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Farming GUARDIAN

MAY 2017

BRIDGING THE

DIVIDE Pages 3-5

House of Hearing


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Farming

Farming GUARDIAN

www.guardianonline.co.nz

INSIDE

EDITORIAL COMMENT

Guardian Farming is proudly published by the Ashburton Guardian Limited

Enjoy reading Guardian Farming? You may also enjoy Dairy Focus

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Read the latest Dairy Focus online at guardianonline.co.nz

Linda Clarke

There’s plenty of variety in this month’s issue, from buffalo to the smoking hot beef calf market at the moment. Four local farming families opened their homes up over the holidays to senior students from Christchurch secondary schools, giving them a taste of farming life that might encourage them to think about careers in agriculture. Rabobank, who organised the farm experience, surveyed 600 students from cities and towns and found 8 per cent had never set foot on a farm before. Just over 80 per cent said they knew little or nothing about farming and food production. Forty years ago, most Ashburton teens knew someone living on a farm; relatives, people they played sport with or mates from school. They might have

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We appreciate your feedback. Editorial Email your comments to linda.c@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7957. Advertising For advertising enquiries email ashleigh.r@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7955. Post Ashburton Guardian, PO Box 77, Ashburton 7740.

SENIOR REPORTER

PAGE 28-29

helped out tailing lambs or carting hay, or accidently touched an electric fence. Farm visits are not so easy these days – there are more dairy farms than sheep farms, there are more health and safety laws, there are fewer of us with farming connections. So opening up their homes and farming operations to inquiring young city minds should have been an educational experience for both students and farmers. I’m sure there were a few laughs and the odd awkward moment. There are plenty of good farmers and good farming stories in Canterbury, people dedicated to the land and upskilling and investing in technology to ensure farming leaves a better footprint on the environment. There has been a huge shift in farming practices; time and new tools are helping. So is changing city minds, a handful at a time.

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Learning farming from the ground up Sue Newman

SENIOR REPORTER

Rabobank is determined to change the attitude towards careers in agriculture, one student at a time. It’s using a well-tested Australian farm experience programme that gives city school students an opportunity to experience working and living on a farm to achieve that goal. Seven Christchurch secondary school students were last month hosted by farm families around mid and central Canterbury. They spent their days working alongside farmers and wrapped up their agricultural experience with a field trip around the Ashburton District and to the Dunsandel Synlait plant. While the students were

Urban students (from left) Emelia Cox, Kasey Hillary, Bella Howe, Danni Kennedy, Matt Beuzenberg, Jessica Lee and Jack Goodgame. PHOTOS SUE NEWMAN 280417-SN-0002

all from the city, each joined the programme because of a desire to learn more about work options in the agricultural sector. For Year 13 student Jack

Goodgame from Riccarton High School, the experience confirmed his desire to make a career in agriculture. He came with some work experience on his grandfather’s

farm behind him and said the Rabobank programme gave him an opportunity to look at a range of farming options. “It’s a 10 out of 10,” he said. Bella Howe from Cashmere

High School had studied agriculture as a subject option for her first three years at secondary school, but said it was not available at Year 12. continued over page


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Farming

From P3 She’s experienced first-hand the negative way agriculture is perceived as a career option but said that had not deterred her from looking at options in the industry for her future. “Agriculture is seen as a dropout option and that makes it tough with so many kids behaving badly in the classroom. There’s a lot more opportunities in agriculture than just farming,” she said. Jack agreed, saying his school did not offer agriculture as an option, but at Year 13 he had been able to take a trade course two days a week that included an element of agriculture. “There’s a lot of work to do in schools that’s needed to raise agriculture’s profile,” he said. Ross and Rochelle Hewson hosted the group at their Chertsey farm where the students were able to trace the journey of French fries from the paddock to the frier. The Hewsons grow 330 hectares of potatoes, which are harvested, stored and then trucked to McCain’s Timaru factory for processing. The city students spent time at Alister and Michelle Donald’s sheep and beef farm at Geraldine, at Joe and Suz Wyborn’s Rangitata dairy farm, at Steven and Freda Bierema’s Rakaia cropping farm and at Margaret and Ross Manson’s beef finishing and sheep farm at Hororata.

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City students learn about the journey from potato to French fries (from left) Matt Beuzenberg, Jack Goodgame, Jessica Lee, 280417-SN-00027 Bella Howe, Emelia Cox, Kasey Hillary and Danni Kennedy.

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Addressing the disconnect A survey commissioned by Rabobank found that teenagers living in New Zealand’s cities and regional towns had an alarming lack of knowledge when it came to farming and food production. Of those surveyed, 81 per cent said they knew little or nothing about farming and food production; 8 per cent had never been on a farm, 35 per cent had visited a farm less than three times. Just 10 per cent of the teenagers were interested in a career in farming. Despite knowing little about farming, they still perceived farming and food production as very important to New Zealand. Close to 600 students were surveyed, from cities and regional towns, and in public and private schools. Rabobank New Zealand analyst Emma Higgins said the survey found a concerning knowledge gap among the younger generation when it came to agriculture and farming, and highlighted the disconnect between urban and rural New Zealand.

“The results were particularly surprising given the significance of agriculture in the country’s economy and also the relatively close proximity of rural regions to our major cities, where you would expect more engagement between city people in rural environments,” she said. Higgins said the research had been commissioned as the bank and its network of six clients’ councils across New Zealand, had a significant concern that the next generation of New Zealanders may not appreciate the importance of agriculture to the nation’s economy and future. “It is also vital that we help bridge the divide between urban and rural communities to attract young people to work in agriculture and support the sector’s future,” she said. The Rabobank survey showed 20 per cent of surveyed teenagers “don’t really know anything” about “how food gets from the farm to my plate” while 52 per cent said they knew only “a little”. Higgins said while there was generally low awareness of

the food production process among the teenagers, the level of knowledge tailed off once produce and ingredients had left the farm. “In terms of farm activity, 27 per cent said they know nothing about what farmers needed to do to grow ingredients and produce, while 46 per cent said they knew a little bit about it. “When it comes to what happens to the ingredients and produce once they leave the farm, 33 per cent said they don’t know anything about this and 48 per cent only knew a little bit. Unsurprisingly, knowledge and understanding of farming and food production was considerably higher among the students who had spent more time on farms. “Those who had visited farms six or more times in their lives reported being considerably more knowledgeable about food production.” Higgins said while there were considerable knowledge gaps in relation to agriculture, it was encouraging that urban teens saw farming and food

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production as important to the country. The students positively associated farming with fresh food and agriculture being good for the local economy, while making a negative association around issues like animal welfare and the impact of farming on the environment. Most students said farming and food production were topics not covered in depth at school. Higgins said students were quizzed about their career plans and found 10 per cent were interested in a career in farming. This placed farming in the middle of the pack compared to other careers, behind medicine (19 per cent), engineering (17 per cent) and business (16 per cent), but ahead of law (8 per cent), social work (7 per cent) and government (6 per cent). Higgins said the farm experience was one of a number of initiatives Rabobank was undertaking to help address bridging the urbanrural divide and encouraging young people into agriculture.

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Buffalo offer unique land use option Free range chickens, goats or even ostriches have all been possible options for small block holders and farmers seeking out a viable income source for their smaller parcel of land. But it could be the answer lies in an animal more New Zealanders would have seen overseas than they have ever seen at home. The swamp buffalo is typically matched to tropical, subsistence farming, but its milking cousin is a vital part of many economies including Italy and Spain, thanks to its ability to produce exceptionally healthy, high value milk and milk products. Tony Grindle, Bayleys general manager for Northland, sold a property intended for buffalo production several years ago. “It is not the most common land use option you would see on smaller blocks. However it is another option out there, and if you are prepared to commit to it, and are maybe seeking something a little different from the usual small block options, then buffalo could be a way to make that property investment pay.” As New Zealand starts to reach its limits in terms of dairy cow numbers thanks in part to environmental pressures, the opportunities around “non-cow” milk and dairy products is starting to expand. Milking goats have long been part of the landscape in the Waikato, thanks to the quiet, careful expansion by the Dairy Goat Co-operative, and now sheep are starting to gain a foothold with support from corporate farmer Landcorp. But milking buffalo remain a quirkier, less prominent land use option that is proving a winning business solution for some operators who have decided to take the beast by the

horns, learning to farm it and to market its dairy products. The history of milking buffalo in New Zealand goes back to efforts by the then Ministry for Agriculture to import the animals in the early 2000s. The ministry wanted to import the animals to study their potential for embryo transplants. However they could not be imported directly from Asia due to foot and mouth disease concerns. In 2007 a small herd was imported from Australia. But because they were a meat focused swamp buffalo breed, it has taken the efforts of a small band of dedicated farmers to cross them with the right genetics to deliver an animal suitable for commercial buffalo dairy production. Today two companies are working independently on buffalo dairy production, one south of Auckland near Clevedon, the Clevedon Valley Buffalo company, and one north near Matakana, the Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese company. Pam Wills, part owner of the Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese company says prospects for the big beasts’ dairy production has never been more positive. She and her husband Chris, along with daughter Annie and her husband Phil Armstrong started farming the animals eight years ago when they partnered up sharing their skills and commitment to make a 20ha block near Pakiri beach pay its way. They had seen the buffalo being milked in Italy and in Africa before coming home and importing buffalos from Queensland. Pam says the operation has had continuous strong demand for milk from their 115 head herd that includes 50 milking

Could buffalo become a more common sight? Clevedon Valley Buffalo makes blue vein cheese (below left) and buffalo ricotta.

cows. Some of the milk is supplied through organic shops but the majority goes to restaurants who also form a keen customer base for the cheese they produce. Consisting of a blue cheese, a hard cheese and an ash

rolled brie, there is no sign of demand slowing as diners clamour for locally produced, “different” food products that have their own story behind them. Buffalo milk is rich in nutrients and can be a

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Local cheesemaker Jo Barnes has plenty of experience working with the milk from Whangaripo’s buffalo. “It is a very nutrient rich milk, with high milksolids at about 20 per cent compared to 8 to 9 per cent for cows’ milk. People like it as a low allergy option to goat’s milk, and the cheeses you can make from it are varied, from haloumi through to mozzarella and a hard pecorino.” Pam’s son-in-law Phil Armstrong shares ownership with her and husband Chris. He says the family is keen to get more buffalo farmers supplying milk and have over 30 animals available for sale as a herd. “We have a few people interested, and the challenge for them is to find the rightsized piece of land. About 2040ha is a good size to generate what can be quite a good income for a family prepared to work at it.”

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Weather conundrum Just this week there have been media reports of a pending El Niño for the summer of 2017-18. At this time we do not need the development of an El Niño – it is still a time when we need neutral or La Niña weather patterns. The chance of El Niño forming during 2017 has recently been reported in the latest El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) wrap-up as on the increase. The Pacific Ocean is (at end of April) showing an El Niño-like pattern; ie warmerthan-average sea surface temperatures near South America and the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean also showing signs of the early stages of El Niño. While it is too early to predict with any confidence that an El Niño is on its way, some analysts give it a 50 per cent chance of developing during 2017. Hence the conundrum - a confusing and difficult

Southern Oscillation Index (SOI)

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problem or question. Confusing because will El Niño develop or not, and difficult because it is not the weather system we want to prevail for the next 3 to 4 months. As I wrote last month groundwater recharge relief began with significant rainfall in March and has continued through April. While that has been good news we still need significant rainfall events before September to raise water levels to a happy level. The potential for development of El Niño is not the news we want – we need SE weather systems and events, not the typically west or south-west conditions that

Weekly SOI trend (from Weatherzone).

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RDR shutting down for 16 days The Rangitata Diversion Race will be shut down for 16 days this month to allow maintenance and improvements on its canal and fish screen. A new offtake will also be created at Ruapuna. RDR chief executive Ben Curry said the company tried to shut down as infrequently as possible so would use the opportunity to do as much work as possible, including the lining of a section of the canal near Klondyke. The area is prone to seepage. Engineers will also inspect the Surrey Hills siphon, which is made up of 721 concrete culverts joined together and which takes the open canal underground for 2.7km on its journey from the Rangitata River to the Rakaia River. Curry said the siphon was in great condition and had withstood major earthquakes and aftershocks; engineers continued to be impressed by the quality of its construction 70 years ago. “There’s no reason why it couldn’t carry on for another 70 years.”

intake to be affected and is encouraging residents who utilise the stockwater race service in that area to be prepared for reduced flows. “Council will do our best to maintain a satisfactory water supply to all affected residents during the shutdown, but due to the gravity-fed nature of the race, stockwater may have trouble reaching all properties,” open spaces manager David Askin said. Residents can help lessen the effects of the planned closure by having their section of the stockwater race inspected and cleaned, installing stockwater drinking bays for cattle, installing new or increased sources of on-property water storage, or moving stock to areas where they have troughed paddocks. Residents who experience water race problems they cannot manage on their own during the closure are advised to contact the council’s water rangers immediately: Dave O’Donnell 027 435-4721, Dean McDougall 027 4354723, or John Wood 027 431-3552.

The Rangitata Diversion Race will be closed for part of this month for annual maintenance. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

He said the new offtake at Ruapuna would allow another 1500ha of land under the Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme to be irrigated. Trustpower has also finished maintenance work at the Highbank Power Station and has been generating from

surplus water in the race. More than $1 million was spent on replacing turbine blades and gear worn down by glacial silt in the alpine water. Curry said the RDR would remain an important piece of infrastructure as water was

moved about the region. The short shutdown could have repercussions for rural Ruapuna residents by reducing stockwater flows until May 19. The Ashburton District Council expects the flows into the Klondyke stockwater

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Bingeing bovines at risk from nitrates Summer droughts followed by the recent heavy rainfall will result in higher than normal nitrate levels in the soil, putting stock at increased risk of nitrate poisoning. This is according to Ravensdown experts, Jeremy Klingender, agronomist and seed product manager, and Dr Julie Wagner, vet and Ravensdown Animal Health Product Manager. “Any farmer will be thrilled to see their crop or pasture shooting up after the recent rain, but the downside is that it’s likely it will be very high in nitrate levels. This can be fatal for your stock if not managed and monitored properly,” Klingender said. There are four key things to watch out for when identifying a paddock that should be tested, he said – fast growing crops, younger pastures (under 21 days’ rotation), overcast days and high soil temperatures. “High soil temperatures speed up the conversion of ammonia to nitrate in the soil making more available for the plant and the cow. Overcast days stop the photosynthesis

process and put higher nitrate levels in the pasture, especially in the mornings and evenings, that’s why early afternoon grazing is better.” Certain plant species are more at risk of high nitrate levels such as rye grasses, brassica crops, maize and oats. Wagner said it was important to remember the hay and silages from these crops were not exempt from the toxicity issues. “Farmers need to be herbage and feed testing before grazing, and if they have concerns they should take their stock off immediately. “We can do urgent nitrate tests, which are turned around in a day, but the essential thing to do is transition your stock slowly on to paddocks and/or feeds that are high in nitrates. “Starting your cattle off with an hour grazing after a feed of hay or silage early to midafternoon means they’ll be less likely to gorge. “Don’t put stock that are hungry on ‘at risk’ crops or pastures and monitor your stock closely, removing them at the first sign of trouble.” toyota.co.nz

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Farming

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Wilding conifers to be dealt a blow Mary Ralston

cumecs – a huge amount of water that is valuable to the braided river ecosystem and to farmers for irrigation. The Government has responded by providing $16m over four years for wilding control. This builds on the approximately $11m per year already spent on management of wildings and will make a significant dent in the issue, but is not nearly enough: this money is to target areas of highest infestation. Wildings are definitely a case of “a stitch in time saves nine” – that is, sorting out a problem early will save a lot of extra work later. Controlling scattered young trees in grassland costs less than $1 per hectare, but if left

Ashburton Guardian Option2 250mm x 88mm

FOREST AND BIRD

to become dense mature stands, control can cost up to $15,000 per ha. Thousands of hours of volunteer time as well as a huge amount of money has been spent in the past 30 or so years and this hasn’t even held

the line with respect to conifer spread. The new funding has cleaned up a large area of Canterbury wildings this year: from the Tekapo flats, the Godley, parts of Hakatere, Craigieburn and up to Hanmer. Many of these trees are

the grandchildren of trees enthusiastically planted by government agencies in a misguided effort to control erosion. Although wilding conifers (many species of pine, Douglas Fir and larches) are relatively

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The march of wilding conifers across farmland and open spaces has been dealt a blow with the announcement of new funding for their control. The Ministry of Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation put a joint case to the government for funding to control this menace. They successfully argued that wilding conifers pose a threat to farmland, open tussock grasslands and other ecosystems such as braided rivers, native forests and alpine areas. Wildings increase the risk of wildfires and negatively impact on tourism by modifying the natural landscape. They cover more than 1.8 million hectares of land and are advancing at a rate of 5 per cent a year. The loss of water is also a major consideration: pine trees suck up a lot more water from the ground than pasture or native plants. In the Mackenzie, where wilding pines could cover 500,000ha if left unchecked, water lost to the Waitaki River would be in the order of 50

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15

with $16m funding

Above – A march of wilding conifers across the landscape: wildings affect farming, native biodiversity, landscape values, water yield and are a fire risk. These trees near Lake Camp have now been removed. Left – A pine tree can reach maturity in eight years and can spread thousands of seeds down-wind. Right – Volunteers have been crucial in reducing the spread of wildings, and recent increased government funding will make a significant difference in the fight against unwanted conifers. PHOTOS VAL CLEMENS

easy to control – the seed does last long in the soil and they are readily poisoned – many difficult decisions remain which affect how big our reminaing wilding issue will be. Throughout the high country there are conifer

shelterbelts and huge plantations that have reached maturity and are spreading seed down-wind. As long as these remain, there will be a wilding issue. The Ashburton District Council is to be commended

for tackling the trees at Lake Camp that are the sources of wilding spread and for developing a management plan for the area. Many Pinus contorta, one of the most serious species, have already been removed and

more are to go. Hard decisions need to be made about trees considered valuable for shelter. And it’s not just conifers that are an issue: rowans, cherries, sycamore and grey willow are other species that can become

weeds and should be removed. The district plan is also a valuable tool for limiting wilding spread. In the rural C area, trees most likely to spread cannot be planted and there are limits on shelterbelts and plantations.


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Tricky larch logging goes smoothly A logging operation at remote Glen Lyon Station near Twizel was a finely tuned exercise, with contractors moving thousands of logs out on a narrow, one-way shingle road without inconveniencing locals. The station is an hour’s drive from Twizel at the head of Lake Ohau with Ashburton logging contractors Campbell Contracting staying in shearers’ quarters in four-day stints over five months to fell 50 hectares of wilding larch. The trees were around 80 years old, up to 40m high some with trunks a metre in diameter, and were being harvested for export to China. Hayden Bishop, of Christchurch-based Trans Tasman Forestry, said the contractors needed to work around station farm life, Lake Ohau fishermen and others using the area. Access was along Glen Lyon Road, a narrow, winding, one-lane road with a steep drop-off in parts; there were few opportunities for vehicles to pass or for large vehicles to back up. Bishop said the company worked with the Mackenzie

Linda Clarke

SENIOR REPORTER

District Council to close the road to campervans and towing vehicles during the working week and also got permission from Meridian to use a canal road so heavy logging trucks could bypass Twizel to access State Highway 8 on their way to the Port of Timaru. Collaboration on the project was excellent and meant the impact of the operation was minimal. Even the start of the felling was delayed to accommodate the start of the local fishing season. Up to 12 logging trucks were visiting the site a day, each taking 28-ton loads of larch to the port. The drivers identified their locations at several checkpoints along the way so two trucks would not be in the same place at once.

There was simply nowhere for a logging truck to back up or pass should it meet another vehicle, Bishop said. Glen Lyon station owner Ken Wigley said the harvesting operation went smoothly, without disruption to farm life or the many people, including tourists, who accessed the area for recreation. “Campbells were great, and very tidy. There was

not much slash, which means the area can be replanted.” The Mackenzie council had also been worried about damage to the road, but its own contractors Whitestone only needed to grade the road three times during the harvesting operation. Craig Campbell, of Campbell Contracting, said the wilding larch was felled in three lots, using a mechanical

harvester and a manual tree feller. A skidder dragged them into a pile where they were processed with the harvester then loaded onto trucks for transport to the port by Campbell Conractings’ own trucks with help from Wareings. He said the rolling terrain could have made the operation tricky at times, but having the right, and reliable, machinery was key. The crew has moved on now to other jobs at Flock Hill Station and Mayfield. The company has typically logged smaller lots in its four years of operation and crew enjoyed the opportunity to work on a longer job with new equipment. Bishop said Trans Tasman Forestry had been happy to work with the different authorities and landowners to make sure the larch was logged safely and efficiently. “We really just want to thank all those involved for making the harvesting at Glen Lyon as smooth as possible. Everyone has played a massive role to enable this to happen.”

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2 18

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Adding value no simple task In 2015 New Zealand exported $37 billion of agrifood products however most of those products are sold to middle men and distributors. KPMG Head of Agribusiness Ian Proudfoot estimated when these products were ultimately on-sold to the final consumer they generated more than $250 billion (yes, that’s right, a quarter of a trillion NZ dollars). This means that the New Zealand primary sector captured less than 15 per cent of the farm gate value. Just imagine if a further 10-15 per cent could be captured along the way for our hardworking farmers. Similarly the overall benefit that would flow through to the New Zealand economy would be substantial. New Zealand’s GDP was a similar amount of $248 million in 2016. With a population of 4.7 million it is not difficult to calculate the effective increase in GDP per capita

Maurice Myers

KPMG

which presently stands at approximately stands at $54,177 per capita. Of significance is that more than half of our tradable exports are sold to countries with GDP per capita below $US40K and 36 per cent of countries with a similar measure of below $US10k. Interestingly almost 60 per cent of these tradable exports are sold to countries where we do have current free trade agreements. So where to from here and what needs to happen to lift the returns to

the farmer. Firstly let’s look at the challenges, which are the three Cs: comfort, vomplacency, voncern. Comfort with the status quo, complacency over the speed of change, and concern over taking a different route or course of action from our competitors. The primary sector remains focussed on primary products but will find it increasingly difficult to make a return due to competition and climate change. Poor returns will force family farmers out of the industry with more land being banked by absent

overseas investors. The sector’s challenges are impacting the performance of the domestic economy and forcing young people to leave and seek employment out of the industry and overseas. Climate change too will have a material impact on whether New Zealand farmers secure the same yield benefits as competitors around the world. A lot of work is being done but a lot more effort will be required to make our food, fibre and timber products the agrifood equivalents of the Apple iPhone, the Rolex watch, or the Louis Vuitton handbag. New Zealand companies have historically been good at investing in tangible assets such as processing equipment but have under invested in the intangible areas such as brand experience to secure price premiums. Future investment must be directed into delivering branded consumer experiences

around the world. We must be on the cutting edge of change. The primary sector is seen as a positive contributor to the wellbeing of New Zealand and is a trusted steward of our natural environment. Many organisations in the sector are viewed as an employer of choice particularly in science and technology areas. This is attracting global organisations to invest in research facilities here supporting a rapidly growing change to the business models being redesigned so our Agribusiness sector can take ownership of more of the steps in the value chain that generate value. The dairy industry and the kiwifruit industry would be two examples of collective collaborations but we certainly have a long way to go to capture substantial additional added value to the food chain and they capture a greater share of the elusive final sale price to the consumer.

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19

Maize silage cost-effective transitionary feed for cows Securing a supply of maize silage as a transitionary feed for cows moving from fodderbeet to pasture means well-fed cows won’t be left to chance. Last season, a low dairy payout and subsequent restricted cashflow saw many South Island farmers reduce the use of critical supplements to freshly calved cows. In the past the calved cows, which had recently come off fodderbeet, were supplemented with grain in the shed but with tighter budgets the feeding of concentrates was dropped. Many farmers then found, as a result of low early-spring pasture growth rates, that cows suffered an energy deficit and in some herds a high rate of ketosis was seen. Poor reproductive performances and slow cycling followed, resulting in wide calving spreads and higher empty rates. Maize silage is a cost-effective supplementary feed that is particularly successful as a transitionary feed for cows moving from a diet of fodderbeet back to pasture. In addition to being an incredibly versatile feed, feeding maize silage after fodderbeet can help the cow’s rumen microbes adjust from a carbohydrateheavy diet (fodderbeet) to a fibre-rich diet (pasture). Farmers are also using maize silage to reduce the risk of milk fever. Transitioning off fodderbeet on to pasture is easier using maize silage as it is a great carrier for the various forms of calcium and magnesium farmers are feeding to their cows around calving. Maize silage can be successfully stored for several seasons and fed as and when required. Having stored maize silage on hand means springer cows’ diets can be planned in advance; they are not subject to variations associated with crop growth rates, pasture fluctuations and weather conditions. In dry conditions, maize silage can also be fed directly on the ground, without the use of a feed pad. Farmers have two options when it comes to sourcing maize silage – growing their own on farm, or buying it in from a contract grower. Alternatively, they can use a combination of these two methods. A local Pioneer representative can guide the farmer in looking at the best maize silage option for their farm.

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2 22

Farming

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GREAT IRRIGATION CHALLENGE FEATURE

Great Irrigation Challenge May 24–25 At Hotel Ashburton All you need to know about irrigation is available in just two days at this year’s Great Irrigation Challenge in Ashburton on May 24 and 25. There are workshops for farmers and growers, managers, scheme members and industry. You can attend the full two day programme or simply pick and choose the workshops that are most relevant to you. The challenge itself is sponsored by Irricon, who are all about promoting positive environmental practices on farm. As part of the Great Irrigation Challenge this year, IrrigationNZ is offering a $2500 prize for an Irricon consultation or service open to all participants who send in a photo with caption showcasing their positive environmental practices. Submit your photo between now and May 24 and the winner will be drawn during the conference on May 25.

IrrigationNZ wishes to thank Brown Brothers Engineering for flying Australian expert Rob Welke over for the event. Welke, Director of Tallemenco, in Australia, will present two workshops aimed at the service industry. They will focus on basic and advanced hydraulics and pumping. Welke has over 49 years’ experience in irrigation and water supply industries and is considered one of the leading practical, independent experts in Australasia. The challenge will also showcase the Check It – Bucket Test app, designed by IrrigationNZ, in conjunction with specialist agricultural technology provider, Regen. The app tests how much and how evenly irrigation systems are applying water. It walks users through an annual performance assessment, provides the results instantly to their phone and e-mails a report to them.

For farmers undertaking bucket tests as part of their farm environment plans, this app will provide a consistent, proven method to measure how well their irrigator is performing. The techies who developed this technology will be available at the challenge; talk to them to show how it can increase your efficiency, production and profitability. IrrigationNZ will also be launching its latest resource – the farmers’ guide to constructing a freshwater storage facility for irrigation. It is also known as “how to build a dam” – copies will be available to attendees. A session not to be missed is the health and safety presentation by outstanding guest speaker Wiremu Edmonds. Edmonds will deliver his Standing in the Gap presentation, which will change the way you think about health and safety. Wiremu, and wife Marsella,

lost their son Robert RuriEpapara in a work-related forestry accident in March 2013. Since then, they have travelled the world, telling their story of loss, empowerment and ultimately, change. The presentation leaves a lasting impact so great that many businesses have reported immediate change in their health and safety systems and behaviour. This will be a highly sought-after event, so please RSVP to Kate or Eleonore on 03 341 2225 or kmills@ irrigationnz.co.nz

WORKSHOP SESSIONS Individual workshop sessions during the two days will cover: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

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www.guardianonline.co.nz

GREAT IRRIGATION CHALLENGE FEATURE

23

Collective action needed Andrew Curtis

WATER WORKS

The release of Our Fresh Water 2017 is a call to action for all New Zealanders, says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis. The report measures fresh water quality, quantity and flows, biodiversity and cultural health. “This report highlights the impact we all have on fresh water resources. “I have no doubt it will provoke further fingerpointing at the rural sector, but the reality is, all human activities are placing pressure on our fresh water environments and we must all do our bit to limit and reverse those impacts. “Our Fresh Water 2017 is a call to action for communities to work together to implement

sustainable solutions.” Curtis said that whilst the report contained some good data on the impacts of certain activities in specific catchments, it was constrained by a lack of consistent data and knowledge gaps – particularly around irrigation. While the report shows 51 per cent of the water allocated by councils is for irrigation, it was not able to determine how much of the allocated water was actually used because data quality and the completeness of records on actual takes is inconsistent. “We know that in many cases, actual water use is less than consented use. Despite

the fact that irrigators have been collecting water measurement data for a number of years, none of it was captured in this report because there is currently no standard measurement, reporting tools or consensus amongst regional councils that allow us to report actual water use data over time. “Many of the report’s findings were based on ‘limited data’, which makes it difficult to track where our environmental efforts are working and having a positive impact. Without good data, backed up by science, we will continue to struggle to implement solutions.”

Curtis says that since 2011, irrigation schemes and irrigating farmers have collectively invested more than $1.8 billion in environmental improvement. This includes infrastructure upgrades, water use efficiency measures, technology, nutrient management and monitoring. “Farmers and growers share the same environmental values as most New Zealanders – they want to protect fresh water resources to sustain their businesses, families and communities. “Yet it seems, certainly from this report, that little of the data they are measuring and supplying is being used

to inform policy, practice or environmental outcomes. We know that where farmers and growers are focusing their efforts, they are making a difference. This report does reflect this to a degree, but it is very constrained due to incomplete or inconsistent data.” The solution, says Curtis, is stronger leadership from government and councils so that the knowledge already being gathered can be used to determine the true impacts of activities and then shape solutions at a national, regional, catchment and community level. “The value of this report is that it gives us a ‘starting point’ to work from. Once we have a more complete data set and improved reporting, I have no doubt that the next report will show a truer picture of the impact our activities have on waterways and the solutions needed to effectively manage and improve those impacts.” Andrew Curtis is chief executive officer of IrrigationNZ


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Farming

GREAT IRRIGATION CHALLENGE FEATURE

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Take the challenge out of irrigation By IrrigationNZ IrrigationNZ staff spend a lot of time talking to farmers about the challenges they face with irrigation and finding practical solutions to help them manage their water and their business. “Farmers are now operating in a complex, highlyregulatory environment. What we’re seeing as their biggest irrigation challenges are around scheduling, nutrient budgets and farm environment plans,” IrrigationNZ CEO, Andrew Curtis said. “We’re here to help farmers understand the range of technology available to help increase efficiency and productivity and to navigate the compliance landscape so they don’t have to worry about the council knocking on their door.” Curtis says one of the best investments irrigators can make is to take a day or two off-farm, or out of the office for those working in the service industry, and head to the Great Irrigation Challenge, being held in Ashburton later this

month. The event features 15 workshops, aimed at irrigating farmers and growers, scheme members and service industry professionals. People can attend the full two-day programme or simply pick and choose which workshops best suit their needs. There are workshops for all levels – from the very basics for people new to irrigation, right through to advanced technical workshops delivered by international experts. Rob Welke, considered one of the leading experts in Australasia, will present two workshops on pumping and hydraulics. Infrastructure risk will be a topic covered by international brokers, Willis Tower Watson, and FMG

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will provide advice on system maintenance. As well as launching new resources, such as the Check It Bucket test app and an on-farm storage reference booklet, the Great Irrigation Challenge will also feature practical sessions on soil moisture monitoring, nutrient budgeting, scheduling and maintenance. “Farmers have to be accountable for their water use, but scheduling irrigation using soil moisture monitoring is not a simple task. The Great Irrigation Challenge gives farmers and growers practical tools to help them understand soils and plant water use, know the depth they’re applying, how to account for production and environmental risk and how to run an irrigation

schedule.” Environment Canterbury staff are also available to help farmers with their farm environment planning and auditing processes. “We want people to understand the value of these compliance tools. Instead of putting your farm environment plan in the ‘paperwork pile’, look at it as a tool to give you a process and timeframe for addressing environmental improvements. It’s often the small things that we never have time to get around to that can make the biggest difference in terms of efficiency and environmental outcomes. “One of the benefits of doing a farm environment plan is that it gives you a really clear view of your farm – you can see exactly what you’re doing well and where you need to focus for improvement; then it puts a timeframe for delivery around making those improvements. This is the kind of ‘paperwork’ that actually benefits bottom lines,” Curtis said. Health and safety is another thing that farmers

and businesses often want to relegate to the ‘to do later’ pile. They will likely change that approach after listening to internationally-renowned speaker, Wiremu Edmonds. After losing his son in a forestry accident in 2013, Wiremu has embarked on a crusade to change health and safety behaviours in New Zealand workplaces. His Standing in the Gap presentation has helped change health and safety behaviours and systems throughout the country. The Great Irrigation Challenge offers farmers a range of practical workshops to help them grow efficiency and meet ever-more stringent environmental targets. Topics include OVERSEER and N-check, nutrient budgets, scheduling Irrigation, fertigation, and farm plans and auditing. Coming along will be the second-best investment you ever make (after irrigation, of course). For more details check out: www.irrigationnz.co.nz/events

Talk to Carrfields Irrigation about your Winter servicing and maintenance

requirements


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GREAT IRRIGATION CHALLENGE FEATURE

25

CEO appointed to lead merger Melanie Brooks

Linda Clarke

SENIOR REPORTER

The Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme, one of the largest privately-owned irrigation schemes in New Zealand, has appointed a new CEO to lead it through a proposed merger. Scheme chairman John Nicholls said Melanie Brooks would be responsible for the Mayfield Hinds and Valetta schemes if shareholders approved a merger on May 26. She would also be helping farmers change the minds of townies who thought they were ruining the environment. Nicholls said it made sense for the two irrigation schemes to merge as farmer shareholders in both were dealing with the same issues around water use and nutrient leaching. At least 75 per cent of shareholders in each

PHOTO SUPPLIED

scheme must agree for it to progress. “The merged company will be in a stronger position to lead development of water resources in the district in order to ensure better environmental outcomes and more efficient use of natural resources for the Hinds/ Hekeao catchment.”

The Mayfield Hinds scheme delivers water to around 35,000 hectares in the Mayfield and Hinds area, while Valetta delivers water to around 13,000 hectares in the Lagmhor and Westerfield district. Nicholls said Brooks was familiar with both irrigation schemes through

ATTENTION

IRRIGATING FARMERS AND GROWERS, MANAGERS, IRRIGATION SCHEME MEMBERS AND SERVICE INDUSTRY

Great Irrigation Challenge 24–25 MAY 2017 AT HOTEL ASHBURTON Fifteen practical workshops over two days Learn about OVERSEER & N-check, pumping and hydraulics, soil moisture monitoring, farm plans, fertigation and agronomics. Attend all the workshops, or pick and choose which best suit your needs. For more information call Kate Mills on 03 341 2225 or visit www.irrigationnz.co.nz/events-training Great Irrigation Challenge is brought to you by IrrigationNZ in association with Irricon Resource Solutions

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her corporate banking job with the BNZ. She has been involved in financing both new and existing irrigation schemes and a number of other large infrastructure projects. She is married with two sons and lives in Lincoln. She is a hobby beekeeper, a social hockey enthusiast and loves

spending time with her wider family and in the outdoors. “Water is one of our most precious resources and I am excited to be joining an organisation that is passionate about delivering efficient, effective and reliable water which is sustainable, both financially and environmentally,” Brooks said. She takes up her new role on June 6. Nicholls said 95 per cent of the Mayfield Hinds farmers used spray technology like centre pivots and all were working hard to decrease their nutrient leaching with the use of good farming practices and technology. Brooks would be responsible for making sure their good stories were heard and helping change the city perception of intensive farming as bad for the environment. “We want to start frontfooting a lot of what we do. We are successful in what we do but we want to enhance shareholder engagement and deliverables and enhance our perception in the community,” he said.


2 26

Farming

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NZ Ploughing Champs results: Results of the New Zealand Ploughing Championships at Kirwee on April 22 and 23: Farmland Fuel Reversible, overall results: 1st Bob Mehrtens 425 points Timaru 2rd Ashley Seaton 383 points Kirwee 3rd Malcolm Taylor 376 points Putaruru Gulf 1st 2nd 3rd

Oil Silver Plough, overall results: Ian Woolley 380.5 points Blenheim Mark Dillon 346 points Riversdale Scott McKenzie 345 points Clinton

Winners of the Farmlands Fuel Reversible (Bob Mehrtens) and Gulf Oil Silver Plough (Ian Woolley) will represent New Zealand at the World Ploughing Contest at Germany in 2018.

BOB MEHRTENS

Rural News Horse Plough: 1st Sean Leslie & Kay Walker 2nd John Chynoweth and Sharon Chambers 3rd Erin Cassie

Middlemarch Oxford Erewhon Station

365 points 364 points 291.5 points

New Zealand Vintage Ploughing Championship: 1st Alistair Rutherford Riversdale 389.5 points 2nd Gordon Carter Rakaia 350 points 3rd Murray Grainger Mosgiel 348 points

Special prizes: Vern Bishell Trophy, donated by Vern Bishell to be presented to the best presented horse team (including horses, equipment and contestants): John Chynoweth and Sharon Chambers.

Fairhall Trophy, awarded to the highest placed competitor, previously not placed in the top five up to and including this New Zealand Championship: Simon Reed, Kirwee.

Wiganwood Trophy, donated by John Thornton for the best presented rig at this year’s championship: Maurice Miller, Ashburton

W G Miller Trophy, awarded to the highest place competitor 35 years of age and under as of January 1, 2016: Ashley Seaton, Kirwee.

IAN WOOLLEY

PLOUGH HORSE TEAM GORDON CARTER

MAURICE MILLAR

SIMON REED


2 28

Farming

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Every dog (beef cow) has its day! As the autumn beef calf sales draw to a close, farmers that have stayed loyal to running a commercial beef cow herd will be able to sit back and enjoy the recent calf prices received. Record prices and renewed interest offers them some stability in their returns and to enjoy their day in the sun. The beef cow has been the unheralded backbone of the New Zealand beef industry and often a maligned livestock class with large price swings and lack of stability the norm. Long removed from the plains and developed farms to be replaced by higher earning livestock classes, the beef cow has been pushed back to the hills and high country. This has seen the New Zealand beef herd shrink from 1.2 million in 2007 to 970,000 in 2016. The past couple of selling seasons has seen calf prices firm with the perfect storm this year creating a shortage of supply. Added to this excellent feed conditions, lack of grazing cattle options, a lower $NZ– $US exchange rate, increased export demand and competitive

Greg Jopson

PROPERTY BROKERS

activity for finished cattle have all culminated in the recent record calf selling season. It’s been a huge boost for farmers who have stayed faithful with prices up year on year by $250/head approx. Rather than being retained just because farmers enjoyed running their beef herd, the beef cow has finally become competitive against other livestock classes. Add in the non-cash benefits of farming a beef herd then she is really standing on its own four feet and hopefully halt the decline in the national herd. Like calf prices, lamb and sheep returns have been enjoying a recovery in recent months. In a conversation with a Beef and Lamb director recently it was heartening to

hear his forecast that 2017/18 was going to be the year of the “sheep” - a gutsy forecast or false hope as this optimism has been heard before, only to be disappointed time and time again. Similar factors are at play which should see the supplydemand pendulum benefit sheep farmers for several seasons ahead. Improved prices and forecasts for beef, lamb, venison, horticultural and vegetable exports along with a stabilising dairy forecast give some confidence of a sustained stable period ahead. Most farmers and exporters faced with the question of a boom-bust cycle or stable returns would take stability any day. The boom-bust commodity cycles while offering short term gains are difficult to manage and in the case of the recent dairy low create uncertainty and a measure of pain across the board. If there is one positive to come out of the recent dairy downturn then it’s been a timely reminder that as a

farmer you can only control what you are in control of. Farm working experiences and production costs have been put under the microscope by farmers, and their consultants. It’s a testament to farm resilience and infrastructure how quickly these have been reduced in the face of adversity. Regular commodity price variability for sheep and beef farmers has been a regular occurrence which has been managed by tight budgeting of farm working costs. The recent improvement and stability in calf and lamb prices will be welcome and a boost to their bottom line. From a real estate perspective, recent farm sales and increased buyer enquiry gives a sense of stability of land values forming. Many predictions were made in the past 1-2 years that farm values were under pressure and increased farm sales would result. This hasn’t occurred and Mid Canterbury has come through this period extremely well with the market showing

resilience. Over this period, farmers that have not sold when first put to the market have sat, not panicked and waited it out until buyers have emerged to achieve a satisfactory price. The recent sales achieved across all land uses could be described as solid albeit in some cases such as dairy farms not quite at the highs achieved during and following the record dairy payout year of 2013/14. This underlying strength and recent stability of farms sold gives everyone a chance to catch their breath. Farmers can take confidence that their equity has been maintained in their businesses and bank managers able to breathe somewhat easier than they were a few months ago. Recent Mid Canterbury farm sales have seen strategic purchasers remain the most active buyers. Some new entrants and outside buyers have emerged in recent dairy sales including North Island buyers not seen for some time, which is encouraging. Quality and well-presented farms have sold well right

TRUE TEAM

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through this last cycle and attract attention whatever the market conditions. The past 15 to 20 years has seen huge advancement in on-farm management and production gains, however a large percentage of these gains have been capitalised into land values over this period. Perhaps a period of stability with a shift of focus from farming for capital gain to a focus of improving farm profitability with stabilised land values may be a good space to occupy for a while! Over the past few holiday long weekends spent with family tramping in Fiordland and biking in Central Otago, it reaffirms to me how fortunate we are to enjoy world class scenery and experiences at our back door. Owning a piece of real estate in the centre of the South Island with close access to what we often take for granted confirms Mid Canterbury is not a bad place to be living and working. In the words of the late John Clarke (aka Fred Dagg): “We don’t know how lucky we are”.

29

Calves at Mt Aspiring Station waiting for auction last Friday. Demand for high country calves at the inaugural Upper Clutha on-farm calf sale was “smoking hot”, with a top price of $1460 per head for a line of Hereford bull calves from West Wanaka Station. PHOTO SUPPLIED

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*Offer ends 31/7/17 or while stocks last. Offer only available at participating Polaris Dealers. Not valid with any other offer. Excludes fleet clients.

Dairy Feed and Crop Storage Specialists

Dairy Feed and Crop Storage Specialists

Tel: 03 303 7266 | Mobile 0274 151 390 | Email: paul@pmr.co.nz

www.pmr.co.nz

0800 440 290 | www.polaris.co.nz |

/PolarisNZ


Mid Canterbury Building Removals Limited

Mid Canterbury Building Removals has been running strong for 16 years now but it did not start there for Owner/Operator Robin (Clancy) Jessep. Clancy first started in the Building Removals industry 50 years ago working for a local firm back when technology was not as easy as it is these days. Now, with the knowledge of three generations, sons Brent and Timothy and granddaughter Stacey the technology is always increasing with time. Having three generations of experience you know you are going to get expert advertise on your building relocation needs. The company operates throughout the South Island. From Pole Sheds, Garages, Houses and anything building in between. Our promise is to make your dreams as stress free as possible by giving you a step by step guide from start to finish.

Mid Canterbury Building Removals Limited Office (03) 308 3482

Stacey (027) 828 3372 Brent (027) 253 6605


SPIDERS, RODENTS, FLIES Call Mike Ward

027 2968 234 0800 556 778 Can a white-tail bite be fatal? It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you have to take a trip to the toilet, you switch on the light and in the corner is a spider. On closer inspection (not too close) you see it’s a white-tail spider. You have heard about the white-tail spider and you have seen pictures on the internet and you have been to the A&P show and seen the live white-tails that have been on display in the Spiderban marquee. This is the last straw. It’s time to have your house spider-proofed. The answer to the question is no. There have been no fatalities from the bite of this spider, but a lot of bites that are controversial and not been able to be put down to anything have been blamed on this spider. Mike Ward owner of Spiderban has displayed the live spiders at A&P shows for a number of years and is surprised at the growth of bites each year (people show him the scars of where they have been bitten), his main business is controlling this spider and others including flies in the interior plus the exterior treatment of webbing spiders.

Dairy shed inside roof

At the end of autumn his business changes to dairy shed washing (drying off time). The inside of the roof of a dairy shed gets really dirty from the dust (grain feeding) and this service has been operating for four seasons now with over 200 sheds cleaned now, using a chemical free system to wash the roof and a specialised system to reach the height of a roof. After the wash the sheds are treated to spider proofing keeping them cobweb free for a year. This treatment helps sheds pass their shed inspections as this area is normally very difficult to clean.

Gutter cleaning services

Before

After

House washing

From the end of July to mid September Mike’s business changes to another essential service, Gutter Cleaning and exterior house washing, either single level or two storey with no ladders required in most cases, this is an ideal time for these treatments as the leaves have fallen and blocked the gutters, and the house is dirty from the winter rain. Before

20% OFF

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*Conditions may apply

• • • •

Spiders, rodents, flies professionally eliminated Experienced technicians Interiors, exteriors, baches, garages, commercial spaces Pet and family friendly

Call Mike Ward 027 2968 234 or 0800 556 778

After


2 32

Farming

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Using science to increase crop yield Ben Crawford and a Timarubased business eCoCulture NZ are using leading-edge science to help arable farmers increase crop yields and quality. Crawford has started with eCoCulture NZ to bring a new and unique line of macro-nutrients and micronutrients to farmers all over the country. “We are dealing with something very new in this country and heavily sciencebased. Often we are dealing with parts of plant growth that farmers haven’t dealt with or haven’t thought of before. We can manipulate plant growth to be more productive and follow that through into increasing crop yields.” Crawford is working hard to spread the word about how products work and there has been a good uptake by farmers so far. He is happy to visit new clients on farm to discuss their needs. This often results in farmers trialling eCoCulture products. The micro-nutrients and macro-nutrients are cleverly

Nick Walters standing in a test patch of eCoCulture wheat.

formulated to be taken up by plants in a way that is efficient and environmentally friendly. “These unique products are then backed up by our expert knowledge of how they work and how they can be used to increase crop yields and crop quality.”

Crawford enjoys sharing the science behind the products and dealing with farmers on a day-to-day basis while adding to their operations. Feedback from farmers has been great with many commenting plants treated with eCoCulture grew

significantly better. “One farmer said he was particularly impressed by how well the treated plants kept going into winter when the control plants growth had slowed down due to the cold. He saw that as a huge contributor to having a very

high yielding crop.” He said farmers should do their homework when considering plant nutrition and nutrient programmes. The company has plans to grow as eCoCulture products prove themselves to arable farmers around the country.

eCoCulture NZ

The Next Step in Your Crop Production is Here eCoCulture NZ offers the most advanced

GIVE YOUR CROP THE BEST POSSIBLE START eCoCulture NZ is proven worldwide with multiple world record yields.

If we can help you achieve an Official World Record Crop, then your farms eCoCulture NZ inputs are on us.

Whether it be wheat, barley or oil seed rape, eCoCulture NZ is perfect for those crops going in late or in less than perfect condition.

plant nutrition and nutrient programmes for your crops.

Distributed by Green2Grain Ltd

Oil Seed Rape – Unlike the plant on the left, the one on the right is treated with eCoCulture product NH Delta.

Wheat plants - The three plants on the left have been treated with eCoCulture product NHK Delta as opposed to the three on the right.

For more information call Ben on 022 621 3597 | www.ecoculturebs.com facebook: eCoCulture NZ


A comprehensive approach to fertiliser • Want to know how your fertiliser programme affects your animal health? • Want to grow more nutrient dense feed? • Growing concerns about leaching and fertiliser runoff? • Worried about meeting your nutrient budget? Every fertiliser recommendation from Sustainable Soils is tailored to suit your farm or paddock. You get a comprehensive soil test, which includes trace minerals. From there we can advise and supply you with a range of natural non-leaching fertiliser products and trace minerals. We use the Viafos range of Fertilisers, including V10 gauno Phosphate, Potash22, LeaderSul 90 and K-Plus. Biogro approved and on the Overseer program for easy nutrient budgeting. We also supply DoloZest, a Dolomite based product with Humate, microbes and beneficial fungi added.

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2 34

Farming

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Healthy rural folk the ultimate goal Rural health is in the spotlight, with a new area launching at New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays this year. The Fieldays Health Hub will be an interactive and nonthreatening space designed to educate and inform Fieldays visitors about health issues affecting rural communities. “Farmers don’t always have the opportunity to get off the farm and have their health checks,” said Lee Picken, NZ National Fieldays Society’s head of events. “It’s really important to have this at Fieldays – it’s a great platform for health professionals to start that conversation.” Mobile Health is a key partner in the Fieldays Health Hub and its mobile surgical bus will be a cornerstone of the site. “We want to engage with rural people about health and make a difference,” Mark Eager, general manager of Mobile Health, said. “The idea is to get a lot of likeminded health organisations together and change how rural people think about health and generate conversations.”

Left – Visitors check out the inflatable colon during an event in Ashburton. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

During NZ Agricultural Fieldays, which runs from June 14 to 17 this year, visitors can enter the Mobile Health mobile surgical bus and watch a mock surgery taking place. For 10 months of the year the bus travels the country, from Kaikohe to Balclutha, performing scheduled day surgeries in small towns and rural centres. It works closely with district health boards and local nurses to ensure rural

people have better access to surgery. Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) is backing the Fieldays Health Hub. RHAANZ CEO Michelle Thompson said rural people are losing out when it comes to health. “Of the scant data that exists, we know that the health outcomes for rural people are poorer than for urban people,” said Thompson.

“Agriculture, along with tourism, is the power base of the New Zealand economy. It makes good economic sense for the Government to focus on the people supporting the rural economy.” Thompson estimated that there were approximately 600,000 people living rurally, from Cape Reinga to Bluff. “If it were a city that would be New Zealand’s second largest city, and it doesn’t feel like the

rural sector gets that level of attention when it comes to health,” Thompson said. Poor access to healthcare or delay in seeking treatment help can impact many medical conditions, which become more serious than if they were treated earlier. Thompson said the barriers to good health are varied. They include lack of GPs and aged-care workers in some rural areas, limited access to healthcare screenings or treatment due to geographic isolation, embarrassment or difficulty talking about symptoms, and work pressures (it can be hard to ‘take time’ away from the farm, especially during busy seasons or if short-staffed). “We want all rural people to be healthy and well, and the best way to do this is to make sure they have equitable access to health services,” Thompson said.

PHILL STAYS GREEN WITH INCREASED REVENUE Farm owner and agricultural consultant Phill Everest uses Growsmart® Precision VRI to “kill five birds with one stone.” He’s able to improve the sustainability of his dairy operation while reducing its environmental impacts. Phill sees the benefits in terms of track maintenance and grass growth as well as ensuring the availability of his water. The water he saves under one pivot can be redistributed to irrigate an additional 23ha of his farm. FieldNET® integrates with Precision VRI to provide complete remote pivot management, with VRI control, monitoring and reporting. “The first time using the new FieldNET tool for Precision VRI, I found it very easy. It was much simpler and quicker having just the one place to go to control my pivot and manage my Precision plans” Find out how you could benefit from increased water efficiency using Precision VRI with FieldNET by talking to your Zimmatic® dealer or visiting growsmartprecisionvri.co.nz

© 2016 LINDSAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ZIMMATIC, FIELDNET AND GROWSMART ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF THE LINDSAY CORPORATION.


Make the most out of your Farmlands Card ASHBURTON TOYOTA

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The place where farmers get their quality agricultural replacement parts and equipment

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FREE TYRE Buy three selected car or 4x4 Bridgestone tyres* and get the fourth tyre FREE.

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bridgestoneashburton@xtra.co.nz

*Offer valid Monday, 9 January until Friday, 27 January 2017. Applies to selected Bridgestone branded car and 4x4 tyres only. Normal fitting and balancing charges apply. For full terms and conditions, see www.bridgestonetyres.co.nz or visit us in-store.

Don’t have a Farmlands Card? Join 65,000 shareholders nationwide and enjoy the wide range of exclusive offers and rebates that only Farmlands Card can offer! Call for your shareholder application pack today on 0800 200 600.

Finding Farmlands Card Partners is easy go to: www.farmlands.co.nz Or just look for the ‘Use your Farmlands Card’ signs. Support Farmlands Card Partners and save!


2 36

Farming

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Stressed? Change your thinking How you approach life is everything. Those are the words of life coach Louise Thompson, one of the headline acts at this year’s Dairy Women’s Network conference, DWN17 Connect, in Queenstown this week. Thompson is a no-nonsense life coach, wellbeing writer and speaker with an easy-todigest ethos: how you think is how you live. She says no matter how busy, stressful and full your life is, the way in which you think and approach your thoughts is at the heart of true wellbeing. She’ll share her “fluff-free” tips and advice to an audience of extremely busy New Zealanders – dairy women – at her workshop 4-Dimensional Wellness on May 12. “Health and wellness today is such a confusing, overloaded space,” says Thompson. “There’s so many voices and opinions on what’s ‘right’ that often you end up feeling bad about yourself because you haven’t cut out a certain food group or you don’t drink a green smoothie every day.

Left – Change your thinking: Louise Thompson’s advice for PHOTO SUPPLIED dairy women.

“True wellbeing is so much more than what you eat and how much you exercise. Those things are important, but it’s more than that – it’s also about how you think and what

you choose to focus on. “Life rarely goes according to plan and if we really know that and let it sink in, we can change our thinking to better approach and adapt to

stressful situations.” The word ‘stressful’ would seem synonymous with ‘dairy’, and on top of that, ‘dairy woman’. Can you really tell a farmer during an 18-hour day in the middle of calving that stress is just a choice they make? “It’s not to say that challenging situations don’t exist. Of course they do,” says Thompson. “But when you have resilience, you choose to respond to challenges in a different way. “The more you practice resilience, the more your energy and focus is spent on solutions instead of excuses. And almost always, we surprise ourselves with just how strong we are.” Thompson says true health is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – four dimensional. For dairy women in particular, simple tools to help encourage mental and

emotional resilience is at the top of the wellness list. “It’s important for every woman, regardless of their job. “There is certainly intense pressure on dairy women. They’re riding the highs and lows of the industry as well as managing finances, bringing up a family, and of course all the other ‘regular woman’ issues, such as putting others’ needs before their own and perhaps dealing with body image issues or anxiety.” At her conference workshop, Thompson will discuss strategies for developing resilience that are simple and practical to implement and general health and wellness tips for busy women. She will also give away an annual membership to her online wellbeing programme Wellbeing Warriors. For more about Wellbeing Warriors, visit louisethompson.co.nz/shop/ wellbeing-warriors

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HOUSING, JOINERY, SHEDS, DESIGN Have you ‘herd’DAIRY the friendly team

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at Grieve Construction have been making Call us today for a free quote and friendly advice cowsand andplan humans happyhome for over your dream with30 us!years with their dairy 179 Alford Foresttop Road, quality Ashburton Phone (03) sheds 307 7174 • and Mobile houses? 027 432 1713 Email: office@gricon.co.nz

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179 Alford Forest Road, Ashburton . Phone (03) 307 7174 Mobile 027 432 1713 . Email office@gricon.co.nz HOUSING | JOINERY | DAIRY SHEDS | DESIGN LOCAL BUILDERS & JOINERY SINCE 1979 | REGISTERED CERTIFIED BUILDERS


Farming

2 38

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Autumn - the perfect time to build u Autumn is a perfect time to build up your soils. Whilst it can be quite a job raking up autumn leaves, they do provide a valuable addition to compost piles and as garden mulch. Have a go at these three ways to recycle the leaves falling in your garden; 1. Make a leaf circle out of mesh or a bin out of wooden pallets to contain the leaves so they can break down slowly over winter into leaf mould - a valuable soil conditioner. 2. Run over leaves with your

Sheryl Stivens

MASTAGARD ASHBURTON

lawnmower. Layer the chopped leaves into raised bed gardens, Sprinkle them into worm farms; pile them into compost bins or use as mulch around shrubs.

FREE COMPOST SEMINAR When: Monday, May 22, 11.30am–12.30pm Where: Eco Education Centre – Ashburton Resource Recovery Park All welcome Enquiries to sherylstivens@gmail.com

3. Put leaves into wool packs and offer to friends or family with larger gardens. If you have a smaller garden store sacks of leaves around the back of your shed for layering along with lawn clippings in your compost bin in spring. To learn more about composting leaves, worm farming and bokashi foodwaste, come along to a free compost workshop

Plastic bags

It’s so easy to recycle clean plastic bags and film in Ashburton. • Businesses can drop off plastic film for recycling at the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park. Enquiries 0800 627-824 • Farm plastics can be recycled via the national Plasback scheme. www. plasback.co.nz • Soft plastics and packaging that you can scrunch can be dropped into collection bins at New World, Countdown or The Warehouse for recycling.

SPECIALISTS IN ALL TYPES OF WASTE REMOVAL

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www.guardianonline.co.nz

39

up soils of years to decompose and although most of this material is recyclable many places do not have the recycling collection and processing in place to allow this to happen. Results have shown that caterpillars of the moth (Galleria mellonella) can make holes in a plastic bag in under an hour. Dr Paolo Bombelli is a biochemist at the University of Cambridge and one of the researchers on the study. “The caterpillar will be the starting point,” he said.

Disposable cups

environmental messaging and a charge on disposable cups, increased the use of reusable cups in one cafe from 5.1 per cent to 17.4 per cent. The most notable finding was that while a charge on disposable cups increased the use of reusable coffee cups, a discount on bringing your own reusable coffee cups had no impact on their usage. Do your bit to reduce waste. Take your own reusable cup when you buy a takeaway hot drink and ask for a discount. Every bit counts.

Is a charge on disposable coffee cups the answer to reducing this waste? According to the latest UK research, charging coffee

drinkers for their disposable PHOTO SUPPLIED.

Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that the larvae of the moth, which eats wax in beehives, can also degrade plastic. Experiments show the

Caterpillar eating plastic.

insect can break down the chemical bonds of plastic in a similar way to digesting beeswax. Each year, about 80 million tonnes of the plastic

polyethylene are produced around the world. The plastic is used to make shopping bags and food packaging, among other things; it can take hundreds

cups could cut their use by 300 million a year. Researchers at Cardiff University tested a series of measures to tackle coffee cup waste and encourage the use of reusable cups. Results show that the provision of reusable alternatives, combined with

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NO DEPOSIT 2 YEARS TO PAY NO DEPOSIT 2 YEARS TO PAY

Terms and conditions apply. Full information is at: www.suzuki.co.nz or ask us for details.

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Jeff Marshall Motorcycles Jeff Marshall

PHONE 03 308 2055 187 West Street, Ashburton

Quality made in Japan Dual side-stands Comfortable seat Handlebar-mounted carrier 125cc 2-stroke 6-speed

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Guardian Farming - May 2017  

Guardian Farming - May 2017