Page 1


MAY, 2014

Young farmers going for title

Pages 3-5

James Davidson, of the Hinds Young Farmers Club, is this year’s Aorangi representative in the ANZ Young Farmer of the Year competition.




Families of long-tailed bats can be found in small pockets of South Canterbury forest. Mary Ralston




ast week’s deluge certainly delivered additional stress to arable farmers who have been battling the weather for weeks to get their small seed crops harvested. This comes on the back of a very average harvest in many parts of the South Island, with a cold, wet spring, gale-force winds and overcast autumn weather all contributing. For those farmers with highvalue vegetable and grass seed crops still in the paddock the situation is particularly grim. With this in mind, Federated Farmers has launched a campaign asking farmers to look out for their neighbours, and offer support where they can. It’s a noteworthy idea. The investment, in terms of money and time, that goes into these crops is immense, and watching them rot must be soul-destroying. Even where the harvest is in the silo, the weather has conspired to keep those needing to sow winter feed and spring crops out of the water-logged paddocks. While many dairy farmers will have felt the impact of last month’s record rainfalls, the staff on Willy Leferink’s Pannett Dairies farm has had the advantage of working under cover in cow barns, which we feature on pages 13 and 14. Cow barns could be the answer for frustrated


Greg Martin

In New Zealand it’s not about the fancy flyfishing gear, it’s about the big fish.


An inspiring Hamilton school principal tackles some of the challenges of raising children today.


The International Panel on Climate Change’s Mitigation Report supports carbon-efficient food production, which is good news for New Zealand.



John Leadley


Dr William Rolleston


contacts We appreciate your feedback. Editor Email your comments to michelle.n@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7971. Advertising

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

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sheep and arable farmers wanting to turn part of their farms over to dairying within today’s stringent environmental constraints. The Aoraki region’s contender for the Young Farmer of the Year title is profiled, along with the rest of the grand finalists, and we check out what the AgriKids got up to at the Aoraki regional finals. We also hark back to the golden days of sheep farming, and take a look at the Tinwald Saleyards 50 years ago, when the annual two-tooth fair attracted 38,000 sheep, which took a day-and-a-half to clear (pages 28 and 29).

Off to a new home: Sheep leaving the Tinwald Saleyards 50 years ago.

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Hinds young farmer off to nationals H inds Young Farmers’ Club member James Davidson is the last grand finalist to be named in the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, after earning the spot at the Aorangi regional final held at the Mackenzie showgrounds on Easter Monday. In a Mid Canterburydominated competition, the eight contestants demonstrated their skills, strength and stamina in the practical challenges throughout the day. The Mackenzie Community Centre was the venue for the evening show and quiz round. It was Mr Davidson’s first attempt at the regional level and he was somewhat shocked at winning what he admits was a “rather difficult” competition. “I was hoping to learn from the experience and scope it all out,” he said. “My goal was just to make it to the top four, so it was a definite surprise to win.” Mr Davidson went home with a prize pack worth more than $10,000 including cash,

James Davidson, of the Hinds Young Farmers’ Club, works the tongs in the cooking challenge during the regional competition finals.

scholarships and products and services. Mid Canterbury Young Farmers Nigel Woodhead, of the Pendarves club, and Sam Bryan, Foothills club, placed second and third respectively.

At the district round of competition in October last year Mr Davidson placed third, behind Mr Woodhead and Mr Bryan. Rounding out the top four was Cole Harris, of the

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Milford-Clandeboye club. Mr Davidson also won the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge and Mr Woodhead took out the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge. Steven Smit, of the

Continued on next page

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Glenavy-Waimate club, who placed fifth overall, won Silver Fern Farms Agrisports Challenge and sixth placegetter, Marshall Smith, of the Upper Waitaki club, won the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge. Mr Davidson says his diverse range of farming experience and university education gave him the edge for the win. “A lot of the stuff you learn in university that you never thought you would use comes back to you,” Mr Davidson said. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture from Lincoln University. Mr Davidson works as 2IC on a 1400-cow dairy farm in Darfield where he hopes to gain more experience before he takes the next step up in his career. The ultimate goal, he says, is farm ownership, but, in the meantime Mr Davidson is working on developing his recently bought 70-hectare grazing and silage block at Glentunnel.


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Hinds man off to finals

Six other challengers taking a Tasman

From p3 Outside of work he enjoys an active lifestyle involving fishing, shooting and playing squash. In preparation for the grand final Mr Davidson says there will be plenty of study, particularly on areas he is not so familiar with such as forestry and beef. Mr Davidson will also rely on his professional networks and contacts he has made through his Young Farmers’ Club. “I’ll be going out with reps, really picking people’s brains,” he says. The grand final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest will take place July 3 to 5, in Christchurch, where seven competitors from across the country will compete for the coveted champion’s title and over $300,000 in prizes. The Road to the Young Farmer Final series starts on May 18 at 9.30pm on TVNZ Heartland, and covers each of the seven regional finals and follows the seven top achievers who make it through to the grand final.


Defending Tasman champion, Reuben Carter, was the first grand finalist to be named for this year’s competition. The 30-year-old agronomist dominated the contest for most of the day, taking out both the Silver Fern Farms Agri-Sports and Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenges, giving him a solid platform going into the evening show. He now has eight regional finals under his belt and placed fourth overall in the 2013 grand final. Contest rules

Reuben Carter will represent Tasman.

dictate that competitors can only participate twice at the grand final level, so this will be his last chance to be the champion. Mr Carter earned his Bachelor of Agriculture from Lincoln University.

Otago-Southland Representing the OtagoSouthland region is 28-yearold Dean Rabbidge, a sheep and beef farmer from the

Taranaki-Manawatu Dean Rabbidge (left), of Wyndham, is representing Otago-Southland.


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2 4

Brad Lewis, is representing the Taranaki-Manawatu region.

Manawatu region. He also took out the Agri-Business challenge. Mr Lewis manages his family farm, Lewis Dairies, in Levin, where they have a herd of 500 friesian crosses. He returns to the grand final for the second time in 2014 and continues a rich success rate with both of his regional final outings turning into grand final visits. Continued on next page

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tilt at the Young Farmer of the Year Dwayne Cowin (left) will represent Waikato-Bay of Plenty.

skills Challenges. Twenty-eight-year-old Mr Cowin belongs to the Reporoa Young Farmers’ Club and has a Bachelor of Applied Science. He is a stock manager at Lochinver Station, and is working towards his ultimate goal of share farming or leasing a sheep and beef farm within the next 10 years.

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Waikato-Bay of Plenty Dwayne Cowin shook off the “bridesmaid tag” to represent Waikato-Bay of

Plenty at this year’s grand final, after placing second for the past three years. He also took out the AGMARDT Agri-business and the Ravensdown Agri-

Sully Alsop will be representing the East Coast in the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final. He also won three out of four of the challenges; the Lincoln University Agrigrowth, AGMARDT Agribusiness and Ravensdown Agri-skills. The day started out well for Mr Alsop with a strong lead after a complex written exam, but it was the evening show question rounds that proved the most challenging. Mr Alsop belongs to the Wairarapa club.

Sully Alsop will represent the East Coast.

David Kidd, of Shelley Beach, will represent Northern.

The 30-year-old works as an agribusiness consultant based out of Masterton and owns a farming business with his wife, Katie. He also holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Farm Management.

Challenge award. In a closely fought competition, Mr Kidd took the lead in the question round to secure the top spot by 13 points. He is following in his father Richard’s footsteps – Mr Kidd senior was the third-place winner of the 1984 Young Farmer Grand Finals in Timaru. Mr Kidd holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and when he is not busy on the farm he enjoys sports, shooting and training his work dogs.

Northern Thirty-year-old sheep and beef farm manager David Kidd, from Shelley Beach, will fly the flag for the Northern region. Mr Kidd also took home the AGMARDT Agri-business

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Keen interest in junior competition C


Contestants get down to business during the AgriKidsNZ and Teen Ag regional competition at the Mackenzie Showgrounds.

Mitchell Sowden, from Geraldine High School and Geraldine Primary. AgriKidsNZ is open to children aged eight to 13


rowds gathered at the Mackenzie Showgrounds for the final stop of the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg competition series on Easter Monday. The Aorangi regional final saw the Hinds Agris team of Ella Yeatman, William Ward and Hayden Jefferson, from Hinds School, take home the top honour for the AgriKidsNZ competition and the High Country Hillbillies team, of Holly Malcolm and Ella Sanderson, from St Kevin’s School, were first in the TeenAg event. The competitions test skills, strength and stamina while introducing youth to the fun side of agriculture. Primary and high school students from all walks of life are welcome to join in. Rounding out the top three for AgriKidsNZ were the Crazy Cows team, of Ben Chambers, Sam Wilson and Ben Thompson, from Ashburton Intermediate School, in second and third place went to the Geraldine Musterers’ Patrick FoleySmith, Tim Sheed and

years of age and they compete in teams of three while the TeenAg competition calls for high school students 13 to 18 years old, competing in pairs.



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There was some fierce competition among the TeenAg competitors. Gumboot Girls’ Georgia Malcolm and Brittany

Caldwell, from St Kevin’s School, took home second place and in third was Moist Musterers’ Cody Callaghan and Thomas Yeatman, from Timaru Boys’ High School. The competitions are structured into eight modules which can test anything and everything farm related. The top-scoring seven teams continue through to the race-off challenge where contestants must work as a team and complete a series of tasks as fast as possible. “It was a great day out and the weather certainly turned around for us,” AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg project leader Josie Hampton said. “We had a strong finish for the regional finals with 27 AgriKidsNZ and 14 TeenAg teams in Aorangi.” The top three teams from each regional final are invited to attend the 2014 Grand Final held in Christchurch, July 3 to 5, where they will battle it out for the national champion’s title. • For more details visit www. youngfarmercontest.co.nz


Mary Ralston



Going batty


hen we think of New Zealand’s native animals, our birds usually come to mind. People who live near the coast may think of fish and marine creatures such as sea lions, seals and dolphins. There is another group of native animals that rarely features, perhaps because they are small, nocturnal and rare. They are bats, the small mammals found in Canterbury who deserve a higher profile because of their rarity and status as New Zealand’s only land mammal. There are two species of bat remaining in New Zealand – the long-tailed bat and short-tailed bat; both are endangered. They are in danger of extinction in the medium term and are a high priority for conservation. The Maori name for bats is pekapeka. Maori associate them with the mythical nightflying bird, hokioi, which

A long-tailed bat, New Zealand’s only native land mammal.

foretells death or disaster. The long-tailed bat does indeed only go out at night and is found in forest around New Zealand, although now in greatly reduced numbers. The short-tailed bat is found on a few offshore islands and in some isolated forest pockets. The long-tailed bat is the species we have in South Canterbury; small family groups are found from Peel Forest to Fairlie and Temuka. These tiny animals – the size of a person’s thumb – are on-the-wing insect feeders,

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warm in winter and cool in summer. Other roost sites are cabbage and willow trees and old podocarp trees that have hollows. Intensification of farming has had an impact on bat numbers because the number of their preferred roost sites – old trees – has dwindled, and insecticides have done away with a lot of insects. Predators have a major impact as well and all the usual suspects (stoats, cats, rats and ferrets) have contributed to the bats’ decline. We can all do our bit for bats, and measures to protect bats also protect our native birds. If you have old trees around the farm, keep them – old willow and poplar trees often have good roost sites for the long-tailed bat. Young trees, even before they have roost sites, are valuable because their flowers attract insects, so keep planting flowering trees such as cabbage trees, ribbonwoods, kanuka and gums (pine trees and other conifers do not have flowers so aren’t useful for attracting insects). Trapping predators and not replacing the family cat can also help save a bat as well as our native birds.

coming out at dusk to eat moths, midges, beetles and mosquitoes. They find their prey by echolocation, a process of using sound waves rather than light to get a picture of their environment. It is difficult to see these animals at night so “bat detectors” are used. These are small devices that pick up the high-frequency echolocation calls that bats emit in flight. These have shown that although pekapeka are widespread, their range has

declined and are numerous in only a few places. Podocarp forest at Peel Forest should be ideal habitat for bats but a volunteer group detected very few in the area. They are more prolific around Hanging Rock, Arowhenua, Raincliffe and Temuka where there are small family groups. The availability of the limestone caves and overhangs to roost in may be part of the reason for their continued presence there – the limestone’s good insulation helps keep the bat colonies

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astebusters have had a steady stream of requests over the years from farmers wishing to establish a recycling depot on their properties. In the past Wastebusters has offered advice, and with the establishment of it’s site providing a convenient drop off facility there is a steady stream of recycling being dropped off from the rural community. Increased demand from farmers coupled with burning and burying being prohibited, coupled with the established rural sites moving from large collection boxes to wheelie bins, which are proving to be impractical, prompted Wastebusters to investigate the possibility of establishing a recycling service to the rural community. As well as the normal recycling products (glass, paper, plastic cans and cardboard) additional agricultural recycling

products have been identified and these include plastic baling twine, polyprop bags and 200 litre plastic drums. Additional lines are being investigated.

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In researching this service, rubbish disposal was identified as being an issue as disposal pits were not an environmentally friendly option. It was decided to include rubbish collection as part of the proposed service as well. A range of bins were developed and a test site was set up to identify logistical

issues. The main objective being to make the system as simple and cost effective as possible. Wastebusters are confident that has been achieved. For a property or properties wishing to be part of this scheme all that is required is an initial purchase of the required amount of bins. A weekly collection service is planned with each area being allocated a specific day. Should a pickup be required Wastebusters need to be told of the amount of full bins to be collected and these will be replaced with empty ones, rubbish and recycling are able to be collected in the same load. Collection costs will be minimal with time and mileage being split among the properties being serviced on that day. The bins are moved using a hiab truck so assistance with loading is not required. It is seen as important to make everybody on the participating

properties aware of how the system works. To achieve this Wastebusters will provide box labels and educate farm staff on how the system works. This is seen as important as many properties have a large number of staff and continual contamination can jeopardise the success of the operation. The concept has won the support of Federated Farmers and all those who have been involved and wish

to be involved. It is an effort by Wastebusters to provide a much needed service, to recover recyclables and ensure rubbish is disposed of responsibly. Farms wishing to participate should contact Wastebusters on 308 9998 or 021 892 763 and we will visit your property to identify your requirements and give an indication of costs. Advertising feature

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Food safety from paddock to plate A

n increasingly dynamic and sophisticated food industry stemming from the globalisation of food production also means more complex issues around food safety and security. This, when coupled with New Zealand’s heavy reliance on exporting primary produce, demands robust knowledge and constant up-skilling in the processes and requirements of food safety and security by industry professionals. In response to these issues, Lincoln University, through its Centre for Food Research and Innovation, is running a series of professional development courses for those in the food industry. The inaugural course, which will be repeated throughout the year, took place last month and was a one-day introductory course on food safety in general and the wellestablished Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) management system for food safety. The next short course will run on June 16 to 18, and covers practical considerations

Senior lecturer in food microbiology Dr Malik Hussain gives an introductory overview to participants at the inaugural Food Safety and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point professional course.

in food microbiology. The courses have been established by Lincoln University senior lecturer in food microbiology Dr Malik Hussain and the university’s South Island business development manager Dr Sam Yu in response to the shortage of adequately trained food professionals working in the industry. “These courses will suit a wide range of industry people:

anyone from distributors, manufacturers, Government regulators, sanitation supervisors, plant managers, or packing staff,” Dr Hussain said. “New Zealand has a great reputation for the quality and safety of its food; however, we should never get complacent. “There is a strong need for science-based ‘field-tofork’ food safety education. Ultimately, such an approach can bring long-term benefits

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individual business on the back foot; meaning a lot of relationship-building effort has to go back into building trust – it’s time consuming and expensive. We have started these professional development courses to help ensure that businesses never have to experience such a situation. “This is all the more relevant considering the worldwide increase in food safety incidents, which is partly a result of more expansive global trade, meaning a wider range of products and ingredients in the food chain. “It’s also worth noting that about 40 per cent of New Zealand’s food production exports come from the South Island, and around 30 per cent of food and beverage companies are here too,” he says. • More details about courses can be found at www. lincoln.ac.nz/Research-atLincoln/Research-centres/ Centre-for-Food-Researchand-Innovation/

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Flyfishing for all Greg Martin


once worked near London in a private hospital as a student, wheeling patients into the operating theatre, and then wheeling them out again. As with some professional English work environments, the class system was alive and well with the posh-talking surgeons occupying the highest rung. I remember one of them standing in the coffee room between patients one day complaining that he didn’t have use of his Range Rover that morning as it was at the dealership being repaired. He’d left some trout flies on the dashboard after fishing the River Test at the weekend and they had disappeared down a vent and somehow ended up getting stuck in the windscreen wiper mechanism. Now the wipers weren’t working any more. It was a hard life. A nurse had rolled her eyes and headed out for a smoke.

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Tips for flyfishing • Ask someone to teach you to cast. • Very long leaders are the key to catching trout in New Zealand. • Get well acquainted with Mr Percy Verance. • A pair of Polaroids will be essential for spotting. • Fish the near water before trying to reach the other bank.

A box of fishing flies.

Rover? In fact, who needs waders? Stubbies and boots. Get wet. Who cares? If you hook a big one, then go for a swim. Yes, another great thing about New Zealand. Equal access to quality recreation. And judgment that starts and ends with: how many did you catch, and how big were they? And that’s where the second impressive thing about flyfishing in Mid Canterbury kicks in – the size. I don’t know what the scientific explanation for it is, but you hardly ever catch what I would regard as small fish in New Zealand. Everything here seems to be either big, or huge. A 4lb (1.8kg) brown trout in Scotland or South Africa would be a trophy fish. Here it’s just kind of average. The exciting thing about


Yes, in the world of fishing, flyfishing for trout on a gurgling stream is what marketers would describe as “aspirational”. It conjures up ideas of quality, precision, success, wealth – and yes Range Rovers and tweed. It is also probably the one kind of fishing where owning prestige equipment gives you absolutely no advantage at all. And yet if you want to be regarded as a fly-fisherman of note, prestige equipment is what you need to have. Lampson reel. Sage rod. Simms jacket and waders. It’s expensive. It marks you out. Thankfully here in New Zealand, things are a little different. Sure, if you go into a serious flyfishing shop they’ll tell you that you’ll want a Lampson and a Sage. And it’s nice stuff. But unlike England, here a $120 licence gets you a year of access to any fishable water in the South Island. To someone from the UK, that’s incredible. You don’t have to be earning surgeon’s fees or be friends with minor royalty to get out there, and there is just so much out there. Just open a road atlas and decide where you want to go fishing that day. And who needs tweed and a Range



Gotcha: success with a fly rod.

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w w w.ashbur tondc .gov t .nz


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2 12

Farming sheds and buildings


Barn farm throws up plenty of


or arable or sheep farmers, cow barns could be the answer to converting part of their farming operation to dairying. They are also an option in view of tough new rules around nutrient discharge. Federated Farmers dairy industry chairman Willy Leferink discovered this when he attempted to convert a 214 hectare dry land sheep farm at Mitcham near Ashburton. Although there were existing irrigation consents, Environment Canterbury would not consider a dairy conversion. “We found we couldn’t grow anything except sheep so I asked Ecan what would happen if we ran all of our cows inside. Even if we did this for half the time we’d capture enough nutrients to be under the limit.” Mr Leferink went ahead and began looking at barn options. Eventually Ecan signed the consent off, but any vision, ideas and any preconceptions Mr Leferink may have had were soon turned upside down. The dairy operation is now carried out in two free stall barns with 940 individual beds, dry cow and calving facilities and a 60 bale rotary shed with a high level of automation. The farm is owned by an equity

partnership and employs eight full time staff, with milking spread over eight or nine hour days. “This was a means to an end for us. We wanted to show what could be done under the new land and water plan. This is an example of farming to meet and beat the rules,” Mr Leferink said. Development of the barn farm has been rapid. The company was formed in January 2013, work started on March 1 and the first cows were milked on May 19. The barns received their first residents on June 30 and by August the second barn was completed and cows were calving indoors. “We had four key components when we were setting up – it had to be environmentally sound, it had to be a nice work environment, animal welfare had to be a high priority and the whole thing had to be profitable.” One year down the track, Mr Leferink believes that, thanks to top efforts by staff, the business has met all four criteria. Along the way he has constantly been surprised by the benefits that come with cow barns in terms of production and animal health. He’s battled through some high risks including environmental constraints, high expense, public perception, bureaucratic red tape and said


Photos Sue Newman 230414-SN-050

Home for some of the 900 cows on Willy Leferink’s Pannett Dairies farm is a barn, rather than a paddock.

making barn farming work required establishing good management systems for an new farming concept. The barn conversion hasn’t come cheaply. While a normal conversion to dairying carries a tag of between $10,000 and $12,000 a hectare, barn conversion runs to between $25,000 and $30,000 per hectare. And that will stretch any bank manager’s lending parameters, Mr Leferink said. While the cows spend much of their time indoors, they still have the opportunity to go outdoors. Most are keen to get back under

cover, however, Mr Leferink said. “Life in the barn is so easy on the cows, you open the door and the cows don’t want to go outside. They’ll go out for a run and come back in.” The indoor system provides the opportunity for four or five insemination rounds per cow. Calving runs year round at the rate of 90 – 100 animals per month. Barns also mean cows can be brought out of season. Irrigation is done through an IQ system which records where every nutrient on the farm is distributed.



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Farming sheds and buildings



challenges and rewards



What’s not to love about living in a cow barn when a back scratcher comes with a warm bed and an endless supply of food.

Milking over, the cows return to the barn and eat their fill before retiring to their cow stalls to rest.

“This is all mapped so effluent and water go exactly where we want.” The two barns are top of the line but the investment has been worth it because the design ensures a good airflow and natural temperature control. There is no fan forced ventilation and temperature ranges between 15 and 18 degrees. Inside the barns there is no smell. Floors are scraped daily, food is cleared and restocked each morning and effluent is dealt with through a state of the art separation and distribution system.

Running a cow barn farm is about systems, but also about achieving a good work – life balance for everyone involved – including the cows. “Our cows never run out of feed, they go to their own beds and choose their own neighbours. These cows are the happiest cows in the country; our staff know they cannot even lift a stick at a cow. There is no animal abuse. We even went to three times a day milking because the cows were standing there wanting to be milked.” In terms of educating cows to barn

In terms of nitrogen, barn cows produce significantly less in their urine than cows eating and living on grass, Mr Leferink said. Feed is one of the operation’s biggest costs. The cows’ diet is designed by a nutritionist and while most feed is bought in, the plan is to grow as much as possible on site in the future. In terms of health issues, there are none, except for a little more hoof care and the need to mix in vitamin D into feed during the winter to compensate for lost sunlight.

life and to turning up to be milked when they felt the need, it took about three days; educating staff about the new system took much longer. “Would we do this again? Yes, it’s been beyond expectations. This is one way we can keep farming into the future, the catch is though, you can’t pay top dollars for land and then put this system on top of it. “This is not a silver bullet and it’s not for everyone. We learned so much and today we do things very differently to a year ago,” he said. 230414-SN-020

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Milking over, the cows return to the barn and eat their fill before retiring to their cow stalls to rest.

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Farming sheds and buildings



Wintering sheds give you options By Structure WiSe


ith the cooler months fast approaching, now is an excellent time to recognise the benefits of wintering sheds. Having the addition of a wintering shed gives a farmer a lot more options whilst also making things easier in sometimes extreme southern weather conditions.

The addition of a wintering shed gives a farmer a lot more options whilst also making things easier

The use of this type of structure can help reduce or eliminate many problems linked to traditional wintering practices. With all these advantages a farmer can now have very different performance expectations from stock. Not to mention the benefits that can be utilised in the summer months as well. Advertising feature

Some of the many benefits of having a wintering shed are: 1. A significant reduction in environmental impact 2. Healthier cows 3. Improved feed utilisation 4. Improved stock management 5. Improved effluent management 6. Improved pasture health 7. Increased milk production 8. Better conditions for your staff and your equipment 9. Savings due to fewer man hours required for winter feeding 10. Reduce the costs of off farm grazing.

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2 16



Untangling irrigation governance I

f you are involved with an irrigation scheme either as a farmer or as an employee, consider attending an IrrigationNZ workshop next month about governance skills. Not just focused on the needs of directors, the Governance Essentials workshop on June 12 will cover governance from both a staff and board member’s perspective. That is understanding the difference between governance and operational decisions to a review of the legislation impacting on companies. Presenter Juliet McKee is a fellow of the Institute of Directors as well as an experienced director having sat on more than 20 boards across a wide range of sectors. The one-day workshop at the Copthorne Hotel in Christchurch will also cover the essentials of good board papers and well-run meetings, and feature a case study focusing on strategy and board/management relationships. In July, IrrigationNZ will

Keeping tabs on water use and your irrigators is part of SMART irrigation practice.

follow up with a Finance Essentials workshop presented by Craig Rust, also a member of the Institute of Directors, chartered accountant and successful businessman in his own right as founder/owner of Divine Desserts. The one-day workshop on July 17, also at the Copthorne Hotel, will cover all aspects of financial reporting from financial statements and terminology through to budgets and forecasts. An evaluation of investment approaches us-

ing real-life examples will help participants compare scenarios and make appraisals. Both workshops link to IrrigationNZ’s SMART Irrigation programme of work (smartirrigation.co.nz) launched at the biennial conference and expo in Napier. SMART Irrigation is a framework to ensure future irrigation in New Zealand is implemented and managed sustainably. It is a first for New Zealand and will help irrigators respond to public

concerns about the use of public water resources by proving SMART Irrigators are effective water managers. The SMART (Sustainably Managed, Accountable, Responsible and Trusted) Irrigation framework provides three steps for irrigators to better manage their environmental footprint. • Design future irrigation systems to industry standards and codes of practice. • Annually check the

irrigation system is performing as it should. • Justify the reason for applying irrigation. Central to all of the above is record keeping – providing evidence that these three steps are being achieved. The SMART Irrigation framework is supported by education and training resources and accreditation programmes all provided by IrrigationNZ. Some are free and others have only a nominal cost. Read about SMART Irrigation at smartirrigation. co.nz, including profiles of irrigators and irrigation schemes already leading the way with SMART Irrigation practice. Being financially and governance SMART is an integral part of the wider picture as these skills will also ensure the industry’s sustainability into the future. • To find out more about both workshops, phone IrrigationNZ on (03) 341 2225 or register online at irrigationnz.co/nz/ eventsandtraining

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Fat’s back on the menu


ederated Farmers is welcoming a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which found no link between saturated fats and heart disease. While this in no way endorses an unbalanced diet, it is perhaps a start on centring the pendulum. “It is significant that the British Heart Foundation helped to fund a study which questions current dietary advice that polyunsaturated fats are good and saturated fats are inherently bad,” Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell said. An international team led by the University of Cambridge’s Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury collated and re-analysed data from 72 separate studies involving more than 600,000 participants. “Having read an interpretation of the study and the study, this is

It will be great for us if saturated fats are found not to be a problem fat

potentially very good news for red meat and dairy products. It suggests conventional wisdom maybe turned on its head,” Mrs Maxwell said. Dr Chowdhury’s team considered saturated fats as a component in diet and levels in the bloodstream.  When these were put sideby-side, no association could be determined between total saturated fats and coronary disease risk. “We are not for a moment suggesting people go out on a bender eating every meat and dairy product they can,” Mrs Maxwell said. 

A new study has found no link between saturated fats and heart disease.

“What this study supports is this fundamental message: as part of a healthy and balanced diet, meat and dairy products are potentially good for you. “The issues affecting heart disease seem to come back to factors like smoking, alcohol, weight and exercise. “The Cambridge Universityled study warrants a lot more work to confirm what it seems to have uncovered.  If you

Google saturated fat in New Zealand right now, all the advice is to reduce or eliminate its consumption. “That advice may be wrong but we need more work to confirm it.  Then again, we have seen this pendulum shift before with foods oscillating between being bad and good for you. “The one statistic we cannot argue about is that

the life expectancy of New Zealanders continues to trend upwards and this curve is getting ever steeper. “Simply put, the quality of red meat we eat today is the best it has been in human history and will only continue to get better.  “It will be great for us if saturated fats are found not to be a problem fat,” Mrs Maxwell said.

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Time for mums and dads to give the John Leadley



y article in last month’s Guardian Farming on social issues in Ashburton struck a chord with many families judging by feedback received. The quote from former police manager for Ashburton, Grant Russell: “We do have a serious parenting issue in this community” certainly has a measure of support. Often my opinion pieces for this journal have lamented the apparent opting out from parental obligations by many in the expectation that community or government will pick up the pieces. It may well be that it takes a community to raise a child, but the procreational liability lies squarely with the couple, and that is where the responsibility begins.

Without moralising or further mentioning contraception, parenthood is clearly optional in today’s informed society. A trend in some Ashburton district schools that seems to have gathered traction over recent years is the availability of “free” breakfast before the school day begins. While I accept the opinion backed by many studies that children concentrate, learn and behave better when a healthy breakfast has been eaten, I don’t accept it is a government (ie taxpayer) responsibility. As always there will be some exceptions caused by ill health, employment interruption or other genuine reasons, and that is what the welfare state is there to cover. With that I have no problem. Teachers from preschool to tertiary level have a difficult enough task to meet the exacting requirement of 21stcentury education without the responsibility of student nutrition. Child nutrition is surely a basic parental responsibility.

In my role as a board member of New Zealand Heart Foundation I attended the foundation’s bi-annual forum in Auckland. As always the subject of nutrition and health was high on the agenda. I was particularly impressed by a presentation by Shane Ngatai, the principal of the Rhodes Street School in Dinsdale, Hamilton, a role he has had for eight years with eight all male staff. This Year 1-8 institution has a roll of 220 pupils, of whom 80 per cent are Maori, 15 per cent Pacific Island with the balance a range of nationalities. At the time of appointment to this low-decile school Mr Ngatai soon realised many pupils were coming to school without food or were buying chips and confectionery before school to get them through the day. Concentration was an issue. Immediate action was taken securing both short and long-term solutions. A written agreement was brokered by the school board, principal and the seven dairy owners within the school zone,

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not to sell confectionery or junk food to any pupil before 9am, with a parental shop boycott as a penalty. Buy-in of 100 per cent resulted. Caregiver education on exercise and nutrition gave positive results in class. Pupils were encouraged to

climb trees and learn safety boundaries. Mr Ngatai, who has a real passion for health promotion including nutrition, has created Sustainable Kids, an inspiring model which has been embraced not only by the Dinsdale community,

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but acclaimed nationally and internationally. He is an adviser on educational strategies, a task force member of the Children’s Commission and Sky City Trustee working on the grants committee. During the first year of his employment he gained approval to use part of the school grounds for planting.

I challenge the “child in a glass cage” mentality of some health education professionals and parents

A total of 64 fruit trees, seven varieties of berries and 16 vegetable gardens were established by pupils, staff and parents for use and sale within the community. Produce sold at school fairs and sauces made by pupils from the surplus help provide valuable teaching resources and sports equipment to an appreciative community. Education authorities have acknowledged a continuing improvement in attendance, academic achievement, energy and behaviour as well as training in sustainable living techniques. In addition a free health clinic was set up, and the nine

teaching staff collectively lost 80kg in a year as part of a sponsored health challenge. A great role model. The election year focus on housing and food affordability is indeed a topical issue. I’m continually frustrated by those who complain of high food costs, poor employment opportunities and who continually lengthen the queues at food banks when their major problem is lack of motivation. Yes there are genuine cases of need and thankfully community benefactors to assist. In so many cases however food could be grown successfully for little cost and without over exertion in a backyard garden. For those killing time while seeking work the exercise and challenge could provide real health benefits. The much needed move toward natural and organic foods, rather than the highly processed goods available on supermarket shelves can only be positive. I know I’m far from alone in believing that today’s children and young

adults possess much less resistance to common colds and influenza type diseases, than children of 50 years ago. This despite the availability of vaccination against many common ailments that can have serious consequences, and should be accessed by every parent. Over emphasis on hygiene has reached a point where we risk becoming a sterile society which is not ideal in my view. Fifty years ago with only an outside long-drop toilet, shearing thousands of sheep with no hand-washing facility at smoko, and swimming in river water or school pools filled directly from stock water races were normal health challenges in my youth, all with no ill effects. I’m not suggesting a return to that, but I challenge the “child in a glass cage” mentality of some health education professionals and parents. You soon learn that if you fall from a tree a couple of times, the stop at the bottom can hurt, and carelessness abates. I admire immensely the

attitude of Shane Ngatai and others with similar objectives and know that several Ashburton schools are making a real effort using similar techniques. The end result must surely be a healthier more resilient workforce in later years. As a home gardener for 65 years I know that it takes little ground to grow a large volume of food for little cost. Something most landlords would rather see than an overgrown section grazing broken down vehicles and a pit bull. If you don’t believe this, I suggest a bus trip around parts of South Auckland or Porirua, where you can draw your own conclusions. There are ways to encourage a more resilient and healthier population. Warnings on obesity and inactivity are well founded. Where better than schools and families to address these issues. Role modelling is such an important part of parenting. If you can give your children little else, please give them your time.

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2 20



Multiple rainfalls test Tony Davoren

Eyre silt loam soil moisture from February to April.

Templeton silt loam soil moisture from February to April.



he second month of autumn has passed and with continued rainfall drainage is dominant. For those who were the “reluctant irrigator” you will have saved on your nutrient leaching. This is shaping as the season from hell for drainage and the importance or value of soil will come to the fore. Last month I concentrated on the adjective reluctant and that it needed to apply to you as an irrigator, especially given regular rainfall during March. The only contribution of irrigation at this time of the year is: • increased drainage. • where drainage equals nutrient leaching. • where nutrient leaching

The ground in Mid Canterbury is sodden after heavy rain in April.

equals difficulty complying with Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP) nutrient limits that are soon to arrive on your farming system. The rain has continued and in relatively large events – 30mm to 45mm over April 7 and 8, another 12mm to

25mm over April 12 and 13 and finally another 60mm to 90mm over April 17-18. And that doesn’t count the 50mm to 100mm forecast as I pen this article. Having soil will be of great value if the weather is a precursor of the winter months to come. Value according to the

Green farming



soil’s ability to store or drain water Oxford Dictionary is “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; the relative duration of the sound signified by a note; and the meaning of a word or other linguistic unit”. We are of course most interested in this case in the “importance or usefulness” of the soil profile. The soil moisture records from lysimeter sites in Mid Canterbury testify to the wetness of March and April (to date). The first is a shallow Eyre silt loam and the second a deep Templeton silt loam (see graphs, left). Both are centre-pivot irrigated – with only two and five irrigation events in March and April respectively. April has (and not something everyone doesn’t know) been particularly wet with 15 rain days of the first 27 days – ugh!! Of particular interest in the soil moisture plots is the number of grey bars; that is drainage events

Comparing the soil moisture, rainfall and irrigation, and drainage of the Eyre and Templeton sites in March and April.

• 11 drainage events at the Eyre lysimeter; and • 6 drainage events at the Templeton lysimeter. Totally related to “soil” and its ability to store water, namely the “importance or

usefulness” of the soil profile: • 112mm of available water at the Eyre lysimeter; and • 135mm of available water at the Templeton lysimeter. A quick analysis of the

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soil moisture, rainfall and irrigation, and drainage data collected at the sites is summarised in the simple bar graph (above). In March there was little difference in drainage from the

two sites – rainfall was about the same (90mm-ish) and drainage was similar (30mmish). April is a very different story – 195mm rainfall at the Eyre site and 126mm at the Templeton site, with 121mm drainage (61 per cent drained) at the Eyre site compared with just 50mm at the Templeton site (40 per cent drained). So, the value of soil is in the depth of soil above stones and its ability to store water.

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2 22



Chainsaw safety awareness L

ast week was an important week for us here at STIHL shop Ashburton it was our chainsaw safety awareness week for 2014.

Ensure you take five minutes to get ready before you start your DIY adventure

As a country of DIYers, many of us have a chainsaw lurking somewhere in our sheds, and if we don’t we all have a friend who does. Every year we have a strong and simple message for our Kiwi “Weekend Warriors” ensure you take five minutes to get ready before you start your DIY adventure. Over the past five years, more then $2.5 million dollars has been spent treating moderate to serious injuries from DIY chainsaw use. Here are some great tips and

advice from the ACC website.

Know your capabilities

Match the size and type of your chainsaw to the job at hand. If you don’t feel you have the skills for the job, there’s no shame in getting a professional to do it for you. Only a professional should attempt to cut down trees.

Check your chainsaw Before you start chainsawing check that: • all parts are lubricated • the chain is the right tension • the teeth or cutting edges are sharp • the depth gauge settings are correct • all safety devices are in place and working • there are no loose parts or bolts. If anything is missing or adjusted incorrectly, don’t use the chainsaw – get it repaired.

Gear up It’s no exaggeration to say that wearing the right safety gear could save your life, so spend the dollars it takes to buy safety gear and take few

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minutes it takes to use it. Chainsaw safety gear includes: • protective gloves • chaps • helmet • safety glasses • grade four or class five hearing protection • solid (preferably steelcapped) boots.

Check your work area Look for anything that could trip you up, such as electrical cables, or people (especially children) who might get in the way. Also check nothing’s will fall on you while you’re working, such as debris from higher up the tree.

Never drop-start a saw Use the cold start or warm start positions only. If you drop-start a saw it could swing in an arc and cause a serious injury.

Watch for kickbacks A kickback (when the guide bar is thrown back towards you in an uncontrolled arc)

can happen at any time. Usually it happens when the upper part of the bar nose hits a solid object or light material, or when it’s pinched while cutting. It can also happen if your chain is loose or the depth gauge setting is too low. Most modern saws have a protective leather mitt attached to the front handle that can protect your hand and help prevent kickback. If your saw has one of these, make sure you use it correctly.

Never cut above shoulder height If you cut above shoulder height there is more chance of losing your balance, you can’t see what you’re cutting, and the chainsaw is more prone to kickbacks.

Hold and use the saw correctly Keep two hands on the saw and hold it close to your body, with the body of the saw close to what you’re cutting. Plant your feet firmly, and slightly apart, for balance. Never try to adjust your chain or machine

while the engine is running.

Cut only one log at a time Remember that chainsaws are designed to cut wood – nothing else.

Maintain your saw Good maintenance will extend the chainsaw’s life and make it safer to use. When you finish chainsawing: • make sure the air filters, sprocket cover and chain brake mechanism are free from sawdust • clean the guide bar groove • oil the holes and check everything is in place (do this each time before you use a chainsaw as well. If you are unsure about anything come in and see our professional team who can easily assist with maintenance and spare parts. Our fully qualified technicians and equipped workshop we can ensure we will give you the advice you need. STIHL shop Ashburton RIGHT INTO OUTDOOR POWER EqUIPMENT. Advertising feature







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Ecan softens on nitrogen leaching


nvironment Canterbury has announced it would ease the burden on farmers in terms of their obligation to collect data on nitrogen leaching under the proposed Land and Water Regional Plan. The proposal includes rules to regulate use of land for farming activities and the associated nitrogen loss.  In two of the nutrient zones identified in the plan – red (water-quality outcomes not being met) and sensitive lake zones, the rules require farming activities to restrict their average nitrogen loss calculation to that which occurred during the nitrogen baseline (2009 to 2013) period.  Commissioner professor Peter Skelton says ECan recognises that many decisions affecting the way a farm will be operated are typically made in the third quarter of a calendar year.  “These operational decisions will have an impact on both the nitrogen loss for the current year (June 30, 2013, to July 1, 2014,) and the overall nitrogen loss calculation for the next

four years. Consequently full compliance with the nitrogen baseline may be challenging,” professor Skelton said. “Because these on-farm decisions were made before the plan decisions were notified, there has been limited opportunity for farmers to take into account the constraints of the nutrient management rules.”   In recognition of this, ECan has provided this advice with regard to the way compliance with the nitrogen baseline will be administered: •  The July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, year is a “transitional year” between the nitrogen baseline period and the first full year under the plan’s nutrient provisions and as a result ECan anticipates that nitrogen losses may exceed the nitrogen baseline.  Farmers will not be penalised if this occurs.  • From June 30, 2014, onwards, ECan expects all farmers in red and lake zones to introduce management initiatives and practice changes that

There has been limited opportunity for farmers to take into account the constraints of the nutrient management rules.

will ensure long-term compliance with their nitrogen baseline. In addition, ECan reserves the right to take enforcement action against a farmer if the nitrogen loss calculation for the property is higher than the worst year in the nitrogen baseline period, and there is no evidence of a genuine attempt to remain within the baseline. All farmers are expected to be operating at or below their nitrogen baseline after June 30, 2017, and ECan recommends that all farmers consider what impacts farm management decisions made now and in future will have on their ability to comply with the nitrogen baseline. Prof Skelton said this advice strikes a balance in

terms of the obligation for farmers to collect data without compromising the bottom lines which the rules are seeking to address. “Farmers are given a grace period to get their nitrogenleaching information in order, and we’ve made it clear that consequences will follow if milestone dates are not met.”   


“Nitrogen baseline” means: • (a) The discharge of nitrogen below the root zone, as modelled with Overseer, or equivalent model approved by the chief executive of ECan, averaged over the period of July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2013, and expressed in kilograms per hectare per annum, except in relation to Rules 5.46 and 5.62,

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where it is shown as a total kilograms per annum from the identified area of land. • (b) In the case where a building consent and effluent discharge consent have been granted for a new or upgraded dairy milking shed in the period July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2013, the calculation under (a) will be on the basis that the dairy farming activity is operational; and • (c) If Overseer is updated, the most recent version is to be used to recalculate the nitrogen baseline using the same input data for the period July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2013. “Nitrogen loss calculation” means the discharge of nitrogen below the root zone, as modelled with Overseer, or equivalent approved model, averaged over the most recent four-year July 1 to June 30 period and expressed in kilograms per hectare per annum.  If Overseer is updated, the most recent version is to be used. • Visit: www.ecan.govt.nz/ lwrp

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2 24


Contractors gear up for roadshows R

ural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) will be updating its members on the latest changes in health and safety, transport and employment laws – as well as other topics – in a series of roadshows being held around the country next month. RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton says rural contractors need to get to grips with proposed changes to health and safety regulations following the introduction of the Health and Safety in Employment Reform Bill into Parliament. “There are some really major changes planned which will most definitely affect rural contractors,” he says. “The penalties for getting it wrong, should someone suffer a bad accident at their workplace, are very severe.” Mr Parton says the roadshow presentation will cover what these changes mean for the agricultural contractor. And, just as importantly, how will it affect directors of companies, sole traders, employees, volunteers and

Roger Parton, the Rural Contractors New Zealand chief executive.

anyone who “works” for them. “The presentation will cover all of these areas and much more, giving attendees an understanding of what this legislation will mean for each agricultural contractor,” Mr Parton says. The roadshows will also include: • Updates on transport legislation. • The new members rebate scheme. • Employment law and changes in the wind.

A contractor’s team in action.

• Rural Contractors Accreditation Programme.

The 2014 conference The venues and dates for each of the roadshows have been mailed out to members and are also up on the RCNZ website: www. ruralcontractors.org.nz . Each session starts at 7pm and will be followed with light refreshments.

“Contractors are very welcome to attend the most convenient venue for them and to bring along anyone in the industry who may also be interested,” Mr Parton says. “I look forward to seeing as many rural contractors at these roadshows as possible and providing updates and information on these allimportant topics.” • Note: Registration for the

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Farming okay in latest IPCC report Dr William Rolleston



he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Mitigation Report places New Zealand in a good position so long as the policy nexus supports the carbon-efficient production of food. The IPCC’s Mitigation Report projects that emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use could, by 2050, be half of what they were in 2010. In the IPCC’s Mitigation Report summary for policymakers, agriculture is seen as being positive because it plays a central role for food security and sustainable development. We think the IPCC has come a long way from 2007. There is an increasing alignment between climate change and

food insecurity, arguably, the two biggest challenges our species will face this century. We need to redefine what New Zealand’s global contribution to climate change is since we are a leader in the carbon-efficient production of food. The carbon in each unit of agriculture product produced in New Zealand has been falling by about 1.3 per cent every year. While agriculture, forestry and other land-use emissions account for a quarter of global emissions, the major driver isn’t livestock, but deforestation and land clearance.  This is not to say global livestock emissions are not a factor but they are not the bogeyman they were once seen as being.  Policy, which penalises the world’s most carbon-efficient farmers, will only drive up global emissions and is now being recognised for the wrong footed thinking it is. This is further underlined by the positive response our country’s leading role in the Global Research Alliance on

New Zealand livestock is not a major contributor to global emissions as most is caused by land clearance and deforestation.

agricultural greenhouse gases has had. New Zealand farmers too, are playing their part through their financial support of the Palmerston North-based Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, which targets productivity gains to further reduce the carbon footprint of our products. Within agriculture, the IPCC says, the “most costeffective mitigation options are cropland management, grazing land management and restoration of organic soils”. 

Healthy Soils

We have a lot to teach the world here. At the farm scale here, the recycling of nutrients as liquid fertiliser, the increasing use of precision agriculture and precision irrigation right through to the recent release of EPA approved dung beetles; all point to a focus on building the organic quality of our soils. We may also have a thing or two to learn from the organic sector so long as it is based on sound science. In terms of farm energy

use, Westpac and Meridian Energy’s Solar Shed Initiative is about distributive solar power generation from farms. Farmers are incredibly keen on ways to improve energy efficiency since it is a large cost input. Yet Federated Farmers has concerns around research priorities. For example, the dropping of the Riddett Institute, Gravida and the bioprotection Centre as Centres of Excellence. Given the commercialisation of Auckland University research on biodiesel from tallow, the IPCC identifies that bioenergy can play a critical role for mitigation, but there are issues to consider, such as the sustainability of practices and the efficiency of bioenergy systems. If we can get research aligned with the deployment of mitigation and adaptation strategies such as water storage, New Zealand could be in a very good space.  While we can only play a small part in feeding the world, we can in fact show the world how to feed itself.

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A balanced soil requires less nitrogen, has less environmental impact and promotes increased production and yields. Balanced soil nutrients results in healthier soils, plants and animals because of the higher quality nutritional levels. If ad-lib minerals are required for animals, this indicates a shortage in forage minerals – indicating a deficit in the soil. Balance soils have fewer weeds, pest and diseases, and also require-less chemicals and pesticides. Healthy Soils, soil-balancing programme and fertilisers only use nutrients that build and maintain soil nutrient levels for future production.

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2 26



Flower power widows F

lower power is alive and well in the Waikato. No, it’s not a hempwearing, nettle-tea drinking hippy commune promoting pacifism. Rather, depending on where you stand in the food chain, this one’s a bit more sinister. In fact, it’s designed for death. No need to alert the authorities, however. The horror is taking place at a more microscopic level, and it’s all for a good cause. To promote biodiversity and reduce the use of pesticides, award winning food company Snap Fresh Foods has teamed up with Lincoln University to harness the pest-killing attributes of flowers. More to the point, the flowers are being used to attract the right kind of killer insects. The company grows Asian baby-leaf brassicas such as mizuna, tatsoi and mustards, as well as wild rocket, at its Rangiriri site just north of Huntly. A major issue for anyone growing these types of plants is leaf miner: the larva from a number of fly species which live between the upper and lower leaf surfaces. The leaf miner eats the leaf tissue in such a way as to leave distinctive trails. Notoriously difficult to control, leaf miner, while not affecting the yield, does undermine the cosmetic attributes of the leaf, resulting in a notable blemish which is undesirable to some consumers. To combat this Lincoln University’s Professor of Ecology Steve Wratten has teamed up with PhD candidate, Ryan Rayl (sponsored through Callaghan Innovation) to explore ways in which particular flowering plants can be used to attract insects which feed off leaf miner, such as ladybirds and parasitic wasps. “The goal of the project is to create strategically placed strips of various flower species among the cropped areas to provide pollen and nectar for insect predators with a taste for leaf miner; not to mention encourage the presence of particular parasites which live off the larva as well,” says Prof Wratten. “From these flowers the leaf miner’s insect enemies get the protein from pollen to help produce their eggs, as well as nectar for energy. The aim is to

Professor of Ecology at Lincoln University Steve Wratten.

build up a ‘bank’ of predatory insects prior to growing the commercial crop,” he said. The flowering plants currently being evaluated for the project include the common garden flowers, alyssum, buckwheat and phacelia, all of which have a proven track record in vineyards. Snap Fresh Foods approached Lincoln University after hearing of their expertise in pest management through biodiversity. Director of Snap Fresh Foods, Ashley Berrysmith, says that, as well as the cost-saving benefits from such an approach, the company’s ultimate goal is to move towards a sustainable horticultural enterprise, producing residue-free foods. “It’s important to try to move towards sustainable, chemical-free production if possible. “Our vision for the company is to roll out a biodiversity model for pest control across the entire business,” he said. “This can only happen by taking a sound, scientific approach. “Beyond the cost and environmentally friendly benefits of the project, however, having flowering plants throughout our plantations will add visual appeal and go some way to tell the story of what our company has always strived to be,” he said.

Phacelia, a plant which could be part of a test to control leaf miner.



$10m upgrade to feed supply firm F

armers buying animal nutrients from SealesWinslow will have better access to feed at times of peak demand, with a $10 million upgrade under way to increase production at its manufacturing facilities. One year after becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients, SealesWinslow is investing in its service and manufacturing capabilities to better meet the needs of its customers. “Feed plays a key role in farm profitability and animal health at key times of the year, particularly around calving and in summer when pasture growth slows right down, so continuity of supply is critical,” Ballance general manager of animal nutrition, Graeme Smith said “It can be a challenge to deliver orders fast enough during peak seasons, and we are really looking to up our game to make sure we have product for all of our customers where and when they need it.” Mr Smith said that in the

Paul Bates, of SealesWinslow, where a large upgrade of the processing plant is taking place.

feed market it is important to get the balance right between fresh, quality feed, and building enough inventory to cater for spikes in demand. “We need to make more, make it better, and make it faster, as well as make provisions for smarter storage and distribution solutions. “A key part of this strategy will be to leverage the company’s place within

Ballance and use select Ballance service centres as distribution hubs to provide greater access for customers to pick up bagged product.” Farmers already have access to product through more than 200 rural merchant stores nationwide, including PGG Wrightsons, RD1 and Ashburton Trading Society.  Mr Smith said that the project – flagged for completion before the coming spring season – will have a significant impact on SealesWinslow’s ability to manufacture and deliver a comprehensive range of stock feeds, with a strong focus on product quality and manufacturing capacity to ensure best product, best delivery.  While the company is focusing on getting the back end of the business in order, they are also giving just as much attention to the front end to increase the availability of on-farm services which are supported with specialist animal nutrition and farm nutrient management advice.   Two new field consultants

What will the upgrade deliver? • New textured feed (muesli) production plants for Ashburton and Morrinsville to extend capacity to deliver a range of compounded mueslistyle feeds. • Improved production capacity in Ashburton and Morrinsville to enhance ability to deliver dry pellet-compound feeds. • An upgrade to the Ashburton molasses block plant to improve production capacity and product quality. • Increased bagging capacity at Ashburton including the introduction of robotic stackers to speed the process and

reduce heavy lifting hazard for employees. • Enhanced production and bagging facilities at the Wanganui plant to further boost the capacity of the Wanganui plant which was opened last year. • Integration and enhancement of the information systems to improve and enhance business processes such as order tracking and production planning. • Enhancements to the manufacturing plant process control systems which enable better process control and improved product quality assurance.

in Northland and North Otago will join the team of 12, and the specialist animal nutrition science extension arm of the business will be aligned with the core Ballance science extension team, adding additional science extension

officers in both the North and South Islands. An animal nutrition science manager role has been added, which will focus on working with the market to demonstrate the economic benefits of the strategic use of animal feed.

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2 28



Those were the days at Tinwald By Sue Newman


oday a yarding of a few hundred sheep at the Tinwald Saleyards might raise an eyebrow – 50 years ago those numbers ran into thousands. And almost to the day, 50 years ago, records were broken at the sale yards when the district’s annual two-tooth ewe fair attracted a yarding of 38,000 sheep, making it the largest such event ever held in the Southern Hempisphere. Ashburton man Trevor Addis remembers that day well. He worked for Burnetts Transport and it was his job to attend stock sales and arrange transport of stock for buyers. That sale took a day and a half to clear, he said. “We’d cart the stock in and we’d cart them all back out again. I’d take a truck in before the sale started and then I’d change my clothes and get on with the orders to cart stock after the sale.” The Tinwald Saleyards were large, but that year 14 extra pens had to be built

All penned up: Some of the 38.000 sheep sold at the Tinwald Saleyards nearly 50 years ago.

to accommodate the huge numbers. Thousands of people came to the sales back then and every one wore a white shirt. Many also wore ties and almost all wore hats. Stock sales were big business and

farmers dressed accordingly, Mr Addis said. The sales were attended by farmers and stock agents from around the South Island. And if stock numbers were high, so too were the prices.

“We got around 30 pounds ($60) for a two-tooth. That was a tremendous price back then.” Fifty years ago, sheep farming was big business and even the weekly stock sales

that might now struggle to see yardings of more than a few hundred head were big events, he said. “There were a lot of ewe fairs around Canterbury and they all had massive yardings.”

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Carted away: A truckload of sheep leave the sale yards. Sea of white shirts and hats: Sale day at Tinwald 50 years ago, around Anzac Day, meant a large gathering of farmers, stock agents, truck drivers and sheep

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2 30

Seed feature


Take the right steps to a


ntill Ltd is born out of a love of farming and working on the land. I, along with my two highly experienced operators, share much enthusiasm for seeing great results for our

customers. Given that all of us have grown up farming we really appreciate just how important the process of seeding is. Each of us farmed in a time when cropping systems were

limited or least explored. Each from different decades, scales and systems. We all agree, that no matter how you choose to sow a crop, you are making the most important first step in

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securing that crop’s potential. We should all realise this and at Untill Ltd we do. We also share a passion for the biology under our feet. The life in our soils need to be nurtured. Science proves

the importance of the biota under our feet in regard to maintaining soil quality and hence food production. There is, in a handful of “healthy� soil, more living organisms than there are people on planet Earth. These are hungry organisms that, for many at the top of the food chain, are crop residue. For others it may be fungi, bacteria, exudes from living plants. Most importantly many of these critters rely on the presence of the other. Without good soil management and feeding of the right diet the soil life begins to decline and crop performance follows. The way in which soil is cultivated is the other most limiting factor for soil biology. There is incredible damage done to the near surface population. Incidentally this is the most important zone, so it stands to reason that the greater the disturbance the more lives are threatened. Nowhere in nature really do you see intensive cultivation.

Crop establishment is what we do best at UNTILL. Utilising our renowned Cross Slot No-Tillage drills we can sow crops of all types into all of the soil types you can imagine with outstanding success. From vegetable to maize and the more common cereal and Pulse crops, brassica crops pastures all respond well to this advanced sowing system. Fertiliser down the spout is one of the much appreciated benefits to our customers. We pride ourselves on keeping our machinery in top condition and offering good advice through experience based on a lifetime of farming with the past 17 years exclusively No-Till, to give our customers the best results. Second hand Cross Slot drills available.

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great crop It is an invention of man to succeed in a time when options are limited. In nature plant residue drops on the groundseeds are trod in or mulched over. Micro fauna thrives and the soils produce.

For years we as young operators were taught the art of producing a good seed bed

As farmers we have been and are always raising the bar in relation to crop yield. Challenges have been overcome with chemicals, fertilisers, good farmers and good science. New and old systems have been revived. Organics, biological, noninversion, historic, no-till and strip-till all seem to compete. Some farmers remain stoic in their beliefs that their system

is the only one they will use. The wise farmer chooses a mix of systems that provides for the best return financially and environmentally. No doubt soil cultivation is sometimes necessary, in particular contour and levelling. Many times though unnecessary cultivation is undertaken at a cost to you and your soil. For years we as young operators were taught the art of producing a good seed bed. We all remember the dusty tractors and the myriad of gear we had to drag around the field, to hell with the expense, to get the little wee strip where the seed went just right. For some reason as the farming fraternity has moved to reduced tillage there has been a tendency to forget the lessons of old. The importance of the seed zone has been overtaken by the need to be wide, fast, cheap… So when you expect to

sow your crop in one pass in a no-till system as we do, then it stands to reason that our customers get the best results when we use a tool that

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2 32



High-tech farming to the fore T

he primary sector is facing a major evolution in how they operate their businesses. Whether it’s satellite imagery of plantation forests, GPS tracking and real-time scheduling of transport and logistics, soil management through wireless sensor monitoring and automated tractor or irrigation systems, primary sector businesses have a lot to benefit from improved mobile technologies. Some of the best minds in New Zealand and Australia came together last year in Wellington for this region’s inaugural MobileTECH Summit 2013, an event designed to discuss and showcase new mobile technologies best suited to increase productivity for the primary sector. Building on this momentum, MobileTECH 2014 will be running this year in Brisbane, Australia and again, in Auckland, New Zealand in August. Drones (also known as UAVs) will be a big talking point at this year’s event.

We are still discovering how best we can utilise drones out in the field. It is exciting to see growth in this area

communications (M2M) and mobile access to critical systems. The emphasis is on technologies that can be adopted now, whether it’s on the farm, in the greenhouse or out in the forest. Eye in the sky: The use of drones in farming operations is growing.

“Drones were discussed last year, but since then their use as a practical productive farming tool has skyrocketed,” programme director Ken Wilson said.

“We are still discovering how best we can utilise drones out in the field. It is exciting to see growth in this area,” said Mr Wilson. While the rise of the

drones will be popular, this year MobileTECH 2014 will also focus on key innovations in robotic farming, cloud computing, use of big data, machine to machine

• If you’re keen on being involved in any aspect of the MobileTECH 2014, please contact us. • If you’re interested in being updated on the programme as it unfolds, register your interest on www.mobiletech2014.com.


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FREE DELIVERY for Ashburton customers - Plant Guarantee - OPEN 7 DAYS! 9am – 5:30pm


The all-purpose farmers ToolkiT Whatever you need for your farm, you can put it on your CrT Card.


Newlands is a name you can trust. www.newlands.co.nz Ashburton, 80 Kermode St Rolleston, 825 Jones Rd ph 03 347 3476 ph 03 308 7234

Ph: 03 303 3148 • A/Hrs: Steve 027 711 7117 47 Line Road, Methven • methvenp.p@xtra.co.nz


Tyres, Wheel alignment & Puncture repairs Brake service and Machining General Mechanical Automotive Diagnostics Via Diagun Scan tool I n d e p e n d e n t ly s p e c i a l i s i n g i n J e e p , D o d ge & C h rys l e r * 8 y e a rs d e a l e rs h i p e x p e r i e n c e , fa c t o ry s c a n t o o l o n s i t e


$1835+GST Let Helmack ITM take care of your plans, council pim, Calf Sheds admin and compliance. Phone Allan today on 307 0412 for all enquiries Come see our te $1850 +GST (Gate Extra)

(Ramp Extra) $350.00+GST

Come see our team today for more details on our calf pens, shelters & sheds Call us today on 308 6444 for all your timber needs 92 Dobson Street, Ashburton Corner South Street and East Street, Ashburton Phone 307 0412

Are YOU reAdY fOr winter?

Our own canvas horse covers and synthetic Weather Beeta covers!

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morrisons saddlery & feed

32 Racecourse Rd, Ashburton Tel: 03-308-3422 or 0800 Harness (427 637)

Don’t have a CRT or Farmlands Card? Join 56,000 shareholders nationwide and enjoy the wide range of exclusive offers and rebates that only CRT and Farmlands Cards can offer! Call for your shareholder application pack today on 0800 278 583. Don’t have a CRT or Farmlands Card? Join 56,000 shareholders nationwide and enjoy the wide range of exclusive offers and rebates that only CRT and Farmlands Cards can offer! Call for your shareholder application pack today on 0800 278 583.

Finding CRT and Farmlands suppliers is easy go to: www.farmlands.co.nz Finding CRT and Farmlands suppliers is easy -

gojust to: look www.farmlands.co.nz Or for the ‘Use your CRT or Farmlands Card signs’. Support CRT and Farmlands Card Partners and save! Or just look for the ‘Use your CRT or Farmlands Card signs’. Support CRT and Farmlands Card Partners and save!

Calf Sh $1850+

Helmack Calf Pens ITM!



Car tyres 4x4 & van tyres Puncture repair

The place where farmers get their quality agricultural replacement parts and equipment




Managing metabolic syndrome Jenny Paterson

soon after a couple of days of rain. Clearly visible are the green areas of her pen. Nibbling around on these tips of fresh autumn growth, after the rain we have had here in Canterbury will bring on an attack of laminitis in susceptible animals and it happened to Georgia. The quickest recovery from sore feet (laminitis) is achieved when “all green” is immediately and thoroughly removed from the diet. This includes the most microscopic green shoots coming through the dirt. You need to be “on patrol” for these and cover them up with salt, sand or bark. Merely restricting access to grass, mowing, putting other stock through first; none of these strategies cut the mustard. The slightest green tinge can perpetuate this painful condition. They need to go into some kind of a “dry lot”. This may be a large yard, round pen, arena, or a track. Georgia was moved into a completely grass free area, her hay was soaked, her feed



f we confine our thinking to the sugar content of forage alone as a cause of metabolic syndrome and laminitis then there is no explanation for why horses and ponies on well managed, low carbohydrate diets still get laminitis. Take the case of Georgia for example. See the picture of Georgia before when she had sore feet and while not rocked back on her heels, she was reluctant to move. You can see signs of metabolic syndrome like the puffiness around her eyes but clearly she is not obese. She had been kept on what her owner thought was a low sugar diet, had been fed hay every day, had a mineral bucket available yet she came down with sore feet

was reduced to damp meadow chaff with salt and Graze Ezy and her minerals changed from the bucket to Premium New Zealand Horse Minerals. See Georgia after: The difference in her overall health and vitality in just a few weeks is obvious and she is walking freely again. When you take a horse or pony off the grass you must make sure they never run out of food by supplying adlib hay. Hay-nets with the small mesh are invaluable as they slow the eating process down and ensure there is a constant

trickle of coarse, fibrous material going thru the digestive system. During this recovery time their diet needs to consist of suitable meadow hay, not fresh, green hay and definitely no clover or lucerne. (Lucerne is often advocated as a suitable feed for laminitic horses and ponies on the basis that it has lower sugar content. However, because it is a highpotassium/low sodium forage we have found it to be totally unsuitable). After the horse has recovered, access to grass

Georgia before: Not obese but puffy around the eyes and sore in her feet.

Georgia after: A different pony after only three weeks on her new diet.

Want to get warmer and healthier this winter? Then get double glazing Jmac Joinery are specialists in: • New timber joinery double glazed • Retrofit double glazing to existing timber joinery

Reduce energy costs, add value! Talk to our friendly, knowledgeable team to find the best solution for your project!

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Irrigation Pump Sheds/Storage

These sheds are made to be easy to install with the middle piece of roof iron having been left off for easy Hiab onto your concrete pad. A 50mm overhang has been allowed to fit over your concrete pad so that you have no leaks. There is hex bird netting over the ventilation gap across the front. Made from quality H3 94x47 framing timber and finished with either zincalume or your choice of colorsteel. Sheds can be made standard or to your individual requirements. All sheds are made to order and individually priced - large & small we make them all!

Adams Sawmilling Co Ltd - Your local timber and firewood merchants -

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

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needs to be gradually introduced for limited periods of the day on the most mature grass possible. People completely underestimate how much grass a horse can consume in a short time let alone three to four hours or a whole day. Start with no more than 10 minutes. Diligence is needed to avoid them eating grass that is stressed or short, green and growing to prevent a relapse to which they will be susceptible. For more information go to www.calmhealthyhorses.com

We build for industries. Starting with the primary ones. At Calder Stewart we’ve never forgotten where we

build - matched to your exact farming needs.

started, building quality farm buildings for the Kiwi

We pride ourselves at being a Rural Design &

farm industry. And over the course of the last 55

Build specialist and have gained a considerable

years of involvement, we’ve developed something

reputation in meeting the needs of many a farmer

of a knack for it. Our dedicated team’s expertise

over the years. Let us put our expertise to work for

in constructing custom woolsheds, covered yards,

you; call your nearest Calder Stewart Construction

wintering sheds and state-of-the-art dairy sheds

Representative today and see how we can deliver

ensures practicality, quality and a professional

a farm building that suits.

Over 55 Years Farm Building Experience A Rural Design and Build Specialist Premium Grade Construction Materials Used Durable & Rugged Design is Standard Best Value-for-Money in the Industry

Donald Sutton 211 Alford Forest Road, Ashburton

(03) 307 6130

To learn more visit our website:



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

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

Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Guardian farming may 6  

Ashburton Guardian Farming, Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Guardian farming may 6  

Ashburton Guardian Farming, Tuesday, May 6, 2014