Page 1

Gf

An Ashburton Guardian Feature

January 2013

GUARDIAN FARMING

Pest control needs to be a national priority p 16

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2

looking back

Contributed by John Leadley

2012 in retrospect – one As I look back on 2012 and its happenings, I’m left with a mixed sense of disappointment and satisfaction. My disappointment is mostly based on decisions made at national level as they relate to providing positive signals to improve conditions in New Zealand for all its citizens.

capacity to bankrupt the country, unless amended. Certainly some changes needed to be made and logically new rules for new buildings were essential, however a 106 year event needs to kept in perspective.

If the catastrophic death toll from the CTV building collapse is taken away, (clearly shown to be a defective design), the total Maybe it’s related to our MMP style of deaths from earthquakes in New Zealand governance or our three yearly electoral cycle, but there seems to be a distinct lack of in the last 50 years equates to the threemonthly road toll. decisiveness in decision making. The ongoing influence of global depression especially in the major EEC economy and the growth slow-down in many of our major Asian trading partners is without doubt hamstringing our export economy. These are factors over which we have little control.

Maybe time to re-think.

My own opinion is that the knee-jerk reaction of government to the building code regulations and the time-frame given to strengthen existing buildings has the

The decline in acceptable standards of personal behaviour must be halted if New Zealand is to remain a country of choice in which to live.

Again on a national scale the watering down of the Sale of Liquor Act Amendment Bill is disappointing.

Quite obviously the income stream from duty on alcohol is one the Government However we need to remember that we are can’t afford to lose. Why else with the one of the most efficient food producing obvious impact of binge drinking on nations in the world. Surely our role is to police and public safety, property damage, maximise that advantage. hospitalisation costs, road carnage and Without doubt the impact of the Canterbury workplace absenteeism, would they be so earthquakes of 2010-2011 is still manifesting spineless? itself at every level from personal trauma to I see no place for leniency by police, national significance. judiciary or government in this area.

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: January 15, 2013 Next issue: February 5, 2013

GUARDIAN FARMING

An advertising feature for the Ashburton Guardian. Any opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Guardian Farming or the Ashburton Guardian.

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3

looking back

e councillors viewpoint At a district level I find a greater degree of satisfaction and see many signs highlighting continued progress. Ashburton District has continued its strong pattern of growth completely defying Statistics Department predictions and surpassing 32,000 population during the year. Driven as always by continuing growth in production from the rural sector (particularly dairying), increasing school rolls, and an unemployment level half the national average, we can confidently predict this scenario to continue. It’s pleasing to see the voluntary improvement in water use efficiency with scheme piping and in-line power generation expanding. My personal hope is still to achieve substantial foothill storage with capacity for far greater generation rather than increasing “on farm” plains storage in ponds with subsequent loss of productive land. No energy source is cheaper than gravity! This I’m certain can be achieved without environmental degradation. One lingering regret is the district’s inability to convince Government funding sources of the need to maintain and upgrade the district’s rural road network to a level compatible with other parts of New Zealand. The current formula that penalises the vital productive export sector is seriously flawed.

Declining subsidy rates are a cruel penalty for increased farm productivity. The impact of the earthquakes is slowly manifesting itself on the Ashburton skyline and the loss of heritage buildings is disappointing. Council will be working collaboratively with all building owners to maximise the positive aspects of a revitalised Central Business District. Care will be needed however to ensure tenant affordability. 2012 has been a positive year for Ashburton and it was refreshing to read the Guardian headline of Boxing Day “Residents give council a good report card” in reference to the National Research Bureau report. Maybe a belated balance to some very negative reporting over the year. Building consents issued during the year are continuing to increase, apparent not only on dairy conversion properties but in all sectors with residential, industrial and commercial all showing growth. The sales uptake in new subdivisions is very encouraging with strong activity in Lake Hood, Braebrook and Lochlea very apparent. Retirement village expansion on at least three sites is further evidence of strong demand in that sector and again likely to increase population. With work under-way on the new heritage

centre for the first time in its history Ashburton will have a purpose built facility to house its museum collection, art gallery, archives and genealogical records. I see this, as future proofing our past. With plans almost finalised, resource consent applied for, and initial site work under-way, the realisation of a long held dream for a new pool/stadium is coming to fruition. On completion the EA Networks Stadium will fill the only major void in the District’s recreation facilities for generations to come. The district’s vote of confidence in the hard working stadium trust is best explained by the $4.4 million already pledged prior to the public fundraising launch in March 2013. I look forward in eager anticipation to completion of this $32 million project. Over its 140-year history Ashburton has been well served by its elected governance officials. The town layout, wonderful domain and public spaces all evidence of planning foresight. I make no apologies for personally promoting the need to designate land now to future proof local accessibility for residents by way of a second bridge in 1215 year’s time. This is what I see as simple commonsense decision making. While understanding the views of the very few citizens who will be personally

impacted if the designation is achieved, government legislation assures appropriate compensation. To those outside the land required it is as well to remember that roads are made to carry traffic. Yes about 400 residents from across the district submitted written feedback in opposition. Twenty thousand other adult residents with access to the same information remained silent! To those that say council doesn’t listen, I would remind them that in excess of 500 changes were made as a result of submissions to the proposed District Plan before adoption. This remains open to appeal. In similar vein a proposal to close the Victoria/Wills Street intersection was reversed after submission. That is the way democracy should work – and I like it! It’s been a busy and challenging year as a councillor, but with hindsight rewarding. A new communications strategy, organisational restructures and the new Local Government Act will inevitably bring further challenges in 2013. Mayor and councillors are elected to govern. Their future is in the hands of the public. Such is democracy.

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4

safety

ATVs - be aware of the dangers Kevin Richards has farming in his blood; he has never wanted to do anything else. But in 1989 Kevin’s ATV rolled over, paralysing him from the waist down. The doctors told him he would never walk again, let alone farm.

Kevin has never blamed anyone else for what happened to him, but he does wonder if things would have turned out differently if he had been made more aware of the limitations of an ATV.

The day it happened Kevin was doing a lambing beat on his ATV. He was looking for a lost lamb and shot up a fairly steep slope. Kevin was concentrating on finding the lamb when he hit a sheep rut on the hillside. He somersaulted and landed heavily on his tailbone. He knew immediately that something serious was wrong.

Like so many others born onto farms, he was brought up with farm vehicles. They were nothing special, just a tool to get the jobs done. There was no great respect for them because there were so many other jobs to focus on.

Kevin spent months in the Otara spinal unit rehabilitating. He was determined to walk on callipers and crutches, which meant he could get out of his wheelchair. After months of hard work he was finally able to stand and is one of only a handful of paraplegics in New Zealand who can get on their feet. Kevin didn’t stop there though. His brother Craig modified a tractor with a special hoist so Kevin could get on and off, allowing him to do farm jobs such as feeding out. Kevin also taught himself things like moving an electric fence while sitting on a farm bike, so with the help of his dog he can move stock. He has also recently started leasing the 50 acre farm next door on which 165 cows are farmed with the help of his farm manager. Kevin says he owes a lot of his success to the love and support of his family and friends, especially his wife Shona and their three children.

Kevin believes the tide is now turning on safety. He certainly considers there to be a greater knowledge about safety, and communities are willing to learn from each other and share their experiences. And that’s exactly what Kevin is doing, sharing his experiences, encouraging people to stop and think about what they’re doing, and to take extra care when they know there is risk. The Department of Labour routinely makes visits to farms to make sure quad bikes are being ridden safety. Officers enforce key safety messages, using education and warnings or fines. The harm reduction campaign involves four key messages: • Always wear a helmet. • Ensure riders are trained and experienced enough to do the job. • Never let a child ride an adult quad bike. • Choose the right vehicle for the job.

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5

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Prevention best protection for facial eczema risk Reports that farm revenue is not matching increases to input costs mean farmers need to be focused on maximising production.

and having an early plan of attack for facial eczema in place will ensure the hard work being put into maintaining a healthy herd pays off in sustained production.

Altum Animal Nutrition manager Jackie Aveling says Spore counts increase where grass temperatures are above warmer temperatures and higher humidity are a sign that 12 degrees for three consecutive nights and can vary from summer is finally here, but they also signal the potential for farm to farm and even between paddocks. facial eczema. “Farmers also need to take into account the cumulative “Dairy and beef cattle, sheep, deer and goats are all effect of spore consumption. A count of 60,000 is susceptible. For dairy farmers in particular, facial eczema considered high risk, but stock can still be affected with can put a real brake on production when they are aiming cumulative effects at lower counts.” to make the most of reasonable growing conditions at Zinc treatment during the season from late December to a time when peak production can taper off,” says Mrs May is recommended. The challenge is that the common Aveling. practice of dosing troughs with zinc sulphate doesn’t Facial eczema damages the liver and causes inflammation guarantee the desired result, as zinc tastes bitter and can of the bile ducts and an accumulation of certain reduce water intake. compounds resulting in sensitivity to sunlight. The solution is to improve the taste, which Altum has Sub-clinical facial eczema resulting from exposure to the done with Zincmax+ which is a combination facial eczema toxin sporadesmin could result in an immediate drop in treatment with Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary milk production even before physical signs appear. Medicines (ACVM) registration. Its peppermint taste makes “It’s possible that farmers will not be aware of the full it palatable and it includes organic copper. The taste helps extent of a facial eczema problem until it’s too late. If as ensure herds keep up their water consumption, which is little as 3% of the herd show clinical signs of facial eczema, important given their needs can exceed 100 litres at this then subclinical cases can affect up to 70% of the herd. time of year. “This can eat into dairy profits with a drop in production The organic copper helps offset zinc’s antagonistic effect in affected animals by up to 50%, and with a fluctuating which reduces the absorption of this important trace returns for commodities, farmers want to ensure every cent element. Copper is important for production, immune hits the bank.” response and also cycling ahead of breeding. Low copper levels can also affect growth and fertility in heifers. Monitoring spore counts through summer and autumn

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6

water use

Contributed by Dr Tony Davoren

Summer arrives in nick of time While there are still some cooler spells, finally Christmas and the New Year has brought fine-sunny-hot (even)-windy weather to finish the growing season. Let’s hope it lasts through the harvest.

and finished their need for staying on the irrigation schedule.

2012 left us behind eight days ago and so hopefully the cool often cold and frequently wet weather. Since Christmas we have been blessed with much hotter and drier weather. Given we have had the odd helpful rainfall – like 25 to 40mm on the second day of the New Year and the week before on Boxing Day. These rainfalls have been a pleasant interlude and taken the pressure off what could have been a very demanding 2 to 4 weeks of the growing season. The longest and hottest days following the longest day on December 22 coincided with full leaf area resulting in real pressure on irrigation.

The soil moisture record in Figure 1 demonstrates the easy growing season in 2012. Other than a small 30mm irrigation during the “false” spring in September, irrigation wasn’t required again until December and then not in earnest until mid-late December. There has been so little demand on the crop (in terms of temperature and therefore water demand) that the subsoil moisture has shown very little movement all season. Most of the movement has been upward in response to the rainfall events in October. The wheat crop has been able to grow at its ease on the moisture in the soil depth 0 to 40/50cm.

For arable farmers the festive season rainfalls made the final decision for some crops – early perennial ryegrass, autumn barley, kale and rape seed and some process peas needed a last little water. They received the best irrigation – uniform rainfall at a rate the soil could infiltrate

It has taken most of the growing season for any serious irrigation in autumn and winter sown wheat crops. For Example:

The daily water use (Actual evapotranspiration or ET to most) also took until December to reach peaks usually seen back in November (sometimes in October). For the same wheat crop in Figure 1, the daily water use is plotted in Figure 2.

It took until late December, near the end of the growth cycle, for average daily water use to leap the 5mm/day barrier. Most seasons the 5mm/day barrier is broken back in November when the wheat is about to boot or come into ear. Not so this season. Not such a rosy picture for the pastoral irrigators though. As Figure 3 shows December and early January has been sufficiently demanding that irrigation has started to “struggle” to keep up on this rotational system. While they too enjoyed the low irrigation demand for most of the pre-Christmas growing season, it has been the opposite since. For arable farmers, irrigation is now a pick choose operation. Pick when you irrigate and only those crops still needing it. No irrigation, well it is all good for the bottom line.

Figure 1. Soil moisture record for a winter wheat crop on Chertsey silt loam soil in Mid Canterbury.

Figure 2. Daily water use (mm/day) for the winter wheat crop (Figure 1) on Chertsey silt loam soil in Mid Canterbury.

For pasture, irrigators it looks like head down …… up and keep at it. So long as the West Coast is getting washed away you are going to have to sweat it out and try to keep up.

Figure 3. Soil moisture record for pasture on Chertsey silt loam soil in Mid Canterbury.


7

business accounting

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helping hand

8

Contributed by JAMES MacPHERSON, Associated Press

Kazakh cowboys tour US, MANDAN, North Dakota (AP) — Mananbai Sadykov cuffed his stiff blue jeans over intricately stitched cowboy boots and treads mindfully though minefields of cattle manure at the Helbling Hereford Ranch in central North Dakota. Sadykov, 48, is no stranger to cows, having worked with livestock most of his life in Kazakhstan. But he tried to keep his new duds — a gift from some North Dakota ranchers — dung-free. Western wear is rare in the former Soviet republic. And, until recently, so were cows. About 15 Kazakh cattlemen, Sadykov included, visited North Dakota ranches in November to inspect the state’s beef herd and get a hands-on tutorial in tending cattle from veteran cowboys. “It’s not splitting atoms growing cows. But it is hard work,” said Mark Archibald, who ranches near Hettinger in southwest North Dakota and hosted a contingent of the Kazakhs. “They haven’t had the background to build upon so we’re showing them our way of doing things.”

AP Photo/James MacPherson

Mananbai Sadykov looks over cattle on the Helbling Hereford Ranch near Mandan, North Dakota. Sadykov was one of about 15 Kazakh cattlemen who visited North Dakota ranches in November to inspect the state’s beef herd, while getting a handson tutorial in tending cattle from veteran cowboys.

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helping hand

, get cattle-tending tips Kazakhstan’s beef herd was butchered and all but sold off following the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Cattle numbers dropped from about 35 million to about 2 million. To help rebuild that industry, more than 5000 Hereford and Angus cattle bred to withstand North Dakota’s notoriously nasty winters have been sent since 2010 via jumbo jets from Fargo to Kazakhstan, and a shipment of 3000 more is planned before year’s end. Sadykov has been overseeing several hundred of the relocated ruminants in Kazakhstan, whose climate and landscape are similar to North Dakota’s. “Very good, very tough cows,” Sadykov said through an interpreter, while eyeing dozens of hardy Herefords with their thick, hairy coats. “Very good in cold.” North Dakota’s cows also typically have more marbling and fatty tissue, which gives the state an advantage in cattle sales, agriculture officials said.

“There are some marketing opportunities there,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, “It’s going to take a long time for them to build up their inventory.” Dean Gorder, executive director of the North Dakota Trade Office, said the state has had a strong trade relationship with Kazakhstan and also exports farm machinery. Gorder and Goehring both have made several visits to Kazakhstan, a millionsquare-mile landmass that stretches from central Asia to eastern Europe. The largely Muslim country’s appetite for beef also is big, Goehring said.

its own cattle industry, which could take decades. The Kazakh government paid for the cattlemen’s trip to North Dakota. “We have oil money, a strong domestic market, support of the government and a labour force,” Chunkunov said. Cattle ranching also appeals to many young people in Kazakhstan, Chunkunov said. Several Kazakh cattlemen in their 20s were among those touring North Dakota ranches, getting tips on everything from bovine nutrition and branding to vaccinations and bull castrations.

“It’s a country that consumes large amounts of meat,” he said. “I watch those guys eat and I get a bellyache.”

“I like being a cowboy,” said Viktor Kapinus, a tall, wiry 21-year-old who recently started working at a rural ranch well outside of his hometown of Astana in central Kazakhstan.

Daulet Chunkunov, a Kazakh trade representative, said the oil-rich nation currently buys the bulk of its processed beef from Europe and Australia but is prepared to spend billions building up

Kapinus, already comfortable around cows, fearlessly approached and petted a more than 900kg Hereford bull grazing on hay, while one of his less-bold sidekicks snapped pictures.

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Fred Helbling, who owns the ranch with his brothers, Wayne and Jim, said the Kazakhs may not dress like typical North Dakota cowboys but many are master horsemen who have taken quickly to cows. “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” said Fred Helbling, whose great-grandfather emigrated from Russia and homesteaded the sprawling ranch almost a century ago. Jim Helbling added, “They do have a lot of passion.” Dauletgali Zhaitapov, 24, said his family owns hundreds of horses but only recently expanded into cows, many of which have come from North Dakota. Zhaitapov said he recently participated in a big cattle drive in his country, something he’d only seen before in “John Wayne movies.” “I was like the Marlboro man,” he said.

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10

lifestyle

Sheep shearing trauma Happy New Year to all! Hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year. We have now had our third Christmas at the farm. I look back at old photos and realise how much we have done in the time we have been here (two years and two months to be exact). Time has gone so quick. Well, in November we decided that the sheep (not lambs any more) needed to be shorn and we had to find someone to do this. When you only have two sheep it is a little hard, plus the fact we have no shearing shed to do it in. So Tom had been talking to people and one of our friends said he could do it. Not knowing he had this hidden talent we were delighted. So plans were made, and the day we chose was an okay day, not hot but not raining. Tom gets the trailer ready and asks me to come down to the paddock to put the sheep on the trailer. This is because they still come to me and I could get them on better than Tom. Well all went well and with the help of number one son we did it. I decided that in the best interests of the sheep I would take them to our friend; I knew Tom would not get them off the trailer or back on. With the help of oldest daughter, we drive very slowly to town. On the drive the weather started to change to look like rain. Great, all I could think was don’t rain till I get there. That’s exactly what happened. I got them just into the shed and the heavens opened up. All good though so sheep could still be shorn. Our friend took one look at Saddle and immediately noticed his horns (quite big ones too). He didn’t look too keen on him so decided to do him first. I did say that he had had a ring on his bits but that it was put on wrong and they are still there. Well all went well and wool came off, it was hard work as I

think it should have been done earlier. Saddle had a couple of nicks but nothing to worry about. Our friend did laugh as I was taking photos of the shearing, because I need to have a record of this you know. Second sheep Rosie went very well and all she wanted to do was get back to her mate, she didn’t like being separated from him at all. My sheep are very close and they do not at any point like to be separated, even at home. Then came the trip home. The rain was not letting up at all. Guilt come across me as we were loading them back on to trailer. They had had a traumatic trip to the shearer, then being shorn and then the rainy trip home we were about to take. And they had no wool to keep them warm and dry. I thought my poor sheep may have to find some covers when we got home as they might get sick. I got home and unloaded them into the paddock with the cows. They looked so pathetic to look at, and the cows crowded round like they didn’t know what they were. My heart sunk and went back to the house to tell Tom we needed covers for them. His words I can not print, sorry, but it gives you an idea what he said. The sheep never got covers and it rained for two days, I never went to check on them as I was worried they would have died. But no, all good and the wool has grown back some to make them look better. Rosie no longer comes over for a pat anymore and Saddle will - I think he is coming for a pat but really it is to knock me over. I am the only one in the family who will go in the paddock with Saddle now as he just attacks and has become very nasty. Tom wants to make him into lamb chops but I am still against it. Maybe when he takes me out I may change my mind.

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11

An Ashburton Guardian Promotion

Contributed by Jon Bray, Freshwater Ecology Research Group, University of Canterbury.

greener farming

Riparian management – Managing land sustainably The recent New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society conference held in Dunedin (3-7 December 2012) highlighted the overwhelming evidence for the continued decline in the health of freshwater rivers and lakes within New Zealand. This Society represents over 300 freshwater biologists working in universities, government departments and councils, research institutes and consultancies. Leading on from the conference was a press statement which may be found at http://freshwater.science.org. nz. The gist of this statement is that of a warning. Scientists are becoming increasingly worried about the state of New Zealand’s waterways, where there are continued declines in water quality and waterway health. The survival of native species is also of major concern where more than 70% of New Zealand’s freshwater fish species are threatened with extinction, and a number of these are close to becoming extinct. New Zealand’s land development has had a profound effect on our rivers, streams and lakes. The science is now showing us that the most pressing concern is agricultural land use impacts. We do however have the tools to lessen the effect, and to rehabilitate these degraded waters. One of these tools is effective riparian or stream side management, employing fencing and riparian plantings. This is considered the

most important first step, where problems begin within the smallest streams before cumulative impacts are noticed downstream. When we think of a fresh waterway we often think of a larger river or lake, but the problems usually start within the smallest waterways, progressively becoming worse as they feed into larger systems. Most importantly it is these small streams, springs and wetlands that are often hotspots of freshwater diversity. Riparian management is often effective because it results in stock exclusion, reestablishes banks, reduces and often stops faecal bacteria and sediment entering streams. Sediment through bank erosion, and grazing within waterways, is probably the most environmentally degrading of all impacts. Where planting occurs, and a canopy develops, important linkages are restored with the surrounding land, including leaf litter inputs and inputs of larger pieces of wood. With more mature vegetation, over-land flow of sediment often becomes negligible, and plant roots intercept subsurface nitrogen and phosphorus reducing inputs to that stream, and downstream environs. Light levels and thus water temperatures are also reduced. All of these variables are very important for the maintenance of natural instream habitat and ecosystem processes.

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Aside from the benefits to the ecosystem, aquatic life, to downstream users, ground water and future users, there are benefits to you and to your stock. Local regional councils have schemes whereby they will give advice, and often financial assistance, for land owners who adopt best practices such as waterway fencing and planting. Ensuring stock are excluded from waterways can also ensure that stock are correctly dosed with minerals and other supplements where these are added to troughs, some dairy operators do this. Moreover, mature riparian margins can also act as shelterbelts, a somewhat disregarded but proved practice, and native planted riparian margins are aesthetically pleasing. Products grown in a healthy environment are also more marketable, which is well understood and utilised on an international market. Keep New Zealand beautiful was a slogan of old. We take pride in our country, we don’t litter, and we clean up after ourselves. Why should our land use practices be any different? We now know that to slow or reverse this degradation we must adopt practices that minimize impacts. Perhaps then as a nation we may then begin to live up to our ‘clean and green’ image, and ensure this precious resource for future generations.

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12

thinking green

Contributed by Sheryl Stivens

Eco living resolutions for 2013 It's easy to think about all the big changes you're going to make in the New Year as the old year comes to an end — but by the end of January, most of us are already finding reasons to skip the gym or break the spending freeze on credit cards, have another piece of chocolate cake or continue being an eco slacker. That's why we've come up with thirteen Eco resolutions for 2013 so easy you'll have no excuse not to keep them — and as they help you save money, cut your carbon footprint, slim your waste size, and improve the quality of the Earth, you'll be glad you did. 1. Avoid buying bottled water. Trade your bottled water habit for an at-home filtering system and you can help make a dent in the 1.5 million barrels of oil used to make plastic water bottles each year; invest in a quality reusable bottle (one made of glass, stainless steel, or BPA free plastic).

and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

e-reader, or iPod — but if you really can't be bothered, then let nifty, energy-efficient gadgets do the work for you. Use power strips • Keep reusable bags in the car and put a to turn off all your appliances at once; put small note on the dashboard to remind you to your television, DVD player, game system, and bring them shopping with you; stereo on a timer so they automatically shut • Ask the kids to remind you to bring your off overnight; and invest in chargers that stop bags as part of their chores. drawing current when the device's battery is • Put your bags back in your car full. You could cut your energy bill by as much as 10 percent annually — without lifting a 5. Cut back on paper towels. If you're finger. grabbing a paper towel for everything from wiping up spills and cleaning your counter 9. Conserve water this summer. Look at to scrubbing the bathroom and keeping how much water your household is using your hands clean at dinner, it's time to make and encourage everyone to do their bit to a change. Instead, invest in a few cotton or conserve water. See if you can install a rain microfibre cloths and some fabric napkins; water harvesting tank or barrel on your house then drop them in the wash when you run a or shed to harvest rainwater to water your load of laundry. Using the cloth alternatives. garden. For help with water conservation call You can help eliminate the 3,000 tons of 0800-627-824. paper towels that end up landfills every day. 10. Any babies in the house? Invest in a 6. Use a bike for short trips. It takes a nappy composting service with Envirocomp. certain amount of dedication to permanently Disposable nappies make up an estimated 4% give up a car in favour of a bike, but even an of the waste to landfill. There are collection eco-slacker can make it work for short trips bins in Ashburton and Methven. For more info that don't require hauling a lot of stuff. Ride your bike for trips shorter than 5 kms and you contact www.envirocomp.co.nz could cut your carbon footprint significantly,

2. Dispose of your hazardous waste responsibly. Do you have fluorescent bulbs, batteries, household garden or cleaning chemicals, ink cartridges or paint? Do you have electronic or electrical items to dispose of? All these items and more can be brought to the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park. If in doubt call the Recycling Helpline 0800-627- save money on gasoline and car maintenance, and increase your fitness level — all at the 824. same time. 3. Brew your own Fair Trade coffee. Carry 7. Go shopping at your local Farmers’ your own cup for special occasion take aways. Market. Going to the farmers’ market always Carrying your own coffee in an insulated sounds like such a great idea — until Saturday travel mug helps you reduce waste from cardboard cups and carrying sleeves — which morning rolls around and you realise you are thrown away globally at a staggering rate have to get up early, have enough cash, and buy in season local fruit, vegetables and meat. of 58 billion each year. For greener at-home Why not give it a try and discover the taste brewing, choose a Fair Trade blend that difference of fresh produce. The Ashburton supports farmers. If buying takeaway coffee Farmers Market is open every Saturday bring your own cup to the coffee shop. morning 9am to 12 noon on West Street. 4. Remember your reusable shopping 8. Eliminate phantom power. It takes bags. With more than 1 million plastic bags ending up in the rubbish every minute, taking approximately one second to unplug the reusable bags shopping is one of the easiest charger for your cell phone, mp3 player,

11. Create bee friendly spaces. Bees are under threat globally and need our help. Bees play a vital role in pollination in agriculture, horticulture and in our home gardens. Roughly 1/3 of what we eat is pollinated by bees. In New Zealand wild bee colonies can no longer exist long-term because of Varro mite. Colony collapse disorder is mysteriously killing bees with 50% of Italy’s 50 million bees and 50% of the USA honey bees dying of colony collapse in recent years. Bees need our managed care for their survival and for us to grow our food. Avoid using garden or farm chemicals that harm bees. Plant a variety of flowering plants and an area of wildflowers to provide safe food for bees or avoid mowing areas of lawns to grow daisies and clover

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for bees. Become a beekeeper and get your kids interested in caring for bees. www. saveourbees.org.nz 12. Biodiversity – our heritage our future. In the year 2012 the average western person can recognise over 1000 brand names or logos and less than ten local indigenous plants. We often take for granted clean water and air that are provided by healthy eco systems with little or no thought as to the impacts we have on them. Much of New Zealand’s wildlife is found nowhere else eg approx 90% insects, 80% trees, ferns and flowering plants, 25% of bird species and 2 species of bat. New Zealand relies heavily on land based primary production such as farming, forestry and horticulture that are all based on introduced species. Protecting biodiversity can be as simple as planting and protecting native species and protecting waterways on our farms and in our towns 13. Compost your food scraps and lawn clippings. Food scraps can make up 25 to 45 percent of your waste. Composting your food scraps, takeaway paper food wrappings and your lawn clippings can be surprisingly simple, pest-free and takes only minutes of your time each day. Join us for a free monthly composting demo at the Ashburton Eco Education Centre. In addition to home composting and worm composting, these demos will place a particular emphasis on simple, pest-free methods of composting food scraps and lawn clippings and suitable containers as well as trouble shooting for the system you are using. Contact us to check the date & time or to get advice on home composting. Free phone 0800627824 or email sherylstivens@gmail.com or bholley@ mastagard.co.nz


13

finance

Contributed by Irrigation NZ

Improving financial knowledge Following on from a successful governance course, IrrigationNZ closed the year by hosting a workshop dedicated to improving the financial knowledge of those managing and governing irrigation schemes. The Institute of Directors ‘Finance Essentials’ course attracted a full house of directors and irrigation scheme managers. It is the first ‘irrigation-tailored’ financial course to be developed and IrrigationNZ is delighted to be able to offer it. The support of three excellent partners – Goodman Tavendale Reid (legal), KPMG (accounting) and BNZ (banking) is pivotal to the assistance IrrigationNZ can now offer in the governance space. Our partners have committed to helping IrrigationNZ instil leadership in this area providing participants with the opportunity to attend tailored courses at a significantly reduced price.  December’s ‘Finance Essentials’ course covered the basics including the role and duty of directors, as well as understanding major elements of financial accounts and reporting,

and the linkages between them. The principles of good internal controls, using data to monitor performance, and building confidence to ask the right questions, were also addressed. Potentially it could have been a dry topic. However, thanks to our excellent presenter Phillip Roth, feedback from participants suggested the course was not only valuable and interesting, but engaging and entertaining! Real life irrigation scheme financials enabled implications to be understood and offered context to the conversation. Providing ‘real’ numbers and scenarios helped participants understand what’s at stake and we will spend more time on this exercise in future workshops. For the final session of the day, IrrigationNZ hosted an expert discussion panel (David Goodman – Goodman Tavendale Reid, Paul Keisanowski – KPMG and Guy Ensor – BNZ). Facilitated by Phillip Roth, the panel provided an opportunity for scheme directors and managers to ask any burning questions developed over the course of the workshop, or to raise

issues brought with them from their own experience. The following is just a taste of some of the queries posed and discussed. IrrigationNZ will use these to provide further depth and context in the follow-on course to Finance Essentials being developed. - What are banks looking for when financing scheme development and upgrades? - What are the advantages of the different depreciation methods? - What is the range and advantages of the financial options schemes can use to provide for future upgrade - capital replacement funds, loans, investors, shareholder funding calls? - What are the options for asset revaluation and what does it mean in real terms? IrrigationNZ is already receiving bookings for our next course scheduled for early April. If you are interested and would like to attend this workshop, please contact Chris Coughlan at IrrigationNZ on phone (03) 341 2225.

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think big

14

By Conor English, Chief Executive Officer, Federated Farmers of New Zealand

Let’s take the New Zealand is a big country – at 268,000 square kilometres we are bigger than the United Kingdom; we are 67 per cent the size of Germany and 72 per cent the size of Japan. Our coast line is longer than both mainland USA and mainland China. Our economic zone is more than half the size of Australia. But these countries have far greater populations than we do. Demographics drives a lot in any country, any economy. We have to get over this small country mentality and mindset and back ourselves more. Some are simply having the wrong discussion – is growth good? Yes it is. The question for New Zealand is not about whether we grow, but how we grow. Human capability is critical to all parts of our community and economy. In most parts of New Zealand, except Auckland, the population is flat or in decline. And like all the other slow growth indebted countries, we also have an ageing

population. There are not enough people to produce the exports, provide the services, pay the taxes and build a future at first world income levels. We simply need more people. But we need to be smart about it, in two ways. First, we need to take the lid off our cities. When driving along Manakau Road to come into Auckland CBD from the airport, it seams like the tallest building is a corner dairy. We should stop building out and start to build up. Perhaps Manakau Road needs to have 200 to 300 buildings 8 to 30 storeys tall, and then run a monorail down the middle to the airport. Wellington is doing a pretty good job of “Manhattanising” on its Te Aro flat around Courtney Place. Surely Auckland is capable of similar. With the forecast of another million people, there simply needs to be more density of population per square km.

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15

lid off our cities This would mean: We stop gobbling up productive land – we’ve already lost 30 per cent over the past 30 years to urban sprawl and the conservation estate – now 35 per cent of New Zealand.

think big

And it means more affordable housing, so home ownership becomes a reality, not just a dream. Instead of three bedrooms on a 400-metre section you might have 20 to 120, which would make the land component per bedroom somewhat less in theory.

It means Auckland might have some chance of becoming a green or even an international city. Right now Auckland has no chance of doing either. It’s a series of little low level villages. It simply can’t be compared to Paris, Singapore, New York or London. The strategy seems to be to spread it out all the way to Taumarunui. It needs less traffic congestion, more public transport, better utilisation of resources, more integrated and diverse communities.

Secondly, we need to be smart and spread the population growth across the country. This means investing in networks such as broadband, water, science, roads, public transport, energy and housing right across the nation, not just Auckland.

To do this it simply has to go up, not out. Public transport will never work unless there are far more people in far less space.

So we need to increase our population in smart ways and we have got to stop thinking like a small country. Taking the lid of Auckland is an obvious next step.

It’s important for New Zealand that Auckland is successful absolutely, but Auckland is not New Zealand, it is but one part of New Zealand.

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16

conservation

Contributed by Mary Ralston, Forest and Bird

Photos supplied

Overseas tourists are attracted to New Zealand by our wonderful landscape and they spend billions of dollars. Ross Gordon re-sets a trap to catch predators of the Australasian crested grebe.

Pest control a high priority

The New Year gives us the opportunity to think afresh about what is important and consider our priorities – and I propose that pest control becomes a higher priority.

possums and rats easily re-invade.

The Department of Conservation, which manages one-third of the country, spends just $20 million a year on control of pests such as possums, New Zealand is also unique in that it has a large stoats and rats. In the country as a whole, New proportion of its land area undeveloped and Zealand spends around $840 million each year reserved for conservation. The conservation estate on management of pests but economic losses as and the great diversity of landscapes are the main a result of pests cost $2.5 billion annually to the features that attract tourists to come here and part “productive” sector alone, and an inestimable with billions of dollars every year: international amount of loss of native biodiversity – the natural tourism contributes about $9.7 billion to the New capital on which our $9.7 billion tourism industry Zealand economy each year. It is our second relies. biggest earner of foreign exchange and is primarily Shouldn’t we be doing more? We aren’t even based on our landscape and natural environment. holding the line when it comes to the effect of This natural “commodity” that generates so much pests on our farming sector or on our wildlife. It is of our country’s income – our environment – is hard to understand why pest control is not more of actually in very dire straits. The situation for our a priority. It is a hard and unrelenting job but our unique flora and fauna has never been so bad. livelihoods depend on it. Dozens of species of birds have become extinct, Good progress is being made on new and over 20 more are threatened with extinction, 15 improved traps. In 2010 a three-year trial of selfare endangered and 28 are classified as vulnerable. resetting traps was launched – 10,000 traps were Many of these extinctions occurred a few purchased and put out in Nelson Lakes National hundred years ago when humans first showed up Park where the great-spotted kiwi is threatened but the slow decline towards extinction of others by stoats. If they prove to be successful, these is occurring right before our eyes and in our own self-resetting traps could make a vast difference memory. When I first began tramping in New to pest control, particularly in difficult terrain. The Zealand dozens of kea would often be seen at huts gas-powered traps can kill up to 12 pests before and lookouts – and now, a solitary bird or a pair is they need to be set again by hand. all that you are likely to see. Locally, a small but dedicated group traps pests The situation is catastrophic – we have declining around Lake Heron in the hope that this will native bird populations, silent forests and out improve the breeding succcess of the threatened of control pests. Pest-free offshore islands have Australasian crested grebe. But volunteers can become the last bastion of some species but the only do so much – we need pest control to be a greatest problem is on the mainland where pest national priority; our prosperity may well depend control needs to be constant because stoats, on it.

A volunteer moves a trap into position. Pest control needs to be a national priority.

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Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Guardian Farming - January 2013  

Ashburton Guardian - Guardian Farming

Guardian Farming - January 2013  

Ashburton Guardian - Guardian Farming