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ometimes the greatest stride forward comes when we face adversity. It’s human nature not to question our lot when cashflow is flowing and our asset is not devaluing. This is particularly true of agriculture where, by and large, farmers are a conservative bunch. So it’s good that we are all looking inwards at the moment and asking questions of those that are in the driving seat. Fonterra is an easy target. A commodity-based player, it has become a monolithic entity – and perhaps larger in the minds of its suppliers than the global reality. Its scale is magnificent and unprecedented in New Zealand agriculture, but that does not necessarily equate to success, efficiency and capability to act on market signals early. Co-operatives are part of the New Zealand story. But has the world moved on? Is there still a place for the New Zealand co-operative and, if the answer is yes, what tweaks need to be made to drive us forward? These are the questions we asked this past month and the response was varied, although there were common underlying concerns. One was governance and the need to have strong healthy independent directors who bring in fresh ideas and creativity. There seems to be no question that there is a need to be focusing on premium markets and shifting away from commodities – but how? This then leads on to the lack of

Nadine Porter


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visionary agri-leadership. Yes we have some inspiring role models and a couple of them speak to us in this edition; but right now we seem to be in a holding pattern. It takes courage to stand up with a new idea and see it through. Sometimes ideas fail – something Synlait CEO John Penno believes we need to applaud, rather than tear down. Because without attempting anything we stand still and we don’t get to the ideas that could mean success and sustainability. We talk about needing to form partnerships with Asian companies to get us in the front door, instead of being a needle thrown in an ocean – trying to stand alone. And yet farmers are resistant to foreign investment, ignoring the fact that without investment we can’t generate enough capital on our own to invest in new markets. We want better prices but don’t allow the structures we own to invest in getting those better prices. It’s a catch 22 that will not have an answer until we are brave enough to leave the comfort of the past and the warm cozy cardigan our ownership has allowed us to have.

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The challenger ... WHAT WOULD RICHARDSON DO?

Nadine Porter

If Ruth Richardson was in the boardroom of Fonterra right now she would: – Change the governance model, as it is primarily a farmer-dictated board – 50/50 farmer independent director split – Be very clear on strategy – If farmers were insistent on keeping the cooperative structure, she would spawn many joint structures (mini-Fonterras) to allow premium plays to occur


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Questions over the agribusiness co-operative model continue following the dairy price slump, with former finance minister Ruth Richardson claiming cooperatives suffer crippling structural deficiencies and some Fonterra suppliers demanding change. At the Rural Business Network meeting in Methven recently, the Synlait and Merino New Zealand director challenged whether agribusiness co-operatives were capable of delivering premium plays. “My contention is that the co-operative suffers from crippling structural deficiencies that condemn it to the production of commodities because the co-operative has to serve all suppliers.” Ms Richardson said New Zealanders were “so captive” by the status quo that it was a problem. “We think the co-operative is a religion we should adhere to whether it delivers the goods or not; to the point that we are blinded to the reality.” Coupled with that is the need to shift our mind-set from being an essentials business to a premiums business, she said.

Left and below right – Ruth Richardson (left) believes cooperatives like Fonterra stop us from accessing premium markets like this a high-end, organic dairy brand intended for eco-friendly consumers. Below left – Beef will be the champagne of the future, according to Ruth Richardson.

continued over page

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ARE PRODUCER CO-OPERATIVES HOLDING US BACK? From P3 “It’s only the premiums business that is going to deliver value to this country and that should be the test of performance and business models capable of producing that performance.” The industry needed to make a dash towards premium play and that would involve disruption to the status quo, she said. “Too bad ... if the status quo is not delivering the goods, it’s incumbent on us to really push the boundaries to disrupt the thinking about what business models are best equipped to give us premiums in return.” To achieve premiums New Zealand would have to get better business strategies, different structures and better execution. One of the main issues with a co-operative like Fonterra was lack of line of sight to the end consumer, she said. “Farmers tip the milk in the vat and that’s it.” Using the example of Mr Munchkin (A United States infant milk formula company that Synlait supplies


RICHARDSON ON MEATWORKS MERGER Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Co-operative Merger: If you put two foul models together you get a foul model, according to Ms Richardson. “It’s a foolish proposition and made even worse when they say they are going to legislate to create it.” The real fiasco, she said, was with Beef and Lamb NZ premium grass fed milk to) Ms Richardson said farmers knew exactly what and where their milk was going. “Fonterra can’t do that, neither can Westland…You’ve got a problem where input has no line of sight to the customer. “There is absolutely no discipline in the co-operative for producing a rate of return on assets.” She also argued that there was confused property rights within co-operatives and most

– a public good compulsory levy funded organisation – thinking they knew what the market imperatives were. Meat companies should stick to the meat business and think about how they secure and execute that strategy in a way that best secures premiums for their products. “The champagne is beef. It takes 15,500 litres of

How do farmers retain ownership of the value add chain if they change governance structures?

water to produce a kilogram of beef and they need to understand how to utilise that opportunity.” Ms Richardson said while Silver Fern Farms was essentially bankrupt, farmers said “very little” about the state of the co-operative but instead concentrated only on the price they got at the gate.

“Therein lies the myth and the myth has to be debunked – that if you have external capital it has to be at the expense of producers because lousy capitalists will take it out of the hide of producers.” Ms Richardson used the

shareholders didn’t value their co-operative is doing, how and needed to embrace a shareholdings. well it’s employing capital but world of facing and making “They just value the price not if it’s getting more value markets from the grower to they get ... Most worryingly through premium plays.” the consumer. of all there is no imperative to The Fonterra board had “In essence we are not be at the premium end of the recently raided future capital selling wool, meat and milk – scale. and dividends to offer a loan we are selling trust which is “The trouble is that those to shareholders, because it the gold standard for which that want the dairy boat “couldn’t stand” the idea of a discerning consumers will pay to go faster advance fatally low pay-out price. the gold premium for.” conflicting objectives. “So it could prop up the milk The current situation wasn’t “If you look at the loudest price and all the while value just a failure of strategy but voices in the wake of the added opportunities are going more a failure of structure, dairy slump –Suzuki they measure begging.” Dealer newspaper advertising SZM0177 KINGQUADshe said. performance by milk price Fonterra needed to ditch Fonterra shareholder alone and not how well the the producer driven mentality council chairman Duncan 100X5 COL (186X100MM)

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ON VALUE CHAIN Merino New Zealand model as an example and said last year the corporation paid $32 million in extra returns to farmers that would not have been there had they been relying on the auction market. “Why? Because we have been able to deploy different contract methods and different ways of doing business.

“The entire value chain is integrated so farmers get a line of sight to the end user and understand all the market partners along the way.” Everybody was invested mutually at adding value, she said. The real imperative in making these kinds of reforms was to control our destiny, she said.

Coull admitted recently there was an underlying current of distrust within Fonterra because of misinformation, a perceived move away from core co-operative principles and emotion because of the falling milk price. Duncan Coull

RICHARDSON ON FOREIGN OWNERSHIP The elephant that is foreign ownership in NZ: “One of the reasons why foreign buyers are going to be more and more dominant is because we are not making enough profit as New Zealand farmers, because commodity play reduces our power.” Ms Richardson did not understand why foreign investment and ownership was a problem. “Who do we trade with? Foreigners! You’ve got a marriage between talent, investment and trade.” New Zealand was not like the United States and China and could not “take in its own washing”. “We’ve got to sell to the world.” She asked farmers if they would rather have a share in a failing company as long as it was farmer owned. “Would you rather cut off your nose to spite your face?”




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The defender ... By Nadine Porter

The NZ Co-Op CEO Ian Macintosh disagrees with anti-co-operative sentiment, saying they offer long-term reliability as well as the opportunity for farmers to put forward change if they are unhappy with current

strategy. Mr Macintosh has worked for both private companies and co-operatives and said the former was only interested in short-term gains. “When I worked for private companies I was only interested in quarterly results. Did we care about how we made it? No, not really.” As irritated and angry as a farmer may get at his producer co-operative, he at least knows where to “find the guy that runs it”. “You can’t wander into Christchurch and find the head of Hewlett Packard, but you can go and find Alliance chairman Murray Taggart easily.” Mr Macintosh said while he respected Ruth Richardson’s assignation that cooperatives are incapable of delivering premium plays, he strongly disagreed and said New Zealand co-operatives had a history of being highly innovative. “The only difference is they don’t blow

NZ Co-Op CEO Ian Macintosh says co-operatives offer long-term reliability.

AG LEADERSHIP Farmers can change leadership within their co-operatives and can change its strategy, according to Ian Macintosh. “You must continually challenge

their own tune like private companies do.” Livestock Improvement was an example of a successful and highly innovative co-operative which had found niche markets around the world and done “very well” for its members. “Fonterra and the red meat industry have also been very innovative, but it tends to get overlooked when things aren’t going right.” Mr Macintosh posed a simple question to prove his point. “How many co-operatives have gone bust in New Zealand in the past 100 years? Now compare that to private companies ...” Another advantage to co-operatives was the “intrinsic knowledge” members had of their industry because it was

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your boards to make sure you have the right directors.” The co-operative model has survived hundreds of years globally, he said. what they do, whereas directors of private companies don’t necessarily have that inside information. He warned against going in search of a different structure, reminding producers of what happened in the Australian grain industry where they de-established a co-operative and ended up with private traders to the detriment of producers. “You have to be very careful because of what you get after the co-operative. Look how much better the Aussie grain traders thought they were going to be, but how much poorer they are today.” Using Alliance as an example, Mr Macintosh asked what farmer suppliers would do if they were instead supplying a private company and were subject to that company’s demand fluctuations?

“They could say ‘we don’t want to take your lamb this week, but next week we will take them but only at half the price because we’ve got nowhere to sell them to’.” Co-operatives offer sustainability and take a more considered approach, he said. They also ensure the money stays in New Zealand. “And at the end of the day farmers can get together and change things if they wish. “You can’t do that with a limited liability company because the guy who has 51 per cent calls the shots. If we sold the meat industry to someone overseas, who is going to love and cuddle the producers like the co-operative does? There is a lot of respect there.” However, the one disadvantage co-operatives all over the world are struggling with remains capital raising. But that has also been a problem with private New Zealand companies, he said. Currently the NZ Co-Op was concentrating on getting a younger generation involved in understanding the core philosophies and advantages of co-operatives and was holding courses in both islands.

The politicians ... By Nadine Porter Labour leader Andrew Little is not convinced the co-operative structure lies at the heart of Fonterra’s problems and believes it is more about a lack of leadership. “I’m surprised in spite of very generous salaries within Fonterra they don’t seem to have convinced their suppliers to make decisions in the long term as opposed to trying to get as much as they can each season out of what they are producing.” Mr Little said Fonterra hasn’t invested in the long term because they had to persuade farmers to forgo income they might otherwise have received in a season. “But that’s what leadership is about – somebody who is prepared to stand up and say the pay-out is going to be this much because we are going to invest in technology and markets that are going to


generate a higher income in a couple of years.” Mr Little said farmers need to get on board and take long-term decisions. “It requires somebody with a force of personality to confront farmers and say that there is no future in what we are doing.” The lack of visionary agricultural leadership in New Zealand was a problem and it had been too easy for many of those in charge to take the path of least resistance. He said the meat processing industry had similar problems and was constantly tripping over each other. “They can’t lift themselves out of the kind of eternally competitive model that is driving down the value of what they are producing.”





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The visionar

The politicians ... It makes sense for New Zealand producers to co-operate and pool resources so they don’t compete against themselves counterproductively, according to the Minister of Primary Industries. Nathan Guy believes the incentive for starting co-operatives lies in the ability of farmers to combine their individual efforts to generate scale. “The reality for our primary producers is that they compete against subsidised industries, protectionist markets and fluctuating prices on a daily basis. Scale can sometimes be the only thing standing between demise and survival.” He also believed in some instances cooperatives could help better connect farmers across the value chain. “Ultimately whether a co-operative structure is successful or not is built on the strength of its shareholders, and whether the structure is still relevant to achieve its original mandate.” As new industries looked to develop or upscale, the agriculture industry could expect that new co-operative proposals may come forward, he said. “Equally we can expect some farmers may decide to leave existing co-operatives in search of other business structures that may suit better their own aspirations.”

By Nadine Porter

Merino New Zealand’s John Brakenridge is clear. “We need to go from price takers to market shakers and it might sound like a cliché but clichés are right too.” The CEO remembers the struggle he had in breaking away from the Wool Board to set up Merino New Zealand and believes our system works against us. “We are so entrenched in one way of doing business and that business is commodities.” Mr Brakenridge said agriculture needed people to provoke a conversation because the current route of volatile commodities was not going to sustain New Zealand in the future. “If people accept that vision and direction the Government can anchor their own decisions whether it be in research and development or innovation and universities can say they need to


create people to accommodate it.” On a recent trip to Denmark Mr Brakenridge was told by a wool buyer that we were lazy and that our agriculture industry had previously had it easy. While Mr Brakenridge generally agreed with the sentiment he did not think laziness referred to our work ethic but instead to our apathy around giving another business model “a go”. However he did believe many agricultural businesses had “the wiring” and






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recognition that the way forward needed to be done differently. “They know we need to be more value based but the execution is actually really hard.”

Farmers have completely unrealistic expectations of their co-operatives, according to Synlait visionary John Penno. The CEO said the cooperative structure was not the problem, the demands farmers placed upon them was. “They say they must take risks, build value and add opportunities for the products they produce. “They say they must be profitable, but actually the co-operative has to return all profit directly back to the farmers and are very limited in the ways they can accumulate capital.” This in turn relegated companies and pushed them to be conservative, he said. New Zealand agriculture does have challenges,


but everyone was also aware of the massive opportunities ahead, he said. “A lot of it comes down to the way we think about our industry and the opportunities. Because we are small and isolated we like to think we are big and important. “We talk about our farmers as being the best in the world and use words like trade and export, whereas in reality value is created when you can find something the consumer wants and deliver it to them in a way they perceive value.” Mr Penno used the mobile phone as an example of perceived value and questioned who would have believed consumers would happily pay $1000 for a cellphone a decade ago. “But when you talk about export and trade, it relegates you to thinking of how you get your product out there cheaper than anybody else and even though you might know

it’s a great product, if you just compete for volume it drives down the price.” In reality New Zealand produces just a fraction of the world’s food, but if we keep thinking of the percentage of world trade we supply (which is far higher) it pushes thinking into the wrong direction. “We do need a mind-set change. Innovation always happens from the edge.” Mr Penno believed we not only needed to celebrate people who succeeded, but also help those that failed to get back on their feet “so they can have another go” and utilise what they had learned. “Everyone is scared that dairy farmers are going to go broke at the moment. What does it matter? “If there aren’t some going broke it means that people aren’t trying and doing things differently enough and pushing the boundaries.”





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Irrigation companies mindful of El Nino More snow in the Canterbury back country this winter bodes well for the start of the irrigation season, but irrigation companies are keeping a close eye on the threat of an impending El Nino summer. Canterbury’s irrigation schemes rely on snow melt to enable them to draw off and store water when the rivers are flowing above regulated levels. Earlier this year the Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Limited (MHIL) officially opened its 6.1 million cubic metre Carew storage ponds. MHIL manager Hamish Tait said the ponds were full and ready for business later in the irrigation season, which officially opens on September 10. Farmers on the scheme will use water provided by Rangitata Diversion Race Management Limited (RDRML) until restrictions are imposed on drawing water from the Rangitata River, when the storage ponds will come into their own. In South Canterbury Opuha water company chief

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excecutive Tony McCormick said the lake was 82.5 per cent full last week. “That’s encouraging, but it is still lower than it was this time last year,” he said. In February the dam was shut down for the first time in its 17-year history to keep the Opuha River flowing in the face of serious drought conditions. “We are aiming for the lake to be 100 per cent full by the end of September, but that on its own is not sufficient to say we are there and we are right for the season. “We will continue to manage the lake and water allocation on a very prudent, careful basis. It would seem to me the forecast El Nino is a sure

The recently-opened MHIL Carew storage ponds PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN are now full.

thing and, while we won’t see the effects much through the spring, we are very mindful it could be very dry from Christmas on. While there appears to be twice as much snow on the hills behind the lake than last year, it is still well below average, Mr McCormick said. “That’s twice not very much, but it’s still a degree of comfort.” Snow melt typically supplies a significant percentage of the

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lake’s intake in October and November. The Opuha irrigation season officially opened last Wednesday with 50 per cent restrictions in place from the get go. It is only the second time restrictions have been in place at the start of the season. “We effectively started the season on restrictions in 2011 – that lasted three days and the lake was spilling.” Under our normal operation

regime we wouldn’t be doing this – we would be looking at the lake now and thinking it’s okay. It truly is reflective of the experience we had last summer and the outlook. “It’s more about messages than actually saving water at this stage – it puts us in a better position to negotiate some savings from the river this month, and everybody is on board with that. The primary goal is to keep the lake as full as possible.”



Good environmental on-farm practice By Donna Field, chair of the Ashburton Zone Committee Canterbury Water Management Strategy

The recently released book “Water, Farming and Families” caught my interest as it charts the history of the MayfieldHinds Irrigation Company. The book delves into the history of modern irrigation in New Zealand from government investment in the 1930s, to farmer ownership in the 1980s, and makes some interesting comments about efficiency, storage, nutrient management and farm environment plans. I was surprised to discover that “audited self-management and farm environment plans” were being discussed back in 2008. Now, seven years later, irrigation companies are leading the way in helping shareholders prepare farm environment plans that are then submitted online via company websites. This will allow companies to stay within their nutrient limit. I have heard from a

Donna Field and Chair of the Hinds Drains Working Party Peter Lowe.

number of farmers that have been preparing their farm environment plans and it hasn’t been nearly as bad as they thought it would be. They have said it makes them look at the farm in a different way and they’ve picked up things that they would not have noticed before. There is plenty of help out there to prepare farm environment plans. All

irrigation companies have skilled staff who are more than willing to help. As a farming community we are privileged to use water for our businesses. The wider community entrust us to use it well. We can demonstrate how seriously we take our responsibility by recording our actions in our farm environment plans. I think this quote from the

Money from the Immediate Steps fund will build on a farmer’s work to restore this stream which flows into the north branch of the Ashburton River.

book sums it up nicely. “Audited self-management or ASM will be part of our future and will be our way of demonstrating to all that we are good custodians of our resources”. – Mayfield-

Hinds Irrigation Company Chairman’s Annual Report 2012, David Keely. For more information on farm environment plans see “information for farmers” at

Demystifying farm environment plans By David Ashby, Environment Canterbury Senior Land Manager Advisor

The Farm Environment Plan or FEP is the vehicle of change that will help us achieve environmental outcomes by taking action on-farm. Overseer® is a useful tool that enables us to put a stake in the ground, and find out where we are at. It’s not hard and you can do it yourself. The Ashburton zone is extremely lucky as the major irrigation schemes have strong environmental leaders who have been doing some outstanding work in recent months. Two examples that come to mind are Reuben Edkins (RDR) and Eva Harris (Irrigo). Reuben has completed just under half of the FEPs required in the major irrigation schemes. Meanwhile, Eva has been preparing the guidelines for 135 BCI shareholders and helping farmers then prepare their own FEPs using the Rubicon online version. The uptake has been very good and people are finding the online template easy to use. Beef and Lamb with the

Efficient irrigation is a key aspect of environmental planning.

local young farmer participant James Hoban have also been active in the zone by running two successful workshops in Methven which provided farmers with their own FEPs. FAR has also been active with Diana Mathers developing and demonstrating the FAR FEP, which is simple and easy for arable farmers to use. Irrigation NZ and Dairy NZ also have FEP templates available and Environment Canterbury has a lifestyle block template online,which meets all the requirements of the FEPs and would be useful for the zones’ 700 or more small block owners. Al McCone from Worksafe

was recently in the area and was talking about health and safety. He discussed how it wasn’t about fancy health and safety manuals, but about the farmer’s understanding of his obligations. Some parallels can be drawn with FEPs. The key is to identify the hotspots, take action to sort them out, and have records of your actions. This could be as simple as a photo or as hi-tech as soil moisture records or GPS tracking of a fertiliser truck. We all know it’s tough out there and the recent downturn in dairy will affect every one of the 30,000 people in this zone. Sheep and Beef farmers get around 10-20% of their income from dairy grazing

Riparian planting and fencing helps reduce nutrients and sediments from entering waterways on award-winning Slee dairy farm.

and arable farmers sell considerable supplementary feed and grazing to dairy farmers. Despite these pressures Ashburton farmers and the industry as a whole have stood

up are taking the first step forward with FEPs in the zone. Well done to all. If you need help with FEPs please contact Environment Canterbury on 0800 324 636.

2 12




Last week the UK was all about British lamb with butchers, restaurants and pubs promoting high-quality British lamb for a week to help struggling sheep farmers. The grassroots campaign aims to get shoppers more excited about lamb and wants producers and the public to cook with it.

Although the global wheat yield record was smashed two weeks ago, wet weather is now delaying harvest progress over the UK. There have been reports of sprouting grains, particularly in the northn with concerns that over-ripe crops are now losing quality.



There has been a large increase in free-range layer hens and it’s causing concern as to the sustainability of producer/packer egg prices, with supply in danger of exceeding demand. Latest figures for July put layer numbers at 4.07 million birds, the biggest monthly figure since current records began in 1993.

The US Department of Agriculture has approved a potato genetically engineered by Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co. to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine and that still damages crops worldwide.

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Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures fell to a three-month low recently on signs that US wheat was overpriced in a wellsupplied global market. December wheat was down US 3 cents at $4.86 per bushel after dipping to $4.84, a contract low.

McDonald’s and its supplier Tyson Foods say they’ve cut ties with a chicken farmer after an advocacy group released a video taken with a hidden camera that the group said showed abusive practices at its farm. The video was released by Mercy for Animals that said it had released more than 40 similar videos in the past.



Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said the pay-out for Aussie dairy farmers was too high at an average of $5.60/kg for milksolids and did not reflect the collapse of global prices. He said there needs to be an honest debate about what is being earned in the market after dairy companies matched Australia’s biggest milk processor Murray Goulburn’s opening price for the current season.

Chinese consumers will be able to buy Australian chilled beef direct online for the first time. Premium meat exporter Bindaree Beef Group and its meat sales and marketing business, Sanger Australia, have partnered with, the largest online direct sales company in China, to launch packed-inAustralia chilled retailready beef into the Chinese market.

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2 14




New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is increasingly vocal on all things agriculture and has been scathing of foreign investment. Mr Peters believes foreign banks are behind a move by Silver Fern Farms to hold a gun to its shareholders’ heads to raise capital for the debt laden cooperative. He accused banks, Silver Fern Farms and central government of economic treason.

After nearly 20 years of helping rural men and women find love, dating agency Country and City Contacts is hanging up its cupid’s arrow. The Christchurch-based company owned by Sally Wilson was well known throughout New Zealand and, in particular, among lonely single rural men, as pickings of women diminished from farming areas.



The latest ANZ Bank Business Outlook survey was enough for the Bank of New Zealand to admit its increasing concern the economy is grinding to a halt. A large decrease in business confidence had BNZ head of research Stephen Toplis commenting as each day passes, the likelihood of the economy stumbling to near recession increased. However, Prime Minister John Key was optimistic.

Ex-Synlait founder and Canterbury dairy farmer Ben Dingle is setting up a large dairy goat milk business in Australia. Ben Dingle quit Synlait Farms (the company in control of the initial dairy farms bought to supply Synlait Milk) recently and has been setting up a vertically integrated private company that will control and own all aspects of production from farm to processing.


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A local beekeeper and Federated Farmers don’t believe unexplained bee hive deaths in the upper North Island are because of colony collapse disorder. Responding to media stories where beekeepers and a scientist have raised speculation that CCD has been responsible for large honey bee colony losses in the Coromandel and Waikato, Ashburton beekeeper Roger Bray said in some cases it was “more likely to be poor beekeeping”.

The Meat Industry Assocation says New Zealand will get very close to breaching its beef export quota to the US this year, but farmers needn’t be concerned. Due to the high dairy cow cull because of the dairy slump, individual meat processors would be looking to diversify into other markets so they don’t run out of quota. The last time the quota was filled was in 2004.

DEER INDUSTRY TARGETS NEW MARKETS RURAL PROFESSIONALS CO-OPTED Mid Canterbury rural professionals have been coopted by the Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust to help clients cope with the dairy price slump. While GlobalDairyTrade prices recouped by 15 per cent last month, there may still be a long recovery ahead, Tavendale and Partners lawyer Tim Silva said. Mr Silva has been involved with the Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust for a number of years as a co-ordinator and more recently as a trustee.

Having all its eggs in the Euro basket is a risk issue for the New Zealand venison industry, but market divergence in the United States, Great Britain and a potential new market in China may surmount the problem, according to deer industry leaders. Speaking to farmers in Mayfield recently, the Deer Industry New Zealand board outlined prospects for venison and velvet markets, including efforts to move away from a heavy reliance on European markets.






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2 16


It’s time for commonsense to Recent focus on Health and Safety has once again highlighted the inconsistencies of public expectation as to the boundaries of responsibility for actions. While politicians debate the risks of various work scenarios (worm farming) little emphasis is placed on who pays the bill. The need for the Accident Compensation Corporation is a given. A combined employer/ employee contribution is a broadly accepted formula for funding. I found it somewhat surprising that the Mt Hutt ski field manager James Urquhart saw it an appropriate time to trumpet the “safety” record of snow sports. News that the level of injury per 1000 visitors is down from the 5.5 per 1000 visitors last year is positive. Acknowledgment that last year $1.21 million of claims were made from within the District from snow sports less so. Give some thought to user pays, and compare that to the farming industry! Nationally the figure for skifield claims last year was $20.5

John Leadley


million and with already over 5000 claims this year this looks like being exceeded. Clinical Director Raj Singhal of the Burwood Spinal Unit comments that “many injuries are caused by bad luck or people operating beyond their ability” is no doubt plausible. Remember recreational activities make no contribution to ACC funds. Recent political debate has highlighted farming and forestry as being among unsafe industries - both of whom make huge levy contributions to ACC funds. How many “work days” does it take to run those two industries? Surely bad luck and operating beyond ability can be just as relevant with farming. Working with animals with many much larger than

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prevail JOHN LEADLEY This column marks 10 years that Guardian Farming has been privileged to have John Leadley as a contributor. Always insightful and able to provoke discussion, we salute you! employees, will always be fraught with danger. Like humans they have minds of their own. Employers and employees alike acknowledge this, and plan their safety procedures accordingly. Today’s workforce is founded on a generation of children who learnt that poor decision making has adverse consequences, often involving a level of pain. Great! Recent publicity surrounding child safety suggest that children should exist in a glass bubble of protection from

injury with little education in self-preservation from harm. Talk of legal repercussions from outdoor education opportunities for children is counter-productive. Maybe those responsible for further limiting childhood opportunities should study growing up in the animal kingdom! It’s never too soon to teach that actions have consequences. Accidents have always happened, and will continue to do so. Minimisation by sensible means is a “no-brainer”.

Regulation and an army of paper shuffling bureaucrats is not the answer. Selfresponsibility is. This great country we live in was founded by pioneers who were prepared to take risks, to push boundaries, and drive themselves and their families to the very limits. By all means take reasonable care and have boundaries, but please don’t compromise the initiative of the next generation by stupid intervention and needless regulation.

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2 18


The stories that Bob’s rifle could I was recently on the phone to a client who also takes a keen interest in hunting. “Not sure if you have heard,” I said towards the end of the conversation, “but John Rowe has died.” “Really? Thanks for letting me know,” the client said. And then I said something that I had been thinking on and off since my buddy Bob had died a few years earlier: “These guys pass away and a little bit of colour goes out of Ashburton.” “Hell, too right,” my client responded thoughtfully on the other end of the phone ... “Too right.” For those who didn’t know him, John Rowe owned the small fishing and hunting shop on Moore Street. Superficially grumpy, with strong views, John had lived through a lot and had a heart of gold. A bit like Bob. They were characters rich through trial and experience. One hundred per cent honest – survivors and totally behind you. I met Bob when I moved to Ashburton in 2007. I told him I was keen on taking up hunting.

Greg Martin


“No problem,” he said. “Get your licence and then I’ll lend you my BSA (most advanced rifle in its day).” Bob’s rifle was a 243 Monarch, which I think dated from the late 60s, or early 70s. It had done a lot of work, but still shot nothing short of magnificently. In my hands – in a relatively short space of time – it had accounted for three good red stags, four hinds and a fair quantum of Rangitata tahr. Bob loved it. “Geez, I’m amazed,” he’d say when I came back from another trip. “I can’t believe the deer you are seeing. That’s bloody brilliant!” We’d be out on my porch while I cleaned my boots and he dragged on a cigarette. He’d retired from doing the

hard yards up hills some years before and now just revelled in hearing about what I had seen. One of the things I liked about Bob was that he was

keyed in to the history of Canterbury. When we drove out for the occasional fishing trip he would talk about the farms we drifted

past and it seemed each farm had a story. There was the brother who burned the house down when he didn’t get the inheritance he


tell ...

Above – Bob’s rifle – a gun that can tell many stories like the man himself. Left – It was Bob that got me started back in 2007.

believed he deserved, and the wife who ran off with the wool trader from Christchurch. Bob knew these stories because he’d either worked

on that land when he was a contractor, or he’d read about them in his latter years as a keen historian with an inquiring mind. But mostly Bob knew the stories because he had lived his whole life here. He did go on holiday to

Australia once, but afterwards was firm in his view that he wouldn’t do that again. Also, like John Rowe, Bob had lived through a lot. That made him admirable, interesting and successful in a way that isn’t perhaps celebrated like it should be.

0 2 $


And just as when John died, when I heard that Bob had breathed his last, a little colour went out of Ashburton. It becomes an emptier place. Sometime after the funeral we drove out to Bob’s son’s place and I handed over his rifle. Bob had rightfully wanted

House of Hearing

him and his grandsons to have it. After that I treated myself to a brand new Ruger Hawkeye stainless synthetic 2506 which I had to wait for as it was shipped from the US. It’s a good rifle, but three years on, it hasn’t really shot anything of note. And I think I know why ... With Bob waiting to hear the stories when I got home from back-country trips, it gave me purpose. And to do these things, you need purpose, and that purpose is fragile and easily swamped by career stress and city distractions. Every now and then for a brief moment I sometimes think I see Bob driving past me in his Surf wearing his tinted glasses. It reminds me of how much he’s missed. Bob’s interest in my success was what he gave me when he loaned me his rifle. That’s what made those times great, and the deer easy. That was his generosity – an interest in my success. What a gift ... I must remember to try and pass it on.

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AROUND THE TRAPS FAR SPRING WALKS at Michael and Tom Rudge’s Lauriston Farm where lower aphid numbers heading into spring have been attributed to colder temperatures, arable researchers say. However, Foundational for Arable Research (FAR) director of research and extension Nick Poole was quick to point out this winter has been more of a return to normal.

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Exceptional service G. Cameron Contracting are a locally owned digger contracting business that operates out of Rakaia, and around the wider Canterbury area. Graeme Cameron started the business in 2006 and quickly established a reputation for quality and timeliness of job, at a very competitive rate. In 2013 Graeme saw the need to expand the business to keep up with demand. This is when Hayden Foster came on board. GCC now operates two 14 tonne Hyundai Wheel Diggers, one 22 tonne Hyundai Track Digger, and is supported by a nine cubic meter tip truck for all cartage requirements. With combined experience of over 40 years, Graeme and Hayden still maintain the values of quality of job in a timely fashion. GCC’s business revolves around agriculture, and rural application. They service a variety of business types including, but not limited to, sheep & beef, arable farms, horticultural businesses, dairy and dairy support, and lifestyle blocks. The Track Digger is equipped with a power clamp (thumb). And all the diggers are equipped with tilt buckets, digging buckets, and root rakes.


The wheel diggers are also equipped with grapples, and a clam shell attachment. GCC’s services also include: mainline and stock water trenching and recovery, tree and stump removal, gorse & hedge removal, root raking, water & irrigation race cleaning, soak holes, on farm gravel screening using grizzly screen and cartage, calf shed cleaning, sheep yard cleaning, landscaping, driveways, & general farm work. Graeme or Hayden are more than happy to give an obligationfree quote at any time.

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• Custom built root rake • Larger ripper • Digging, trenching & tilt buckets

big or too small and the Father and son business concentrate on keeping up-to-date with the latest technology and industry developments to ensure farmers make informed crop choices and rotation decisions. Running the latest in agricultural equipment including a six metre Allens Triple Disc Drill, a John Deere 750 A Drill and the Salford Cultivator and Austin Cambridge Roller. For all your contracting needs call Cameron on 027 314 4891 or Bryce on 027 434 1938 and be sure to check out their Facebook page on kamaccontracting.



Born and bred contractor a good choice This season, more than ever, farmers need to be pro-active about seeking the best quality work for the most competitive price – and that’s exactly what they will get from Jacob Holdaway Contracting. Having been raised on his parents Westerfield cropping farm and coming from generations of cropping farmers, Jacob understands the importance of timing and good seed bed preparation. Heading into his sixth season, Jacob Holdaway has established a reputation for reliable and quality work. Jacob personally oversees all jobs himself and is the person at the end of the phone line when you first make an enquiry. “This is achievable because my business is small enough that I can still be hands-on, which I feel is important for my clients to see.” Clients have high praise for the business including the competitive prices on offer and having a job completed on time – which is essential on any farmers calendar. Having a passion for what

Jacob Holdaway

he does puts Jacob ahead of the rest. Back on the family farm he discovered early that he loved to work with machinery as well as growing crops. So keen was he at working the land, he planted and grew potatoes while in College and sold them to a local supermarket.

“I did all the planning and groundwork myself and only enlisted the help of other family members for harvesting. This really gave me a taste of what it felt like to have my own business and I always knew an office job wasn’t for me.” Before starting his

contracting business Jacob worked in Mid Canterbury and England for a couple of seasons for baling contractors. Covering Mid Canterbury from the foothills to the sea Jacob and his team strive to do the best job possible and has wonderful support from his family. So for experience and

knowledge of what is required on your farm you can’t go past Jacob Holdaway Contracting. Contact Jacob direct on 0274 225 464 or check out his website at www.jholdawaycontracting. com and also keep up to date by liking the Facebook page JacobHoldawayContracting.

JACOB HOLDAWAY CONTRACTING LTD WE SPECIALISE IN: • Silage and straw baling • Mowing, tedding, rotor-raking, carting and silage wrapping • Fodder beet drilling • Fodder beet harvesting

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For quality work at a competitive rate call me today.

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2 24



For all your earthmoving needs A diverse range of equipment, competency and efficiency as well as a friendly team mark Welshy Contracting out on its own when it comes to earthmoving in Canterbury. Formerly known as Welshy Digger Hire the business has just moved into the Selwyn area and now can offer all manner of services for all your farming needs region wide. As well as specialist earthmoving, site clearing, trenching and fencing services owners Mark (Welshy) and Andrea Davies operate the latest machinery and technology available. Welshy is a well-known hard working and friendly operator and he along with his staff of twenty always aim to complete jobs to a very high standard. Operating since 2004 in Mid Canterbury Welshy Contracting has steadily built a reputation for taking on any job, whether that be on farm, commercial or residential, and doing it promptly and efficiently. Their horizontal drills are

particularly popular as they are able to go underground on farm without the need to dig up precious land. The business also offers general farm maintenance and development, irrigation, drainage and stock-water installation and repair, power cable and fibre installation,

tree stump and hedge removal and root-raking, dairy tracks, effluent systems, calf shed clearing, pond and canal construction, muck spreading and rut-busting. They also offer specialised services for commercial and residential properties including site works,

driveways and car parks, foundation excavation, site clearance, bulk material haulage, services installation, landscaping, demolition, concrete breaking and post hole boring. They can also assist you with all your rural and residential fencing including

electric fence systems, dairy conversions and commercial chain and link, post and rail and residential fencing. For all your earthmoving needs be sure to call Welshy Contracting today for a noobligation estimate on 03 307 2480 or check out their website at



For all your re-grassing needs Don’t ruin all the good work you’ve done in building up soil structure from your grass phase by intensively cultivating. Instead try Tim Porter Cross Slot No-Tillage for all your crop establishment needs to ensure preservation of moisture and soil structure. The Cross Slot drill was designed in New Zealand to overcome all the challenges faced with direct drilling and is the only drill to band fertiliser beside the seed. It can also sow insecticide and slug bait if needed at the same time and saves machinery and labour costs with its one pass system. Tim was so impressed with the performance of the drill on his own arable farm in Pendarves that he decided to go out contract drilling. With over twelve years experience he is able to help you with all your no-tillage decisions. From now until Christmas Tim offers farmers the perfect solution for drilling processed peas, linseed, small seeds such as borage and kale into ex ryegrass paddocks.

Tim Porter

Why cultivate these paddocks and undo any improvement to the soil structure when you already have the perfect seedbed under the grass for the Cross Slot? For dairy farmers it is a cost

effective way of re-grassing their dairy platform to ensure healthy pasture for production this and next season. Although there are many direct drills on the market none are designed to handle the wide variety of soil

conditions and residue that the Cross Slot drill can and with the added value of higher efficiencies gained from placing fertiliser beside but not touching the seed at the same time, they have a credible reputation.

The key to the Cross Slot design is the vertical disc with a side blade each side. One side blade delivers the seed and the other the fertiliser. With this precise placement you are guaranteed of a better, healthier seedling. There is an old saying - “one pound of fertiliser placed is worth seven broadcast”. Barley is one crop which benefits hugely from the readily available fertiliser. Following the disc are two press wheels which not only allow accurate contour following but also ensure the seed slot is closed up to trap in any moisture and protect the seed. The zipper-like action of the Cross Slot opener leaves an almost undisturbed surface when drilling into ryegrass swards. The moisture saving benefit of this cannot be underestimated in the coming months. Tim drilled Italian ryegrass into a wheat stubble after harvest this year and it required no irrigation. Ring Tim to discuss your drilling needs on 027 208 3401.

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EuroAgri importer of Mzuri Pro-Til Drill After a recent trip to Europe to view the latest in agricultural machinery, EuroAgri have become the New Zealand importer and retailer of Mzuri Pro-Til Drills. The sales team at EuroAgri visited Mzuri in Worcestershire, England and were very impressed with what they had seen. Mzuri are also a family owned and operated business with values aligned to that of EuroAgri. The company was founded by Martin and Samantha Lobe in 2008 as a spin-off to their farming operation, the range of Mzuri products has grown beyond their expectations and now manufacturing takes up most of their time. EuroAgri will have a Mzuri Pro-Til Drill available for on-farm demonstrations in early September and company representatives from Mzuri will be on-hand to ensure EuroAgri and their clients are getting the very best out of Mzuri Pro-Til Drills. The Mzuri Pro-Til 4m demonstrator drill features

seed, fertiliser and all available options and can be customised to your requirements. For those farmers also interested in Ag Leader; the Case Tractor will also showcase AG Leader Guidance and Auto Steering capabilities. Mzuri Drills are over-

engineered; with greasable pins and replaceable bushes to keep maintenance costs as low as possible. Mzuri produces a range of Strip Tillage Drills from three to six metres, mounted or trailed with seed and fertiliser options. Mzuri also manufactures a range of low

disturbance subsoilers, with the option of mounted seeder units. The Mzuri Straw Rake with the option of front-mounted discs has a wide range of uses, from creating stale seed beds to pasture renovation. EuroAgri believe that with more farmers looking to create

a better soil structure and retaining arable production through the incorporation of straw, that the Mzuri products are well suited to their clients’ needs. Mzuri Drills will reduce the cost of crop establishment through fuel, and labour savings.


Looking to the season ahead Now that we’ve left winter behind, irrigating farmers are looking to the season ahead. Pre-season maintenance checks should be under way and some farmers will be considering options to upgrade and extend irrigation systems. The reduced dairy payout means every farming expense is under scrutiny, but irrigation is one area where investment in modernisation and training, results in improved productivity, while reducing total farm expenditure. The move towards SMART Irrigation practices – assisted by new technologies and products – means energy, labour and water savings (the latter in the order of 15-20 per cent) are achievable. To get there, however, irrigating farmers need to understand and embrace the three-step approach outlined in our SMART Irrigation programme. More information on this (and training opportunities this summer) can be found at www. and


Andrew Curtis


The irrigation sector celebrated a couple of significant milestones last month. The opening of Central Plains Water (CPW) marked a huge step for irrigation infrastructure in this country. CPW demonstrates how environmental objectives can be delivered by an irrigation scheme alongside improved water security. Moving shareholders away from groundwater to alpine-fed supply will allow Central Canterbury landowners the ability to diversify and better weather the current dairy downturn. The company is one of New Zealand’s biggest co-operative irrigation schemes, and the fact it met its deadlines, with water flowing

Central Plains Water is a huge step for irrigation infrastructure in New Zealand.

on schedule this month, is a great testimony to their dedication and vision. The other milestone was having irrigation and water storage included as priorities in the Government’s justreleased 30-year infrastructure plan for the nation. Importantly, the plan recognises that more needs to be done by both national and regional government to ensure

water storage and irrigation infrastructure is built to maximise the economic and social benefits of freshwater use, while protecting the environment. A key recommendation was that the Government provide more clarity around nutrient setting in rivers and help develop better tools for measuring nutrients. This will help by preventing councils

and environment courts muddling their way through “vague legislation” to reach outcomes which are causing significant delays to irrigation and water storage projects getting off the ground at the moment. The countdown is now on for IrrigationNZ’s biennial conference and expo to be held in Oamaru in April. The speaker programme will be released this month and exhibitor sites are selling fast. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the event is just for irrigation scheme representatives, as IrrigationNZ hopes to see a wide range of individual irrigators and potential irrigators attend. More information about the 2016 Conference and Expo, sponsored by Network Waitaki, Monodelphous, Anderson Lloyd, ANZ Bank and Waterforce, can be found at www.irrigationnz. conference-2016/ Andrew Curtis is chief executive officer of IrrigationNZ




Talk to us about your irrigation system needs Brendan Hawes - 021 347 985 Distributor for T-L Irrigation in New Zealand -

Reduce the worry of windy days on farm this year with this innovative irrigation stability system Sign up today to be part of our Open Field Trial of the new Hydrofix Contact:T-L Irrigation Systems Ben Wright 027 801 2293 162 Dobson Street, Ashburton


2 28


Up-cycle and enter Wearable Waste Up-cycling is a way of processing an item to make it better than the original. In the example of clothing, this is often taking something that doesn’t fit or is stained/ torn and refashioning a wearable product from it. By doing this you stop adding stuff to a world that is already overwhelmed with material things. You also reuse materials in creative and innovative ways that may otherwise end up in the landfill – producing original often one-of-akind items from what many consider to be waste. It is a way for companies and designers to be more efficient with leftover materials such as upholstery scraps or vintage textiles and to give new life to worn-out jeans and tattered T-shirts. Up-cycling is transforming the international fashion industry. In the competition poster (far right) are a few innovative up-cycled fashion and accessory companies that are transforming the industry stitch by stitch.

By using dead stock or leftover materials they are truly fashioning a better world. Kallio is a consciouslycreated kidswear brand based in Brooklyn, New York that “makes old clothes young again.” Founded by Karina Kallio, a fashion industry veteran with an entrepreneurial flair, the brand repurposes men’s dress shirts into stylish, modern classics for kids, ages infant to 8-years-old. Check it out online at Reformation is a Los Angelesbased fashion company that uses new sustainable textiles, repurposed vintage clothing, and rescued dead stock fabric from fashion houses that over-ordered

to create sexy, sleek styles. You can find them online at So, get your up-cycled

Need irrigation? Want efficiency?

creation under way and be in to win over $550 in cash prizes thanks to sponsorship from Ashburton District

Council and Envirowaste. For more details on how to enter contact www.

NEW IMAGERY TECHNOLOGY TO HELP FARMERS! Terrain Flight NZ Ltd provides accurate geo-referenced imagery information for: • Crop NDVI health/stress analysis • Plant counting • Visual inspection/elevation modelling • Survey and environmental imaging Services available: • Infrared crop and vegetation imaging analysis using drone technology • 3D project visualisation and fully georeferenced photo maps • Crop damage documentation • Precision AG chemical and fertiliser application maps

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competition RECYCLING YOGHURT POUCHES Fonterra has partnered with TerraCycle to launch a recycling programme for yoghurt pouches – a packaging product that would previously have gone to landfill. The programme followed the release of the yoghurt, Anchor Uno, in a pouch that was not able to be recycled like the other yoghurt pottles. The Fonterra Pouch Brigade is a free recycling programme that enables New Zealanders to collect their empty yoghurt pouches and send them to TerraCycle. The company will then up-cycle the pouches into children’s pencil cases or recycle into new products, such as chairs and park benches.

HERE’S HOW Here’s how to recycle with the Fonterra Pouch Brigade:

■■ Visit http://terracycle. to sign up. ■■ Create your own recycling bin and place it at your school, kindergarten, community group or at home. ■■ Collect your yoghurt pouches and, once your recycling bin reaches the 2kg minimum shipment size, send it for free to TerraCycle. ■■ TerraCycle will donate 100 TerraCycle points ($1) for every 1kg of pouches to a local community group, school or charity of your choice. ■■ The first 25 brigades that sign up will receive an Anchor Uno voucher. The first 50 will go into the draw to win one of five up-cycled products. For further information visit the TerraCycle website.

Masta-Gardener COMPOST

COMPOST Apply compost now to your pastures, gardens and vege patch Improve your production and save money on acidbased fertilisers this season by getting quality compost applied to your pastures and gardens. Increasing organic matter through compost applications will improve your soil water holding capacity and resistance to pests and diseases over the coming growing season. For help with home composting, bokashi or worm farms come along to the monthly compost demo. When: Monday, September 21 11am – 12 noon Where: Eco Education centre alongside the Envirowaste Recycle shop Call 0800 627-824 for help any time with composting or recycling.

Quality compost slow brewed locally in Ashburton by Mastagard from a diversity of green plant materials. Batch tested to ensure quality and ready to apply a generous helping to your gardens or farmland. Pick up from the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park. Range Road, Ashburton.

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2 30


Does Fonterra need to add more value? It was great to see the Global Dairy Trade Auction prices finally lift. Nineteen per cent was a great effort, but I wonder what caused this to happen? Maybe Fonterra saw, at last, that if you reduce the amount of product available – especially if the number of purchasers are the same – the price goes up, surprise surprise. I think that’s called supply and demand! I could never understand why you would take a product to auction without a floor price and then be unhappy with the price you receive. It’s not until you make your product scarce or unavailable (unless someone is prepared to pay the reserve) that you take the power out of the purchasers’ hands and put it firmly back in the sellers’ hands. I guess someone a lot better educated than me have their reasons for not taking this stand earlier. But it is great news that it is at last moving in the right direction again. Hold your breath for the next dairy auction!

Chris Murdoch


I also see Russia has lifted its ban on us supplying them with dairy products. I thought we had put the ban on them, but maybe Europe put sanctions on, so they then banned our products? It will be interesting to see if New Zealand begins to deal with Russia or if we will continue to take a stance with Europe? Last week I was also talking to a very unhappy Fonterra supplier and he was saying how all his and his fellow shareholders had put approximately $2 billion dollars into overseas projects, including China. He had yet to see $1 back in his wallet from such ventures and wondered what we could

Should Fonterra be looking at adding more value?

be selling the world product wise if that $2 billion had been put back into research and development here in New Zealand? Someone said Fonterra is very much like the meat industry. Back in 1882 a frozen carcass was put on a ship and

sent to London and we were still doing this in the 1970s. Fonterra and other companies supplied approximately 300,000 metric tonnes of milk powder in 1982. By 2014 that has increased to 1,500,000 metric tonnes. Maybe we need to be

adding more value? All in all there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I just hope it’s not a train and the Global Dairy Auctions continue on an upwards movement. I guess we will have to just wait and see.

MANUFACTURERS OF TIMBER BOXES & PALLETS So for all your pallet or box requirements, no matter how big or small, give Wayne a call today at Adams Sawmilling Also Manufacturers/Suppliers of FARM IMPLEMENT SHEDS IRRIGATION PUMP SHEDS

Adams Sawmilling Co Ltd ISPM 15 accredited for Export Pallets

Malcolm McDowell Drive, Ashburton Ph (03) 308 3595 Fax (03) 308 5649



National Land Transport Programme 2015 The National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) for 2015–18 contains all the land transport activities, including public transport, road maintenance and improvement, and walking and cycling activities, that the New Zealand Transport Agency anticipates funding over the next three years.

The 2015–18 NLTP focuses on four themes, underpinned by the continued emphasis on value for money: • Encouraging economic growth and productivity. • Making journeys safer. • Shaping smart transport choices. • Effective and resilient networks. Safety and route resilience, particularly for freight and tourists, will remain the

greatest challenges facing the Southern region during the next three years. The region’s transport network runs through mountainous terrain and over high alpine passes. There are long distances between towns and tourist destinations, and roads are often affected by flooding, snow, ice and slips. This can make roads treacherous and lead to motorists being stranded during extreme weather events. The Transport Agency and councils’ safety investment in the Southern region is targeted at making improvements to reduce crash rates and to save lives. A quarter of the region’s capital programme will deliver safety benefits for the network, which is higher than the national average. continued over page

• For Casual & Permanent Bin Hires • Cardboard Recycling • Drum Hires We offer a regular Rubbish Removal Service, with many local Companies hiring our Front Loader Bins and using our Cardboard Recycling Cages, We also have Open Top Bins on a casual basis, for property clean ups, building works and Garden tidy ups. And a Household and/or Garden waste Drum empty service. All provided by a Company based in Tinwald.

Gary McCormick Transport Ltd PO Box 5044, Tinwald, Ashburton 7741 | Phone: 3072100 | Fax: 3072101



From P31 Investment to maintain the condition, efficiency and safety of the network is critical, as roads attract high numbers of tourists as well as being social and economic lifelines for the many remote communities in the Southern region. The realignment of Mingha Bluff to Rough Creek through the Arthur’s Pass National Park, for example, will improve safety and network resilience while supporting the significant growth in freight in the area. By the end of the 2015–18 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) period, investment in bridge strengthening and other works will ensure up to 80 per cent of the Southern region’s state highway network and a number of local roads that access key industry and business sites will support High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMVs), capable of carrying heavier loads than standard trucks. As these vehicles can carry more freight on fewer vehicles they deliver significant economic, safety and environmental benefits. The geographically spread and relatively isolated communities within Canterbury, Otago, Southland and the West Coast rely on the transport network. As well as being a lifeline for communities, the economy relies heavily on the network to transport its products to market and the growing number of visitors to their destinations.


Excellent service

As well as being a lifeline for communities, the economy relies heavily on the network to transport its products to market and the growing number of visitors to their destinations

Challenging geography and climate mean the network is vulnerable to flooding, storms and being blanketed in snow and ice. These types of natural events can quickly close roads, strand travellers and isolate communities. Good planning to manage the network is critical to getting everyone moving again and this involves providing alternative routes where possible. Work will continue throughout the 2015-18 NLTP period on various new initiatives to help improve the resilience of the network and support economic growth and productivity.


For 17 years Ryal Bush Transport Ashburton Ltd has been offering farmers in Canterbury excellent service at competitive rates. Now in one large base the transport is able to offer everything required of a modern rural transport business including sowing. Ryal Bush Transport Ashburton Ltd also boasts locally well-known staff in the office and in the trucks who understand the farming environment you work in. With quality systems in place to ensure they continually offer a high standard of service, the transport constantly improves systems as

Ryal Bush Transport Ashburton Ltd Local staff servicing the local people

helping our clients achieve EXCELLENT results

Check out what we can do for you... LIVESTOCK We have 9 full stock units available for your Livestock Cartage requirements locally & within New Zealand.

GENERAL CARTAGE With 7 truck & trailer units, including 2 Blower trucks and 3 lift outside tippers we can arrange for the cartage of a huge variety our clients achieve EXCELLENT results The core services we offer toPhelping our clients are: H I L O S O P HP YH I L O S O P H Y of products at competitive prices. “Grant Hood Contracting Ltd’s “Grant Hood Contracting Ltd’s provide our clients philosophy is to provide our clients  DairyNZ accredited Efflphilosophy uentis toPond Design We are available for stockfeed with superior value and a solutionwith to superior value and a solution to deliveries. their contracting needs. their contracting needs. and Construction

C O R E S E RCONTRACTING V I C E S MADE EASY PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHY “Grant Hood Contracting Ltd’s philosophy is to provide our clients with superior value and a solution to their contracting needs. Environmental Award winners

PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTING MADE EASY helping our clients achieve EXCELLENT results

 Hedge & Stump Removal  Farm Conversions


Thecore services Tracks we offer to our clients are: Dairy - Lime or Gravel

Pump Hire

Pond Construction and Irrigation Development

Wells & Galleries

 Wells & Galleries

 Bulk REarthworks ERemoval SERVICES Bulk Earthworks HedgeC&O Stump R 2 012 R 2 013 The core services we offer to our clients are:  Subdivisions NE NE Sub Divisions Farm Conversions ental  Site Works ental irNoEWRnAm iroWnAmRD Dairy Tracks - Lime or Gravel Effluent 2 0R1D - and Site vWorks R 2 01Pond n Pump Hire DairyNZ accredited Construction EnvDesign E 2 3 NE A -A  Tree Shear W W 2 2 I I

192 Racecourse Rd, Ashburton 03 308 0287 or 0274 832 712






Member of


Member of


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the 2nd year in a row Toforachieve this we will always provide “We consider the excellence service, environmentin for all N N E RNNER Transportation works we undertake RD RD Pond Construction and Irrigation Development - AWA - AWA workmanship in  Transportation W W IN NER 2 IN NER 2 and are proud our Environmental Award winners a professional peers have recognised Hedge & Stump Removal 192 Racecourse Rd, Ashburton for thefact2nd for year the in a row this manner from our second year in a row.” 03 308 0287 or 0274 832 712 Farm Conversions highly experienced Dairy Tracks - Lime or Gravel R 2 012 R 2 013 “We consider dedicated team the NE NE environment for all of operators and 832 works we undertake 192 Racecourse Rd, Ashburton 03 308- 0287 RD - or 0274WA RD - 712 AWA -A W W management” IN NER 2 IN NER 2 and are proud our

peers have recognised this fact for the second year in a row.”

FERTILISER SPREADING We have 4 late model and self unloading trailer units, plus we have two specialised mini sowers for all crop sowing needs and also a midi sower perfect for dairy farms.

 Pond Construction and Irrigation Development

 Pump HireEffluent Pond Design and Construction DairyNZ accredited

they strive to exceed customer expectations. A focus on building strong, long lasting relationships with our customers has proven to be one of Ryal Bush’s keys to success, which ensures they can provide a service that will meet customers’ expectations. These strong relationships flow through to staff resulting in over 17 year’s service from some of the long term employees Contact Ryal Bush Transport Ashburton Ltd now for all your transportation needs at 307 8136.

Member of

Wells & Galleries Bulk Earthworks OFFICE PHONE (03) 307 8136 Sub Divisions

Site Works

GENERAL CARTAGE: Chad Stewart 0274 895 684 FERTILISER: Dean Rattray 0274 962 702

Transportation LIVESTOCK: Warren Frew 0274 545 739 Member of

COMPANY SALES REP: Lloyd Gould 027 600 4085


Knowing when service counts Wilson Bulk Transport Ltd owned by The Trevor Wilson Charitable Trust was established in 1990 by the late Trevor Wilson who had successfully operated the transport company for many years prior to his death in 1991. Trevor’s vision had been to see his transport company continue under the guidance of three trustees to provide a service to MidCanterbury and distribute profits to the Ashburton Order of St John and Ashburton Presbyterian Support Services. Since Trevor’s death in 1991 his vision has remained strong. Wilson Bulk Transport has continued to operate with a General Manager overseeing the day to day running of the Company along with the guidance of The Board of Trustees. Since 1991 the Company growth has gone from strength to strength from eight drivers and trucks to 26 drivers and Trucks and a total staff now of 39. Wilson Bulk Transport Ltd now hold a 40% share of NZ Express 2006 Ltd in Christchurch and a 50% share of Rural Transport Ltd, this gives us the opportunity to work together creating a greater network of all our resources which in turn benefits the

trust. Being a Rural based Transport Company and having been established through the cartage of Bulk Grain and Fertiliser this today still remains an important part of the operation. In the late 1980’s prior to Trevor’s death, Container Transport was being established and Trevor saw this as another area of income for the company. This has been the area of greatest expansion, with the purchase of sidelifters, skeletal trailers, purpose built ‘B’ trains and tipping trailers to enable the company to provide a complete Container Transport service. In addition to Bulk and Container cartage, Fertiliser spreading has expanded from one to four units aided by the expansion of dairying in Mid-Canterbury. The company motto “Knowing When Service Counts” has certainly been proven by dedicated staff and in turn allowed the trust to make substantial donations to the two beneficiaries. For no fuss, price competitive service that you can benefit from as well as the Mid-Canterbury community, Wilson Bulk Transport services should be your next call.

Locallyowned owned Locally and operated operated and









Helping farmers Rural Transport Ltd is a locally owned and operated cartage company that has its head office in Ashburton but also operates branches in Kurow and Fairlie. The commodities they transport has their business operating throughout the South Island, however their main areas of operation are Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, North Otago, Fairlie and the Mackenzie Basin. The company has a total of 52 truck and trailer combinations that are constantly upgraded in order to give Rural Transport the ability to offer a reliable and efficient service to their clients. Their livestock business is structured around a large clientele throughout Mid Canterbury, Mackenzie country and the Waitaki Valley specialising in lamb, sheep, cattle and cartage to and from farms, sales and works. Their team of experienced and certified drivers consistently maintain animal welfare at all times providing assurance that stock arrives at its destination in the best possible condition. Rural Transport Ltd provides a complete transport and logistics service for General Freight with the ability to store and distribute all types of goods. A daily service to Christchurch and Timaru compliments this service. Crane truck hire is also a specialty with the advantage of very experienced operators on these

The latest addition to our fleet is now on the road and is the most convenient way to move product into your silo. Our new Blower Truck has been built with the latest Pneumatic Blower technology to maximise output. The unit is capable of carrying 31 Ton and can blow Grain, Pellets, Stockfeed and Fertiliser into your silo with ease. No auger/tractor required, best of all no mess or spillage. T



Phone 308 4079


vehicles. Rural Transport Ltd also carries general freight such as hay, silage, machinery, palletised goods and wool amongst other things. Their team of competent and experienced drivers is able to complete any rural-based requirements. Their comprehensive fleet also allows them to cart sand, post peelings, carrots and ofcourse, grain, seed and fertiliser and other bulk feeds. They can cart anything, anywhere. Their fertiliser spreading fleet is all Spreadmark certified and equipped with GPS mapping to ensure accurate and precise spreading. They also are equipped with mapping technology to provide accurate proof of placement of fertilisers. Their fleet has the capability to spread either lime or fertiliser and they also spread road grit during the winter months. They have six 4WD trucks and three 6x4 spreaders for worked ground and pasture spreading, each branch has a 4x4 spreader unit with wide tyres to ensure minimal soil compaction. All of their spreaders are equipped with trailers to ensure product is delivered and spread at optimal efficiency. Rural Transport Ltd is dedicated to getting the job done quickly and efficiently, with their very experienced team of drivers taking great pride in their work and they are passionate about their trucks.

Call Hamish for a quote 03 308 4079 or 0272 749 780 Proud to be servicing the farming community in Mid Canterbury

New BLOWER TRUCK now available.

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Cost effective pastoral options Wholesale Seeds was formed in late 2007 by James and Angela Smith in reaction to demand from customers for more cost effective pastoral options. Upon formation the company had just three employees but growth occurred rapidly and in its present state Wholesale Seeds now has 15 permanent staff and in peak season employs an extra seven temporary employees. The acquisition of a retail and dressing site at Tinwald in 2014 cemented Wholesale Seeds’ position in the Mid Canterbury seed industry. The rapid growth of the company can be attributed to several key factors. Foremost is a comprehensive range of products that offer a combination of performance and durability, retailed at prices that had not been encountered before in the marketplace. Wholesale Seeds’ portfolio includes proprietary ryegrass varieties, from annuals through to perennials, that have been sold into

Canterbury pastoral market for over eight years, proving their longevity. Complementing the grasses is a wide range of legumes including red and white clover as well as herb species including chicory and

plantain. Vulcan kale has been a top performer in the brassica market for a number of years now and more recently fodder beet has accounted for a large proportion of the company’s business. However, having a product

range that performs is only half of the service on offer, with the company priding itself on offering agronomic advice to its retail customers based on the specific requirements of each individual farming

operation. This advice encompasses rotation planning, interpretation of soil tests then quantifying nutrient requirements specific to different crops and advising in agrichemical application. The ability to offer this service can only be achieved with motivated intelligent staff who realise the importance of crop monitoring in order to optimise timing of different applications. This is reflected in the recent acquisition of two Lincoln graduates to help with the growing demand. This advice is underpinned by a broad research programme that is independently run at different sites throughout Canterbury. Wholesale Seeds recognises the importance of progressing the industry through science by asking some key questions that will improve the level of advice our field reps can offer, ultimately adding value to our customers operations. Patrick Davis, Company Director

For all your pastoral and winter feed requirements, underpinned with comprehensive agronomic advice Our services: • A comprehensive product range that is proven in Canterbury conditions including cereals, grasses, legumes, brassicas and fodder beet • An independent research programme focused on increasing sustainability for our clients through testing technical innovations • Excellent seed dressing, treatment and cleaning facilities with the latest equipment ensuring our products leave the store at the highest possible quality • Field representatives focused on customer service and the ability to make key decisions for clients, based on the understanding of fundamental agronomic principles Contact us:

James Smith Patrick Davis Steve Chapman John Vucetich Izaak Mcdonald

Managing Director Senior Pastoral Agronomist Retail Sales/Logistics Manager Wholesale Seeds Manager Field Representative


027 027 027 027 027

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2 36

Takaha herd manager dismissed A Takaka herd manager who was fired for abusing cows won his case for unjustified dismissal in the Employment Relations Authority. However, compensation has been denied by the Employment Court after an appeal by the farm owner. Nathan Morunga was accused of chasing a cow up an exit race, where it got stuck, before slamming a heavy gate against it in early October, 2013. He then kicked the cow and yelled at it. Authority member David Appleton said in his report that he believed Mr Morunga did abuse the cow and his dismissal was substantially justified. The problem was there were several flaws in the dismissal process and therefore meant it was procedurally unjustified. The primary flaw was the farm owner, Gregory Fellows, failed to provide witness statements to Mr Morunga either before the disciplinary meeting or before he made the decision to dismiss. Neither witness identified Mr Morunga by name in their

Christine Summerville


statement. If Mr Morunga had seen these letters prior to the disciplinary meeting, he would have been able to ask questions to elicit how a link had been made between him and observed actions contained in the letters. Had Mr Morunga had that opportunity to question how the connections were made may well have persuaded him to change his position with respect to his denials. This is important because Mr Fellows said that a major factor in deciding to dismiss Mr Morunga was his failure to admit what he had done. Another major flaw was that there was no signed employment agreement. continued next page

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for abuse of cow From P36 Mr Morunga had only been provided with a copy of the agreement a week prior to receiving a disciplinary letter – after the incident with the cow had been reported. Included in the long list of examples of serious misconduct in Schedule 1 of the agreement, is, cruelty to animals. On the face of it, therefore, Mr Morunga was accused of committing an act which Mr Fellows said constituted serious misconduct but which Mr Morunga did not know would be viewed as serious misconduct as he had not received the employment agreement prior to the act taking place. Mr Appleton said in his report that “under many circumstances, failing to give an employee a copy of their employment agreement so that he or she does not know in advance that a specified action would be treated as serious misconduct, giving rise to the right to summarily dismiss him or her would, on its own, render any dismissal in reliance of that act unjustified.

“However, there are some acts committed by employees which, in and of themselves, even without that express forewarning set out in the employment agreement, can justify summary dismissal. “This is because they, by their very nature, constitute a fundamental breach of contract by the employee, either because of a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence, and/or because of a breach of the duty of good faith owed by the employee pursuant to section four of the act. “It is my view that an act of aggression to animals, especially in the context of a dairy farm, falls within that category. “I therefore believe that the alleged action by Mr Morunga against the cow falls within the category of serious misconduct which was so obvious that it did not need to be spelled out in advance.” The authority awarded Mr Morunga remedies of three months lost wages and compensation of $5000 with a 50 per cent reduction for

contribution. The authority decision to award lost earnings was a significant departure from case law that had consistently held that where a dismissal was regarded as unjustifiable on purely procedural grounds that was inappropriate. Mr Morunga’s contribution was assessed as being only 50 per cent, yet a similar case where an employee mistreated a cow was held to have been justifiably dismissed and he was not entitled to any remedies. Mr Fellows appealed the authority decision in the Employment Court. In an Employment Court decision released last week, Judge Bruce Corkill found Mr Morunga should not have received a financial remedy for his personal grievance, as the procedural error did not cause lost remuneration. Judge Corkill also said Mr Morunga failed to prove his dismissal caused him “humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings”. “Mr Morunga gave little evidence as to the effects of

the dismissal on him, though reference was made to the fact that it had been a life-altering experience, and it had been hard to find new employment,” Judge Corkill said. “The court has found no evidence to satisfy it that any such effects have been suffered.” Judge Corkill went on to say that “even if there was such evidence, I am satisfied that Mr Morunga’s misconduct when considered in context was so egregious as to lead to a conclusion that this is one of those very rare cases where a 100 per cent contributory finding in respect of such consequences should be made”. Mr Morunga did not appear at the Employment Court hearing. Judge Corkill ordered the Registrar of the Employment Court to return to Mr Fellows the $2821 he had been ordered to pay Mr Morunga. He ordered Mr Morunga to pay Mr Fellows $1750 in costs. Christine Summerville of Chapman Employment Relations is an employment and HR advisor for businesses in Ashburton











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The farm has been in the family for For a couple, living and working closely together in the often now multi-million dollar farming business can be stressful and may put strain on any relationship. If a relationship cannot be reconciled and it comes to an end, then any plan a family may have had for the farm and the business can be at risk. As you may be aware, because of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 couples do not have to be married for the law about division of property to apply: they just need to be living together (or in some instances merely in a relationship) for three years (and sometimes shorter periods if there is a child of the relationship). Also, contributions to property do not only have to be financial, they can also be non-financial such as the care of the children and the management of the family home. The Act provides that if a couple separate then they are each entitled to fifty per cent of all relationship property unless they have entered into a section 21 Contracting-Out Agreement (what used to be called a

SUCCESSION PLANNING AND RELATIONSHIP PROPERTY “pre-nup�) or there would be a serious injustice if property was shared equally. Relationship property will usually include the family home and chattels, income, property intended for the joint use of the parties, and superannuation/insurances. It also includes increases in the value of, proceeds of the sale of, and income from such relationship property. So in some instances it will include the farm property and all livestock, shares and plant and equipment. Separate property is anything that is not relationship property and stays with the person that owns it. Whilst we often talk about assets being either relationship property or separate property, debts can also be either. Relationship debts will be shared and separate debts will remain the responsibility of the person that incurred the debt for instance, a hire purchase agreement for a vehicle. A Contracting-Out

Agreement can state that any assets (and any proceeds from the sale of those assets) that a party bought into the relationship, will remain theirs

if the relationship ends. A Contracting-Out Agreement is only legally binding if it is in writing and signed by both parties, each party has received

independent legal advice, and the signature is witnessed by a lawyer that certifies that they have explained the effects and implications of the agreement


generations – can it stay that way?

to the party. A Contracting-Out Agreement can apply for a fixed period or expire once a particular event occurs - for

example, getting married or having a child together. Whilst a Contracting-Out Agreement can protect assets bought into the relationship it does not prohibit the parties from buying and creating assets together. The agreement can provide that if a couple separates, the assets can be bought by either party at an agreed value or sold, and the parties can take away their proportionate contribution or a half share if it was equal contributions. Undoubtedly raising the topic of entering into a Contracting-Out Agreement is not easy but both parties should be comfortable talking about what would happen if the relationship did end. A Contracting-Out Agreement can be entered into at any time, for example, prior to three years duration of the relationship, during the relationship, and after a couple are married. As farms can be multi-

million dollar businesses with substantial existing bank debt, sometimes it can be near impossible for one party to “buy-out” the other party’s half share of all of the relationship property upon separation. This is where parties need to seek advice from their team of professionals – their lawyer, accountant, bank manager and farm adviser – to determine what can be a financially sustainable outcome for the farm so it that can remain in the family for the future generations. Despite the act, any agreement can be reached by the parties: a party can accept less than their 50 per cent entitlement of relationship property to allow the farm to stay in the family; or an agreed figure can be determined and principal and interest payments can be made for a set time, and security provided for that amount with a second mortgage over the farming property and its assets. Some frequently asked

questions: Does a family trust or a company help with keeping assets in the family? To some extent yes, but it will depend on several factors, including when the trust was established and when the relationship began. A trust cannot be relied upon by itself to allow a farm to pass to the next generation – it does not offer the same protection as a Contracting-Out Agreement and often both parties are named as trustees and beneficiaries. As we have noted, all forms of contributions may be taken into account and this also applies where trusts own property. It is helpful to note that the perpetuity period (the length of time that a trust is allowed to exist for) can be extended for trusts to assist with succession planning. This means that a property interest does not have to be vested within the ordinary 80 year period. Can I leave my partner something in my will even if we have a Contracting-Out Agreement?

Having a Contracting-Out Agreement does not prohibit anyone from providing for a party in their will if they are still in a relationship when one party dies. The two situations are distinctly different – the relationship ending with the parties separating, versus a party dying. Is a gift or an inheritance separate property? Normally gifts and inheritances received during a party’s relationship will remain a party’s separate property unless it is so inextricably mixed with relationship property that it cannot be identified. For example, a party received funds from a family member’s Estate and those funds are used to pay off the mortgage on the family home. However, there a many intricacies with this question and legal advice should be sought. This article is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek guidance from your legal advisor before taking any action related to the matters raised in this article.

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Thankful for our dedicated volunteers Mary Ralston

The Mt Somers Walkway was built entirely by volunteer labour. PHOTOS SUPPLIED


Where would we be without our dedicated volunteers? In our district there are many who manage endangered species, weed reserves, trap pests and count birds. The work done is of inestimable value. In a perfect world, there would be plenty of money for projects such as pest control and restoring historic sites. However, we all know this is not the case, which is why the Hakatere Heritage Committee was formed – to raise funds for the maintenance and restoration of the stone cottage and other buildings at Hakatere corner. Fundraising events have been held and stabilising of the stone cottage has begun. Last summer the group maintained the wooden cook

Fundraising events have begun to stabilise the stone cottage at Hakatere corner.

shop and shearers’ quarters, before having the buildings painted with paint donated by Dulux. Volunteer projects sometimes take off to such an extent that a government department takes over. The Mt Somers Walkway began with an idea in 1982 with local man David Howden who thought a walking track around the back of Mt Somers to Staveley could be a good way to draw people to the area. To “test the water” David and his brother Peter took groups of people over the proposed route. It was a great success so the Mt Somers Walkway Society was

formed and work began. Built entirely with volunteer labour, the track opened in 1987. The walkway society has kept going, building additional huts and doing track work and weed control. Now officially a Department of Conservation track, it is walked by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people every year. Big projects like the walkway, or small ones like planting natives near the Mt Somers store, add richness to our lives and improve the quality of our natural environment for both humans and our native biodiversity. We are indebted to those who go the extra mile – thanks!

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Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Ashburton guardian farming, tuesday, september 8, 2015  

Ashburton Guardian Farming, Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ashburton guardian farming, tuesday, september 8, 2015  

Ashburton Guardian Farming, Tuesday, September 8, 2015