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MARCH, 2014

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Delayed harvest puts pressure This season’s summer has been lousy for sunseekers, but more importantly, it means crop yields are down and winter-feed stocks are being impacted.

Michelle Nelson RURAl reporter


grain shortage and pressure on winter-feed supplies are on the horizon. A wet winter, dry December and fungal disease have combined to reduce yields, and a sporadic run on harvesting will mean winter-feed crops are late getting into the ground, Federated Farmers’ Mid Canterbury grain and seed chairman David Clark says. “There is still a lot of crop to be harvested in Mid Canterbury. We’ve had a short burst at it, but we haven’t had a decent traditional run at harvest. “We haven’t had great quantities of rain but we haven’t had the nor ‘west winds either.




Any feedback is welcome, any comments about our magazine, letters or story suggestions. Please direct any correspondence to: Michelle Nelson, on 307-7971 email: or write to PO Box 77, Ashburton. Advertising: Phone 307-7974 Email: Publication date: March 11, 2014 Next issue: April 8, 2014 An advertising feature for the Ashburton Guardian. Any opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Guardian Farming or the Ashburton Guardian.

Dull days have been a feature of this year’s harvest season.

Every combine in the country is full of diesel and ready to go. “We’ve only been able to get at it in fits and starts.” Baling contractors are also frustrated by the weather. “They are not getting a run at it either, a lot of straw is being scattered to dry it, and they are

not getting a run at it before the next rain. We have really only been getting one good day at a time.” While the crops are still holding up in terms of quality, the holdup has delayed the sowing of green feed, and that will have a big impact on the

availability of winter-feed crops, Mr Clark said. “In a good year the winter feed would have started going into the ground in the last two weeks, but the bulk of it is not in yet, because people are still getting their cereals harvested.” While many people are getting

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Unseasonal snow and poor weather have made getting this year’s harvest in difficult and the sowing of winter-feed crops late.

well through the main harvest, there are still the specialist crops to go. But Mr Clark said the clover harvest was disappointing, and generally speaking the grain yield was down, by about two tonne a hectare. “What we are hearing is

that a lot of farmers will only have enough grain to, at best, meet their contract obligations and that quarter of a harvest they might have had to sell on the free market just hasn’t eventuated,” he said. “Importantly, the big slug of carry-over grain that

has hung over the market for three seasons has been used and we’ve now got an average harvest, so we are going to be back to times when grain supplies are tight.” Mr Clark said this season’s disappointing results came on the back of two fantastic


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harvests, but without the carryover surplus the real size of the Canterbury grain industry would be revealed. The ryegrass straw yield per hectare has also been back on the past two years, as well as the area harvested. Combined with an anticipated

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reduction in winter-feed yields, there will be pressure on stockfeed. “Ryegrass-straw royalties have been about $50 for a 4x3x7 in the last few weeks, which is a lift on last year but that price now is largely academic because it can’t be bought, ryegrass is done and dusted – as a generalisation there is no ryegrass straw left for sale, other than the odd stack that’s been put up,” Mr Clark said. The ryegrass areas planted for next year look as though they may be only 50 or 60 per cent of normal. “There are just not the contracts around for seed production this year. “The lack of demand has hit the New Zealand market hard this year, hopefully it will come right again. “It’s ironic really, because I’ve just been through the Waikato and it’s incredibly dry up there again this year, pretty much the entire Waikato needs regrassing. It seems bizarre that our market is shrinking when there is a dire need for pasture regeneration in those areas that have been in drought.”

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Salmon – or F

ish are interesting cultural things. To our friends in Australia, a kahawai is a salmon. To Cantabrians engaged in the endless cast-and-wind ritual of actual salmon fishing, a kahawai is something that for the first split second after the bite hints at being a salmon, but then turns into an annoying disappointment that bends your hooks and will not come in easily. They’re landed, and tossed back into the sea sometimes with an air of tired frustration. To Maori, kahawai have always been great kai. And anyone who has been to the mouths of the Rangitata and Rakaia over the past few weeks will have seen that it is not only Fish on! An angler grapples with a kahawai.

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Maori who think that throwing away fresh fish is just nuts. A visitor to the beach would also have seen demonstrated the enthusiastic and happy multicultural change taking place in Mid Canterbury. Who has it right? Certainly not the Australians. Calling a kahawai a salmon is like calling an elephant a cow. Kahawai are also, in my view, seldom a disappointment to catch. They may not have the shoulder-wrenching brutality of a 20lb salmon, but in terms of adrenalin rushes, they’re up there with skipjack tuna and African tiger fish – speed merchants with a headshake that generates enough leverage to bend hooks in mysterious and comical ways. Yes, as a fighting sport fish, they are a treasure. Although they may not admit it, I suspect most salmon fishermen secretly think they’re great. It’s an average day when you don’t come home with a salmon. It’s a bad day if you don’t at least get a kahawai or two. Average days are generally why we enjoy going to the beach.

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As for whether kahawai are a good eating fish; the English seldom if ever eat freshwater pike, but the French regard it as a delicacy. I recently made kahawai into a superb Cape Malay pickle, but I am generally not a big fan of fish and would prefer a sirloin steak any day. Others are in no doubt. Sometimes when landing a kahawai I am approached by non-fishermen on the beach suspecting that I am going to throw it back in and asking if they can have my catch. I never refuse. It is a quiet satisfaction seeing them walk away with such a good fish, excited. It reminds me of when I was eight years old catching dinner for my folks. That was how it all started. My dad loved fish, but didn’t like fishing. I was the other way round, and I was happy for it to be that way. It was during one of these moments on the beach at the mouth of the Waimakariri that a young Maori man unintentionally paid me a big and amusing compliment. I had landed a good size kahawai

and he and his friend came over and asked me if they could have it. “Sure,” I said. “Do you want me to bleed it?” They knew that this improved the taste. “Yes, please,” came the reply from above me as I knelt prizing out the hook. With both hands I did what

was necessary and humane, pulling through the skin at the base of the fish’s throat and then breaking its neck. Dark red blood spurted out across the sand. “Wow, bro!” said the young man stepping back and laughing. “That’s like *&%ing Bear Grylls!”

Tips for catching kahawai 1. A feather lure behind a lead sinker works well in the river mouths. 2. If they’re not biting, use a smaller silver ticer.

3. Fish on the top of an incoming tide. 4. You’ll need strong hooks or they will get munted. 5. Be patient when bringing them in, or they will break your rod. 6. Cape Malay fish pickle made with Kahawai is sensational.

Lined up at the Waimakariri River for kahawai, or salmon.

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Pushing forward with reforms year, we believe we will need $200,000 to continue to make progress.” The remit, which asks “that Beef + Lamb New Zealand provide funding support to the Meat Industry Excellence Group to secure red meat sector reform” must have the signatures of at least 1000 registered farmers or five per cent of the total number of registered farmers (whichever is the lesser) for it to be binding. “We need to support a New Zealand Inc-type strategy which acknowledges the importance of the red meat sector to the economy. Our eggs are very much in one basket with dairying.” Mr McCarthy says the task now is for MIE to keep farmers informed and continue to have input into our activities. He says there is also a need to widen the debate so politicians and the business sector can become involved. “This will take time and resources, both of which are scarce for MIE members

John McCarthy, of MIE, says: “We are not asking for the moon, nor do we want a gravy train – we just want to reform this sector so that farmers and farming families have a future they can aspire to.”

who have their own farming businesses to run.” Mr McCarthy says up to now the burden has fallen on a small core group of MIE members

with support from others who have an interest in the sector. “This can’t continue so we are asking for farmer support through the compulsory levies

acquired by B+L to allow the reform process to continue.” Last year B+L reimbursed $40,000 expenses for MIE and said further funding support would depend on farmers’ feedback. “We are not asking for the moon, nor do we want a gravy train – we just want to reform this sector so that farmers and farming families have a future they can aspire to.” Mr McCarthy says meat company interests form a significant voting bloc within B+L. He hopes that even if they do not specifically agree with the MIE position they will recognise the need for reform and vote accordingly. It should be noted that MIE is consulting widely with Industry and other stakeholders with the aim of driving consensual reform across the sector. “I think all the players in the agricultural sector know we are serious and know we are not going to go away. “We need the resources to keep the drive for change Ashburton Guardian moving. ”

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eat Industry Excellence (MIE) is the only group with the mandate and focus to drive meat industry reform, says chairman John McCarthy. He is calling for Beef + Lamb (B+L) to get behind a remit before next month’s annual meeting seeking further financial support for the group’s drive to reform the red meat sector. Mr McCarthy says B+L’s mandate does not extend beyond the farm gate and organisations such as Federated Farmers have to represent the entire agricultural sector. “We’ve got runs on the board with increased farmer participation in the meat cooperatives’ board elections and representations on the Alliance Group and Silver Fern. MIE’s focus is now on addressing procurement and marketing issues in the sector. “We need the funds to meet expenses for travel, meetings and other activities associated with driving the reform process. 16HMDG2020 Based on our activities last Ph 03 324 2571 120 High St, Southbridge


Tackling drench resistance

0022 A KINGQUAD CLEAROUT New Zealand study revealed the cost of using an ineffective drench decreased lamb carcass value by 14 per cent, versus those drenched with an effective drench. This supports a 2004-2005 National Drench Resistance Survey that showed only 36 per cent of sheep farms had all drench families working. Trevor and Karen Peters proactively tackle drench resistance across their 60,000 stock units with a targeted treatment programme, before it even becomes a problem. “Whenever we use drenches to control parasites, the possibility of promoting drench resistance is unavoidable,’’ Ravensdown animal health technical manager Janna McLeod says. “Many farmers think they do not have a drench resistance issue because their stock looks fine and they have no problems

finishing lambs. However, drench resistance boils away under the surface and is not always obvious until you have a major problem.” The Peters, along with sons and daughters-in-law Clayton, Jeannette, Morgan and Megan Peters, run successful Peters Genetics which specialises in romney and angus stock on properties in West and Central Otago. Together they farm more than 34,000 commercial romney ewes and 3000 fullyrecorded stud ewes, as well as commercial cows and angus stud cows on six properties spanning almost 9000ha. Last year, Ms McLeod performed a drench resistance test on one of Peters Genetics’ six properties after an anomaly was discovered with sheep coming in from the North Island. The results proved so beneficial that Ms McLeod has

followed up with faecal egg count reduction tests (Fecrt) across the Peters’ properties and the latest results prove their targeted treatment programme has solved the issue. Knowing the drench resistance of stock means farmers can target which active ingredients to use, and when to

use it. “Now the properties that have a Fecrt know their drenchresistance status and can make confident drench choices,” Ms McLeod said. “Without this information, a farmer is stumbling around in the dark and guessing which active ingredients are still working 100 per cent. They are now using only highly effective

drench active ingredients and targeting them to the appropriate stock class, at the right time of year. “So while the price of the drum is one factor to consider when buying your drench, bear in mind that the most expensive drench to use is the one that isn’t working at 100 per cent.”

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Lincoln rated worldwide T

he latest release of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) world university rankings has seen Lincoln University move straight into the 51-100 bracket in the field of agriculture and forestry. In all, more than 3000 universities are assessed under the QS ranking system, with just 200 finding their way into the agriculture and forestry subject bracket. In 2013, Lincoln University appeared in the overall rankings (top 500 in the world) for the first time, despite having historically struggled to enter the ranking system on account of its small, specialist nature next to the ranking methodology employed by QS. “It’s great to see Lincoln University recognised in the QS rankings now – and to be immediately highly ranked within the agriculture and forestry category is especially

pleasing,” says the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Professor Bruce McKenzie. The university’s academic positioning as New Zealand’s specialist land-based university means a notable proportion of its agricultural research output overlaps into other academic fields; such as environmental management, ecology, or bioprotection. “Considering the university’s size and the interdisciplinary nature of our land-based research, the latest world ranking is testament to the quality and relevance of the teaching and research that comes from this institution. “However, while the acknowledgment via the QS world rankings is important and certainly welcomed, recognition of Lincoln University’s capacity to deliver has come from other sources as

Lincoln University’s Professor Bruce McKenzie, the dean of the faculty of agriculture and life sciences.

well; such as the New Zealand Government through its intention to build the Lincoln

Hub: a world-class agricultural research and education facility involving key Crown Research

Institutes and industry partners. “Likewise, Lincoln University’s research expertise has been recently employed by Ngai Tahu Farming as part of a major dairy development at Eyrewell. “The project aims at being a best-practice world-leader in sustainable dairying, and involves an ecological restoration and biodiversity programme encompassing over 150 hectares of land,” says Professor McKenzie. Lincoln University’s rising stocks in the QS world rankings should perhaps come as no surprise. In 2013, along with Ivy League school Cornell University in the United States, Lincoln was admitted as a partner institute in the Euroleague of Life Sciences: an exclusive group of seven member universities, which includes the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna and the University of Copenhagen.

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Using 1080 in Mary Ralston



he recent announcement by the Government that there will be an increase in the use of 1080 to control introduced predators is good news for conservation. This year looks like it will be a bumper year for beech tree seeding (this is called a mast year). An increase in food should be a good thing for our native birds living in beech forests, but the reality is that the seed also feeds the birds’ predators, particularly rats and stoats. In the years when there is a higher than normal amount of beech seed – high calorie food for rats and mice – their numbers rise quickly.

A bumper year for beech tree seeds, means predator numbers will rise, hence the need for increased pest control.

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Shortly afterwards, stoat numbers rise too because stoats eat rats. When the seed supply from the trees decreases, the rats and stoats turn to other food, which unfortunately is our native birds, their chicks and eggs, and other native animals such as insects and lizards. The last beech mast year was in 2000 and the consequences were devastating with localised extinctions of vulnerable bird species. This time, an additional 500,000 hectares of the conservation estate will be targeted with aerial 1080 to try to control predators over the next five years. Four-hundred-thousand hectares are treated at the moment, funded by the Department of Conservation and the Animal Health Board. Hopefully this increased level of control will become the “new norm,” so that predator numbers don’t get back up to old levels once control is stopped. In the past 40 years, 1080


a bid to save our native birds sustainable – our quiet forests attest to that. But with 1080 control of


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use has become much more efficient. Pre-baiting (which familiarises predators with baits) has allowed the amount used per hectare to drop from 30 kg/ha to two, and aerial application can knock down possum, rat and stoat populations in two to three weeks. Remaining baits are biodegradable, meaning they break down without leaving any toxic traces. Recent reports by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency investigated the use of 1080. Both found it to be safe, and to be the only way to control predators across whole landscapes. Currently only one-eighth of DOC land has any control at all and there is a lot of other, privately owned forest that has little or no predator control work. The current regime of predator control is not even maintaining our native bird populations at levels that are

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predators, bird survival is greatly enhanced: for example, less than 25 per cent of North

Island brown kiwi chicks survived in the Tongariro Forest Park without any predator

control, but for the two years after 1080 was used, more than 50 per cent of the kiwi chicks survived to at least six months. Whio (blue duck) survival rates also improved markedly. I don’t know why the other 50 per cent of kiwi chicks didn’t survive – perhaps if there was a trapping programme to mop up the remaining pests success rates would have been higher still. It would be good to see an increase in support for trapping as well, but trapping is only practical in easy terrain and is hard work. In most places 1080 is far cheaper than ground-based control. Volunteers trap stoats and other predators around our local lakes but because this is done in a very limited area we have no way of knowing how quickly predators are reinvading. The bigger the controlled area, the less re-invasion will happen, hence the efficiency of aerial 1080 use.

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Sheep and beef farmers spend up T

hey may not be turning the same kind of dollar as their dairy farming counterparts right now, but when it comes to contributing to Christchurch city’s economy, sheep and beef farmers are leading the way. That’s according to research by Lincoln University’s Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (AERU) which was commissioned by Aqualinc Research to examine expenditure flows into Christchurch from local farms and their households. The research, which focused on farms from the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts, also included an assessment of the expenditure in Christchurch from rural businesses as a result of serving those farms and their households, as well as an assessment of employment generated on account of these expenditure flows. The research found that sheep and beef farmers had the highest level of direct expenditure into the city;

Sheep and beef farmers spending on fertiliser boosts Christchurch’s economy by $101 million.

spending more than $80 million per annum. This was followed by mixed-cropping farmers, who spent more than $76 million. Dairy farmers spent $68 million. All up, an average of 26 per cent of direct farm and household expenditure was spent in Christchurch; equating to $82,313 per farm, or $306 million in total. When factoring in an additional $511 million of expenditure from rural businesses, the total contribution to Christchurch

city rises to $817 million. From a range of individual categories, the greatest level of direct farm expenditure in Christchurch was in fertiliser and lime ($101 million) and repairs and maintenance ($29 million). Other categories considered in the research included such areas as recreation, culture and electronics, education, doctors and other medical services, food and beverages, personal care, home maintenance and retail trade.









The highest level of expenditure from rural businesses was for goods and services in the food manufacturing sector ($84 million), the other manufacturing sector ($76 million) and the business services sector ($63 million). When summing up the total expenditure in Christchurch by farms and their households, secondary flows via rural businesses, and any indirect and induced effects (such as employment generated from this expenditure), the total impact on Christchurch was valued at $2.2 billion; which accounts for some 10 per cent of the city’s total gross domestic product. “The findings are important,” says Professor of Trade and Environmental Economics, and AERU director, Caroline Saunders. “There are arguments out there which maintain that few of the economic benefits stemming from agricultural activity on the Canterbury Plains finds its way into Christchurch. On

the contrary, this study shows that farm-based economic activity is intimately connected with Christchurch’s economic activity; and that farm expenditure makes a significant contribution to the city’s economy.” In all likelihood, the impact on Christchurch may be even greater than that stated in the report on account of the foodprocessing sector not included in the study. Also, with regard to the rural businesses survey, in only focusing on the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts, the survey did not consider the Ashburton and Hurunui regions. It is hoped that the research will go some way to support policy makers; particularly with regard to the rebuild of the city and any broader economic development strategies. The next stage of the research will examine the variability of these expenditure flows in order to assess the economic impact to Christchurch of increased irrigation on the Canterbury Plains.

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it’s your time to shine. You’ve given a lifetime of work and commitment, whereas now it’s time to relax and appreciate the glory of what life has to offer you. At Lochlea Lifestyle Resort, life really does keep getting better. Our emphasis is on living in comfort within a safe and friendly environment amongst a gated community, the first of its kind in Ashburton. Residents have a range of retirement options for varying levels of independence, from self-contained villas, through to hospital care. Proposed construction of the 80 bed hospital will commence in 2014, featuring well aged-care and specialised dementia units, ensuring the best care is available to those requiring individualized care. All residents of the Lochlea Lifestyle Resort will have exclusive access to a range of exciting resort leisure activities at Lochlea Lodge, due for completion in early 2014. Featuring a therapeutic bromide pool and spa, as well as a gymnasium, medical facilities and a spacious common area for socialising, Lochlea Lifestyle Resort is quickly becoming the place to be.

With strong interest received from outside of the district as well as positive local interest, some future residents are selecting their villa site areas before construction commences. Selections can be made on these site areas for future occupancy dates (special conditions do apply), so there is no need to delay securing your future security and happiness. We understand that you may not be in a position to move for a period of time, so you are free to choose an option that fits your lifestyle and time line, without missing out on the home of your dreams. All questions can be answered by our friendly Resort Manager, Tony Sands. Act now to secure your retirement villa with the ease of knowing that you are receiving the very best quality at Lochlea Lifestyle Resort. Come along to an open home or give Resort Manager Tony Sands a call to set up a no-obligation chat. Lochlea Lifestyle Resort, where life keeps getting better.

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ith a rapidly changing market, new compliance requirements and changing entertainment mediums, technology, especially communications and internet protocol technology is a core driver in this change. The rural sector is one of the key growth areas right now in New Zealand, if not the world, where technology and connectivity is more crucial than ever. The days are numbered for low or no tech farming, especially with regulatory requirements, using the latest technology and communications applications is a must to give to a business all it needs to succeed. From the use of helicopters to farm wide networks, many farming

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Rural technology

Precision data is key Michelle Nelson

RURAl reporter


n American scientist checks his smart phone to watch as a corn trial plot is sown in Alabama, during a presentation in the Hotel Ashburton. Not only can Dr John Fulton see how much progress has been made, he can also see the input applications, seed population and any deviations in spacing, along with many more data layers. Dr Fulton, from the Auburn University, specialisies in precision agriculture, and was in Ashburton to talk to farmers recently, courtesy of the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) and the New Zealand

Centre for Precision Agriculture. He says data is the future of agriculture, and the United States is spending millions, attracting investors like Google to invest in data space. “At Auburn University we build information for farmers, by educating consultants, running farmer workshops and offering on-farm assistance and research, and bringing technology onto farms to engage farmers a lot more about data management, Dr Fulton said. “Farmers need to get interested in data management to drive decisions and invest in technology. “Data is the number one discussion in the US, where the goal is to double production by 2050, by increasing yield and production – the environmental stuff is coming but not to the level New

Precision agriculture specialist Dr John Fulton.

Zealand deals with. We don’t have the regulations you have, but farmers are becoming engaged as to what sustainable means.” Dr Fulton said in the future agricultural data will be crucial to farm management and farmers without the data

will not be able to prove sustainable management practices and could be shut out of markets. Agricultural data services, such as those driven by Monsanto and John Deere, are forcing farmers into data space – the big question is ownership.

“Farmers own the data – the question is ownership versus licensing, if Monsanto owns the licence the data automatically goes to Monsanto’s cloud – the licence allows them full access,” Dr Fulton said. “Data streams and connectivity means machine and agronomy data is flowing between compatible bases and clouds. “Every machine has a modem from which they can peel data off. You need to think about how it could be used against you.” Dr Fulton said farmer groups in the US were looking at ways to put some regulations around data use to protect privacy. It is already possible to buy remote sensor imagery which details how much crop a farmer has in, the varieties and the potential yield and how much is in the silos. “If I can fly over your farm and collect that data, who would own it?” he asked. In the worst case scenario, such information could be used to influence markets, he said.

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Rural technology

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ith summer now passed, the change of seasons brings a new set of chores. Are you ready? The new revelation of Cordless technology will allow you to tackle all of these jobs painlessly, in peace and quiet, without compromising power. You can now find cordless technology in most ranges from mowers to chainsaws, offering not only a more convenient option but a more eco-friendly and environmentally responsible one.

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Irrigation and water John Leadley

rural columnist


More time is needed for consultation regarding the Ashbuton water zone committee.

hen in late 1969 I applied to the South Canterbury Catchment Board for a water right to irrigate 100 acres of my Wakanui farm from a newly established 150mm diameter bore, I thought it would be a formality. At the time few farmers were lifting water more than 40 metres for irrigation purposes and deep-well submersible pumps were a new phenomenon. I applied for a seven-day, 24-hour operation to maximise the investment, despite the small scale of the project of only 200 gallons per minute maximum output. After a few weeks the board (pre regional council) responded and I was allocated pumping five days a week for 16 hours a day. No explanation

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for the limitation. Fortunately at that time monitoring of deep-aquifer usage was almost non-existent, and remained so for many years. A far cry from the expensive – but necessary – regime in place today. As a retired farmer, irrigator and local body politician, I still maintain a keen interest in irrigation and water allocation. Recent Guardian articles and reports have highlighted the continuing divergence of opinion among stakeholders. This range of opinions on water management has been as expected, obvious since the establishment of the Ashburton Water Trust, the forerunner of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. This trust in which correspondent Ian Mackenzie played a significant role including chairmanship was unable to provide a pathway forward to satisfy all stakeholders. My own view being due to a lack of significant input from the environmental and recreational sectors. I have great respect for Mr Mackenzie, both as a success-

ful farmer, Federated Farmers chairman and environmental spokesman and for his commitment to achieve great sustainable outcomes for farming in this district and the wider field. However, I take issue with some aspects of his criticism of the Ashburton Zone Committee, in particular with the makeup of the original committee. In my then role as deputymayor I was part of the fourperson interview panel that selected the zone committee members. The other panel members were mayor Bede O’Malley and two senior staff from Environment Canterbury, and I can assure readers that no panel member dominated as we all acted independently. For clarity of understanding the selection process was as follows. A call for expressions of interests for membership of the committee was advertised over a four-week period inviting applications from any citizen. Thirty-three responses were received accompanied by curriculum vitae outlying

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The Overseer programme with its largely unproven long-term outcomes should only ever be seen as a stepping stone. As always it’s the devil in the detail, which is only now being discussed. My fear is that the Land and Water Regional Plan is another set of rules designed by theorists for practical people to implement. Surely a case of the tail wagging the dog? To enable preservation of our precious soil and water resource, rules are needed – and unlike 1969 need to be enforced. Farming in Canterbury will continue to flourish if sound common-sense decisions around fertilisation and soil nutrient levels are made and enforced. Personally I have faith in the Zone Committee to achieve this outcome, given a little more time, and noting that the Zone Committee now has not one but two representatives from the Hinds catchment.



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consenting issues in city pedoed by ECan commissioner businesses. (appointed Zone representative) Criticism of the chairman is a David Caygill, who seemed intent bit “rich” considering the zone on dominating debate with incommittee replaced a water terjection and verbose legalistic trust which although having jargon. made some progress was He even pirated questions deemed to be inadequate. And directly addressed to other panel under whose chairmanship? members and continually used If the regional and terms such as legislate, regulate, district council, irrigators, litigate, pursue and prosecute as environmentalists and means of implementation. power-supply authorities, Not what a group of practical, farmers, business people, and progressive, collaborative recreational users are not major farmers want to hear, when stakeholders in water issues, seriously flawed tdealing 60 withsystems. I would like to know who is? monitoring • 00 Every citizen was invited to be • EIfntrthis is the way our ECan y ACommissioners le v part of the process. wish to progress v a • and ilabl el sp I agree that the major hurdle agricultural 6c ei e Ma sustainable c ific yli n 4 to progress is the attitudefrof of 1 ssivproduction, ati sooner we return e t nder cyli the o 2 o n 0 o de n the ECan commissioners. In m o L/mto elected representation the tal r o in il fl an article in Guardian Farming nLY better! o inC written after a nutrient There isw no place for the LU De I seminar held in May last year, pursuit of personal egos in s lamented on the performancemX far-reaching decisions of this of commissioner David Caygill. U30magnitude. Yes Ian Mackenzie, 9 L time is needed and more The well-attended event was more oA promoted as a panel discussion consultation with farmers, who De with zone committee members may wellr be the most affected and I wrote: I was disappointed participants. Long term it is to find the opportunities for New Zealand’s economy that discussion and interaction torstands to lose most.

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of particular interest and knowledge, in order to give the widest perspective possible. The group chosen included those in private and public electricity supply, fish and game, river recreation, environment sustainability, recycling, farmer irrigators (both border-dyke and aquifer), tourism and a host of relevant issues. Neil Brown, the district council’s appointment was total logic. Living beside our major river, he is an irrigator, businessman, dairy farmer, recreational boating and fishing enthusiast. Criticism of members living outside the district is unwarranted. We simply don’t have an ECan commissioner living in the district and most informed people know that without a local marae our tangata whenua representation lies with Arowhenua runanga, on all planning issues. t5 That the RDR manager 00 lives • in Christchurch is 9irrelevant 0 6 • p as much of the rolehinvolves • Ava , 106 Tig ilaand working with legal bl hp



Re • li 4W able an du D de c loa ty fr high fr de on cle onom r w t a ar om ic x a on ork le fo nce h al rf LY e ro avy nt

interests, experience and qualifications. From that group about half were interviewed taking cognisance of business skills, relevance of educational qualifications, locality of enterprise and community involvement etc. This process took most of a day. What was obvious to us all was the high calibre of most applicants and the variety of skills available. Two days were spent interviewing applicants, analysing skills, (including monitoring interaction skills while discussing selected topics in four-person discussion groups), and a series of exercises designed to disclose collaboration abilities. The old Toastmaster skills of listenthink-speak in that order came to mind with listening skills quite lacking in some cases. After several days the panel met and voted as individuals to name the selected applicants. The level of unanimity was reassuring. Care was taken to select a group taking account of business skills, personality, gender, locality, and spheres

tA r

allocation still fraught subjects

• See Ian Mackenzie’s column on pages 20-21.





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When collaborative planning goes Ian Mackenzie FEDERATED FARMERS


hat you are about to read will impact you even if you are not a farmer. Under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, Environment Canterbury and the Ashburton District Council have set up the Ashburton Zone Committee. This is meant to engage with us, the community, in a collaborative process to determine the best way to manage our water. It has not gone to plan and everyone reading this paper should demand action. A genuine collaborative process can be long and tedious. I know this for a fact as I was on the Land and Water Forum for two years. This was an early stab at the collaborative process and that forum’s recommendations now underpin the Government’s

from ARU e v i TIM lus Exc OP™ OW SH N L H O STI EM


The following column ran in the Ashburton Guardian recently, we have reprinted it because it has generated much interest, and our regular columnist John Leadley, pages 18-19, makes reference to it in this edition of Guardian Farming. freshwater reform agenda. It was made up of farmers, environment groups, councils and scientists. It was also considered to be a successful model so regional councils are using it, or meant to use it, as a way to get community buy-in to their land and water plans. Before I get into what’s gone wrong here and what we can do about it, I’d like to outline key features for a successful collaborative outcome. The first is the composition of those taking part. All stakeholders affected by the outcome should be represented around the table. Ideally, the stakeholder groups should be able to select who they want to represent their interests. This is important. If important constituencies are left out you cannot in

all consciousness claim the process to be a collaborative community outcome. The second key feature is good information. This should be the best peer reviewed science available combined with local expert knowledge that is openly disseminated to not only the stakeholders around the collaborative table but the constituencies that they represent. Third, you need a chairperson who is the master of diplomacy and negotiations. Someone who can keep all the stakeholders in the room and not at each other’s throats. Someone determined to succeed in getting all these players to come to a common view of the future. Finally, you need timelines or the process will never finish. So how are we getting on

in Ashburton with our zone committee? How is the collaborative process going as they get to the pointy end of their deliberations on the future of the Hinds Plains? First, the regional and district councils hand-picked the zone committee. Not ideal. Although the zone committee chosen has a cross section of interests, they do not include any representation of those we would consider the main stakeholders in our local community. Five of the zone committee members live outside the Ashburton District and none live in the Hinds Plains community. We are concerned that there’s no local expertise on the zone committee and they have an unwillingness to seek advice from experts and those of us who live and farm locally.

Then there are significant reservations about the quality and origin of the information being fed to the zone committee. When much of this information isn’t available to stakeholders outside the zone committee then open it is not. A collaborative process needs to get to the point where all the information being considered is no longer in question but has been peer reviewed and is accepted as reliable. As far as we can tell, most, if not all the information fed to the zone committee has come from internal ECan sources. Some of this is clearly misinformed but has been accepted as a basis for decision making. Let me be plain here, bullshit in leads to bullshit out. The draft Ashburton Zone Committee Implementation Plan (ZIP) reflects this mantra.




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awry – water woes in the district Again not ideal! There is no evidence of a masterful chairperson who has driven this process to meet our community’s expectations, but considerable evidence that the draft ZIP is the articulation of the vision that ECan staff have for our district. Although there have been some early meetings with the community at the Hinds Hall, the general feeling of the Hinds community is that our advice was cherry picked without much opportunity to provide input into the ZIP. The ZIP cannot be described as the result of any sort of community engagement and in its current draft form the Hinds Plains community is highly likely to reject it. It feels very much like outsiders telling us what to do, not us deciding our own future. Last, the timeframes appear to have been too short. The ECan commissioners want everything sorted while they still run the regional council. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, bad or indifferent, it is a task to be ticked off.

Water user representation is vital for proper consultation, says Ian Mackenzie.

There’s some merit because democracy threw up some pretty average governance that led to their appointment. Rushing the process is, however, contributing to some significant lapses in due process. Slowing down the process

involving proper collaboration, even if it risks a return to democracy before it is concluded, is far better than a seriously flawed implementation plan. So the overall result is not good. Given the importance of what is being decided, not

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good is nowhere good enough. The recommendations in the Ashburton Zone Committee Implementation Plan will not affect anyone on the zone committee, but it’ll certainly affect those of us who live in the Hinds Plains zone. We must demand that we are

allowed to get it right because this is really serious stuff. • Ian Mackenzie is Federated Farmers Environment spokesman and chairman of Federated Farmers Grain and Seed.

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ows and calves are at their most vulnerable to bacterial, viral and other infections around calving; infections which cause serious losses to dairy herds across the country as well as significantly interfering with animal welfare. We are well aware of the disease and infections that can be caused when a calf shed is not cleaned out. Moisture can be a calf-killer, so ensuring that we raise calves on in a clean, dry environment is the most important factor. Alongside these direct losses are the hidden but very much greater indirect costs of poorer liveweight gains and feed conversion efficiencies, extended rearing periods, lower sale values and milk yields, not to mention veterinary treatment and extra labour. As with all animal diseases prevention is better than cure and an effective veterinary herd health plan is essential for all

dairy herds to maintain health and prevent costly disease. One of the most imperative causes of scouring in calves is the transmission - exactly how it has spread. This can be many ways: • Organisms are all spread in the faeces (thousands in every gram of faeces) • Usually taken in by mouth, with food, water • Can be very difficult to remove/kill organisms from the calves’ environment and disinfect. • Personal hygiene is critical. Once there is an infection within the pens it is difficult to remove. This can be avoided by ensuring that you begin with clean pens, disinfecting on a regular basis and ensuring that the housing of the calves is: • Dry and draught free, warm and stress free

• Isolated from healthy calves • Absorbent floor surface (not concrete!) Sawdust or woodchip is ideal as fluid is absorbed. Too often this is compromised by the pressures of managing cows with relatively few staff under less-than-ideal conditions. In a perfect world it would be great to start with a clear structure for first class calving hygiene, together with the best possible advice on putting it into practice.

Isolate sick animals and provide them with warm, well-ventilated and dry calf accommodation.

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A lot of maintenance work takes place on farms across New Zealand when the cows dry off. Often farmers are too busy to clean out the calf shed as best as

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A lot of farmers are now turning to use wood chip shavings because it is not only the most hygienic use of bedding for our future herds but also the most cost effective and eco-friendly. This is particularly important in the early winter since the combined stresses of dietary change, cold and damp weather can easily predispose animals to health problems.

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Kiwi seed drills take off in Europe


Rob Baan, of the Reese Group, and Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner in front of a New Zealand-built Aitchison seed drill.

farmers and there’s no sign of the brisk trade slowing down. Napoleon Bonaparte once said “if you want a thing done, do it yourself” and, rather than the farmers hiring a drill from their Corsican cousins, they’ve bought one themselves. The versatile Aitchison drills are firmly established in the United Kingdom and France and Mr Baan estimates that more than 500 units are in active use throughout Europe.

Mr Baan shared this information with the British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell, late last year. He said she was particularly interested to hear that Reese’s distributor in Suffolk, England, successfully uses Great Britain as a springboard into wider Europe. In addition to Europe, the Reese Group is succeeding in a country where Bonaparte failed. Mr Baan was part of a New Zealand Trade and

Enterprise trade mission to Moscow in June 2013 and, as a result of interest expressed, a container of Aitchison seeding equipment landed with his new distributor in Russia earlier this year. Some of the machines were displayed at a National Agricultural Trade Fair in Moscow. “Russia is a new and possibly important market for New Zealand agri-tech technology,” he says. “We may be on the other side of the world but it is possible to sell around the globe from a manufacturing base in New Zealand.” The Reese Group also recently demonstrated how its machinery can successfully drill seed into semi-frozen ground on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. It’s a practice that would be foreign to New Zealand farmers, but is gaining popularity in the north of Japan. However, the company’s main market is still New Zealand and that’s where the company places its focus. “New Zealand


ever under-estimate the importance of word of mouth is the firm belief of a New Zealand businessman. The Reese Group of Companies, with offices in Christchurch, Auckland and Palmerston North, was displaying a piece of equipment at a trade show in France five years ago when a farmer from Corsica took an interest in a seed drill. Corsica, the birth place of Napoleon Bonaparte, is a mountainous island in the Mediterranean with a limited amount of arable soil. The farmer wanted a drill that could penetrate hard, stony ground and the Kiwi machine took his fancy. “He purchased it to sow grass and crops and increase yield and it soon attracted attention from his neighbours in this remote region of France,” Reese director Rob Baan said. One by one they’ve bought their own New Zealand-built Aitchison seed drill. At last count the agri-tech business has sold 21 units to Corsican

farmers and their practical feedback drive our success,” Mr Baan said. The company has seen good growth over the past five years and manufacturers a range of farm machinery including grass seeders, fertiliser spreaders, grape harvesters, coil springs and pest control devices. Its staff of 125 are based in Christchurch, Palmerston North and Auckland. “To stay competitive our company needs to consistently produce reliable, versatile, cost-effective products,” Mr Baan said. ”We’ve been about for 40 years and want to be recognised as an important part of the New Zealand agri-tech scene for another 40 years.” Mr Baan wants to see more Aitchison seed drills working in the tough Mediterranean terrain. While in Corsica he’d be keen to whisper in a few ears so that whisper can be conveyed to a few more. “Great ambition is the passion of a great character,” said Napoleon Bonaparte and Mr Baan agrees.




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Advertising feature


Unlocking your son’s A boy’s education potential at Medbury School for life!


his year the Medbury Boarding House has a new Housemaster, Jan Taylor, who has worked at Medbury for the past six years as Head of Science. He lives on site with his wife, Catherine, who is a doctor and his two sons, Marcus and James, and brings with him a wealth of experience and ideas to the vibrant boarding house community.

The dedicated and experienced boarding team ensures that every boy receives the attention and support he needs to flourish. A big brother system provides boys new to the boarding house with friendly guidance and advice. Many boarders return home for the weekend after Saturday sport, although those who ‘stay in’ are well catered for with a diverse and engaging weekend programme.

The Medbury Boarding House is a welcoming ‘home away from home’ for a small group of boys aged seven to 13 years. You only have to spend a short time in the Boarding House to see that it offers an inclusive, welcoming environment which encourages boys to grow as individuals with the support of their brothers. It also provides an opportunity to enter into an exciting and welcoming extended family.

Medbury develops good work ethics and provides a broad, balanced education in a stimulating and caring environment. Medbury is also leading the way with 1:1 laptop classes, where all boys in years 5 to 8 have their own laptops. The Headmaster, Peter Kay, believes their challenge is to provide an education that cherishes tradition, but prepares the boys for life in the 21st century.


aihi is an Independent School for day and boarding boys from year four to eight. Ten hectares of attractive grounds and updated facilities provide an excellent environment for a boy to be a boy. Waihi is committed to remaining a small school with the roll limited to 120 boys. Since opening in 1907 the focus of the school has been to challenge boys to set goals and target achievement in a wide range of areas in order to develop all aspects of their life. Through professionalism and a committed staff we provide a learning environment that offers each boy the opportunity to fulfil his potential in a range of academic, sporting, cultural, spiritual and social programmes which prepare him for secondary school and beyond. Waihi has a proud academic record of boys being well prepared for success at secondary school. An experienced teaching staff, the assessment process, planning for individual needs, learning support for both extension and support programmes, class limits of generally 20 boys, all help to ensure academic success. Effective classroom management and a positive attitude to learning are fostered within a culture of high achievement.

Cultural activities play an important part in a Waihi education. There is a strong emphasis on the choir and all boys are encouraged to play a musical instrument through itinerant music teachers. Sport is an integral part of life at Waihi and all boys are required to play a summer and winter sport. Waihi’s tremendous facilities include soccer and rugby fields, cricket grounds (including two artificial wickets), cricket practice nets, artificial turf (tennis courts / hockey and PE), and heated indoor swimming pool. With two thirds of the boys boarding and eight staff and families living permanently on site the school is a nurturing place for both day and boarding boys.

THINKING BOARDING, THINK MEDBURY The Boarding House at Medbury is a ‘home away from home’, providing an inclusive, welcoming environment for your son to grow as an individual with the support of his ‘brothers’. Visit our Open Days to discover how Medbury is unlocking every boy’s potential.


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Waihi is a small, family oriented, Independent School with spacious rural grounds and up to date facilities Waihi is a small, family oriented, Independent School situated north of Winchester on State Highway 1 in with spacious rural grounds and up to date facilities South Canterbury. situated north of Winchester on State Highway 1 in

Boarding & Day School Christian values, small class sizes, extensive South Canterbury. for Boys Years 4-8pastoral care by peers and staff ensure every Waihi boy

Christian values, small class sizes, extensive pastoral Boarding & Day School responds to the of personal development. care by peers andchallenge staff ensure every Waihi boy Boarding & Day School responds toon theOpen challenge for Boys Years 4-8 Visit us Dayof–personal 1.30pmdevelopment. 11th August State Highway 1, Winchester, South Canterbury for Boys Years 4-8 Visit us on Open Day – 1.30pm 11th August Mid Year Enrolments Welcome

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Advertising feature


The right blend “A

fter 32 years in education it is clear to me that we are in the people business,” reflects St Andrew’s College rector Christine Leighton. Christine has worked across multiple sectors of secondary school education including single-sex schools, co-ed, state, integrated and independent education. This is her seventh year as rector at St Andrew’s College.

At St Andrew’s we are proud of the values and strong sense of community that has developed over nearly 100 years. As we head towards our Centennial in 2017, we are committed to growing and adapting as the world changes, not only to sustain our strengths, but also to ensure that our students have the skills they need to be future leaders.”

St Andrew’s College offers a special blend of opportunities in a supportive, nurturing environment that stimulates young people and makes them want to succeed. Christine notes that she was thrilled to learn that three St Andrew’s students received a New Zealand top subject award in the Scholarship 2013 exams (in Agriculture, Dance and Drama). This places best things about my job is the relationships I form with students, those students in the top one per cent of the many students parents and our Old Collegians who sit this top academic who are now spread all around exam nationwide. A number of the world. Our graduates take students also compete in sports their place amongst the topteams or cultural groups at top ranked universities and go on to national and international level. make a significant difference in their lives beyond school. I always The College Pipe Band are the enjoy hearing stories about what current world champions for the Juvenile Grade. our alumni are doing. "It is a privilege to be working with young people and to help shape their lives. One of the

“Fundamentally, we passionately believe in young people and that we can make a difference to their lives. Our aim, at the end of their time here, is to have them leave us prepared, confident and eager to embark on the next stage of their lives, whatever that may be,” says Christine. The college is proud to be celebrating 23 years of coeducation in 2014. Christine believes that co-education is exciting, supportive, inspiring, natural and real. Heads of boarding from ashburton.


wo Ashburton locals are heads of boarding at St Andrew’s College this year. Fred Scott and Natalie Allen have embraced their leadership role at the college and are busy planning fun events for the boarders. Fred has loved his time boarding at the college and believes that “once you’re in boarding you don’t want to leave”.

Boarding ROAD SHOW

the world champion pipe band, touch rugby and golf. One aspect of boarding Natalie believes that helps St Andrew’s College standout is the committed and enthusiastic boarding house staff and tutors.


He has made the most of many opportunities on offer and is actively involved in a number of co-curricular activities from


“After 32 years in education it is clear to me that we are in the people business”

Clear the decks

From PhD students to top athletes, the tutors prove to be valuable role models for the students. Natalie herself is topranked netball player who draws inspiration from one tutor, Keshia Grant, who is a member of the Canterbury Tactix netball team.




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Planning is the best Tim Silva



ronically, one of the first things to consider with equity partnerships is the rules and process around exit. At some stage, an equity partner will move on. A wellconsidered and documented process will ensure that this happens as smoothly as possible. This month’s contribution looks at some considerations around exit.

Lock-in Most equity partnerships will have a set lock-in period, where

no equity partner is entitled to exit as of right. The key reason for this is to ensure stability by specifying a minimum amount of time that each partner will be able to rely on the other’s capital contributions. There is often discussion around the length of the lock-in period. zDepending on the nature of the farm and the equity partnership capitalisation, the lock-in period can range from three to six seasons. The minimum lock in usually reflects the predicted time for an equity partnership to become profitable. This must be considered on a case by case basis. Consideration also needs to be given to any agreed exceptions to the lock-in. For

example, the lock-in may not apply to an equity manager who for certain “no fault” reasons is unable to manage the farm.

Pre-emptive rights In essence, pre-emptive rights give the remaining shareholders the ability to buy the shares of an exiting partner before they can be offered to the open market. Prior to the new Companies Act 1993, pre-emptive rights were statute based. Now pre-emptive rights must be included in the constitution or the shareholders agreement. Pre-emptive rights provisions must be carefully considered, as one size certainly does not fit all. Some of the variables include the timetable for

exercise, any exceptions (such as transfer to a family member) and most importantly how the exiting partner’s shares will be valued if agreement cannot be reached.

Share valuation This is often an area of tension in terms of exit from an equity partnership. Typically, the exiting partner will want the highest possible value for their shareholding with the purchaser wanting the opposite. The share valuation process is often complex and costly, which puts real commercial pressure on the parties to take a practical and collaborative approach to agreeing on a value for their shares. Ordinarily, the exiting

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shareholder will specify a value for their shares in a transfer notice. A purchasing shareholder has the choice of accepting that value or requiring the “fair value” to be determined by a third party valuer. The valuation is often facilitated by the company accountant, procuring such expert input as deemed appropriate. This would include a land valuation and a livestock valuation, which will be crunched into a formula taking into account all assets and liabilities of the company in order to arrive at a share value. This is often a difficult process on the basis that some deferred values (such as milk pay-out) can only be estimated at the


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way out time that fair value is given. To address this, some share valuation processes will work on the basis of an estimated value, with an actual share value to be computed when the actual performance and pay-out figures are available. The problem with this is that actuals will not be available until after settlement (sometimes November or December), yet dairying parties may wish to move on with certainty from June 1.

Right to revoke A good shareholders’ agreement and negotiation process will consider what happens if the exiting partner is not happy with the share value determination. In some circumstances the exiting

partner will have a right to revoke the transfer notice and retain the stake in the equity partnership. In other circumstances, the exiting partner will still be obliged to transfer the shares, even if the price is lower than expectation. This must be considered on a case by case basis.

Forced wind up If the exiting partner’s shares are not taken up by the remaining shareholders through the pre-emptive rights process and the company does not agree to absorb the exiting partner’s shares, there is usually the right for the exiting partner to sell the shares on the “open market”. The board will often have

the ability to veto a thirdparty purchase, if they have a genuine reason to think that the introduction of a particular shareholder is not in the best interests of the company. The reality is (with the exception of new equity managers) it is often very difficult to sell shares in an existing company. The key reason for this is that an incoming shareholder will not only acquire a share of the assets, they will become exposed to the liabilities. Because the liabilities can often be hidden or contingent, it is always difficult to assess what risk there may. Because of that fact, it is always crucial to consider what will happen if a shareholder wishes to exit, and there is no

buyer for the shares. The solution can be that an exiting shareholder, who has not revoked its transfer notice, can require the farm to be placed on the market for sale and the equity partnership is wound up. This reflects the view that it is easier to sell a farm, than sell a shareholding in a company. This must be carefully considered to avoid a situation that the remaining shareholders are unhappy with. For example, the right to force a sale of the farm could be reserved to the major shareholders, but not minor shareholders holding – say 10 per cent of the equity partnership. The key to all considerations is to carefully think out the

consequences up front when the equity partnership is formed. It is often crystalball gazing in terms of which options will be the best and the fairest in the future. That said it is better to have thought out the options and scenarios and made a collective decision at the start, rather than having no base line rules to follow when the time comes. The most important point with exit is that common sense prevails. The equity partnership documentation will provide a process to be exercised if the need arises. However, good commercial and practical decision making by mutual agreement will always be the best option. Next month we will look at equity partnership negotiations.






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Gut noises and colic Jenny Paterson BSC ZOOLOGY AND BIOLOGY


ith the onset of autumn come seasonal and weather related changes in the pasture grass leading to an increase in the incidence of certain equine ‘colics’. While the days are still warm, the night-time temperatures are dropping and these factors, along with the autumn rain, alter the chemical composition of the grass which can result in colic in some horses. (Not to mention laminitis, head-flicking and behavioural problems!) The trouble is there are numerous causes of ‘abdominal pain’ or ‘colic’. Because some of them are life-threatening always call your veterinarian immediately should you observe any of the following signs: Pawing, rolling, looking around or kicking at the abdomen,

bloating, sweating, distress, uneasiness, agitation, loss of interest in food and water, unusual postures like sitting or standing stretched out, louder than normal gut noises or the absence of gut noises. The last two are significant. While you know your horse is well, familiarise yourself with his normal gut sounds by standing at his side keeping his head bent slightly around towards you. Place your ear against his flank just behind the ribs. You will hear a variety of gurgly, rumbly sounds. These are the normal noises of the digestion process. Check both sides. The following are two types of colic associated with the change in season: 1. Gas colic: Sometimes gas builds up in the intestine, most commonly in the large intestine and/or caecum. The gas stretches the intestine, causing discomfort and pain. You will hear louder and gurglier than normal gut noises.

2. Spasmodic recurring colic: Some cases of colic are due to increased intestinal contractions, the abnormal spasms causing the intestines to contract painfully. These tend to come and go and some horses suffer multiple bouts. These ‘colics’ often coincide with changes in the grass of spring and autumn. Gas colics are characterised by louder and gurglier than normal gut noises. Forage tests taken from South Canterbury pasture consumed by horses suffering repeated bouts of such colic revealed very high potassium: sodium ratios (54, when it should be no higher than five).

muscles while the salt and baking soda, both of which contain sodium, act as buffers to help reduce the ‘gas’ and the cramping. Abdominal cramping can be a sign of sodium deficiency. It is possible that the colic will have dissipated by the time the vet arrives but better to be safe than sorry. The vet can then check all the vital signs and all is well. Some diet changes

which should at least include the addition of salt to daily feeds will be necessary to prevent further bouts. What you don’t want to hear when listening for gut noises is no sounds! Barely audible or absent gut noises suggest a lifethreatening impaction or twist in the horse’s intestine. Be clear this is a real emergency and needs urgent veterinary intervention.

Still call your veterinarian but while waiting for him to arrive, dissolve a tablespoon each of, salt and/or baking soda in water with your fast-acting organic magnesium with boron and syringe it down. (We keep these items with a plastic jug and a large suitable syringe with our first aid kit). The magnesium helps relax

Listening to Zephyr’s gut noises.

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Reap the rewards – apply compost • Reduce leaching of nutrients • Increase resistance to pests and diseases.

Sheryl Stivens



ll around the world farmers are getting into rebuilding their soils by applying tonnes of compost to their farmland. With biological farmers this is in addition to minerals and trace elements as they tune into their specific soil needs and reduce nitrogen and other chemical inputs. Years of applying acidbased fertilisers may have increased crop yields and grass production, however, many soils now lack good texture and the leaching of nutrients is a costly problem. Feeding soils with a diversity of nutrients as are found in composted soil conditioners can: • Improve water retention • Reduce fertiliser inputs

Compost applications to farmland in Australia

the land in this area has been intensively and continuously farmed for more than 200 years in such a way that it has become degraded. In addition the water quality in the catchment has declined over time because of nutrientrich agricultural run-off. The application of compost to the local soils aims to improve soil structure, increase waterholding capacity and nutrientholding capacity of the soils as well as reduce nutrient levels in agricultural run-off. Application rates of compost to farmland range from about 20 to 40 tonnes per hectare. The projects aim to help farmers improve production efficiency and reduce costs; reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the river; and achieve water savings.

In Australia, the HawkesburyNepean River system is under significant stress. Water extraction, catchment development and contaminated run-off have resulted in excessive weed growth, algal blooms and elevated levels of pollutants. Government-funded projects based around being NutrientSmart and Water-Smart involve working with farmers in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment to improve water quality by reducing nutrient run-off from rural agricultural land and thus improve nutrient management and water use efficiency. On-farm interventions include Global compost stock-exclusion fencing and the applications to application of compost to vast areas of farmland. now $1850farmland excl Australian soils are generally Reports the application now $1400onexcl not very fertile, and much of of compost to farmland in



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the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan as well as the trials that have been held here in Canterbury funded by the Canterbury Waste Joint Committee on a variety of farms with various application rates are all available. According to research in Britain, compost can raise a soil pH when it is low and stabilise it when it is at or above neutral. This can counteract the effect of inorganic fertilisers, which tend to lower soil pH over time. Applications of compost have shown to improve seed-bed conditions leading to better germination and early root growth – just what we need when establishing winterfeed crops and sowing down grasses. The sustainability of healthy human life requires the sustainability of farming which requires comprehensive nutrition for soil. So why not give it a go this autumn and apply compost to your soils. Mastagard have screened and tested compost available locally

Please look after your community recycling depot, do not leave any household waste or reusable goods at these unmanned sites. If you have farm workers who have recently arrived in the Ashburton district please advise them how to reduce, reuse and recycle and to keep our community recycling depots in rural areas tidy and clean. The recycled materials collected are all sorted by hand. Help is only a call away. Phone 0800 627-824 for help with reducing your waste or contact details for safe disposal of silage wrap and other farm plastic waste.



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very day, plants pull carbon out of the air we breathe and use it to make useful materials. Imagine if we could do the same? Inspired by carbon-capturing processes found in nature, Newlight has developed, patented, and commercialised a carbon-capture technology that pulls carbon out of an air stream to produce a plastic-like material called AirCarbon that can match the performance of oil-based plastics. The AirCarbon production process begins with carbon that would otherwise become a part of the air, such as methanebased carbon generated from sources such as farms, landfills, water treatment plants, and energy production sites. To find out more go to www. Just imagine the possibilities?

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Plantain boosts lamb returns Plantain pasture trials give impressive results in Hawke’s Bay, writes Catherine Wedd.


Hawke’s Bay farm trial shows that lambs fatten faster on plantain and yield better than lambs grazed on pasture. Awapai Station, 50 kilometres southwest of Hastings on the Napier-Taihape highway, a ram breeder for Focus Genetics, recently carried out trials and then held a farm field day. More farmers are turning to plantain as a popular, affordable alternative to pasture for fattening lambs and improving the condition of livestock for mating and many sheep and beef breeders and traders say plantain helps produce better growth rates. Awapai farm manager Shane Tilson says he has planted 80 hectares of mixed clover and tonic plantain in the past four years and is now experiencing outstanding results. ”We did a research experiment this season where we grazed half our highlander ewe hoggets with their primera lambs on plantain and

Forty-eight per cent of the lambs weaned off the plantain mob graded better off mum compared with 21 per cent off the grass mob. It was clear that the plantain lambs graded better, yielded better and put on weight faster. – Shane Tilson half on grass for the last month of lactation in December. ”The lambs that were weaned off the plantain were a kilo heavier in carcass weight than the lambs that were grazed on pasture. And the ewe hoggets weaned 1.2kg heavier than those on pasture. “Forty-eight per cent of the lambs weaned off the plantain mob graded better off mum compared with 21 per cent off the grass mob. It was clear that the plantain lambs graded better, yielded better and put on weight faster.” Mr Tilson says the lambs on the plantain put on 350g a day on average from the date of lambing to weaning, a far better lactational growth rate than expected. ”The plantain is very

palatable and seems to digest well. I find the lambs graze the whole paddock very evenly. ”Having plantain meant that during last year’s drought we were able to grow all our primera rams out to meet contractual demands from farmers. Without plantain we would have been very challenged.” Mr Tilson says plantain enables them to get their replacement Highlander ewe lambs to a mature body weight earlier. ”We can mate our hoggets earlier so we can get the genetic gains earlier without compromising growth rates. ”We just weaned our hogget replacements in January. ”They came off the plantain at 66.5kg. They had put on

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4.5kg while also rearing a lamb, so we were thrilled with their performance.” Plantain must be managed well. “You really have to keep on top of it. We graze it when the height of the plantain is the height of a stubby beer bottle and we take the stock out when it’s the height of a stubby beer bottle lying on it’s side. You can’t just stick your stock in there and forget about them.” Opepe Trust farm manager Ryan Mason has planted more than 300ha of tonic plantain on his Central Plateau farm and says it’s been one of the best decisions he has ever made. “We have light soil and poor fertility as well as challenging climatic conditions so we need

a crop that can handle our harsh environment. We need something that can give us growth all year around and plantain provides the answer.” Opepe Trust grazes dairy heifers and calves on the plantain and also finishes its primera/highlander and primera/romney lambs on plantain. The farm produces 10,500 lambs and sells some fat and some store. ”Plantain has enabled us to lamb earlier and get better results. We drafted 50 per cent of our lambs off mum fat this year, which is a record for Opepe Trust, given we farm in such a tough climate.” The property used to have 100 per cent brown-top grass but 10 per cent is now plantain and Mr Mason intends growing more. “Plantain is a good yearround plant that is low cost and easy to establish in a lowfertile environment.

Rural monthly publications Dairy Focus




h ISl



Guardian Ashburton

Dairy Focus August 2013

The Wright stuff Page 2

• Pasture management • Dairy conversions / fencing / buildings • Planting winter crops

PUBLICATION Tuesday, March 25

ADVERT BOOKING Thursday, March 13

Pages 2&3

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Guardian Farming





Facts on flax

Dogs benefit from flaxseed oil P2-4

Have you got unwanted weeds or pests? ATS has a wide range of herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides to ensure you get the best possible yield from your crop. Solvo® is a pre-emergent herbicide for the use against certain broadleaf and grass weeds in various crops. If you require technical support for your spring pasture or cropping requirements contact the ATS Arable Key Account Managers today on 0800 BUY ATS (289 287).

• Farm clean up (scrap metals) • Green farming • Trucks options • Weather proofing

Slugout® is a granular slug bait that offers excellent control of slugs and snails particularly during crop establishment. For all your spring pasture and brassica seed requirements contact the ATS Seed team today on 0800 BUY ATS (289 287).

0800 BUY ATS / 0800 289 287

Ashburton / Methven / Rakaia ATS_Guardian Farmer_276x100mm_0813.indd 1

PUBLICATION Tuesday, April 8

ADVERT BOOKING Thursday, March 27

2/9/13 3:25:50 PM

And ISPM 15 accredited for Export Pallets. So for all your pallet or box requirements, no matter how big or small, give Wayne a call today at Adams Sawmilling

Dairy Focus




h ISl



Guardian Ashburton

Dairy Focus August 2013

• Feeding pads • Education • Budgeting


PUBLICATION Tuesday, April 22

The Wright stuff Page 2

Pages 2&3

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

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

ADVERT BOOKING Thursday, April 10

35 “We have piece of mind knowing we have the feed available going into the winter and during droughts. “This enables us to focus on good genetics and management,” Mr Mason says. Agricom eastern North Island sales manager Hamish Best says its tonic plantain sales have increased over the past three years. “Tonic plantain is the next big step forward for hill-country breeding units. “Farmers are now able to put their ewes having multiples on to a feed source that puts weight on the ewe and her lambs, improving the percentage of lambs weaned direct to slaughter.” Focus Genetics chief executive Gavin Foulsham has welcomed farmers’ interest in plantain and was pleased with the field day turn out at Awapai Station. Mr Foulsham is keen to encourage farmers to challenge their genetics to deliver on the promise and reap the rewards of that investment. ”I think Awapai’s results demonstrate the value of matching your investment in forage, with an appropriate investment in genetics or vice versa. ”It makes sense that if you are going to invest in quality genetics you need to ensure that you are providing them with the forage that allows the animals to express their genetic potential.”

Shane Tilson, Awapai Station manager, is impressed with how the lambs have done on plantain.

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The moments that change lives Chris Murdoch hastings mcleod


nterestingly I was talking to a client on the Saturday morning of February 22, who was and still is a major commercial investor in Christchurch’s city centre. He wished to have a look around a property with me, but wanted to be back in central Christchurch for the third anniversary of the earthquake that levelled Christchurch’s CBD and he made the comment that it never ceased to amaze him how those 30 seconds changed his and tens of thousands of other people’s lives forever. I got to thinking this over and when you sit down and analyse all the things that change one’s life – well maybe not all, but a large number of things – they are something that come completely out of left field.

A cracked windscreen after the hail storm that hit Mayfield in December last year.

We really do worry about the small things, as of course you must, but it is the major things that happen that we are not expecting that really knock us all off our perches. I often think that on February 22, 2011, thousands of people got up, had breakfast, went to work and were worried about what they would have for tea or should they put the washing

out because it might rain, should I fill the car with petrol this morning or tonight? And so on. But fate had something else planned for that day, and all of a sudden all those things that we thought were important were not. On the winds of change though this season from September on has been

truly “winds of change” and just as unpredictable as the earthquake. The season started with two big winds that have and still are costing farmers across Canterbury thousands if not millions of dollars. Driving around our district you can still see the damage done to tree lots, forests and even the odd irrigator without its end arm on.

Huge losses have been felt through dairy and loss of grass and therefore production. Then late last year a huge hail storm charged through the Mayfield district causing damage to crops and property alike. One of our friends lost about 200 hectares of crop that was ready for harvest. Others had cars and trucks and homes damaged. This took a bit longer than the 30-second earthquake but still, like the quake, arrived out of the blue and did its work and disappeared. All in all it seems to be only when these “moments of change” arrive that we really do stop and take stock of our lives and where we are at. Sadly, the majority of us say we must change and make the most of every moment but within days or weeks most of us are back worrying about the weather, tea and business deals. Sometimes, though, I hope we all stop and take stock of where we are at and appreciate what we’ve got because it can change in the blink of an eye.

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Guardian farming march  

Ashburton Guardian, Farming, March 11, 2014

Guardian farming march  

Ashburton Guardian, Farming, March 11, 2014