to establish the pasture, and whether it is permanent or short-term. “For permanent pasture,” says Micheal, “nitrogen should be applied at six to eight week intervals throughout the growing season, or after each grazing, at a rate of 25–30 kg N/ha, as n-rich urea or SustaiN Green (55–65 kg/ha) or sulphate of ammonia (125–145 kg/ha). “Short-term pasture will need higher levels of nitrogen. This is because during the late autumn-winter-early spring period it grows more

vigorously than permanent pasture, and so uses more nitrogen. In general it also doesn’t contain clover, so will not get any benefit from natural fixing of atmospheric nitrogen.

“He also recommends you focus on weed and pest control. Weeds need to be sprayed, so they do not compete with the new pasture plants.” “If the pasture was direct drilled, then higher levels of nitrogen will be required, compared to pasture established by cultivation. This is because cultivation causes the release of nitrogen from the breakdown of organic matter. If you have grown a crop in the paddock prior to regrassing, then nitrogen levels will likely be low, and additional nitrogen may be required.” He also recommends you focus on weed and pest control. Weeds need to be sprayed, so they do not compete with the new pasture plants. Make sure the correct herbicide is used, and time it correctly, so the new pasture is not affected.

Getting your grazing strategy right is also key to managing new pasture. ”To see if pasture is ready to graze, grasp some blades of grass between your thumb and forefinger and pull on them. If they tear, then the pasture is ready for grazing; if they pull out of the ground, then it is too soon. Normally you can graze about 6–8 weeks after sowing.” Micheal stresses new pasture should take priority in the grazing round, and be grazed regularly and lightly, to avoid damage. Using lighter stock classes, for example calves rather than cows, is important. “Pasture should be grazed by the time it reaches 2500 kg DM/ha, i.e. about 15 cm high (no higher than this), then be grazed for a short period of time, down to around 1200–1500 kg DM/ha (5 cm height).This encourages ryegrass tillering and helps to keep the sward open, which will let in sunlight and encourage clover growth. Avoid the temptation to make hay or silage in the first year, as this reduces tillering and root growth, weakening the plants, and increasing the chance of death during summer.” Above all, remember that pasture is a long-term crop and needs care and attention to ensure its success. 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 28


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


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

Innovation adds value to the farm business

VetEnt Lincoln 03 325 2808 Leeston 03 324 3575 Halswell 03 322 8331

I recently attended the South Island Field Days in Waimumu near Gore. This three day event is a true celebration of New Zealand agricultural developments, technology and innovation. The displays were impressive to say the least and show cased many different products both big and small. They will make our agricultural lives more efficient and more fun. By Ian Hodge, VetEnt Riverside

At the core of many of the displays was innovation. An idea becomes a concept which in turn becomes a manufactured product. The variation in products was immense and the intellect that had obviously been involved was impressive. Product development is not easy as we can all imagine. Having the idea is one thing but developing the end product to a useful stage that will be of benefit to agriculture is altogether different. I was particularly impressed with the innovation in the product that we shared a stand with. The product was an automatic teat sprayer that mimics the action of a human arm teat spraying cows for the prevention of mastitis infections after milking. What cost had been involved in developing the idea into a useful product? What were the hurdles that had to be overcome to get to the end point? How many prototypes had to be made and used to iron out all the teething problems? Will the product return dividends for the developers and will it serve its true purpose in the industry?

I believe innovation is the key to agricultural prosperity, development and progress in this country. On your own farms innovation may well be in action. How many times have you thought of something that will make a certain job easier? It may be a modified tool for fencing, a modified tractor, a new recipe for feeding stock, or simply a novel way of doing the same thing.

differing conditions to see if there is a difference or an improvement. This is how progress is achieved.

The latter point is where it all gets very interesting. Year after year it is easy to do the same things over and over again: The day we put the rams out, the way we mate the dairy cows, the drugs we use to velvet stags, the time of year we shear sheep, the grass seeds we use to replace pastures, the crops we grow.

The challenge is to devise an innovative farm plan or set of novel solutions to increase profitability and sustainability within your own farming framework.

Using different approaches and different combinations whilst retaining tried, trusted and tested principles will be the key to development and progress in our industry. Scientists do this all the time. They take one method and apply it to different end points under

At home on the farm I encourage you to innovate. Challenge your own thinking, and your advisors to come up with a better solution. Do things in a different order, feed different feeds, try something you suspect may work, manage animals in a different way.

Animals (including humans) have become adapted to new environments for millions of years (The Theory of Evolution) and I doubt they are about to stop developing. Our challenge is to provide the environments that encourage our animals, ourselves and our farms to become adapted into more efficient and productive entities which in turn will yield a greater return for you, the farmer.

Checklist for implementing a new approach • Review of last season’s performance. Did the farm reach its targets? If not, why not. • List all events that occurred last season which caused a challenge on the farm. Identify the areas and calculate how much it cost the business?

• For these events is there a better way of doing things? • What new technology has been developed that could add value to your farm business? Look at the cost verses the benefit. • Is there a “gap” between where the farm is at present (financially) and where it could be if things improved through innovation?

• Is your farm system giving you the lifestyle and rewards you want? • Do you have the resources to improve your business? Resources include finance, plant, equipment, staff etc.



Over 100 years servicing NZ • NZ made wire rope • On-site hydraulic hose repair service with two vans on call 24/7 • Lifting chains & slings • Transmission drive trains & belts • Stainless steel fittings • Rigging equipment • Workshop facility for all repairs of hydraulic equipment Contact details:

120 Moore Street Ashburton 30


Phone: 03 308 9778 Email: Web:


Eliminating the stress “We clean to a standard, not a price,” say Martin and Sonya Hyde, who took over longestablished Ashburton Cleaning Services in June of last year. And as ATS Card Suppliers, they are very happy that their business is going “brilliantly”. BY PIP HUME

“Our staff are so important,” Sonya comments. “ A business like ours needs the right people—our ladies are fantastic and we couldn’t ask for better staff. We are lucky that we have the right people. They are very good at what they do and are very proud of their work.” Sonya says that they take a lot of care when employing staff. “Our teams are going into business and private premises. All of our staff are thoroughly security checked—through the Ministry of Justice and through the Ministry of Social Development, so these checks will uncover any criminal convictions or convictions for fraud and dishonesty. And obviously their references are also thoroughly checked, so our clients can have a high degree of confidence.” Ashburton Cleaning Services is a family orientated business, and running two shifts means that Martin and Sonya as well as their staff have adequate family time. Martin is part of the day shift with a team of three full-time staff and one part-timer. They tackle general cleaning jobs from window cleaning, general house cleaning and builders’ cleans, through to cleaning in preparation for house inspections. There are also two evening teams who work from 6pm to 10pm, cleaning business premises. These evening teams work in pairs, for both motivation and security reasons. Along with being parents to the couple’s two young daughters, Martin & Sonya like to keep up to date with the industry developments, and providing a service that they feel enhances their business. Sonya also does the ‘nuts and bolts’ for the business—the book work, as well as assisting with some of the evening cleaning. They are specialists in floor stripping & repolishing application for both commercial and domestic

floors. They say that the process is similar to the application of nail polish—six coats are applied, and each coat needs time to dry before the next is applied, otherwise the polish will ripple. But the end result is a high quality gloss which will protect the underlying flooring and is easy to maintain, and regular machine buffing brings the shine back. “A polished floor should never be slippery,” says Sonya. “It’s the dirt and dust on top of the polish that makes it slippery. And if a polished floor doesn’t shine, it needs to be buffed or else the wrong chemicals have been used.”

“…we’re happy to discuss people’s specific needs and give a no-obligation free quote for anyone moving on Gipsy Day.”

area, and we’re happy to discuss people’s specific needs and give a no-obligation free quote for anyone moving on Gipsy Day—we would urge anyone thinking about getting a Gipsy Day clean done to let us know well in advance so we can schedule it in.” Martin says that they are extremely busy at the moment, and also doing a lot of quotes. The night shift has doubled, and they are considering how big they wish the business to get. “We prefer to use environmentally friendly chemicals ourselves, and have some ideas around a range of eco-friendly cleaning consumables,” Martin says. “People are so busy these days, but at the moment our main role is to de-stress people’s lives.”

Cleaning jobs are tailored to customers’ specific requirements, and no job is too big or too small. They have a number of rural clients on their books, particularly in the dairy industry where hours are long and some employers provide a weekly or fortnightly house cleaning for their staff as a benefit. “It’s tax deductible for the owner, and the workers love it with the long hours they work,” Martin says. “We’re also available to do a thorough total house clean when the occupancy changes, for example at Gipsy Day. Moving house is one of the most stressful times, and cleaning up the house you have left is the last thing people want to be doing. We service Ashburton and the surrounding rural

above: Martin and Sonya Hyde main image: The Ashburton Cleaning Services Team

Ashburton Cleaning Services Longbeach Road Ashburton Tel: 03 307 2656



Independent, reliable and accurate pasture readings Pasture count provides you with:

• Average cover kg/dm/ha • Feed Wedge • Growth rates • Up to date technology • Savings on labour costs • The ability to benchmark your growth rates

• C-Dax calibration and set up



Contact Details

Mobile: 027 503 4064

Yoan Roberts



Success leads to relocation The success of the Rakaia Service Centre Ltd since Scott and Jody Baker purchased the business in April 2010 has led to its relocation 50 metres up the road, in the ATS Elizabeth Avenue complex next to the ATS Rakaia Store. BY pip hume

Jody says that they simply outgrew their former location adjacent to the Rakaia Mobil. “With the large number of vehicles coming and going as part of the operations of the two businesses, the site was just too congested. Watching some drivers was just plain scary—it was an accident waiting to happen, and with Mobil needing the extra space for upcoming redevelopment and improvements the move was the best thing for both of us.” “We’ve moved just 50 metres but it’s light years away,” comments Jody. “The new building is perfect for us, with great space and light, and most importantly plenty of room for customers to park.” The premises needed very little in the way of customising to suit. The only alterations which were necessary were the creation of an opening between the two buildings, and the addition of a reception/office area and customer lounge. Jody is particularly happy with the new reception and customer lounge area. “Having somewhere for customers to have a cup of coffee while they wait is a huge plus. We want focus our branding on being a service centre more than just a workshop, providing the same level of service as you would expect in the city. For example we will do local vehicle pick ups and drop offs and can provide a courtesy car as well.” Since the move, it’s been business as usual, getting the work in and out of the door and keeping the customers happy. This day-to-day work includes full mechanical services, repairs and warrants of

fitness for all makes and models of cars, trucks and 4WDs. The workshop is MTA Approved and an Authorized Warranty Repairer, with up-to-date diagnostic scanning tools. Jody comments that they have upgraded some of the plant. “We’re the only workshop in Rakaia that can do wheel alignments, and we’ve recently purchased a brake lathe.”

“We want focus our branding on being a service centre more than just a workshop, providing the same level of service as you would expect in the city.”

from all over the South Island to Rakaia for regular servicing as well as repairs and maintenance. Working alongside Scott is Dean Counsell, factory trained Toyota Technician, Matt Agar, and 2nd year Apprentice Logan Tomlin who completed pre Trade at the top of his class and continues to excel. Completing the team is Reen Houlihan, the Office Administrator and the friendly voice on the phone. With such a great new location, Scott and Jody are looking forward to exploring more opportunities to extend their business.

Four-wheel drive clubs feature strongly in the Mid Canterbury region, and Rakaia Service Centre specialises in 4WD upgrades to improve vehicle performance. Or they can add a snorkel, provide the right tyres or upgrade suspension using Rough Country shock absorbers and lifts, which they import exclusively. Scott is a factory trained Dodge Chrysler Jeep technician. After completing his apprenticeship, Scott worked for Armstrong Prestige in Christchurch, followed by four years at a dealership in Calgary, Canada. This experience is sought after, with Jeep enthusiasts bringing their vehicles

above: Rakaia Service Centre main image: Rakaia Service Centre Team (left to right)

Matt Agar, Logan Tomlin, Scott Baker, Reen Houlihan and Dean Counsell

Rakaia Service Centre Ltd 68 Elizabeth Street Rakaia

Tel: 03 303 5100 ATS N E W S


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Mother’s Day 7


Give her a memorable


1. Assorted coloured Scanpan knives from $6.80 / 2. Dome Wall Clock $42.87 Available in blue, green & white / 3. Red glass bottles from $38.28/ 4. Black & White Tagine 24cm $209.30 / 5. Tea, Coffee, Sugar canister set $36.10 Available in blue, green & black / 6. Bodum Coloured 8 cup plungers $51.69 each / 7. Aromatherapy Diffusers, four different aromas available, in two sizes 35ml $11.65; 100ml $19.00 2



6 Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee that the pictured stock will be available at all times



News at ATS Health & Wellbeing winners Thank you to all those members who entered the Health & Wellbeing readers specials. Congratulations to: Health winner—Jamiee Kearney who won a gluten free Somerset Grocer hamper Fitness winners—Kylie Burrowes, Tina Cox and Sue Letham who each won a StutioFIT class pass Beauty winner—Susanne Frost who won Bestow Beauty Oil from Revive on Oakview Visit

Susanne Frost and Nicky Eddington (Revive on Oakview)

Nicky Milmine (Somerset Grocer), Jamiee Kearney and daughter Molly

Meridian Energy B BQ Winner Late last year AT S Energy Partner, Meridian Energy gave all existing and new ATS custom ers the opportunity to w in an Icarus Summit se ven piece outdoor furniture setting and a Mas port Deluxe Plus 210 six burner BBQ.

The special offer was Me ridian’s way of thanking its customers for their loy alty and for the winner, a gre at way to start 2012. The lucky recipients of this fantastic prize were Andy and Trisha Macfarlane of As hburton. Congratulatio ns!

World famous in Rakaia Visitors to the ATS Rakaia store will have noticed the Allflex tag board—it is reputedly the largest in the world and is pretty hard to miss. So it is not surprising it made it onto the itinerary for a recent visit by representatives from Allflex New Zealand and Australia. A group of five Australians took part in the tour and visited a number of farming operations along with the world famous tag board at ATS Rakaia. above: Ryan Scetrine, Allflex Australia; Brent Peacock; Mark Edwards; Andrew Young; John Morris, Allflex NZ South Island Manager; David Goulding

Relay for Life thank you As this edition of the ATS News goes to print, ATS’s two teams will be taking part in the Mid Canterbury Relay for Life—a fantastic community event designed to celebrate and remember those who lost their lives to cancer, and to also fight back against the disease which affects one in three New Zealanders. The ATS teams were two of more than 80 taking part in the event held on 24–25 March 2012 from 4pm until 10am. Members of the relay teams walk continuously around a track at the Ashburton A & P Showgrounds, with at least one team member on the course at all times. Leading up to the event the ATS teams worked hard to secure donations which will go to the Cancer Society to 38


support its important work. Among the many fundraising efforts carried out was the ATS staff cake bake, held each week by different departments with all goodies being available for a gold coin purchase. ATS would like to thank all of those who supported their teams’ fundraising ventures and their walking efforts at the Relay for Life event.

Entries sought for United Wheat Growers 2012 Competition The popular United Wheat Growers Wheat Competition is once again being held, with ATS the major sponsor of this annual event. ATS became involved in the competition last year when the competition was re-instated after a two year break. Crops harvested in 2012 are eligible for entry, and growers are encouraged to start gathering samples now. All entries must be received by 20 May 2012 with judging taking place in autumn.

Presentations and the prize giving will take place at the United Wheat Growers (UWG) AGM. Entries are invited across three classes of wheat (milling, feed and biscuit) from growers across New Zealand (one entry per class, per farm). Each entry will be tested on the visual and tested quality for the particular end use of the wheat.

If you are growing wheat and would like to enter please contact the ATS Seed team on 0800 BUY ATS (289 287). Entry forms are available on both the ATS and UWG websites.

ATS Suppliers—making the snow experience affordable in 2012 ATS Suppliers the Blue Pub, the Brown Pub and Big Al’s Snowsports are among a number of Methven businesses getting behind an initiative designed to encourage families to ski, eat and stay in and around Mt Hutt and Methven. The Kids 4 Free initiative aims to make a day (or longer) at the ski field more affordable for families. The promotion includes free lift access, travel, accommodation, meals and ski/board rental or hire for children aged 10 and under. The move follows last year’s tough ski season (one of the worst on record) and aims to encourage plenty of support from locals and out-of-towners, both nationally and internationally.

kids 10 years and under when ordering from the Kid’s Menu and when accompanied by a paying adult family member dining from the regular menu. Big Al’s Snowsports is offering free ski/snowboard standard rental for kids 10 years and under on a one for one basis (one kids free rental for a full adult ski/ snowboard rental). To find out more about the Kids 4 Free initiative visit

The Blue Pub and the Brown Pub are among a group of restaurants and eateries offering free dining for

Chicken Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese (with Orange Ginger Dressing)

Recipe courtesy of Annabelle White



1/2 Tsp freshly grated orange zest

2 cups shredded skinless boneless rotisserie chicken breast 2 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches ½ cup sliced red onion ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts 150 g salad greens ½ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese Fresh ground pepper

1/4 cup orange juice 4 Tsp olive oil 1 Tbsp minced spring onions 1-2 Tsp minced peeled fresh ginger 1/4 Tsp minced garlic Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste Whisk orange zest, orange juice, oil, spring onions, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl until well blended. (Alternatively, combine ingredients in a small jar, secure the lid and shake until blended.)

Combine chicken, peaches, onion, and salad greens in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss gently. Serve sprinkled with goat cheese, hazelnuts and top with fresh ground black pepper.


• If fresh peaches are not in season, substitute with orange segments. • Freshly roasting hazelnuts greatly enhances the flavour— just dry toast in the oven and rub in a clean tea towel to remove the skins. • If you love garlic and citrus add more to the dressing—even more ginger—this salad can easily handle the extra flavour and not dominate the end result.













ATS out and about—ATS Dairy Days Out 1. Abraham Shupe / 2. Martine and Campbell Tait with Laurie Soomers from Veterinary Enterprises / 3. Fraser Hutchinson / 4. Arnica and Winter Copland / 5. Geordie Pavey / 6. Annabelle White and Jono Pavey / 7. Neville Ross and Milner Jacob the Moo Express drivers / 8. Charlie Stock / 9. Michael Douglas with Brad Elliott / 10. Hayden Ferriman with Johnny Doyle



Classifieds COMPUTING

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Mother’s Day Gift Baskets and Bouquets Made to order, complement your flower arrangement and incorporate a special gift, wine, chocolates or aromatherapy. P F E W

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03 308 3342 03 308 3035

85 Harrison St, Ashburton ATS N E W S


ATS News April 2012  

ATS News April 2012

ATS News April 2012  

ATS News April 2012