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The year that was in agriculture Pages 3-13

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CONTACTS We appreciate your feedback. Editor Email your comments to nadine.p@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7957.

Advertising Email emma.j@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7936. Post Ashburton Guardian, PO Box 77, Ashburton.

It was a staggeringly busy year in agriculture. We have had trade agreements on a momentous scale, the volatile global dairy market to contend with and climatic extremes. Never a dull moment seems to be the motto of the moment and it just proves how extraordinarily versatile farmers must be in this dynamic world we live in. I myself have come back to my true home of rural journalism – a post I vacated for almost six years. I have enjoyed the privilege of meeting many of you and presenting the myriad of issues facing agriculture today. While we have enjoyed our pedestal on the world agriculture stage, it has become clear that we won’t always keep that place and that times are changing fast! It’s time to strap the big boy knee pads on, and open our mind to the change that is occurring all around us. It’s clear that there are three issues that define where we are at in agriculture today. The first is leadership. Have we been visionaries in the past decade or have we rested on our laurels somewhat? Who will now come forward to drive us forward in innovative ways? The second is our shift in focus from Europe and the UK to South East Asia. Our eyes are on the prize, but is our head in the game? Have we really

Nadine Porter


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come up with ways of grabbing our share of that market without spending Herculean amounts of cash? The third is our relationships with consumers. Have we fully grasped just how close that partnership is becoming and how much further we must explore and take it? Pasture to plate is not just a fancy gimmick, it’s a philosophy that today’s young consumers are taking to their heart. We need to take it to ours too and not shy away from being part of the discussion. This year will be an interesting year as many commentators forecast that we are on a precipice. Which way we fall is up to us. For this issue we take a look back at some of our favourite stories of the year. Thank you for letting us be part of your landscape. Here’s to a prosperous New Year!

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Boost to small seed industry in Canty Confidence was high back in January that a visit from a delegation of Asian seed breeders would boost Canterbury’s small seed revenue by millions of dollars. NZ Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) general manager Thomas Chin said there had been high interest in crop multiplication production contracts as a result of the study trip. The group of 17, seed company managers from China, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, visited seed cleaning businesses, met with key officials from MPI and AsureQuality, and looked at Canterbury’s unique GPS crop isolation systems, developed to prevent crosspollination. Vegetable seed exports to Asia are currently worth $15 million a year, but Mr Chin was confident the potential is there to double figure in the next two years. Plans were under way to host a delegation of officials from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and the country’s quarantine authority in Canterbury next month. Mr Chin hopes the ban on exporting brassica seed to China would be lifted as a result. The market had been closed for two years, as a result of black leg fungus being found in a consignment of seed.

Right - Primary Industries minister Nathan Guy visited the province to see the big dry.


Minister sees the big dry Primary Industries minister visited Chris Allen’s Mid Canterbury farm to talk about a looming drought. While holding back on officially declaring a drought, Mr Guy met with Federated Farmers leaders, farmers, and Rural Support Trust representatives from Mid and South Canterbury and also came to see firsthand how dry parts of the province had become. Federated Farmers national president William Rolleston, who farms in South Canterbury, said

Canterbury farmers were used to dealing with dry summers, but this year the “big dry” had hit much earlier, and irrigation schemes were running short of water. In South Canterbury the Opuha Lake had only enough water to support irrigation for about another month and other schemes were operating on 50 per cent restrictions. Farmers emphasised the importance of investing in alpine water storage facilities, and reliability of water supply to their businesses.

PGG Wrightson and Country TV announced a collaborative partnership to deliver more local agricultural content to rural NZ. New Zealand’s largest agricultural services company PGG Wrightson and Country TV, New Zealand’s only television channel dedicated to rural New Zealand, announced a strategic collaboration. The collaboration drew on PGG Wrightson’s resources and Country TV’s content production and distribution capability to provide a wide range of information, education, and entertainment content to rural viewers in New Zealand and consumers in selected international markets.

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Reasonable Drought fears continue arable harvest despite big dry While confidence was slumping in some rural sectors, Mid Canterbury arable farmers were reporting a reasonable harvest despite the “big dry”. Federated Farmers grain and seed industry group chairman Ian Mackenzie said it had been great weather for harvesting, and if current conditions prevailed the bulk of the district’s crops should be off the paddock in the next few weeks. “All of the rye grass and grass seed has been done, and the dryland grain and early-sown wheat should be done,” Mr Mackenzie, who farms at Eiffleton, said. Spring sowing was delayed by wet weather, pushing harvest back, but Mr Mackenzie expected most of the wheat and barley crops to be in the silos in a week or so. He said early-sown crop yields appeared to have been “quite good” across the board, and where crops have had sufficient water both spring and autumnsown grain crops had yielded well. “It maybe not have been brilliant but we’ve certainly seen a good average yields.” Pricewise, the outlook was also looking positive for arable farmers with around $400 a tonne on the table for feed cereals.

Worries continued that if drought conditions continued during February, Mid Canterbury farmers would be forced to cope without irrigation. The district had been spared the full brunt of the drought, protected by a reliable supply of water, but all irrigation schemes were at the time subject to some form of restrictions and groundwater supplies were also running low in some areas. “As long as the water doesn’t run out we will be okay – if it does you will see the sort of desperation here as we are seeing with Opuha,” Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust member and dryland farmer Peter Reveley said. The Opuha dam was expected to run out of water in the next few days, cutting off irrigation water to 60,000 hectares of South Canterbury farmland. In Mid Canterbury increasing numbers of herd-replacement cattle were back on milking platforms on supplementary feed, because of feed shortages on dairy support blocks. “It’s very dry – we are usually grazing 500 dairy cattle at this time of the year, but we’re back to 100 now,” Mr Reveley said. “Our winterfeed crops are still hanging on pretty well considering, but we got them in early, and used sub soil,” he said.

Peter Reveley was concerned about drought.

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THE YEAR THAT WAS - MARCH FARMERS DOBBING IN FARMERS OVER BURN-OFFS Farmers were dobbing in farmers over dodgy burn-off practices even as townies appeared reluctant to make official their concerns about smoky air. As smoke from a burn-off drifted across Ashburton early in the month, Environment Canterbury confirmed it received just three complaints about rural outdoor fires between December 1 and March. Only one of those was substantiated – and that was about a fire that was lit in a drum, data from the council’s complaints database revealed. However, chief rural fire officer Don Geddes said some farmers have complained about other farmers’ allegedly shoddy fire breaks and burning during strong winds. “They’re maybe burning when the smoke is drifting across and possibly causing a traffic hazard or a nuisance to neighbours,” he said. “These are just farmers who are out there, and observations that they’ve made, and they’re concerned that those sorts of people might screw up the whole thing for everybody.” Environment Canterbury’s regional plan allows burn-offs outside residential areas but rural outdoor burning must not be offensive or objectionable.

Silver Fern Farms laid off 100 staff from Fairton.

SFF Fairton lays off staff Up to 100 people were out of work following the early closure of the second chain at Silver Fern Farms (SSF) Fairton plant early in March. Most workers on the chain started in November. SSF general manager of plant operations Phil Buck said demand for processing space for sheep had slowed, and the co-operative had decided to “dial back” capacity at Fairton.

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“We’ve worked hard to catch up to the demand for lamb and ewe space during the earlier than seasonal dry conditions,” he said. “Lambs in the Canterbury region have also been moved out due to the drought, and the South Island kill statistics also reflect this downward trend in kill numbers compared to the same time last year.” National secretary of the

Meat Workers’ Union Graham Cooke said as of March 14, representing week 24 of the season, the South Island lamb kill was down 1.7 per cent, and sheep numbers were down 7 per cent. Mr Cooke said the downward trend was to some extent influenced by drought, with stock shipped out of the district to other meatworks earlier in the season.

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Milk price begins Dead cow causes bacteria scare to tumble down Fonterra pulled back its milk payout forecast by another 20c per kilogram of milksolids, dropping this season’s price to $4.50kg/MS. Combined with the estimated dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, the cooperative’s farmer suppliers were set to receive $4.70 to $4.80kg/MS. Fonterra chairman John Wilson said the reduction reflected the continuing and significant volatility in international dairy commodity prices caused by over-supply in the market. Tavendale and Partners lawyer Tim Silva said the situation hadn’t taken anyone by surprise. “This has been pretty well telegraphed and the expectation has been there for some time even though the drop has not become official until now,” Mr Silva said. “Even though it’s tough, our clients are prepared to the best extent possible.” Mr Silva said the situation in Mid Canterbury was cushioned to some degree by reliable alpine water for irrigation.

E coli in the Montalto water supply was caused by a dead cow, Ashburton District Council service delivery committee members were told in April. Group manager service delivery Neil McCann reported that a routine water sample from the Montalto supply tested positive for the bacteria, and a boil water notice was issued on March 12. “Inspections identified the presence of a dead cattle beast in the water supply catchment,” Mr McCann said. Chairman Stuart Wilson said it was the sort of thing which happened in rural areas from time to time. Deputy chair Darryl Nelson questioned how this sort of thing could happen in this day and age. “Whether it was dead when it walked in there or whether it was alive when it walked in

Fonterra chairman John Wilson announced a forecast payout of $4.50kg/MS.

there,” he joked. Councillor Peter Reveley said the catchment had areas “as steep as crazy” with a lot of stock. People who sourced the supply were healthy and had not objected to the boil water notice. Councillor Rod Beavan said reading about the dead cow had been a light moment when he perused the agenda. He found Mr McCann’s report that the cow was “suspected to be the source of the contamination” particularly amusing. “Obviously there were no birds in the catchment to get the blame at the time,” he said, referring to the issue of high E coli levels around bird colonies in the Ashburton River. The boil water notice was lifted on March 24 after three consecutive clear tests.

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RAVENSDOWN QUITS RURALCO In a shock move in May, Ravensdown quit Ruralco – the core card business of Ashburton Trading Society. Deputy chairman of the fertiliser co-op, Stuart Wright, confirmed the split from the 50/50 venture with ATS, leaving ATS to go it alone. The Ruralco card initially launched in the central South Island in 2012 to offer discounts at a wide range of local suppliers and retailers. It has since spread throughout the country and was recently described as having “good potential” by ATS chairman Phil McKendry.






Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew and MHIL chairman John Nicholl at the opening of PHOTO JOSEPH JOHNSON 010515-JJ-005 the Carew Water Storage Ponds in May.

Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme opens Nine years ago a Mid Canterbury irrigation company had a vision – to build a supersized water storage facility to offset the impact of dry years. In May that became a reality, with the official opening of the Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme’s $18.5 million dollar storage ponds at Carew. MHIL chairman John Nicholls said it was a big day for the board, management and the scheme’s 150plus shareholders. The three-pond system covers

150ha – the equivalent of 215 rugby fields, and has the capacity to hold 6.1 million cubic metres of water. In the deepest part it would cover a threestorey building. The scheme covered about 33,000ha, using 16.8 cumecs of consented water, drawn from the Rangitata Diversion Race. Mr Nicholls said this summer had proved a timely reminder of the need to store alpine water in the cooler months, for use when the river is on irrigation restrictions.

FARM SELLS FOR $30,000 PER HECTARE A dryland property sold at auction set a new market value in Mid Canterbury and demonstrated confidence in the future of farming, a rural real estate professional said. Sold on behalf of John Grant, the 160-hectare farm in the Ruapuna district was knocked down to John Tavendale for $4.890 million at Hotel Ashburton – equating to about $30,490 a hectare.

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Mental health initiative Launched at the beginning of June, Farmstrong aimed to shift the focus on mental health in rural communities from illness and depression to one of wellbeing. The joint initiative between rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation had an immediate impact in rural communities and was a popular site at the recent Mystery Creek National Agricultural Field Days. Farmstrong spokesperson Gerard Vaughan said feedback from farmers during the event was overwhelmingly positive. “We were inundated with people who wanted to know more, who wanted to pledge kilometres, who wanted to get involved, or just tell us they fully supported the positive approach we’re taking.” Mr Vaughan said it had been “incredibly humbling” to hear positive comments from farmers. “It shows we’re on the right track to achieving our overall aim of making a positive difference to the lives of farmers and growers across the country.”

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Heavy snowfall blankets region One week after the winter’s first heavy snowfall, there were still people in rural Mid Canterbury living without electricity. EA Networks lines crews worked long hours repairing hundreds of lines felled by the snow and while all high voltage lines were working, there was still pockets of on-farm repair work to be completed, company chief executive Gordon Guthrie said. Staff had been in contact with all consumers who were still without power and made appointments to go onto their properties to carry out repairs, he said. “We’ve had a good run on Wednesday but there are a handful of people out there still. Most of the jobs we’re on now are where we have to be pulled in by a tractor so it’s slow going,” he said at the time. The snow also confirmed the Ashburton District Council’s action plan for road clearing was robust, said Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay. The council uses a three-tiered prioritisation system for its rural road clearing programme, based on having all the main rural roads cleared within three days, he said.

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Craig Norgate was a visionary.

Fonterra stalwart dies helm, Mr Norgate had the “extremely challenging” task of bringing two “fiercely independent and strong” milk cooperatives Kiwi Dairy and New Zealand Dairy Group together in 2001, Mr Roadley said. “It was Craig’s job to get everyone playing on the same pitch and pushing at the same side of the scrum. It was no small job. I would say to him ‘are you sure you’re ready for this Craig’ but he never doubted for a minute that he couldn’t,” Mr Roadley said.

lambing as drought continued as there was not enough feed for the stock to go back to. On top of that many farmers in the stricken region had been exiting capital stock to try and make it through – a situation that one drought assistance coordinator said was “very sad”. Christchurch car dealer Grant Silvester established the Canterbury Drought Assist feed initiative earlier in the year when it became apparent how serious the situation was. He remembered the kindness of farmers during the earthquakes and wanted to help in any way he could. Mr Silvester said while there had been “incredible feed donations” worth over $100,000, any additional donations were “always welcome”.


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Craig Norgate passed away with his greatest legacy being his leadership of Fonterra during its formation, according to the milk co-operative’s first chairman, John Roadley. The former Mid Canterbury dairy farmer worked closely with Mr Norgate during Fonterra’s formative years and said he was a visionary who had an ability to see solutions to problems before anyone understood there was a problem in the first place. Just 36-years-old when he took the

The most serious issue facing North Canterbury farmers suffering drought in July was having areas to put ewes on during and after lambing. Donations from Canterbury farmers of over 650 bales of feed were greatly appreciated but more help was urgently needed to help those farmers suffering from drought in the north of the province. North Canterbury Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Dan Hodgen put out a call for Mid Canterbury farmers to help with this year’s lambing through commercial share farming operations. With around 80,000 ewes grazing on farms in the district, Mr Hodgen asked famers to contact livestock agents if they had any capacity to help with

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Ravensdown’s record rebate Ravensdown paid out a record rebate in August of $50 per tonne to all shareholders that had bought fertiliser from the co-operative for the past financial year. The rebate meant a fully paidup shareholder who applied 150 tonnes of fertiliser received a cash rebate of $7500 in August instead of the traditional September payment after the AGM. Exceeding its strategic target of 70 per cent equity ratio earlier than anticipated allowed Ravensdown to pay the large rebate. The co-operative also reported it was “virtually debt-free” in 2014-15 compared to owing $355 million in 2012 and made a $51.9 million operating profit. The past year saw Ravensdown invest $33 million in capital improvements as part of its infrastructure upgrade programme while achieving the best equity ratio for a decade and delivering $110 million in operating cashflow. While exiting the Ruralco joint

Ravensdown CEO Greg Campbell says the co-operative has momentum on its side.

venture with ATS, closure of Waikeratu’s lime quarry and the cost of dealing with two unsold Australian buildings had impacted on the bottom line result, CEO Greg Campbell said momentum was on Ravensdown’s side. “And the morale of the team is

high and all this gets noticed by customers.” He remained cautious about trading conditions that may affect fertiliser tonnages in the current year but was confident that business fundamentals were strong.

RURAL PROFESSIONALS BACK SUPPORT TRUST Mid Canterbury rural professionals were 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 earlier in August, there was expected to be a long recovery ahead, Tavendale and Partners lawyer Tim Silva said. Mr Silva has been involved with the Mid Canterbury Support Trust for a number of years as a co-ordinator and more recently as a trustee. The trust has historically focused on responding to natural events such as heavy snows, windstorms and earthquakes. However, the Ministry for Primary Industries has asked it to also act as a conduit to the rural community for welfare and well-being related services. “We are in the process of developing our welfare-related support network and recruiting a welfare officer, who will act as a first port of call for people under stress,” Mr Silva said. In the interim Mr Silva has circulated MPI brochures and information to rural professionals to hand on to clients.

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Mid Canterbury loses Fonterra increases pay-out to farmers a farming stalwart A Mid Canterbury farming stalwart and renowned community leader will be “sorely missed” after his sudden death in September. Ian Lester Totty, 72, died on a Sunday afternoon at a rural property in Staveley. Senior Constable Mike Seque said Mr Totty was working on the roof of a barn, and was later found by a family member. “Emergency services attended but unfortunately he was confirmed as deceased at the scene,” Mr Seque said. Constable Aaron Tapp told media that Mr Totty was removing iron on a barn roof when he fell 4.8m. A respected member of the Mid Canterbury farming community, Mr Totty was involved with the Methven Lions and the Methven Care Trust. He was also a former director of ATS, Justice of the Peace, and member of Federated Farmers. Methven Care Trust chairwoman Joanna Suyker said Mr Totty’s death was a “massive loss” for the whole community. “We’re really going to miss him,”she said. Mr Totty was “an all-round great guy”, a kind gentleman, and a good contributor to the Staveley community, she said.


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Mr Leadley said while he looked for improvements in Fonterra’s performance he still believed in the model. “But there’s a long way to go yet.” Like all dairy farmers, Mr Leadley said he had cut expenses to meet the lower pay-out. “But if I haven’t got my business in order so that we can stand this sort of thing, then we don’t deserve to be in business given the purchase date.” ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the forecast for next season was encouraging but there were still some “pretty big issues” in the industry. “The real issue is how much further can prices go up given that there is still ample supply of dairy product internationally?” he said.

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Fonterra’s forecast 75 cents pay increase on next season’s milk cheque was being met with caution from suppliers and commentators alike. The co-operative announced a 183 per cent increase in net profit after tax of $506 million and will make a final cash pay-out of $4.65 for the 2015 season. Comprising a farmgate milk price of $4.40 per kilogram of milk solids and a dividend of 25 cents per share, the final pay-out and $5.00 to $5.10 per kg/ ms forecast for next season was met with a subdued response from long time Mid Canterbury dairy farmer Stuart Leadley. “I guess in the end we are happy enough (with the results) but we would like to see them do better.” Farming at Wakanui since 1972 and converting in 2000,


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Kiwi farmers against TPP signed – good Fonterra’s PKE advice for Mid Canterbury Fonterra advice regarding Palm Kernel Extract (PKE) caused a stir amongst farmers throughout the country. Federated Farmers dairy section president Andrew Hoggard was at the World Dairy Summit in Lithuania when the issue surfaced and said despite being half a world away he understood Fonterra’s guidance went down like a lead balloon. “Once again Fonterra’s communications have let them down, the initial media release was lacking in detail, before the story predictably began to change. Initially the talk was about customer perception, but then we start hearing about composition issues.” Mr Hoggard said the message was confused between customer perception and manufacturing suitability. “In my view, either of these issues are justifiable reasons for Fonterra to come back to farmers and inform us there is an issue to address. But they need to be upfront as to what the actual situation is.”

Fonterra advised farmers to limit PKE.

While the deal for dairy products fell short of the mark, Mid Canterbury should benefit from the gains made for the horticultural and the red meat sectors in the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. After five years of negotiations, the 12-country deal was struck in Atlanta, with mixed reactions. Grow Mid Canterbury CEO Rob Brawley said the devil would be in the detail but was quietly confident the region would benefit – particularly the horticultural and red meat sectors. “We need to wait until we see the detail – and obviously there will be a time lag before these things come into effect,” he said. “At first glance it appears there will be value in the deal for Mid Canterbury. While there may not be a lot of advances for dairy, there is some improved

access, and hopefully it will improve over time.” However, the deal looks promising for the red meat sector. “Sheep and beef is our second largest industry and there appears to be quite significant opportunities in Japan in the TPP so that’s got to be positive for Mid Canterbury. It will also benefit our dairy farmers who sell dairy beef,” Mr Brawley said. In terms of horticulture, the deal looked good for vegetable and berry producers and processors. “We can’t flourish without access to markets and it has to be good for that reason,” Mr Brawley said. “Japan is a significant market that we have struggled to chip away at the tariffs in – this gives us a jump start which has to be worthwhile.”

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Rural theft Cows stolen from local farms on the rise Recent thefts of farm vehicles near Ashburton prompted a warning from police. Last last year a $120,000 tractor, a quad bike and a motorcycle were all stolen from rural Mid Canterbury properties. A John Deere tractor was taken from Tinwald Westerfield Mayfield Road between November 1 and 3 and a Honda XR 125 quad bike was taken from a nearby area between October 31 and November 1. Senior Sergeant Scott Banfield said a lot of work had been done to make sure the tractor would be found. There were systems in place and if it showed up anywhere in the country police would know about it. “We have means of identification.” Most thefts from rural properties were opportunistic and preventable, Senior Sergeant Banfield said. In previous years people had been able to leave vehicles unlocked with keys in the ignition. “In today’s world you simply can’t do that.” Anyone not using a piece of machinery or vehicle needed to lock it and put the keys away in a safe place where only a few people knew the location, he said. “Make it difficult for opportunists.”

Growing numbers of cows stolen from Mid Canterbury farms was frustrating police late last year, and they were calling for the dairy industry to improve its animal tracking systems. Rustlers appeared to be at work in the district, with 52 Friesian bull calves having gone missing from an Alford Forest farm and 17 milking cows from a Hinds farm. They were on top of a previouslyreported theft of 36 dairy cows from the Mayfield-area farm of Jill and David Quigley. Methven senior constable

Mike Seque said as the stock went missing some time earlier in December, he believed they would be hard to trace. Farmers may have been more aware of the issue following reports of the theft from Mr and Mrs Quigley’s farm, so counted their stock. However, having such matters reported one to two weeks after the event made it difficult to investigate. There had been rain in the district which would have erased tyre marks from any offending vehicles, and footprints from any stock being herded off farms. “It’s just very frustrating,” Mr Seque said. “It’s a very, very difficult one to combat.” It was impossible to know whether the thefts were linked. The cows could have been up to the North Island and back and sold several times along the way. Mr Seque urged farmers to be more vigilant and count their cattle more often. Left - It wasn’t a merry Christmas on Mid Canterbury farms where cows had been stolen.

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FIJI: $5M IN MACHINERY The Chinese Government recently handed over machinery worth $5 million to the Fijian Government to help revitalise the rice industry. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the machines would help bring Fiji’s rice industry closer to selfsufficiency by helping farmers meet domestic demand and reducing dependence on imports. “When we are able to provide Fijians with crops grown right here in Fiji, we improve our food security and make ourselves more resilient to changes in the global marketplace.” He also thanked the Chinese Government for their continuous support, saying the technical cooperation between the two countries, the China Shandong International Economic and Technical Co-operation

Group Ltd, has provided much-needed assistance to rice farmers in Dreketi and Koronivia. Chinese Ambassador Zhang Ping said Fiji was endowed with favourable climate and environmental conditions for rice farming. The machinery consists of 336 sets of farming machines.

Debt, despair and drought … Once their cash cows, cattle are now a liability for Indian farmers with many flocking to market to sell their livestock. However, there are few interested buyers and those that do are paying a rockbottom price. One farmer, Sunil Kashid, travelled 200km to sell his bullock at a promising market – only to have no buyers interested. “Ideally the bull should fetch between Rs30,000 and 35,000 but there are hardly any buyers, and those interested are not ready to offer more than Rs15,000. I can’t keep him at home because I can’t feed him. Our entire crop has got spoiled due to no rain in summer and later, the unseasonal rain. A day’s fodder costs anywhere between Rs100 and 150. I already have a loan of Rs3 lakh on my head.”

CANADA: ONTARIO FARMER WANTS TO RESTORE FARM As many in the industry strive for sustainability, an experienced Ontario farmer wants to go one step further to build a farming system that does better than perpetuate itself. “The term ‘sustainability’ has really come to mean less damaging

than the alternative, rather than truly improving or repairing,” said Harry Stoddart, during a presentation at the Manitoba Conservation District Association’s 40th annual conference. “I like the term ‘regenerative’ or ‘restorative.’ Essentially, the central

concept in that is that we are not happy with the status quo. We are not talking about reducing our harm, we are looking for ways we can rebuild and restore.” Stoddart says implementing a holistic management system should be a top priority for every operation.


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The member countries of the World Trade Organisation have decided to abolish subsidies on farming exports, a decision that came into effect on January 1, 2016 and is expected to help farmers in developing nations compete more fairly in global markets. According to the agreement, developed countries will put an end to the subsidies beginning in the New Year while developing nations must follow suit by the end of 2018. The move was announced in December after ministers met in Nairobi, Kenya in the first ever meeting held on the African continent. “The decision you have taken on export competition is truly extraordinary,” WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said at the closing session of the conference. “It is the WTO’s most significant outcome on agriculture.”

British farmers ended 2015 owing their banks £1.5 billion more than they did a year ago and nearly double what they owed a decade ago. Bank of England statistics show lending to British agriculture hit a new record high of £17.7b in the year to the end of October 2015. This is a 10 per cent increase year-on-year and is over £8b more than farmers were borrowing a decade ago. The figures have emerged as the AMC revealed that it was on track to approve a record amount of lending in 2015, with its figure expected to be up 20 per cent on 2014. Demand for borrowing was strong in the arable, dairy, beef, sheep and poultry sectors despite poor ex-farm prices. Loans were split equally between land purchases, capital investment projects and restructuring existing bank finances.

AUSTRALIA: FAMILIES MAKING DIFFICULT DECISIONS A growing number of rural parents across Australia are making the difficult decision to spilt up to give their children a better education. Eliza Lawrie moved to Rockhampton with her three children just over a year ago, leaving her husband to run their farm at Gogango in central Queensland. She said their local school only had one teacher and sending her children to school in a regional centre gave them

better social and support networks as well as greater access to resources. “Bush schools are always saying it’s hard to keep teachers there, and that’s been an ongoing problem for many years so you don’t always have the continuity for the children, and then on the other side for me, I didn’t want a life on the highway travelling,” she said. Ms Lawrie said friends in Rockhampton and Toowoomba were doing the same thing.


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Practical advice for Farm Environment Plans A strong commitment to improving environmental outcomes has seen 100 per cent of existing BarrhillChertsey Irrigation Limited (BCIL) and Acton Farmers’ Irrigation Co-Operative (AFIC) shareholders complete Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) this year. BCIL holds resource consent to irrigate up to 40,000 hectares with a nitrogen cap requiring shareholders to operate at good practice. Farm Environment Plans are a key part of this process. Irrigo Centre Environmental manager Eva Harris says practical information sessions and workshops provided shareholders with the tools to complete their own FEPs. “We created a template for shareholders then held oneon-ones and weekly drop-in sessions where farmers could get advice for completing their plans. “I was really impressed by how proactive and cooperative our shareholders have been. It’s a big ask to get FEPs and nutrient budgets

Irrigo Centre Environmental Manager Eva Harris is working with local farmers to help them with good management practices.

completed during such a busy time of the year and our shareholders have done a great job.”

Eva says timing workshops to fit in with farmers’ schedules and giving plenty of useful advice around areas

such as risk management are practical ways to help people complete FEPs. “After attending the one-on-one

and workshops most farmers found it only took them around three to four hours to complete their FEP online.” Six further FEPs will be completed by new shareholders this year with audits to begin once a newly appointed Irrigo Centre FEP auditor starts work in February. Eva says the latest nutrient budget results indicate that many shareholders already have good environmental practices in place. “Nutrient budgets completed in the 2014-15 season showed that our shareholders have used around 42 per cent of our nitrogen cap while irrigating about 45 per cent of the permitted area.” Further training sessions will be offered to shareholders throughout the year to help them continuously improve their environmental performance beyond good practice. These sessions include a series of soil moisture workshops which will be run by Irrigation New Zealand in February and March.

Managing your water through another dry summer The irrigation season is now underway. Predictions point to another hot, dry summer, so managing your water allocation well will be key. There’s more to it than ramping up irrigation when it’s hot or near the end of the season. Irrigators need to start the season well, maintain performance and find out where you can save on operating costs.

Finding out what your irrigator is applying is the first step – systems can be 20%-30% out. Some simple early season calibration checks and maintenance can save a lot of water over the season.

A number of small, simple changes will make a big difference towards making sure your irrigation volume will see you through to March.

Applying the right amount of water at the right time improves production and reduces the amount of irrigation required. “Timing is everything in a marginal season. It’s about being able to plan and make decisions based on the right information,” says IrrigationNZ Project Manager Steve Breneger.

Inefficient irrigation at the start of the season can have a significant impact on seasonal sustainability: • Using more water than you need, shortening your seasonal volume • Reducing productivity – a single saturation can limit grass growth for up to 3 days

IrrigationNZ can provide advice. Support is also available through DairyNZ, which is currently running a Tactics campaign bringing together tools, tips and tactics to help you survive and thrive in a low milk price season.

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Irrigators are encouraged to take these steps: • Make sure your irrigation systems are correctly calibrated – use IrrigationNZ or DairyNZ resources to help with calibration • Find out how much water you are using and how you’re tracking in relation to your seasonal allocation • Make sure all applications are correctly scheduled; that you’re putting on the right amount of water at the right time to get the best value possible from your irrigation water and energy Contacts for help • IrrigationNZ – www.irrigationnz.co.nz • DairyNZ - Angela Harvey, 021 246 2185, 03 321 9035, angela.harvey@dairynz.co.nz • Your irrigation scheme

2 18





Rabobank’s animal protein analyst, Matt Costello, said New Zealand beef exporters this year could benefit from tightening supply in Australia. “Australia’s had three years of record slaughter levels driven by this drought that they’ve had, particularly through Queensland, so from New Zealand’s perspective and given Australia is the largest competitor that New Zealand faces in the export market, we’re expecting to see a significant decline in volumes processed out of Australia. “Rabobank’s forecasting declining volumes out of Australia around 300,000 tonnes ... in 2016 so that bodes well for New Zealand at both the farm gate and export level.”

ASB expects dairy prices to return to long-term average levels over 2016, as dairy’s oversupply corrects, according to ASB Farmshed Economics. The optimism will be welcome news to dairy farmers after a year of weak dairy prices, where oversupply of dairy products was the dominant theme, says ASB rural economist Nathan Penny. “New Zealand production is weak and will weaken further in the second half of the season. We expect this production weakness to filter through to higher prices over 2016, particularly for whole milk powder,” Mr Penny says. “On this basis, we stick with our $4.60/kg and $6.50/kg milk price forecasts for 2015/16 and 2016/17 respectively.

New Zealand recently sold more beef to China than to the United States for the first time and Mr Costello said that could become a trend. “What processors in New Zealand have had to do is look for alternate markets particularly as the US demand really weakens, so China has been that key market.”

FARMER FINDS CHILEAN NEEDLE GRASS AT WEST MELTON The discovery of a small area of Chilean needle grass by a West Melton farmer last month highlights the importance of people being able to identify this plant pest. Environment Canterbury principal resource management advisor, Laurence Smith, said the farmer identified Chilean needle grass after reading an article urging people to keep an eye out

for the seeding plants. Until the discovery at West Melton, the invasive weed had been identified only in the Hurunui district in North Canterbury. This was the first new discovery of Chilean needle grass in Canterbury for two years, Mr Smith said. So far 13 of the 15 sites in had been discovered by biosecurity staff. “Seed lasts in the ground for

about 10 years so the lag stage between seed movement and establishment requires constant vigilance,” he says. “Chilean needle grass can reduce stock carrying capacity, income and potentially, property values.” In early summer needle grass seed-heads stand out as reddish purple-flecked and glossy but for the rest of the year, the plant looks like any other grass.





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West Coast dairy farmers have spent at least $8 million on conservation efforts to improve the water quality of Lake Brunner. DairyNZ and NZ Landcare Trust surveyed half the 22 dairy farmers in the lake’s catchment, finding they had spent $4.7 million on clean-up initiatives. DairyNZ environment manager Dr Mike Scarsbrook says the farmers’ achievements are impressive and reflect their commitment to preserving the environment “Based on our survey, we estimate that in total farmers have probably spent closer to $8-9 million on improvements. “To date 70km of the streams flowing into Lake Brunner have been fenced off and 21,000 new plants have been added to banks to help prevent sediment from entering waterways. On top of this, 76 hectares of land has been retired by farmers. With each hectare valued at around $20,000 this amounts to a significant investment.”

A Commerce Commission spokesperson said PGG Wrightson and Rural Livestock had been fined $2.7 million and $475,000 respectively in separate penalty hearings in the High Court in Auckland. The case relates to price-fixing in connection with the introduction of the National Animal Identification Tracing Act in 2012. The commission launched an investigation into livestock company fees after receiving a complaint from a Northland farmer. It found members of the Stock and Station Agents Association, including PGG Wrightson and Rural Livestock, entered into three anti-competitive agreements to set fees.

EL NINO COULD MEAN FALL IN PASTURE GROWTH, MILK PRODUCTION Data from past el niño years suggests farmers in some regions can expect a drop in pasture growth this summer. DairyNZ has reviewed pasture growth data from the three strongest el niño years – 1972/73, 1982/83 and 1997/98 – which this summer is predicted to mirror. DairyNZ senior developer for

productivity, Kim Mashlan, says if similar years are anything to go by, then many farms could grow 2-3 tonnes less feed per hectare than normal. “Some areas like Northland, Bay of Plenty and parts of Waikato and Canterbury show lower than average pasture growth rates from January through to April, compared to an

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average year,” says Kim. “This information isn’t meant to be a crystal ball but highlights the importance of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, which many farmers are already doing. “The key is to have completed a written summer management plan that identifies triggers for a change in farm management.”

2 20



Take time to listen to consumers As we have talked about previously in New Zealand we don’t have the scale to remain relevant or sustainable in the quantity (or commodity) game, to remain economically and environmentally sustainable, so we need to focus on top quality premium products. When it comes to premium products, consumers’ expectations are consistently increasing. This includes what they expect to see as far as the treatment of animals. KPMG attended Trutest’s Beyond the Line of Sight event where futurists and scientists spoke about the future of food and farming. Many of the speakers discussed the consumers’ demands and perceptions of animal treatment and synthetically created food products such as chicken-less eggs, cow-less milk and the cultivation of a meat pattie cultivated from the cells of beef where the only harm to the animal is a pin-prick. We are not implying that the world is going to only eat synthetic.

Maurice Myers


There will always be a place for natural, fresh food products, but the expectation (realistic or not) of these consumers eating natural products will continue to grow and what they perceive is good treatment will dictate where they get this food from. How does this specifically impact NZ’s food producing farmers? High premium foods are likely to result in much higher returns for the farmers, which will help improve economic sustainability. While this is a huge positive, the increased returns will come with significantly increased expectations on farmers to verify they are meeting the expectations

Use social media wisely.

of the consumers when it comes to their animals, the environment and the treatment of people working on the farm. What change is needed now for the producer/farmer to change the perceptions of consumers and meet expectations? Like it or not, you are farming in a fish bowl and as time goes by everything you


do becomes more magnified so be open about what you are doing. The more gaps in the information, the more people will start to fill in the gaps with their “own story”. Use social media appropriately to promote the great things you are doing, but don’t launch into debates online. Invite those that don’t

understand in, help them understand and ask for feedback. If people think they can do better then give them the opportunity to tell you how. You don’t have to follow their ideas, but it’s important to listen and help them understand why their suggestion isn’t going to work. Spend time listening to what consumers are expecting and perceiving before you expect them to understand you and work strategies around how you can help influence the perceptions. To survive in the future farmers need to be agile and future-focused. Change is coming and if they are not prepared, it could be brutal. They must ensure business and production excellence and shift the traditional focus from producing the most to producing the best quality. To do this they may need to reduce production and this will take a significant shift in mind-set.

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Hydraulink – on-call, all the time The team from Hydraulink Mid Canterbury branch are ready to go anywhere in the district at any time, with the service operating a 24 hours a day, seven days a week breakdown service. Managing director Dan Bruce took over the business in May last year, and Hydraulink’s five-strong team has been concentrating on streamlining customer service. Hydraulink Mid Canterbury operates three service vehicles and a fully equipped workshop, and a designated lubrication service vehicle. “We work on agricultural machinery, earthmoving equipment – anything that needs hoses fitting or lubrication servicing,” Mr Bruce said. “We have people on-call all the time day or night.” On the cusp on the harvest season the Hydraulink team has been “flat stick” at the moment. “There’s a lot going on in Mid Canterbury and the district is growing,” Mr Bruce said. While the business is based on its hose and fittings side,

the demand for the lubrication service is also growing fast with automatous dispensing small measured amounts of lubrication are dispensed at frequent intervals while machines are running. “Our systems ensure continuous lubrication of machines while running,

reducing costly downtime,” Mr Bruce said. Installing fire suppression systems is another service in growing demand, especially at this time of year. Fire suppression systems have automated detection systems with the option of automatic or manual

extinguisher activation from the cab or from a remote location. The systems have a range of applications and have been used on agricultural equipment, transport vehicles as well as a number of other industries. “We’ve put automated fire

A fire in a combine harvester involves more than the loss of a machine

extinguishers on equipment such as combine harvesters, diggers and trucks and tractors,” Mr Bruce said. “A lot of people are becoming aware of this technology – a fire in a combine harvester involves more than the loss of a machine, it also results in the loss of crop and downtime for staff. “Things add up pretty quickly especially at this time of the year when there are often only small windows of opportunity to get a crop in.” Hydraulink also offers on-site repair, service and replacement of worn or damaged fire suppression systems.

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Always on hand to supply your needs McMullan Enterprises is a reliable Ashburton-based business supporting farmers around New Zealand with its on-call service. Regardless of the time of day the services and products are available 24/7. Co-owner Peter McMullan says the business is busy year round but more go through the harvest season. McMullan Enterprises carry a wide range of PTO. shafts and crosses, with yokes in stock to fit many of the earlier type shafts, with both square and oval holes. The business has Bamford. Fella, Kuhn, Pottinger, Read, PZ, Teage, Vicon, Sprintmaster and Acrobat brand rake tines, with others available. It also carries bale fork tines for both silage and ordinary grabs, and a large range of cultivation parts. “There’s nothing worse than going home with half of what you went to town for,” Peter said. “We keep 25mm and 32mm tines for Campbell, Clough and Duncan coil tine grubbers, bearings for

wheel control discs, maxi tills, great plains drills, and a range of other common sizes are on hand. “Many years ago I worked for a firm that always believed in stocking the items customers wanted – so I like to do the same. “We carry Duncan seed liners, till seeders, renovators and paneraters along with items such as points, hoses and many more bits and pieces. We also have a good selection of mower blades and bolts for the many different types out there.” McMullan Enterprises also stocks a range of second hand machinery. “I have been in business on my own, with my wife’s help, for 23 years providing farmers with items that can help them run their day-to-day business requirements,” he said.

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2 24



Water, water and water The Hinds drain in Flemington.

Chris Murdoch


now in fact have no water. I think sometimes there are simple solutions to some of these issues, but ECan shall not allow them to be used. One example was a farm by the coast that used drainage water for irrigation and well water for irrigation. The drain was going dry and got below the acceptable level of use, so the farmer suggested to ECan he would supply 30 litres/second to the drain from his well and then take 20 litres of this water back out of the drain further down his farm and leave the extra 10 litres/second in the drain to improve the flow of this drain. As I understand ECan

turned him down on the conditions of not mixing deep water with drain water – they did not want to mix what they called deep polluted water with clean drain water. How much common sense is being used here! I think I would sooner drink from the well than the low drain. Also, it never ceases to amaze me that a farm located

on the coast cannot take all of the water that flows past as I have never seen it actually flow out to sea. It just disappears into a high bank of stones and shingle, so no way can fish get into or out of the drain without going over the stones! Not going to happen! Why I ask, do we let good irrigation water go to sea?


Never mind - as the New Year approaches, let’s hope the Global Dairy Trade auction increases, we get more rain, lamb, wool and beef prices increase and the arable section has a great harvest with prices holding or increasing. Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a healthy, bright and prosperous New Year.

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Once upon a time, (sounds like a fairy tale but for some it’s a nightmare) real estate used to be about location, location, location and by God how that’s changed - especially here in Canterbury. The call now is water, water and water, or irrigation, irrigation and irrigation. But not just irrigation, but reliability of such irrigation. Last irrigation season, and especially this season, we were and are seeing the effects of (dare I say it) the loss of what was regarded as the wasteful use of borderdyke water, but was it really wasted! The effects of borderdyke water washing through the shallow ground meant aquifers had a cleaning effect on the nitrates held in these waters and then all this shallow water was re-pumped by the down county farmers to spray-irrigate their farms. With the reduction and loss of borderdyke water, many farms on the coast that used to rely on this water to top up their shallow wells and drains




Smart Ag Solutions making an impact on farms Being able to make savings both economically and environmentally with precision agriculture and opening the door to new technology are just some of the myriad of benefits Smart Ag Solutions offers. English born and raised, general manager Seaun Lovell understands the role of new technology in agriculture and is an expert in using one of only two Veris mapping machines in the country to map paddocks for soil texture, organic matter and pH levels. The machine uses electrical conductivity, near infrared light reflectance and pH probes, in conjunction with state of the art Ag Leader GPS equipment, to map a paddock’s variability, allowing farmers to fine-tune their irrigation and spread fertiliser and lime more accurately. Mr Lovell joined Smart Ag Solutions following 22 years in the British Army’s Royal Corps of Signals as a tactical forward air controller, calling in fast jets, ground attack helicopters and artillery. His time in the army taught

The Smart Ag Solutions team, from left to right: Colin Hurst, Nick Ward, Seaun Lovell, Michael Tayler, Hugh Wigley.

him to be disciplined and organised – something that has stood him in good stead when working to get the best results for farmers. A new concept for farmers, the Veris mapping machine has been operating all over the United States and in Europe since 2003 with fantastic results. Seaun believes it’s vital to provide farmers with good

communication throughout the process of mapping results. “There is no point producing quality data and soil maps and then just handing it over and walking away. He needs to be able to understand the data that I am giving him and how best he can use it.” From there Seaun likes to recommend well respected agronomists who know how

to interpret the data and how best to apply it in a cropping or pasture situation. “I need to stay in touch with the farmer to the very end, when all his fertiliser and lime has been applied where he wants it and when. Then there is also the follow up to gain any feedback on how we might improve how we deliver the service to the farmer.” Very much a character,

Seaun loves meeting farmers for a yarn – especially the ones that like to mention how England did in the Rugby World Cup! “I also like seeing all the many different farm systems that are operating around Canterbury. Every farm is different and what works on one farm may not work across the road. Also, with the huge variability in the soils around the province in both pH and textures, I am seeing large variations within one single paddock on a daily basis.” While some people think new technology is scary and shy away from it, Seaun believes it should hold no fear as it will not only save money on the farm, but will also ensure sustainability well into the future. Operating mainly in Canterbury Seaun hopes to expand Smart Ag Solutions into the North Island but in the meantime is concentrating on bringing the latest technology to local farmers. For more information call Seaun on 0277627824 or email seaun@smartagsolutions.co.nz


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Riverbridge Conservation Area – a sa The success of the Riverbridge Conservation Area is testament to wetland builder and farmer Russell Langdon’s belief that “if you provide the habitat, the birds will come”. It is the birds that make the wetland such a success – just about every species of New Zealand waterfowl has visited or become resident here in the last fifteen years. Scaup, grey teal, shoveller, white faced heron, South Island pied oyster catcher, pukeko, blackbilled gulls, paradise duck, bittern, sand pipers and marsh crake are some of the ones sighted here. Russell also has a breeding population of the critically endangered brown teal and the eastern buff weka. Russell and his wife Velma created the 8.3 ha wetland on their farm at Westerfield in 2000, next to the south branch of the Ashburton River. The wetlands are now legally protected by a Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenant. The area of wetlands in our local area has dwindled

Mary Ralston


since agriculture became the dominant land use on the Canterbury Plains. Only a tiny amount of the original area of wetland area remains, which means habitat for birds and other wildlife depending on water has shrunk drastically. New wetlands such as Russell’s are extremely valuable for the food and shelter they provide. Riverbridge consists of a series of drains, swamp, ponds, and grassy areas. The water table is reasonably close to the surface so once the ponds were dug they filled without relying on rain. The stable water level benefits nesting birds, and some of the ponds are shallow enough to provide a nice “edge” for wading birds, such

as the stilts, that like to walk along and poke their beaks into the mud to find worms and small crustaceans. Many of the birds are rare or endangered or have other distinctive features. The marsh crake, for instance, is

the world’s smallest wader. Russell believes that it isn’t as rare as might be thought but is secretive and hard to spot. A corner of one of the ponds is known as “Crake’s corner”. Pied stilts are another wader. They have the

longest legs in relation to their body size of any bird after the flamingo. Some of the birds are resident here, but others are just passing through on their way from the high country lakes to Lake Ellesmere, or the local rivers.

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Member of


*Offer is available from 1 January 2016 to 31 March 2016 (subject to stock availability) on any new vehicle from participating Authorised Toyota Dealers in New Zealand. The Service Plan covers parts and labour costs of scheduled service items for five years / 75,000km (whichever occurs first under normal operating conditions). The Warranty Offer provides cover for five years / 150,000km (whichever occurs first under normal operating conditions). The W.O.F Check Offer does not include the costs of any repairs required to pass the W.O.F inspection. For full terms and conditions visit our website, www.toyota.co.nz

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*Offer is available from 1 January 2016 to 31 March 2016 (subject to stock availability) on any new vehicle from participating Authorised Toyota Dealers in New Zealand. The Service Plan covers parts and labour costs of scheduled service items for five years / 75,000km (whichever occurs first under is normal operating conditions). Warranty Offer(subject provides for five years 150,000km (whichever occurs firstAuthorised under normal operating *Offer available from 1 January 2016The to 31 March 2016 to cover stock availability) on/ any new vehicle from participating Toyota Dealers conditions). The W.O.F Check Offer include costscosts of any required to pass inspection. For full (whichever terms and conditions in New Zealand. The Service Plan does coversnot parts andthe labour of repairs scheduled service itemsthe forW.O.F five years / 75,000km occurs first visit our website, www.toyota.co.nz under normal operating conditions). The Warranty Offer provides cover for five years / 150,000km (whichever occurs first under normal operating conditions). The W.O.F Check Offer does not include the costs of any repairs required to pass the W.O.F inspection. For full terms and conditions visit our website, www.toyota.co.nz

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*Terms and Conditions apply. For full terms and conditions visit our website, www.toyota.co.nz



afe haven for wildlife The ubiquitous mallard isn’t found here. “The habitat here doesn’t suit them,” says Russell. “They like mown edges of streams and they don’t get that here!” Russell and his brother Don have planted thousands of native plants around the ponds and in the surrounding grassland. Carex secta, flax, hebes, swamp ribbonwood, coprosmas, manuka and kanuka thrive without the pressure of grazing stock. Predator proof fencing and trapping for predators such as stoats and cats ensures nesting birds are protected. It is not just birds that are benefitting from the wildlife refuge. Native fish such as the upland bully and Canterbury mudfish are thriving in the clean water of the drains that run through the property. Throughout Canterbury, mudfish populations have dwindled since farming has intensified and their preferred habitats, swamps and slowmoving streams and drains, have been drained.

Russell says when they hatch, the mudfish, or kowaro, are just “two eyes and a squiggle”. They are one of five species of mudfish, and one of 20 species of indigenous freshwater fish in Canterbury. Brown with thick skin but no scales, their stocky bodies are up to 15cm long. They don’t migrate out to sea but stay in fresh water for their whole life. Trout are prevented from entering the drains at Riverbridge – they are

predators of the mudfish and other native species of fish. “I have always been interested in conservation and started off breeding birds in captivity. But I preferred to see them in a natural setting,” said Russell. “I’ve also been curious about what the plains looked like a few hundred years ago, so I built some ponds where there was once pasture. And when you have water and habitat, the birds arrive.”

Above - Russell Langdon – farmer, wetland builder and conservation enthusiast. Left – Riverbridge is often visited by groups of school children, bird watchers and others interested in conservation.

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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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

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

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Plastic bags and coffee pods amon Finding solutions to foodwaste has become a priority: In March, Love Food Hate Waste NZ released the results of the New Zealand research into food waste which showed that the average family wastes $563 food per year. Then in France they passed a law requiring supermarkets to donate unsold food for either human or animal consumption. United Nations’ leaders dined on food waste in September and in October the USA set a target of reducing food waste by 50 per cent by 2030. What about tyres? A New Zealand tyre industry summit was held in June 2015, when stakeholders from all parts of the industry met. Despite overwhelming industry support, the government has decided not to designate tyres a priority product at this stage. However, the November funding round of the Waste Minimisation Fund focused on finding uses for end-of-life tyres and regional councils are

Sheryl Stivens


collaborating to find solutions to tyre stockpiling. Let’s hope we can make more progress in 2016. Reducing litter across New Zealand: Isn’t it annoying to see food packaging, bottles, cans or plastic wrappers littering country roads? In 2015, MP Jono Naylor introduced a new Members Bill aimed at reducing litter across New Zealand. If the Litter Amendment Bill is passed it would increase the maximum infringement fine from $400 to $1000. This means that dropping cigarette stubs, food wrappers and cans could soon cost you up to $1000.

“The incentives have to be increased, we want to make sure it’s not worth it to get caught, it’s got to hit people hard,” Naylor says. “We are a clean and green country and need to be tougher on litter to ensure we remain so.” Increased public awareness of the fines that are in place are required to deter people from littering. Let’s hope we can reduce litter in 2016 – it’s not a good look. Scotland’s Plastic Bag Ban Saved 650 Million Bags in Its First Year: Just eight cents a bag and suddenly no one wants one. One year ago, Scotland started charging five pence for plastic grocery bags. In the following year, 650 million fewer bags have been used, an 80 per cent reduction. Before the ban on free carrier bags, as they’re called over there, Scotland was the UK’s worst offender. As a conscientious shopper, you might bristle when you

Come and see how to compost foodwaste, set up a worm farm or bokashi bucket. Free composting demo January 18, 11.30am12.30pm, Ashburton Resource Recovery Park.

Scotland’s plastic bag ban is paying dividends.

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

Call us today on 0800 240 120 | www.envirowaste.co.nz Email: christchurch@envirowaste.co.nz

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Drop in today at 364 West Street, Ashburton or call Brent on 03 308 3569 0800 VERSATILE • www.versatile.co.nz



ng waste wise highlights of 2015 see somebody double-bag a cold beverage or bag a single item that has its own handle anyway. Compulsory bag charges might not be popular with these people, but they’re certainly effective. “It’s now becoming second nature to shoppers to reuse their carrier bags and hopefully to think more about our impact on the environment,” Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead told the Guardian. According to the Scottish government, 650 million bags weighs in at 4400 tons of plastic, which is equivalent to saving 2800 tons of CO2, even when accounting for the reusable bags that have taken the place of the disposables. England banned free carrier bags earlier this month. Ireland banned them in 2013, leading to a 71 per cent drop in the first year, and Wales banned them in 2011, also giving a 71 per cent drop. So far in the UK, the effects have been similar, with a 90 per cent drop in

bag use reported by the Asda supermarket chain. If you own a coffee machine that uses the small aluminium pods of coffee, these are recyclable: You can help by providing a container for collecting your capsules at home and work near your coffee machine so they don’t end up in your

rubbish. Aluminium coffee pods can be put into your recycling bin or into the scrap metal drop off bin at the Ashburton or Rakaia Resource Recovery parks in in with your aluminium cans at your community Recycling Depot. In addition to our local recycling options and to make it easy for everyone to recycle the coffee pods Nespresso

joined with TerraCycle in 2015 to provide a second life for used aluminium as part of this product stewardship programme Nespresso is partnering with florists and garden centres around the country to provide drop off points around the country. TerraCycle will collect all consumer Espresso capsules and then recycle them into

two streams. The metal capsules will be melted down and turned into new aluminium products. Residual coffee will be separated and sent to an industrial composting facility. At present the nearest depot for this recycling programme is the Geraldine Garden Centre. Plans are afoot to expand collection points in 2016.

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Take the time to think “

The time for action is now, it’s never too late to do something - Antoine de SaintExupery

To provide an overview of our succession planning series, we wish to reiterate and highlight the main points that we have addressed throughout our series. First and foremost, it is imperative for your family to have the best team of experts around you when you enter into the succession planning process. This will include all of your immediate family members (to ascertain their hopes and aspirations), your accountant, your bank manager, your farm advisor and your legal team. With any discussion there may also need to be input from the wider family. Communication is the key to maintaining a cohesive process, and successfully completing the intergenerational transfer of wealth which the succession planning process strives for. While not all the conversations will be easy

Alana Crampton


- undoubtedly there will be different aspirations and different ideas as to the means of achieving those goals these conversations do need to take place. Your trusted advisors can assist your family with these conversations. The tools to implement the process can include wills, the establishment of trusts, memoranda of wishes for trusts, and deeds of family arrangement. A deed of family arrangement can often be entered into to record the background information

including assets and valuations that has led to the decisions that have been reached, which will then stand the process in good stead for the future. It may also include details of the ongoing transfer process and payment amounts and dates for tranches of the wealth transfer. Can you derive a succession plan for the “family farm” that will allow it to remain in the family across generations? The enactment of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 has necessitated the need in some family situations for difficult discussions between both de facto partners and married couples about the future of the farm if they were to separate. We are seeing an increase in the completion of what are now known as Contractingout Agreements: in some situations these can provide a more robust approach than discretionary trusts to keeping

family assets in the family when the unfortunate situation of a separation occurs. Another important consideration in some family succession planning is striking a balance between those children that are farming the assets and non-farming children. If due consideration is not provided for the non-farming children then there are various legal remedies available for them to contest the succession plan that has been implemented, including upon the death of a parent. Therefore, all of your trusted advisors should give due consideration to nonfarming children to ensure that the distribution of assets in accordance with the succession plan is fair even if it is not equal. The succession planning process may involve the creation of equity partnerships.

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about succession plans These can comprise several family members and their partners, or may involve seeking equity from an independent third party. As with everything we have discussed, thorough communication between all parties is required to not only create the equity partnership but sustain it long-term in accordance with everyone’s expectations, and provide exit strategies for the parties as required. In these tough times for the agricultural sector, there will be a number of difficult succession discussions within families.

These conversations cannot wait for the economic downturn to come to an end, and a medium term view must be taken. The current climate evidences the importance of the

need for succession plans to be sustainable during different cycles and undertaking a wide sensitivity analysis to ensure plans are workable. The team at Tavendale and Partners are experienced in all aspects of succession planning and welcome any queries to assist the rural sector in getting through the challenges faced, both by the market and within farming families.

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. Alana Crampton is a Partner of Tavendale and Partners, a leading commercial and agribusiness law firm.


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Fun in the sun right here this year! In Mid Canterbury there is nowhere in the world where you can experience so much, so close and so easily. Set in the middle of the South Island between the Rangitata and Rakaia rivers, and stretching from the Alps to the sea with the stunning snow-capped Mt Hutt as its backdrop, mountains and glacial lakes, the district offers an inspiring location to experience an array of activities ranging from the energetic to the relaxing. It also gives you a slice of everything New Zealand has to offer. Summers in Mid Canterbury host a prime opportunity to experience horse trekking, white-water rafting, skydiving and golfing. You can visit gardens of blazing blooms, uncover relics of aviation and transport history, learn archery, hunt, hike or mountain bike or enjoy rural hospitality. A cluster of high-country lakes lure avid fly fishers, a hot-air balloon or heli-flight provides a bird’s-eye view of a patchwork landscape of this

The district offers ... an array of activities ranging from the energetic to the relaxing.

rich agricultural region, or a 4WD adventure can take you on a journey into the highcountry wilderness. Mid Canterbury has many exciting events this summer. A few highlights include: • World Buskers Festival – Ashburton Roadshow - January 19, 2016. The World Buskers Roadshow comes to Mid Canterbury and includes Australian acts Hula Queen and ADDJ, Sharon Mahoney from Canada, Biggest Little Circus and other local Kiwi performers. • Methven Art Gallery

Christmas Cash and Carry Art Exhibition – December 7 to January 31, 2016. Buy an original piece of art by local artists. The cash and carry concept means that you can take the painting that you bought with you.

Open daily until January 31, 2016. • Multi Cultural Bite 2016. In celebration of Waitangi Day, showcasing cultures within our community through cultural food stalls, performing arts


and interactive Children’s Entertainment. Saturday, February 6, 11am to 3pm. • South Island Mobilehome Extravaganza, Ashburton showgrounds, February 20 and 21, 2016. While Mid Canterbury


519 East Street, Ashburton Phone: 03 308 2493


W $69 NNOormally $139






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Penguin encounter

offers a lot much for those staying home for the summer, just down the road in the Waitaki region there is a plethora of excuses to take off for a day or a week starting with the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail truly one of New Zealand’s greatest bike rides! For over 300km visitors can

experience some of the most beautiful scenery New Zealand has to offer. Suitable for all ages, the trail is an easy grade, and offers a pleasing mix of on and off-road trails which link the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean. Allow four to six days for the entire ride, or simply try out a day excursion. Whichever option you choose, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is sure to be a memorable experience. Or spend some time in beautiful Oamaru with examples of New Zealand’s best 19th century architecture, particularly in the Victorian precinct of the town, replete with wonderful boutique shops and food. Just down from the precinct lies the Steampunk Museum – a must-see on any traveller’s itinerary. Take the children to the steampunk-themed playground by the sea and then visit the penguin colony. South of Oamaru lies New Zealand’s best-kept secret in the beautiful coastal drive encompassing quaint towns like the fishing village of Moeraki where Fleur’s restaurant serves arguably the best freshly caught fish in all of New Zealand. Heading inland you can inspect the hot heartlands of Kurow, the beautiful hydro lakes and the historic goldfield area surrounding Duntroon. Waitaki has something for everyone!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Come on in for a visit!

Little blue penguins are sensitive to conditions at sea and this year we had stormy weather and large sea swells in June that resulted in a drop in the number of penguins arriving ashore. Subsequently, it took them a while to settle back into their cycle, and egg laying did not begin until the middle of August. Since then we have had 119 breeding pairs lay eggs, with a total of 237 eggs laid and 149 chicks hatch so far. Over the summer we expect there might be a few more to lay eggs but the majority of penguins will now

focus on raising their chicks. We expect the colony will continue to be very active at night with parents coming in to feed their hungry chicks. Lately we have been seeing between 150-200 penguins arriving home each night and expect this to continue through the next few months. After chicks fledge, the parents will then prepare for their annual moult when they grow a nice new set of feathers for the coming year. Experience the world’s smallest penguins in their natural environment at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, open from 10am daily.

Be Captivated by Nature at Oamaru s Blue Penguin Colony! See penguins up close in their burrows during the day… and arriving onshore at night.

Our opening hours are 9am - 4pm Tuesday to Sunday Firday and Saturday evenings – bookings only 932 Seadown Road, RD, Temuka Phone 03 615 9043 www.theshearersquarters.co.nz


Experience Mid Canterbury Phone +64 3 308 2669 Email admin@midcanterburynz.com

Proudly promoting Mid Canterbury Ashburton iSITE, East Street, Ashburton

Discounted rates for locals

www.penguins.co.nz Waterfront Road Oamaru • P: +64 3 433 1195

Open Daily 10am until 1 hour after dusk (We are also open Christmas, ANZAC and Good Friday night for evening viewings)

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Summer at the Lake House

The Lake House at Lake Hood Restaurant, Bar and Functions Venue is by far the best place to spend a summer’s afternoon or evening dining. There is something for everyone. A great kids’ menu gives fresh and healthy options as well as the tried and true favourites fish ‘n’ chips, crunchy chicken, corn fritters and ice-cream sundaes of course. The adults can join us for a cool beverage at the bar or enjoy the amazing view over the lake from our alfresco deck. There are platters to share – antipasto platters or a platter of savoury continental delights. An extensive lunch and dinner menu gives you options of light meals (corn fritters, open sandwiches) and salads



(szechuan squid, Vietnamese noodle salad) to our five star dishes from the grill, Canterbury lamb rack or Wakanui fillet steak to name a few. Also available over the weekends and holidays is our new kiosk at the end of the restaurant. We are serving American hotdogs, chips, icecreams and bottles drinks. Just popping down to the lake for a visit, pop into the kiosk or the restaurant and come and see us this summer. For more information and our full menu visit our website www.lakehouselakehood.co.nz. You can also book online from here. Summer is busy so please book and let us save a table for you. Phone 302 6064 to book.

Summer fun at The Lake House at Lake Hood. Enjoy a coffee and cake, a cool beverage on the deck with one of our platters or stay and enjoy a full dining experience over lunch or dinner. You can even pull up to our dock on your boat from the lake and enjoy our hospitality. Excellent kids menu. Open 7 days.

10 Huntingdon Avenue, Lake Hood Phone 302 6064 or book online at www.lakehouselakehood.co.nz info@lakehouselakehood.co.nz

The gift of a lifetime There are cool gifts and then there are gifts that blow the idea of what’s cool out of the water! Skydiving is one of those and it’s right on your door step this year. Give the gift of a life-changing experience and mind-blowing fun to your friends and family by purchasing one of our skydiving options at very affordable prices and support a local business at the same time. Skydiving Kiwis is located at the Ashburton Aerodrome so you might even see your house on your way up 6000, 9000, or 13,000 feet! When you jump at Skydiving Kiwis, you become part of our local skydiving community so just like with our mates, we promise to have your back too and make you feel right at home! Started in 2011 by two brothers who share a passion for the sport of skydiving; Skydiving Kiwis is the biggest of small drop zones in New Zealand and one of the most fun to jump at. Our instructors are skydivers first and foremost and their passion for the sport and community of skydiving is extremely contagious. We have stayed true to our mission to bring the sport of skydiving back into skydiving and to nurture and maintain an authentic kiwi vibe. Bring yourself, a big smile and let us

take care of the rest! We jump the smallest tandem parachutes in the world, we have an A+ safety rating and our instructors have years of skydiving experience from around the world and thousands of jumps under their belts, so you’ll be in good hands. We have a barbecue and play area so you can bring your kids, mates and a picnic and make a day of it. Ring Sophie on 0800 359 549 to find out more about who we are and what we do or to book your jump with us. We are open from 9am to sunset every day of the year and can’t wait to share the sky with you! Buckle up for the ride of your life you adrenaline junkie!



Calling outdoor enthusiasts

Tranquil yet exhilarating

Alpine Sports Methven is just one of the businesses that adapts with the changing season. From being a ski hire and retail store in winter, Jason Pace (Jace) and Jacquie Aleman have restocked the shop floor with water sports gear and summer apparel to keep you outdoor enthusiasts busy. If you are heading into the great outdoors to enjoy your summer watersports, Alpine Sports Methven can supply all sorts of fun inflatables, wakeboards, SUPs (stand up paddleboards) wakesurfers, wakeskates, water skis, life vests, handles, ropes and accessories. Demo days are held frequently by lakes throughout the summer so you can “try before you buy”. The locations

Methven offers a perfect escape no matter what your taste or budget. Just one hour from Christchurch on Inland Scenic Route 72, this alpinethemed village buzzes in winter, while in summer it is humming with events such as markets, multisport challenges and some great hiking and walking options; from short walks suitable for the whole family, to challenging multi-day hikes across high country conservation land. While Methven has made a name for itself as a ski town, the area is fast becoming a weekend hotspot in summer too, thanks to a very strong bike culture. A range of already established mountain bike trails ensures there is something for everyone. Options range from an easy loop circuit through farmland around the Methven town boundary to adventurous downhill tracks and crosscountry trails at Mt Hutt Bike Park situated on the lower slopes of Mt Hutt. The nearby Hakatere Conservation Park also provides an array of options for mountain bikers with stunning views of pristine lakes and snowcapped mountains There are many reasons to visit Methven at any time of year, all based in an amazing space.

of the demo days will be updated on their Facebook page regularly. The shop is open seven days (unless we are out by a lake for a demo day!) so you can drop in and check out the fabulous gear. If you don’t have time to drop in, you can find most of our gear in the online store at www.alpinesports.co.nz There is a racquet restringing service available for all you tennis and squash fans. Plus a selection of camping, tramping and hunting essentials.


There are many reasons to visit Methven

Within minutes of arriving you can enjoy a country golf course, horse trekking through the countryside, fishing, or hunting, enjoy a massage, or step it up a gear with a high octane jet boat experience. Afterwards sample a brew at a local pub while the warm nor’west breeze turns the sky fiery red. A great way to view Methven’s amazing scenery is by air and you get to choose between a helicopter, plane or hot air balloon for your scenic flight. Venture into the high country and take a 4WD adventure and witness the unspoilt beauty that was captured in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For an affordable family holiday check out the ‘kids 4 free’ promotion as these super deals for families with children aged 10 and under will make your holiday one to remember! For more information visit kids4free.co.nz For a small town, Methven presents all the choices of a city with resorts, hotels, motels, backpackers and camping grounds. Nothing will beat the friendliness and helpfulness of your Methven hosts.

Have a happy and safe holiday period

LUNCH; 12:00-14:00

Thursday to Sunday

DINNER; 17:00 till late

Friday to Sunday

Closed for Christmas Break From 21December to 14January

Japanese Restaurant & Takeaway

Since 2003

AQUA Japanese Restaurant &Takeaways

112 Main Street, METHVEN Next to Cinema Paradiso


2 36



AROUND THE TRAPS Beef and Lamb New Zealand Field Day at Inverary Station

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Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Ashburton guardian farming, tuesday, january 12, 2016  

Ashburton Guardian Farming, Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ashburton guardian farming, tuesday, january 12, 2016  

Ashburton Guardian Farming, Tuesday, January 12, 2016