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Facts on flax Dogs benefit from flaxseed oil P2-4

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Success in the seeds The health benefits of flax seed oil are well known in the nutritional world and familyowned Ashburton business Fourflax is making sure animals don’t miss out either.

The sterling work by Fourflax making animal health products from linseed resulted in the company being shortlisted recently for the small enterprise retail category of the Champion Canterbury Business Awards. Its success has also put Mid Canterbury on the map, as linseed crops grown almost exclusively in central Canterbury are processed in Ashburton and products sold around New Zealand and in Hong Kong, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Flax seed oil, or linseed oil, is valued for its high Omega 3 content . It is known to have anti-imflammatory properties and is said to have health benefits for the circulatory, digestive and immune systems . It is great for skin and hair, something humans have known for years , and is also a fantastic supplement for joint and muscular health . Those same benefits are being offered to cats, dogs and horses in animal health products made by Fourflax. The crop is grown under strict supervision in Mid Canterbury and seeds from the Linum usitatissimum crop are pressed at the company’s Dobson Street facility, packaged, and then sold online, at 233 stores around New Zealand or exported. continued next page

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3 Linda Clarke, Ashburton Guardian rural reporter

Mature linseed ready for harvest in Mid Canterbury.

The crop has stunning blue flowers prior to harvest. A special feature about Fourflax products is their traceability. Each retail product label carries a code

which the consumer can use to trace their product back to where it was grown, and see pictures of the seed’s growth stages on a website. The company was founded in 2010 by directors

Daryl Prebble and Debbie Swift, after they saw a gap in the animal health market. They found that many animals were suffering from health issues including joint problems, skin allergies

and irritations – just like people. Fourflax in an offshoot of parent company Bio Oils, set up 26 years ago by Daryl’s father Gavin. Bio Oil Bio is the largest producer of cold-pressed, New Zealand-

grown flax seed oil and fibre in the country and supplies the food, supplement and cosmetic industries. continued over page

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4 Sales manager Jenna Swift said it was the quiet er time of the season now, and Fourflax is looking forward to the start of the busy equine show season. with Daryl on the road contracting farmers to grow for the 2014 harvest “The crops grow well here. It is Mid Canterbury’s high-quality soils that make the difference.”

The crops are carefully monitored while they grow and harvested late summer. The seed is stored then cold-pressed and the resulting oil bottled and dispatched. Flax seed oil has a distinct colour, flavour and aroma. It is processed in an oxygenfree environment, with no exposure to UV light, and at low temperatures to ensure quality and freshness without compromising the nutritional values. After extraction oil is allowed to settle naturally, rather than using centrifugal force, again maintaining the integrity and quality of the oil. A flax seed flake is also produced.

A team of six makes sure the growing and manufacturing process runs smoothly.

Jenna said Fourflax was born after customers approached them saying it was not economical to buy flax seed oil in large quantities for their animals from health food shops – oil prepared for human consumption.

She said the company was proud of its Ashburton roots. “To this end we support the local Mid Canterbury farmers who grow our crops for us year on year, and are contributing to the local economy. Our cold-pressing plant is in Ashburton, and all staff are from the Ashburton district, further supporting the Canterbury economy.”

The Fourflax management team (from left) Jenna and Debbie Swift, Daryl Prebble and Nick Swift, are proud of their Mid Canterbury PHOTO SUPPLIED roots and the family values they bring to the business and what it produces.




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5 Linda Clarke, Ashburton Guardian rural reporter

Green, green grass of home Boosting production through increased pasture growth is an important part of a farmer’s management toolbox.


id Canterbury is one of the best herbage seed growing areas in the world, a fact not lost on an international group of experts

coming to Methven next month. About 80 people from all over the world will meet for a workshop, sharing research with each other and with local farmers.

Canterbury farmers who grow clover, ryegrass and other herbage crops for seed and those in the seed industry are being encouraged to attend the

Farmer Day, which will include indoor sessions on working within nitrogen and water limits, and new technologies to boost seed production.

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6 The afternoon will include visits to the Methven farms of David Grant and Ian Hydes.

FAR farmer day

The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is helping organise the workshop and spokesperson Anna Heslop said Mid Canterbury was specially chosen as a destination because of its status in the seed-growing world. “Mid Canterbury is the biggest herbage seed growing area in New Zealand, and New Zealand is one of three countries in the world that does it well. The other two are Oregon and parts of Europe. “This workshop is actually bigger than the last one held in Texas.” She said the Farmer Day would put the latest research into plain language for growers while Wednesday and Thursday were devoted to the experts, who would share their current research and findings. “They will be sharing knowledge and research, all aimed at increasing production with reduced inputs.” Topics include plant breeding, management and new technology. Ms Heslop said Kiwi research was well

Registration is $30 for FAR levy payers ($50 for others) and covers the full programme outlined, including dinner. Registrations close on September 17. Register and pay online at www.ihsg.org/content/ international-herbage-seedworkshop-new-zealand 8.45am Welcome Nick Pyke David Grant

regarded by scientists around the world. The New Zealand seed industry contributes around $5 billion per annum to gross output and more than $200 million in exports. “Our $11b dairy industry runs on grass and the grass is controlled by seed technology. So not only does the New Zealand seed industry export and create wealth in itself, it gives the whole New Zealand pastoral sector competitive technological advantage.” The International Herbage Seed Group has its origins in a group that started in 1978 following the 28th University of Nottingham Easter School in Agricultural Science. Its main objective is to encourage co-operation and communication between workers engaged in herbage seed production research.


Session one

• Working with nitrogen limits in a Danish farming system – Rene Gislum, Denmark • The use of nitrogen fertiliser within grass-seed crops in Canterbury – Phil Rolston, AgResearch • Nutrient management in herbage seed crops in Oregon – John Hart, United States • The role of burning in crop residue management in New Zealand – Nick Poole, FAR • Factors involved in producing high seed yield of forage brassica seed crops – Jen Linton, FAR

Session two – New technologies for increased seed production • An introduction to plant growth regulators for use on grass seed crops – Tom Chastain, US • What does stem shortening actually do in perennial ryegrass seed production – Richard Chynoweth, FAR • Current usage of plant growth regulators on-farm in Oregon – William Young III, US • The future of breeding herbage seed cultivars with a focus on white clover successes, and how theses may influence seed production – Brent Barrett, Plant & Food • The wish list of New Zealand seed producers – what’s coming up in the next 10 years – Bede McCloy, NZ Arable 1-2pm Lunch • Farm visit – David Grant • Farm visit – Ian Hydes and family 6pm-7.30pm Barbecue dinner

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The Farmer Day on Tuesday, September 24 is part of a four-day programme that begins a day earlier, after participants have jetted in to Christchurch and made their way to Methven via Lincoln University and several research trial sites. White clover at the Maw farm at Barrhill is also on the tour agenda before they arrive at Methven for the night. The theme of the workshop is making research and development work on the farm.

8 Contributed by rural sales consultant Chris Murdoch

Times are changing

Chris Murdoch Property Brokers Ashburton Oh boy where did 23 years go!! Life seems to go one day at a time, and then all of a sudden 23 years go by and you start to think, hell that was quick. I started my real estate career after our family negotiated our way through the 80’s crisis. Looking back it was a wonder

anyone got through paying 24% - 26% interest rates. I remember the day I asked a guy I respected about real estate and real estate agents, and his answer was really simple ‘if you find a good real estate agent, shoot him quick because it’s only a matter of time before he goes bad’. I had a laugh about that and thought to hell with it I’d still have a go. Luckily I am married to a teacher and we had two small children and at least we had some steady income coming in to pay the bills. Times were tough being a commission only agent in a period when very little was sold. To be honest I can’t remember my first sale but prices then were depressed grazing land was selling $2,500 to $3,000 per hectare and good border dyke country for around $6,000 per hectare. I do remember my first end of month commission payment after 2 months of no pay. It covered my fuel costs just! At approximately the same time cell phones started, my first phone was a ‘brick’ (given to me

by my working wife) and boy were they expensive to use - each call cost a small fortune. Prior to that radio telephones were in all our cars and were used all the time.

aren’t we selling spray irrigated farms to dairy farmers? I got the reply ‘the day a dairy farmer can afford to farm on spray irrigated farm I’ll eat my hat’, he never did but I did ask him to try!

Two years after becoming an agent I was lucky enough to be offered a job at Hastings McLeod Real Estate, who were leading rural realtors of the time. Upon joining Hastings McLeod my sales career took off. Working along side Paul and Rodger and with Colin McLeod at the helm away we went. In those first few years I would have spent at least 60% of my time ‘door knocking’. Surprisingly I only got my marching orders once and have never been back up that drive to this day. In those early years I would travel 50,000 to 60,000km per year throughout Mid and South Canterbury.

In those days there was still fall out happening from the 1980’s period and people who shut up shop and farmed through were starting to think they would take the rise in prices and exit farming. From here through to the 2008 period sales were steady, but more agents kept arriving and some leaving all the time. More stayed than left.

In the early days the family farm was still very much king, dairy farming had just really began, and in fact I remember asking a senior real estate agent why

The 2008 down turn was felt worldwide but one thing we have learnt is that the market never stays up or down for long. It just keeps moving. Once again over the last few years the market has strengthened and is looking good. Real estate and real estate agents especially in the rural sector is all about your relationships with the vendor and purchaser – especially your

vendor. As the number of farmers and farms reduce and an ever increasing number of larger operations and partnerships are formed, it is critical to forge solid relationships. These are built on trust so as you become that clients real estate agent for life, and whenever he thinks of anything about real estate he contacts you. In conclusion I am very lucky to work with leading rural realtors with the backing of excellent urban agents and one of the best companies in New Zealand – Property Brokers. This business is changing every day and I look forward to the new challenges ahead. P.S - The other day I had to stop my truck because there was a flock of sheep on the road – not cows – sheep! I just about hopped out like the Japanese tourists in front of me to take photos – hell how things change.



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9 By APNZ business reporter Jamie Gray

Good management practices start with practical solutions F

armers are being urged to begin thinking about practising good management on their farms, and to start putting in place some of the simpler means of making it happen. Practical guidelines fornative improved farming practices forestthe farming sector, and are gaining exposure across there is a growing understanding around their purpose including for improved environmental outcomes.

GMPs are applied solutions Good management practices need to be developed by collaboration between farmers, industry and regulators such as Environment Canterbury, in rangitata order to get d buyin from farmersnative and begin to deliver the outcomes wildlife expected by the wider community. water races

quality in differing ways. As a result there is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to good management practices and each farm manager will need to review what is available and choose the most appropriate for their location and recreat recreat operation.


Farmers are simply being asked to at least start water storage measuring nutrient outputs and thinking about which d Knowledge of soil moisture and nutrient levels, changes in planting, fencing and stock management are good management practices could be implemented. some methods by which farmers can begin to address There is already good understanding that nitrate levels GMPs are also seen as a programme of continuous the problems right now. Good management practices g-fed in groundwater and streams are rising locally and are improvement – not something that isnutr done rientonce and rient will result in a net benefi amst for a farming operation, wetlands wetlands close to maximum levels in some areas, and prompt forgotten. Some practices, such as Farm Environmental run n noff off including the environment, and are best viewed as an er action is necessary to halt the rising trend. Plans and Audited Self-Management programmes, can investment in the future. be developed and implemented in the short term. Other For the Hinds Catchment the initial focus is on turning GMPs also need to be supported by tools and models GMPs may be two years or more away from on-farm around the rising trend in nitrate levels, rather than such as Overseer, which will become increasingly commercial implementation. trying to restore nutrient levels to historic dryland refined with ongoing development. Farmers already farming levels. Even with good management practices Hinds catchment: need to keep a nutrient budget and record how Looking for solutions to water quality issues in place, nitrate levels may continue to increase after the they manage nutrients (this is a requirement under introduction of good management practices as a result Environment Canterbury’s proposed Land and Water The Ashburton zone committee – set up as part of the IRRIGATED of a ‘nutrient lag’. Regional Plan). Canterbury Water Management Strategy – is working on LAND AREA solutions to water quality issues in the Hinds catchment. Typical nitrogen leaching levels based WATER-USE TE EThe Scommittee is leading a collaborative community Provide for 30,000ha of new irrigated ECOSYSTEM HEALTH on recent Overseer modelling of various EFFICIENCY land which has high standards of process – where people work together to find areas of & BIODIVERSITY farm systems and actual farms within KAITIAKITAN KAITIAKIT TIeven I Tif TA AN G GA A nutrient and water use management. agreement and solutions they can live with, they the Ashburton-Hinds catchment eveshow high levelsdon’t of best-practice get everything they want. Prevent further loss, protect, and that twice as many farms are achieving r use for all irrigation, stockwater Increase r com community mmunity n un under nd deersstandin tandin restore o native v habitats t and d species e best practice now than were in commercial the use.Part of this process involves everyone customary thinking values alues and about uuses ses. PProte rote in natural aquatic environments— 1990s under the border dyke system. how to provide for the economic, and wahisocial, taonga g cultural and mahing mahinga ga kaaii wate wate ki uta a ki tai. environmental needs. Farmers are already beginning to ENVIRONMENTAL respond to the need to address nutrient The diagram below sets out the values that need to be LIMITS IM levels and are beginning to use the tools taken into account during the water quality discussion. available. The priorities have been set by the zone committee SSet and d achieve v flow, w catchment m and n working with local people and stakeholders, and reflect Continuous improvement is the key nutrient limits. the aims of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. The Hinds Catchment is one of the most modified in New Zealand: it also For more information about the Strategy – visit Fencing and planting low spots in paddocks is good stock management and provides has a highly diverse range of soils and www.cwms.org.nz and for more information about the environmental benefits by reducing the amount of sediment runoff. agricultural systems which affect water Hinds process visit www.ecan.govt.nz/hinds




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


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

rangitata diversion race native wildlife

native forest


spring-fed streams groundwater bores


nutrient runoff



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

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

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.

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


water races water storage

groundwater/ aquifers


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

Hinds River


10 Contributed by Lifestyler

Be careful what you wish for T

o all those people that know the old saying “good things happen to those who wait”, well, in a roundabout way, it is true.

When I moved out to the play farm I wanted a goat. I think I got every other animal apart from the goat. We have just about been here three years next month and my wish has come true. Yes, a goat. It all come about when we went out for dinner one night. Tom made some comment about me not helping with the cows, feeding out and so on. I come back very quickly, I didn’t want cows wanted goats. Not my problem you brought the wrong animal home. Well everyone had a laugh and the next thing someone said “would you like a goat?” as they knew of one needing a home. Yes, I said. Yes, of course.  We finished dinner and went home, and the following day I got a text asking if I was still interested in the goat. So next thing I am ringing the man with the goat and organising to get it dropped off. I knew Tom wouldn’t pick it up for me. I keep the arrangements to myself. Tom thought I would forget about the conversation at dinner. Two nights later Oscar arrived. The kids laughed, you got the goat mum. Yes I did, was my reply. Does Dad know? I laughed then and replied no, but he will as soon as he gets home.  But because I couldn’t find a chain I had to phone him. I wanted the goat chained so he wouldn’t get into trouble.

Cute and cuddly now, but will Oscar be so lovely when he’s older.

all black with a white spot on one side.

Tom asked why I needed the chain; my answer, because my goat’s arrived. Then a couple of choice words came out.

Yes, I named him, some people said I should have called him Feta. But that didn’t seem right, since he is a boy not girl and no feta will be made. The girls hate the name but couldn’t come up with a better one, so I won. 

Oscar is lovely, he is only a baby and I know he will grow and I may not think he is so cute then. He is

He is chained and we move him around every couple of days and he is quite happy with our family.

He is friendly and loves cuddles. We did rescue him, as if we didn’t take him I think he may have been put down as they didn’t want him. Am sure in time I may regret having him around but at this point he is just lovely. Everyone has said that he will eat everything, including my washing, destroy my garden and make a mess. I don’t care. I have my goat and I have always wanted one. I

will learn the hard way.

So now I am on the look out for a baby donkey – anyone know of one? Ha ha. I might start up a petting zoo, for town kids who don’t or can’t have pets. Imagine poor Tom’s face when he reads this.

Happy 60th B Blacklow

s Trade

“Some people said I should have called him Feta. But that didn’t seem right, since he is a boy not girl and no feta will be made.”

Next on the list is a donkey, imagine Tom’s face if he come home to find a donkey in the orchard.



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Better local government, means be Given how controversial mining and ‘fracking’ seems to have become, I wanted to learn more about the oil business from the ground up.

London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, who wants to make it easier for New Zealanders to live and work in the UK, put his views on this matter more stridently.

From a health and safety perspective, the petroleum industry is impressive. Equally so is Taranaki Regional Council’s regulation of the industry.

Last year he wrote, “…the eco-warriors betray the mindset of people who cannot bear a piece of unadulterated good news. Beware this new technology, they wail. Do not tamper with the corsets of Gaia!

The more I learn about hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ the more questionable some of the claims against it become. The technology promises to make us less dependent on imported fuels and in the long run, it could provide a means to transition to new fuel technologies. I do not believe any credible person is proposing we go ‘cold turkey’ when it comes to petroleum.

council it would have to be Taranaki. Here is a region that has petroleum exploration, farming and a good environment too. The comments of London’s impressive mayor and the equally impressive Taranaki Regional Council, remind us that local government elections fall in October. Not to let an opportunity slip by, Federated Farmers has produced a manifesto ready to support our members, farmers and interested members of the public. It is designed to be used as a tool to gauge the promises voters will no doubt hear.

“Don’t probe her loamy undergarments with so much as a finger – or else the goddess of the earth will erupt with seismic revenge. “Dig out this shale gas, they warn, and our water will be poisoned and our children will be stunted and our cattle will be victims of terrible intestinal explosions.”

Since 2002, council rates have increased a staggering 97 per cent; three times the rate of inflation.

If farmers were allowed to clone just one regional

More worrying, by 2022, they are expected to increase by a further 58 per cent. Rates are fundamental to any community as it funds infrastructure right through to social and cultural events. Yet to meet the challenge of the 21st Century New Zealand, our preference is for councils to uniformly target more of their rates to those who benefit from council services. I write this from an industry where ‘user-pays’ is the order of the day.

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Contributed by Bruce Wills, president of Federated Farmers

tter roads, better rates relative to inflation and with more transparency over how they are evaluated.

Yet one of the most essential services for farmers and the wider community is the nation’s roads.

This could be by highlighting properties and their rates contribution. This may also spark greater voter engagement because engagement is missing from the low turn-outs associated with our local government elections.

For rural folk like me, all roads are nationally significant but government spending has not kept pace with roading cost inflation.

loop,’ does not. We do not have public transport for goods so imagine what even 10 per cent of that sum would do for ‘local roads,’ where 72 per cent of our merchandise exports are generated.

Another thing our manifesto looks at is the regulatory performance of councils.

Federated Farmers wants the Government’s roading share increased from 50 to 90 per cent, using revenue from vehicle registration, fuel taxes and licensing for roads.

Things like an efficient roading network may not be sexy relative to a new sports complex but it is critical for jobs and opportunity.

Local regulation can prevent farmers from farming properly or businesses from growing; literally making or breaking employment opportunities.

All of this would allow councils to reduce their local rates burden while being much fairer; as many road users are not local.

As is local regulation and the way our councils are funded. Like petroleum exploration, it needs policies to be based on facts and not innuendo. This is where our manifesto slots into the mix.

It is why being realistic, fair and equitable matters when councils design and implement local regulation.

While a second Auckland harbour crossing appeals, the $10 billion. pledged to fund that and an ‘inner city rail

To get the farmer prescription for this year’s local elections, simply go to fedfarm.org.nz and enter

There’s little doubt collaboratively designed policy built off a platform of openness and trust provides a way forward. Indeed, freshwater collaborative planning will be embedded into the RMA, giving communities and landowners a greater say in planning what they want for their waterways.

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This spirit needs to be widened because we all have a stake in successful and sustainable districts, towns and cities.


Beets boost contractor’s business Back in 2009, Rhys Scott of Scott’s Ag Contracting, based in Carterton in the Wairarapa, was looking for a winter feed option for his clients and stumbled upon the fodder beet crop.

It looked like a good option and Mr Scott made his initial investment into fodder beet by buying a specialist beet precision planter as a sideline to his family’s agricultural contracting business. And they’ve found it to be a great addition, as fodder beet has been a sought-after feed source over the past few years with clients steadily buying and selling it. To start with Mr Scott sowed crops for clients to graze their herd in-situ, standard practice in New Zealand. But soon after, he realised the potential for harvesting beet as well. This led him to buy a secondhand sugar beet harvester during a trip to the United Kingdom in 2010, which he then shipped back to New Zealand.

This means he can provide his clients with a start to finish service – ground preparation and planting, as well as harvesting the crop either for storage or

immediate consumption. Preparation is key for him, from seedbed preparation to weed control. It’s essential in getting his clients the high-quality yield they’re expecting when using a contractor to get the job done. After thorough seedbed preparation to encourage early emergence, Mr Scott and his team stick to a robust weed-control programme to minimise crop competition in the important initial weeks of establishment. Whether he’s growing the crop on his own account, or for clients, Mr Scott works closely with Bayer CropScience’s North Island Sales Manager, Jeff Smith, to establish a weed-control programme that delivers the control they need to ensure yield is at its best. Mr Scott trusts Bayer’s Nortron and Betanal Forte as the basis of his weed-control programme. The two in combination take care of all of the key weeds likely to compete with fodder beet, such as annual poa, chickweed, fathen, speedwells, spurrey, cornbind, black nightshade, furnitory, shepherd’s purse and willow weed.

Accurate timing of the application of these products is critical to suppressing weed growth. They use Nortron preemergence followed by a mixture of Nortron and Betanal Forte postemergence, ensuring that weeds are sprayed when small, before they reach the four true leaf stage. Monitoring is a key part of staying on top of weed control and the Bayer CropScience representatives provide regular assistance through the hectic spring and early summer months, which is much appreciated by Mr Scott and the Scott’s Ag Contracting team. After the fodder beet is established, it’s essentially an easy crop to manage with little further demands before harvest. From about eight to 10 weeks it grows rapidly and is able to effectively compete with most weeds, and suffers few insect pests. Which is why getting the basics right in the first eight weeks is so critical for Mr Scott and his team, to ensure high yield and, hopefully, high profit for their clients.

The weed control combo that makes big even...

Rhys Scott, of Scott’s Ag Contracting in the Wairarapa with his beet harvester.




If you want your high yielding Fodder Beet crop yielding even higher, you need to remove the competition from weeds. Lay the groundwork with a robust herbicide programme with Nortron and Betanal Forte and ensure you get the best results possible. They will control all of the key weeds likely to compete with fodder beet. Get the basics right in the first eight weeks and then sit back and reap the rewards. Insist on Nortron and Betanal Forte from Bayer.

Nortron and Betanal Forte are registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997, Nos. P2350 and P7688 respectively and are approved pursuant to the HSNO Act 1996, Nos. HSR000826 and HSR007865 respectively. Nortron® and Betanal® are registered trademarks of the Bayer Group. ®Priority Partnership is a registered trademark of Nufarm Ltd. © Bayer CropScience 2013.




Drummond & Etheridge, recently opened its brand new, purpose built premises in Rolleston, on the corner of Jones and Hoskyns rd at the entrance of the flourishing izone industrial area. This was a much anticipated move for the staff and clients of D&E as they relocated from their previous premises in Templeton which they had well and truly out grown. “The new premises will allow us to offer even better customer service as we are constantly striving to respond to the ever changing needs of the agricultural industry in our area,� says Chris Rayner, D&E Christchurch’s Branch Manager. ‘‘D&E has a reputation for supplying quality products, and backing them up with attentive and innovative service,’’ he says. ‘‘This philosophy has been the driving force behind the new Selwyn premises and the company’s dealership in Ashburton, launched two years ago.’’ For visitors to the new Rolleston branch they may be a bit surprised by the depth of D&E’s offering – everything from John Deere toys and merchandise through to Honda Power Equipment, mowers, golf and turf equipment and the range of Pola-


ris ATVs and side-by-sides. Business owner Mark Etheridge is focused on working smart and being cost-effective for D&E’s range of clientele. D&E was established back in 1933 by Bob Drummond and Arthur Etheridge (Mark’s grandfather) and over the years D&E has grown from a general repair garage to a leading force in agricultural and automotive industry throughout the central South Island. D&E’s name has become synonymous with the global brand John Deere which has a staunch following in the Agricultural marketplace. An exciting new offering from John Deere includes the new 6M tractors range, which brings with it a new generation of agricultural management, says Chris Rayner. “We introduced the 6M series just a few months ago. It offers a new level of strength and control technology, powered by an optimised range of high-efficiency engines. The whole thing is packaged in John Deere’s full frame design, which means you get high structural integrity, low vibration levels and lower overall weight,� he says. “As the needs of dairy, livestock, arable and specialty farms

become more specialised, so does this kind of technology offer more opportunities and efficiencies.� A new and exciting edition to the offering at D&E in Christchurch is the new Irrigation Division which includes John Deere Water and Signature Control Systems. Through these two offerings the team are

able to offer the latest in technology and meet the irrigation needs of a wide audience such as residential, commercial and agricultural clientele. To find out more, you can visit the new Drummond & Etheridge premises at 799 Jones Road, Rolleston, go online to: www.dne.co.nz or call 0800 432 633.


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Satisfaction in serving community B

ack in 1986 when I replaced the late Jack Brand as the Wakanui Riding member on the Ashburton County Council, the focus of work was on bringing a sealed road within three miles of every ratepayer.

About 32 kilometres of new road sealing was being completed each year and sufficient bridges were being built to keep a gang of council workers fully employed. Virtually all design work was done “in house” and roading and bridge workers were directly employed by council. The total staff worked as a team, job ownership and performance were seldom an issue, councillors and staff pooled knowledge when buying new plant and the dividing line between governance and management was hard to define. Efficiency was the common goal. What is more this system worked admirably. Members of a strong Federated Farmers organisation met monthly in at least 10 branch venues around the county and lobbied for priority for various roads and bridges to be upgraded. Five-year new-seal programmes were advised and generally completed on time. Rate rises were nearly always under 5 per cent. If anything greater was flagged – a dip into the significant forestry

Greg Risk 0274 410 025

reserve account soon pulled it back. The fact that so many rural roads are in a poor state is more about changing transport regulations than workmanship in the 1970s and 80s. During that period maximum loads of 25 tonnes were normal. Roads built were “fit for purpose”. Currently rigs carrying 55 tonnes are common, often running on state highways parallel to the main trunk railway, which is where those containers should be. Poor decision making by successive governments has allowed our rail corridor to deteriorate alarmingly. Transport priority seems more about making sure Auckland casino patrons have a quick trip to their venue, rather than improving transport efficiency of our export products. I note with interest that all five rural ward councillors have been returned unopposed in the local body elections. It is my hope that with the help of forward-thinking urban councillors (yet to be elected); council will succeed in its push to get the monitoring of roading work “in house”. The staff initiated “service provider monitoring role” has proved to be far from efficient or effective as was promoted. The councillor initiated Roading Reference Group seems a more

positive model for targeting problem roads, both sealed and shingled. Prospects for any extension of the sealed network without 100 per cent ratepayer funding seems remote under Transport Agency rules. Maybe we need to become a Super City? Watching the elections from the sideline is proving to be an interesting experience. I never cease to be amazed how people fail to see anything positive about this community. If judged by letters and messages to daily media, we have many disgruntled people. As pointed out by the Guardian editor on July 17, Ashburton’s economy has an annual growth rate two and a half times that of Auckland and a GDP per capita 10 times that of the Super City. With council consenting an average of one new house a day and one of the lowest unemployment rates in New Zealand, I believe this district is buzzing. Fortunately feedback from school children at the Youth Forum painted a much rosier scene, with many positive comments about sport, heritage and cultural projects. Why some people want to relitigate decisions of council made six years ago defies logic. Of the 89 submissions to council on a new Heritage/Art

Centre only nine opposed. Consultation opportunities for the next four years were under-used – democracy prevailed. Public focus has been on the art gallery portion of the new complex, only about one-third of the building. The storage of council archives and family history materials is seemingly ignored by many. When travelling in New Zealand or beyond I like to visit museums and galleries (often co-located) to learn about new places. From Akaroa to Amsterdam, Barrhill to Budapest, Mt Somers to Mt Isa or Springburn to Singapore – each provides a unique experience for – and I have enjoyed them all. After 150 years of settlement, Ashburton needs to present its proud history to an international audience. The purpose-built facility under construction is justified. Furthermore the rapidly expanding rating base enhances affordability. It has been a privilege to be one of the 48 persons who since the 1989 amalgamation have been charged with the governance of this district. May the ninth district council continue this progress with as much foresight as our pioneers a century ago?

Michael Gallagher 0274 430 453 Kermode Street, Ashburton 0800GLUYAS(458927) or 03 307 5800 www.gluyasmotorgroup.co.nz

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17 Contributed by John Leadley

Nearly 30 years ago, councils had a goal of delivering improved rural roads to their communities.



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rrigation New Zealand is urging farmers to select accredited dairy effluent system and irrigation design companies to ensure a quality outcome and compliance with regulatory requirements.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re still seeing too many systems being designed that quite frankly are not up to scratch. The nutrient loading aspects of designs are improving however pump selection is still often poor either resulting in insufficient pressure to run the effluent applicator or excessive energy consumption. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hydraulic design is also still deficient, proper designs require head loss to be understood â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a combination of friction loss in the pipe and elevation. Companies arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always getting it right and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s costing farmers money and time to resolve, while also exposing farmers to compliance risk,â&#x20AC;? said Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis. During the past two years, 13 dairy effluent design companies have gone through the accreditation process with two more promising applications being processed at the moment. Accredited companies include, Agfirst Engineering, Dairy Green Ltd (Invercargill), Environmental Technologies, GEA Farm Technologies New Zealand Ltd, Haigh Workman Ltd Civil and

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Structural Engineers (Kerikeri), Hi-Tech Enviro Solutions, Opus International Consultants Ltd, Independent Project Consultants, Irrigation Services Ltd and IS Dam Lining, Ordish and Stevens, Qubic TMC Ltd, Williams Irrigation Ltd and Waterforce Ltd. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dairy farmers now have a wide range of choice of accredited designers so there is no excuse to end up with a system thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not right for your farm. The consequences of poor design are far reaching particularly in terms of compliance and regulatory penalties,â&#x20AC;? Mr Curtis said. The Irrigation Design Accreditation Programme, which integrates with the Farm Dairy Effluent System Design Accreditation Programme â&#x20AC;&#x201C; avoiding companies having to undertake unnecessary paperwork, has now been launched. Already two applications, both of a high standard, have been submitted and a decision on these is likely this month. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re really happy with progress,â&#x20AC;? Mr Curtis said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve also been promised applications from all the major irrigation design companies prior to Christmas â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which shows a high level of industry commitment to attaining Industry Best Practice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We do respect that accreditation is quite a hurdle and that

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The updated design code of practice and standards for irrigation forms the basis of the irrigation accreditation programme, whilst the recently reviewed dairy effluent code and standards does the same for effluent. While both are only voluntary at the moment, Mr Curtis said they have already helped lift the performance bar, standardise designs and improve production and environmental outcomes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the way forward for the industry. The codes of practice work hand in hand with accreditation. Both give farmers certainty that they will have a system that will enable them to correctly manage their irrigation and effluent. When combined with the industry code of practice,

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Managing within Limits means significant investment is going to be required in on-farm irrigation and effluent infrastructure in the next five to 10 years, and without a quality assurance system we may not meet the performance standards required. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The accreditation programme ensures irrigation and effluent system designers can deliver appropriate systems. With growing pressure on the dairy industry, it makes even more sense for design companies to be accredited.â&#x20AC;? Irrigation New Zealand runs the Farm Dairy Effluent System Design Accreditation Programme under contract to DairyNZ. This programme was established as part of the dairy industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Primary Growth Partnership programme overseen by the Ministry of Primary Industries. The Irrigation Design Accreditation Programme is run solely by Irrigation New Zealand. The accreditation process complements other assessment programmes Irrigation New Zealand provides covering irrigation installation and evaluation and water measurement.

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Living legends of the land


ugby and nature conservation seem unlikely bedfellows, but at the Harris Reserve near Tinwald they have come together in a spectacular way: the Living Legends project.

Living Legends was established in 2011 to commemorate the Rugby World Cup. Throughout the country, 17 native plant restoration projects were selected and we are fortunate that the Harris Reserve near Tinwald was one of the sites chosen. The project was funded by Meridian Energy, Project Crimson, the Tindall Foundation and the Department of Conservation.

On a sunny spring day in 2011 more than 250 people planted 2800 trees to augment the 2000 (mostly kanuka) plants already planted at the reserve by the Ashburton Community Conservation Trust. In 2012 and 2013 the planting day was held again; this year more than 100 people

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braved cool and damp conditions to help plant 2000 trees. A local living legend is associated with each of the sites and former All Black Jock Ross is our local living legend. Mr Ross was on hand at the planting days to help with efforts and was quite a drawcard for many rugby-mad children and families. The site had been ripped beforehand to make the planting job easier. Young and old planted, fertilised, mulched and then protected the young trees with a combiguard to prevent rabbits and hares from doing any damage. Combi-guards are simple devises – a plastic sleeve supported by two sticks that fits over the top of the little tree. As well as pest prevention, they keep the wind off the seedlings. The 11 hectare Harris Reserve protects one of the last stands of kanuka on the Canterbury Plains.

Young rugby fans and keen tree planters watch former All Black Jock Ross at a planting day on

Kanuka was once one of the main types of tree that grew and flourished on dry stony soils in our area. Conditions at the reserve are quite extreme, with low fertility soil which tends to dry out quickly.

This site is one of only a handful of Canterbury dryland ecosystems still in existence, and so is an important indicator of how the plains looked before settlement.


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21 The 11 hectare Harris Reserve protects one of the last stands of kanuka on the Canterbury Plains.

Those original trees form the backbone of the reserve and the recent plantings are filling in the paddock that once housed ewes and lambs. Botanist Brian Molloy recognised the value of the remnant and it became protected with a covenant in the mid1980s. Later, the Ashburton District Council bought the land, and Forest and Bird, which had been lobbying about the loss of native biodiversity on the plains, formed a trust to look after the remnant and extend it.

n the Harris Reserve.

Maintenance of the reserve is now the responsibility of the Ashburton Community Conservation Trust and Jock Ross has offered to continue his involvement, showing again that rugby and conservation do go together.


Arthur Harris, the farmer who used to own the land, left some kanuka as shelterbelts to protect his lambing paddock from the elements.

It will be great to see the reserve in years to come and be able to see what the Canterbury Plains once looked like.


Muck off the roads

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plus we have the tools to make your farm accounts easy to manage from our end and hassle free from yours. The last thing farmers need is to be bogged down with paperwork.” ”We’ve developed our traditional accounting practices in to innovative client-focused services. Our flexibility and adaptability will ensure we can help you get the best results.” Nick Noone, Ant Ford and Tom Simpson have all been heavily involved in the rural and business community in South and Mid Canterbury. Together with their team of over 25 specialised staff they continue to lead the way in innovative, individualised accountancy services in this region. “We know how hard farmers work to achieve their results. We see our role as providing the tools and expertise to maximise your profits and future-proof your business.”

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Lawyers vital to farm-sale process T

he spring flush marks an exciting time in the rural lawyer’s calendar. It is this time of year when traditionally most rural properties are placed on the market for sale. The rural lawyer plays a part from initial listing of the property to settlement of the sale and beyond. After a slower patch following the global financial crisis in 2008/2009, demand has steadily picked up for good land in the Mid Canterbury district, with strong interest in most farm properties that are listed. Interest is not limited to the bidders, and extends to the wider rural community, given the benchmark values that may be set by the sale which, sooner or later enter the public domain. The reasons for sale are as varied as the properties themselves. One thing that applies in all cases is that a well executed, cohesive sale process will drive the best possible sale price for a particular property. This article considers a few aspects of the sale process from experiences encountered through the sale and purchase of 46 farm properties across Otago and Canterbury in the past two

Communities gather when farms and stock are sold.


Pulling your team together No matter what sales method is chosen, the five Ps certainly apply when it comes to driving the best price. Proper planning prevents poor performance. One of the first things a vendor must do is pull the team together. This includes the rural real estate agent, accountant, farm consultant and lawyer, but depending on the particular property, may extend to a surveyor and an environmental

consultant too. Each team member plays an important role in terms of the sale process, with the vendor in the driving seat. Fortunately we have experienced rural professionals in Mid Canterbury, who work together time and again. The resulting strong relationships between professionals can help to drive great results for the vendor.

the land use and the potential pool of buyers.

It is crucial for rural professionals to keep up with a complex framework under which farmers must operate. Lately, this extends to the emerging environmental issues around farming, such as the Land and Water Management Plan and how this will impact on

Grooming the property for sale

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The earlier a vendor can get the team together, and release the sale documentation to the market, the better. The flipside to this is a sloppy, ill-considered sale document released just before the closing date, that will never inspire confidence in purchasers.

Not only does this cover a general tidy up of the physical aspects of the property, this also extends to grooming the

property from a legal perspective. A classic example here is to ensure that all code compliance certificates for improvements on the property have been granted. It is not uncommon for a vendor to discover on sale day that an important code compliance certificate (e.g. for a dairy shed) is outstanding. This can be avoided by ensuring that the vendor’s lawyer orders a LIM from the council well ahead of the closing date and among other things checks to ensure that all building consents are in place.

Continued over page

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24 From page 23

In the residential property context the responsibility of a LIM usually sits with the purchaser. However, with any set sale process the vendor can streamline the process by taking this responsibility. In addition to identifying and fixing issues, the LIM can be furnished as part of the sale documentation to any potential purchaser. This means the purchaser will be in a position to bid for a property in the knowledge of the compliance status of the property. Another aspect of grooming, is to consider what consents may be required by the likely purchaser, above those already held. For example, if the property has dairy conversion potential, a vendor may be able to optimise the sale price by procuring a change of land use and dairy effluent consents ahead of listing. The cost of this needs to be weighed against the potential increase in value if the property can be sold with the consents in place.

A related point is ensuring that a full nutrient history is available for the property. This has become important under the Land and Water Management Plan, and should extend ideally to fertiliser applied and grazing and crop history (where applicable). On top of this, and particularly in the dairying context, making DDT/DDE analysis reports, milk

A full nutrient history is important to the sale process because of the requirements of the Land and Water Management Plan.

production and grading reports and details of dairy company shareholding available will also allow a purchaser to bid confidently.

Method of sale bidders under the Fair Trading Act for misleading and deceptive conduct. This reflects that purchasers must do a large amount of work to be in a position to put a bid on a property at considerable cost, which could even extend to selling the bidder’s existing property.

Probably the most common method of sale for farm properties is the deadline private treaty or tender process. In essence, the vendor sets all of the terms and conditions and invites offers by a certain time and date. The offers are irrevocable within a set time frame. The offers are then opened behind closed doors, and the vendor is in a position to accept the best offer or negotiate with one or a number of the bidders.

The summary of this (as a general rule) is that as long as the vendor’s price expectation is met, there is a fair expectation that the vendor is a genuine seller to the best (not necessarily the highest) bidder.

This gives the vendor a significant amount of bargaining power and privacy in terms of offers received. However, with this bargaining power comes responsibility. Even though well-constructed tender terms will prescribe that the vendor has a range of options including negotiating with any bidder, or refusing to accept any offer, there is a legal duty on the vendor to play fairly. There are also very specific rules placed on the real estate agent in this regard.

despite strong bidding, no offer has been accepted. This could be because the vendor’s price expectation was not met, which is fair enough. Alternatively, if a vendor intentionally used the sale process to set a price for either a private family buy out or a buy out

To put this in context, there have been a number of sales in Mid Canterbury recently where

between shareholders and never intended to sell the property on the open market, this could be actionable against the vendor. There is little case law on this point at present but sooner or later, if it can be established that this has happened, a claim will be brought by disgruntled

The other alternative sales method is the auction. A vendor will need to be comfortable with the public nature of an auction, given that the interest will extend far wider than those who are bidding for the property. For example, it would be common to have several rural bankers, neighbours and other rural professionals attend an auction for interest’s sake. However, if demand is expected be strong, then an auction may be the way to go. There are other reasons why an auction may be the preferred choice, depending on particular circumstances.

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25 Contributed by Tim Silva document relates to taxation issues. The vendor’s accountant will provide input in terms of value of plant, buildings and chattels and also provide input on the various other tax clauses that must be included. It is crucial for tax input on the deemed value of fast-depreciating items, such as irrigation pivots. While GST on farm transactions is now generally zero rated, there remain some pitfalls in this area that can be avoided if addressed up front.

The sale document The lawyer’s main job in the sale process will be the preparation and finalisation of the sale terms and all matters leading up to and including settlement. While there are several common themes, every set of sale terms must be tailored to the particular property and vendor. In each case the sale terms need to achieve a balance between vendor protection, certainty for both parties and marketability of the property. A well prepared set of terms can achieve all of those. From a purchaser’s perspective, there is nothing worse than an ill-considered or incomplete set of sale terms that keep the purchaser guessing in terms of what the vendor really wants. In those circumstances, the purchaser is forced to run the risk of adding additional conditions or altering the vendor’s terms, which can ultimately drive down the amount of the offer. An interesting area (and something that is often different) will be provisions around the state of the property at the settlement date. By way of example, certain paddocks and crops may be reserved for the purchaser’s use,

It is also crucial to precisely identify the included water rights, shares and other consents. To simply state that “all water rights are included” is asking for a dispute.

Interest in a farm sale can come from many sources: neighbours, bankers, valuers,

with provisions around who cares for the crop pending settlement. Dairy farm and runoff transactions will have specific provisions in terms of the amount of dry matter and supplement to be left on the property for a traditional June 1 handover. For arable farms, consideration must be given to a late harvest and grain storage and how this will work between the parties. A complex area that must be well considered relates to the handling of dairy companies, whether shared such as Fonterra

and Westland or unshared such as Synlait. This area of law has become increasingly complex, with the options that are now available with Fonterra supplier contracts, considerations around the Fonterra shares, and the fluctuating value of the shares. This is a topic in itself. What is clear is that careful consideration must be given to how these provisions are handled to create certainty as between vendor and purchaser. Another crucial area of the sale

Another interesting area that must be considered in each case is the Climate Change Response Act and whether there is any qualifying forestry on the property, and where the liability for carbon tax will sit. This issue arises in Mid Canterbury more often than one would expect, especially closer to the foothills. A further issue is when only part of an existing title is to be sold. Classic examples of this are where a vendor may wish to retain their homestead and accompanying homestead paddocks for semi-retirement, by using a small existing title, yet sell the main part of their farm. These circumstances bring an

extra set of challenges, given that the new title may not be available by the proposed settlement date. A purchaser will want certainty in terms of the date that the purchaser can take possession of the property and the vendor will want to be protected when possession is granted before the property is paid for. This requires a balance in the drafting to protect both vendor and purchaser’s interests.

Another related point is where a purchaser may require early access to a property to commence a dairy conversion. This needs to be balanced against interference with the vendor’s existing operations and allowing the purchaser to hit the ground running in terms of the conversion, so that they are operable by the next dairy season. By conducting a good sale process in a timely manner, the vendor has the opportunity to drive the best possible price. The better the grooming, the more confidence the purchaser can have in terms of bidding for the property. The result of this should be a clean process that optimises the vendor’s price while ensuring certainty for all parties. Good luck to the vendors going to market this spring. In the next article, I will discuss the legal aspects from the purchaser’s perspective.

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26 Contributed by Sheryl Stivens, Eco efficiency Co-ordinator Mastagard Ashburton

Sorting key to successful recycling W

heelie bin collections affect New Zealand export markets

For most of us, putting plastic bottles and containers or steel and aluminium cans into the recycling bin or dropping them off at the recycle depot is the end of the story.

What happens to all these items and the people or machines that sort and process them has long been overlooked. But for many New Zealand recycling companies and exporters, recycling a bottle or a can is just the start of its profitable life.

Just as New Zealand exports dairy, meat and other food products, we also export a range of recycled materials including plastic, paper and metals. During the past 20 years this has expanded into a large industry employing many people throughout New Zealand while delivering professional contracts and services to councils and communities. Finding markets for good quality materials is a major part of recycling – there is no point in collecting if you don’t have a viable market. While we do recycle some materials onshore, New Zealand generally exports more then we can use because of our small population. China is a crucial buyer of the world’s recycled materials. Just as it is clamping down on food quality issues, China has introduced legislation about the importing of recycled materials. China’s Green Fence crackdown on dirty scrap materials has already reduced imports of plastic waste this year by 5.5 per cent. Many of these dirty materials are a result of collecting mixed or co-mingled recycling in wheelie bins and then mechanically sorting them. The mechanical sorters can remove metals but they cannot remove nappies, dirty plastics or cans and foodcontaminated pizza boxes or

Taking care sorting your rubbish is an important way to help recycling companies deal with contamination of waste.

household batteries and syringes. For the small recyclers operating in China with basic equipment, the rubbish and hazardous materials mixed with the recycling can pollute groundwater and soil, and is a human health issue. It is good that China has clamped down on these imports to protect its people and environment, and is sending a clear message to the global recycling industry that it only wants clean materials. It is good that the issues around dirty recycled materials are being linked to mixing all the materials in wheelie bins and mechanically sorting them. It is possible to collect quality recycled materials in a wheelie bin but the glass must be collected separately in a plastic crate and the materials must be hand sorted.

Bins or bags for Ashburton? Here in Ashburton the materials

you put in your recycling bin are hand sorted by Mastagard for the various markets both in New Zealand and export. Mastagard has Enviromark Gold certification and prides itself on quality processing and supply of clean materials. Mastagard has retained its licences to export quality recycled materials while several New Zealand operators are no longer able to export materials and in some areas will no longer accept a range of plastics which will increase what goes to landfill. In Ashburton we can recycle a range of materials at the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park and as a result we have what is considered to be a relatively low tonnage of waste to landfill per head of population. This is partly due to our black rubbish bag collection, which is a user-pays rubbish collection so incentivises householders to reduce their rubbish volumes. We buy the bags so we pay for what we use. When people are provided

with a wheelie bin they tend to fill it up with all sorts of heavy things that are recyclable, such as that old toaster or jug, batteries, reusable items such as pots and pans and, even can you believe it, bricks and concrete from the garden. Local charities miss out on getting the items as it is so easy to throw them in the bin and the resources and metals are wasted.

operating a fortnightly wheelie bin collection for mixed plastics, paper, cardboard and cans, alongside a separate open bin collection for glass. This supports bottle to bottle recycling of glass at the O-I glass plant in Auckland as the bottles and jars can be colour sorted when they are collected to provide the quality required.

It all adds to the cost of disposal as the rubbish gets compacted and carted all the way to Kate Valley Landfill in North Canterbury. We all inevitably pay for the people who want to generate a larger volume of rubbish.

No doubt this will be explored for Ashburton and once the costs are identified we will be able to have our say.

In time the wheelie bins will be weighed as they are tipped into the truck and households will be charged for the weight they are disposing of. This technology is quite expensive to install so has not happened in New Zealand as yet. Several council areas are now

• If you would like help with composting or reducing your waste and recycling more call 0800 627-824 or email bholley@ mastagard.co.nz or sherylstivens@ gmail.com • Free Demo – Set up a worm farm or a compost garden bed to grow your own food. Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 11, 1pm2.30pm Eco Education Centre – alongside Mastagard Recycling Shed. All welcome.

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27 Contributed by Jenny Paterson B.Sc

Beware the spring twitch Y

ou know what I mean. Your horse starts getting “twitchy” when you touch him especially on his sides, flanks and around the withers. Yet he wasn’t like that before.

If it gets any worse he will not want you to touch him at all and will warn you with his agitated expression – look at the ears and the tail of the horse in the picture. This horse was abnormally twitchy. Horses already have a sensitive skin which is a benefit when you are a prey animal and when there are pesky flies and insects around. The skin is a large complex organ containing sweat glands, blood vessels, nerve endings which include touch receptors, pores and hair. The skin also has a thin sheet of sub-cutaneous muscle lying just underneath with fibres attached to the skin.

The function of these muscle fibres is to twitch thereby dislodging flies or other irritants from areas of the body that are difficult for the horse to scratch. Therefore it is normal for a horse’s skin to twitch when a fly lands on him. However, horses soon become accustomed to the touch of humans and very quickly enjoy being touched and brushed by their owners. So it is not normal for domestic horses to become excessively twitchy and irritable about being touched . Being twitchy often goes along with the horse not liking you brush him, put his cover on, girth him up or to put your legs on. He may tail swish, be inclined to brace and ‘hollow out’ or go too fast. Sometimes all of the above. Not surprising if all your nerve endings are constantly on high alert to the slightest stimulus. Some horses will shy away as

Keep yourself safe when dealing with “twitchy” horses.

your hand approaches, others can even lash out. Keep yourself safe while you check your horse out by putting his halter on and insisting that he keep his head towards you. Best not to do this while the horse is tied up. In fact, avoid tying horses up

higher water content of spring grass) and magnesium (needs to be fed every day).

full stop when they are hypersensitive because they are liable to pull back violently at the slightest noise or movement. You guessed it, that tricky spring grass is the main culprit, over-supplying some nutrients (potassium and nitrogen), under-supplying other nutrients like sodium (made worse by the

There are some simple solutions. Add salt and magnesium to their feed and keep up the hay. Go to www.calmhealthyhorses. com for helpful suggestions on keeping your horse healthy and safe to ride this spring.

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Irrigo Centre creates new oppor A

collective of Mid Canterbury irrigation schemes have joined together to embark on an ambitious path of co-operation.

Having a centralised service means meetings and AGM procedures are now aligned and the two administrators can ensure back up at all times. Because the boards meet at the same location and share similar issues, there is now greater communication between the schemes, aided by each board having a representative on the collective’s board.

Irrigation House Ltd was formed by five irrigation schemes in 2011 to provide a co-ordinated administration service for its members. Clear benefits were seen in sharing administration costs, as well as the more consistent and professional approach that would follow. The schemes involved include Acton Farmers Irrigation Co-op Ltd, Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Ltd, Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation Ltd, Valetta Irrigation Ltd and the BCI Scheme. Carmen Foster and Carmen Trumper were employed in August 2011 and April 2012 respectively to provide administration and secretarial support. Over the past two years an accounting software system has been implemented, alongside a Rubicon Database system (covering water records, billing, a share registry and soon-to- be built Audited Self Management (ASM)).

In May this year, the collective rebranded as Irrigo Centre Ltd and began exploring additional ways to support each other. The directors have identified potential to add further value to the schemes by consolidating resources, enhancing services and identifying areas where the schemes can work more closely together. While minor cost savings are expected, the more important goal is building a team of highly skilled professional staff to strengthen the performance of the five schemes over the long term. This may include sharing policy and environmental services, resources (such as flow meters, generators and GPS) as well as enhancing training and career opportunities for

staff. Irrigo Centre Ltd’s services are open to other irrigation companies or water user groups requiring support and the collective looks forward to working with other parties in the future.

What is happening with Irrigo Centre’s five shareholders? Acton Farmers Irrigation Coop Ltd has now completed its second full year of operation. The scheme is now 100 per cent owned by shareholders following initial financing from Rooney Earthmoving Ltd who undertook design and build. After experiencing a significant period of restriction late last season due to low river flows, shareholders have embraced the opportunity for water storage from Lake Coleridge. The scheme recognises this has the potential to greatly improve reliability. Acton Farmers Irrigation Co-op Ltd fully supports not only Irrigo Centre Ltd, but the newly formed North Eastern Water Users Group. Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Ltd has seen good progress

with its Carew Storage Project with embankments close to completion and construction under way to secure the base and pond linings. Weather permitting the scheme expects to commission the ponds early

next year. The average depth of scheme water applied during the 2012/13 irrigation season was 373mm. When rainfall figures are added to irrigation, the combined depth (850-900mm) demonstrates how efficiently

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tunities for irrigation schemes Irrigo Centre Ltd and the recentlyformed Hinds Plains Land and Water Partnership.

scheme farmers are using water to offset rainfall deficit. The scheme has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with TrustPower to investigate generation opportunities along the main supply race. Options

Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation Ltd is taking steps to gravity pressurise the remainder of the scheme, following a turbine and gravity pipe development in 2008/2009. Shareholders approved the upgrade last November and design work to finalise proposed routes, turnout locations and delivery flows has been underway since. A contract for this work is expected soon. The new network will use a combination of existing large open race infrastructure with scheme buffer ponds at the start of each gravity pipeline. In February, a prospectus was issued allowing both existing shareholders and non-shareholders to purchase water shares within an extended scheme boundary. Uptake was extremely positive with more than 1300 litres/sec acquired providing the potential to irrigate over 3000ha.

for piping the scheme have been evaluated and Fulton Hogan Ltd was recently selected as preferred contractor. Andrew Priest has been welcomed to the board as an independent director. Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Ltd fully supports

Valetta Irrigation Ltd is in the final stages of a $30m upgrade to deliver gravity-fed

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pressurised piped water to 44 shareholders (9800ha), plus five Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation Ltd shareholders. More than 70km of pipe, ranging in size from 1600mm to 200mm diameter, is being installed for irrigation. Further pipe for generation purposes will be introduced next winter. Both settling ponds are now operational with water flushed through the upper reaches of the scheme and one pivot already operating from pressurised water. The final stage is on-farm works to allow the supply and distribution of pressurised water to be fully automated. Full scheme testing will take place late winter to check operational supply is ready for the start of the season. While construction delays were inevitable, the overall project cost remains within budget and charges to shareholders this coming season will be far less than predicted in the initial prospectus. The BCI Scheme has achieved positive milestones this year under the Joint Venture between Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation Ltd and EA Networks. The Lake

Coleridge Project is now a reality with a successful variation to the Rakaia River Conservation Order initiated by TrustPower. The scheme has locked in five million cubic metres storage for next season to be shared with Acton Farmers Irrigation Co-op Ltd. Irrigators will be able to choose their volume improving reliability to above 97 per cent at reasonable cost. Delays in selling water have been experienced due to new rules under the proposed LWRP. However the scheme is working closely with Environment Canterbury and expects to be able to sell water shortly. A new $2.4m pipeline into the Springburn area brought water to six properties. Further effort is underway into the development of the stage two network. This includes progressing a new intake near Barrhill and the delivery of water to the Plains by gravity pipeline. Subject to consenting delays, the scheme still hopes to bring water to the area for Spring 2014. The BCI Scheme is supportive of the Irrigo Centre Ltd and sees it as critical to provide the level of skills the schemes now require.


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