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Farming GUARDIAN

MAY, 2015

Helping rebuild dairy industry Pages 3-5


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Farming

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INDEX

COMMENT FROM EDITOR

HEALING A BROKEN LAND

3

CHEAPER PALM KERNAL HURTS GROWERS

5

FAR ON TRACK FOR 20T/HA

6

LOTS OF CRAYS – BUT NO PHOTOS

8

PULLING THE TEAM TOGETHER

13

TUKITUKI DECISION FAR FROM PRACTICAL

15

A DROUGHT DOES AFFECT US ALL ... 

16

CHANGE TO NON-COMPLIANCE CULTURE NEEDED

17

PREPARING FOR WINTER – “NOW IS THE HOUR”

18

FREEDOM COMES AT THE COST OF YOUNG LIVES

20

IT’S BEEN PERFECT AUTUMN WEATHER IF YOU’RE A FUNGI

26

MYSTERY COUGH AND RELATED BREATHING TROUBLES

30

SOIL RESTORATION SEMINAR HOSTED IN ASHBURTON

32

FUTURE BRIGHT FOR BLACKCURRANT GROWERS?

40

CONTACTS We appreciate your feedback. Editor Email your comments to michelle.n@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7971.

With winter nipping at our heels already, it’s hard to comprehend where the year has gone. Thankfully the autumn rain arrived in time to revive some very sorry looking winter green feed crops – in Mid Canterbury at least. However, farmers further north have not been as lucky and are heading into winter with very dry soils. I was at the opening of the Carew storage ponds recently. The Mayfield Hinds Irrigation board is to be congratulated for its foresight in instigating this project and delivering it on budget. A summer like this certainly reiterates the need for water storage and farmers on the MHI scheme will rest a little better knowing irrigation water will be there when restrictions hit in the future. On the dairying front the bad news continues, with a further drop in global prices last week. Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler was in Ashburton speaking to farmers last week, where he said the situation for dairy farmers was a “worry”. While it’s easy to single out one sector of the industry, it’s important to remember this season’s low prices will impact on everyone.

Michelle Nelson

RURAL EDITOR

Arable farming and dairying are inextricably linked in Canterbury and anxiety is already setting in over whether cash-strapped dairy farmers will be able to afford to pay for the grain sitting in silos, or winter grazing. The key is to keep the lines of communication open and industry bodies such as Federated Farmers and DairyNZ are doing their bit to help, organising social events and workshops across the island to get people talking. In this month’s edition of Guardian Farming we introduce our new rural reporter Nadine Porter. Nadine and her husband Tim run an arable farm in the Pendarves area and she comes with a sound understanding of rural issues. Nadine has only been with us for a few days, but jumped in Red Bands first. Read her stories on pages 5, 6 and 40.

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Selina – Healing a broken land Imagine this. In the early hours of the morning, you milk your four cows. It’s already 32°C and keeping the milk cool is impossible – much of it will be wasted. You labour on your smallholding to make a living for your extended family. You earn on average $40 a month. One woman has a dream of changing all this by uniting her country’s primitive dairy industry, changing hearts and changing her people’s stars. Selina Prem-Kumar was on speaking tour of New Zealand recently, promoting the Sri Lanka Dairy Project, which aims to unite the country’s 170,000 dairy farmers. She describes herself as a member of a triple minority group; a Tamil, a Christian and woman, living in Sri Lanka’s patriarchal north, dominated by the Hindu faith. Put that fact into a backdrop of a bloody civil war spanning quarter of a century and dividing the nation, and her story is even more remarkable. Armed with unshakable faith, Selina has overcome

Michelle Nelson

RURAL EDITOR

these barriers, and has set about reconciling about 300,000 displaced and traumatised people. About 90,000 people died as a result of the conflict between Tamil Eelam’s Liberation Tigers and government troops. Many children were orphaned and many women left as the sole breadwinner. As a result, 40 per cent of the country’s farmers are women. As the country director for the World Concern NGO, Selina is spearheading a programme to rebuild the dairy industry, wiped out in the war. Cows were literally lost in the bush during the fighting, and for many farmers the first task was finding their stock. 70 per cent of the country’s

Selina prem-kumar.

PHOTO TETSURO MITOMO 230415-TM078

dairy farmers own fewer than six cows, which are hand milked for family use, and the surplus couple of litres produced each day sold.

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The dairy operation exists alongside other subsistence farming activities on small farms, averaging two acres. Selina sees the answer to the

grinding poverty in providing the infrastructure necessary to lift farmer’s incomes, and setting up support networks. In partnership with TEAR Fund New Zealand, a pilot project was set in motion, to supply chiller tanks, and to organise village collection networks, where milk is stored prior to transportation to larger collection points. Kiwi companies QPod and Patton Refrigeration have adapted technology to create a cool chain to improve the quality of the milk being delivered to the factory. It is then sold to the country’s major dairy company, Milko, at a government ordained price. The establishment of “fodder gardens”, which producing high quality forage called azolla – a cross between watercress and algae has improved cow nutrition. Azolla is grown in small ponds, and reproduces its bulk every 24 hours, making it a highly sustainable alternative to cutting grass by hand and carting it to the cows. continued P4

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Farming

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From P3 The construction of loafing barns releases cows from continuous tethering, and enables them free access to water. Breeding programmes have also been put in place to improve genetics, and a campaign instigated to encourage castration of bull calves, which are protected by religious beliefs. Mobile vet clinics have been provided to assist with animal husbandry. “At first they (farmers) could not believe we wanted them to castrate male calves – it was unimaginable for them, but the younger farmers are now embracing the idea and can see the sense in it.” As evidence of the success of the project, Selina pulls up a graph on her tablet; the 1500 farmers in the cooperative now have a regular and reliable income. Dairy farmers who once earned $40 a month are now brining home about $300 a month. They can provide for their families and educate their children – and above all they have hope for the future. Social problems are rife. “The children have not had normal childhoods, they don’t know how to play – often very

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A Sri Lankan dairy farmer tends her cows. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

young children have to take responsibility for supporting the family,” Selina said. Sexual offending, human trafficking, prostitution and alcohol abuse is not uncommon. Even young girls get swept into exploitation. Selina has also tackled these problems, instigating child

protection programmes and starting a children’s club, to encourage youngsters “to learn to just be children again”. The children meet once a week, to play games and relax in a caring environment. She has also organised regular five-day bus tours, aimed at educating and

uniting farmers, to help break down the suspicion and distrust left in the wake of the war. “They share accommodation and eat together. People from both sides of the conflict get to know each other, they call each other and support each other, it’s very healing,” she said.

The Sri Lankan Dairy Project is now entering the second phase, and the purpose of Selina’s recent visit to New Zealand was to garner financial support from Kiwi farmers. Plans are in place to ramp up training to improve milk quality, animal genetics and registering cooperatives under Sri Lankan government’s legislation. While kiwi dairy farmers might be down in the doldrums over the state of their industry this season, Selina dreams of a dairy industry like ours. “I would like to see a cooperative similar to Fonterra, encompassing the majority of our farmers. “They need to learn to work together as a co-operative society to determine own their future.” “Support them and they will be able to earn a decent income, the will be able to educate their children, and the future will be different for them,” she said. This dynamic woman is determined to heal her fractured country with milk. To donate to the Sri Lanka Dairy Project visit www. tearfund.org.nz/srilanka Every dollar counts.

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5

Cheaper palm kernel hurts growers By Nadine Porter A dramatic price decrease in palm kernel signals a major headache for arable farmers with excess free wheat and barley on hand. With the palm kernel market becoming increasingly competitive, some companies are offering the nut for as low as $199 per tonne, while grain prices struggled to compare at around $350/t. Major importer ADM South Island sales manager Sid Russell said his company had been offering palm kernel for $203/t ex Timaru, but that had now decreased to $199/t and would remain at that price until December when it may drop again. “It’s the best value for money at the moment as a supplementary feed – but that’s not to take anything from grain as a quality supplement.” Last year palm kernel prices were around $270/tonne with two million tonnes imported from Asia. ADM holds a 20 to 30 per cent share of the South Island market. The drought in South and

North Canterbury has had a significant impact on palm kernel demand, with many dairy farmers choosing to cull cows rather than feeding higher quality supplements like wheat and barley. Mr Russell said there

was a “fair amount of grain sitting in silos” in Canterbury, although Federated Farmers grain and seed industry group chairperson Ian Mackenzie did not believe it had a direct correlation with palm kernel sales.

“Palm kernel replaces grass. It doesn’t compete with wheat and barley.” However, Mr Mackenzie did say that demand from the dairy industry for grain was “soft”. Additional pressures on shifting grain meant

uncommitted grain would have to queue behind contracted grain which was “not moving fast” at present. Mr Mackenzie said the dramatic rise in tonnages of palm kernel being fed to cows reflected that dairy farmers were pushing stocking rates in areas that could not support grass production alone. “Increased use of palm kernel reflects the fact that New Zealand is losing its mana a bit … in terms of being a grass-fed economy.” He believes continuing lower milk prices will challenge the current production model on dairy farms. Although there was some concern surrounding uncommitted grain in the region, Mr Mackenzie said overall the arable harvest had been on a par with last season’s. Uptake of un-contracted grain to sheep and beef farmers in drought-hit North and South Canterbury, along with continued demand from pig and chicken farmers had negated some of the effects, he said.

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FAR on track for 20t/ha By Nadine Porter The Foundation of Arable Research is confident it will hit a target wheat yield of 20 tonne per hectare by 2020. FAR manager Rob Craigie said three years into their trials they have found earlier sowing dates have led to consistent yield increases of 16 to 16.9 per tonne (with treatments). Wakanui and Conquer cultivars have shown potential to yield higher, although earlier sowing dates can lead to lodging. “With earlier sowing dates one of the issues we have is in learning how to manage the crop in a different way.” Leaf spot disease septoria and the threat of resistance are among the biggest threats to farmers reaching a 20/t yield goal with many farmers steering towards cultivars not as susceptible to the disease, particularly those with a shorter maturity date. Mr Craigie said screening germ plasmas for issues such as septoria and looking at the continual turnover of varieties

in the UK would be important – particularly in cultivars with late maturities. FAR decided to work on increasing wheat yields rather than smaller refinements to crop management because of the greater “kick to profitability” it offered, he said. Arable farmers have seen wheat yield increases of up to 5/t in the past decade – a muchneeded boost in the face of

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Farming

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Lots of crays – but no photos Greg Martin

BRASS AND FEATHERS

Candles in the engine compartment was a risky proposition, the wafting petrol fumes considered. But it was all we could do if we wanted to get going again. However, in the end it wasn’t igniting fuel that was nearly the undoing of the expedition. As I had been lowering the carburetter into place, my brother had suddenly made a yelp, dashed round to my side of the Land Rover, and whacked me on the top of the head a few times. I held on to the carburetter and waited for it to stop. “Sorry,” he said. “Your hair caught on fire.” He moved the candle closest to me away.

SAFER RURAL ROADS

continued P10

The coast around from Akaroa – big cray country.

COWS CROSSING

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Do your cows cross the road?

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SAFER RURAL ROADS

CO UN NT DE RA R CT

RU RO R AD AL S

The vehicle my brother and I were travelling in broke down in the South African bush one night. Our 1962 Two Series Land Rover had lost power as we approached a hill. The engine was running fine, but it just had no power. By 2am the batteries in all the torches had gone flat and I was left having to reinstall the carburetter to the light of three candles placed strategically around the engine compartment. The few hours before that moment had been spent sitting in the cab of the vehicle stripping the carburetter down to its component parts and laying them out across the dash. That was how we had found that a jet was missing; fallen out on the road no doubt a few kilometres back. Unrecoverable considering where we were and the time of day. As a bush-fix I had carved a piece of wood to plug the hole in the carburetter that had been left thanks to the missing bolt that housed the jet.

You need to use crossing mats, warning signs and lights. You need to think about the safest place and time to cross. Lastly, clean up after your cows - it can get slippery! SAFER RURAL ROADS It’s your responsibility.

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From P8 With the smell of singeing human in the air I carried on carefully lowering the carburetter into place making sure nothing got dropped through the engine. If that happened, we would have been stuck for the night and in that part of South Africa we really didn’t want to do that. Luckily for us, the bushfix had the desired effect of stopping air being sucked into the carburetter and we made it up the hill and away, exhilarated and laughing at my new haircut – short front, bouffant sides. The reason I am telling this story is that a few weeks later we were kicking ourselves we hadn’t taken any photos of what had happened. And that is often the problem. The really great moments of adventure are often so stressful or even life-threatening that taking photos is just not a priority. This was the case with a Canterbury scuba trip I was generously invited to join a few months ago. I don’t do scuba, but the divers needed a boat man and I was happy to oblige … until about 8.45am when, somewhere west of the Akaroa heads, I lost the battle with my old pal Mr Sicky-sicky and introduced a chum line

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Above – Bush-repaired 2 Series Land Rover, complete with my new haircut – short front, bouffant sides. Right – A crayfish I caught a few years ago. Hard work and minor head injury involved.

of apparently not-very-well chewed muesli to the ocean. From then on my involvement in proceedings was somewhat passive: Eyes to the horizon

and hold on to the front rail. Don’t make conversation. Keep jaw clenched. And, of course, no photos. The camera remained zipped in my pocket.

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CRAYFISHING TIPS ■■ Find a mate who loves diving but hates eating crays. ■■ Pull your pots up at first light otherwise octopi will eat anything inside. ■■ Kawahai and barracuda make good bait. Otherwise a can of cat food with holes punched in it will work. ■■ Look for rocky ground around headlands. ■■ Make sure the weather the next morning is going to be good enough to get your pots back.

Nice cray – I like to give them a comfortable ride home.

There were a number of unexpected aspects to the trip that made it memorable. The first was how beautiful it is motoring adjacent to the Banks Peninsula cliffs with their crashing Pacific waves and wheeling sea birds. The second was how ballsy you need to be to scuba there. Visibility was very low, with the two divers who went down losing touch with each other within seconds of going below the surface. As interesting and productive as the morning was,

nothing inspired me to take up strapping 10kg of lead to my waist and letting myself be sunk to whatever seabed there was beneath us – even if I did have reliable breathing apparatus. I am just not ballsy enough for that. I have always preferred to stay on top of the ocean if I could and to pull its monsters out with pots, lines, or nets rather than climbing in to confront them face to face. The third amazing thing about the trip was the size of the crays the divers

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Farming

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Check and trim before the chill Winter is on its way, and while it’s near impossible to predict the severity of the coming snow or wind storms, it pays to get your basic farm maintenance started now to help ease the pressure later.

Fencing

Intact, working fencing is critical to keep your stock safe. Plan in advance where stock will be grazing and walk up and down the fence lines to check for damage and weak spots. Use an energiser remote and fault finder on electric fences to accurately measure fence voltages and current and to locate faults. Turn the energiser off remotely to allow for quick and safe fence repair.

Tree trimming

Ensure that trees close to buildings are well trimmed back to prevent damage if the tree is broken due to wind or snow and ice. Trees that are close to power lines should only be trimmed by a certified professional to reduce the risk of electrocution. Cutting trees near power lines can cause significant injury or death.

If trees on your property are growing close to power lines, contact Electricity Ashburton. The risk of children climbing trees near power lines is a safety hazard and should be eliminated. Trees laden with snow or pushed by wind can break and disrupt the electricity network or cause a fire. If you neglect to let the power authority know of trees growing close to power lines, you may be personally liable for the cost of damages should the trees cause a disruption to the power network, so it pays to be vigilant.

Tracks and roads

Quality tracks and access ways are crucial for getting around on a farm safely. Good quality tracks with little debris and a solid base improves efficiency of stock movement, and is also critical in an emergency situation. Even a well-constructed track requires maintenance to ensure it continues to function effectively. Remove loose debris and manure to reduce buildup.

Fix pot-holes quickly to prevent them from getting larger and ensure water drainage is effective to reduce ice patches in the colder months.

Gutters

Check your home and farm buildings for debris in gutters regularly. Even slightly clogged gutters will have a tendency to freeze and create

Reduce the risk of

power cuts A A message message from from Alpine Alpine Energy, Energy, EA EA Networks, Networks, MainPower MainPower and and Orion Orion

Power Power outages outages following following September’s September’s severe severe wind storm were wind storm were primarily primarily due due to to FALL ZONE trees and branches FALL ZONE trees and branches coming coming into into contact contact with overhead with overhead lines lines and poles. As trees and poles. As trees on on private private land land are are the responsibility the responsibility of of the land owner, we the land owner, we need need your your help help to to reduce the reduce the impact impact of of future storms on our future storms on our electricity electricity networks networks and and on on you you and and your your neighbours. neighbours.

blockages. This increases the risk of water seeping through the roof and ceiling, or flood your home’s foundation.

Stock up early

You hear a report that snow’s on the way, so what’s the first thing to happen? The supermarket sells out of milk and bread. Avoid the craziness by getting prepared early. Fill your chest freezer with

essentials and ensure your generator is in working order and has spare diesel. Check your emergency supplies and make sure all the children have cold weather clothing which fits. Investigate a backup supply of stock feed. A little preparation now will ensure you have more time to look after your stock and family when bad weather hits. Advertising feature

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• CUT DOWN – consider having tall • CUT DOWN – consider having tall trees that could fall through power trees that could fall through power lines removed. lines removed. • TRIM EARLY – if the tree can’t be • TRIM EARLY – if the tree can’t be removed, branches must be at removed, branches must be at least 2.5m away from low voltage least 2.5m away from low voltage lines or at least 4m from high lines or at least 4m from high voltage lines. Ideally further. voltage lines. Ideally further. • BE SAFE– please call your local • BE SAFE– please call your local lines company for information on lines company for information on who can safely cut down or trim who can safely cut down or trim your tree. your tree. • PLANT WISELY – ask your lines • PLANT WISELY – ask your lines company about safe planting company about safe planting distances and power line friendly distances and power line friendly trees and shrubs. trees and shrubs.

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How How can can you you help? help? If you have a tree that could impact If you have a tree that could impact power lines, please think about power lines, please think about your local community’s health and your local community’s health and wellbeing. A power outage caused by wellbeing. A power outage caused by a tree may not just affect you – it may a tree may not just affect you – it may impact many people, including those impact many people, including those with health issues. with health issues.

3 3

Be Be safe safe Consider replacing tall trees near power Consider replacing tall trees near power lines with a lower growing species. If tree lines with a lower growing species. If tree removal isn’t possible, as a minimum, removal isn’t possible, as a minimum, make sure branches are kept well away make sure branches are kept well away from overhead lines and poles. from overhead lines and poles. If planting, think carefully about the type If planting, think carefully about the type of tree you put near overhead lines – a of tree you put near overhead lines – a little shrub can become a giant in a few little shrub can become a giant in a few years’ time. Call your local lines company years’ time. Call your local lines company for advice on suitable trees. for advice on suitable trees.

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The wind storm has left many The wind storm has left many trees weakened or damaged and in trees weakened or damaged and in some cases leaning on other trees. some cases leaning on other trees. Please contact your lines company Please contact your lines company if you need to remove or prune a if you need to remove or prune a tree or branch near overhead lines. tree or branch near overhead lines. We will either refer you to our own We will either refer you to our own utility arborists or to contractors utility arborists or to contractors experienced in tree trimming around experienced in tree trimming around power lines. power lines.

4 4


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13

Pulling the team together Tim Silva

TAVENDALE AND PARTNERS

Just as farm succession planning has become more complex, the specific expertise required has become more specialised. At one stage there would have been a planning team involving mum, dad, the family accountant and the lawyer. The team may now extend to the entire family, a number of lawyers and accountants, the farm advisor, the rural bank manager and often a farm succession coach or mentor. Pulling together a functional team of this size (or indeed considering the necessary or desirable composition of the team) takes some careful consideration. This article looks at some of the

considerations when pulling the team together.

Family members At an early stage, it is important for the team to have an understanding of all family member’s hopes and aspirations and how they may

be facilitated in terms of a plan. The question (that is driven by the dynamics of each family) is when to involve all children (not just the succeeding farmer) in the process. Often in the initial stages, the succeeding farmer

will be involved with mum and dad, but that assumes that the succeeding farmer has already been identified and their position in terms of succession is mutually understood. Therefore, the very first thing to understand in terms of the process

is where all of the family members (including first and foremost mum and dad) sit in terms of succession. Sooner or later, the succession plan must involve consultation on some level with all of the children. continued over page

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Farming

from P13 While children may not be entitled to an expectation in terms of inheritance, they deserve to know exactly where they stand so that they can make independent decisions about their futures.

The accountant In my view, the farm accountant is one of the most important professionals in the succession planning process. This reflects that the accountant will have year in, year out exposure to the economic performance of the farm. The economics of any particular farm will have a crucial bearing on what may be achievable in terms of succession, so a good accountant is essential. We are very fortunate in Canterbury to have some excellent farm succession accountants. A crucial consideration in terms of the accountant is the accountant’s own succession plan. In particular, it is useful to know whether the accountant has the next generation of accountants “in house” and whether there will be inter-generational support within the firm. Similarly, consideration should be given to whether mum and dad’s accountant is the right

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accountant for the succeeding farmer.

Rural bank manager The rural bank manager can play a crucial role in terms of the succession plan. Not only does this relate to the usual considerations around debt leverage in order to facilitate inter-generational change, this can also extend to providing mentoring and adding value in terms of the options available. Often a good succession plan will involve re-securitisation of the family debt, such that a proportion of the assets (usually reserved for mum and dad) remain debt and security free. A good rural bank manager will be able to drive options around this. A good rural bank manager can also play a crucial part in terms of the inter-generational harmony if they can relate well to all family generations involved in the plan.

The farm advisor Some succession plans will involve the family farm advisor. This will depend on what historical input has been provided. A good farm advisor will look beyond the particular economics of any plan to the various relationships within the

family and the opportunities that may be available to alter the family’s economic base (including changes to the farming programme).

Succession planning mentors and consultants As succession planning becomes more complex, we are seeing increasing use of succession planning consultants. This is often limited to the preliminary stages of succession planning and in particular, flushing out and documenting the family’s values, goals and aspirations. Outside of ongoing mentoring and review, the consultant’s involvement will often conclude with documentation and handover of a high level plan that will then form the basis for the implementation of the formal structures. I have found farming succession consultants to be particularly valuable in circumstances where the family is not clear on its own succession goals, or where there is significant disharmony between family members. In that regard, it can often be very handy to have a succession consultant in a mediatory role. Because the

topic of succession can be very difficult to discuss for some family members, it is often great to have an independent facilitator involved.

The legal team A good lawyer will have input on all of the above (while still knowing his or her place in the scheme of things!). The lawyer’s particular role will be strategy, then finalising the succession planning tools and structures, along with formal documentation of the plan. We will talk separately about the lawyer’s “tools of the trade” in a future contribution. As per the comment above in terms of accountants, it is crucial that the lawyer or lawyers can reach across generations when finalising a plan. The lawyer should be able to relate well and genuinely understand the family members and the particular dynamics. From that base line, a good lawyer will then bring their experiences and progressive solutions to the table. Most crucial with all of this, is that the plan fits the family.

Wider family members Often a succession plan will

involve a wider family member. This may be in the role of an independent trustee or mentor. The wider family member should be involved in the formulation of the succession plan. This is particularly important when that wider family member assumes a role in terms of implementation of the plan after mum and dad are gone. Any wider family member taking on that role for a particular family needs to be well aware of the plan and input on formulation as well as knowing what risks there may be.

Conclusion As you can see, there is significant overlap between the various roles involved in the plan. In my view, that is a good thing, especially where professionals get to build on each other’s strengths by teaming up with each other time and again to assist client families through the process. That does rely on all professionals working collaboratively and with a single focus. Our next contribution will focus on formulating your succession plan.


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15

Tukituki decision far from practical Every month brings something new in the irrigation industry. A week ago, we received the Board of Inquiry (BoI) decision on the Tukituki catchment which has implications for irrigating farmers everywhere. While IrrigationNZ accepts it is a “reasonable decision”, we are also very aware that it is a far from practical outcome for farmers in the Hawke’s Bay and the regional economy. The nutrient limits that have been set for the Tukituki system remain unrealistic for a working, productive, agricultural landscape. The BoI decision had positive aspects. It excludes some hill country farms, forestry, orchards and lifestyle blocks from having to gain consents, but the reality is the majority of commercial enterprises in the area will still require one. The outcome also gives farmers signing up to the dam some headroom as land use can now be managed to achieve the nutrient limit of 0.8mg dissolved inorganic nitrogen per litre

A good turn-out to the opening of the Carew storage ponds paid testament to the dedication of PHOTO SUPPLIED the project’s backers.

of water (DIN limit) by 2030, compared to 2020 previously. Additionally instead of nutrient levels being measured at the bottom of the catchment, nutrients can now

be measured on an individual farm basis. While it is good that the measuring point can be better related to the individual farms, it will still create issues

for those further down the catchment who end up with compounded impacts of the upstream farms. It’s not the end of the story however. Our hope is that once

the BoI process finishes, the limits will be revisited in the pragmatic context of the 2014 version of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater. That may bring some relief. On a more positive note, it was fantastic to see a large crowd turn out for the official opening of Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme’s storage ponds at Carew recently. These ponds will allow Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme to move to the next level of efficient water use and reliability for its shareholders. Water storage is the essential complement for a run of river supply that is subject to seasonal river restrictions. As this summer has shown, dry periods can be weathered if farmers have access to reliable and secure water supply and Ashburton District is a perfect example of this. In fact it’s the envy of many on the east coast! IrrigationNZ congratulates the Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme board, management and staff in persisting with this development turning the vision into a reality.

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Farming

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A drought does affect us all ... This was brought home to me the other day when talking to a fellow duck shooter and his comment was, “holy hell I didn’t realise how dry it really has been out there. In fact it’s so bad the pond I’ve shot on for years is dry! What am I going to do?” My reply was “hello” what do you think we’ve been talking about for the last six months! His reply was “I knew it was dry but not that bad and it to date hasn’t even affected me, in fact what a great summer!” All this showed me was I guess what I already knew. If it doesn’t affect the way we live or the amount of money in our bank account, do you think we care? Talking to some rural suppliers out there, the drought and the effect of a very low payout in the dairy industry this year and most likely into the next is now very serious. This particular supplier supplies machinery to the dairy industry on the whole, but the number of units sold this year as against the past

Chris Murdoch

PROPERTY BROKERS

few years was down by two thirds. That’s serious stuff for him and many others. An old Mid Canterbury person once told me Mid Canterbury’s weather will take you to the edge of the cliff but won’t throw you off and this year that’s exactly what has happened in my view. The latest rains to arrive in Mid Canterbury and some of South Canterbury have added great value to our winter feed crops throughout the district and then to have had a very mild start to the winter all helps. It was only a few years ago we had to break the ice on the duck pond at opening morning to let the ducks land.

Duck shooter “... it’s so bad the pond I’ve shot on for years is dry!”

Let’s hope it remains mild till at least the end of May and allows the dairy farmers to milk through as long as possible, because every kgs/ milk solid helps and every

extra kg/dm grown on winter feed crops will be well used. Then to top this off we need snow up in the hills and not just a wee bit but a bloody good dump otherwise

next year’s irrigation season doesn’t look good. All in all we want it all – is it possible to have all the above, I doubt it, so let’s just hope and pray.

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17

Change to non-compliance culture needed

Christine Summerville

EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

Recent visits to 29 dairy farms in nine regions to check compliance with employment laws by labour inspectors with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has led to legal action being taken against 19 employers in the dairy industry. More than half were targeted due to information about likely non-compliance, the ministry said in a statement. “The level of noncompliance identified during this operation was extremely high and it was disappointing to find that a significant number of farmers still do not have systems in place to keep accurate time and wage records that are compliant

with employment legislation,” the ministry’s labour inspectorate central regional manager, Natalie Gardiner, said. Breaches will be subject to compliance action and potential penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies.

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The farms visited were located in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Thames/ Coromandel, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu/ Rangitikei, Wairarapa, Canterbury and Southland. Federated Farmers said it was disappointed by the ministry’s findings.

Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy chairman, said it was “not a great look for our industry”.

Health and safety risks highlighted for agricultural workers

As we head into winter it is a good idea to remind your agricultural workers to take extra care. Winter is always a high risk period for vehicle and machinery related injuries. While quad-bikes are commonly associated with farm vehicle incidents, tractors and other machinery are also involved in a large number of injuries and deaths. Incidents can range from loss of life at one extreme to falls and slips of a less serious nature, but most often occur doing everyday jobs that have become routine, especially if under time pressure. Good health and safety practice enables your farm to keep working. Keeping everyone on your farm safe and healthy helps ensure your people remain productive and your farm is profitable. Saferfarms.org.nz is a dedicated website for farmers to get clear health and safety advice and information. Chapman Employment Relations provides employment law and HR advice exclusively to employers


2 18

Farming

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Preparing for winter – “Now is the HYDRO SERVICES

when the time comes in the spring to start, it will start – so now is the hour, get it done. Firstly park irrigators so they are protected from wind damage:

Booms against a wind break and on the leeward side (remember what happened in the 2013 wind storm to those that were on the windward side!!);

Pivots pointed into or downwind; Corner arms out if possible into and downwind with the main pivot; Hard hose irrigators wound up and stored in a shed; and

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has suddenly dried out and irrigation is needed. Let’s assume you have parked the irrigators for the winter – so “now is the hour” if you haven’t already thought about it. These are the lyrics from the song that first became known in 1913 and we commonly use the lyrics to define “it is time”. In this case it is winterising your irrigation system – we do not want pump sheds to look like the one in the photo or irrigators to become tangled steel. Set aside time to prepare systems for winter and be ready to go in the spring (which according to some predictions is likely to be El Niño. It is essential you are sure

01

Tony Davoren

WI N

Hard to believe we are just a few weeks away from having one season (winter) and three months till potentially thinking irrigation again. Yep, autumn is nearly past, there has been one minor threat of winter, and plenty of evidence of continued El Niño influenced weather. Along with a myriad of other jobs to complete, winterising your most valuable asset for reliable production is essential – your irrigation system(s). It is early May and preparations for winter are hard to imagine with the continued balmy weather. Little surprise we still have balmy weather - El Niño conditions have prevailed and actually strengthened for a period in April. You know the story; El Niño is all about drier warmer conditions on the East Coast and often NW winds. Except a period in late March so it has been – warm dry and now occasional NW. Irrigation season is over and hopefully no-one thinks just because there is NW as I write (Tuesday 5th) that it

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19

hour” Remember to block of the inlet pipes (and any other open pipes or hoses) to prevent nests and animals using them as wintering sites. Winter should be a time of cold weather – frost and freezing temperatures. The perfect storm to turn water into ice and expand in the cavity, pipe or hose. Make sure you drain all the water from these vulnerable locations. Any moving part that requires greasing, well just do it. It will not only lubricate for the spring, but will drive out any water or moisture and prevent any corrosion (and potential seizure of that moving part). Do you remember those sprinklers that were not working or spinning correctly, or that leaking flange joint? Time to act or get someone to do the acting and repair, replace or renew. Those half flat or half inflated tyres, get them pumped up before winter arrives and you park up in a place that is less accessible. Don’t be in a position in

mid-August (just one season away) from realising that “now is the hour (to start)” and that “was the hour” to be ready to start.

Take care of maintenance tasks now.

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Freedom comes at the cost of Imagine if you will this scene. A wooden bungalow at 45 Wakanui Road, 19th Dec 1917. A knock on the door and an official looking envelope changes hands . . . Dear Sir, Re 54093 Leslie Bennett Thompson I have to inform you that Private Leslie Bennett Thompson died of gunshot wounds 17th December 1917 – brief, stark, factual, finite. Imagine the pain, the grief, the trauma, days before Christmas. Eldest son of a family of six, a fortnight from his 21st birthday. Six months since enlisting. Six weeks since landing in France. Only just time for his first letter home to reach its destination. My Uncle Les. Hence my name Leslie John Leadley. The realities of war, the stark realities. Cut to May 1945. I joined the 19 other pupils on my first day at Wakanui School. Enter headmaster David Dick - Ex WW1 Veteran, bought back from retirement

John Leadley

RURAL COMMENT

to bolster the depleted ranks of teachers. Not so much as a “good morning girls and boys”. Marches straight to the front of the room, salutes the New Zealand flag and Union Jack above the piano – thumps middle C – smart about turn, and conducts and leads in stentorian baritone - 20 pupils in God Save the King. Then it’s “Good morning girls and boys” - “Good morning Mr. Dick.” We will start the day with some singing and we do, from a repertoire consisting solely of patriotic anthem type songs, Heart of Oak, Rule Britannia, There’ll always be an England and Bless ‘em all. Great songs, but much better suited to adult choirs than tentative boy and girl sopranos.

Yes, patriotism was instilled at a very early age. My vivid World War Two war memories are few. My father leaving to train with the Home Guard. Tiger Moths flown by Air Force trainees buzzing overhead and practicing (not always successfully) forced landings in our paddocks. Ears glued to our battery radio – no electricity for the 6 o’clock news: This is London calling. Here is the news, Allied troops have taken - - - etc. And of local farmer Mr. Albert Amos who for years visited the school to speak to pupils on April 24, limping painfully across the road from his home, wounded in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, telling his story of his platoon, 18 hours continuous heavy fighting in appalling conditions, resting in the trenches after numerous casualties (including fatalities), handing round the only water bottle left, and finding it still more than half full after a complete round of the 16 remaining soldiers – such was the mana of the men.

A story made even more poignant by the ragged uniform, beret and battered brass water bottle in its web holder that he bought along. Such were the realities of War. But these were not special people. They could have been, and probably were, the farmer from Ruapuna, the nurse from Westerfield, the Hinds shearer, the Dorie blacksmith, the clerk from Tinwald or the Hampstead school teacher. Names inscribed on Rolls of Honour throughout the District today. Service personnel, husbands, fathers, uncles, grandfathers. Not special people - ordinary people doing special and exceptional things - some even making the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. All this so that we, generations later have the freedom to make our own decisions on life’s priorities, where we live, where we work, who we associate with, where we worship. Freedoms bought at a huge price, for us, by people we will never know.

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21

young lives

Above – Leslie John Leadley. Left – White crosses were a poignant reminder of young lives lost.

we should devote time to remember, to salute, and to honour the men and women

of all. The Armed Forces, who fought or died so that we might enjoy life as we know it.

Also in our thoughts are New Zealand troops currently on peace keeping missions in regions around the world, they have the same qualities of courage and honour that we all could emulate. So let us take stock. I believe the inspiration has been handed down to the 21st century – but I also believe that the wave of political correctness, (seemingly over what would be considered “normal” day to day activities a century ago), that is sweeping nations around the world risks destroying the initiative and enterprise of today’s generation. The wall of bureaucracy that surrounds so much of what we endeavour to achieve today is at risk of throttling our initiative and passion to achieve. Life was never meant to be without risk – wars of course have taught us very little and nobody should advocate armed combat in any situation. Seemingly needless Acts, Regulations, protocol and rules are a different issue. I would rather the

government encouraged through education the teaching of community pride, selfdiscipline, fiscal responsibility and respect for others – pivotal values a century ago. However, emphasis seems to be on creating a nation of highly paid paper shuffling officialdom rather than letting experience and basic common sense provide the guidelines for the future. Life is about opportunity – let’s not hamstring our young people. It was a privilege in June last year to visit the site of the allied Normandy landings in France, just five days after the spectacular 70th commemoration. Visiting the battlefields, cemeteries and wonderful interactive museums, all in pristine condition, many with wreathes still in place, was a humbling experience. This further emphasising the true meaning of sacrifice. In 1969 my mother fulfilled a lifelong ambition when she knelt beside the simple white gravestone, in a meticulously kept war cemetery at

Poperinghe, Belgium, of her brother, Les. She read, 54093 Private L. B. Thompson - the brother she had farewelled as a 15 year old, 52 years previously on the Ashburton Railway platform. His grave respectfully maintained half a world away by foreigners. As Governor General Ferguson once said: “They showed us how it is possible for men and women like ourselves – not heroes, but commonplace people – to rise to heights of sacrifice which had never been known to be possible. “They raised to a higher plane the standard of life of every one of us. “The inspiration they have given will be handed down to generations yet unborn”. They should be our role models. On Anzac Day, 2015, I proudly pinned a poppy to the white cross at the cenotaph in Baring Square, bearing the name Pte L. B. Thompson 54093 the uncle I never met and whom I am named after. Humbly we remember them. Yes, we will remember them.

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2 22

Farming

Business Profile

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Lay a strong financial foundation The lie of the land is determined by its shape and height, much the same as the business which is perched upon it. How your business is shaped and to what heights it will reach can be dependent on two factors, the work you put in and the advice you receive. Lay Associates Ltd have made it their business to understand the lie of the land, especially yours. They offer quality and practical accounting services to rural Canterbury and beyond, specialising in business advice and compliance services for those who work and service the land. Director, Michael Lay, was born and raised on a Canterbury farm. He has been in the accountancy profession since the late 1980’s and became a partner in a Christchurch accounting practice. To combine his knowledge of accountancy with his experience on the land, Michael set up his own accountancy business in the Selwyn District in 2004, specialising in farming-related businesses.

The practice grew to become a leading provider of accountancy services in rural Canterbury, and a second office was established in Rolleston. The business works with and services farming clients throughout MidCanterbury and beyond. Business partner, Andrew

Lambie, runs the Rolleston office, and was also born and raised on a farm. Both Michael and Andrew continue to live rurally and have watched the rural landscape change in Canterbury. “With Andrew coming on board I felt it was important to have someone else with

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similar values and an empathy for farming in Canterbury. There has been significant change on the rural landscape in Canterbury, particularly with the increase of dairying and we have become well conversant with the associated challenges. “Andrew and I have both

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had hands-on experience of the issues that farmers face and total empathy for the primary sector. We feel this is our biggest point of difference over other accountants. “All accountants understand accounting, but only a few understand farming and the associated issues specific to farming. “We understand what impacts on farming businesses and can proactively advise clients,” Michael said. Lay associates aim to fully understand the practical requirements of their client’s business. Offering far more than compliance, the team are invested in offering advice and solutions to solve problems, protect your assets and watch your business performance grow. Give Lay Associates Ltd a call to arrange an obligationfree chat about your personal and business financial goals, and discover what it’s like to have an accountant who understands your lifestyle. Advertising feature

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23

Animal welfare legislation welcomed The New Zealand veterinary profession welcomes the landmark passage of the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill which brings greater clarity, transparency and enforceability of the country’s animal welfare laws, further strengthening New Zealand’s excellent reputation for animal welfare. The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), which played a key role in helping to shape the Bill, says some of the key changes include the legal recognition of animal sentience, which is the sensation or feeling in animals, for the first time in New Zealand law. NZVA President Dr Steve Merchant says: “Veterinarians are at the vanguard of animal welfare advocacy and public support is behind us in the call for greater clarity on issues concerning animal welfare and increased sanctions for animal cruelty. “Expectations on animal welfare have been rapidly changing, and practices that were once commonplace for

pets and farm stock are no longer acceptable or tolerated. The Bill brings legislation in line with our nation’s changing attitude on the status of animals in society.” He says that the inclusion of sentience strongly reinforces that people are obliged to meet their animals’ physical, health and behavioural needs, and places New Zealand at the “forefront of progressive animal welfare legislation”. Dr Merchant says that the Bill also includes a clearer

definition of significant surgical procedures for animals and the policy has been retained that these procedures only be performed by veterinarians or veterinary students under veterinary oversight. “Veterinarians will play a key role in developing regulations around these procedures which will be enforceable by law.” The ability to effectively enforce animal Codes of Welfare has been a longstanding issue and the

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veterinary profession welcomes changes to enhance the protection of animals. “The Codes will now provide a clearer benchmark for compliance, rather than just being guidelines.” Dr Merchant says mandatory standards for the export of live animals are also strongly supported and was a central issue in the NZVA’s submission on the Bill. Standards will now include consideration of the conditions and treatment of

animals at their destination. “There will be more certainty for exporters and overseas markets about animal welfare requirements. Veterinarians will also have a more substantial role in the assessment and monitoring of the export process, accompanying exported animals to ensure their welfare is being met.” The veterinary profession will continue to work closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries, and other key organisations, to develop regulations to strengthen animal welfare legislation. “Regulations will need to very precise and clearly defined to ensure high compliance with animal welfare standards as defined by the Animal Welfare Act. This will ultimately benefit animals, as well as New Zealand’s economy and international reputation.” The Bill’s passage follows the first major review in 15 years of New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act 1999, which defines animal welfare standards.


2 24

Farming

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Put the garden to bed and relax It’s odd that the rust-coloured autumn leaves falling from the trees in my backyard are so attractive, but the same colour on patches on the roof of my house are cause for despair. At this point I’ve decided not to look at the roof, but to tackle something far more manageable – the garden. I’ve not had a lot of time to hang out in the garden recently and it was starting to show signs of neglect. With the night’s drawing in, a fulltime job and a cattery to attend to, it’s time to put the vege patch to bed for the winter. Water restrictions in Mt Somers in January were clearly going to take a toll on my autumn harvest, and early on in the drought I made a decision to sacrifice quantity for quality. As a result I only have a few pumpkins this year, having snipped off new flowers as they appeared, leaving just one or two fruits to mature on each plant. They are now safely ensconced in the back of the shed. When harvesting pumpkins be sure to leave a

Michelle Nelson

MY BACKYARD

“handle” of stem at least 10cm long to prevent bacteria or fungus from getting into the flesh. Pumpkins will keep for months, stored in a cool place out of the sunlight – I sit them on a flattened cardboard box on a shelf, to absorb any moisture. Keep an eye out for mice – I’ve had whole pumpkins hollowed out by those sneaky little critters. My corn crop was a complete disaster this year – corn needs a lot of water, and that certainly wasn’t forthcoming when required. It has long since been feed to the neighbour’s sheep. The kale held up well. White butterflies are not as keen on kale, as they are on other brassicas. For that reason I don’t plant a lot of broccoli,

sprouts or cabbage in the summer – I’m not keen on caterpillar salads! But autumn plantings do well, producing through the late winter and early spring. Wind is a fact of life in my neck of the woods, so the brussel sprouts will need to be staked before they get any bigger. It’s also time to rip up the tomato vines, beans, cougettes and other spent plants. Don’t throw out green tomatoes – they make an excellent chutney. Spinach, silverbeet and parsley will also hold up well during the colder months. I’ve got a lot of self-sown seedlings, which can be transplanted now. Broad beans can also go in to a sunny, sheltered spot. Dig in a dollop of compost and voila – beans in the spring! I plant two beans in each hole – beans like company, and they support each other, but they will also need staking in windy areas. Frost tender herbs like basil won’t survive – I grow them on the windowsill through the winter. The spud patch also needs a good dig over, to get the last

of the main crop in before the ground freezes. It’s also an opportunity to dig in compost to replace the nutrients lost during the summer. The rest of the vege patch can be put to bed, with a layer

of compost and a blanket of pea straw, ready for spring. Leaves also make an excellent mulch, and I’m putting them to good use around the flowerbeds and shrubs. One of the nice things about


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a winter garden is not having to battle weeds or pests for a couple of months. Once it’s in it is relatively maintenance free – and it’s always good to have a supply of fresh veges at a time when they are most expensive

to buy. Thanks for all your concern over my cat’s mystery illness, discussed in my column last month – happy to report Betty is back to her usual illtempered self again.

25

Above – Changing leaves signal the changing season. Right – Pumpkin is at a premium this year.


2 26

Farming

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It’s been perfect autumn weather It has been a remarkable autumn for fungi. The hot summer then the rain in March and April seems to have resulted in mushrooms and fungi of all shapes and sizes suddenly leaping out of the ground. But in reality, they are there all year round – the visible parts of the mushrooms that we see in the forests and paddocks in autumn are the fruiting bodies, the reproductive bits. The main body of the fungi is underground and out of sight and it is only in autumn that they send out the visible parts. And other fungi, such as the black spongy stuff on beech trees that are called sooty moulds, are definitely visible all year round. We probably get used to their continuous presence and forget that they are actually fungi. Sooty moulds grow on the honeydew excreted by the scale insect and often form dense black coverings on beech and manuka trees. Moulds are one of the types of fungi – the others

Mary Ralston

FOREST AND BIRD

are mushrooms, puffballs, and yeasts. There are far more fungi species in the world than plants (1.5 million species of fungi compared to about 450,000 flowering plants). About 7500 species of fungi have been found in New Zealand but there are a lot more that have not been recorded. Many of these are endemic (not found anywhere else). Unlike plants, fungi do not have chlorophyll so cannot make their own food from sunlight: they take sugars and other nutrients from plants around them. Many types of fungi play the role of decomposer in a forest ecosystem: they help break down dead vegetation and animals, and allow the minerals to become available

again to young plants. They are a crucial recycling link in many ecosystems. Some of our native plants have specific fungi living on them – for example, over 900

species of fungi have been recorded growing in association with the native beeches. This group of fungi is called mycorrhizae. They are a “behind the

scenes” group of organisms: unable to make their own food, they take sugars from the beech tree roots and in exchange the beech tree takes minerals from the fungi. This sort of

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27

if you’re a fungi From left – An opened puffball mushroom, found in the tussock grassland near Lake Heron. Middle – Beech forest near Woolshed Creek – the spread of the forest is helped by mycorrhizal fungi living on the roots of the beech trees Right – A big bracket fungi on a tree at Peel Forest.

relationship is called symbiotic – meaning both parties benefit. The body of a fungus consists of many hyphae (fine threads or filaments). In mycorrhizal fungi these extend

from the host plant’s roots into the soil, greatly increasing the surface area for the absorption of nutrients by both the fungus and the plant. Beech trees rarely spread far

from the forest edge (unlike wilding pines) and it is thought that their relationship with fungi is one of the reasons – the fungi support the beech with extra minerals and so

beech seeds that may germinate away from the forest edge are less likely to survive because they don’t have the association with the fungi. The spread of the beech

forest near the Mt Somers track in the Woolshed Creek area follows this pattern. Other fungi that are common (and more visible) in beech forest are the rainbow bracket fungi seen on rotting logs. Cup and gill fungi in many colours are also prevalent at the moment. Puffballs and other species of fungi are found in tussock grasslands. Next time you are in the native forest or tussock grasslands, have a look for some of these natural recyclers!

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2 28

Farming

Farm sheds and buildings

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Do you have consent? A personal touch Does your shed or farm building require a building consent? Most buildings greater than 10 square metres in floor area do, so it is imperative to consult the expertise of those in the building industry before marking out your foundation pegs. Generally, only small handy-man tasks, such as small retaining walls, fences and small garden sheds are exempt from requiring a consent, but to find out if your planned construction is exempt or not, Schedule One of the Building Act specifies in detail which projects are exempt. All building work must comply with the provisions of the Building Act 2004. You can find a copy of the Building Act 2004 on the New Zealand Legislation website: www.legislation. govt.nz, however if in doubt, trust in the advice of a building professional. Once the consent application process is under way, you can begin to plan the size and scope of your shed or building. If you don’t have the time to project manage the construction yourself, consider if the contractor you have chosen has the ability to manage the time line and costs, manage the required sub-contractors, can design and build the building to

your specifications and liaise with council. For a large task, it’s not uncommon to hire an independent project manager to keep an eye on progress. Be extremely clear with your chosen contractor about who is looking after each phase of construction, if you are choosing to hire your own sub-contractors or project manager. Also ensure that before any planning commences, you have been clear on the purpose of the dwelling, so the finished product will suit your requirements.

All building work must comply with the provisions of the Building Act 2004

The beauty of rural buildings are you now have more variety than ever before, from the material your shed will be made from, to deciding if you want living quarters or a workshop attached. Talk to your local shed professional to find out what they can do for you. Advertising feature

Since 2014 Justin Quaid has been the merchant for Specialised Structures in Mid Canterbury. This was a logical move to add to his building business Quaid Construction, a firm he started in 2007. It is independently owned and operated providing a more personal approach, matched with plenty of local knowledge. Specialised Structures offer exceptional flexibility in all of their farm buildings and sheds. Be it a woolshed, cow shed, wintering barn, implement shed, aircraft hangar, storage shed, deer

shed, garage, carport or any other type of farm building. They tailer all elements of the building process to meet their customers’ specific requirements. The added bonus is all buildings are made in New Zealand. They are New Zealand’s leading customised building specialists delivering quality, affordable buildings, designed and built for life. The range of buildings includes timber and steel. Our cold-rolled steel product allows us to build a shed with a 30-metre clear span which is ideal for large projects. Advertising feature

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Farm sheds and buildings

29

Alpine sheds stand the test of time supplying the highest quality products available. Being the fastest sheds on the market to erect, many builders now buy directly from Alpine because of the time and money saved. “Very pleased with shed and easy to erect. Clearspan & height is excellent” South Island farmer.

Alpine Buildings have helped South Island farmers and contractors protect their gear from the harsh elements for many years. As well as being incredibly robust, all of Alpine Buildings’ designs are bird proof. This means that the rafters are free from nests and places to perch, so machinery is not damaged from acidic droppings. Alpine ‘pre-finished’ kitset sheds are sold throughout New Zealand, and are designed for all NZ elements. With nearly 40 years experience, Alpine Buildings was the first company to enter the market with a truly complete kitset shed – and is still leading the market with their innovative products and impressive service.

The hard work is already done!

The Alpine range

Alpine has a large range of farm buildings on offer, and any of the standard agricultural sheds can be specifically designed to suit your needs. Customised options can be included such as roller doors, clearlight, internal walls, building paper

and much more. All buildings are site-specific and designed for high wind speed and snowfall, providing total peace of mind. When interviewed, a Canterbury farmer told us that Alpine was “a very good company to deal with

and great when tailoring the building to meet our requirements.”

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Everything is thought of when an Alpine pre-finished shed is supplied. The kitset pack will turn up direct to site with not a single screw missing. The kitset sheds are well organised and easy to set up. Another farmer who recently bought his 11th Alpine kitset shed put it this way: “We love putting up our Alpine sheds. They are tidy, very well-organised, on time, well-priced, no problem sheds. They’re great sheds and good people to deal with too.” For more information, ph 0800 428 453, or visit www.alpinebuildings.co.nz. Advertising feature


2 30

Farming

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The mystery cough and related breat There are a number of conditions that affect the respiratory tract of the horse. Sometimes the cause is obvious due to the accompanying mucous discharge and can be associated with allergies or a physical disability within the bronchial tubes, but there are some respiratory issues that don’t seem to be associated with anything in particular and their cause is a real mystery. For example those horses that exhibit a ‘dry’ cough associated with exercise. Maybe one or two coughs when you start trotting or cantering and then they are okay for the rest of the ride. But sometimes they continue to cough and are frustratingly “exercise intolerant”. We have also observed ponies developing raspy breathing just prior to or during a laminitic attack. Breathing problems can be difficult to correctly diagnose

Jenny Paterson

BSC ZOOLOGY AND BIOLOGY

but as a general rule if there is any change in your horse’s breathing it is always advisable to contact your vet who will go through the process of eliminating all the usual causes: ■■ Bacterial and viral infections such as the common cold or the very serious equine influenza (viral), which fortunately does not exist in New Zealand and strangles (bacterial), which unfortunately does. Both these diseases are highly contagious and can spread very rapidly between horses. Other infections

include pneumonia, herpes virus, adenovirus and rhinovirus. Foals and young growing animals are very susceptible. ■■ Allergic Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is very similar to asthma in humans caused by inhaling irritants like pollen or fungal spores and dust from hay and straw. The resultant

life and early retirement. ■■ Anatomical: Sometimes a physical problem develops within the structures of the airways between the nostrils and the lungs which can cause partial obstruction which impairs breathing and causes abnormal noises such as ‘whistling’ and ‘roaring’. Usually these can be rectified with surgery.

of being infected by this parasite. When the cause is obvious, for instance where horses are stabled or otherwise confined and their bedding and/or forage is musty, dusty, or mouldy then the solution is obvious: remove the cause. Sometimes the problem is that easily resolved. However, when even veterinary investigation

Breathing problems can be difficult to correctly diagnose but as a general rule if there is any change in your horse’s breathing it is always advisable to contact your vet

narrowing of the airways leads to coughing and in more severe cases ‘heaves’ characterised by ‘noisy’ breathing or wheezing. This is an extremely debilitating condition that can lead to loss of useful

■■ Lungworm is a parasite that spends part of its lifecycle in the lungs and respiratory tract of horses and ponies and causes persistent coughing. Sharing grazing with donkeys increases the risk

fails to identify a cause then we need to look outside the square. ■■ Another possible cause of idiopathic respiratory issues such as having ‘no puff ’ or coughing on exercise is a disturbance to body

Right – Sheena Ross’ youngster, Siriana (Sterling Warmbloods) is

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31

athing troubles chemistry caused by diet related mineral imbalances. The cumulative effect of feeding potassium-rich forages plus high potassium hard-feeds can, in some horses, result in the body experiencing difficulty maintaining correct pH. This will cause automatic compensatory mechanisms involving the respiratory tract to be triggered in order to restore equilibrium. The following are possible signs of such a respiratory problem: ■■ Coughing when eating feeds or starting exercise ■■ Nasal discharge - clear or mucous-like, more serious when white or yellow ■■ Very audible breathing, wheezing or ‘raspy’ sounds ■■ Exercise intolerance (no puff or out of breath with very little exertion, continual coughing)

■■ Increased respiratory rate (normal = 8-20 breaths per minute) ■■ Noticeable abdominal effort when breathing (‘heaves’) Diet adjustments can provide significant relief. Be very aware of your horse’s total potassium intake in order not to inadvertently add to his load. Horses obtain more than enough potassium from their forage especially if green grass is included, let alone if you are piling in additional potassiumrich lucerne, molassed or soybased feeds. Adding salt to their diet takes the stress off the adrenal glands and kidneys to maintain the correct potassium: sodium ratio and feeding the right ratios of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous help the horse maintain the levels necessary to function normally. Jenny Paterson B.Sc www.calmhealthyhorses.com

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s a picture of health and exuberance thanks to her well-managed diet. PHOTO COURTESY OF CATHY DEE

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2 32

Farming

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Soil restoration seminar hosted

RECYCLING For help with recycling on the farm, at work or at school or composting call the Community helpline 0800 627-824 or email; sherylstivens@gmail.com Attend the FREE monthly compost workshop for hands-on practical help with composting leaves, lawn clippings and foodwaste. May 18, 11am to noon. Eco Education Centre – alongside the Mastagard Recycle Shed. All welcome.

The soil seminar delivered by Dr Christine Jones in Ashburton on April 30 highlighted the need for soil restoration as part of the international Year of the Soils with the message: Unlock the secrets in your soils – nitrogen the double-edged sword. The seminar was well attended with over 100 people and full of relevant information collected from global research. For four hours Dr Jones tirelessly shared research papers about how soils function and some of her comments included: ■■ That in her three weeks driving around New Zealand she had very rarely seen any healthy top soils. ■■ You will see more nitrogendeficient plants in farmers’ paddocks where nitrogen has been applied. ■■ Every green plant on the planet has some kind of nitrogen-fixing bacteria – we interfere with this process when we apply nitrogen. Dr Jones is a real advocate of keeping the soil covered –

Sheryl Stivens

MASTAGARD ASHBURTON

no bare ground and plenty of leaves and spoke of the fact that we only have names for 1 per cent of the creatures that live in soil; we used to think we knew 5 per cent of the creatures. Amongst her mix of soil management criteria Dr Jones advocates feeding the soil with a range of biological methods, including compost and vermiliquid. She encourages farmers to change their farming practices to support biology in their soils by getting away from applying quantities of nitrogen and urea and changing grazing regimes so soils have more cover. Dr Jones told farmers present that they are first and foremost “light farmers” with two rules:

■■ Build photosynthetic capacity. ■■ Enhance photosynthetic rate which means no bare ground and multiple species. Dr Jones shared with us that applying urea drops the photosynthesis rate, plants then stop channelling carbon to soil to fix nitrogen-fixing bacteria, the microbes then die off which leaves our livestock short of trace elements. Dr Jones also talked about the inevitable impact on human health of this cycle. The financial losses to farmers of over-application of N and P were also highlighted. Dr Jones talked about the five principles of soil health now being advocated in the US and the opportunities for New Zealand farmers to reduce chemical fertilisers and farming practices and improve environmental health as well as productivity and income. Special thanks to Agrisea NZ for bringing this seminar to Ashburton. For more information see the website www.amazingcarbon.com

Working with you for a greener tomorrow Specialists in all types of waste removal Frontload bins for General Waste Gantry Skips for Building sites or a home clean up

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www.guardianonline.co.nz

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in Ashburton Compost Apply compost to your soils pre winter Now available locally for loading out of the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park Masta–Gardener Compost is a quality all-purpose soil conditioner brewed over a twoyear period from a variety of green plant materials and batch tested by Hills Laboratory. Whether sprinkled on the surface of the soil or pasture or dug through your soil Masta-Gardener Compost provides a diversity of plant soluble nutrients to make your gardens, pastures and crops grow healthier and increase resistance to pests and diseases. The compost will attract earthworms to your soils which will improve drainage and aeration, as well as your soil structure and water-holding capacity. Try some today - very affordable at $3 per bag or $15 per scoop or enquire about bulk prices. Available from the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park.

Waste plastic really floats their boat A thousand discarded plastic bottles and lots of ingenuity have helped 22 young people from all over New Zealand paddle Abel Tasman National Park to educate Kiwi children about waste and sustainability. The Plastic Bottle Kayak Project transformed reject cider bottles into four double kayaks which the team paddled from Bark Bay to Marahau. Chris Golding, Department of Conservation manager conservation services Motueka, said that it was encouraging to see the plastic bottle kayak team taking on the challenge to raise awareness of plastic and other forms of pollution in New Zealand. “The amount of pollution that ends up in our special places was clearly shown during last year’s Big Beach CleanUp, when 770kg of rubbish was retrieved from the waters around Anchorage and Adele Island.

Samantha Collings (left) and Kelly Bingham, both of Auckland, take part in the plastic bottle kayak project in Abel Tasman National PHOTOS SUPPLIED Park.

Recycle your plastic chemical containers By the end of this month, New Zealand farmers and growers will have recycled one million kilograms of plastic containers through the Agrecovery Rural Recycling programme. Agrecovery is celebrating this milestone by giving away a Suzuki Trojan motorbike. Anyone who recycles with

Agrecovery before the end of June goes in the draw to win. The Agrecovery container programme started in 2007, offering farmers and growers free recycling of plastic containers from 12 participating brand owners at 25 collection points. It now has over 60 brand owners of agrichemical, dairy hygiene and animal health products financially supporting the programme, with more than 70 permanent collection points

throughout the country. And the number of farmers and growers recycling with Agrecovery is growing significantly each year, with 230,000kg recovered this year. The recycled containers are sent to Astron Plastics in Auckland for processing into safe end uses, such as underground electrical cable cover. Through recycling with Agrecovery, farmers and growers have avoided using the equivalent of 8500 c m of farm dumps, or unnecessarily polluting the air and land by burning the plastic. The Agrecovery site for agricultural chemical containers in Ashburton is at ATS. Containers must be empty, free from chemical residue and dirt inside and out, with the label left on for brand identification. Sheryl Stivens is eco efficiency co-ordinator, Mastagard Ashburton

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2 34

Farming

Effluent

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Effective effluent solutions Long gone are the days where dairy effluent was viewed as an ineffectual by product of the milking process. With a shift from a waste mentality to a resource utilisation approach, farms can increase productivity while protecting the local environment, improving the industry’s marketability as environmentally friendly. If the management of effluent isn’t effectively managed, it can cost you more than a loss in productivity. Earlier this year a Lake Brunner farm was fined $66,000 for environmental breaches relating to effluent run-off which had the potential to flow into Lake Brunner and Kangaroo Creek. Safety of effluent ponds was also brought to the attention of the nation when a 2-yearold boy fell into an effluent pond in Waikato earlier this year. He was flown by the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition, and then transferred to intensive care at Starship

Hospital in Auckland in a critical condition. Effective effluent management begins with quality construction of effluent ponds, designed with

Smelly Ponds

future intensive farming practices in mind. Measures should be taken to ensure the ponds meet safety requirements for the safety of people and stock.

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With Impact Pond Treatment … v Your Effluent Pond Smell will be all gone after only a couple of months. v Impact creates about a 95% reduction in the solids. v Impact digests all the solids aerobically and this makes the nutrients almost 100% plant available. v What this can do for your farm is up to 70% increase in grass growth and the nutritional value of the grass is much higher. v Cows will happily eat the grass just two days after the effluent has been spread. v The aerobic bacteria in Impact also see pathogens, (such as facial eczema & mastitis etc), as “food”. Impact destroys them in your ponds. v No damage to pond liners because they don’t need to be mechanically cleaned out.

An empty pond with no build up keeps Ecan, and all the rest of them, very happy, not to mention no sucker trucks or diggers required again.

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With advancements in technology it is now possible to utilise effluent as an effectual fertiliser. Gone are the days of an effluent pond with crusty and

sludgy buildup. It is possible to install a system which leaves your pond in a constant fluid state, aerobic and biologically active. This liquid can then be spread on pasture, in a way which avoids visible traces of effluent being left on the ground. Your effluent has now become a valuable asset and you’ll remain in the good books of the environmental officer when your farm is inspected. Some of the most technologically advanced and effective effluent systems are available from local Mid Canterbury suppliers. Designed with the farmer in mind they run off little electricity, some parts are self-cleaning and have effective screening in place to ensure non-biodegradable substances don’t end up in the pond. With quality construction and a technologically advanced effluent system, say goodbye to a sticky, smelly pond and hello to more money in your back pocket. Advertising feature


Effluent

www.guardianonline.co.nz

35

Providing quality concrete solutions Locally owned and operated, Hanham Concrete has been providing quality concrete products and services in the South Island for more than 50 years. Hanham Concrete has since passed down through three generations with Michael Hanham Jnr taking over in 2009. During this time, the company has grown in both size and scope, with their concrete products now found throughout the South Island. They specialise in rural products such as troughs, tanks, multi-use bunkers and silage pits. They also have a broader product range including killing sheds, sumps, risers and precast panels, to name a few. Effluent tanks and sumps are another main focus for the company. Their effluent sumps can be tailored to suit all your requirements and can be built in high water tables. Hanham Concrete effluent tanks are designed with longevity and seismic occurrences in mind. Using a post tensioning

system, their tanks can be assembled completely above ground with no backfill required. Sizes range from 500,000 litres to 6m litres. All of their products are made using steel-reinforced concrete and they include micro fibre in their concrete

to give extra strength and durability to their products. They are of robust construction, the company always aiming for superior workmanship and long lifespan for every product that leaves their facilities. Hanham Concrete has

also always been interested in new products and want to continuously raise their standards of quality and the range of products they offer. They pride themselves in being able to offer custom solutions to achieve maximum satisfaction their customers.

For a well-built concrete product, be it a trough, a bunker or an effluent tank or any other concrete product Hanham Concrete specialises in, you can be confident you will get the best quality out of Hanham Concrete. Advertising feature

• Concrete Water/Feed Troughs • Precast Panels • Silage Pits • Water Tanks/ Effluent Tanks • Concrete Bunkers • Weeping Walls • Killing Sheds • Cattle Stops


2 36

Farming

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Aiming for whole system efficiency Hayden and Jessie Dorman are in search of practices which will ensure the long term sustainability of their farm. This 2014/15 season they have begun to utilise their Growsmart Precision VRI technology and the EM maps (by Agri Optics NZ Ltd) of their farm in order to demonstrate environmental efficiency and improve soil health. Their 640m centre pivot with Growsmart Precision VRI installed is estimated to save them an average of $148 in power per application while decreasing water usage by 3,300 m3 in comparison to applying a uniform application rate. Alongside this technology the Dormans also employ Hydroservices to carry out weekly soil moisture readings on their farm and are involved in a joint NIWA and ECAN trial which involves a weather station and a soil moisture sensor that provides continuous moisture data. Soil moisture monitoring locations were chosen using the farm EM map to identify

Hayden Dorman relishes the benefits he gets with his Growsmart Precision VRI and EM Mapping.

zones of similar soil type. The operation on Riverstone farm totals 180 hectares and is serviced by a single centre pivot with Growsmart Precision VRI installed, irrigating 136 hectares. As progressive farmers, they would like to reduce their water usage and improve overall efficiency by aligning soil moisture data with their EM map and using these tools to guide variable rate irrigation application primarily during the shoulders of the season. The Dormans already utilise their Growsmart Precision VRI technology to avoid watering over

laneways saving water, pumping costs and laneway/ track maintenance costs. Furthermore this season they have been investigating further utilising the variable rate irrigation technology through dividing their farm into three management zones and delaying water application to those soils with a greater ability to retain water. This is expected to decrease their water usage and pumping costs by an overall total of 3,300,000 litres and $148 respectively per application. As a previous ECAN employee, Jessie is well aware of what future

nitrate leaching restrictions will involve. Soil moisture monitoring on the farm shows the Dormans when drainage events are occurring through the soil profile and allows them to modify their irrigation accordingly to minimise leaching. Data from the NIWA lysimeter also allows them to see leachate collected and this has been recorded as minimal over the 2014/15 irrigation season. In upcoming seasons the Dormans’ goal is to monitor their soil moisture data and use this to guide their Growsmart Precision VRI irrigation schedule combined with weather forecasts, times of the season and pasture cover. Growsmart Precision VRI is compatible with most centre pivot and lateral irrigators, the technology can be installed on new systems or as a retro-fit to existing systems. For more information contact your local Zimmatic irrigation dealer or visit www. growsmartprecisionvri.co.nz for more information. Advertising feature

FACTS RIVERSTONE FARM 1.

750 cows were milked in 2013/14 with milk production for the season at 432,000 kg MS.

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Farm consented water take 193 L/sec, water usage only 180 L/sec

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SIX YEARS ON AND BRIAN IS STILL SEEING GREEN The Growsmart® Precision VRI system installed on Brian and Jo Bosch’s dairy farm in the South Wairarapa has been saving them precious water and dollars since it was first installed in 2008.

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The couple use the intelligent system to avoid watering the tracks, ponds and drains underneath their Zimmatic™ centre-pivot. The water saved by avoiding these areas is diverted to other areas of the farm, increasing their irrigated land area by approximately 10%. And after over six years of using the technology he’s pretty happy about the low maintenance requirements of the system hardware, “It’s just worked!” The Bosch’s are not alone in the great results achieved using variable rate irrigation. Trials show savings of up to 27% on dairy and cropping farms are realistically achievable. Why? Because Precision VRI controls every individual sprinkler allowing you to irrigate where it is needed. Find out how you could achieve great results like Brian and Jo by talking to your Zimmatic by Lindsay dealer today or by visiting growsmartprecisionvri.co.nz

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Phone 307-5830 - Cnr East St & Walnut Ave, Ashburton A/H Richard Burns 027 486 7546 – Eden Kirk-Williams 027 450 7544

© 2013 LINDSAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ZIMMATIC IS A TRADEMARKS OF THE LINDSAY CORPORATION.

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2 38

Farming

www.guardianonline.co.nz

25-year barley record smashe Timaru-based farmers, Warren and Joy Darling have entered the renowned book of Guinness World Records, after producing the world’s largest crop of barley – breaking a 25-year record. The couple produced a staggering 13.8 tonnes of barley per hectare – smashing the previous record of 12.2 tonnes, which has been held by a Scottish grower, Gordon Rennie of Stockton Park Ltd, since 1989. This is equivalent to the weight of more than 17,000 loaves of bread per hectare! In New Zealand, the average yield for winter barley, the type grown by the Darlings, is about 9.5 tonnes

per hectare. The new record of 13.8 tonnes is a massive 45 per cent more than the average yield The new record is an exciting achievement for New Zealand, and the world. Producing greater harvests from the same amount of land will have a big part to play in helping solve the world hunger problem, and feeding a growing population. Judging by this new record – New Zealand will be leading the charge. A crucial factor that enabled this gargantuan harvest was the use of a range of innovative products from Bayer CropScience, including the entire seed treatment; the weed

and disease control programme; fungicides and herbicides.

FACTS 1. Barley is thought to be the world’s oldest cultivated grain. It has been found in pre-historic settlements dating back 23,000 years 2. Today it is used for livestock feed, human food and malt production 3. Barley is the fourth most important cereal crop in the world after wheat, maize and rice

4. New Zealand grows some of the highest barley yields thanks to ideal climatic conditions 5. Most of the world’s barley crop is used for animal feed. The world record barley crop from Timaru will be used for dairy cow feed 6. The main use for barley in human consumption is beer. Half of the barley grown in the USA is used for making beer

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Left – Warren Darling

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www.guardianonline.co.nz

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2 40

Farming

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Black gold of the future? By Nadine Porter The New Zealand blackcurrant story might show promise for the future, but grower grumblings on static contract prices and growing input costs indicate it’s not all good news at present. A grower who did not want to be named told the Guardian that growers had seen no move in contract prices over the past decade and that the portrait painted by other media of a booming industry was not true. The grower was weary of revealing their identity due to a fear of contracts not being renewed. However, continuing research by BlackHort, a jointly-funded NZ blackcurrant breeding programme between Plant and Food Research and BCNZ has many excited for the future of the crop, especially as the role of polyphenols in athletes’ performance are better known. A particular type of polyphenol, called

anthocyanins, has garnered attention due to their ability to help athletes’ bodies adapt to high-intensity training better and, consequently, becoming fitter faster. Anthocyanins give the berries their deep purple colour and have high antioxidant qualities. Blackcurrants have been shown to have more anthocyanins than almost any other fruit or vegetable – a fact BlackHort hopes to use as a marketing tool. Trials continue to be conducted using blackcurrant powder, which may prove to be the saviour of the industry. Although some growers remain unhappy at prices for blackcurrants, the future of the industry looks promising if the berry is marketed well to athletes. Here in Mid Canterbury growers have found the berry has become an important part of their wider cropping operation, which fits in well on their seasonal farming calendar. During winter when other

parts of the farm are quiet pruning takes place, ensuring an increase in sunlight and air circulation in the canopy to prevent disease. New cuttings are also planted at this time and the ground is sprayed for weed control. During spring growers have a small window to implement fungicide control. Botrytis can cause considerable loss of yield so optimum spray timings are crucial to production. Harvest takes place in late December and early January and is gathered by a specialist blackcurrant harvester. This past season’s harvest had been “average” across the country. However, Blackcurrants New Zealand Incorporated have an objective of reaching 10t/ha by next year. Overall blackcurrants can

be a high value crop that can generate up to $12000/ ha in gross income, although growers have been quick to point out that production costs mean net income is not as stellar. Production figures have varied over past seasons with 6000 to 9000t reported by 45 growers in a total planted area of 1275ha. Industry leaders hope to increase the area to 12000t to meet future

market requirements. The bulk of New Zealand blackcurrants are processed into concentrate with most used for the well-known fruit drink Ribena. Growers are mainly found in the greater Nelson and Canterbury, with just 37 levypaying growers nationwide.

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Ashburton guardian farming, tuesday, may 12, 2015  

Ashburton Guardian Farming, Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ashburton guardian farming, tuesday, may 12, 2015  

Ashburton Guardian Farming, Tuesday, May 12, 2015