Ashburton Guardian | Guardian Farming | March 31 2020

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Dairy Focus

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A2 milk switch

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


pays off

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CHEAP Pivot Rut Shingle

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Interesting times ahead


Guardian Farming is proudly published by the Ashburton Guardian Limited


ecent events have brought to mind the saying “may you live in interesting times”. While an English expression, it claims to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. Interesting times historically mean war, famine and upheaval. Within a few short weeks the way New Zealanders go about their daily lives has shifted immeasurably with travel and multiple community, social and farming events cancelled to prevent the spread of Covid-19. While travel and social isolation restrictions have decimated the tourism and hospitality sectors, New Zealand’s export food producing sectors will continue to underpin the economy through this crisis. As ASB economists said in a commodity report: “During times like this it is comforting to be a food exporter.” It anticipated that many of New Zealand’s food exports would hold up relatively well as households prioritise food consumption in their household budgets. Discretionary spending may fall away, but people still have to eat. Queues and panic buying at the supermarkets here and overseas are testament to that. Fonterra and meat companies are reporting that freight movements through ports in China are open, though there are still delays, as our biggest market recovers from Covid-19. A falling Kiwi dollar has also softened falls in New Zealand commodity prices.


Dairy Focus Tue sday,


2020 Mar ch 31,


h A2 milk switc

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Editorial Email your comments to Advertising For advertising enquiries email or phone 03 307 7955. Designer Guardian team Post Ashburton Guardian, PO Box 77, Ashburton 7740






Heather Chalmers


Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing, are deemed an essential service. So hopefully life on the farm and in the meat plants and dairy factories can continue without disruption as normally as is possible. Meanwhile, autumn is farm awards season. Congratulations to the winners. It is not easy to put your hand up and be judged by your peers. Canterbury supreme winners in the 2020 Ballance Farm Environment Awards Tony Coltman and Dana Carver say they entered the awards to profile their sustainable business and demonstrate how farmers care for their environment. “Farmers need to be proud of what they are doing,” Coltman said. While that awards dinner went ahead, the Canterbury Dairy Industry Awards presentation dinner fell victim to new social distancing requirements and instead.the winners have been posted online. Cantabrians also dominated the 2020 Norwood New Zealand rural sports awards.




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Until three years ago, Richard and Chrissie Wright were running both the dairy and beef operations, but have now stepped back to focus on the bigger picture while still running the drystock operation.


Winning combo for Mid Canty farmers By Heather Chalmers

F Heather Chalmers


or Mid Canterbury farmers Richard and Chrissie Wright, buying their first farm in 2002 was just the start of an expanding and ever-evolving farming operation. Since that initial farm purchase near Mount Somers, the former sharemilkers now have three dairy farms and an intensive drystock beef finishing

operation. The culmination of six neighbouring property purchases over several years, the 1850 hectares of land is all adjoining and together makes up the Wrights’ Tamar Farm. Tamar Farm is a completely self-contained and closed operation, in terms of stock replacements and grazing, with with no new animals coming on to the farm. It also helps that Tamar Farm has water

boundaries on both sides, the south branch of the Ashburton River and Bowyers Stream. After previously trading stock, the Wrights’ decision to run a closed farm was made in 2017, just a year before the cattle disease mycoplasma bovis was found in New Zealand, further vindicating their decision to place a high priority on animal welfare and biosecurity. The integration of the

Wrights’ dairy and beef farming operations was the focus of a Beef + Lamb NZ field day on the property, where Richard Wright said he had milked cows to become a beef farmer. “I enjoy the beef animals and drystock.” Some of it was for sentimental reasons, with the Tamar name alluding to the river near where Richard grew up in England where his family had a red devon herd. continued over page






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From P3 The Wrights now enjoy farming their own red devon herd. “They are probably the most unprofitable animals on the farm, but we like them.” Until three years ago, the Wrights were running both the dairy and beef operations, but had now stepped back to focus on the bigger picture while still running the drystock operation. Two of the dairy farms, Strathclyde and Wightmans, which have 1000 cows each, are 50-50 sharemilked by Jared and Victoria Clarke. The third dairy farm, Te Mahanga, milking 1250 cows, is 18 per cent sharemilked by Shayne and Bec Miers. The Wrights converted the first two dairy units, Wightmans and Strathclyde, but purchased Te Mahanga as an existing dairy. Chrissie Wright said they were proud to be able to offer sharemilking opportunities to young people, as this was how they got their own farm. The 850ha drystock and dairy support block rears the dairy replacements and dairy-beef calves, as well as wintering all dairy cows. The farm rears up to 900 beef cross calves, along with 910 dairy replacement heifers each year. Tamar Farm also has two beef herds, devon and hereford, totalling 420 breeding cows and

their progeny. The Wrights aim to have a fully enclosed operation, with minimal bobby calves. “We rear calves on waste milk so there is little wastage on-farm.” Every mob is shifted every day without dogs, so all stock are very quiet. To spread the workload, the devon and hereford herds are autumn calved, starting on March 1. This gives the most amount of mouths on the farm for the spring flush. The drystock farm has a large stocking rate in winter because of wintering the dairy herds, totalling 3250 cows, and the number of beef animals carried over for sale in spring. Richard Wright said the red devon was “a fantastic breed, easy calving and docile. As devons are not a big breed, the bulls are perfect for use over dairy heifers”. “On Tamar Farm, we use the devon bulls four times. First as yearlings over replacement beef heifers, then at 20 months over dairy heifers. The following winter they are put over beef cows and then the following spring over dairy cows. By then they are 700kg and go to the meatworks. “We sell up to 600 breeding bulls each year to the dairy industry which go out in November, so we have a reasonably light stocking rate

prior to Christmas and use the beef cows to clean up behind calves.” However, this practice was changing, with both Tamar Farm and the wider dairy industry adopting more widespread use of artificial

insemination rather than natural mating for biosecurity reasons in the wake of the M. bovis outbreak. While devons are a slow maturing breed, it had well marbled meat, which the Wrights plan to market for a




premium in the future. They will muscle test their animals in anticipation of Alliance Group introducing a marbling quality index. At the moment the farm was not being rewarded for its marbled and low pH meat,


Above – Secondary cuts from a selection of their red devon cattle are made into smallgoods such as salami, chorizo, and steak and mince pies which can be purchased directly from Tamar Farm. Left – Devon-friesian and hereford-friesian cross calves are reared and finished on Tamar Farm.

Richard Wright said. “On kill sheets you get the weight and that’s it. We want to market our beef a bit differently and supply out of season.” Alliance Group purchased all stock from the farm, apart from a few red devon cattle, which

the Wrights have killed at an abattoir to supply a restaurant at Havelock they were involved with and other local restaurants. As the restaurants mainly only wanted the prime cuts the Wrights needed to find an outlet for secondary cuts. These are

now made into smallgoods such as salami, chorizo, and steak and mince pies which can be purchased directly from Tamar Farm. A backlog getting stock killed and falling export returns this season, meant the Wrights are

prepared to hold onto stock through winter. “We have 18-month friesian bulls that will be ready to sell in April at 300kg carcass weight, but we will keep putting weight on those and hope the price lifts. “We have put ourselves in a

position where we don’t have to sell for a drought or wintering. We will even put weight on cull cows if we have to.” About 180ha of fodder beet and 14ha of kale was grown on the drystock farm for wintering, with another 46ha of fodder beet grown on the dairy units for use over autumn and spring for transitioning. While most of the dairy farms are irrigated, only 360ha of the 850 drystock block is watered. A meeting of the drystock team is held each morning at 10am over coffee, when management decisions are discussed. “Everybody has mobs of stock they are responsible for.” Everything is recorded on Whats App to keep staff informed. Tamar Farm uses LIC Space, a satellite-based pasture assessment programme to manage its feed. “I find it very useful as at a glance I can see the whole farm and every paddock is ranked for pasture cover. You can also see where the stock are,” Richard said. The information comes through once or twice a week, depending on whether the sky is sufficiently clear for an assessment to be made. This was then sent to everyone’s phones. “It’s colour coded, so you don’t even have to understand kilograms of drymatter.” continued over page



The red devon herd started autumn calving on March 1, to spread the workload and have the most amount of mouths on the farm for the spring flush.

From P5 On the dairy farm, sharemilker Jared Clarke still prefers the traditional plate meter. “The satellite assessment has its place, but I like the staff to plate meter the farm at least once a week and in October and November every five days.” To minimise the number of bobby calves produced on the Strathclyde and Wightmans dairy farms, sexed semen was used for the first time last spring for guaranteed heifer calves. All 2000 cows were artificially inseminated, with no natural mating by bulls. “Bulls are a cost and we have a big team of people, many that did not have a farming background, so we did not want them moving bulls around,” Clarke said.

By having more guaranteed replacement heifers, a greater proportion of the herd could be inseminated with beef genetics, reducing the number of bobby calves. About a third of the herd was inseminated with wagyu genetics, as this was a premium product, with the calves easily sold on contract. Lower Production Worth cows went to beef genetics. Last calving, 30 per cent of calves were bobbied, and this was expected to drop to 15 per cent next spring. “We won’t get to zero, but there is no reason why we can’t keep dropping down to 5 to 10 per cent,” Clarke said. The change would have an impact on Tamar Farm’s dairy-

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Locally owned and operated Locally owned

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beef operation as the wagyu cross calves would be sold off-farm. This would leave the drystock block with fewer dairybeef calves to purchase from its dairy farms. Chrissie Wright was responsible for rearing the dairybeef cross calves which were collected from the dairy farms at four days old. The dairy farms were responsible for rearing their dairy replacement calves until weaning when they shifted to the drystock block. From her 27 years’ experience of rearing calves, Chrissie said that the first few hours were the most important in a calf ’s life and colostrum was the key. Last spring, she reared 860 calves and only had four deaths. “The difference is having a closed shop

and making sure all calves have colostrum.” In terms of future opportunities, Tamar Farm was growing 10ha of hemp next year, Richard Wright said. “We have got to start offsetting our nitrogen loss and this is a way to do it. It also gives us some diversification.” The Wrights entered the 2020 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards to benchmark themselves, receiving the Norwood agribusiness management award. A significant number of trees had been planted on the property, including shelterbelts, ornamental and native plantings. Judges noted that the farm had responsible grazing practices and crop rotation and a focus

on energy efficiency and technology. As well as employing sharemilkers to manage the dairy farms, the Wrights may also assist young people to take a stake in their drystock operation using a sharefarming, lease, or contract farming arrangement. New technology was being adopted, such as collars on dairy cows to measure temperature, activity, heat detection and rumination, to assist with mating and quickly identify any animal health issues. While the system was set up for dairy cows, the Wrights also are trialling a similar system on beef heifers. “It’s been an exciting journey. We don’t want to be average and we don’t want to be bored.”

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he mark of success for any business is the level of exponential growth that can be seen from year to year. Success breeds further success, but it also demands a business to be even better than it has been. And Hydraulink Mid Canterbury is most definitely a successful business. Operated by Dan and Abbey Bruce, the Ashburton based operation which deals as hose and fittings supplier has been a true success story since they took over the reins coming up five years ago. The husband and wife duo entered into the market back in 2015 not really knowing what to expect but took an open-minded approach and step by step turned the business into a thriving enterprise from their Robinson Street, Industrial Estate base. However, as time moved on and things expanded a burning desire to be bigger and Proud to support better than before left the pair searching for a new site, a new home in which they could place their mast and go even that next step further. “We were ready, I was ready,” Dan said. to support outgrown the building and there was Proud to support Proud “We’d a real drive to reinvent things a little bit and so we went on the search for a new premise.” continued over page Proud to support


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From P7 They found one om JB Cullen Drive in the Ashburton Business Park and went about not building their dream home, but their dream business base and to say they were over the moon with the final outcome might be an understatement. Officially the doors opened late in 2019 and the feedback from the public and their customers and the pride in Bruce’s voice as he speaks about his businesses new home is enough evidence to prove that it was the right decision. “It was what we needed and we’re rapt with how it’s all come together, the facility is incredible, we’re incredibly lucky to be operating from such a great building. “It’s ultimately about business growth

and ensuring that we are capable to meet the demands of the market for sure, but having a bright, new and shiny workplace in which to do that from is a big bonus. “It’s just that little bit more professional, I think. “It’s allowed us to expand and we’ve seen that growth already in the first few months which is somewhat of a vindication of the decision we made to do it in the first place.” Operating a state-of-the-art workshop, the JB Cullen Drive location boasts and impressive workshop which consists of four bays for vehicles, a show room and parts room. A massive added bonus is the workshop, which allows customers to bring equipment that is in need of repair or replacement in and have it done on site by a trusted team of staff. “We employ six staff at the moment and there are all critical to what we do and the success the business has had, we’ve got a great team and they deserve acknowledgement for their involvement.” While business growth is a surefire sign of success, Hydraulink Mid Canterbury has shown their achievements and success in other manners as well and last year were awarded two significant titles for their efforts. The first was their announcement as the top 2018-2019 Hydraulink New Zealand which is given to the franchise which shows the highest sales growth but also shows a high level of experience, high trained staff, professionalism of service and overall presentation. That was followed up with a Ruralco Supplier Award for business growth in farm services. Bruce said one of the highlights of what they did each day was dealing with people especially the vast variety of people who come in the doors from all walks of life seeking their services. “We have a fantastic client base who we are incredibly lucky to have coming through the door and using our services, they are just as important as anyone. “And the door is always open to anyone new or someone who just needs a hand with something, we’ll always do our best to help.”




ydraulink Mid Canterbury offers a wide range of services all centered around the service and repair of hoses and fitting for all variations of major farm machinery and also heavy industrial machinery with the rural sector one of their strongest supporters. A franchise of the New Zealand wide Hydraulink network the team are on hand to assist with any and all issues relating to hoses and fittings and can handle anything from breakdowns right through to full installations.

Using their experienced and skilled team of staff there’s no job too big or job too small for that matter and the business prides itself on it’s rapid, efficient and safe manner in getting people back on track as soon as possible.

Hydraulink Mid Canterbury can be found at 17 JB Cullen Drive, Ashburton, 03 308-8848

For all your hydraulic requirements you can trust Hydraulink Mid Canterbury As an essential industries support service, we are available 24/7 by ringing 03 308 8848.

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First-time Ashburton entrants win C T

he major winners in the 2020 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards say good, capable people are the cornerstone of their business. Ralph and Fleur Tompsett were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year category in the Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards. Other major winners were Stephen Overend, who was named the 2020 CanterburyNorth Otago Dairy Manager of the Year and Lucy Morgan, the 2020 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. The Tompsetts said they wanted to continue to grow and develop their business. “It’s a goal of ours to bring great people along with us to share and enjoy the growth opportunities which our dairy industry provides.” The couple are equity partners and 50 per cent sharemilking 1130 cows for Craig and Susan, Karyn and Grant Fleming on their 297ha Ashburton farm. They won $10,250 in prizes plus one merit award. Ralph (34) holds PrimaryITO Level 4 Dairy Farming and Fleur (37) has Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts degrees and has completed the governance essentials course through Institute of Directors. “Dairy farming has provided fantastic opportunities for us to grow,” Ralph Tompsett said. “I love the technical side of the farm and the variety of skills I can apply to my role. “Farming allows us to live rurally with plenty of space and a great community.” The first-time entrants were encouraged to enter the awards by one of their rural professionals and saw the process as an opportunity to better understand their business and benchmark against the wider industry. The couple have learned to wear many different hats and to develop competence in a wide range of subjects. “Beginning

Canterbury-North Otago Share Farmers of the Year Ralph and Fleur Tompsett are equity partners on an Ashburton dairy farm. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

our sharemilking journey in a low pay-out season was a challenge, however it taught us to focus on what we could influence rather than what we couldn’t.” The Tompsetts have achieved a low staff turnover they are proud of, with core staff members with them for an average of three years. “This has enabled us to develop a family culture on the farm, which in turn has helped us to drive productivity and herd performance.” Future farming goals include farm ownership and developing their current skills within the industry. “We both enjoy understanding and using data to drive decision making. This enables us to identify areas of improvement and track progress.” The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers,

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Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian, Ravensdown, and Westpac along with industry partners DairyNZ and Primary ITO. Runners-up in the CanterburyNorth Otago category went to Tania Riddington and Tim Murdoch, who won $4250 in prizes. The couple are 50-50 sharemilkers for Ken Riddington on his 140ha Culverden property, milking 480 cows. The couple see their combined qualifications, backgrounds and experiences as a strength for their business. “We are both driven and work well together.” “We both work in the business and bring different strengths, making for a strong partnership,” they said. Future farming goals include farm ownership within the next five years. “We love working outdoors and have a love for animals. Farming is in our blood!” Third place went to Jason


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and Miranda Armstrong, who entered the awards to benchmark themselves and improve their business. “We wanted to be involved in something that is a great part of the dairy industry.” The couple are 47 per cent herd-owning sharemilkers on Dairy Holdings’ 263ha farm at Darfield, where they milk 960 cows. They won $3000 in prizes and one merit award. The Armstrongs both share the same passion for the dairy industry and feel their stable and profitable business is one of their biggest strengths. Future farming goals include farm ownership, with the goals of providing others with the same growth opportunities they have had. Dairy manager of the year The winner of the 2020 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year category


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enjoys the constant challenges and different skills dairy farming requires. Stephen Overend won $7125 in prizes plus three merit awards and is farm manager on Theland Farm Group’s 266ha, 930-cow property at Hororata. The first-time entrant was encouraged to enter the awards by previous entrants. “My wife pushed me along as this is something that is very much out of my comfort zone.” Overend is currently studying towards a diploma in financial planning agribusiness management and holds PrimaryITO Level 3 and 4 in team management and effluent management. He entered the dairy industry five years ago and has worked for the past two-and-a-half years as a manager. Overend has learnt to deal with the challenge of stress through good nutrition and exercise. He’s proud that he

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Canterbury dairy awards

Left: Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year Stephen Overend is farm manager on a Theland Farm Group’s 930-cow property at Hororata. Right: Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year winner Lucy Morgan grew up on a dairy farm in England.

has a low staff turnover rate and is thankful for the strong support from experienced and knowledgeable operations and technology teams. Hilton farm manager Salem Christian, aged 22 years, was second in the Dairy Manager category, winning $2250 in prizes and two merit awards. He was the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. Currently working for Brian and Ingrid Bolt on their 240ha property, milking 900 cows, Christian counts winning 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year as one of his biggest successes. Christian enjoys working outside with cattle and is making the most of the progression opportunities the dairy industry presents. Hororata farm manager Tessa Goes placed third and won $2000 in prizes and two merit awards. Tessa works on the Theland Purata Farm Group 173ha, 590-cow property.

Previously an insurance and mortgage underwriter, Goes could see the opportunities available within the dairy industry. “I love that you see direct results from the effort you put in, from daily milk production to reproductive performance and farm financial outcome.” Dairy trainee of the year The 2020 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year category was won by 21-yearold Lucy Morgan. Morgan is herd manager on Phillip and Becky Wilson’s 800-cow, 216ha Oamaru property and won $6175 in prizes and two merit awards. The first-time entrant grew up on a 400-cow farm in England where she worked on weekends and in school holidays. “My family have been farming for generations. It’s in my blood. “My favourite time is definitely calving; that moment when a calf is born and you see the

reward of taking care of the mother. It all pays off to create the next generation, the future.” Morgan acknowledges her height can be a challenge. “I am constantly having to think outside the box to do some tasks.” “My biggest success is how much I have learnt and how quickly I have become independent since leaving the UK,” she said. Future farming goals include progressing through the industry and eventually owning her own 800-cow farm. Runner-up in the Dairy Trainee category was 24-yearold Rangiora 2IC Prabhdeep Singh, who won $1625 in prizes. Singh works for Pamu Farms (formerly Landcorp) on its 567ha, 1010-cow farm. Singh entered the awards as he though they were a good opportunity to network with other people in the industry. “I got the opportunity to compete with other trainees, meet new people and broaden

my knowledge. It has given me the confidence to further my studies and career.” Born and raised on a smallscale crop and dairy farm in Punjab, North India, Prabhdeep is proud of his progression through the New Zealand dairy industry since beginning in 2016. “It makes me happy looking at how far I have pushed myself and succeeded in a short span of time. It is good to see the results of your hard work.” Singh identifies understanding the overall operation of dairy farming in New Zealand and differences to what he knew in New Zealand as the biggest challenge. “It was challenging to adapt to a large-scale farming operation.” “The technologies and New Zealand systems have been incredible to learn. It is good to see the rules and regulations that the dairy industry has in place to make sure there is good use of natural resources,” Singh said. Third place in the Dairy Trainee category went to 25-year-old herd manager Cameron Bennison who won $1375 in prizes. He works for Chad Steetskamp on his 250ha, 850-cow Westerfield property. The first-time entrant entered the awards to challenge himself and put to good use what he has learned both on-farm and in his PrimaryITO studies. Cameron holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in rural enterprise and land management, has gained PrimaryITO Milk Quality Level 2 and is currently studying towards PrimaryITO animal husbandry Level 3. Off-farm he’s an active member and the treasurer of the Mackenzie District Young Farmers’ Club. Share Farmer Merit Awards: • DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Ben and Allie King • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Jason and Miranda Armstrong • Federated Farmers


• •

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Dairy Manager Merit Awards: • Vetlife Most Promising Entrant – Teresa Goes • Alexanders Chartered Accountants Employee Engagement Award – Stephen Overend • MorrisonAgri Leadership Award – Michael Boston • FarmRight Feed Management Award – Stephen Overend • Fonterra Dairy Management Award – Tessa Goes • DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Salem Christian • PrimaryITO Power Play Award – Stephen Overend • Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Salem Christian Dairy Trainee Merit Awards: • TH Enterprises Ltd Most Promising Entrant Award – Alfonso Almonacid • Rural Tenancy Inspections Farming Knowledge Award – Lucy Morgan • Craigmore Community and Industry Involvement Award – Lucy Morgan • Dairy Holdings Ltd Communication and Engagement Award – Breigh Sample • DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Breigh Sample

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Good harvest may help drought-hit NI Heather Chalmers



better-than-average harvest means Canterbury has feed grain available to supply drought-hit regions in the North Island if required, say arable farming leaders. Federated Farmers’ arable vice chairman Brian Leadley said that feed was being freighted to the North Island by feed merchants and contractors. To date, this was mostly straw and hay. The Canterbury grain harvest was finished and while feed grain plantings were down, this had been offset by better yields. Canterbury feed stocks were an option if North Island farmers were struggling to source feed locally, Leadley said. “Feed grain is certainly available in Canterbury if it is required in the North Island for quality stock feed. Straw is good, but it won’t put condition on stock.” In Canterbury, feed grain prices were holding, with reasonably small amounts traded, Leadley said. Federated Farmers’ arable chairperson Karen Williams said drought-hit farmers were encouraged to work collectively within their own region to source bulk feed options. “This approach could enable them to broker better transport deals. “Importantly, there is quality, locally-produced arable feeds in a number of regions available for those dairy and sheep and beef farmers confronting drought conditions.” The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Situation Outlook Primary Industries (SOPI) report forecasted that arable production and exports for the

Above: Mid Canterbury farmers are reporting that many yields are better than average, for both dryland and irrigated crops. Right: Federated Farmers’ national grains spokesman Brian Leadley says feed grain is available if it is required in the North Island. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE

year ended June 2020 should see revenue increase by 10 per cent to $260 million. Williams said that as well as a strong harvest, increased export volumes of clover seed to Europe and the United Kingdom and vegetable seeds to Europe, Australia and the United States

were driving the lift in value. “The overall harvest and quality of grain has been positive across New Zealand, despite hail that swept through Canterbury in November, and extensive flooding in Southland in early February. “Farmers had a good run

at harvest with warm and dry weather in January and February but the variable weather of March has the potential to hold up harvest of later sown crops.” The next Arable Industry Marketing Initiative survey was due to be undertaken at the

beginning of April, with results available at the start of May. These results would provide a more detailed picture of harvest 2020 yields, sales and autumn planting intentions and will provide vital information on what grain stocks were available domestically.

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Reach out and keep yourselves safe W

e live in remarkable times. No-one would have picked three months ago we would be living in a lockdown. Clearly this is unprecedented and demands our full cooperation. Over the past three days I have been involved in many conversations and email threads giving consideration to where the line will fall for “essential services” and “essential industries” and at the time of writing this is still not entirely clear. I would suggest that if we flout exemptions given to agriculture, or if this crisis escalates, then restrictions may tighten. From my viewpoint, I think there are some things we as farmers need to remember. Firstly, we are not superheroes wearing capes and we are not immune to this mongrel virus. Secondly, this is not like any emergency or crisis that any of us have ever responded to. Whether it be a flood, fire, windstorm, snowstorm, earthquake or animal disease outbreak, we can see and identify the danger. The hazard, the fire, the flood, the broken bridge is over

David Clark

President of MC Federated Farmers

there and so long as I keep my distance, I can respond from over here safely. As can the emergency services, church groups, sports clubs and Rural Support Trust can provide assistance and community support respond. This is different, the peril is invisible. Normal structures of community support cannot respond in the manner we expect or need. Thirdly, this threat is so serious, that the Government has thrown the tourism, travel and entertainment industries to the wall. They may never recover to their former state. We need to do our bit. Largely, we are all isolated in this and that is the whole point, to slow the infection rate to allow our medical practitioners the capacity to treat patients as required. We have all seen the tragedy that has unfolded in

Italy and are desperate for that not to occur in New Zealand. While we are physically isolated, we do not need to be socially. Most of us are in small bubbles of people close to us, we can reach out from those groups via telephone, or social media if that is your gig, and I would ask for each of you to reach out to the isolated neighbours, that we all have, who are trapped in this lockdown alone. We will get through this crisis; there will be light at the end of this darkness and the more effective the lockdown, the

sooner it will end. However, we have two issues in play, the virus and the emergency response to it, and the economic devastation that is unfolding. The tourism sector will not bounce back from this quickly, it will be sometime before people are legally or financially able, or confident enough, to travel extensively. Those in our society who directly or indirectly gain their income from tourism are taking an enormous hit and this will filter through the entire economy and affect us all, with

the economic effects lasting much longer than the virus itself. More than ever, New Zealand needs a strong primary sector to provide the backbone of our nation’s economy. Please take care of yourself, the special people around you and those who you can look out for. We will see this through together. Please reach out for help if you need it, Rural Support Trust, myself and our elected Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers team are happy to take your calls.

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Rural sporting superstars honoured T

he 2020 Norwood NZ Rural Sports Awards were announced earlier this month at the Awapuni Racecourse in Palmerston North. Convener of the New Zealand Rural Sports Awards judging panel, Nathan Twaddle, said the awards celebrate traditional sports and the people who keep events running year-in and year-out in the towns and settlements across New Zealand. “We had a fantastic line-up of finalists for each category. Our 2020 winners have proven themselves on the field of their rural sport or in the committee room organising rural sporting events around New Zealand.” The judging panel was convened by Olympic rowing medallist Nathan Twaddle. The panel included rural sports icon and president of Shearing Sports New Zealand Sir David Fagan, fencing legend Paul van Beers, MP for Taranaki-King Country Barbara Kuriger, founder and trustee of the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games Steve Hollander and respected agricultural journalists Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins and Tony Leggett. The 2020 Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards winners were:


Skellerup New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year Steph Tweed

he Waipara local became the first woman to win a New Zealand dog trial championship. Tweed won the North Island and the New Zealand championship straight hunt, proving her to be a fierce and worthy competitor. Introduced to dog trials by her father when she was at school, Tweed was ready to challenge the male-dominated industry. Entering her first National Dog Trial competition in 2013 at 21 years old, Tweed became one of the youngest and only females in the sport. After competing in dog trial competitions against her father, Tweed went on to claim third place in the South Island championships at Hanmer Springs before taking a stab at the national title, where she became the first woman in 130 years of the sport to be awarded the title.


Allan Oldfield


The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year Allan Oldfield

he Geraldine local holds both the individual and teams category World Bladeshearing titles. Oldfield impressively became the first New Zealander to beat the blade shearing prowess of South African competitors. In 2018, Oldfield was named the second person ever to win blade shearing at the big four royal shows in the UK; the Royal Highland, Royal Bath and West, the Royal Ulster, and Royal Welsh. Recently, he won the blade shear competition at the 60th anniversary of the Golden Shears and soon he will head to Scotland to defend his World title in 2022.

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Levno Contribution to Rural Sport Doug Laing

he Napier journalist’s contribution to shearing is legendary. Laing first reported on the Golden Shears while at school in the 1960s and went on to co-found the New Zealand Shearing Magazine. Gathering all the results from 50 years of the world’s premier event, Laing also started the Golden Shears History which was published in 2010. After successfully documenting the history of shearing, Laing set his sights on the Hawke’s Bay A&P Show, where he helped revive the shearing championships. His unrivalled dedication to the sport saw him nominated for the role of Media Officer for Shearing Sports New Zealand where he became responsible for bringing shearing into the global spotlight. Not just a man of shearing, Laing believes in developing sports opportunities for everyone – his achievements include helping to revive rugby league in Hawke’s Bay.

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Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year Sarah O’Reilly



fter finishing her first proper season in 2019, this Rakaia local is set to become one of the harnessracing greats of her time. O’Reilly cleaned up at the National Competition by becoming the 2019 New Zealand Junior Driver Champion and one of the Top 12 Junior Drivers in New Zealand - going on to claim the 2019 Australasian Young Driver Championship, becoming one of the Top 10 drivers in all of Australasia. O’Reilly continues to push to make a name for young women in the industry – with her sights now set on winning the Junior Driver Premiership.

Toyota Lifetime Legacy Ricky May

rom Methven, May is one of New Zealand’s most successful drivers. A two-time winner of the New Zealand drivers’ premiership and winner of seven New Zealand Cups - a record no one else has beaten. After collecting more than $32,000,000 in stakes and becoming the third ever driver to reach 2000 race wins in New Zealand, May continues to dominate the harness racing scene. Aiming to reach the big 3000 winners’ goal in 2020, May sits just 51 wins (at time of writing) shy of his next record. Not just a legend on the track, May also spends his time volunteering at the Methven Trotting Club, mentoring young harness racers and working hard on his farm. In 2019, May dropped dead on the track at Omakau live on television. Thankfully he had an angel on his shoulder that day and has been given a second chance at driving and life.

The Sir Brian Lochore Memorial Award for an Outstanding Sports person from a Rural Background Casey Kopua


he pride of Matamata, Casey Kopua was integral to the 52-51 win over Australia in the 2019 Netball World Cup – New Zealands first win in 16 years. In 2014, the 23rd Silver Fern’s captain was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Her trophy cabinet includes two Commonwealth Gold Medals and three World Cup Silver Medals.


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Humates boost nitrogen benefit


long term field trial in Southland has found using humates in combination with urea fertiliser will lift pasture production by 10-15 per cent above urea use alone. The results of the extensive five-year field trial have recently been published in the prestigious international science magazine Nature, and have been welcomed by Southern Humates owner Malcolm Sinclair, managing director, Southern Humates. “This trial has represented a significant investment in time and funds for us. The fact it extended over five years has meant it has cost more than the usual one-year trial, but it has delivered results that can give farmers and industry assurance there are real, sustained benefits from humate use in pasture systems,” he said. He said having the trial’s results accepted by Nature magazine was a huge endorsement that validated the trial and the product’s quality. Humates form as organic compounds sourced from the seams of some lignite deposits, and consist of complex organic chemicals created by the long term breakdown of plant material. It has historically been claimed humates can boost soil

Malcolm Sinclair at the mine.


fertility through altering soil bacterial populations, increasing the ability of plants to uptake nutrients through their root systems. The trial was based on the application of five different combinations of urea-humates by weight, ranging from zero humates to 20 per cent of urea weight on the Mataura property. The total urea applied ranged from 160kg to 260kg a hectare per treatment. The dry matter of the pasture grown in each sampled plot was measured for its growth at regular intervals

throughout the trial’s duration. Sinclair said he felt it had been important to invest in a validated, long term trial in order to provide farmers with information they could trust about humates, and to prove the anecdotal evidence supporting humates’ value was based on proven yield data. The trial predictably found use of straight urea increased production. But with the addition of humates that production increase was boosted further by the addition of 10 per cent and 20 per cent humates by weight. The 10 per cent addition

generated 9 per cent additional dry matter production a year above that generated by urea alone. The 20 per cent humate addition generated a 10 per cent increase in production. These increases were similar to those reported in other ryegrass-clover humate trials conducted around New Zealand for shorter periods. Importantly the study found the effect of humate addition was consistent and persistent. This was particularly strong in early spring periods when nitrogen levels can be limited, and the 10 per cent addition delivered a 31 per cent lift in pasture production over standard urea application and the 20 per cent a 41 per cent boost. Sinclair said it was important that the results from the trial not be applied to all humic products, of which there are several on the market. “Variation in the composition and activity of humic products has long been recognised for the inconsistency in plant responses that can be reported. We have worked to deliver a consistent product over the years, and the results reflect that level of quality.” Adding humates to urea also proved to increase the longevity

of the urea, with a late summer application continuing to generate positive pasture responses for a full seven more months. The report authors suggested coating urea with a bioactive humic layer could open up opportunities for making nitrogen use more sustainable as the planet grapples with nutrient run-off and groundwater contamination. The study found humates may deliver an environmental benefit by reducing the amount of nitrogen available for leaching, through helping plant root systems and microbiomes better contain the nutrient. “This study has validated what many farmers have thought about humates over the years. “As suppliers of humates we take a lot of value in knowing our product is delivering benefits that can not only enhance farm productivity, but also play a part in helping make nitrogen fertiliser use more sustainable. “Having this work published in Nature magazine is a huge thumbs-up for our product, and for New Zealand farmers choosing to use it,” said Malcolm Sinclair. Advertising feature


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Finding sustainable energy solutions L

incoln University has partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to build New Zealand’s first energy demonstration farm, with an aim to find sustainable energy solutions to meet the Government’s carbon reduction requirements. The energy demonstration farm was designed to be fossil fuel free and feature solar and wind power, bio-fuel, and energy storage solutions, while showcasing the range of technology available and how it can be applied, as well as providing data for research and innovation. The six-hectare farm site is near the Lincoln University Dairy Farm and the main campus. Leading the project are Dr Wim de Koning and Dr Jeff Heyl of Lincoln University. They said the energy demonstration farm would be unique in its set-up and a worldfirst in its scale and scope. “Transitioning to sustainable energy in the agri-food sector is a necessity,” de Koning said. “The Government’s zero carbon legislation has provided a time-frame of 30 years for

Leading the project are Dr Wim de Koning and Dr Jeff Heyl of Lincoln PHOTOS SUPPLIED University.

completion of this transition. “To meet the Government goal of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2035, we need to start making the first major steps with urgency.” De Koning said the farm would show the diverse range of sustainable energy production technology currently available, from fossil fuel to circular food production systems. “It’s leading transformation through demonstration to facilitate sustainable, feasible and

bankable solutions. “The small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the primary industries need a preinvestment proof of concept. “They don’t have the capacity to make mistakes by investing in the wrong technology. “At the energy demonstration farm we can explore alternatives, not all of which may be successful. We can provide that proof, so the right choices are made.” MPI acting director

New Zealand’s first energy demonstration farm near Lincoln University is designed to be fossil fuel free and features solar and wind power, bio-fuel, and energy storage solutions, while showcasing the range of technology available.

investment portfolio Cheyne Gillooly said the energy demonstration farm had the potential for farmers to explore the technology and test it before making an investment. “Farming is a high tech, high capital business and

Phone: 0508 03 1990 | 73 Burnett St Ashburton

New Zealand farmers have always been at the forefront of innovative farming techniques. We’re excited to support the energy demonstration farm and help give farmers an opportunity to test the technology beforehand.”



The stuff that can kill you on farms


afer Farms is reminding everyone using on-farm vehicles to stay vigilant in the wake of a tragic spate of accidents. At least six people were killed in work related accidents on farms over January and February, according to WorkSafe statistics. Safer Farms general manager Tony Watson said the number of fatalities needed to serve as a wake-up call for everyone operating on-farm vehicles. “If people dying on farm is the measure, 2020 has started badly, really badly. “Every single death on farm so far in 2020 has been farm vehicle related. If we look over the last 10 years, we find more than 80 per cent of farm workplace deaths are vehicle related.” Several other farm fatalities this year involving vehicles had not been work related and not counted in WorkSafe statistics. On average over the last decade, 12 people die in onfarm work related accidents every year. However, that number has crept up over the last five years, getting closer to 15 fatalities per year. Watson questioned what factors were contributing to the rise and said farmers needed to understand STKY the Stuff That Can Kill You. “Just because we’ve done a job hundreds of times, doesn’t mean we won’t get caught out. Often it’s a bunch of small things that aren’t necessarily a problem by themselves, but together they can trip up even the more experienced operators. When we get tired, we can make poor decisions.” Driving quad bikes, ATVs side-by-sides, tractors and oth-

Safer Farms (agricultural leaders’ health and safety action group) general manager Tony Watson says farmers PHOTO SUPPLIED need to consciously think about how they go about their work safely.

er on-farm vehicles goes right most of the time. But this can lead to complacency and driving in “auto pilot” mode. “We need to remind ourselves that safety is not measured by the absence of accidents - safety is the presence of capacity and our ability to modify and adapt our behaviour with environmental changes going on around us.” With farms being dynam-

ic and potentially dangerous workplaces, operators need to be equipped with the skills to handle it when something goes wrong. “We need to consciously think about how we can go about our work safely. This doesn’t mean signs, hi-vis and paperwork. Too often we see these bum-covering responses to compliance as what farmers think the regulator is looking

for,” he said. “To make a real difference, we need to accept that things don’t always go right. If we accept there is potential for things to go wrong, we need to make sure we’ve got things in place to keep us and our people from being killed or seriously hurt.” Watson said that along with making sure the operator was capable and the vehicle was in

good order there are just three simple steps to follow that save lives. • On quad bikes, drivers should always wear a properly fitted helmet and have ROPS/safety frames fitted. • Always wear seatbelts in other farm vehicles, including tractors, side by sides and utes – especially if you’re going more than say 30kmh or if the vehicle is going somewhere tricky. • On side by sides or other ATVs, the drivers and passenger should always wear helmets and seatbelts. Watson also stressed the importance of putting decent padding on any roll frames, as hitting your head on the metal frame can also cause serious brain injury. “There’s no shame in hopping off and walking if you’re at all concerned about the situation you’re in. That’s better than taking the machine somewhere you might regret.” Watson said it wasn’t about telling others how to farm. “Rather it’s about sharing some observations and learning from things that have gone wrong for someone else. We need to move the dial from a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to ‘let’s do it right’.” Watson wanted farmers to remain vigilant and for safety messages to be spread far and wide. “There’s been far too many tragedies this year and we need to do better and be better,” he said. “Everyone needs to get home at the end of the day to their families, mothers, fathers, children, husbands and wives. That’s the bottom line.”

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Adapting to the changing times Calvin Leen

PGG Wrightson Real Estate


e are clearly living in interesting times, which is reflected in the rural property sector. Uncertainty always blights markets and this is no different. However, calm heads will prevail and there are several indications that New Zealand’s primary production will come through the current difficult times relatively unscathed. Red meat schedules remain steady, dairy farm gate returns have not fluctuated greatly and unless there is a major shift in commodity pricing, we should see business as usual. After all, despite what is occurring, domestic and export markets still require our produce. Therefore, if you are considering presenting a farm to the market either in autumn or next spring, there are some useful preparations to consider sooner rather than later. Vendors who subdivide or offer various smaller parcels of land prior to marketing a farm are benefiting. In a tight market, sales within the district become more common. Subdividing a larger property enables more buyers to participate, giving neighbours the option of taking smaller portions of the farm to augment an existing property. Reconfiguring the size of land holdings into more bite-size chunks, utilising multiple titles, or making boundary adjustments can provide opportunities to extra parties, therefore effecting a more favourable sale. Depending on location and size of a farm, we have seen instances where dividing off a home block has paid dividends. While that will result in a purchaser paying less for the farm, what is left can then become a potentially lucrative lifestyle property, likely leaving the vendor in a better position than if the farm was purchased as one. Subdivision does not preclude one party

from purchasing the farm outright. One recent notable local sale, of Eskdale, Hinds, a 360 hectare sheep and beef farm in the same family since 1901, was offered for sale in separate titles, though sold in January to a single purchaser. Likewise, 640-hectare Pleasant Point farm holding, Rock Farm, selling for the first time in 95 years, was also available in multiple lots, though sold in March as one. In both instances, taking the time to subdivide prior to sale created extra competition for the farm, leaving our vendors better off as a result. We are referring clients who can see this opportunity to local specialists, in particular surveyors and council planners. They need to properly effect reconfigurations and ensure zoning restrictions are met. Several issues and compliance with some important regulations need to be addressed, including potential building platforms, connection to regional or district water schemes and optimal subdivision size. Anyone thinking about a farm sale

over the next few months should talk to relevant rural professionals about this option. Our salespeople can put you in touch. It is a conversation you will not regret.

Calvin Leen is Mid-South Canterbury and North Otago Sales Manager for PGG Wrightson Real Estate Limited.

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Canty couple scoop up Ballance awards A

Central Canterbury dairy farming couple who are early adopters of research and methods to reduce their carbon footprint and nitrate leaching while still operating a highly productive and profitable farm have been named the Canterbury supreme winners in the 2020 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Tony Coltman and Dana Carver are equity partners in Canlac Holdings near Dunsandel. Already a highperforming farm when the couple took over in 2013, their focus on good management practise has lifted it to another level. The operation involves two farms being run as one business, the 1000-cow Canlac Dairy and the nearby Quantum Dairy milking 1150 cows. Under their tenure, the farm has significantly reduced its environment footprint, including cutting nitrogen leaching by about 50 per cent – more than what is required under Environment Canterbury regulations – while still retaining high production and profitability. Stock health was a priority, along with a strong focus on maximising the high-genetic herd through strategic breeding and the retention of first calvers. The couple were keen to leave the farm in top condition for future generations and have an ongoing planting programme under way that includes shelter and native plants. The farm’s effluent area has been significantly increased, while they’re continually improving the sophisticated irrigation system and maintaining soil fertility. The couple say they entered the awards to profile their

Supreme winners Dunsandel dairy farmers Tony Coltman and Dana Carver.

sustainable business and demonstrate how farmers care for their environment. “Farmers need to be proud of what they are doing,” Coltman said. The judges commended Canlac’s strong business acumen and large amount of recording and monitoring. In addition, the couple had clear goals for both themselves and the health and wellbeing of their 10 staff, as well as being heavily involved in off-farm activities. In addition to the supreme award, Tony Coltman and Dana Carver won the people in primary sector, sustainability and stewardship, climate

stewardship and wise with water awards. Southbridge large-scale vegetable grower Robin Oakley, of Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables, also featured prominently, winning three category awards. Operating over 400 hectares, Oakley’s is the main supplier of potatoes, beetroot, pumpkin and broccoli to one of the South Island’s biggest food chains. Oakley said it can be the small things and observations that make all the difference to sustainably producing quality vegetables. To enhance crop performance, his team keeps a close eye on crop rotations, soil cultivation,


soil nutrients and irrigation, while adapting to environmental conditions. An innovative, agile approach is taken across the business, resulting in consistently highquality vegetables that meet the changing demands of consumers. Judges commended Oakley’s for using integrated pest management to determine when to apply pesticides, along with its commitment to using minimal fertiliser and chemicals. The business was working with Plant and Food Research to release a wasp that biologically controls pest insects. Oakley’s was also innovative in its use of technology, whether

machinery, communications or monitoring. The judges were impressed with the Oakley’s flexibility to meet changing consumer needs and its commitment to customer satisfaction. Oakley’s won the soil management, agri-science and innovation awards. Beef and deer farmers, Mike and Nicky Salvesen, of Wakare, Mount Somers, received the Environment Canterbury water quality award and Beef and Lamb NZ livestock farm award. The Salvesens entered the competition to help shift negative perceptions by demonstrating the positive environmental work being done by farmers. Their main farm runs calving cows and breeding bulls for dairy herds, deer for venison production and about 1000 lambs for finishing. A second block runs dairy grazers and wagyu beef. Genetic measurements were tracked as the business strived to continually improve the quality of its animals. Numerous improvements had been made to the property in terms of production and the environment, including a significant tree-planting programme. This includes planting 1500 new trees annually for the next 10 years. The judges were impressed with their commitment to sourcing and planting native trees, along with waterway protection that included planting and fencing. Also recognised were Mount Somers dairy and beef farmers Richard and Chrissie Wright, of Tamar Farm, who received the Norwood agribusiness management award.

Dairy Focus

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A2 milk switch

pays off

Page 23

CHEAP Pivot Rut Shingle


Dairy Focus

Fodder beet not a complete diet F

odder beet, a crop widely grown in Canterbury to winter dairy cows, should not be considered a complete diet, research shows. New research into fodder beet shows the crop can be a key part of dairy farm systems, but should make up no more than 30 per cent of lactating cows’ diet and 60 per cent for non-lactating cows. The Sustainable Use of Fodder Beet research project looked at nutrient and mineral interactions, and impacts on long-term animal health and welfare. A literature review undertaken as part of the project has confirmed the crop’s benefits and challenges. “Fodder beet will continue to be a key part of New Zealand dairy systems – but it should not be seen as a complete diet,” says DairyNZ senior scientist Dawn Dalley. “Fodder beet is widely used on South Island dairy farms and is a versatile, high energy, high yield crop which allows cows to put on body condition quickly, if transitioned correctly. This makes it an attractive option for farmers. But because of the high sugar content, careful transitioning onto the crop is

Fodder beet is widely grown on South Island farms.

critical.” The use of fodder beet had increased over the past decade and today around 55,000 hectares was estimated to be planted annually in New Zealand. Most fodder beet was grown in the South Island – with the project survey showing 79 per cent of Canterbury/North Otago farms and 58 per cent of South Otago/Southland dairy farms feed cows the crop. In recent years, some farmers had become concerned about potential health effects on herds. Cows can develop ruminal acidosis, milk fever or nutrient deficiencies if fodder beet was


grazed for long periods without appropriate alternative feed and mineral supplementation. Recent research and nutritional modelling has reinforced current recommendations that - for consistent herd performance and to minimise nutrient deficiencies - fodder beet should make up no more than 30 per cent of the diet for lactating cows and 60 per cent for non-lactating cows. Dalley said many farmers were successfully combining fodder beet with other feeds to provide cows with a diet that met nutritional requirements and was cost-effective. “By using feed testing which

includes mineral composition analysis of fodder beet and other feed, farmers can tailor cow diets to address any nutrient deficiencies. Using this approach, fodder beet can be a valuable feed option which contributes to a productive dairy system.” Fodder beet was a hardy autumn and winter crop with environmental benefits. The beet’s low nitrogen content results in reduced urine nitrogen concentrations, leading to less nitrate leaching from animals grazing the crop, compared to kale. It was also an important break crop in winter rotations which use kale and swedes and allows farmers to successfully

crop areas affected by brassica disease. Dalley said that regular communication and good planning was needed between dairy farmers and graziers to develop winter feeding plans that were affordable, easy to implement and meet environmental and animal welfare regulations. Steve Penno, director investment programmes at the Ministry for Primary Industries, which was providing $565,000 towards the million-dollar project, said the research offered an important insight into the use of fodder beet on-farm. “Animal health and welfare is a key priority for MPI and this research will help farmers ensure their cows are eating a healthy proportion of this crop.” The cross-sector project on the Sustainable Use of Fodder Beet on New Zealand Dairy Farms was funded by MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund (now superseded by Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures) and from DairyNZ’s levy, and it involves PGG Wrightson Seeds, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, farmers and vets. It was one year into a three-year research programme.





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A2 milk gamble pays off for Canterbury couple


lucrative contract supplying sought-after A2 milk to Synlait has helped Daniel and Amanda Schat buy their first dairy farm. The Canterbury couple is in their second season milking 385 mainly holstein friesian cows on 103-hectares (effective) at Darfield. Prior to purchasing the irrigated property in June 2018, they were 50:50 sharemilkers on an 800-cow farm owned by Daniel’s parents at Te Pirita. The previous owners supplied A2/A2 milk to Dunsandel-based milk processor Synlait, but there was no guarantee the Schats would get a contract. “We knew we had to supply Synlait here. A2 milk is taking off, so we took an intelligent gamble,” said Daniel Schat. “We had our 800-cow herd tested to find out which cows had the A2/A2 gene. We sold any that didn’t, which was about half the herd. We were 50 cows short of what we needed. “We had to sell some amazing, high-producing cows. But it got us into a great financial position to buy our first farm,” he said. The couple were fortunate to secure a contract to supply A2 milk to Synlait just before the start of the 2018-19 season. The Schats are paid a premium of 20 cents per kilogram of milksolids.

Above: Daniel and Amanda Schat are paid a premium of 20 cents a kilogram of milksolids for their A2 milk. Right: The Schats are on target to produce 180,000kg of milksolids this season.


They’re on target to produce 180,000kgMS this season, meaning their special milk is worth an extra $36,000. “That extra money has been greatly appreciated, especially in our first year of farm ownership,” he said. The Schats are one of about 80 Synlait farms providing milk free from the A1 protein in the South Island. The milk is said to have health benefits for people who have trouble drinking regular milk. Going all A2 meant the Schats were limited in which cows they could cull when they downsized their herd. “We couldn’t cull late-calving cows, older animals, low producers or cows with a high somatic cell count (SCC), which was frustrating,” he said. “It will take time to get the herd back to the standard we’d like.” During mating the couple only uses semen from A2/A2 bulls, which are increasing in availability. “We used a lot of sires from CRV Ambreed’s progeny testing team last spring. It helped bring

The Schats’ milk 385 cows and supply A2 milk to Synlait.

down our semen costs. We also use overseas sires from Holland, Denmark, Canada and the United States,” he said. A key goal has been to boost the milksolids components in the herd’s milk. “Our history of using overseas genetics means the percentage of milksolids in our milk is too low,” said Daniel. “We’re working hard to lift that. I’ve gone through catalogues and found the best holstein friesian bulls with the highest fat percentages.” “We mate our pedigree cows with the lowest fat tests to those bulls, with the aim of improving their offspring,” he said. Bulls they’ve used include Carsons FM Cairo S3F, Zimmerview Lucky-PP-Red-ET, Badger S-S-I Curry Sport-ET and Arkan Pollisher P-ET S2F. Calving starts on August 1 and the herd is dried off in late May. “The property is about 250 metres above sea level, so we don’t really have the option of milking into winter,” he said. The Schats winter 400 cows and keep 100 replacement heifer calves. The number was slightly higher at 122 last spring. “In our first season the empty (not-in-calf) rate was 22 per cent. It meant a lot of cows on the cull list had to be kept,” he said. “We were really proactive last spring. We condition scored the herd twice prior to mating. Any cows under target weight were only milked once a day.” They’ll find out at pregnancy testing if their efforts have paid off. Amanda Schat, who has a background in cosmetics and worked for Christian Dior in Melbourne, rears the calves,

ensuring the next generation of heifers get off to the best start in life. The Schats milk through a 40-aside herringbone with an inshed feed system. The property doesn’t have a feed pad. “We try to run a simple system. Cows are fed pasture, grass silage, maize silage and grain,” he said. “Maize silage is grown where we graze our young stock and it’s fed out in the paddock during the autumn and spring. “It’s used to help extend our lactation and put weight on the cows prior to dry-off. In the spring, it’s fed to cows just before they calve,” he said. The Schats switch to three milkings every two days (threein-two) in late February when production drops below 1.7 kgMS/cow. Four of the couple’s rising two-year-old heifers were contract mated this season. One of the animals is both polled and A2/A2. “We’re trying to breed a few polled cows. That heifer was also flushed. We only got one viable embryo, but it has held in the recipient cow,” he said. “We also have a cow in the herd, which we jointly own with several other people, that has been contract mated. “Producing a bull that’s picked up by a genetics company is a long-term goal for us. It’s a bit of a hobby I guess, but also has the potential to deliver financially,” he said. The same syndicate purchased Tronnoco B Sulana-ET S3F at a

sale in 2014. The cow is from the same family as a recent addition to LIC’s daughter proven premier sires team Tronnoco GI Spike-ET S3F. She was also contract mated. The Schats took full ownership of the cow last winter. The Schats had a 2015-born heifer, Pukerimu EST SashaET S2F, that was flushed as part of the Discovery Project, a joint initiative between LIC and Holstein Friesian NZ. The project’s aim is to undertake embryo work on elite holstein friesian heifers to develop top cow families and breed bulls for the AI industry. The Schats prioritise cows to be assessed and scored for traits other than production (TOP). They did 15 animals last spring. “I’m of the belief that TOP assessments should be subsidised by genetics companies,” he said. “The information contributes to bull proofs, which benefit those companies. It would provide more of an incentive for breeders to get their two-yearolds assessed and scored.” Daniel and Amanda employ a full-time staff member Harry Singh who’s been with them for five seasons. “Harry’s a really valuable part of our team. He played a big role in helping us get to where we are today,” said Daniel. The couple also employed an exchange worker from Switzerland from July through until January. Daniel first joined Holstein Friesian NZ in 1997 as a junior member.


Dairy Focus

Three-in-two milking proving its worth W

ith flexible milking systems becoming increasingly popular, new research into three-in-two milking indicates that farmers and their staff could benefit from this system. DairyNZ senior farm systems scientist Dr Paul Edwards is undertaking a flexible milking trial at the Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm involving 116 cows and testing different applications of the three-in-two (three milkings over two days) system. The trial compares twice-a-day milking; full season three-in-two milking; and two part-season three-in-two milking options. One option starts three-in-two milking from December 1 and the other from March 1. Edwards said the trial results were exciting and early data showed it was possible to shift to three-in-two milking, with only a small reduction in milk production. “We are already seeing many farms in Canterbury and North Otago shifting towards using three-in-two milking in mid-tolate lactation. “Our results are indicating that starting three-in-two milking earlier in the lactation cycle or

Left – DairyNZ’s Dr Paul Edwards at Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm where he is leading new research on threein-two milking systems. PHOTO SUPPLIED

using it across the whole season could be a good option for many farms,” Edwards said. DairyNZ’s animal care consults of 500 dairy farmers nationwide found that the number of farmers using three-

in-two milking has grown from 7 to 12 per cent between the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. In Canterbury, 30 per cent of farmers were using three-in-two milking for part of the 2018/19 season, up from 20 per cent the

previous year. “Reducing the number of milkings, and changing their timing, can help better manage farm workload. More flexible shifts and the option to start later on some days, can also

open up dairy roles to a wider workforce and help make work on-farm more attractive,” Edwards said. “There are lots of different variations to flexible milking which can be adopted by farmers. For example, some farms are shifting to 10 milkings in seven days (10-in-7 milking) which allows you to milk once-aday at the weekend. Milking can be planned around farm needs and staff availability.” The trial was one component of a three-year project to investigate flexible milking options. A dozen farmers using three-in-two milking have been interviewed this year to help identify the barriers and lessons associated with switching to this system. Further work is planned to pilot three-in-two milking on commercial farms, test different milking timings within a threein-two system and develop information resources for farmers.

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DairyNZ and partner farms have been hosting field days and discussion groups to share knowledge amongst farmPHOTO SUPPLIED ers.

Environmental change well under way D

airyNZ recently carried out an assessment to understand what dairy farmers in Selwyn and Hinds are doing already, or were planning to do to meet the reduced nitrogen challenge. In discussion with 210 dairy farmers, DairyNZ found that widespread change was already occurring on-farm to improve environmental management. Every farm had changed one or more things on farm to reduce their nitrogen losses. Some of the common changes farmers were making included upgrading irrigation or effluent systems, or improving how these systems are managed. Many farms were also changing or reducing their use of nitrogen fertiliser. Lots of other changes were also reported by farmers –

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from using catch crops after winter crop grazing, to using low nitrogen feeds such as fodderbeet or plantain. Positively, 94 per cent of the farms assessed were already achieving an A or a B grade for their farm environment plan. Dairy farmers in the Selwyn Waihora water management zone need to reduce their nitrogen losses by 30 per cent by 2022 to meet Environment Canterbury requirements.

In Hinds, dairy farmers have a series of staged targets to meet requiring farmers to reduce their nitrogen losses by 15 per cent by 2025 and by 36 per cent by 2035. Of farmers assessed, 85 per cent had a plan in place to meet these targets. The changes occurring in Selwyn and Hinds are being supported by a joint project between DairyNZ and local farms. We are now two years into this five-year levy funded project and are working with 50 partner farms in Selwyn and Hinds to identify options farmers can use to reduce their nitrogen losses, while still continuing to operate as successful farms. DairyNZ and partner farms have been hosting field days and discussion groups to share knowledge amongst farmers


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and workshops for rural professionals have also been held. I lead the project and am really excited to see that the knowledge from partner farms has been shared across many other farms resulting in widespread change. Our assessment of the 210 farms proves that farmers have made a huge commitment to making change on-farm for the benefit of the environment. The assessment showed that 40 per cent of the farms interviewed had achieved an A grade through the independent farm environment plan auditing process, 54 per cent of farms a B grade, 4 per cent of farms a C grade and 2 per cent of farms were waiting to be audited. We also asked farmers how they felt about making changes.

Of those surveyed, 42 per cent of farmers felt positive about the changes they were making on-farm, 55 per cent of farmers viewed the changes as necessary, while only 3 per cent of farmers reported feeling negative about making changes. Eighty per cent of the farmers interviewed were from the Selwyn Waihora Zone. We are continuing to interview more farmers in the Hinds catchment as part of the project to get a better picture of change in that catchment. From these results, dairy farmers have a great message to share with the wider community. Farmers are already taking steps to reduce their nitrogen losses in order to protect our environment and they are planning to do more in the future.

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And now, some positive news SALES REP BERNADETTE.CHRISTIE





CUSTOMER PUBLISHING SIZE 10X7 s the world is faced with aSALES torrent there’s no guarantee Fonterra will take to litigate the matter, and the mechanism REP BERNADETTE.CHRISTIE PUBLICATION of horrific news as the pandemic themAD back they change their mind. for determining milk prices remains ERTISING ID if6268508AA FAX 4528 DESIGNER Unknown SECTION sweeps the globe, it feels like there is New processors who set up shop in largely unchanged in the new version of ROOF little to be positive about. New Zealand will no longer receive DIRA. PROOFED 27/08/2014 1:31:18 p.m. SIZE But over recent weeks there have been PLEASE APPROVE THIS AD three years’ supply of AS raw milk at cost I don’t know ifTHAT there wasANY any ALTERA AS SOON POSSIBLE. NOTE FAX two small gems for New Zealand dairy AD ID 6268508AA from Fonterra. one thing that convinced the Select farmers. This rule was designed ensure MATERIAL Committee of the merits of Fonterra’s MUST BE FINALISED BYtoOUR DEADLINE. The first piece of good news was competitive domestic supply, but was submission; strong support from ROVE THIS AS AS POSSIBLE. NOTE THAT ANY A Craig SOON ELBOW DEEP Fonterra’s half year financial AD results, cynically flouted, primarily by foreignfarmers, excellent submissions by the @dairymanNZ Hickman which are a remarkable turnaround from owned processors to get low cost raw Dairy Workers’ Union and Fonterra’s MUST BE FINALISED BY MATERIAL DEADLINE. This legislation created Fonterra 19 OUR the co-operative’s first ever loss posted material which they’d process and export Shareholders’ Council or if it was just years ago and it subjects the co-operative for their products to compete against last year. The loss wasn’t insignificant a committee unusually blessed with to frequent reviews. I expected that the or so small it could be dismissed as a Fonterra’s on foreign supermarket common sense. cross-party committee would tinker with shelves. rounding error, the co-operative lost Fonterra have weathered a lot of the legislation, creating a hodge podge over half a billion dollars which only Now they will only get this supply criticism recently for “cosying up to the of barely workable compromises like makes the recent turnaround even more for one year, still not perfect but a vast Government”, for taking a leadership previous committees have done. What I impressive. improvement and something that levels role in climate change, for working wasn’t expecting was unanimous clarity At a time of mass uncertainty when the playing field significantly. with the Government on fresh water and sweeping reform from the crossmany people don’t know if they’ll Goodman Fielder, a company that has and clean energy rather than fighting party panel of MPs. still have a job in a few months, it is had 20 years to secure its own supply it every step of the way. I’ve been to The committee have decided open somewhat relieving that these results chain yet failed to do so, complained enough meetings in recent times to entry should go except for genuine new will see Fonterra inject more than $11 long and hard that the 10 cents per know that not all directors or councillors farmers who have never supplied milk billion into the New Zealand economy kilogram of milksolids they paid to were happy with this fresh approach to before. through milk payments to their farmers. piggyback off Fonterra’s infrastructure government relations, but this result Fonterra’s competitors fought hard to Those farmers will in turn spend over was too onerous. The Select Committee with DIRA thoroughly vindicates the retain open entry, the rule that forced half of that in their local communities, disagreed and Fonterra have won the people who convinced the management Fonterra to accept milk from anyone communities which need money now right to charge more for its services. team it was worth a try. who wanted to supply them, because more than ever before. It’s not just The Select Committee heard time and It’s not a done deal yet, the changes it made it far easier for them to poach Fonterra farmers who will benefit; again that Fonterra, who are charged still need to be passed into legislation supply from the co-operative. The open independent processors around with paying their suppliers the highest and things will be delayed due to entry provision also drove a massive the country will be benchmarking possible sustainable milk price, were Covid-19, but the fact it has cross-party spike in dairy conversions as it forced themselves off the co-operative’s strong paying farmers too much. It was a support and unanimous endorsement Fonterra to collect all the new milk. performance. common refrain from processors and from the Select Committee give me hope Now there’s no safety net, people are The second piece of positive news, their lobbyists seeking to drive down its passage through Parliament will be still free to cash in their Fonterrashares which I’m sure many will have missed, the price they paid their own suppliers uncomplicated. and sign a contract with an independent was the Primary Production Select in order to increase dividends for their After nearly two decades in existence, processor, but they’ll be thinking a lot Committee’s report on the Dairy overseas shareholders. Fonterra will finally be free of some more carefully about the long term Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) The High Court found this was not unnecessary constraints and can be left implications of that decision because Amendment Bill. the case when Open Country Dairy tried to focus on doing what it does best.


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Correct sharpening of hoof knives Fred Hoekstra



ast month, I was talking about hoof knives and touched on how to sharpen them. I want to stress again that a hoof knife should never be sharpened on the back of the blade as this would cause you to cut into the hoof, rather than taking off a slice. If you use a bench grinder with either a sanding belt, flap wheel, or a rubber disc, you will need to be careful not to overheat the knife. If the knife goes blue while you are sharpening it the steel will soften because it cools down too slowly. Having a knife with a soft steel blade will go blunt very quickly so you ruin the knife if you do that. Have a cup of water next to your grinder and dip the knife into the water on a regular basis. You can’t overcool it, but it is easy to overheat it.

Be careful not to overheat the knife while sharpening.

When the blade of the knife is sharp and you can see that there is a burr along the full length of the blade, you can sharpen the hook. This can be done on the outside edge of the hook, or on the inside if you have a rubber disc. We use a rubber disc with a groove in the side about 5mm from the edge. This groove is there especially for the hook of the knife. Since this disc is made of rubber it is important to have the disc turning away from the operator.

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You can achieve this by just turning the grinder around. If you don’t do that you will damage your knife, your disc and possibly yourself. If you have a dedicated grinder for knife sharpening you may want to unbolt the base, turn it around and attach it again. This way the stop button is still at the front which is an important safety issue. Once the hook has been sharpened you can take the burr off. We use a cotton disc on our



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bench grinder for that. Burn some sharpening paste into the cotton disc as it is rotating. Just hold the paste against the disc as it spins around. Without the paste the disc is too smooth and it will take a long time to polish the burr off the knife. After a while, if the cotton disc isn’t performing very well you just need to burn some more paste into the disc. The cotton disc is another reason why you need to have the disc rotating away from yourself.

If you have followed this procedure properly you will have a knife that is sharp enough to shave yourself with, however, a safer way to test it out would be by trying to cut a normal piece of paper by holding it up in midair with one hand and cutting it with the knife in your other hand. It should be sharp enough to slice through the paper by itself - just about! Most people don’t have a bench grinder with the right discs on it and we would be happy to discuss the options available to you. There are sharpening pens on the market. They may get your knife reasonably sharp, but it will never do as good a job as a bench grinder. However, it can be handy to use a sharpening pen while you are trimming to get the dents out of the edge of the knife if you hit a stone. Using the backside of another knife is very effective for this as well. We have recently put a knife sharpening video on YouTube which you can access by searching “Dairy HoofCare Institute New Zealand” or check it out on our Facebook page - let us know what you think!


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Essential ag services need to register M

ore information has been provided on how those working in the agricultural sector will operate during the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Primary industries, and those who supply them, have been deemed an essential service, however they will need to follow strict rules to stop the spread of the virus. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) had been working closely with food producers and other government agencies to ensure safe operations. “The primary sector, from the biggest companies, co-operatives, large orchards, right down to the smallest farms, must keep high standards in workplaces for their own safety and others’ wellbeing,” O’Connor said. Larger farmers, growers must register If you are a farmer with five or fewer people (including the owner) working at your farm business, and you are able to achieve social distancing measures between staff in your workplace, including travelling, to and from work, then you do

in this rapidly evolving Covid-19 situation. “And, it is time for us all to do what we can to try and continue to support you through these challenging times,” the companies said. “We are working closely together to ensure that all farmers and growers across New Zealand have the necessary products and supplies to keep your businesses operating. As we move into Alert Level 4, we will need to change the way we operate. “We are preparing to do this and will take the necessary steps to ensure we can all get through this together as safely as we can. “To ensure there’s enough for everyone, it’s important to not panic and overstock. “We are confident that we have ample product across our businesses to meet your essential needs and there is no need to buy more than your regular requirements. “We are here to support you and we will get through this by working cooperatively together,” the companies said.

Key points • Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing, are deemed an essential service. • Veterinary and animal health/welfare services are essential. • Workplaces must follow strict guidelines, to avoid the spread of the virus, if they continue operating. • The collection of farmers’ milk and the dairy company operations will be prioritised. • The Government has been working with primary sector industries on guidelines. • All essential businesses who wish to operate under the Level Four Covid-19 alert must register. • Federated Farmers says the sector has a vital role to play in supporting New Zealand during the crisis.

not need to register. If you have more than five staff (including yourself) and/ or you cannot guarantee two metre distancing of staff due to the type of work being carried out, then you must fill out and submit the Safe Practice Registration Form on the MPI website. Contact MPI at 0800 00 83 33 or for

further details on registering or the registration process. This advice also applies to any contractors or industry personnel visiting or working on your property. Remember, that although your farm is still operational, you must enforce the physical distancing rules. Meanwhile, in a joint statement, rural supply


companies PGG Wrightson, Farm Source and Farmlands Cooperative said products and supplies would be available if people did not overstock. “As you know, our agri-sector does a fantastic job in growing nutritious produce that helps feed New Zealanders at home and a significant number of people in the world. Now more than ever, you play an important role in supporting our country






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Five top tips for farm machinery I

t is so important to do proper maintenance on farm machinery. Farm machinery is hardly cheap and the breakdowns are often just as expensive to repair. Untimely breakdowns can also affect your productivity and income when you are not able to bring in that harvest on time. Safety is a huge issue with machinery that isn’t properly maintained and can result in property damage and operator injuries. Properly maintained machinery has a much lower chance of breaking down when you need it the most and these machines pose much less risk to those working with them and your resale value is a lot higher when you take great care of your machinery. So why do so many farmers neglect the maintenance of their machinery when they always end up paying for

negligence? Well, the answer is simple. Most people just don’t know how to properly care for these big, bulky and expensive machines. Here are a few tips to ensure that your farm machinery is always maintained properly. Get the right operator training Most farms have quite a few operators using the same machinery. It is important to get all operators up to date on maintenance and operation requirements as well as the manager or supervisor. If everyone knows how to effectively man the farm machinery then the chances of missing out on maintenance are much lower. Employees or operators will also know how to properly handle and maintain their

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machinery. Another good tip is to keep manuals close by so operators can brush up on their understanding of the machine whenever needed. If manuals are particularly challenging then the maintenance sections should be rewritten in easy to understand terms. Remember to lubricate your machinery Lubricants should be used on all moving parts on farm machinery. Lubricants reduce friction and enhance the life expectancy of machinery and parts. It is important to use a good quality

lubricant and to always clear up dirt and messes found on the machine before adding new lubricant. Buildups and dirt should be cleared out so your machine parts can run smoothly at all times. Know the signs of wear and damage If you know your machine well enough then you should be able to tell the moment


and farm vehicle maintenance something goes wrong. Vibration, shock, overheating, friction and strange noises are all signs of wear or damage. It is important to keep an eye or ear out for these signs so you can get your farm machinery serviced before a major breakdown happens.

Keep machinery clean It is tough to spot signs of breakdowns and wear and tear when your farm machinery is too dirty. Keep your machinery clean so you can spot danger signs such as oil leaks and grease buildups easily. It is also important to do proper cleaning maintenance such as filter cleaning, buildup removal, vacuuming and dusting inside farm machinery

so your machinery will look great for a long time to come. Keep a schedule The farm life can be quite busy and it can be easy to forget when a machine is due for a service or for repairs. Create a schedule of the time your farm machinery should be maintained and keep a track record of previous repairs and maintenance that have been done on the equipment.

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Deer velvet size matched by quality A

scientific study has shown that the quality of New Zealand deer antler velvet has greatly improved in the last three decades. It contains more of the lipids and proteins that are linked to the bioactivity of deer velvet products and their value as natural health foods. In the study, funded by the deer industry and AgResearch, velvet antler harvested from red and elk/wapiti deer in the 201819 season was analysed and the results compared with a 1991 study. This showed the average velvet antler today is of higher quality than the best of the antlers analysed in the earlier study. The valuable upper portion of the antler made up 25 per cent more of the whole antler than it did in the earlier study. Overall lipids increased by 4 per cent and proteins by 25 per cent. Velvet antler from the two breeds of deer farmed for velvet in New Zealand – red and elk/ wapiti deer – was shown to be essentially the same in terms of composition. AgResearch scientist Stephen Haines, who led the study, said the impressive progress deer

The quality of the average velvet cut today is higher than our best velvet was 30 years ago. It contains more of the lipids and proteins that are linked to the bioactivity of deer velvet products and their value as natural health foods.


farmers have made increasing antler size has been matched by equally impressive improvements in velvet composition. Deer Industry NZ chief executive Innes Moffat said deer farmers should be proud of what they have achieved. “They have made huge efforts to improve the quality of all aspects of velvet production. Stag genetics, welfare and nutrition are light years ahead of where they were 30 years ago. Harvest hygiene and cool chain

improvements ensure quality is maintained all the way from the stag to the processor.” Deer velvet is a unique animal product that regrows each year. It is humanely removed from stags run largely in specialist velvet producing herds on New Zealand deer farms. It is also produced in Australia, China, Russia, North America and other places. “Velvet is a cornerstone – along with ginseng – of traditional Chinese and Korean

medicine, with a reputation going back thousands of years. It has also been the subject of several small scientific studies. These indicate that velvet-based products may have a role in reducing arthritic pain, healthy brain ageing, lowering blood pressure, wound healing and recovery from intense physical exertion,” Moffat said. “The deer industry hopes that the results of these trials will pique the interest of organisations with the

resources needed to fund proper randomised clinical trials.” Moffat said health food companies in Korea have in the last few years developed a range of velvet-based products for a new generation of consumers. “One popular product is formulated for students to provide an energy boost during busy exam times. Like a healthy “Red Bull”. Building immune function and combatting fatigue are other functions that attract consumers to these contemporary products,” he said. “These new products have greatly expanded the market for velvet during the past decade. However, demand and prices now appear to have plateaued, which means we not looking for new producers to enter the industry.” The AgResearch study also showed that the industry grading standards, which were based on market preference were scientifically valid. “Velvet cut at the correct time was higher in the lipids and low molecular weight proteins that are linked to the bioactivity of velvet than velvet cut seven days and 14 days later than the industry standard.”

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Battle ahead for forestry sector By NZME


imes are tough for West Coast forestry crews, which are struggling to survive as the lack of space at Chinese ports brings New Zealand’s log exports to a halt and now there’s the added battle of the impact of Covid-19. China’s sawmills remain closed and few logs are being unloaded at its ports. There have been reports that some logging gangs have already been laid off, while others have scaled back operations. Ngai Tahu Forestry, the largest forest owner on the West Coast, said it had been affected by the slow-down of exports to China, but declined to comment on the extent of the impact. Ngai Tahu Farming chief executive Andrew Priest said the business was working closely with contractors and suppliers to sustain business as usual. Ngai Tahu’s about 25,000ha of production pine supplied the West Coast’s two remaining sawmills at Stillwater and Ruatapu, and the Gladstone plywood factory, as well as Canterbury mills and export logs. A West Coast logging contractor, who declined to be named, said his crews were down to 80 per cent production, or a four-day week. “We are cleaning up bits and pieces of the harder stuff and haven’t had a day off yet. “I’ve seen it before. A lot of the younger guys get in too deep and think it’s all beer and skittles – and it is not. If they have debt they are more vulnerable. “Some are a lot worse off than I am. We are lucky because a lot of our stuff is domestic.” Contractor Ross Sadler said

West Coast logging crews are struggling to survive as New Zealand log export grind to a halt.

he was focused on keeping his six-man crew working; it had cut about half its usual amount of logs this month and he did not know when it would have to stop. The crew was “flat-out” working full weeks, and its logs were stockpiled for export from Port of Nelson. However, Sadler did not know if all the logs would be exported. He was keen to keep his crew

working so he did not lose his staff, but also had a firewood business which they could turn to as back-up. Canterbury-based Forest Management Group director Glenn Moir said its two West Coast crews had not been affected by the log export slowdown. “Contractors in the regions which are export dependent are struggling and crews are on reduced hours,” Moir said. The company’s West Coast


crews supplied the Canterbury domestic market, while its two Canterbury crews supplied prime pruned logs to the Westco Logan mill at Ruatapu and IPL at Gladstone. NZ Forest Owners Association president Peter Weir said New Zealand sawmills took about 40 per cent of the harvest. Sawmills supplying the housing market bought stiffer and higher quality sawlogs or knot-free logs from pruned trees. Exporters had nowhere else

to send their industrial grade (unpruned) logs but China. A substantial reduction in harvesting was likely to have a major and rapid effect on the large workforce in trucking and port loading, Weir said. Nelson-based Stuart Drummond Transport managing director Brodie Drummond said the company moved about 70,000 tonnes of West Coast logs, about 30 per cent of which came from Ngai Tahu Forestry blocks.


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Chainsaw know-how U

sing a chainsaw can be the most fun you can have in the garden. However, things can go wrong in an instant if you throw caution to the wind and go all Texas Chainsaw Massacre on your trees. Here’s our guide on how you should use your chainsaw and what you can, and can’t, do in your garden.

What are you cutting? The guide bar (the bit the chain spins around) determines what size trees or branches your chainsaw can handle. In general, you need a bar slightly longer than the width of the trees or branches you’ll be attacking. For typical garden tasks, such as pruning or taking down smaller trees, anything about the 30cm mark will suit. If you’re tackling larger jobs, you’ll need to go bigger. Anything above 45cm will require a grunty engine to drive the chain.

Maintenance Servicing the chain You’ll need to adjust the chain tension on a chainsaw to make sure everything stays in one piece. You might need to do this after using the saw for a few minutes, as the chain expands when it gets hot. It can be a fiddly process, involving a few bolts and screws – although some models now allow toolless adjustments. Petrol chainsaws need regular maintenance, like a car, to keep them running well. Consult the user manual to see how often you need to service your beast. No matter the power source, you need to monitor chain oil levels to ensure the chain stays lubricated. The teeth also dull over time, making cutting through anything a chore. You can get them sharpened or file them up yourself. Weight Electric models are the lightest of the bunch. Battery models can be weighed down by their battery, while heavy-duty petrol chainsaws are the heaviest. Before you buy one, pick it up and have a good play with it in store. Choose one that feels well balanced – it’s an important consideration if you’re going to be using it for hours on end.

Noise There’s no such thing as a quiet chainsaw, and you should wear earmuffs when using one. While battery and electric models are much quieter than petrol chainsaws, they still drone quite loudly (about 90 decibels, similar to a petrol lawnmower). In comparison, petrol models can reach upwards of 120 decibels (about the same as a rock concert).

Chainsaw safety Safety considerations when using a chainsaw. What you can, and can’t, cut Chainsaws work best on live or recently felled trees. Brittle, rotten and dead wood can pose problems when being cut. You don’t know how the wood will respond. In some cases, old wood can pinch the chain, leading to kickbacks or chain breakages. Tip: Never cut branches above head height. You’ll have less control of your chainsaw, and the branches need to fall somewhere. What’s a kickback? A kickback is where the chainsaw comes flying back at you, sometimes at an uncontrollable pace. It can happen if you try cutting with the nose of the saw, or if wood pinches the chain. Your saw’s chain brake might trigger when a kickback occurs, which lessens the chance of injury, but you can still cause a lot of damage. You can minimise the dangers of a kickback by standing slightly to the side of any cut you’re making, rather than in-line directly behind the saw. Visualise where the saw could travel after you make a cut and always keep a firm grip on the handles. Check before you chop Not all trees are created equal and there may be some protected specimens in your area that you can’t touch, even if they’re blocking million-dollar views of the harbour. Your local council’s website will have information about which trees you can and can’t cut down or trim – you could even be living in an ecologically significant area where they’re all protected. It’s a good idea to call and get clearance before you get into it, because fines can run into six figures.

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Virus impacting on velvet and venison T

he escalation of Covid-19 infections around the world is having a serious impact on demand for New Zealand’s deer products. The degree to which this affects future returns will depend upon the speed with which countries can get the virus under control and allow normal commerce to resume. In those countries that are successful with their Covid-19 suppression measures, some sort of normality may return in a couple months. But, until a vaccine becomes available, which could be as long as 12 to 18 months, travel is likely to remain restricted and the public will need to maintain physical distance in order to prevent a resurgence in infections. China and Korea, New Zealand’s key velvet markets, were the first to feel the impact of the disease. China appears to be on top of things now and there were some positive signs coming from South Korea, Deer Industry NZ market manager Rhys Griffiths said. He contends it would have been worse for the deer industry had the outbreak, which started in China last December, occurred six months earlier.

“As it is, it was helpful that it took off at the tail-end of the season, when the majority of velvet had been sold or accounted for.” Some Korean velvet importers reported that they saw velvet consumption increasing during the SARS outbreak in 2003, due to its perceived immune function properties, he said. “But, overall, we can’t expect to see anything positive coming out of this. We are deeply concerned about potential supply chain disruptions and the mediumterm impact on demand from the predicted major downturn in economic activity.” Logistical issues were being clarified around the globe. “We understand the reasons, but it was not helpful having ports clogged up in China and Korea in January and February. Getting frozen container space on the ports also proved to be an issue,” Griffiths said. Airfreight has also been disrupted, with many direct flights to China and Korea cancelled. Airlines are now operating much reduced international services, a situation that is likely to continue for many months to come. The industry’s focus has now

moved to demand for New Zealand venison in Europe, the new epicentre of the disease. Again, the timing has been fortuitous for this season at least, as the spread of the disease from Asia occurred towards the end of the main production season. The main impact was likely to be felt next season. Foodservice in Germany was the first to feel the impact of people starting to self-isolate and not going out to eat. “Sales to wholesalers are down, offset in part by a slight increase in deliveries of meals to homes and a spike in online retail,” DINZ venison marketing manager Nick Taylor said. As EU borders, venues, restaurants and even non-essential shops have now been ordered to close, it was clear the summer Cervena programme would be impacted. The cancelling of mass gatherings had seen trade fairs postponed or cancelled including the Internorga restaurant fair in Hamburg and Tavola in Belgium. Disruption was happening in North America, with the Canada-United States border closed both ways and the US advised its citizens to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, as well as bars and restaurants.

Restaurants in Germany were among the first to feel the impact of people after the game season when demand for NZ venison is high.

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starting to self-isolate and not going out to eat. Fortunately, this occurred PHOTO SUPPLIED

The US also closed its border to passengers from the EU’s Schengen area, in addition to an earlier ban for those from China and Iran. This has meant the cancellation of a market tour for DINZ executive chef Graham Brown, Taylor said. Venison marketers were looking for innovative ways to work around the changes in demand and reduction in restaurant sales and were using their international networks to find alternative customers. But with conditions changing so rapidly it was difficult to place all venison being produced at the moment. When things return to normal with public gatherings permitted and restaurants opening, consumers will be looking for high quality, nutritious protein sources. DINZ will be using this time to develop new innovative recipes and resources for importers and wholesalers ready to support their promotional activities. The New Zealand primary sector’s strength, resilience and ability to respond to the effects of drought and the global impact of Covid-19 was highlighted in the latest edition of Ministry of Primary Industries Situation and

Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI, March 2020). This suggests demand for New Zealand red meat could continue to be strong in the wake of African Swine Fever in Asia and the Australian drought and wildfires. It was important to keep on top of any non-tariff trade barriers that might inadvertently arise as an impact of pandemic measures around the globe. The DINZ executive was monitoring the situation closely and liaising with MPI and market authorities as required.

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Designing or upgrading effluent systems W

hen making the decision to install, or upgrade, a farm dairy effluent system it’s important to ask the right questions, gather information and take professional advice. You want the system to work well for many seasons to come so it’s important to consider the following: • Find the right person for the job • Establish your system requirements • Make sure future plans are taken into account

Landscape and rainfall One of the most crucial aspects to consider is how landscape and climate affect effluent management. The main factors which play a role in the success of effluent application are: • Soil drainage characteristics • Landscape contour • Rainfall and soil moisture deficits Soil assessment Management practices need to be matched to soil and landscape risk in order to prevent loss of effluent into the surrounding environment. Soils across New Zealand have been classified into high and low soil risk categories for farm dairy effluent application. Effluent technology and tools New technology allows for the

development of tools and programes to help with effluent, water, and nutrient management decisions on farm. Many expensive regional council fines can be avoided if a fail-safe device is installed on their irrigator. Options include: • Software and web applications • Smartphones • Soil moisture monitoring • Pumps • Pond or sump level alarms • Timers • Applicator devices There are several companies developing dairy effluent treatment systems that they believe will offer options for farmers, but these need to be carefully evaluated. Energy capture systems from dairy effluent Recently there has been interest in biogas capture from dairy effluent and converting this to electricity for use on farm and/or selling to the grid. Thinking of using recycled dairy effluent water for washdown? It’s often a good idea, although there are strict food safety regulations that you need to understand and manage to prevent any possible risks to food safety.



Clean water, zero carbon emissions? Let’s fix the problem, not dodge it. A while ago it stated that the use of soluble fertiliser was one of the most disruptive practises in mainstream farming, and that the harm those products are actually doing is contradictory to sustaining a beneficial microbial community. So why do we need to worry? Here is why: The increasing environmental regulatory rules and regulations to be set by both government and regional government, requires farmers to have environment plans in place, setting out the amount of nitrogen and fertiliser that can be applied where and when. And with the global warming issues, Government has zero carbon emission targets that will need to be achieved in the future. To be compliant, along with other management practises, these will unlikely, not be achievable, unless we reduce the reliance on synthetic soluble fertilisers. What’s the problem? A tremendous amount of synthetic soluble fertilisers is used in mainstream farming, those products were the backbone of the fertiliser practises over the last 50 or so years, those same products have contributed to the environment and sustainability problems and human health issues that we are facing now. What’s the issue with soluble synthetic fertilisers? By definition they are extremely soluble, meaning when coming in contact with soil water they are available and subject to runoff, causing any excess of nutrients to flow into water-ways, rivers, streams, ground water and underground aquifers.

So, we shouldn’t be so surprised when we find them there. Synthetic soluble fertilisers are the by-products of the petrochemical industry, its farcical to think that those synthetic fertilisers were meant to replace the natural mineral nutrients removed by agriculture farming. Petrochemical products replacing biological nutrients removed from the soil is not what nature’s sustainable plan had in mind, particularly with global warming and climate change issues that we all are facing. Synthetic soluble fertiliser is extremely harmful to the soil’s biology, particularly mycorrhiza fungi, and more photosynthetic

energy is required to convert synthetic fertilisers to amino acids and proteins, than directly, from the soil’s natural mineral and microbial population. More water is used in this conversion process also. What’s the solution? The main objective now must be to maximise photosynthesis to its full potential and take the carbon that it produces and retain it in the soil. The only carbon drawdown process nature’s got involves green plants, taking up CO2, water and sunlight and transforming that into carbon that the plant uses to grow leaves, stems, roots and seeds through photosynthesis.

Surplus carbohydrates are stored in the soil, and are retained only if the soil’s biology, particularly fungi are present, to convert those sugars made from photosynthesis into stable soil carbon. Soil carbon regulates the mineral and water storage and the longevity of water hydrology of the soil. To be nett carbon emitters, farming practises will have to retain the carbon in the soil and stop oxidising CO2 back into the atmosphere. It’s important that we visit the new science and information about the importance of the soil biology, for photosynthetic capability, sustainability, environment, nutrient management and carbon

sequestration practises. Fertiliser management systems will in the future need to be designed to reduce the reliance on these products. For transitioning farmers, a gradual reduction of 20-30 per cent of the synthetic fertilisers and combining with non-soluble fertilisers, would be a solution, thus giving a balance of quick and slow release, this will result in no decrease in production, in fact, beneficial factors would be apparent straight away. There is a real need to work within biological systems rather than against biological systems.

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Water vapour the elephant in the room W

ater vapour is the elephant in the room and it’s so big it can’t even fit in the room. That’s the message of noted climatologist and soil scientist Walter Jehne who visited New Zealand recently to give a series of presentations to farmers. He believes the current focus on carbon and its role in climate change is looking at the wrong thing. Jehne said that it is the hydrological cycle that should be our focus: it can be used to successfully manage our climate crisis. Water vapour is the major contributor to the greenhouse effect; in fact 80 per cent of the greenhouse effect comes from water vapour and roughly 20 per cent from carbon dioxide. Water vapour is uniquely powerful at absorbing heat and hydrology drives 95 per cent of heat dynamics, Jehne said. We can use that to change things around, he said. By keeping the soil covered with living things, we can keep it cool. Increasing evapotranspiration by just 4 per cent will effectively cool the planet. “We can’t alter evaporation from the oceans much, but we can greatly increase it from the land surface with our forest

Mary Ralston


and agricultural management. We can do this by integrating agroforestry into our land management and extending the area and particularly the longevity, of green growth of mixed species, deep-rooted perennial cover crops,” Jehne said. Intercepting water vapour and creating clouds and rain is crucial. Trees can do this, and rainforest is much better than coniferous forest. When plants transpire, they release heat and water vapour. When water vapour condenses into clouds it releases latent heat of vapourisation and the heat is reradiated into space. “By increasing the level, density and duration of cloud cover, we can cool the planet. To do that, we need green plants and organic matter (carbon) in the soil to keep the hydrology working.

Perennial pastures cover and cool the soil, draw down carbon from the atmosphere and store water in the PHOTO SUPPLIED soil.

“In a soil that has 3 per cent carbon, you get a fundamentally different response to a rain event. Most water goes into in-soil reservoirs, making a huge difference to the length of the growth period after rain. Rain falling on soil with only 0.3 per cent, however, does not go far. Very little soaks in.” It is not only trees that we

should focus on for improving hydrology and cooling: perennial pastures of deep-rooting species permanently cover the soil and keep it cool. They draw down carbon into the soil and protect the carbon that is already there. What we want is a soil high in carbon and full of microbial life which can hold and retain water over a long period. This

can be achieved by reducing or eliminating the use of chemicals and synthetic fertilisers, incorporating livestock, keeping a living root in the ground as long as possible and minimising cultivation. The issue is huge and our time frame for action is narrowing by the day. Farming leaders, please step up!



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The cafes may be shut, but the free range hens at Mountain View Eggs at Winchmore are still laying.



Heather Chalmers


producing well,” the Thomsons said on their Facebook page. “If you would like eggs delivered direct to your doorstep we will do that free of charge to Ashburton, Methven or Rakaia.” Eggs could be couriered to people further afield. Murray Thomson said that while the business was still growing, they had planned to eventually extend to supplying the general public. “Now we are having to do it under pressure. “People still want to eat. It is just finding those people in a different place while the cafes are shut.” A change in irrigation prompted the move to set up the free range egg business.

“When we changed our irrigation system from borderdyke to pivots, we had dry corners.” Rather than try and irrigate these the Thomsons thought they would try something different and bought some hens. This also provided work and income for their son, who wanted to earn money for flying lessons. Hens are fed meal made fresh on site out of grain grown on






the farm. “We aim for an egg produced as naturally as possible,” Thomson said. “I buy some meat and bone meal to go with it and a small amount of minerals, to ensure the hens are getting everything they need, but everything else I grow on farm.” Crops for hen feed were grown without chemicals. A lot of commercial feeds added yolk colouring, Thomson




he closure of cafes and restaurants as part of a national lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 has a Mid Canterbury free range egg producer offering free delivery to Ashburton and Methven residents to deal with their unexpected surplus of supply. Murray and Lynette Thomson run Mountain View Eggs in conjunction with their arable farm at Winchmore. Starting with 200 hens less than three years ago, their operation has now expanded to 2400 hens which roam free range on pasture, laying their eggs in moveable laying houses. While the Thomsons supply some individual customers, the bulk of their business was supplying cafes, from Christchurch to Oamaru as well as in Mid Canterbury. However, this business has ground to a halt as part of the Government’s new isolation rules, while the hens were still laying. “Café demand is slowing down, but the chooks haven’t caught up with the news and are still




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said. In August last year they installed an egg processing line which washes and grades the eggs. For health reasons during the Covid-19 outbreak, the business would not be recycling or picking up any egg cartons from customers. Mountain View Eggs can be contacted via their Facebook page.


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BCI celebrates outstanding achievements Heather Chalmers



xpanding to cover 24,000 hectares of the Mid Canterbury plains in the last decade, Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation (BCI) is releasing a series of videos to publicise and celebrate its achievements to the wider community. As expansion of its network slowed, BCI had commissioned the videos as a way of showing what it had achieved, said its general manager John Wright. The scheme had grown significantly from its initial 6500ha in 2010 in the upper plains and now included a pipe network in the lower plains. “At the same time, we have taken on the challenge around the environmental impact of intensive farming,” Wright said. The first video released was about recognising those challenges and the ways the irrigation company was mitigating the impacts on water quality. BCI was committed to balancing the irrigation needs of farmers while sustaining and safeguarding the natural environment. “Intensive farming clearly has some impact, but we are putting a lot of work into minimising that and have had significant success with our shareholders implementing good management practices over the last five to six years.” BCI sources water from the Rakaia River at two intakes, at the Highbank power station and a lower intake at Barrhill, which also includes a small hydro-electricity generation plant. Piped infrastructure from the Barrhill intake almost reaches Ashburton. Water swap arrangements with RDR Management have also facilitated the delivery of water to BCI buffer ponds in the upper plains. Piped distribution networks installed by BCI from these buffer ponds delivered pressurised water to farmers. In 2018, BCI completed its 1.5 million cubic metre Akarana storage pond near Methven, enabling it to meet peak demand in the upper plains.

Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation general manager John Wright says further major irrigation expansion is unlikely until water quality issues from intensive farming are mitigated. PHOTO SUPPLIED

“We are effectively filling in the gaps around the other existing schemes in the Ashburton District,” Wright said. While BCI still had surplus water available, environmental constraints meant this was unlikely to be used for further development of dryland. “Instead, I believe it will be used over time to replace groundwater pumped from deep wells with our surface supply. “Everybody accepts that there is not going to be a lot of major irrigation expansion in Canterbury for quite some time until we can mitigate the water quality issues we have already got,” Wright said. The videos feature the farming families of BCI chairman Malcolm Cairns, a Barrhill arable and potato farmer and director Jan Early, a Ruapuna dairy farmer. Along with steps being taken to mitigate environment and water quality concerns, the videos also focus on the inter-generational approach taken by farmers and BCI to investment, as well as the people that have made BCI successful. Cairns said farming was an intergenerational business and BCI also took a long-term approach to its investment decisions. “Water gives us options and some resilience. Who knows what we might be farming here in another 20 years.” Early said she wanted to do something about environmental impacts and BCI offered support to mitigate these. At the end of last year, it became a requirement for all BCI shareholders to adopt a soil moisture monitoring tool on

their farms. “We know these on-farm improvements will reduce our impact on the environment and support improved water quality” Wright said. Initially a joint venture with Electricity Ashburton, farmers secured 100 per cent ownership of BCI’s irrigation scheme infrastructure in 2017. The videos are available on BCI’s website, Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation general manager John Wright says further major irrigation expansion is unlikely until water quality issues from intensive farming are mitigated. PHOTO SUPPLIED

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ThinkWater Timaru 19 Seadown Rd, Washdyke, Timaru (03) 688 2373

Consistently one of Bayleys high performers, Mike has enjoyed continuous success with Bayleys Canterbury. Backed by a boundless energy, informed intellect and determined hard-work, Mike’s rise to the top of Ashburton’s rural property sector is no means by accident. Experience the results that Mike Preston brings to the table today.


Mike Preston


Residential / Commercial / Rural / Lifestyle


We can make this world a better place L

ooks like we have four weeks at home. This is a moment in time we will never forget. So what can we do? How about growing more of your own food? So what can you start growing in autumn? Broad beans, silver beet, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, spinach, mizuna, rocket, bok choi, pak choi, lettuce, parsley, and radish will all grow in the cooler months ahead. Grab yourself some seeds – there will be shops open that sell seeds. Plant seeds directly into a warm place in your garden or into pots you can keep inside so they grow more quickly. You can even grow large pots of greens on your verandah or under shelter in a warm place so they are easy to pick and keep growing. Remember to water them regularly. Get productive in your garden – it’s a good stress relief, gets the oxygen flowing and you can get your winter and spring food growing now. In the kitchen grow your own sprouts for salad. Mung bean or lentil seeds for

Sheryl Stivens


sprouting are cheap to buy. Put some in a large jar and soak overnight. Drain in the morning and cover the jar with gauze so you can rinse the sprouts each day. Within 3-5 days stet will grow tasty nutritious sprouts to sprinkle over your food for the easiest salad ever. Bury your food scraps in your garden if you don’t have a worm farm or compost bin. You will increase your soil’s health and vitality and help regenerate the life and the earthworms will turn it into soil. This is the best thing we can all do to combat climate change. Take time to experiment with food. If you have extra vegetables from your summer garden or in the bottom of the fridge cook them up into tasty soups for the

Above left: Grow your own winter salads. Above: Use any waste timber to make a cold frame for winter gardening. Left: Winter vegetable gardening.

winter months ahead. There are so many great recipes online – don’t worry about having all the ingredients. Use what you have and cook to taste with enough salt to bring out the flavours. Zucchini soup can taste so good. Cook up some bones, either chicken frames or beef or lamb


bones and make a bone broth. Add a dash of cider vinegar and enough salt and simmer the bones in water for several hours or 24 hours in your slow cooker for a fuller bodied broth. Strain off the liquid and drink it or use as a nutruitious soup or stew base. Your body will love it. Tune into positive podcasts that lift your spirits and make

you feel better. This will in turn help your immune system at this time. Look for comedies and funny things to watch and share with others as there is nothing like a good laugh. Take care of each other and reach out to others. Together we can make this world a better place.




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Real estate : An administrative perspective Meagan Bell



he real estate world at the best of times can be overwhelming and complicated. Throw multiple titles, irrigation schemes, water consents, environmental plans and fertiliser application plans and the whole process seems daunting. Without the right help it’s like being stranded in a foreign country with no one to translate. I know, I’ve been there. When I first started in my administration role, I dealt mainly with residential real estate processes. After making the move to Ashburton, I was thrown into the complex world of rural property sales. It seems almost paralysing at first, I felt as if I would never truly grasp the concept of it. Fortunately for me I was in an office with more than 200 years of real estate

knowledge, with around 100 of that being rural based. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all doom and gloom. After gaining an understanding in how all the information comes together, it is a reasonably straightforward process. Getting the right agent for you, to explain the ins and outs has many benefits as well. It’s quite exciting to have the opportunity to be a part of a busy team. No two listings are ever the same and this leaves room for learning and growth. With such complex listing comes a little bit of stress –

We don’t just say team. We promise it.

with rural it’s high quality and high quantity in relation to information and there are also deadlines to meet. It amazes me the knowledge the rural team hold on all their listings. I often can’t even remember the property number and here they almost know the entire farm and all the important details. It really shows how efficient the agents are in gathering information on the property – meaning they can provide the best support to vendor and potential purchasers.

Ashburton isn’t our only strong branch. The teamworking culture in Property Brokers is one of our most highly valued aspects. Since joining forces with Farmlands back in August 2019, our presence in the rural sector has become even stronger. With almost 100 rural agents in the company nationwide and about 40 of them based in the South Island alone, the connections between the different regions plays such a vital role in finding the right buyer. The network of thousands of buyers helps us to not only get

new listings, but find interested parties. Having a tight-knit team provides the ability to work off each other’s strengths to get results. Rural real estate can be complex. What makes the process manageable? Choosing the right agent and the right team to help you. Allowing them to assist in the process and guide you towards the best result. Meagan Bell is branch administrator, Property Brokers, Ashburton.

When you list your farm with our South Island team, there are Property Brokers’ members across the country working alongside them to get you the best result. That’s because every one of them has signed a binding agreement to work together to sell your property. It’s a New Zealand first for the rural real estate industry that means we put your best interests first. Which is exactly where they should be. Find out more at

South Island Rural Team Property Brokers Ltd Licensed REAA 2008



New pasture the profitable way to go R

eplacing poor-producing pasture with new pasture is profitable. In fact it is one of the simplest ways to invest on-farm for a significant and relatively predictable return. The potential rewards from pasture renewal are huge. The higher a farm’s performance, the more it can gain from intensifying its pasture renewal programme. And the beneficial outcomes are common to all grazing based enterprises.

Three reasons to renew your pasture

1 Better stock performance and health 2 Greater management flexibility 3 More money

Why does pasture renewal work?

Modern forage cultivars and new technologies have multiple benefits. • They establish quickly • Produce more dry matter • Resist pests and diseases better • Are more palatable, making

them easier to manage • Have high feed value [ME] so stock do better on them • Grow more feed than weed grasses in both winter and summer conditions • Offer specific seasonal benefits [eg some cultivars are better in summer while others are better in winter]

Some numbers to consider

• Some 1.95 million hectares are

estimated to be under dairying in New Zealand. • If the poorest producing 10 per cent of that area - 195,000ha could increase dry matter production from 12 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year to 17 tonnes, farmers would make an extra $300 million gross. • That’s $1500 per hectare of renewed pasture every year! • In the beef, sheep and deer sectors, an estimated 9.6 million hectares of pasture are in production. e ver pag o d e u From n conti




From P45

Research shows pasture production increases of 10 to 30 per cent are possible on these farms with parallel increases in production, especially lamb growth. • Pasture cultivars typically peak in performance at two to three years after sowing and then start declining. • Hundreds of thousands of hectares of New Zealand pastures are 20, 30 and 40plus years old.

“Why should I renew pasture?”

Most productive pastures deteriorate over time from a combination of natural and induced causes: weed invasion [particularly low quality grasses such as browntop, sweet vernal, crested dogstail, fine fescue, Yorkshire fog, or summer grasses such as paspalum and Mercer grass], dry/drought conditions, wet/ flooding, poor fertility, poor drainage, diseases, insects, pugging, soil compaction, overgrazing and poor management. Over time, the population of desirable, productive plants in a pasture declines, while populations of undesirable or unproductive plants increase, and pastures become ‘runout’. Typically old pasture produces less dry matter, is lower in ME and stock preference, and this decline compounds as the pasture ages.

New pasture is significantly more productive Typically successful pasture renewal will increase dry matter per hectare per year production by around 3–6 tonnes [each year]. This is true of all farms whether they are dairy or sheep, intensive or extensive, irrigated or not. Differences between these groups arise, of course, in the extent to which that extra production can be converted into additional income.

Control over seasonality of production

Farmers can pick cultivars to achieve the seasonal production peaks that create the best opportunities for them.

Modern pasture cultivars allow the farmer to choose the periods of the year when a new pasture will be most productive and when it goes to seed. Cultivars can be chosen to produce more grass in winter, summer and autumn than traditional pastures. Ryegrasses can be chosen with a more than six week difference between the earliest and latest seeding dates.

Consistently higher ME

• Later and more uniform flowering • Leafier sward, with fewer seed heads produced • Less dead leaf material

Higher ME produces compounding benefit

New pastures consistently produce an average of 0.5 more megajoules of ME/kg DM. Note this benefit is over and above the extra dry matter produced by a new pasture. Reasons include: • Higher proportion of desirable species

These attributes make a new pasture sward more attractive to the grazing animal, and thus easier to manage for the control of quality during the late spring and early summer, thereby helping maximise animal intakes and pasture

utilisation. As these pastures are grazed more uniformly, farmers can more easily control the quantity of residual dry matter when the animals are removed. The optimum post-grazing residual means optimum ME regrowth and, therefore, increased animal performance at the next productive grazing.

Access to new endophytes Most new perennial ryegrass




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Ashburton 233 Alford Forest Road 03 307 7153

Normal lending criteria applies. Terms and conditions apply. Offer ends 30/4/2020. * Finance conditions are 1/3 deposit, 1/3 in 12 months, 1/3 in 24 months. Offer available on selected items.

Power Farming Ashburton



TSPhos = TopFertiliser Soils Phosphate

Fine Particle Granulated RPR (Reactive What are the Phosphate benets ofRock) using TS RPR?

. Phosphate Fertiliser . What are the benefits of using TS RPR?

RPR is one of the most cost effective forms of Phosphate, enabling you to apply more units of P at less cost.

• •

The Phosphate contained in TSPhos RPR is in a nonwatery form resulting inPhosphate, higher Phosphate RPR is one ofsoluble the most cost effective forms of enabling you to utilisation apply more unitsin of both P at lesshigh cost. and low anion storage capacity The Phosphate in TSPhosproperties RPR is in a non-watery form resoils. Thecontained slow release make itsoluble considerably sulting in higher Phosphate utilisation in both high and low anion storage less prone to runoff into waterways, streams and ground capacity soils. The slow release properties make it considerably less prone to water. runoff into waterways, streams and ground water.


RPR has a neutralising effect on pH with approximately 50% of the liming effect standard Ag Lime. More importantly not acidifying the RPRofhas a neutralising effect onRPR pHiswith approximately soil like other forms of Phosphate. Save money on a significantly reduced 50% of the liming effect of standard Ag Lime. More requirement for liming when using RPR.

importantly RPR is not acidifying the soilhealth like and other forms RPR is non-acidic, non-synthetic, making it good for soil biology. Soil which are a vital component soils are more active ofmicrobes Phosphate. Save money onofahealthy signicantly reduced and in greater numbers with balanced soil conditions, allowing your soils requirement for liming when using RPR. to do work for you.


RPR is non-acidic, non-synthetic, making it good for soil

Whathealth makes RPRwhich in the andTSPhos biology. the Soil best microbes aremarkET? a vital • •

TSPhos has a faster release period, a result of its > 38% Citric Solubility in typical conditions, because of the ne grinding process, driving an improved return on your fertiliser investment.

TSPhos is in a granule form enabling it to be accurately blended and applied by both ground and air.

cultivars are available with the ‘novel’ [new] endophytes developed to solve particular problems in different regions. The endophyte occurring naturally in New Zealand ryegrass pastures [variously called ‘standard’ or ‘wild’ endophyte] confers resistance of its host ryegrass plants to some insect pests, but it was found in the 1980s to cause ryegrass staggers and heat stress in animals. Novel endophytes are continuing to be developed to maintain good animal health while enhancing the grass’s pest resistance characteristics. As well as Argentine stem weevil, novel endophytes confer resistance to pasture mealy bug, black beetle and root aphid, with more pests likely to be added to this list. DairyNZ carried out a three-year study comparing pastures with the novel AR1 and standard endophyte; the former produced 9% more milksolids than the latter.

Animals are better fed Animals on new pasture graze more grass, and that grass is leafier, higher in ME and more palatable. This will be reflected in: • More milk production • Faster liveweight gains • Higher stocking rates • More contented animals “I’m going to do it. Does that mean I have to grow a lot more crop first?” Not necessarily, but taking paddocks through a crop before regrassing is

preferable in most situations. The cropping process offers: • Two chances to control weeds [in the spring before a summer crop is planted and in the autumn before the new pasture is sown] • The ability to incorporate base fertiliser and lime when cultivating • The opportunity to do contour and/or drainage work • The ability to increase DM production from the paddock over the summer, affording more stored feed on hand for the autumn when the new grass is coming into production • Reduced insect pressure [using the crop to break the insect pest cycle] • Breaks the cycle of difficult to control weeds

Cropping isn’t essential to pasture renewal Grass-to-grass programmes [i.e. going straight from old grass to new grass] can enable you to renew more paddocks than you can practically [or profi tably] plan to break-crop. This technique gives you a relatively fast turnaround, with paddocks typically back producing grass 7–9 weeks after being removed from the rotation for renewal. If you are not familiar with grasstograss, your trusted rural supplier will be able to help. They can advise you on which method to use, since cultivation, spraydrill and undersowing all have their respective advantages, depending on your particular situation.

component of healthy soils are more active and in greater numbers balanced conditions, allowing TSPhos contains a higher Pwith content compared soil to alternative RPR’s resulting your soils to do work for you. in lower freight and application costs.


What makes TSPhos the best RPR in the market?

TSPhos has a very low heavy metal content with Cadmium testing at 1-2 PPM, makingcontains it an ideal substitute for Pareas that have developed high TSPhos a higher content compared to Cadmium levels through excess use of Superphosphate.

alternative RPR's resulting in lower freight and

Blend TSPhos with ease and accuracy with Granulated Guano Phosphate application costs. 10.8% P and/or DAP 18 N , 20 P % to achieve the required ratio of fast and slow release phosphate to suit your soil type and farming operation.


Blend TSPhoshas with a allfaster other NPKS fertilisers and Trace Mineral of Element TSPhos release period, a result its > requirements in a single operation.

. . . .

38% Citric Solubility in typical conditions, because of the ne grinding process, driving an improved return on your fertiliser investment. How is TSPhos made? TSPhos is in a granule form enabling it to be accurately TSPhos starts as a raw premium grade Phosphate rock blended containing and applied both good ground andlevels air.and a low a high by P content, solubility Cadmium and heavy metal content

TSPhos has a very low heavy metal content with Cadmium testing at 1-2 PPM, making it an ideal raw Phosphate is nely ground to a particle size of 74 substituteThe for areas that have developed high Cadmium Micron, further improving the solubility and the speed at levels through excess useis made of Superphosphate. which the Phosphate available to the plant. Blend TSPhos with ease and accuracy with Granulated The ground Phosphate forming Guano Phosphate 10.8% isP granulated and/or DAP 18a product N, 20 that P % to can be blended and applied with accuracy and ease. achieve the required ratio of fast and slow release phosphate to suit your soil type and farming operation. The result is a Phosphate fertiliser that will have short, Blend TSPhos with all other NPKS fertilisers and Trace medium and long term production, cost and environmental Mineral Element in a single operation. advantagesrequirements for your farm.

Call, email or visit Top Soils website for more information and on farm consultations Call, email or visit Top Soils website for more information and on farm consultations

Don Hart -

027 432 0187

Lydia-Beth Gundry -

027 698 9907

D Ly



Manage herd nutrition on winter crop


s the days get shorter and nights colder farmers are thinking ahead to a smooth transition into the winter dry period, and effective preparation for next spring. Body condition scoring, increased bone storage of phosphorus and calcium, and optimal copper and selenium levels are high on farmers’ check lists. In autumn, cow mineral requirements are reduced making it the ideal time to increase bone-stored levels of both calcium and phosphorus. This helps ensure successful

calving with minimal animal health issues. It is also critical that copper and selenium levels are checked in April to give enough time to increase supplementation and boost stored levels prior to dryoff. It is important to firstly know the mineral concentration in your feed (both winter and spring). This then allows you to plan how to balance any deficiencies found. Calcium and phosphorus must be supplemented in combination at a ratio of 2:1 to ensure

optimal uptake and storage of both minerals. Key trace minerals such as copper, selenium, boron and chromium are also critical for efficient weight gain, foetus development and calf vigour, and as a catalyst for maximum mineral uptake and storage. Minerals over the winter are best supplemented via a loose lick, dusted on the silage, or through the water trough for soluble mineral blends. Correct mineral balance

has a positive effect in maximising milk production, reducing metabolic disease and minimising animal health costs. If you would like further advice on mineral nutrition talk to your vet or contact the Agvance team directly.

Shaun Balemi, Dairy Nutritionist (M.Sc, NZARN) at Agvance Nutrition.

Shaun Balemi from Agvance provides mineral nutrition advice and support to balance herd diet when transitioning onto Fodder Beet or other winter crops.