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July 2013

An Ashburton Guardian Supplement


Reducing farming’s footprint

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An eye The sign at Craige and Roz Mackenzie’s farm says it all.


raige and Roz Mackenzie are used to being in the spotlight, even if it means their diaries are full of speaking engagements.

The Methven farmers added another accolade to their successful intensive arable operation recently by winning the prestigious national Ballance Farm Environment Award. Judges said they would be worthy ambassadors for New Zealand agriculture, having demonstrated excellent commitment to their own farming operation and to New Zealand farming in general. “Their exceptional communication skills will be a great asset when it comes to promoting the New Zealand story in the international marketplace.” The Mackenzies are already well known and respected in New Zealand farming circles. Their profile within the precision agriculture community means they are called on frequently to share the secrets of their success. It’s not something arable farmers do naturally, but lessons learned on the Mackenzies’ Greenvale Farm near Methven will be vital in helping New Zealand farmers farm sustainably into the future. Craige’s interest in farming’s carbon footprint was sparked in 2008, when he was the recipient of a Nuffield Scholarship. He visited the United States and saw technology there that could be applied to pastures all over New Zealand.

Any feedback is welcome, any comments about our magazine, letters or story suggestions.

Like Greenseeker technology that identifies weeds from grass and spot sprays them, and variable rate fertiliser application that aims to stop excess nitrogen leaching into waterways.

Please direct any correspondence to: Linda Clarke, on 307-7971 email: or write to PO Box 77, Ashburton. Advertising: Phone 307-7974 Email: Publication date: July 9, 2013 Next issue: August 6, 2013


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

Photo Tetsuro Mitomo 240613-TM-057 Ballance Farm Environment Award winners Craige and Roz Mackenzie.

Craige says most farmers are already employing basic precision agriculture philosophies, they just don’t know it. He and Roz aim to get all farmers taking the next step,


Linda Clarke, Ashburton Guardian rural reporter

to farming sustainably Achievements in the past few years Craige Mackenzie was invited to represent New Zealand at a global roundtable discussion about agriculture. He is the first Kiwi to attend the event, held in the US In 2010, the couple were second in the prestigious Lincoln University-run South Island Farmer of the Year contest NEWA scientists trialled nitrogen management systems on their farm in 2010 overwatered. Canterbury judging co-ordinator James Hoban said the awards were about acknowledging a farm business making the best use of its natural, financial and human resources “and Craige and Roz are certainly doing that”. “As judges we are not saying that this level of intensive precision agriculture is where all farms need to go to be sustainable. But what Craige and Roz are doing is leading edge and deserves recognition through the awards.” Greenvale grows mainly specialist crops, with this season’s rotation including radish, chicory, wheat, ryegrass, fescue, barley and faba beans. 240613-TM-041 Craige and Roz Mackenzie are committed to using technology to reduce farming’s footprint on the environment.

using technology to reduce farming’s footprint on the environment. They kindly credit their parents with instilling a respect for the land and on the showing them how to work it. They point to their children and say they owe it to them to farm as sustainably as possible. They are recognised as top producers, offering innovation and leadership. Judges in the Ballance awards said the progressive couple had taken technology to the next step on their irrigated farm “using every available tool to improve their production and cost efficiency”. Electromagnetic soil mapping, for example, is used to give a clear picture of water holding and productive capacity within specific zones. Judges also commended the use of technologies like variable rate irrigation to ensure crops are never

The intensive farm operates simple and effective crop rotations, and is a high performing unit in every aspect. Judges praised the couple’s very effective utilisation of soil test and plant requirement information to plan and monitor nutrient use efficiency. Fertiliser is spread using a variable rate spreader equipped with technology that allows targeted nutrient application to meet specific crop requirements. Judges also noted the couple’s strategic use of irrigation to ensure maximum seed germination while enhancing the activity of applied chemicals and increasing nitrogen use efficiency. Along with the 200ha Greenvale, the Mackenzies also hold a 50 per cent equity share in a neighbouring 330ha dairy unit, milking 1200 cows. And with their daughter, Jemma, they co-own a company that utilises precision agriculture technology to provide agronomic support and solutions to farmers. Staff are fully behind the use of technology and Craige and Roz have high praise for assistant farm manager Paul Russell and his partner Amy Reith. In fact, they left for the national prizegiving ceremony

In 2008, Craige was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, and used it to research farming’s carbon footprint He has grown record-yielding wheat crops Greenvale has featured on the Green Party’s good farming stories website Craige has been guest speaker at a range of farming field days and events, talking about how precision agriculture has changed his farm knowing snow was on its way and arrived home with the trophy to find at least 10cm on the ground and the farm ticking over without issue. Craige says the past decade has been a journey that he feels a responsibility to share, to help farmers all over New Zealand. “If you know how many milksolids you produce, or how much nitrogen is needed to grow a tonne of wheat, then you are already on the precision ag bus. The next step is easy if you have all the tools.” He says sharing information at field days and events is all about showing farmers the environmental and financial benefits of using technology. “It is hard to be green if you are in the red. But farmers don’t need to own all the new technology, just use contractors that have it. “A lot of people have sat back and watched but more and more people are now seriously getting into it. GPS on a tractor is just the starting point.” He said it was important to share good farming news to help urban folk understand the business of farming and what farmers were doing to help the environment. He recently invited Environment Canterbury commissioners to Greenvale to see how the technology was used; it is important for regulators to see the impact of their decisions. “New Zealand farming is right up there with the rest of the world and farming in general. We have some of the best farmers in the world, plus the science, research and support network devoted to agriculture. We are very lucky.” As farming ambassadors, Craige and Roz plan to deliver their precision ag message around the country and the world, and return with even more information.

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Contributed by Mary Ralston, Forest and Bird

The quirky lancewood T

he lancewood, or horoeka, is one of New Zealand’s many interesting and unusual plants and we are lucky that we don’t have to travel far to see them. The juvenile form of the tree is easily recognised with its striking long sword-like leaves which hang down from the straight thin trunk. The stiff and leathery leaves have distinctive teeth along the edges.

many native gardens. It is a good choice as long as people realise the striking young tree will eventually grow to about 15 metres high. The mature trees are either male or female (this is called dioecious, meaning male and female reproductive bits are on separate trees). They have fairly inconspicuous flowers that are pollinated by insects and the clusters of berries attract native birds such as the silvereye, bellbird, keruru (wood pigeon), and tui, which disperse the seeds throughout the forest.

One of the unusual features of the lancewood is that they change leaf shape as they mature. The tree remains in the juvenile form for about 15-20 years then the leaves change to ones that are about half the size and point upwards, without the teeth, and form a rounded bushy top. The young trees look so different from the mature ones that early botanists thought they were different species.

Adult lancewoods can grow to 15m and have shorter green leaves pointing upwards and without the obvious bumps that are characteristic of the juvenile trees

There are three lancewood species native to New Zealand and they are found throughout the country, from sea level to sub-alpine forests at about 750 metres. They are fairly common in our local forest remnants – the young trees can be easily seen along the edges of the tracks in Awa Awa Rata Reserve near Methven and along the track to Sharplin Falls, and at Peel Forest. They seem to like to germinate along the edge of a forest or track, perhaps because there is more light there, and because of this they are often seen in regenerating forest remnants. The rarest of

A juvenile lancewood poking out of the snow at Awa Awa Rata Reserve

the three species is the fierce lancewood, so named because the bumps along the leaf margins look like shark’s teeth or the teeth of a bandsaw. The lancewood is a hardy tree, found in many different habitats: it is tolerant of drought, wind and shade or sun. These features, as well as its distinctive sculptural appearance, have made it a popular tree in

“Heteroblasty” is the term used to describe the condition of having distinctive juvenile and adult forms. Some people think that this change of appearance evolved because of grazing pressure from moa: the young leaves are tough and camouflaged to blend in with the leaf litter, but once above moa grazing height the leaves become more “normal” in terms of leaf colour, shape and texture. There is a closely related species on the Chatham Islands which evolved without moas and these do not change leaf shape as they age. We no longer have the moa, but at least we have the lancewoods. They are a wonderful part of our New Zealand flora that deserve to be well-known – have a look for one when you are next out for a walk in the bush.

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Farmers optimistic about future F

arming powerhouse Mid Canterbury has once again provided the front row for Federated Farmers Team Ag, with Jeanette Maxwell, Willy Leferink and Ian MacKenzie re-elected to the national board recently. Mt Hutt sheep and beef farmer Jeanette Maxwell is chairperson of Federated Farmers meat and fibre section, dairy farmer Willy Leferink leads the dairy

section and Ian MacKenzie heads the grain section.

considered one of the country’s premier farming regions.

provinces around the country were in Ashburton for the three-day conference.

All three were re-elected at Federated Farmers national conference in Ashburton recently.

He had praise too for Mid Canterbury arable farmer David Clark, who spearheaded the South Island campaign to move some 280,000 bales of hay to drought-hit farmers in the North Island earlier this year.

Mr Wills, who will lead the farmer organisation for another year, said the agricultural sector remained vital to all New Zealanders and there was plenty of reason to be optimistic about farming, which was becoming increasingly sophisticated and innovative with the advent of new technology.

President Bruce Wills, a Hawkes Bay sheep and beef farmer, said Mid Canterbury should feel proud of their farming leaders and the district was

Photos Kirsty Clay 050713-KC-003 National president of Federated Farmers Bruce Wills.

Delegates from Federated Farmers

050713-KC-022 Rick Powdrell (left) national vice-president of Federated Farmers Dr William Rolleston and Andrew Coleman.

050713-KC-020 John McMurray (left) and Harvey Leach.


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Official sponsors of the Canterbury Rugby Union 050713-KC-015 Mid Canterbury farmers leading four of the seven Federated Farmers section (from left) Chas Todhunter, Ian Mackenzie, Jeanette Maxwell and Willy Leferink.

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Awards among conference highlights F

ormer Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden and Wairarapa Moana Incorporation chairman Kingi Smiler were honoured at Federated Farmers Cream of the Crop awards in Ashburton recently. Mr Smiler, who leads the Maoricontrolled dairy company Miraka, was named agri business person for 2013, and Mr van der Heyden agri personality of the year. The awards were presented at a gala evening that was part of Federated Farmers national conference.

Photos Kirsty Clay 050713-KC-019 Alan Cole (left) and Stuart King.

040713-KC-131 Richard Catherwood, Pip O’Neill, Charlotte Mackenzie, Catherine Wells and Ian Mackenzie. Young professionals (from left) discuss the next generation agriculture as part of Federated Farmers national conference in Ashburton.

Photos Kirsty Clay 050713-KC-127 Alister Body (left) with Ryan O’Sullivan and Jason Richard.

Photos Kirsty Clay 050713-KC-133 It was the first time the national conference had returned to Ashburton since 2008.

President Bruce Wills said Mr van der Heyden had been an outstanding personality who had influenced New Zealand farming and easily stood out. The shortlist for the agri business person of the year included Landcorp’s Chris Kelly, Wairarapa Moana Incorporation/Miraka Chairman Kingi Smiler and Dr John Baker ONZM, of Baker No-Tillage. “It was a tough decision but Kingi Smiler’s gifted business leadership of Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, a founding shareholder in Maori Dairy Company Miraka Limited, saw him emerge as first among equals.”





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Article provided by Environment Canterbury

Answering the hard questions on water quality and managing costs


t a recent Federated Farmers seminar in Ashburton nine questions were asked about the impact managing to limits would have on farming operations. Farmers are understandably keen to know how changes to farming operations would improve water quality as well as how costs are going to be taken into account. A summary of answers from Environment Canterbury to the first three questions is set out here: the full answers to all nine questions are available on www.ecan.govt/hinds .

Hinds catchment: looking for solutions to water quality issues


he Ashburton zone committee – set up as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy – is working on solutions to water quality issues in the Hinds catchment. The committee is leading a collaborative community process – where people work together to find areas of agreement and solutions they can live with, even if they don’t get everything they want.

values. These four factors also give us a good idea of how other contaminants in waterways can affect the health of aquatic life, can accumulate in gathered food, and can taint and discolour water in rivers and streams. Question 3: What is the current water quality in terms of the four factors and is there any evidence that water quality is declining over time? The answer is: •

The first question asks what are the values the community wants to see reflected in the catchment or waterway?

Nitrate nitrogen concentrations are high and show an increasing trend in groundwater and drain-water, particularly since 2005.

The answer is there are 26 freshwater priority outcomes for the Hinds Plains area, which have been identified by the zone committee based around community and stakeholder values, and which reflect a balance between economic and environmental outcomes. These are summarised in the diagram below.

Phosphorus concentrations are elevated in the drains and highly variable from year to year with no clear trend. Phosphorus is not measured in groundwater as it binds to soil and the main pathway is surface runoff.

Question 2: Is there agreement the contaminants of major concern which impact upon water quality can be defined by four factors: nitrogen; phosphorus; pathogens; and sediment?

E-coli bacteria (which indicate faecal contamination) are high in drain-water and detectable in shallow groundwater (which shows an increasing trend). Deep groundwater generally meets the standard for drinking water.

Answer: Yes there is agreement these are the four factors. The Hinds area is dominated by intensified agriculture and by looking at the four contaminants we can see how each gets into waterways and their effects on freshwater

Many drains have become clogged with soils, silts and clays over the past 10 years as a result of an increasing load of sediment, organic and inorganic material from the land.

It’s important we think about how to provide for the economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes as part of this process and information on all these factors is available on the website. The diagram below sets out the values that need to be taken into account during the water quality discussion. The priorities have been set by the zone committee working with local people and stakeholders, and reflect the aims of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. For more information about the Strategy – visit and for more information about the Hinds process visit

Graphs of water quality and land use are available on




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

HINDS CATCHMENT native wildlife

native forest

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

rangitata diversion race water storage

spring-fed streams

groundwater/ aquifers

groundwater bores

drains nutrient runoff



Provide for 30,000ha of new irrigated land which has high standards of nutrient and water use management.

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

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

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

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



water races


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

Hinds River



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Just another challenge C

ongratulations to ATS and Federated Farmers for arranging the Nutrient Seminar on May 21 at Hotel Ashburton. The event provided an opportunity to expand and exchange knowledge on the vastly important issue of water and soil sustainability. As an ex-farmer with experience of irrigation farming since 1969, I have found the improved efficiency of fertiliser and water use very impressive. Furthermore with Government calling for a doubling of farm production by 2050, I appreciate the need to look closely at soil and water impacts. At long last we seem to have a government that is starting to realise that the 70 per cent reliance on agriculture for economic prosperity is not just a flash in the pan occurrence, but a pathway to future economic expansion. Without doubt and with world population increasing annually, sustainable food production expansion is imperative. Gone are the days when a “couple of hundredweight of superphosphate per year plus a ton of lime every 5–8 years per acre” was a winning formula. Crops now are sown (increasingly by direct drilling techniques) into soils where nutrient levels are known by soil test, and moisture requirements scientifically known and met by a virtual paddock by paddock prescription of fertiliser, chemical and water. Little wonder that yields have in many cases at least doubled over less than a generation. Innovation in cultivation techniques had added further efficiency gains to profitability. My involvement in Federated Farmers, irrigation groups, and for the past 27 years local government, has fostered a continuing interest in agricultural development through irrigation. I’ve been continually frustrated at the slow progress in gaining acceptance from urban Cantabrians for the need to


maximise this region’s abundant soil, water and climatic advantages in relation to food production. All the afore-mentioned organisations along with Ashburton Water Trust played key roles in the formation of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) in 2009, under the chairmanship of former mayor Bede O’Malley. Subsequent regional acceptance of the CWMS, was a “landmark” day for Canterbury if not New Zealand agriculture. Implementation of the strategy was delegated to a group of Zone Committees who through communication, collaboration and cooperation via a National Policy Statement were charged with making the policy operationally effective. Pivotal to the implementation success of the Zone Implementation Plans (ZIP), is a computer based regulatory tool known as Overseer 6, to be monitored by regional councils across New Zealand. In its current format Overseer appears as a heavily researched but seriously flawed regulatory tool. The acknowledgement by soil scientists of a plus or minus 30 per cent error rate is reason for real concern in any technical regulatory situation, and as was pointed out in non-dairy operations the margin can be as much as 100 per cent inaccurate. Implementation in grazing, mixed cropping, irrigation, or dairy conversion scenarios is so unreliable due to these inconsistencies that the current proposed nutrient management tool is virtually worthless. Without doubt there is scope to expand the area of irrigated farmland in this district – we have the land, water, farming knowledge and topography. But what forward thinking farmer would invest a million or more dollars knowing that some seriously flawed document, inappropriately applied could limit expansion to a non-survivable financial level? Ashburton Guardian


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Contributed by John Leadley

– nutrient budgeting Equally the need to monitor and control water quality in all catchments is a “given” not only in respect of Nitrogen (N) and Phosphate (P) but pathogens and sediments as well. However greater accuracy is paramount. As one of the four people engaged to choose seven community representatives on the Ashburton Zone Committee, I have maintained a keen interest in progress. The seven selected from the 33 applicants have, along with appointed representation from Ngai Tahu, Iwi, district and regional councils, proven that their broad ranging skill sets of environmental, cultural, generation, irrigation and farming knowledge backgrounds can make meaningful progress. This diverse ranging group of knowledgeable yet practical people have by education, conversation, communication and collaboration made significant progress on an issue that has concerned many groups over decades. Well done. As I’ve endeavoured to emphasise in this publication many times, most farmers are by nature environmentalists. Just look at the number of district landholdings that are multi-generational. Remember also the farmers like Craige Mackenzie, Eric Watson, David Ward, Andy McFarlane and others who have bought pride to this district at the highest national level, for high producing totally sustainable irrigated enterprises. Waterway health and environment enhancement can indeed work in harmony with increased land production. The way to achieve this is through education, focussed research, communication and knowledge sharing. As Ian Mackenzie states, “At the end of the day, as farmers, we’re the ones with the most to lose if we get it wrong”. So true! The last hour of the seminar was advertised as a question and answer

panel between the audience and the zone committee members – a great idea! I was very disappointed to find the opportunities for discussion and interaction torpedoed by ECan Commissioner (appointed zone representative) David Caygill, who seemed intent on dominating debate with interjection and verbose legalistic jargon. He even pirated questions directly addressed to other panel members and continually used terms such as legislate, regulate, litigate, pursue and prosecute as means of implementation. Not what a group of practical, progressive, collaborative farmers want to hear, when dealing with seriously flawed monitoring systems. If this is the way our ECan Commissioners wish to progress sustainable agricultural production, the sooner we return to elected representation the better! Again quoting Federated Farmers National Water Spokesperson Ian Mackenzie. “Taranaki Regional Council approach was to work with farmers and encourage them to come up with answers, not tell them what to do, and was a far more constructive way to come up with a result.” As good management evolves and new technologies are employed, it would shift the curve in the direction of improving water quality. I am confident water and land reforms can be successfully implemented on a “Catchment by catchment” basis to meet the social, environmental and economic goals as set out in the RMA. If not, David Lange’s prediction of farming becoming a “sunset industry” may well become a reality. Heaven forbid that normal innovative farming practices such as those in the past 20 years could compromise New Zealand’s ability to meet its goals. Again, it’s time for commonsense to prevail.


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Farmers are the managers S

hout it out!

Recent water quality and quantity debates have brought the activities of farming in our region into sharp focus. Farmers are in the firing line, being labelled the problem. They are being told that they have to up their game, make considerable changes and thus investment, to improve the environment in which we all live, work and play.

Is this a fair expectation – or does the community have a key support role in this? Like it or not farmers are the managers of our water resource - not councils - not the community. It is farmers who manage soil and water to grow food for the consumer - your morning milk and Weetbix. Farmers are acutely aware of the implications of what can happen if

water is not managed well. The complex interactions of land management, weather extremes, market uncertainties plus a business environment with fluctuating interest rates and compliance expectations requires farmers to have high levels of skill - not to mention tenacity and optimism. So let’s take a step back and instead of constantly telling the farmers they are the problem, let’s recognise they are the solution. They will find answers if

supported and encouraged to – and have been doing so for well over 100 years! New Zealand farmers live with the reality of ever-increasing input costs and growing environmental requirements, in a society where the consumer demands food at the lowest price. This is a fundamental problem of opposing forces with the farmer caught in the middle. Internationally politicians know that to advocate for a food cost increase is political suicide. However for New Zealand to sustain a healthy economy and improved environment a real price has to be paid for food. This is a problem that is ignored globally. It’s not farmers being irresponsible managers of the environment; it’s the consumer refusing to pay the true value of food. Without increased community support for the development and uptake of sustainable farming in New Zealand something has to give. We’re on the up presently. However commodity markets are fickle - they will crash at some point. This could compromise New Zealand as the ‘Kiwi way of life’ is heavily reliant on farming exports. Remember our farmers are not subsidised so do not compete on an equal playing field globally – they are already the most efficient in the world.

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By additionally loading the environmental stewardship burden upon one generation we are making them far less resilient to market shocks. Despite this future dilemma there is very much a good news story for irrigated farming in New Zealand.

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Investment in infrastructure and technology has doubled and in some cases tripled productivity per unit of water applied across the dairy, arable and meat sectors. Water used per irrigated hectare has halved from about 900mm per year to 475mm.

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These are substantial gains driven primarily by financial and productivity signals. The added spin-off has been improvements for the environment. The output per kilogram of nitrogen leached has improved (in fact quadrupled) over this time. With the right signals there is every reason to be confident of further gains. It will require further investment to keep export levels, underpinning the New Zealand economy, maintained. So it is time to shout out to the consumer that there is a cost for their environmental expectations. Farmers will shoulder their fair share, but the consumer and community should also be prepared to help, particularly if environmental outcomes are required within a generation.

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Contributed by Irrigation NZ

of our water resource but not always what provides it. Farmers live in and are custodians of the environment so with the right tools and incentives are extremely receptive to maintaining and enhancing it. Developing a clear and accurate understanding of issues, monitoring and reporting of real information are key steps. Once understood, ownership of problems will enable solutions. To implement solutions certainty is required to allow investment and so people’s livelihoods and businesses are not left in limbo. Too often short term consents are the proposed solution from councils – such an approach is fundamentally flawed. Major and sudden shifts in goal posts are very difficult to deal with as opposed to incremental, clearly communicated steps. The future solutions to environmental stewardship lie with the managers of our soil and water resource –farmers. Given their track record we should be giving them a pat on the back for the spectacular feats they have achieved to date. The future is about asking them to maintain this track record along with us all being prepared to pay the true value of our food.

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Water, water


une was just that – water, water everywhere – or so the ancient mariner rime goes. According to the myth someone (the mariner) shot the albatross. So who shot the albatross? I missed an article in May, so here it is in July. So was it because I forgot to write – is that the shot albatross? No matter, we probably all remember “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge from school days (though that might just show my age because they might not even study poetry in English any longer). It went like this, one memorable verse anyway: “Water, water everywhere, And all the boards did shrink Water, water everywhere Nor any drop to drink.” According to the rime (rhyme) the mariner shot the albatross – a bad omen and incurred the curse. The ship is becalmed and surrounded by sea. Not being able to sail and surrounded by salt water they were unable to reach fresh water – and died I think. Did I shoot the albatross then? I don’t think so but we certainly did have water, water everywhere – and some. Having gone to Dunedin recently to watch the Crusaders it is plain to see the water is still about in many places. I have had a quick look at some data from a lysimeter site up near Methven and it tells a story or two. Lysimeter you ask?

“A lysimeter is a contraption which is used to measure the amount of actual evapotranspiration from plants. The amount of precipitation received and the amount that drains through the soil is measured, and the difference is evapotranspiration.”

There are a number of lysimeters around the Canterbury Plains used primarily to look at drainage from the soil. The rainfall and/or irrigation received is measured and rain gauges under the lysimeters measure the water that drains through the soil profile.




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Contributed by Dr Tony Davoren

everywhere Just what did the

20th. Drainage increased again and has carried on since these two events, but did not respond to any great extent to the rainfall on 28th. You will note that the second lysimeter (L2) drains less than L1 – simply because the soil in L2 is deeper and has higher water holding capacity than L1. L1 is very stony with stones in the topsoil and therefore drains rapidly. The second plot is an accumulation of the measurements shown in the first plot. Over period 15th to 28th June there was a tad under 288mm of precipitation measured. Lysimeter 1 drained about 302mm and lysimeter 214mm with an average of about 260mm.

Methven site reveal over the period June 15-28? The first plot shows the rainfall recorded and the drainage in two of the lysimeters – the third one at the site is not functioning that well at the moment and is in for some winter TLC. There was no drainage occurring before the first of the

rainfall events on 15 June, but the lysimeters began draining very quickly in response to 79mm followed by 90mm of rainfall. Quite significant amounts of drainage occurred; 40-50mm and 65-75mm from the two lysimeters from the respective events. Drainage had almost stopped on 18th before the next deluge on the 19th and

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Nice plots and all very interesting you might say. And yep you are correct if you thought that. The real value of this data to me at this time of the year is what it will do to groundwater storage. So for the area between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers, the groundwater zones cover about 320,000ha. If there is about 260mm of drainage through all the soils (and that is a bit of an ask given the variability of soils) the 15th to 28th of June would have added about 832 million cubic metres to the groundwater system. That is 1.5 times the combined allocation limits (553 million m3) of those groundwater zones. No matter the extrapolation of the drainage numbers, there was one heck of a lot of water put into the aquifers in June and we will be in great shape for the next irrigation season. Rest easy, so while the albatross might have been shot, there was a golden egg laid.

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Co-operative approach in T

he road to meat industry reform is littered with the bodies of those who have tried to make the business more profitable for farmers and processors alike. It’s an area that for decades has been fraught with in-fighting, petty jealousies and inter-regional rivalry. Offshore, exporters have been known to undercut each while at home, farmers typically play the meat companies off against each other to get the best price for their stock. There is over-capacity in meat

processing and too many middlemen, insiders say.

billion in exports in the 12 months to April, against just $5.4 billion for meat.

more of the margin from the end product back to all stakeholders,” Young told APNZ.

Farmers feel they are not getting their fair dues for what they see as a superior product.

Even the relatively small subset of dairy sector casein and caseinates contributed $911m in exports for the 12 months, just below aluminium.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper says Fonterra-fanciers are quick to forget that it took several years for the co-op to evolve into its current form.

Comparisons with Fonterra only go so far. Fonterra stands over the industry like a colossus and is very much in charge of the process, from the farm gate to the market. There are other players, but Fonterra is essentially the New Zealand dairy industry.

He points out that Fonterra has the luxury of capital and continuity of supply from its members. Cooper says red meat farmers would have to stump up about $1.6 billion to be on a similar footing to Fonterra. “They quickly go off the Fonterra model when you tell them that,” he says.

After years of sub-standard returns, farmers are taking a more-than-casual interest in the co-operative dairy giant, Fonterra, which has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2001. Few in the industry think the Fonterra model could be replicated for meat, but a rising tide of farmer opinion suggests that a more co-operative approach in the sector is long overdue. “Global demand is there but the industry is struggling to translate that into value,” says one market insider. “You’ve got to realise that they are men with knives,” he says. “And it has always been that way - there has always been that internecine conflict.” It’s no wonder that Fonterra is getting some attention from over the fence. In 2004 the meat sector was level pegging with dairy in terms of the value of exports. Since then, dairy has taken off. According to the latest data, the dairy sector accounted for $11.5

Many in the meat industry see Fonterra as an example of what can be achieved.

The heavy hitters in the industry are the big South Island-based co-operatives Alliance and Silver Fern Farms - which account for about 52 per cent of the market nationally.

“Fonterra’s relationship with their suppliers is magnificent,” says Richard Young, who heads up the newly formed Meat Industry Excellence group, which is pushing for a stronger red meat sector.


Alliance is owned by about 5000 farmer shareholders and is the world’s largest processor and exporter of sheepmeat. Silver “They are totally transparent in what they Fern Farms, formerly the Primary Producers do. They give farmers sound indications on JULY 31st ENDS Co-operative Society, represents more pricing, which enables their suppliers to than 20,000 sheep, cattle and deer farmers budget. If prices come back, they give them SPORTSMAN throughout New Zealand.550 MODELS SPORTSMAN 500 H.O. price indicationsEX.clearly and quickly,” Young * * says. Unlike its southern neighbour, Silver GST Fern is a hybrid half its suppliers are not But Young and others point out that shareholders in the co-operative. Next comes E putting structure together SAa VFonterra-style AFFCO, a meat company that is part of South * would XP 550 00be0 simple because of the $2not Island food group, Talleys, andSPORTSMAN the Japaneseownership mix in the meat industry. $11,735 EX. GST* owned ANZCO. Further down the food chain SPORTSMAN 400 H.O. EX.* is Progressive Meats, then there are the likes “Solutions must capture more value from of Blue Sky and and Greenlea. All up there the supply chain which, in turn, delivers GST






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Contributed by Jamie Gray, APNZ business reporter

meat sector ‘long overdue’ are 16 processors and 27 exporters. Fonterra’s genesis came from the amalgamation of co-operatives over several years. If the same sort of aggregation were to happen in meat, it would require cooperatives joining forces with companies a much more complex proposition. Just over half the industry is under cooperative control, and the rest is occupied by a myriad of companies, large and small, public and private. While Alliance and Silver Fern are sizeable, they are not regarded as being big enough to effect any major changes to the sector by themselves. Together, they don’t have the kind of sway that Fonterra, which collects 90 per cent of the country’s milk, has. Despite its problems, meat has its success stories. The industry collaborates in the North American lamb market, which is held up as being a good example of industry co-operation and a possible marker of things to come. The sector’s close relationship with McDonald’s is also seen as a big positive. Individually the meat companies have their wins too, but in the big picture, the industry is just as dysfunctional as it ever was, market insiders say. Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers’ meat and fibre chairwoman, who farms a sheep and beef property with her husband

near Mt Hutt, says the problems are rooted here and overseas. She says the big meat companies have key markets that they enter into exclusively, but there are others who float around the margins. Maxwell agrees that parts of the industry are at odds, but she points to the North American experience, and the McDonald’s relationship, as bright spots. “It’s not dysfunctional on all levels just on some.” She says good things could come from Meat Industry Excellence - which has been holding farmer meetings up and down the country but that any solution would require greater farmer buy-in. “There is a lot of blame. The farmers blame the companies and the companies blame the farmers,” she says. Maxwell and others are optimistic that the industry is in the mood for change, but she says it has been a long time coming. “It comes up from time to time but this would be one of the few times that I have seen more openness, and more willingness to discuss it all round and not just from grumpy farmers,” she says. “This time, there is a much more genuine desire to have the industry change. It took Fonterra 32 years, so it’s not going to happen overnight.” Ironically, New Zealand has a far more commanding position in sheep meats than it has in dairy. New Zealand is the world’s


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biggest lamb exporter, representing 38 per cent of the global trade, compared with about 30 per cent of the global dairy trade. According to New Zealand Beef and Lamb, there are 16 companies, with 36 plants, processing lamb and adult sheep. For cattle there are 13 companies with 34 processing plants. “The dairy industry has become a lot more profitable and it has given sheep farmers the option to move to a more profitable use of their land,” Maxwell says. Sheep numbers have dropped steadily over the years. “If we can deal with some of the inefficiencies, we can start becoming competitive with dairy again. “We’ve got to do it sooner or later because if we continue the way we are, then the critical mass is going to be non-existent as far as lamb and beef is concerned. We are not going to have the ability to influence in the market and hold the value of our product up,” Maxwell says. “We have 27 exporters of meat all competing at the procurement and competing at the marketplace, so it all seems a bit wrong to me,” he said. Silver Fern’s Cooper says many of the industry’s problems still come from the days when it was purely a carcass, or processdriven, industry. “I would argue that the industry is still coming to grips with how it needs to create value from the product in

the marketplace. “We as an industry we are very fragmented and disconnected from our supply base in terms of continuity of supply. None of us have that absolute commitment from our suppliers. It’s very hard to rationalise the industry because if we bought another company tomorrow - 25 per cent of that company’s suppliers may go off to supply another company. “To me, the problem is that we don’t have the locked-down relationship between the farmers and the meat companies. The meat companies are fragmented and there is no industry aggregation and and no collaboration in joint ventures because we are vicious competitors,” he says. Then there are the overcapacity issues. The processors are geared for a lamb kill of 35 million, not the present day crop of 20 million. “The more throughput you get through a plant the lower the average cost of production is. It’s not so much fighting, it’s just economics,” he says. But Cooper, like Maxwell, says there is more than a glimmer of hope that the industry may one day get its act together. “I have never seen people so focused in agreement that there needs to be change,” Cooper, a 33-year veteran of the meat industry, says.

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Contributed by Jenny Paterson B.Sc

Choose one and stick to it!


here are two choices when it comes to feeding your horse Vitamins and Minerals


Feed plain feeds and add your Vitamins and Minerals separately


Feed pre-mixed feeds that include vitamins and minerals

Actually there is a third option and that is ‘don’t bother at all’ in the hope that the grass and any other feed will provide sufficient nutrition to keep the horse healthy. Spare horses or those not being ridden are often left to their own devices in this way but if you want the quiet ride at the weekend, the best performance at the event or a strong, healthy foal, then it’s best not to take any chances. Most people want to do their best by their horse so will go for the other options. The most important thing is to choose option 1 or 2 and stick to it! Feeding a scoop of a pre-mixed feed and then adding bits and pieces from other sources leads to your horse’s nutrition being a ‘hodge-podge’. You run the risk of doubling up on some elements and not providing enough of others. This can have more serious consequences for your horse than what you at first think as you are tinkering with his delicate metabolism. Doubling up on nutrients like selenium can lead to serious toxicity issues. I have to confess this was us! Our feed sheds were full of this and that because ‘somebody said’ this or that. It was in fact a clear sign that we really didn’t know what we were doing! Nowadays we know better and have had the best results since swapping to plain feeds and adding vitamins and minerals that are already

whole brew giving you the most value for money. In other words the effect of the vitamins and minerals in combination is far greater than if you added the effect of each separate component.

mixed in the correct ratios and contain the necessary co-factors (other vitamins or minerals which are necessary for the original mineral to be utilised). For instance magnesium is a vital co-factor for calcium to be deposited into bones and Vitamin E is necessary for selenium to work.

When horses become minerally deficient or imbalanced it will show as perplexing health and behavioural issues, impaired movement and proneness to laminitis and head-flicking.

Major advantages of Option 1 •

You can vary the carbohydrate (sugar and starch) content of your horse’s diet without varying the dose of vitamins and Minerals. If your horse needs to lose weight you can cut down the carbs without messing with his mineral levels. When varying the amounts of pre-mixed feeds you are varying everything in that feed.

You can add top quality vitamins and minerals containing organic forms better utilised within the horse. Being already attached to their appropriate amino acid they will not interfere with the absorption of other minerals. This is especially the case with minerals like iron. Horses are usually well supplied with iron as they are always nibbling around on the dirt. If a supplement contains large quantities of inorganic iron then it will be detrimental to copper, zinc and vitamin E absorption. Organic iron, on the other hand, being already attached will give maximum use of the copper, zinc and vit E in the blend.

This means superior synergy of the

Supplementing with effective vitamins and minerals is absolutely the economical way to go when you consider the alternatives costs of all the on-going investigations and treatments when you can’t figure out what is going wrong! Thousands of dollars when you start adding up! Better to spend your money on good hay (to correctly feed the flora in the hind-gut with coarse fibrous material) and high spec Vitamins and Minerals, the building blocks of superb health. Health bills go down, riding enjoyment goes up! It is an unfortunate fact that in New Zealand, most of our horses are finished their useful lives before they are 20! They should still be rideable at least to their late 20s and early 30s. For one thing they can only live as long as their teeth! Chronic lifetime deficiencies of minerals like calcium, magnesium, boron, phosphorous, copper, zinc and Vitamin D will mean early onset of bad dentition. Retirement will come too soon due to degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, and arthritis. Sway backs develop, and/or Cushing’s sets in. The onset of these conditions should be postponed for five to 10 years by providing a high fibre, minerally balanced diet since conception! For more information go to

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Mobile technology

- the key to primary industry growth N

ew Zealand’s primary industries have built a strong international reputation for innovation, product development and forward thinking. While these characteristics are still strong, emerging new tools to improve productivity and efficiencies within each industry are mobile communications technologies. Mobile is the new buzz word within the primary sector and for good reason. Mobile technologies are offering a true leap forward in how businesses operate and remain competitive within the fast-paced global marketplace. Recently, as the Government looks to auction off radio spectrum for 4G mobile services, Federated Farmers have strongly recommended that these new high-speed networks should also be rolled out to rural areas. A wide range of primary industry businesses would benefit from faster data speeds in running their day-today operations. Recent research shows

a staggering 73 per cent of Kiwis don’t leave home without their smartphones, 40 per cent are using their phones to go online more than three times a day and New Zealand’s personal mobile internet use had doubled in the past three years. A new Australian report from CSIRO has also just been released highlighting how farmers can increase their productivity through new smart farming technologies enabled by next generation data networks.  There are a wide range of exciting developments in mobile technologies for the sector new tools in data collection, remote sensing, inventory management, transport scheduling, fleet management and communications. Improving communication networks, the use of cloud computing, better harnessing of machine to machine systems, wireless monitoring, enhanced quality satellite imagery and the integration of smart phones into businesses are all integral

to these new developments.

you in the near future.

Advancements being made within each industry are also being replicated across all major primary industries. Waves of new innovations are being developed and productivity gains for businesses are being offered through new mobile communications technologies. It makes good sense to learn from each other.

“We have managed to pull together an exciting programme featuring the best and brightest within the sector. We are excited about this event and astounded with the support,” said Ken Wilson, the event’s programme manager from CONNEX: Event Innovators.

A new event, MobileTECH Summit 2013, is coming to Wellington in August. Leaders from the dairy, meat and wool, horticulture, forestry and fisheries are joining with researchers, policy makers and suppliers of mobile technologies in this inaugural twoday summit. The goal of MobileTECH Summit 2013 is to bring New Zealand’s major primary industries together, to hear how mobile technologies are being used, how they can be integrated within your own business and what opportunities are open to

There is a wide range of speakers presenting at the event, including; Mobile Mentor, Ministry for Primary Industries, Alcatel-Lucent, Mogeo, FarmIQ, Eagle Technology, GPS-it, Hawkeye UAV, GeoSystems, Aerial Surveys, AgResearch, IrrigationNZ, Lindsay International, ECONZ, SST Software Australia, TreeMetrics, RFID Pathfinder Group and HITLabNZ. Further details including the full programme and registration details can now be found on the event website,


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We got off lightly S

now. Well it is an interesting thing, either you like it or you don’t. For many in the farming community it is just more work for them. For us feeding out for four cows and three sheep, it wasn’t a big thing. And the fact we hardly got any snow at all. As most would know, town got a good dumping on Friday morning, making the schools close at around 10am. Lucky for me I had to take my children to school as our bus was not running. They thought it would be good reason to stay home as if the bus was not running they couldn’t get to school.

Not with this mother. We only live 8km from the main road, and at that point didn’t have any snow. So off we go to town. As I am getting close to town it starts to snow, not a lot but enough to start covering the ground. At school it starts to become heavier and I do think to myself maybe I shouldn’t have brought them in. But I leave school, buy a coffee and head to my mother’s house in town to check on her before going home.  As I am sitting there it really starts to come down and get thick. I make a decision to go back to school and

get the children as I had brought the van into town. These vehicles do not do well in weather like this and slip round. Time to leave and head home while I can. Going back to school was very interesting; I cannot believe people in Ashburton and how badly they drive in conditions like that - speeding along, overtaking in silly places, cutting people off. Accidents waiting to happen. I picked up my little darlings and home we go (very slowly). I get half way home and the snow stops. The ground had hardly any snow. Then we

got home and the snow had gone. The children were not happy – they were coming home to make a snowman. They did ask if we could go back to town. No, was my answer to that, we had jobs to do before we may get snow. Not happy children at all.  So after changing, we head down to feed our cows, all four of them, and sheep. Number one son drove the truck. The girls are in the back of the truck, whinging the whole time about having to help. We get there and of course the ram sheep was in a right


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mood, tried taking on the truck and was really out to get someone or something. So I let the dog out to get him away from us so we could feed out. Well, that was interesting - aren’t dogs supposed to chase sheep? In our case, the sheep was chasing the dog, not a good look. Some farm dog he is. Big bad dog, not. So then we had to get out of the truck but no one would because of the ram. I have a go at them to get out and help. (Just to let you know I still have the cast on my broken arm so am a little useless at this point.)   Guess who ended up feeding the

Contributed by Lifestyler

animals with one arm and a sheep that wanted to knock me over. Yes, you got it right, mother with broken arm; the children sat in the truck and watched. I can tell you I thought I may have ended up with something else broken while I was doing this. But I came away without further damage. The children were told that I was going to tell everyone what they made me do on my own, and that I hope they felt bad. (I don’t think they cared as long as they didn’t have to deal with ram). When we got back to the house I had an idea, they were not going inside

by the fire to watch TV, because that’s what was running through their minds.

to play and for me, the house was nice and quiet.

I kept them outside doing jobs for a good hour and a half. Chooks, wood to be cut, things to be picked up and put away outside just in case we did get a dumping of snow that would stay. I even made the girls clean the garage out and light the fire out there to dry the wet jackets.

We ended up with very little snow, not enough to have a snow fight. But I know a lot of you got a good dumping and hope that you all survived with not too many losses. Let’s all enjoy the nice weather at the moment and get that washing caught up with. And get all those farm jobs done before the next lot of bad weather.

And they whinged the whole time. If they wanted to watch TV after lunch, they would have to watch it on the TV in the garage, as we have one out there in Tom’s man cave. They seemed okay with that and they set up the wii

I have a feeling that this may not be the only snowfall we have this winter. Take care and keep warm until next month.

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Contributed by Central Plains Water Ltd

Shareholder commitment will assist with planning for CPW scheme C

entral Plains Water shareholders have been asked to give an indicative commitment to the scheme by July 12.

September 2015 – Sept 2016 •

Although non binding, the letter of commitment will give CPWL an overview of the number of shareholders who want to be part of the scheme and their geographic location. The indicative commitment is also a precondition set down by CPWL’s funders.

Mr Crombie was heartened by the turnout at a recent series of workshops, which was attended by nearly 500 people.

Derek Crombie, CEO of CPWL, said that while the design for Stage 1 was well advanced, information gathered now would help designers with the overall scheme design.

sub scheme developed there by the same date or earlier.

“We want to future-proof the scheme design so that when we are building Stage 1 we do so with an understanding of the water demand for Stages 2 and 3. “If uptake for the first stage of the scheme is high enough this stage can be completed by September 2015. Similar demand in the Sheffield area could see a

“Construction of the remainder of the scheme will be dependent on demand but it will be possible to move from Stage 1 to Stage 2 design and construction progressively so that the second stage of the scheme could be delivering water by 2016 and the full scheme could be completed by 2018.” He said there were a number of

Features upcoming Publication


Advert Booking Deadline

Stage 3 - 27,000 Ha -CoalgateKirwee- Waimakariri – Construction: September 2016 – Sept 2018

Publication date


Thursday, 11 July

Tuesday, 23 July

• Calving • Shed maintenance

Thursday, 25 July

Tuesday, 6 August

• Farm Advisors • Accounting • Herbage • Mating Season • Deer Sales


“We asked for attendees to sign this indicative letter at the workshops and a good percentage did with others now starting to arrive by mail. By close off on July 12 we would expect to have received letters from most of our shareholders.

conditions to the timetable, the most important being shareholder commitment and development of sufficient storage to secure the reliability required.

“The mood of these meetings was very positive and the fact we had nearly 300 turn up at our Darfield workshop was amazing,” he said.

An indicative timetable is: •

Stage 1 - 23,000 Ha -Te Pirita, Sheffield – Construction: January 2014- September 2015

Stage 2 - 10,000 Ha -HororataGreendale- Burnham - Construction:

CPWL plans to make an offer of shares to its shareholders in September 2013. No money is currently being sought and no applications for shares will be accepted until shareholders have received an investment statement.

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Contributed by Kerry Maw, Rural Women

‘Either way, it’s 20k’ C

atchy isn’t it? And very easy to remember.

It happens to be the slogan of a major trial being run by Transport Engineering Research New Zealand (TERNZ) with the support of Rural Women New Zealand, the Road Safety Trust, Police, Ashburton District Council, and Pearson’s Coachlines. The campaign is aimed at increasing driver awareness of the 20km legal speed limit when passing a school bus from either direction that has stopped to pick up or drop off children. RWNZ has been tirelessly promoting the message for drivers to observe the 20km speed limit for many years and we are excited that a trial is finally under way in Mid Canterbury with local bus company Pearson’s Coachlines. You may have seen the big billboard and heard a number of radio advertisements, all with the important message that “Either way, it’s 20k”. Before the awareness campaign, RWNZ members surveyed hundreds of people in Ashburton to find out how much they knew and how they currently respond when passing school buses. This information will allow the researchers at TERNZ to measure the improvement in driver behaviour and the impact on drivers’ speeds through each phase of the trial. The awareness campaign is the first of three stages of the trial to be rolled out over the next seven months. The following two phases will commence in

August and October. So, why all the fuss? Since 1987, 23 children have been killed in New Zealand when crossing the road to or from school buses. In addition 47 have been seriously injured, and 92 received minor injuries. Children can be unpredictable when getting on or off the bus and crossing roads. We all know how impulsive they can be, the risks they willingly take, how unfearing and insensible to danger they are. Children do not have good peripheral vision until their teenage years, their perception of the speed and distance of approaching vehicles is inadequate, and if they’re “wired for sound” as many children are these days, they certainly won’t hear you barrelling along. These youngsters are hopping on and off buses on rural roads where there are only narrow roadside verges and no footpaths or other barriers to keep them off the road. And after the recent rains, they may be more likely to wander onto the road than trudge through the sludge on the roadside. It really is vital that we are all vigilant around school buses and keep our speed down to 20km. Just imagine what you would say to a child’s parents if a tragic accident did happen. Somehow I don’t think “I wasn’t really paying attention” will cut the mustard. So please remember: Either way, it’s 20k.

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Guardian Farming - July 2013  

Ashburton Guardian

Guardian Farming - July 2013  

Ashburton Guardian