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An Ashburton Guardian Feature

September 2012


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texel fans

Linda Clarke, Ashburton Guardian rural reporter

Award winners’ faith brings rewards Texels are top in the eyes of stud sheep breeder Joe Barker.

before adjusting the results to account for variations in flock size.

The Winchmore farmer has laid professional eyes on Joe said the muscular Texels were coming into their millions of sheep in the past 40 years, and says Texels own as terminal sires and commercial sheep farmers are both easy to manage and able to produce lean meat were catching on, especially if they wanted a lean consumers the world over want. meat lamb that would consistently grow from birth to export weight in no more than 100 days. Joe and wife Judy run their Texel stud on 25 hectares on Methven Dromore Road. They became Texel fans in “A commercial farmer requires lambs that will 1992, not long after the breed was introduced to New survive, then grow, then grade at the meatworks. Zealand, and registered a fledgling stud flock in 1994. Age of slaughter is very important for feed conversion efficiency.” Over the years they have stayed faithful to the breed and their hard work was rewarded at Beef + Lamb Texels have it all, he says. New Zealand’s inaugural sheep industry awards last Joe has spent his life so far on farms and working month. The see-through resin trophy sits casually on a in the agricultural industry. windowsill at their home; Joe is more excited that the breed is finally being recognised for its outstanding He spent 18 years as a mobile sheep dipper qualities. and has watched millions of sheep move. “I have The Barkers were named top terminal sire flock in the seen a lot of sheep and I was always interested in sheep breeding.” country, according to the SIL-ACE evaluation system, and other Texel breeders also took top awards.

Inspired by top sheep breeder Tug Burrows, he read up on animal conformation and started Joe said all the winners, over various categories, were paying more attention to the sheep he saw either purebred registered Texel flocks or had Texel in the yards, and watched closely how they influence in them. moved. Those with good conformation were The top performers were found after analysing the top the best movers and best conditioned. Those 25-50 per cent of rams for each specified set of traits, with poor conformation, not so. Story continues over page


Any feedback is welcome, any comments about our magazine, letters or story suggestions. Please direct any correspondence to: Linda Clarke, on 307-7971 email: or write to PO Box 77, Ashburton. Advertising: Phone 307-7900 Email: Publication date: September 4, 2012 Next issue: October 9, 2012 An advertising feature for the Ashburton Guardian. Any opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Guardian Farming or the Ashburton Guardian.

Photos Tetsuro Mitomo 100812-TM-030

Joe Barker and his working dog.

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animals, with a good amount of lean Joe and Judy survived the farming meat on the carcass. They are also hardy downturn of the late 1980s, running their weed spraying and sheep dipping and able to withstand climate extremes. business, and wintering over merinos for “We had seven weeks of frozen snow the live export trade. one winter in Central Otago and about 15 per cent of our crossbred flock did “I decided to get some high performance sheep and the opportunity not produce a lamb, or died. The Texels maintained their average virtually came along to get into Texels.” unaffected, living on lucerne hay.” The breed had only just been The Barkers’ brutal culling regime introduced to New Zealand when Joe means only the best animals are allowed bought a few in 1992. Two years later, they had registered their own stud flock. to reproduce. “The whole idea has been to produce an animal for a terminal sire.” Joe says Texels have great attributes for Their programme has tested Texels with a sheep meat breed. They are muscular

other breeds, on a variety of pasture and feed. The conversion rate of feed and grass into meat has been crucial.

“We have kept the bar very high.”

Joe says while Texels may still not be fashionable in some sheep circles, they Joe says 20 years of being honest to the are the breed producing the best results. breed and its characteristics had paid off The trick is in using science and the with the inaugural award. breed’s natural abilities. He says Texel breeders use science “All the work we have been doing has and raw data from the paddock in the created more meat from less lambs.” selection process. The breeders have Joe’s stud currently stands at 40 rules and regulations about monitoring breeding ewes, but it has been as high and recording, and insist on ultrasound scans to view muscle and meat ratio. Full as 150. He is currently minding another carcass CT scanning is also carried out at breeder’s flock at Winchmore, taking numbers to 170. Lincoln University. Story continues on page 4


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texel fans He said awards such as Beef and Lamb’s recent event were important in raising the profile of the sheep industry, which was being overtaken by dairying in this district.

Joe and Judy Barker with their in-lamb hoggets, part of the Texel stud.

“Sheep breeding is a long-term thing. I started with Texels 20 years ago, but we are there now and will remain focused in the future on sound animals with a balance between science and field performance. That’s the way forward.”

It is well known in many countries as a breed which transmits its qualities to its progeny when used for crossing purposes. What do Texels look like? They are very muscular sheep, with big hind quarters.  They are not a big framed or long sheep like the traditional New Zealand sheep. They have small, wool-free white heads, and no wool on their legs. 

Their wool is white and springy (bulky), springing back when it is squashed. It is therefore particularly The Texel originated on the island suitable for the Futon market in Asia of Texel above Holland in the North and excellent for top-quality carpet. Sea. Because of the harsh and often The meat is lean, tender, succulent bleak conditions they have had to and fine-grained with very little develop invaluable characteristics. cooking smell. In fact it cooks 30 per They have gained the ability to cent quicker than traditional lamb. thrive despite a short growing season and often poor quality Texel lamb consistently dominates pasture, meaning they have had the Glammy Awards, a competition to become very efficient at feed to find the most tender tasty lamb conversion and growing no waste. in New Zealand.



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unusual waterway

Contributed by Mary Ralston, Forest and Bird

Water was flowing in the Hinds River as part of a trial to see if groundwater could be spilled into the river to recharge connected aquifers.

The Hinds River Of all the waterways in our district, the Hinds River must be one of the most unusual – until comparatively recently, it didn’t reach the sea!

Because the land was originally swamp, the Firstly, the Hinds was confined to a single soils around the Hinds are fertile peaty clay channel and taken straight to the coast. Then, large open drains were dug through loams. the swamp to take water to the river Early settler John Grigg purchased 32,000 channel or directly to the beach. Tile drains Most rivers in Canterbury begin in the acres in this area in 1843. The land was were then laid to feed into the open drains. foothills or drain the glaciers and slopes of described as “an impregnable bog of water, This work was done by 1903 and the area the Main Divide and flow all the way to the toe toe, raupo, niggerheads and flax”. He became an extremely productive and fertile sea. The Hinds has its origins in the foothills fattened cattle on the edge of the swamp farmland. behind Mayfield but did not go all the way and saw an opportunity to sell meat to the to the east coast – it ended in a swamp that John Grigg’s farm was split into many miners on the West Coast goldfields. Cattle occupied a huge area between the railway smaller holdings which were initially were taken from the Hinds over the passes line and the coast, and from just south of productive but brought problems of of the Main Divide. the Ashburton River to where the Hinds inconsistent maintenance of the drainage River is today. He must indeed have been a man of vision system. because he realised that the landscape was The effects of the Depression and Unlike its neighbouring rivers, the wet and swampy because the Hinds did Ashburton and the Rangitata, the Hinds World War Two added to the problem not go all the way to the sea. He decided to of maintenance and in 1946 the South is not a braided river composed of gravel from the mountains, and the land on either alter nature and began a massive drainage Canterbury Catchment Board took over the system to “reclaim” the swamp and turn it side is not the well-drained silt loams that river and began deepening and clearing the into farmland. make up most of the Canterbury Plains. drains.

The drains are home to eels and trout although many say that there aren’t the numbers that there once was. Irrigation from the drains as well as from groundwater is now a major feature of farming in the area and the drainage system and groundwater is managed by Environment Canterbury. Recently it conducted a trial to see if groundwater could be recharged by spilling water from the Rangitata Diversion Race into the Hinds River. The Hinds is also on the agenda of the Ashburton Water Management Zone Committee. They hope to begin talks soon with the local community about water quality, quantity, nutrient load limits and management regimes and will make recommendations on behalf of the community.

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Contributed by Neal Shaw, ATS Chief Executive

With rights come responsibilities Most people these days are very quick to talk about their rights and what they believe is owed to them, but where does responsibility fit into this scenario or has it been forgotten?

One of the most obvious areas where these two issues arise is employment. Many farmers employ a number of staff and that comes with a high level of responsibility. But employees also have responsibilities.

Rights are something people want from society but often they are not prepared to take on the level of responsibility necessary to help facilitate the outcome they are looking for. No matter who we are or what we do, whether we are parents, employees, employers or team mates we all have responsibilities.

Delayed gratification is a thing of the past. Instead many people want things now despite not being able to afford it and the attitude that you can with the help of credit cards, overdrafts and technology allows us to fulfil this need for instant gratification.

An employment relationship is a two-way thing. Dairy farming is a good example because of the cyclic nature of I think in general, there is less respect for people these the work-load, especially at this time of the year when it is days, and that is also a generational attitude. I wonder if all hands on deck. Many employees today believe it is their this lack of respect is also behind this attitude of the world right to have paid time off for a variety of personal reasons, owing people something for nothing. without having come to an agreement with their employer. Not all generational attitudes are bad. This generation The recent incident with the misbehaving child on a Flexibility in employment comes with a willingness of has a much better attitude to such things as recycling or local school bus set me thinking about rights versus both parties to give and take. An employee who puts the wearing of seat belts, and their attitude has influenced responsibilities. As parents we have a responsibility to the time in when and where required will benefit from all of us to be more responsible about these sorts of things. make sure our children conform to accepted behaviour that input with a fair employer. Where employers do, standards, but we also think that it is our right to put and should, have a problem is with a clock-watcher who It is human nature to want more and the opportunities children on a school bus. expects to have time off and be paid to attend to personal certainly exist to move ahead if you want to. There’s no matters and then wonders why there is a problem. shortage of work in New Zealand or chances to get ahead. It made me wonder what I would have done in that situation; the bus driver was in a “no-win” situation. I Employees have a responsibility to show up on time and Sitting back and waiting for opportunity to come knocking think I would have stopped the bus, rung the school and is likely to mean you are in for a long wait. be in a fit state to carry out the duties and tasks of their requested that the parents come and collect the child role, and it is their right to expect to be paid for that. It’s too easy to blame others for problems or failures. We before resuming the bus trip. I wonder what the reaction know what our responsibilities are, whether it is in the I wonder if this is a generational issue. We certainly from the general public would have been if that were the workplace or on the farm dealing with compliance or other live in very different times to those of our parents or case? grandparents. We live in a plentiful society with access to legislative changes. We just need to get on with it. Farmers are one group who have a lot of responsibility many more goods, products and services than previous There’s a saying that “you get out what you put in”. That’s placed on them for a variety of tasks and functions such as generations, and with that comes a big change in attitude. very true of responsibilities and rights too. If we put the their produce, stewardship, the environment and animal time in to getting our responsibilities right, our rights to Gone are the days where we would never consider husbandry. But the question could be asked do they have what we believe we deserve will follow. many rights in comparison to their level of responsibility. buying something unless we had the money to do so.

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No lifestyle block would be complete without animals. Our townie-turnedcountry girl Barbara can relate.

Oh for some sunny days Hi! Did we all enjoy the rain and more rain and just some more rain, in case we hadn’t had enough. I now have a lake in my gateway; I would have preferred the water on the garden because the van didn’t look so good after three weeks of mud and water. We’ve been staying in the garage while the house is renovated. There were no leaks and we stayed very dry and warm.  Watching TV was a little problem - we just couldn’t hear it some nights as the rain on the tin roof drowned it out.

for mum’s 80th birthday what we had done outside, how lovely the garden looks, the new shed we had built and the fencing skills Tom has now learnt. But no the whole time they where home from Australia it rained.  One brother who lives in Western Australia said he couldn’t believe how much rain there was.

eat him, but think I may lose that one. We are about to pop next door to the neighbours to have them shorn. If I walk down the road they will follow me, as long as I have bread. The dog will come too just to keep them in line. Ha-ha.

rain has stopped because when he got too wet he wasn’t allowed in the shed. He doesn’t even have to wait to come in as he can open the side door to the garage by pushing it with his head. We are about to get some more pet lambs from the neighbour. The children have been told that this time there are no trips to the vet.

So not much has happened at the farm in the past month with rain and the fact we have been stuck inside. I am looking If they get sick then that’s life. Let’s see if I forward to getting into the garden now the can follow through with that one. weather may be coming right.  The girls have already picked names but There is still a lot of pea straw to go down no doubt the novelty will wear off. Good So off to bed to read a book, as the sleep before the weeds get away on me again. old mum will be out there feeding them out room has a roof with pink batts so is not Never thought I would say I was looking The girls have decided that Saddle the again. Am looking forward to it! as noisy. I could not remember the last time forward to gardening as I am not the most male sheep has to be made into chops it rained like that. Even when I was a kid, As of October we will have been here two and a roast, as he took one of them out the enthusiastic person when it comes to don’t think we had rain like it. other day. He just wants to play but he is a gardening. But being locked in a shed with years and I can say there are a couple of It would have been nice to have one fine bit rough with them, the horns he has don’t three kids makes me want to be outside for new stories to tell. Next time I might tell you day to show the family that were all home help either.  I am holding my ground not to some reason. The dog is pleased that the about my husband’s attempt at burning off.  The poor chooks haven’t liked it at all and they have now stopped laying altogether. I don’t even get one egg a day now. Someone did say I was feeding them too much, so I knocked back the food but this has made no difference at all. At least they are healthy and happy and still alive.

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Contributed by David Rush from Vision Insurance

An Ashburton Guardian Advertising Feature


The do’s and dont’s of insuring your farm Farmers are now becoming more aware of the importance of having the correct insurance covers in place to protect their business. If any were not aware, recent events in Canterbury have highlighted the need to have adequate insurance cover in place and to have professional independent advice in arranging and discussing those covers. Farmers can incur loss in a varied number of ways, flood, fire, breakdown of pumps, straying stock, theft, the list goes on. It is important that farmers are aware of the various options available on the market and to know which option best suits their operations. For instance a crop farmer will have different insurance needs and risks from those of a dairy farmer. Different insurance companies have their individual strengths with different farming operations – with one insurer being better at dairy farms than others.

Some insurers offer their services direct to the farmer, however whilst sometimes they may appear cheaper it can be often at the price of reduced coverage. I recall meeting a farmer recently who was share milking. He had what he thought was a good priced product, however on working our way through his insurances and reading his policy document it turned out he did not have any cover for milk contamination and resultant fines. He was totally unaware of this as he advised the insurance company he was dealing with that he specifically required that cover. He was not impressed. Farmers know about farming, that is their livelihood, whilst they often rely on stock agents and accountants for their advice, many still feel they are able to arrange their own insurance programme. With the varied changes now hitting the insurance market the role of an insurance broker is becoming more important. They are kept up-to-date with various changes that the

insurance industry is undergoing, a good number of brokers come from an insurance background so are aware of dealing with insurance claims and various issues that some claims cause. This is an important part as most insurance companies have staff dealing with day- to-day claims that can be very inexperienced and can give misleading information. Arranging your insurance is one thing – when you have issues with an insurance company over a claim you want to have an insurance professional on your side.

items that he had overlooked insuring, and because no one had ever called to see him they weren’t picked up!

There are any number of horror stories out there, whilst price is important, having the correct insurance cover is more important, as is ensuring that insurance is kept current. There are many ways of lowering insurance premiums. This can be by way of taking higher excess options, amending the insurance cover on lower value vehicles to third party or third party fire and theft or limiting drivers on private Insurance brokers will call out and visit vehicles, and there are other areas that their clients on a regular annual basis to can apply dependant on your individual ensure all insurances are up to date and current. Again another example of how this circumstances. You will generally find that the higher the insurance premium the can go astray is a client that had arranged insurance direct with an insurance company higher the risk, such as insuring breakdown of submersible pumps or insuring irrigators had never had a visit from them and no so whenever you do amend your covers updates on his insurances were done do it with the full knowledge of what the unless he phoned them – that farmer did have some uninsured buildings and other consequences will be.

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european perspective


Contributed by John Leadley

Further reflections

In heavily industrialised Germany in particular double As I continue to reflect on a month spent in Europe in July, Crossing the Great European Divide (altitude 406 metres) some lasting memories linger. Comparisons to the situation rail tracks either side of the river meant there was seldom bought a change in direction of river flow to west-east and in New Zealand are inevitable. five minutes when there was not a train (single operator) the unmistakable Bavarian culture. complete with rake of 50 to 70 wagons visible. Often two or While other travellers understandably will draw quite Clean cobbled streets, beer tasting, visiting a sausage three trains could be seen. Water transport was 10 per cent different conclusions, memorable experiences for me factory that had been continuously operating in the same of the cost of road conveyance. relate to heritage, architecture, transport, efficient land use, building for 600 years, wonderful Bavarian food and music quality crops and stock, and use of natural resources (water, Travelling in a valley was no doubt the centre of all brought enjoyment. wind and coal) transportation, but the efficiency of rail for commuting Bavaria soon seamlessly became Austria, and farms and goods delivery was overwhelming. Emphasising the Travelling from Paris to Amsterdam via Belgium was importance is the fact that the Cologne railway terminal has continued to look small family type enterprises with similar further evidence of efficient land use with virtually every over 4000 train movements daily. cropping and stock as previously but perhaps a greater hectare of land available for cultivation or forestry fully range with millet, rice and sugar beet adding variety. The utilised. Any land of less than 45 degree slope seemed The quality of autobahns and highways in Europe is covered with intensive agriculture, vineyards or forestry average dairy herd of 26 cows sufficient to sustain a family well known internationally for both public safety and blocks of spruce or similar species. adequately. Ashburton District average herd size is 860. So traffic movement, but even minor roads have a quality much for subsidies! far exceeding our local roads. It is obvious that the subWhile obviously smaller in scale than New Zealand structure of many of these motorways is far from ideal from farming properties, the high quality of both stock and Average farm size at 100 acres obviously accounted for crops was obvious. Most of the land in crop appeared stone observation of ongoing work and material deposits. In the the 2 to 3 furrow ploughs in use burying heavy stubble Netherlands many roads are built on pedestals emanating free and easily worked. The latter obviously assisted by residues. No wonder Europe has produced so many World generations of soil incorporation of crop residue and barn from a sandy base below sea level. Ploughing Champions! feeding effluent. The recent damage to many of Ashburton District’s sealed Next day’s arrival in Bratislava, Slovakia brought the and unsealed roads as a result of a hundred millimetres Apart from magnificent examples of friesian cattle first noticeable change to poorer pastures and a more previously noted, herds of 50 to 100 quality beef cattle of of rain in two weeks is significant. While much of this can limousin, charolais and Belgium blue breeds were evident. be ascribed to government maintenance underfunding in challenging farming climate than previously, when visiting the rural areas. Housing was of a lower recent years, I firmly believe it should not be too difficult While knowing that France, Belgium, and Germany to establish a low maintenance structure on a 100 metre standard and less modern and roading less are well respected internationally for the quality of their alluvial plain sub-base, such as is prevalent in this district. impressive. My most enduring memory was equestrian performers, the presence of herds of 30 to Increased axle loadings have not assisted the situation. visiting the National War Memorial with 50 horses on many farms was somewhat unexpected. each of several quarter-acre grassed Questioning established that most were kept for One lasting memory is the varying levels of pride in self, slaughtering for export, principally to Scandinavia to plots containing 1000 bodies of workplace and community among places visited. service the restaurant trade. unknown Russian soldiers killed Maybe because of the pending Olympics the centre of during World War Two. I recall that meat from reindeer, goat and horse were all London was noticeably cleaner than our previous visit. part of the menu when visiting Norway 24 years ago – The few tombstones Arriving in Paris by rail was a disappointing experience. much to the disgust of our pony-club daughter travelling erected around the Very inefficient rail terminal, poor service, untidy, with us at that time! All part of mixed farming I guess. perimeter showed an unwelcoming and slovenly chain smoking gendarmes Almost inevitably my council involvement with transport spitting butts onto cobblestones. How different to London, average age of only 21 and roading in this district for the past 25 years fostered years. What an utter Amsterdam and Singapore experiences! some cursory observations on transportation in areas waste of human Particularly noticeable in Venice, Amsterdam and other visited. The efficiency of rail transport for moving huge life! When will smaller towns and cities were colourful window boxes of quantities of goods to port or other destinations was we ever obvious as was the capacity use of the waterway on which geraniums, begonias and impatiens adding real attraction learn? to all levels of multi-storey apartments and shops. we travelled.

Photo Supplied

A sombre reminder of World War Two in Budapest. Before Jews were shot and thrown into the Danube they were ordered to remove their shoes. A chilling reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.


european perspective

from afar Moving onto Hungary with its inspiring neo-Gothic architecture meant a change in currency to the florit. Hungary is one of the few European Union countries yet to adopt the Euro. With 1000 florits equalling 3.4 Euro the steak and chips meal for 4999 florits was a reasonable buy.

It’s possible to travel from Lisbon to Sweden with no passport. Despite our travelling seven nations no border controls were evident. Additionally there are no restrictions on work permits across the EU and since 2011 restrictions on buying land were abolished.

River city Budapest divided in half with Buda on one side of However strong trading protection from outside the the river and Pest on the other has 2 million inhabitants. Many Common Market still exists, particularly for metal and still live in pre-war family apartments of less than 50 square unfortunately for New Zealand, agricultural products. metres. There seems little likelihood of a change in the near Employment is highly valued but lowly paid with 10 per cent future despite government pressure. When questioned unemployment. Doctors were said to work for less than 1000 about the failing economics of member nations like Spain Euro per week and Value Added Tax is 27 per cent. Poverty and particularly Greece, the response was a damning is obvious with some beggars and pick-pockets and poor condemnation of the Central European Bank’s over generous property maintenance. lending policy which allowed this to happen. Of cities mentioned Budapest appears to be struggling most to recover from massive World War Two damage. This included With Greek civil servants half of the workforce, even greater complete demolition of all nine bridges linking Buda to Pest, criticism was levied at successive Greek Governments’ social welfare policies which established the retirement age at 50 all now replaced, and most to impressive heritage designs. and paid a bonus to those who arrived at work on time! With strong human rights and a stable economy the future The Euro Bank bailout package immediately raised the looks assured for this vast nation. retirement age to 62 and reduced welfare payments in many An interesting hour-long question and answer session areas. Resultant political and civil chaos and burgeoning with Alexander Büttner, a long time expert and historian on unemployment the inevitable result. matters pertaining to the European Economic Community The comment was made that if other member nations don’t was great value! learn from the Grecian example in respect of employment, From virtual bankruptcy at the end of World War Two, the over borrowing and a generous welfare system the Euro could EEC has a combined annual Gross Domestic Product greater collapse as a currency. than USA and three times that of Japan. When Croatia becomes the 28th member nation in 2013 the combined population of member countries will exceed half a billion, including some former Russian states.

Heaven forbid this happening. Repercussions would be worldwide.

Maybe our own New Zealand government could heed the Despite this number, the European Union has no collective lesson of welfare dependency and employment. military significance. Twenty nations are NATO signatories, but Europe may be half a world away but globalisation is the Union was evenly split during the Iraq crises. While some inevitable. member nations have their own military units, most see that as a waste of money. Travel, a wonderful experience. New Zealand – a great place The common cultural identity is obvious in many spheres. to live.

• • • •

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irrigation season


Contributed by Tony Davoren

Crystal ball gazing for the 2012-13 With three weeks until the equinox one wonders what the irrigation season might have in store. August has undoubtedly been wet – no argument there. But how are we placed for the upcoming irrigation season – when will we need to start, how much irrigation will be needed and is there enough (ground) water? Is this crystal ball stuff?

it comes to how we urged the team on and I could have then used the experience to answer the vexing irrigation questions posed.

What we do know is that the irrigation season is not far away. The equinox is just three weeks away and we have reached the time of year when growth and water use will begin to increase. That means For gazing purposes, quartz crystal, glass, soil moisture will begin to decline and mirrors and water have been used for irrigation will be needed. The crystal ball thousands of years to stir visual perceptions gazing might have useful to answer the of the future and predict something. when and how much. In the absence of So it was for the cricket – they needed all any crystal ball gazing skills I have turned to Having spent 3½ weeks in West Indies the experts, NIWA. In their August climate the help they could get. Any perception urging on the NZ cricketers in one-dayers update, NIWA has predicted: of what the next day might hold would and the first test, I wonder now if I should have been of benefit. Similarly the ability have visited the local witch doctor to get “August-October rainfall is likely to be to predict for the 2012-13 irrigation season below normal for the eastern South Island; some training in crystal ball gazing. That might have given us some assistance when would be advantageous. and

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Early spring temperatures are likely to be near average or above average.” The global climate measurements suggest we are heading into an El Nino phase and the temperature predictions are in contrast to a typical El Niño early spring period. Hence, the irrigation season is not that far away, rainfall is likely to be below normal in Canterbury and it could be warmer than normal. Irrigation could have to start earlier (little or less rain) and because of the warmer might be required more often. Is there enough water?


irrigation season

irrigation season For consistency I have chosen to look at the water levels in a couple of my favourite observation bores; K37/1972 and K37/1792, both of which are in the coastal area between Ashburton and Rangitata.

While the water level dipped a little in July (like the shallow K37/1792 bore) the rainfall has resulted in significant recharge and the water levels were again charging upward. Combining what we know and the crystal ball gazing we know:

The last water level reading in K37/1792 was Equinox is nearly here, a time when day taken in early July and only reflects the little recharge resulting from irrigation turn-off (the length is favourable for growth; sharp kick-back) and recharge from the early Rainfall might be below average; June snow and rain. Temperatures might be above average; but One would expect the August rainfall to There will be plenty of water for the 2012-13 have reversed the little dip in July and for irrigation season. recharge to have charged upward. The deeper Perhaps I needn’t have worried about visiting Aquifer 2 bore (K37/0093) was last measured in mid-August after the heaviest of the rainfall. the witch doctor.

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brassica and beet options

An Ashburton Guardian Advertising Feature

This picture shows the leaf holding ability of Spitfire in early autumn after early summer sowing.

Spitfire - Leading characteristics Spitfire is a multi-purpose rape that can be either sown in spring for lamb/ cattle finishing or summer dairy grazing. Alternatively it can be sown late summer to early autumn for autumn and winter grazing. Spitfire forage rape has the potential to increase your animal production per hectare over the summer/ autumn period. Spitfire’s superior aphid tolerance improves its ability to hold leaf quality and reduces its chances of being affected by viruses. Recent trials completed in Canterbury have shown liveweight gain per-hectare (LWG/ha) advantages to Spitfire. The trial

showed lambs grazing. Spitfire utilised more of the crop (66%) compared to Greenland (44%) whilst still maintaining higher per-hectare production (26 kg/ha/ day and 19 kg/ha/day respectively) when given the same allocation of forage- 2.3 kg DM/lamb/day. This lift in animal production is a function of increased intake due to the lower drymatter percentage (DM %) and higher quality stem of Spitfire. The trial also showed the quality advantages related to the lower stem DM% with Spitfire having an ME of 10.4 (MJ/kg DM) compared to 7.1 ME for Greenland. Spitfire is a market leader for aphid

tolerance in rapes. In both trials and in paddocks alongside other rape cultivars where large aphid numbers have been present, Spitfire has proven itself to be very tolerant with very few aphids visible on the crop.

Spitfire’s lower stem DM%, strip grazing is advised to reduce the potential plant loss and therefore regrowth potential, although under sheep grazing Spitfire has shown to have excellent regrowth ability. If using cattle for grazing, plan for one grazing only Aphid susceptible varieties often succumb or ensure that other species are added for continued quality feed. to virus complexes that follow large infestations, reducing yield and quality. The increased aphid tolerance and lower stem DM% of Spitfire are two key attributes In spring sowing Spitfire for summer that provide Spitfire with the ability to grazing, pasture herbs (Choice, Tonic), increase animal production. Contact clovers (Sensation, Tribute) and ryegrass Agricom for more information about using (Crusader, Asset or Ohau) can be added. Spitfire forage rape Agricom on 0800 183 These additions will increase the quality, yield and longevity of the crop. Due to 358 or e-mail

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Low bulb drymatter % type with excellent bulb size. Ideal for stock classes with a preference for softer bulbs such as young stock and deer.

Monro and Rivage are recent releases from one of the world’s largest fodder beet breeding programmes. To find out how these products can maximise production on your farm, contact 0800 183 358, visit or visit your local seed merchant.

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JJ Ltd

An Ashburton Guardian Advertising Feature

JJ Limited - A company with a proud history We are in the people business. Our company is run by dedicated hard-working people, for dedicated hardworking people. This is our mission to the hard working farmers of Southland and Otago.

Our core business is to sell, repair and supply parts for tractors and other farm machinery. Our goal is to provide you with the best service available. We only supply the best quality goods and services available in the marketplace.

After 50 years and three generations servicing the farmers of Southland and Otago, we J J Limited are proud Our commitment to you, the client, is that we will do to include the farmers and contractors of Canterbury in whatever it takes to keep you up to date with the latest this mission statement. technology, offer you the best available repair service and the best quality parts money can buy. We at JJ Ltd. are a team of committed, efficient and motivated people who strive to achieve excellence in Our business, like that of farmers and contractors, is not everything we do. a Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm business, and that’s why we are proud to offer you our 24-hour a day, seven day a We know our clients’ needs, we know our region and we week service. know our products. Our Ashburton branch at 9a McGregor Lane, in the Riverside Ind. Est.

Have you got a proven track record in sales and a genuine interest in farm machinery? Call Terry Gordon today if you would like to be part of the JJ Ltd team in Ashburton 0272 607 820

Dave Shaw – Parts Manager. An Ashburtonian through and through, Dave has 40 years of experience in the parts industry.

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• June 1958 J J Limited opened the Invercargill branch, marking the beginning of a fruitful and enduring relationship with Massey Ferguson. • 1961 The Invercargill branch shifted to new premises at 260 Dee Street from which the company still operates today. • 1963 J J limited opened the Gore branch having been awarded the dealership rights for Eastern Southland and West Otago.

• 1975 saw the introduction of the Lely Roterra to New Zealand. J J Limited became the sole Southland Lely dealers, a position they proudly hold today some 34 years later. • 1985 J J Limited became Southland’s sole Welger dealers. • 1988 J J Limited Gore Branch were appointed Southland agents for Fendt tractors. • 2001 With the changing of the New Zealand importer and distributor for Massey Ferguson and Fendt products to AGCO the opportunity arose for a new retailer for their products in the Otago area so J J Limited headed North and opened their branch in Mosgiel. • 2009 The opportunity arose to become AGCO and Lely dealers for Canterbury.

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Contributed by Irrigation New Zealand

Making Irrigation Pay workshops coming to Mid Canterbury

commissioners will help explain the role audited self management and farm environment plans play in monitoring and minimising effects. The workshops are a good opportunity to have robust discussions and share concerns The focus of the workshops is the looming directly with Environment Canterbury water quality limits and supporting representatives. irrigators in their adoption of Good The theme this year is Managing within Management Practice. A range of speakers Limits and local irrigators have worked will assist with solid and practical advice. The Mid Canterbury dates are Chertsey, with Irrigation New Zealand to develop September 28, 1pm-4pm at the Chertsey regionally specific content. The basis of the workshop has come from the National Hall, and Hinds, October 8, 9am to Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater 12noon at the Hinds Hall. Management - putting the NPS into context Environment Canterbury commissioners and looking at what it will mean for farmers and staff will attend to hear what local in a practical sense. Group discussion irrigators have to say about forthcoming will cover if and how farms may need to water quality legislative changes. The change, and what tools and knowledge Helping farmers understand the latest technology, policy and best practice will see Irrigation New Zealand’s popular Making Irrigation Pay workshops return to Mid Canterbury this month and next.

gaps are required to meet the challenges ahead.

A technology session Irrigation Essential will address GPS application for irrigation pod placement, Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) and the challenges and opportunities around Drip Micro irrigation. Audited Self Management (ASM) will also feature. The technology session will be delivered by experienced irrigation professionals. Upcoming water quality limits and associated nutrient discharge allowances under Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Plan will also be covered and how these fit with 2011’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. Water quality is THE issue that will catch all producers soon – whether you are dryland,

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irrigated, industrial or urban, regional and district-wide management of water will come back to catchment needs. This makes it even more important for irrigators to be informed and up-skilled in addressing these challenges and working together as collective bodies to ensure a strong united voice. Irrigation New Zealand has partnered with regional sponsor Environment Canterbury and workshop sponsors, Fonterra, FAR and DairyNZ, to bring the seven workshops to Canterbury and Grow Mid Canterbury is the local sponsor for workshops within Ashburton District. More information on the Making Irrigation Pay workshops can be found on the Irrigation New Zealand website making-irrigation-pay.

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Contributed by Kerry Maw, Rural Women

Raise th Our young people are killing themselves.

Do we care enough to stop them? Or are we going to continue to tut tut quietly at home but do nothing? New Zealand’s 2010 suicide statistics have now been released and for the first time, compare urban and rural data, showing a higher rate of male suicide in rural areas than urban areas. A total of 522 people died by suicide in New Zealand in 2010. This is greater than the number of people killed in road accidents that year, which totalled 375. It is 11 per 100,000 people. Or to put it in perspective, in a city the size of Christchurch, it equates to 44 people. A further 2825 people nationally were hospitalised with intentional self-harm injuries; 54 per week! An earlier study by Allen and Blakely in 2005 found a significant association between ‘rurality’ and suicide, particularly in remote and economically depressed rural areas. It was thought that access to lethal suicide methods such as agricultural poisons and guns, and the limited availability of mental health services were some of the key influences on rural suicide rates. Mr Dunne, Associate Minister of Health, has said that: “Maori are over-represented in suicide rates, particularly young Maori, and the youth suicide rate is still too high.”

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he veil of silence on suicide The Government has now committed $ 62million to its Youth Mental Health Package and a further $8 million to strengthening communities’ programmes in an attempt to reduce or prevent suicide. This $8 million is available for use by communities that can develop strategies to reduce suicide, further entrenching the Government’s policy of community-led solutions to community issues.

The Government’s aim is clearly to have a four-year suicide prevention action plan which will build on prevention and mental health initiatives already in place. What will be of paramount importance is to ensure that policies and programmes within the action plan are fully assessed for their application to rural situations and that there are sufficient trained health professionals readily accessible for rural people. Resourcing and awareness will be key. I hear stories of people who finally pluck up the courage to seek help, only to be told that due to workload there could be a six-week wait before the Brief Intervention counsellor who visits town each week will have a free appointment. For some who have good support from their family, friends and community this may be OK. But for others it may be a final tipping point

leading to a very tragic outcome. Why is it so difficult for us to deal with this issue? For the road toll, which is only two-thirds of the suicide rate, we are happy to have the details and gory photos splashed across our TV screens and newspaper front pages, and yet for suicide we are afraid to talk about it. It is somehow a taboo subject, to be kept hidden.

Some people even contend that we shouldn’t talk about it in case it encourages people to copycat. But I believe it is this very cloak of silence which makes it so difficult for people to ask for help. In New Zealand we still have a stigma around mental health issues: “people will think I’m crazy”, “I’ll lose my job”, “couple of drinks/ drugs and I’ll be fine”, “she’ll be right”, and “teaspoon of cement” attitudes from society which make it so difficult for people to ask for help. Many in the health profession say that attempts at suicide are a cry for help, and yet how often following suicide do we say “if only we’d known” or “we had no idea there was anything wrong, it just happened out of the blue”. Part of this may be because the majority of us don’t know what to look for; what the signs are that someone may need help. Sometimes the person simply doesn’t

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know where to find help, particularly in isolated locations where they can feel even more alone. It is, therefore, very important that as a community we do talk about suicide; educate ourselves on the warning signs and make sure that we know what support services are available within our communities, so we can help people at risk.

out there – youth workers, youth cafes, Mensline, Youthline, Lifeline, to name a few. Some of these even offer online self-help programmes.

Lifeline in particular has an excellent online resource programme, heavily supported by John Kirwan who has done so much to reduce the stigma of mental Healthy lifestyles are incredibly important. illness and offer hope to others. Often all it Healthy eating, exercise, hygiene, all keep needs is a chat, a phone call, or a look at a the body healthy and are important tools good internet site to start a well-supported in coping with stress and depression. journey back to full health. However, these are things that many of our Depression and suicide are community young people struggle to do well. Long working hours, anti-social shifts, lack of life issues; impacting not just on the individual, skills, living away from home for the first but on everyone connected with them. It time, and social isolation are all factors that is therefore important that as a community can lead to stress and an inability to cope. we educate ourselves and look out for the Sadly some resort to drugs and alcohol in a warning signs in our young people, and mistaken belief they will help, when in fact ensure appropriate and timely support is they only lead to a further downward spiral offered and readily accessible. A community into depression. is only healthy because its people are healthy. If we want our communities There is support out there. For some it is being able to talk to someone to get things to continue to be healthy, grow and be dynamic, we need to get back the basics of off their chest and know they won’t be judged. For others it may be a trip to the GP caring and we need to look after each other. for referral to more targeted support. Some We should actively look for ways we can may find it too hard to do this and may want utilise some of the Government’s $8 million to find help in a more private way. funding to develop support programmes There are any number of support lines within our community.

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Contributed by Sheryl Stivens, Mastagard Eco Efficiency Coordinator

Bottle to bottle recycling Have you ever seen how molten glass globules can be magically transformed into a row of glass bottles? It was fascinating to tour the glass manufacturing plant recently as part of my advisory role with the Glass Packaging Forum . The forum is a non-profit membership organisation whose members all sell products in glass. Product stewardship has been an important crusade for the forum, which has signed up their members to the first product stewardship agreement for packaging in New Zealand. This means that companies who use glass are committed to supported closed loop recycling for glass bottles and jars.

New Zealand. O-I has invested in a third furnace at their reprocessing site in Auckland and they want all the glass bottles and jars we can send them. Sadly the wheelie bin collections of recycled materials now collected in many cities where glass is mixed with paper, plastics and metals, is so contaminated that it cannot be colour sorted for recycling back into bottles. Fortunately Dunedin and Wellington are collecting glass in a separate open crates and keeping it out of the mixed wheelie bin collection so it can be recycled back into bottles instead of being down cycled into roading or landfill cover. Throughout Ashburton District colour-sorted glass is collected and shipped to Auckland for making back into the bottles and jars.

Every additional 10 per cent of recycled glass used to replace raw materials in the glass-making process reduces the amount of energy required for melting by approx 2.5 per cent. Every recycled bottle used in the manufacturing process saves enough energy to power a 60 watt light bulb for four hours. Every tonne of recycled glass bottles (cullet used) replaces 1-2 tonnes of raw material and prevents more than half a tonne green house gas.

About glass

Glass is natural. It’s made from three simple ingredients: sand, limestone and soda ash. Those ingredients make glass endlessly recyclable. And glass retains the same high You can put glass bottles and jars in your weekly kerbside quality through recycling after recycling. collection and put out up to five bins from one household. Glass is stable. It doesn’t break down into harmful Rural recycling depots accept colour-sorted glass bottles chemicals in earth or oceans. It all happens in Auckland where O-I, the world’s and jars along with cardboard, paper, and cans and are largest bottle recycler, has a recycling and bottle and jar And glass can actually lower your carbon footprint open seven days week at Willowby, Hinds, Rangitata Huts, manufacturing plant which turns out 700 million bottles compared to other packaging. The total lifecycle of Mt Somers, Mayfield, Stavely, and Methven. Pendarves/ per year. Just think, from our Ashburton recycling depots packaging, whether it’s glass, plastic, aluminium or alone we send over 800 tonnes of glass bottles and jars per Dorie, Hakatere Huts and the Ashburton and Rakaia paper, includes raw material extraction and transport, Resource Recovery Parks. annum. manufacturing, shipping, and recycling or disposal. Glass has been reused in our homes for home preserving What glass can you recycle at depots Because glass recycles endlessly, making new bottles often and has been recycled on a larger scale and for over 3000 throughout the Ashburton District? requires fewer raw materials and less energy. years, longer than any other packaging material. In fact it Glass is a packaging choice you can feel good about as Glass bottles, glass jars. can be endlessly recycled because its quality purity and long as you reuse and recycle it indefinitely. clarity are not compromised by reprocessing. There is so little packaging that we manufacture in New Zealand from raw materials right through to finished product as well as taking back the end product for remanufacturing.

Used bottles and jars collected from households, pubs, clubs and restaurants are colour sorted and processed to remove any contaminants. They are then made furnace ready for reprocessing into new glass containers here in

What glass can you not drop off for recycling?

Ceramics, crockery, light bulbs, window glasses, drinking glasses.

So keep sorting and recycling glass in your homes and workplaces, in sports clubs and on your farms, so we can do our bit right here in Ashvegas for bottle to bottle recycling.



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Ashburton Guardian Guardian Farming