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Farming GUARDIAN

Guardian ASHBURTON

Ashburton A&P Show P2-3

NOVEMBER, 2013


2

Farmers showcase top work ASHBURTON

Guardian

Farming GUARDIAN

Any feedback is welcome, any comments about our magazine, letters or story suggestions. Please direct any correspondence to: Linda Clarke, on 307-7971 email: linda.c@theguardian.co.nz or write to PO Box 77, Ashburton. Advertising: Phone 307-7974 Email: desme.d@theguardian.co.nz Publication date: November 5, 2013 Next issue: December 3, 2013 An advertising feature for the Ashburton Guardian. Any opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Guardian Farming or the Ashburton Guardian.

The sunburn will have faded by now, but those who attended the 136th Ashburton A&P Show will be reflecting on a good turnout and permanent goodwill from the annual event. The first day of the show at the weekend ended in a spectacular thunderstorm, but Saturday was bright and sunny and thousands went to the Ashburton showgrounds. Carparks were full, visitors ambled past pens of stock and lines of large, shiny machinery, and a few people

trans-Tasman dog trial test, the Australians came out on top after the Kiwis led at the end of the first day. Show president David Bennett was a happy man. His own fat spring lambs won ribbons, Saturday’s sunshine pushed up attendance figures, and work to strengthen the grandstand was complete in time for showgoers to have a prime spot for the grand parade. Judges ran critical eyes over stock, looking for best meat or

worked up a good thirst. Trade space at the show was booked out well before the event, with some even turned away. Quigley’s Contracting made the most of their prime corner site winning the award for the best trade display. All the way from Scotland, Gordon and William Skea bought machinery they think will appeal to potato growers here; their machines grind up dirt clods and remove stones. In the show’s main feature, the

Judge Mike Adams scrutinises sheep entires during the contest to find best meat and wool breeds. The champion ram hogget went to J. T. Myles, champion wool ram Westmere Farm, champion meat ewe hogget J. T. Myles, champion wood hogget Westmere Farm, super dam meat, Stuart Sinclair, super dam wool, Neville Moorehead.

wool breeds, or dairy cows with perfectly placed udders. In the home industries pavilion, Glenys Rapsey had her name on a fair few winning baking entries. Mr Bennett said there was a positive vibe to the show and the trans-Tasman dog triallists wanted to return for another match. “They really appreciated their venue and profile and we wanted to do things well for them.” The theme of the 136th show was farming friends, and there were plenty to be seen.

Neil Stott and Dave Strong examine a fleece during judging in the wool section.

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Luke Gilbert impresses judge Peter Hansen with his jersey entry.

Father and son Gordon and William Skea came from Scotland to show off their ScanStone root vegetable farming equipment. The pair are hoping to leave their machinery with an Ashburton salesman and say that it will appeal to potato growers in the district. The machine grinds down large dirt clods and removes stones from the soil to create ideal planting conditions for root vegetables.

Quigley’s Contracting won the trophy for the best trade site.

It was hot and thirsty work waiting for the judges.

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Building an equity team documents that glue the equity partnership together. It has also been great to see some equity partnerships evolve Tim Silva and strengthen over time, COONEY SILVA EVATT particularly where the partners LAWYERS have allowed their equity managers to progressively arming equity partnerincrease their ownership stake. ships have become While commonly referred to increasingly popular over as “equity partnerships”, in most the past 10 years. As lawyers, cases the ownership entity is we have been part of the a company with the “partners” evolution where concepts, being shareholders holding a structures and operations proportionate shareholding have become increasingly based on respective capital 80X5 COL sophisticated. (186X80MM) contributions. As with Equity partnerships are my 80X5 COL all things legal, there are (186X80MM) favourite type of legal work.80X5exceptions COL to every rule and There is great satisfaction from there are now several “Limited (186X80MM) helping to pull a team together, Partnership” structures in use identifying and securing the after the introduction of the assets and finalising the various Limited Partnership Act 2008.

Suzuki Dealer newspaper advertising SZM0022 KINGQUAD CLEAROUT FSuzuki Dealer newspaper advertisingadvertising SZM0022 KINGQUAD CLEAROUT Suzuki Dealer newspaper SZM0022 KINGQUAD CLEAROUT Many equity partnerships involve the dairy industry.

A limited partnership is a topic in itself, but the key advantage is the direct utilisation of profits and losses (including historic) by the limited partners while having some limited liability advantages, like a company. It is now uncommon to use a traditional (ie non-limited) partnership. Most equity partnerships that we put together are in dairying where the ownership vehicle

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holds the land, stock, dairy shares and plant. We have also been involved in high country and arable equity partnerships. Some of the more sophisticated structures we have dealt with recently involve a “two level” equity partnership where several shareholders participate in a sharemilking joint venture (owning stock and plant), which in turn has a 50/50 sharemilking agreement with

a land-holding joint venture company. The sharemilking joint venture company will in turn hold a shareholding in the land-owning joint venture company. In my view, there are four key reasons for the popularity of equity partnerships:

SZM0022 KINGQUAD CLEAROUT

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5 Effective communication and consultation with other partners is absolutely key to the success of an equity partnership. In the modern era of communication, this should not be difficult. circumstances where they may not otherwise be able to. • Equity partnerships have allowed farmers to diversify into “non-core” areas. For example, arable and sheep and beef farmers have leveraged off their existing land to participate in a dairy farm. • Non-farming investors have been able to passively participate in equity partnerships, relying on the farm management and governance experience of other participants.

• Dairy farm managers who have followed the traditional ownership progression ladder can bridge the gap between sharemilking and individual farm ownership. The reality is that most equity partnerships have a finite lifetime and not all have happy endings. The most common reason for bad endings is a breakdown in communication and consequently the relationships between partners. While the documentation we pull together will include mechanisms for decision making, reporting, dispute resolution and exit, the key ingredients to the success or failure of an equity partnership live outside of those documents. Effective communication and consultation with other partners is absolutely key to the success of an equity partnership. In the modern era of communication, this should not be difficult. All of this comes down to the fact that regardless of the voting power that a single partner may have, all decisions involve other

people’s capital and income. The other key reason as to why an equity partnership will have a finite life is that some partners’ requirements for their capital will change. For example, some equity managers may see the equity partnership as a means to eventually achieve sole ownership of the farm property. Similarly, partners may through changes in life circumstances require their capital out. The terms upon which a partner may exit and the timing for this must therefore be carefully considered at the outset. In other words, a good equity partnership will consider the end of the partnership right at the start. Some key things to consider at the outset of an equity partnership are as follows: • Are the parties comfortable being in business with each other? Because of the cyclic nature of farming returns, the equity partnership will need to go through good times and bad. While things may

go brilliantly on an $8 payout, partners need to be satisfied that their relationships (and the economics) can hold together through the tough years, too.

assets (land, stock and plant) to realise its investment? • Who will manage the farm and on what terms? In most cases, this will be an equity manager, but this can involve conflict where performance issues with the management of the farm arise.

• Do the partners have the same objectives for return on investment? Some partners may be relying on an annual dividend from the farm, while others may be satisfied to receive no dividend and look for capital growth. These objectives must be aligned right at the outset to avoid conflict down the track.

• How will the required assets be secured and from who? A common scenario would be for the equity manager progressing from a 50/50 sharemilking role and selling their herd into the equity partnership. If so, the valuation (and importantly the timing of the valuation), needs to be considered particularly in a fluctuating market. The same applies if one of the partners will sell an existing farm into the equity partnership.

• How long are the partners prepared to commit to the equity partnership? This is commonly referred to as the “lock in” period. At the very least, the lock in period should coincide with the forecasted period to take the equity partnership to profitability.

These are just some of the issues to be considered at the outset of an equity partnership. Over the next few months, I will look at specific aspects of equity partnerships starting with some considerations for the equity manager.

• What would happen if an equity partner wishes to exit and there is no buyer for the shares at that time. • Can an equity partner who cannot sell its shares force liquidation and the sale of

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Finalists show passion for farming T

he widest ever range, geographically and in farming types, of finalists have made the finals of the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition for 2013. Six farm businesses will compete in the finals at Lincoln University on November 28, including a high-country station, a multi-farm business, a dairy farm and, for the first time, a winery. The finalists come from Seddon in Marlborough, the Awatere Valley near Blenheim, Culverden in North Canterbury, Lake Tekapo in the Mackenzie Country, Roxburgh in Central Otago and Otama in Southland. Judging co-ordinator for the Lincoln University Foundation Tricia Macfarlane says there was a high standard of entry presenting the judging panel with a serious challenge to pick out the finalists.

“Regional judging teams were most impressed with the standard of presentation on farms,” Mrs Macfarlane said, “and the time and effort farmers had put in to preparing for judging.” She said the finalists were selected for their innovations on-farm, as well as their commitment to improving profitability, productivity and growth of their business while also implementing sound environmental practices. “Clear and targeted goal setting was a common theme among the finalists. Industry relationships were fostered and acknowledged as an integral part of their farming enterprises.” All finalists will be visited by a judging panel as well as earning points on the finals day at Lincoln for their presentation, the last component of the competition.

finals will also see the awarding of four special category prizes of $5000 each: • The BNZ award for best human resource management. • The Lincoln University award for technology and innovation. • The Silver Fern Farms Plate to Pasture award for consumer focus. • The Resource Use Efficiency award for excellence in sustainable resource management. Winners of these special category prizes will be decided from among the finalists. The six finalists are: Alan and Sharron DavieMartin from Culverden operate a highly productive dairy farming operation and continually explore technology to improve systems and production in all aspects of their business. Neil and Phillipa Gardyne

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Neil and Phillipa Gardyne from Otama, near Gore.

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Simon and Pip Todhunter from Blenheim intensively farm Marlborough East Coast hill country with developed and native tussock hills, carrying ewes, cows and trading cattle.

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Trevor and Karen Peters from Roxburgh.

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson and families, from Lake Tekapo.

Peter Yealands from Seddon.

Trevor and Karen Peters from Roxburgh operate a sheep and beef hill-country enterprise built on strong succession planning and a real passion for farming, with low-cost development contributing to outstanding farm management.

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson from Lake Tekapo run a high-country merino sheep station with interests in forestry, deer, cropping, property development, conservation recreation, wool on-processing, and meat onprocessing. Other commercial

activities include a helicopter pad and golf course. Peter Yealands from Seddon runs a large viticulture business, focused on innovation and business excellence. The business is hugely integrated with outstanding environmental balance.


99

Nutrient management needs a proactive approach

Farm environment plans help create opportunities to build on good farm management. The fencing of riparian margins (left photo) is already keeping stock out of the waterway.  The next step is the planting of appropriate native species (right photo) which enhances stream health and biodiversity, protects banks from erosion and filters sediment and some nutrients in runoff from paddocks. Nutrient management is becoming an increasingly important element for farming operations in Canterbury and throughout New Zealand. In Canterbury we have regulations on nutrient management in the proposed Land and Water Regional Plan. This means farmers will need to develop an understanding of the nutrient inputs and outputs for their farm and in many cases begin to take steps to reduce the amount of nutrients leaving the farm.

WHAT’S GOING ON

WITH YOUR

FRESHWATER CWMS targets

Ensure water quality remains high where it is currently. Prevent further decline where it must currently be treated.

HINDS CATCHMENT native wildlife

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Your nutrient budget & Overseer® Take another look at your nutrient budget if you have one. If you don’t have one, ask your fertiliser representative to prepare one for your property using Overseer®. There has been quite a bit of debate about Overseer®, however, it is the best tool the industry has for estimating nutrient losses. It is important to consider how Overseer® applies to your property:

Maintain contribution water makes to Canterbury’s economy. Water maintenance to be considered to have regional economic value.

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WATER-USE EFFICIENCY Achieve high levels of best-practice water use for all irrigation, stockwater and commercial use.

Maintain existing diversity and quality of recreational sites, opportunities and experiences.

drains nutrient runoff

wetlands

KAITIAKITANGA Increase community understanding of customary values and uses. Protect wahi taonga and mahinga kai waterways

ENVIRONMENTAL LIMITS Set and achieve flow, catchment and nutrient limits.

we recommend you spend some time carefully dividing your farm into blocks and having a separate nutrient budget for each. This will often show that even on farms with low nutrient losses, there are areas that could be improved. Winter feed paddocks are generally the most intensively grazed areas on a farm, so can cause problems through soil damage and nutrient losses via runoff and leaching. There are a number of practical ways these potential risks can be managed but no single solution will be right on every farm. Often it comes down to the season and every farmer has seen what can happen in a wet winter. The keys to minimising the environmental impacts of nutrient leaching in wet years are good planning and flexibility.

Your Farm Environment Plan Start thinking about what a farm environment plan would cover for your property. Farm Environment Plans will be required for most farms in the next couple of years and will cover the unique ways that each farmer manages soil, irrigation, effluent, nutrients as well as biodiversity protection and restoration.

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Prevent further loss, protect, and restore native habitats and species in natural aquatic environments— ki uta ki tai.

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REGIONAL & NATIONAL ECONOMIES

water storage

groundwater/ aquifers

Increasing nitrate levels in the groundwater of Ashburton district is a community-wide concern. The Hinds River catchment has been identified as a nutrient “red zone” in the proposed Land and Water Regional Plan which means that water quality outcomes are not being met. As a result the Ashburton Zone Committee, in collaboration with the community, is working hard to develop a set of recommendations on nutrients that it will provide to Environment Canterbury. These recommendations seek to allow continuing prosperous farming in the Hinds River catchment while at the same time reducing nutrients being lost to groundwater. This will mean farmers will be required to understand the nutrient budget on their farm and take steps to reduce current levels of nitrates being leached to groundwater.

DRINKING WATER

No two properties are identical so no two farm plans will be exactly the same. There are templates available through Beef+Lamb NZ, DairyNZ and Irrigation NZ that are useful as a starting point and a guide. Farm Environment Plans are a very useful exercise for a farmer and their business – just ask someone who has done one. Farm Environment Plans are best viewed as an opportunity to improve farm practice and efficiency, rather than just another layer of paperwork. Take a friend or neighbour for a walk around your farm to identify areas where reductions in nutrient management could be made. Fresh eyes often see things you may have missed or have become used to.

Farm plans are also an opportunity to document the good work that is already happening on a farm and to identify missed opportunities for improvement. They are a sound way of demonstrating and building on good farm management.

Advice and information Environment Canterbury offers free advice for farmers seeking to improve nutrient management. This includes farm visits by experienced staff members who can offer guidance and support. Environment Canterbury also has plenty of resources available with useful and practical information covering all aspects of farm environmental issues. Environment Canterbury: call our Customer Services on 0800 324-636 and they will put you in touch with one of our advisors for free advice or information. We also recommend you talk to your industry representative on how to start dealing with the need to manage nutrients and develop your own Farm Environment Plan.


10

Opportunities for management A

s a sentence, using the words regional plans, policies and rules is guaranteed to make readers skip a story. But read on because understanding the resource planning framework that we all farm and work within is critical. In the same way that road rules and laws are present, so too are resource management regulations. The goal posts are shifting, with the new water-quality objectives that regional councils are required by law to implement. The 2011 National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management set in motion processes to refine regional plans that will impact on farmers throughout the country. Regional level planning is an abstract concept, but

understanding plans and working inside the rules and policies is essential. Business decisions about buying land or intensifying land use need to take into account regulatory requirements. Just because the physical, financial and market ability may be there doesn’t mean the regulatory environment will be simple. In many cases it can be quite restrictive. There are two options that regional councils can take to meet the national regulations. The first is to take a bigbrother dictatorial approach with prescriptive rules. The second is to adopt a more guidelines approach, which keeps consistency with the Resource Management Act, yet allows more local hands-on management. The first requires

policies and rules are put into the sub-regional plans to try and achieve the expectations. The Hurunui area was the first district to have a sub-regional plan finalised and it sets limits on some waterways. To achieve this, the plan sets out ways to organise farmers into catchment-based entities from which the resource management will stem. This offers a huge opportunity for the catchment groups to replace ECan as the authoritative body in their patch. How effectively The Hinds River is part of ECan’s water-quality plan. CROP STORAGE AND HANDLING SYSTEMS this occurs, however, will be been undergoing a public large resources to dictate and dependent on how the catchVisit us at the South Island Field Days Site 740-741 consultation process led by police the rules with little ment-based entities perform. Environment Canterbury (ECan) PMR GRAIN SYSTEMS work in the following fields – product storage, handling and drying, engagement of the resource So although the abstract ventilating seed cleaning industry, milling and mixing equipment, finalise floors, the sub-regional users and custodianstimber – the drive on to of resource equipment temperature, concept RH and grain moisture planning equipment.is chapters of theincluding over-arching farmers. The secondelectronic approachmonitoring not well understood by many Dairy Feed Systems now available. Canterbury Land and Water requires the full engagement PMR GRAIN SYSTEMS supply a full service from initial contact, site surveying, planning in farmers and is often viewed Regional Plan. ECan has broken of resource users and adrawings, level machinery selection, supply of machinery, installation andlight, commissioning. in a negative if ECan can the regions into focused areas of maturity for all resource enable a more user-friendly, and then presented to public custodians to work together. catchment-based management meetings the state of the This level of macro-catchment process, the upshot could environment. It has devised management is where be less governance. But to projections and assumptions harmony lies but it is fraught based on data to predict future achieve this, the engagement, with difficulty. accountability and maturity scenarios. The future scenarios In Canterbury, the Selwynfrom all parties will need to are then assessed against thePERRY GRAIN Waihora, the Hinds River and community expectations of DRIERS,improve. the South Canterbury Coastal ELEVATORS & water quality and quantity, and streams catchments have • Supplied by Irrigation NZ. GSI SILOS CONVEYORS

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wo levy-funded organisations representing arable farmers are investigating options for aligning their research and extension programmes. Potatoes NZ approached the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) earlier this year to determine if there were sufficient synergies between the two groups for FAR to manage Potatoes NZ research, development and extension in a partnership arrangement which would benefit both groups. FAR has agreed to work with Potatoes NZ to explore a potential partnership model of operations. This work will occur over the next few months and, if it indicates that a partnership will benefit both parties, FAR could commence actively managing the Potatoes NZ investment in April next year. Potatoes NZ chairman Stuart Wright says his organisation is looking for the best return for its levy dollar and that working with FAR would enable it to capitalise on the synergies that exist between the two groups. “Many potato growers also grow arable crops, so they are the same growers. This means that in many areas, activities such as extension could be pooled, reducing the costs for both organisations.”

FAR chairman David Birkett says the decision to move forward with the partnership concept follows lengthy board discussions around what benefits it would deliver for FAR levy payers. “FAR’s research strategy places a strong emphasis on cropping systems, and in particular on managing systems to maximise yield and minimise environmental impacts. Many potatoes are grown as part of the cropping system which includes cereals and seeds, so there are clear overlaps in terms of both the grower base and systems research.” Mr Birkett says another benefit which could be gained from the partnership is linked to the increase in critical mass which would result. “Aligning Potatoes NZ and FAR research projects and funding would strengthen our position for leveraging further funds from external agencies for areas of research common across both crop types.” Both groups say several issues need to be explored before any contract is signed. These include clarifying where overlaps occur, finding potential operational issues, and ensuring that each group’s existing research, development and extension programmes are not compromised.


14

It’s not too late for National to John Leadley

I

n just over 12 month’s time, New Zealand will be going to the public to elect a new government for the next three years. Who will it be? Under the current proportional representation system I believe it will be a minor party or group of individuals who will hold the balance of power. When National was elected to power in 2008, I believe the government had a mandate to make some meaningful changes for the longer term that would benefit New Zealand well into the future. Its somewhat timid response has left me disappointed in many ways. Without doubt the Canterbury earthquakes have proved a huge burden that simply had to be addressed, and at massive cost to the nation. The subsequent knee-jerk reaction to the building code was I believe unnecessarily severe in the medium term, and likely to prove impossible to achieve in the original proposed timeframe. This has since been amended. New Zealand has neither the financial or resource capabilities to meet the proposal. We certainly need tighter regulations for new buildings, but the wanton destruction of many long standing structures still occupied, seems questionable. By deleting the 115 death toll

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from the CTV building collapse, proven to be a catastrophic design fault, less than 100 persons have been killed by earthquakes in New Zealand since the Napier disaster 80 years ago. How many people have been killed on our roads in that period? Tens of thousands I believe. Food for thought. While five years of National Government have tentatively delivered on some of the promised welfare reforms, I believe the approach has been timid. Rules around student loans have been tightened, but there is still far too much

money outstanding by former New Zealanders working in highly paid jobs overseas, and showing no inclination to return. It’s just too easy. Despite implementation of the Welcome Home Loan Scheme, uptake to date is disappointing, as Kiwis continue to struggle to make the property ladder affordable. I have no trouble with the restriction of Home Loans to those with a minimum 10 per cent deposit – indeed my view supports loans of any sort being closely related to the life of the asset being purchased. Remember, it is called equity, and it’s not a dirty word.

The availability of loan finance – often without deposit – on goods such as white-ware, home-ware, electronic items and the like for terms of two – five years is nonsense. In today’s throwaway society the expected life of some of these items means that genuine “ownership” (ie paid for) is never achieved. The current New Zealand culture of indebtedness among people under 40 is unsustainable, particularly as much is ascribed to nonessential items. Fifty years ago, 25-year State Advance Loans to first home buyers were subsidised by

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15

make some tough decisions In 2006 I flagged a plea to raise the age of universal superannuation entitlement by three months every year till reaching 70 years in 2020 beginning in 2008. I remain convinced this should have happened. John Leadley free contraception availability has done little to lower the number of children born out of wedlock and consequent drain on the welfare system. Just another example that there is little correlation between action and

consequence. Is it coincidence that unemployment numbers are highest in areas where benefit payments form most of the family income? The system is geared to breeding. Of all the missed opportunities for reform the one that most sticks in my craw is John Key’s total “head in the sand” attitude to continuation of Universal Superannuation for all at age 65. It is not rocket science to reason that with improving health services, increasing life expectancy and greater numbers over 65 years of age, the current scenario cannot be continue in the medium to longer term. Additionally many employers will attest that senior staff are often the most productive and reliable. With extended education and overseas travel many young people, aided by government

loans are not in the taxpaying work force till age 22 to 25, a far cry from the situation when National Superannuation was introduced. It is a sad commentary on the welfare state that many employers prefer the work ethic of senior employees and migrant workers when taking on new staff. There is no doubt that welfare benefits have transitioned from being a safety net for those genuinely unemployed due to physical or mental disability; to an alternate lifestyle for those whose major problem is attitude and lack of motivation. In 2006 in this column I flagged a plea to raise the age of universal superannuation entitlement by three months every year till reaching 70 years in 2020 beginning in 2008. I remain convinced this should have happened. Surely with later entry to the

workforce it’s not unrealistic to exit later. Many folk already give ample evidence that the most productive years of life can come after age 60. Simply look at the huge number of volunteers whose efforts play an important role in holding the fabric of this great Ashburton District together in the fields of health, welfare, education and community safety. Without their skill, knowledge and dedication many aspects of community welfare would founder. With increasing life expectancy, a more active lifestyle, greater personal responsibility at all ages, there is an opportunity to target areas of greater need in the welfare system. This is surely desperately overdue. Mr Key and friends, Kiwisaver or not, the status quo for national superannuation into

the future is quite simply unaffordable. It’s time to grasp the realities of the situation. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it! When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation. It surely is time for some hard decisions.

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17

Looking at us from afar Chris Murdoch PROPERTY BROKERS

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ith so many stories in the press about the negatives of farming, and the Fonterra issue clearly to the fore, I thought I would see how New Zealand farming is viewed from other countries. We have an Englishman working in Ashburton, so I asked him what his view is of Kiwi farms and perhaps how New Zealand is reported in England. His first comment was New Zealand is always perceived as a clean healthy country with lots of good land where meat and dairy

is plentiful. Aside from that, most people from the UK will search out New Zealand lamb: “We know it’s quality from New Zealand.” I decided to dig a little deeper, researching into European papers – you may question my sanity at this stage but here are some facts. The UK has been importing lamb from New Zealand for more than 130 years. In 2012 they imported 86,100 tonnes of sheep product, a staggering 73 per cent was from New Zealand, however, the UK fell back to second place in 2012 when China became the primary destination for our lamb. So far in 2013, the UK is the second-largest importer of sheep meat in the world, while

British consumers are being urged to buy New Zealand lamb to help the environment.

holding its position as the third largest exporter globally. However, if it weren’t for imported product, we would likely see a decline in domestic consumption, rather than a large-scale switch to domestic product due to surplus sheep meat being the wrong type of product, lack of availability at the right time and being priced above the reach of some consumers. Ironically, the British press are reporting that “experts”

are telling British shops they should sell New Zealand lamb rather than home-grown meat if they want to help protect the environment. The suggestion has outraged British farmers after a study found the amounts of manmade greenhouse gasses from food production are twice as much as previously estimated. Growing food for sheep, cows and pigs takes up far more land and emits more greenhouse gasses than producing crops

for human consumption. Studies claim the UK would be better off importing lamb from New Zealand as it has been produced more efficiently, with better farming methods and a better environment.  This is a short and sweet observation I guess – New Zealand produces some of the best meat and dairy in the world. When I look around the Mid Canterbury countryside now entering summer, I can only agree.

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18

Celebrating 90 years’ work I

t’s 90 years this month that the New Zealand conservation organisation, Forest & Bird, began its work advocating for the natural environment. Forest & Bird is a unique Kiwi institution. Members belong both to a local branch and the national organisation. Many members work on local projects and are supported by head office and regional staff who are professionals in the conservation and planning fields. There is an excellent quarterly magazine and the Ashburton branch holds regular meetings with a speaker and field trips to places of interest in the local area. The spark that led to the 16HMDG2020 creation of The New Zealand Native Bird Protection Society

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(forerunner to Forest & Bird) was the degraded state of Kapiti Island. The island was declared a sanctuary in 1897 but on a visit in 1921 Captain Val Sanderson found it overrun with predators and browsers: possums, goats and sheep. Forest & Bird’s first conservation achievement was to form a committee to manage Kapiti Island and rid the island of wild goats and sheep so the native forest could regrow. Ninety years later we’re still speaking up for nature. We’re now called Forest & Bird and

A female wrybill on a riverbed.

we’re a not-for-profit organisation, and we stand up for nature on land, in freshwater and in the oceans. We encourage children to care for nature and get involved through our

Kiwi Conservation Club. Nationally, Forest & Bird has achieved a great deal. Our founding members wanted “efficient protection and preservation of our native

birds” because they saw that no single authority was serious about protecting areas of remaining wilderness. Ashburton Guardianmost Much of New Zealand’s precious unspoilt forests, coasts

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19 and other wild areas are protected thanks to Forest & Bird’s work, such as the Abel Tasman National Park formed in 1942 and the Paparoa and Kahurangi National Parks and several high country parks and marine reserves. Forest & Bird helped extend Westland Tai Poutini National Park and have Te Wahipounamu in the South Island recognised as a World Heritage site. Waipoua kauri forest in Northland – the home of towering Tane Mahuta – was protected as a sanctuary in 1952 after Forest & Bird and residents campaigned to stop the logging of kauri and create a reserve. In 1976, $25,000 was raised to help the government buy Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds. The island is now a predator-free scientific reserve that is home to endangered native birds, lizards, insects and a unique native frog. Forest & Bird was instrumental in saving Lake Manapouri’s water level from being raised for a hydro dam. Continued over page

A falcon at Woolshed Creek.

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20 The campaign included presenting to Parliament what was in 1970 New Zealand’s largest petition – 264,907 signatures. The Ashburton branch has helped protect the natural environment since 1969. Our area includes the rivers, the coast, the plains, foothills and the high country. The region would be much the poorer without the tireless input of many individuals: there has been wetland restoration; reserves designated at Chertsey and Tinwald to protect some of the last original vegetation of the area; contribution to the tenurereview process which resulted in the Ashburton Gorge lakes becoming protected and now the stunning high country is helped out by working bees to remove invasive pine tree seedlings. River birds are assisted by Forest & Bird’s work to halt disturbance and raise awareness of their plight. Much of the work Forest & Bird does for nature is done by collaborating with other groups and organisations. Some of our

A dusting of snow coats Mt Potts in May this year.

members belong to Braid – a group working to help protect the braided rivers; some belong to water committees; and others help the Department of Conservation with bird counts, weeding and trapping predators at Lake Heron. Some

members are involved with the Ashburton District Biodiversity Action Group (ADBAG) which resulted from Forest & Bird’s submissions urging the council to recognise and take some responsibility for the district’s indigenous plants and animals.

A Biodiversity Action Plan has now been finalised with input from Forest & Bird, Federated Farmers, Fish & Game, DOC, QEII Trust, Whitcombe Landcare Group, Foothills Landowners, Te Rununga o Arowhenua, CWMS Zone Committee, ECan and the district council. So why do so many people spend their precious spare time trying to protect rivers, native species and stunning natural landscapes? A simple answer is that nature matters: these species, our lakes and rivers and favourite natural empty spaces are valuable; they are part of our living planet and must be taken care of. We live in a world that emphasises money and productivity – wild species and places are often not valued by the “money economy” so someone has to step in and “give nature a voice”. This what Forest & Bird does. Another, more pragmatic answer is that our lives and wellbeing depend on clean water and fresh air, and native biodiversity. Our farming, tourism and fishing industries are earning money from our

natural world. We all depend on a healthy, functioning natural environment. And if we don’t stop to protect what is left now, it will be too late. Once the crested grebe is gone, it is gone. When the water is polluted, it might take decades to get it clean. Another reason for the work that Forest & Bird members do is that being among the natural world contributes to our wellbeing, and makes us feel happy, and we enjoy the company of others who also value the natural world. Humans are meant to be a part of nature, not apart from it. It is a privilege to count the wrybill, weed the tussocks, plant the kanuka and look at the reflections of the mountains in the lakes. • Would you like to know more about Forest & Bird? Go to: www.forestandbird.org.nz or for information on meetings and field trips in this area, call the chairwoman of our branch, Edith Smith 3084440.


21 Noone Ford Simpson Ltd The modern accounting firm with traditional values NFS are a progressive accounting firm 100% committed to the financial growth and success of its clients. They utilise the latest technology and support tools to provide their clients with smart, efficient financial management. NFS believe it is imperative to actively look at the underlying financial health of their clients business. “From asset protection to succession to capital replacement, we work with our clients to achieve their goals and realise their dreams”. NFS have a team of experienced people with specialised skills in rural accounting. They make it their business to understand the unique issues that often surround the farming industry, along with the practical considerations of working together. “We’ll help you manage your business, and because we establish a oneon-one relationship with each of our clients, our advice will be tailored for your individual needs. That means we’ll call on you if that makes life easier

plus we have the tools to make your farm accounts easy to manage from our end and hassle free from yours. The last thing farmers need is to be bogged down with paperwork.” ”We’ve developed our traditional accounting practices in to innovative client-focused services. Our flexibility and adaptability will ensure we can help you get the best results.” Nick Noone, Ant Ford and Tom Simpson have all been heavily involved in the rural and business community in South and Mid Canterbury. Together with their team of over 25 specialised staff they continue to lead the way in innovative, individualised accountancy services in this region. “We know how hard farmers work to achieve their results. We see our role as providing the tools and expertise to maximise your profits and future-proof your business.”

To truely understand rural accounting

Change is coming to the mailbox BY BRUCE WILLS

G

iven that it was Labour Weekend and no-one delights in job losses, my heart went out to the cloud that must now be above posties and their families. Yet NZ Post’s decision to modernise its network is not a shock either. The 835 million mail items handled today is a long way short of 2002’s peak mail of 1.1 billion items. Having heard some interviews on the decision, there is need to explain what rural posties do and the barriers our rural communities face. The rural postie is not an employee but a contractor who delivers more than the mail.  Their vans are a Post Shop on wheels who not only pick up mail, but deliver everything from newspapers and courier items, right through to groceries and even milk.  That last item may surprise some but skim milk does

It is a wraparound distribution service that is part of the fabric that holds rural communities together. Rural Women NZ on rural posties not come out of a cow. No rural postie I know relies solely on their mail contract to make ends meet but it does help the viability of their business.  Perhaps the best definition of what rural post is came from our colleagues at Rural Women NZ; “It is a wraparound distribution service that is part of the fabric that holds rural communities together.  Our rural delivery contractors provide a lifeline, delivering supplies, repairs and spare parts, animal health remedies, medicines and courier parcels”. Continued over page

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22 From page 21 As the rural blogger Ele Ludemann of Homepaddock correctly observed, “Newspapers will be grateful that five-day deliveries are to be maintained because in most rural areas papers are delivered with the mail. If deliveries reduced to three a week most people wouldn’t bother subscribing”. While the likes of the New Zealand Herald, Dominion Post and The Press are heavily urban, it changes with provincial newspapers, whether Fairfax’s Southland Times or APN’s Northern Advocate. New Zealand’s rural communities may be spread far and wide but it still numbers close to 600,000 people.  It is also a community that subscribes to newspapers.  The relief over rural post being left intact will be palpable in many provincial newsrooms because the number one question to Federated Farmers’ policy team has been, “what does this mean for my Saturday paper?” 

The mail will still get through for rural people even after a change in NZ Post’s deed.

Every year, New Zealand’s farms consume around $13 billion worth of goods and services from animal remedies to No. 8 wire. Even then it does not reflect what farming families spend as households.  Being newspaper

subscribers, rural consumers attract advertising support and this advertising helps to pay for journalists to write content. Speaking plainly, the options available to many in-town are not available to those out of town.  According to

StatisticsNZ, some 78 per cent of rural households had access to the internet in 2012. Dial-up is alive and kicking in the hinterland and even when the Rural Broadband Initiative is completed, in 2017, a maximum 86 per cent of rural

households will have access to it. This still leaves a fair chunk off the RBI grid since “rural” in the context of broadband equates to a full quarter of New Zealanders. Being ultra conservative let’s say those left without broadband coverage ends up being 80,000 New Zealanders; that’s still equivalent to the population of Palmerston North. Farmers are under no illusion that this decision will settle things forever and a day given the deed will be reviewed again in 2020 following the completion of urban New Zealand’s ultrafast broadband initiative. Yes Federated Farmers and others in the rural community fought hard to maintain services because it rightly recognises that rural New Zealand is different.  Without doubt technology will change the way we communicate and the print side of the fourth estate is no exception.  • Bruce Wills is the president of Federated Farmers.

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23

‘Staggers’ and ‘Grass Tetany’ S

taggers can be a confusing term. It refers to the loss of co-ordination and consequent ‘drunken gait’ of livestock when they are exposed to certain factors. Like most nutritional diseases, the animals showing clinical signs are just the tip of the iceberg, for every animal with obvious symptoms many more will be affected sub clinically. Horses may ‘stumble over nothing’, have difficulty backing up or walking down hill, be ‘heavy on the forehand’ or you may think they have ‘a rare form of narcilepsy’ when they fall asleep on their feet! It is vital to understand that there are two causes of ‘Staggers’ to ensure the appropriate treatment. Symptoms are virtually identical but one is caused by mineral imbalances, the other by mycotoxins: 1. Hypomagnesaemia (magnesium deficiency) is common in spring when grass has a high potassium content and a very low magnesium and sodium content. The clinical signs can occur very quickly because the animal does not have stores of magnesium to draw on, and is therefore completely reliant on its daily dietary intake. This is why magnesium should be fed daily rather than weekly which subjects the horse to

highs and lows. 2. Ryegrass Staggers occurs from late January to April and is caused by a ryegrass endophyte (naturally occurring fungus which lives inside the rye-grass plant). The fungus produces a toxin called Lolitrem B which when ingested causes neurological impairment of the central nervous system of horses as well as cattle, sheep, deer, and alpacas. Symptoms include staggering gait, staring, hyper-sensitivity or over-reacting to stimuli. The danger is that these symptoms are just a heart-beat away from full blown ‘Grass Tetany’ when the animal actually goes down. The vet was called for the horse in the picture but was at a loss to know what was wrong. On Sunday when there was no change and the horse was still down so some strong guys were called upon to see if they could get her up, however her legs were so rigid that it was impossible. At about lunchtime on Sunday their neighbour rang to see if I had any ideas. The fact that her legs were rigid and the neck arched back somewhat sounded exactly like Grass Tetany. One of the men in attendance - being a Competitive Trail Rider,

Typical Symptoms of Grass Tetany

had his heart monitor - apparently her heart had been racing and then it had dropped right down to almost nothing. She was also extremely dehydrated and at death’s door. We told the neighbour to race home and get some salt and Alleviate C (organic calcium, magnesium and boron) to dissolve in water and syringe down carefully - which they did (a tablespoon of each). Within 20 minutes the rigidity had diminished to the point the guys could get her up, (this is when the photo was taken) and miraculously she started to recover. What is even more miraculous is that other complications did not set in from her having been down for so long. This horse was two years old and susceptible as she had been turned out all winter with no supplementary feed, salt or magnesium. She was already depleted and down in condition. The moral of the story is to keep all your horses well nourished by going to the trouble of mixing a small feed every day the purpose of which is to make sure they get these vital minerals including salt. Grass Tetany is the severest of cramping and obviously excruciatingly painful. To see a horse suffering from this is an experience you want to avoid at all costs.

• Muscle stiffness, high muscle tonus, contractions of the tail (tail clamping). • The legs may be rigid with periodic thrashing or paddling. • Mouth closed and difficult to open; grinding of teeth. • Eyes wild, blood-shot eyes, frequently rolling (hence confusion with ‘colic’). • Head thrown back. • Hyper- sensitivity. • Pulse feeble and much more rapid. • Seizures and imminent death!

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24

Precision and prudence BY DR TONY DAVOREN strange leading line. However, since the Ballance Farm Environmental Awards field day these words have been in the back of my mind. Precision with everything that was carried out on the farm. Prudence because it was exercised to show that precision had paid off. Prudence also because precision may be the choice only for some. The Ballance Farm Environmental Awards field day at Craige and Roz Mackenzie’s Greenvale property a few weeks ago was enlightening. Not only was it a celebration of what Mr and Mrs Mackenzie (and several other background

A

people) have achieved, it provided an insight to what could/can be the benchmark. Hence the lead line – precision and prudence. Precision – because everything was about the quality, condition, or fact of being exact and accurate, just like the farming operation was planned and executed with military precision (to use a much cited cliche). Prudence – requires a degree of conservatism. In accounting the concept of prudence requires that alternative procedures or sets of values are also considered. This requires recording every liability and expense as soon as it occurs but only recording the results when they are gained.

EM mapping of a paddock highlighting soil conditions, but what do the colours mean?

Both precision and prudence were clearly demonstrated at nearly every stop on the field trip. Precision was applied to: • Harvest technology; • EM mapping; • Spray technology; • Irrigation technology;

• Fertiliser application; • Other farm inputs. For example – consider the precision (variable rate) irrigation fitted to the centre pivot irrigator. This was not an instant or impulse decision and followed

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25

Second; an EM map of the area (precision) but also a liability because while there were pretty colours and some contrasts in soil conditions and properties, what did they colours mean? Third, selected soil moisture monitoring a six (1-6) for the next season with centrepivot irrigation according to the “average” soil moisture

measurement. Yield mapping (now standard practice) of the wheat crop only to find the deeper soils had suppressed yield (analysis showed these areas were too wet and probably could not have been irrigated). Fourth; fitting of variable rate irrigation to the centre pivot for the next irrigation season, soil moisture monitoring at the

same locations and irrigation according to the requirement of soil variability. As the readily available water (RAW) in the soil layer 0-300mm decreased (soil zone 1-6), the amount of irrigation increased with nearly two times the irrigation (86mm) applied on the lighter shallower soils zones than the deeper soil zones (45mm). There was an “ooopsy” though – the first

irrigation in zone one was not required – it received about the same as zone five. A gentle reminder that “every liability and expense is recorded as soon as it occurs” and that precision does not eliminate the odd human error. Fifth; yield mapping at harvest showed an even yield across the paddock. No suppression of yield and no loss of yield on the lighter shallower soils. Prudence was applied from the start of what was essentially a four-year process: • Alternative procedures or practices were considered; • Liabilities (yield and soil variation) were recorded; • Expense of rectifying the liabilities were recorded; • The results recording to determine when they were gained. Prudence also because precision will not be the domain for everyone. What Mr and Mrs Mackenzie displayed was the need to apply the principles of prudence if you are contemplating the precision path. All of the four

prudence criteria must be taken into account. This is the “cream on the cake” for irrigation management. You need to be a good manager before you can make this work and to have the liabilities become profitable – the expense of rectifying liabilities could simply be another expense. Furthermore, there was expression that this “was the benchmark”, but it may not be your benchmark. There may be other mitigating factors, not the least the inability to apply precision irrigation. As Mr Mackenzie concluded, it is “always great being able to showcase the positive aspects of agriculture and the number of farmers that really work hard on how they can improve their farming systems, benefitting both environmental and economic sustainability.” While it was great to showcase to a largely rural audience, the urbanites present will have left with a better understanding of some of the practices farmers are adopting to improve soil, water and other environmental health.

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27

Blow the mighty wind

Simplifood... more than just food

BY LIFESTYLER ind. Isn’t it amazing? It comes and goes as it likes and leaves behind a mass of destruction. My wind memories took me back to a child in 1975 when the Big Wind hit. They said the power would go out and it would be days before it would restored. Everyone was organised, things were put in place so that we would be okay and animals were close to the yardEml: and the house for shelter. My mother had candles ready. Was the same warning given last month to batten down the hatches? All I heard was that it was going to be very windy (we live in Mid Canterbury, of course it gets windy).

We stock a wide range including Brewing, cooking ingredients, cake decorating and party lines, cleaning products, bird seed, gluten free and organic products.

W

My middle daughter was at tennis when it came up and I laughed as I thought how many balls she would hit or return. Driving home it got very windy, it was hard to keep the van on my side of the road. So I drove slowly – less than 10 kilometres and 10 minutes, I had gone from very windy to wind that was going to do damage. No. 1 son came out to meet me and said there was no power. His TV was not working. That’s when I decided to check the animals. I sent him down to the cows and sheep to make sure all gates were shut properly and no animals would get out. The youngest and I headed for the chook house to lock up the all hens. Goat was tied to

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Mother Nature provided a few challenges for Lifestyler during the big wind.

playhouse the kitchen Pthe 307 6077 Fby 307 6078 lucky not to be decapitated. window so I could keep an eye Inside, I decided to cook tea 105 Victoria Street, Ashburton on him. Then we started to pick before we lost light. We have up and put away anything that might blow away. The kids were confined inside after a piece of tin flew into the air and crashed into a gate being shut by No. 1 son. He was

gas so that was no problem; tea was cooked and the middle child collected from tennis. Again, it was a slow drive to town and back. As the night went on the wind

SimpliFood...

got worse and we could all hear the big trees round the house moving wildly. At this point Tom phoned to say he was on his way from Oamaru. I said that it was getting worse and it was bad, and told him to take it carefully. Continued on page 28

Rural Features

more than just food!

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Dairy Focus August 2013

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Dairy Focus

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28 No. 1 son decided to sleep inside, he had gone out to the sleepout but came back with a sleeping bag under his arm. I had a little laugh and told him he was a wuss. But I was pleased he was inside.   Ten o’clock came and Tom was not home. The phone goes and he is in Hinds – someone’s calves had got onto the main road and a truck had hit some. He was moving dead calves off State Highway One.  He said some drivers were not happy that he was stopping traffic. He was surprised people could be so dumb: it was dark and you couldn’t see well.     Tom got back at midnight. I had gone to bed to read my book with a torch. He came in to say he was home, then decided to check the cows. Later he woke me to say that half our tree plantation was on the ground. That made me think about the garden. I hadn’t heard anything large hit the ground.  Morning came and the garden wasn’t too bad. One downed cabbage tree and a few branches. We spent the

Awakening to the debris.

morning cleaning up the mess. We don’t have to worry about firewood for some years. The best thing that I bought when we moved out here three years ago was a generator. Tom couldn’t understand why but was told if the power goes off, it could be days before it came on. So out came the generator and then an electrician finally put the power point into the house. That night we had

power. I think it would have looked funny if anyone drove by, as we would have been the only lit house on our road. It was amazing how much you could turn on. The kettle was the only thing that caused the generator to work hard. We even could watch TV but I didn’t tell the kids as it was nice not to have it. So life for us was pretty good – the animals all came through

okay. The chooks stopped laying but that was no big thing. Dog did not sleep inside if you are wondering, although the cats did. Cow stayed in paddock with the sheep. A tree could have hit Saddle the ram, but no, he is still trying to take us out by the knee caps. The big thing was no-one was hurt or killed; I know others suffered a lot of damage and

will need to spend money. Mother Nature is a funny thing and still reminds us who is boss. All people who have a farm should own a generator – this makes life much easier. I know it seems a lot of money for something you may only use two or three times a year but it is well worth it. At least our stock had water. And we had running water inside for showers and the toilet. It was a little adventure for us all, a bit like camping, one of the kids said. And because we do camp and Tom goes hunting we really did have everything to make life easy.  Thank you to the men who fixed the power lines. We really were surprised how fast we got it back on – only three days without power, two nights. I would have coped for a few more days and it was good for my kids to talk and do other things instead of the TV and computer. Plus they went to bed early and helped clean up outside. It was good for them, a small lesson on how things can change quickly.

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Donald Sutton 211 Alford Forest Road, Ashburton

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Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Guardian Farming, November 2013  

Ashburton Guardian

Guardian Farming, November 2013  

Ashburton Guardian