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There’s no science needed to figure out that farmer moods move with the wind. Who can blame them when they have to deal with topsy-turvy prices, an unpredictable dollar, shifting marketplaces, Brexit and the Trumpfactor as well as four seasons in a day. Take this winter – on face value who could complain about such a mild winter? It’s been virtually a dream run for calving with pugfree paddocks and, with the rush of lambing soon bearing down on us, long may it continue. But it won’t be long before farmers start looking at drying paddocks and retiring river flows and begin worrying about what spring might bring. In a national confidence survey we see that farmers are generally upbeat except for nagging concerns about the direction of the economy. The hesitancy seems mostly aimed at the direction of the coalition Government on such vexing questions as what they will do about water regulations, climate change and industrial relations. Otherwise, there seems to be little grumbling as – strong wool returns aside - farmgate prices for dairy, beef, lamb and venison are ticking along nicely. Locally, farmers see a few more question marks than the 1000-odd

Tim Cronshaw


farmers surveyed by Federated Farmers. Read our story on page four for the full list, but the nervousness appears to come from a potential drop in dairy prices and buyer resistance about the high pricing. Justifiably, mycoplasma bovis and the emotional and financial turmoil that comes with it, remains a major concern for both those both inside and outside of infected properties. Even the coldest heart should bleed for these people. Add to this likely approaching employment difficulties and it comes as no surprise that farmers are always looking behind them for the next head slap. No doubt next on the mood swing list will be a possibly impending El Nino brewing come spring. When all else fails you can always rely on the weather to sweeten or sour your mood.

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Newborn calves are enjoying a mild start so far this season. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

New calves strike mild start Dairy farmers have few complaints about a dream run so far for calving in Mid Canterbury on the back of a mild winter. Winter started off cold and wet with sunshine a scarce commodity initially, but calving got away to a good start, assisted by the benign weather. Dairy NZ head of South Island farm performance Tony Finch said farmers were enjoying a reasonably mild winter after getting through typical wintry conditions in June. Since then the weather had been in a “kind place’’ and had contributed to more calves arriving than expected, he said.

Tim Cronshaw


“It has been a pretty good run. June was a bit difficult as it was … wet and cold. At one stage sunshine hours were down to nine hours midway through and it was pretty bleak. But it has [bounced back] and has been a pretty mild winter.’’ Feed growth rates were

tracking above average. This could pose some challenges with pasture quality as grass growth got ahead of herd appetites, but farmers would be on top of this for their spring rotations and would be constantly managing pasture decisions. Winter was far from over and it was too early to talk about topping pastures for silage, said Finch. He said the end of August always seemed to bring “one more storm’’ and farmers would be prepared for this eventuality. At this stage farmers were happy with a good start to the season. There seemed to be

a lot of calves arriving and calving appeared to be slightly more advanced than previously, he said. “There are a lot more calves on the ground than budgeted. The winter has been a mild to a degree and has been dry and it bodes well for calving for both man and beast.’’ Finch said farmers were facing many challenges including hiring and retaining a good workforce and dealing with mycoplasma bovis, but at least had the comfort of knowing the milk payout and advance payments were in positive territory. “M. bovis was [causing] a level of anxiety and all farm-

ers are either affected directly or indirectly and we have to maintain a business as usual [attitude] as much as possible.’’ More calves would suggest good calving rates with fewer “empties’’ in the herds. Cows were in a “happy place’’ with cow condition at sought after levels as a result of good feed utilisation. DairyNZ has yet to compile empty percentages for the province’s cows. Finch said mild winters were beneficial for staff and they would be feeling more energised than if they were trudging through muddy paddocks.



Moody blues for farmers offset by po Farmers across the country have limited their pessimism to concerns about the economy but their Mid Canterbury colleagues see more “question marks’’ for the year ahead. Other than this dour economic outlook, farmers nationally are quietly confident about farm profitability, production and spending in a confidence survey by Federated Farmers. Mid Canterbury farmers seem to see a few more fishhooks ahead of them. Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury president Michael Salvesen said overall prices remained good, but farmers were mindful of “question marks’’ over the next year. “I think there is downside and more weakness in dairy prices than strength at the moment. The banks are forecasting less than Fonterra and United States beef production is very high so there is potential weakness there because there is also buyer resistance in the higher prices.’’ Salvesen said the customer

Tim Cronshaw


resistance was also directed at high priced lamb and venison, but farmers had few complaints about farm gate prices apart from returns for strong wool. Some farmers were finding it difficult to employ and retain good staff as overseas workers were having difficulties renewing visas, perhaps because of the way immigration rules were being applied. “Employment law question marks will affect some farmers and the other one is immigration, where some parts of the economy are needing staff and some parts of the economy like Auckland don’t need people.’’ Another financial concern was the onset of the

Michael Salvesen sees a few clouds on the horizon. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

mycoplasma bovis cattle disease which affected farmers on infected properties as well as those on the sidelines.

Salvesen said the wider economy still depended on farming and what happened with the dollar as there was

relatively little industry outside of service business. Interest rates would probably rise, but perhaps not


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ositive signals in year ahead until next year, he said. Federated Farmers said pessimism about the economic outlook was the main sour note among mostly positive indicators in its twice-yearly survey of 1100 farmers last month. This was the first survey where farmer optimism had increased in all areas except for continuing negative perceptions of the economy, said national vice-president Andrew Hoggard. “We should take heart that perceptions of farm profitability, production and spending have become more positive, and that farm debt levels have dropped slightly since the January survey.’’ However, confidence in the economy is at its lowest level since 2012 and there is a fivefold increase in pessimism in the past year. “There seems to be a fear factor at play here. Farmers are feeling very uncertain about what the coalition Government will do next on key issues such as water regulations, climate change and industrial relations.”

High prices for venison and other meat could start to put off some shoppers. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

Farmer expectations for farm profitability over the next year are up slightly, with 30 per cent anticipating an

improvement and 48 per cent expecting profits to remain stable. Dairy and arable farmers

are more optimistic about profitability than they were in January. Hoggard said meat and

wool farmers were less optimistic, perhaps reflecting a concern that the past season’s excellent farmgate prices might not be sustained this season. Survey mood swings: Four to six times more farms across dairy, meat and wool, arable and other sectors are making a profit versus making a loss. However, more arable farms are just breaking even compared with making a profit and 9.7 per cent of them making a loss is equal highest with dairy. Regulation and compliance costs remain the major concerns. Concern about pests, diseases and biosecurity is up, probably driven by the stress and uncertainty caused by the campaign to eradicate mycoplasma bovis. Farmers are uncertain about the Government’s more ambitious approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that agriculture biological emissions may be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme.


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High country group advises Crown Tim Cronshaw


Erewhon Station leaseholder Colin Drummond will tell it as it is during talks between a new group providing advice for managing Crown land in the high country. Drummond is best known for running the remote 14,000 hectare property in the upper reaches of the Rangitata Gorge. He and his wife, Erin Cassie, do most of the tractor work with clydesdales and carry out stock work on horseback. He is surprised to be nominated, ahead of high country farmers with more boardroom experience, for the South Island High Country Advisory Group, but assumes a fresh face was wanted. The 10-person advisory group comes from farming, environmental and recreational backgrounds and will report to the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). Drummond said he hoped the views of the wideranging group members would represent middle-ofthe-road Kiwis and go beyond the entrenched views of some vocal groups. “There is only two to three of us with skin in the game and it’s a diverse group. “If some of these organisations honestly represent the majority of New Zealanders then that is great to have some discussions with them.’’

Erewhon Station leaseholder Colin Drummond behind his horse-drawn plough. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

He expected the agenda would include conversations about tenure review and a way forward to complete outstanding settlements. “They have done the easy ones and there is quite a proportion who haven’t entered or who have and walked away from it. Certainly Erewhon is one of the more difficult ones.’’ Drummond and Cassie remain in tenure review negotiations with the Crown and see the upper country as an essential part of their

station. “I have seen some tenure review deals where the amount of land that is left is borderline uneconomic and they have intensified it dramatically and we are talking about an environment with tough winters which can only grow between six to seven months a year. Is that what tourists and New Zealanders want to see? “I don’t blame the farmers because the alternative was to stay with a pastoral lease with uncertain political

ramifications. Some of these farmers will tell you they are better off, but is the high country and landscape better off ?’’ Likely table talk will also touch on public access, tourism, the Department of Conservation as a large guardian of the conservation estate, and weeds and fire risk on land retired from farming. Drummond still grazes wethers in the back country of Erewhon. Elsewhere, their numbers have dwindled after being

removed following tenure review negotiations. He said deer used to overrun the high country and it was only about 40 years ago that they were brought into control. In higher rainfall areas snow tussocks have become overgrown despite being grazed by wethers. When grazing is removed the tussocks go to seed and grow so much vegetation that the base starts to decompose. There was a perception that all grazing was bad, but

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wethers were the best stock to lightly graze this type of country and once removed weeds and fire risk became problems, he said. Over the past five years he has measured water quality at the station and found, after heavy rain, that phosphorous and nitrogen levels were slightly above regional council guidelines at a site coming from DOC land yet the quality was “pristine” and never altered below over-sown and topdressed land. He would like to present the results to the group. “I will always tell the truth even if some people don’t want to hear it. I commend LINZ and the minister on getting this going. “The proof of the pudding will be if they make anything of the recommendations.’’ LINZ chief executive Andrew Crisp said the original plan was to appoint up to six members of the public but, after 33 applications by highly skilled and passionate people, this was increased to 10. They would provide expert advice and a local perspective to help LINZ ensure the high country could be a special place for generations to come, he said. Alongside the nominated members will be representatives from LINZ,


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Will El Nino be heating up farming th Tim Cronshaw


Coastal Canterbury farmers could face above average temperatures over the next three months as weather patterns lean to an El Nino event. The latest seasonal climate outlook by Niwa predicts a 45 per cent chance for temperatures to be above average for coastal Canterbury and east Otago or possibly ending up average. Soil moisture levels and river flows are most likely to be below normal. Yet rainfall totals are expected in computer modelling to be in the normal range from August to September. Rakaia farmer Joanne Burke said farmers were working with dry winter conditions

Farmers will be looking for good water flows in the Ashburton River PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

and would want to avoid a dry El Nino. “This has been quite a mild winter which has been good to a degree,’’ said Burke, Mid Canterbury president for the arable branch of Federated Farmers. “We can’t predict

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the weather, but it will have an effect on insects and diseases in the coming season and we will have to put the extra effort in. ….. For spring planting we would like a bit more rain, because when I look at these forecasts we

are looking at above average temperatures.’’ A good planting season over autumn was in contrast with a year ago when paddocks were so bogged down from heavy rain that tractors could not get into them for seeding. This

time last year farmers were working under “pounding rain’’ and this was followed by record temperatures during a hot November and December. The extreme weather swings were hard on crops. “We had a good planting


his season? season with some good open [weather] windows. What we would be looking for is to get our soil moisture up for spring planting.’’ Some growers reported record crops last season, but overall yields were poor. More hectares were planted than the previous season, up 18 per cent, but yields per hectare were down 12 per cent. Burke said they put in an autumn barley crop last season in a dryland paddock and the crop did not make it to harvest, eventually made into silage. “So going forward it’s been a mild winter relative to last winter and the extremely high temperatures in spring so let’s hope we don’t have a repeat of last November and December for spring.’’ A promising sign is that contract prices are up for premium milling wheat at about $440 a tonne from $344/t this year and standard milling wheat is about $430/t, up from $344. Feed wheat and barley is on the rise at about $410-$415/t.

Overcast clouds could deliver more rain. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

Across the country Niwa is expecting mixed air flow patterns for the next three months. Niwa tracked neither El

Nino or La Nina conditions across the tropical Pacific last month, but international modelling is for it to transition towards an El

Nino over the next threemonth period and become increasingly likely from spring to summer. Forecasters do not expect

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New Zealand wool to line US homes United States homeowners can thank sheep on New Zealand farms for keeping their homes toasty warm. In a new deal Governmentowned Pamu Farms is providing strong wool supplied by the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM), to United States company Havelock Wool, for making fibre into home insulation. The trio say homeowners are seeking natural alternatives to synthetic insulation to provide a healthier environment for them and their families Pamu Farms chief executive Steven Carden said the natural fibre innovation for US homes aligned with Pamu Farms’ values. The partnership has Carden assessing the choices Pamu Farms makes for its own farm portfolio. “Working with Havelock Wool has us looking at ways we could refurbish our large portfolio of on-farm homes with more natural materials. “Wool insulation is a premium product, targeted at high-end consumers, so there

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Coarse wool is bound for the United States to go towards insulating homes there. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

are some economic hurdles to negotiate – however, seeing our wool come full circle would be immensely satisfying”. Pamu Farms has already lined up contracts with NZM and brand partners such as Danish indoor shoe brand

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MPI committed to M. bovis eradicatio Susan Sandys


The number of farms confirmed as having been infected with mycoplasma bovis has risen to 60, with two of the three new properties both from Mid Canterbury. The increase is consistent with a gradual rise in numbers since the first property was discovered in July last year, and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) officials are optimistic cases will not skyrocket as spring milk testing gets under way. MPI remains committed to phased eradication in the face of the gradual increase, and will not be drawn on when a “tipping point” may be that will see the department instead shift to management of the cattle disease. Two of the three latest

properties are Ashburton dairy operations, one with about 1000 cattle and the other about 270 cattle. Of the 60 properties, 38 are still actively infected and the other newcomer was a North Canterbury dairy farm, connected though animal movements to known infected farms. Four farms have been re-

moved from the active list, one from Canterbury and three from Southland after their herds were “depopulated’’. “The response is making good progress as we work towards our goal of phased eradication,” said a MPI spokesperson. “It is possible that the number of IPs (infected properties) may rise as we move

into spring milk bulk testing, however, we remain cautiously optimistic that the numbers will not increase dramatically.” The spokesperson said it had been pleasing to see farm numbers under movement controls decrease substantially over the past few months. “Every time a farm is taken off movement controls and is able to return to farming is a

good thing,” the spokesperson said. Dairy section Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers chairman Chris Ford said the two new Mid Canterbury properties being added would be a blow for the farmers involved. He had always personally supported a goal of prolonged management over phased eradication.



MPI officials have been keeping a close eye on cattle movements to restrict the spread of M. bovis. PHOTOS ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

“My question is what is the tipping point for MPI to say, yes, we admit it’s bigger than we thought, and we are going to go to prolonged management,” Ford said. However, the important thing was farmers involved were getting the support they needed, and he wanted to see MPI work with farmers’ compensation claims quickly

and efficiently. MPI national incident controller Dr Catherine Duthie said any decision to move from eradication into managing the disease would depend on a range of factors, not just the number of infected properties. Staff were about to start the spring bulk milk testing, which would provide a more accurate view of the presence of the disease in New Zealand.

“This includes the number of actual infected properties, whether any previously unidentified clusters of the disease have gone undetected so far and the likelihood of eradication,” Duthie said. “For now, MPI will continue to work with our partner and support agencies, the government and affected farmers with an end goal of the eradication of mycoplasma bovis.”

Map of New Zealand showing high concentration of infected properties in Mid Canterbury. IMAGE MINISTRY FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES


Page 3 of 18


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Wait and see on station ownership Farmers are keeping an open mind about overseas farm ownership after a Czech Republic businessman won consent to buy 40,000 hectares of high country land near Arthur’s Pass. The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has approved the sale of Mt White Station on mostly Crown pastoral land for an undisclosed price to Lukas Travnicek, under his company Southern Ranges. Travnicek is a permanent New Zealand citizen, but needed OIO approval because he returned temporarily to the Czech Republic with his family in May last year. The OIO requires him to return to New Zealand in just over a year and live here indefinitely. If unable to meet the conditions, he must sell the property. Public concern has heightened about iconic high country land going to foreigners, yet farmers appear to take a more favourable view of the ‘bigger picture’. Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury president Michael

Tim Cronshaw


Salvesen said people were sensitive about overseas ownership, but the complex issue was often not as clear-cut as it appeared. He said Mt White Station needed a lot of investment. Overseas owners did not earn much from high country properties, but they employed local contractors and this was good for the local economy. Also, much of the country’s forestry land was overseas owned, yet that was perceived as less of a problem and there was a lack of consistency in how it was viewed, he said. “One side is it’s absolutely dreadful because we are selling our land to foreigners and the other side is it’s bloody good because no New Zealander could afford to buy it so

somewhere we have to have a sensible conversation.’’ Salvesen is a Scotsman and bought his farm under OIO approval. He personally did not agree with Pamu (Landcorp) planning to sell Jericho Station in Southland to Chinese buyers, until they withdrew, when there was virtually a matching offer by a Kiwi farmer. “It’s a complex issue and we have to look at the bigger picture. I suppose that’s what the OIO is there for and by and large they get it mostly right.’’ Mt White Station includes 39,337 hectares of Crown pastoral lease land and 678ha of freehold land. The sprawling station with about 30 kilometres of river frontage was sold for the first time in 90-plus years, after previously being held by the Turnbull family since 1924. LINZ Crown Property deputy chief executive Jerome Sheppard said the pastoral lease land remained in Crown ownership and existing public access to parts of Mt White Station and protection of its conservation values

would continue. The property includes almost 1000ha known as Riversdale Flats, which was set aside for inclusion in a national park in 1901. This did not happen when Arthur’s Park National Park was created in 1929, and the land was included in the Mt White pastoral lease in the early 1950s. This land has been leased and grazed as part of the station since the 1890s. “LINZ has been working with the Department of Conservation, and will meet Mr Travnicek’s representatives to begin discussions about

Riversdale Flats,” Sheppard said. “Mr Travnicek has indicated that he is keen to find a solution.’’ As Travnicek applied under the residency pathway of the Overseas Investment Act, he did not have to show benefits to New Zealand, including walking access and the OIO was unable to make access a condition of consent. Salvesen said Mid Canterbury farmers were good at providing access to back country land depending on the intentions of visitors and the timing of the farming season.





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Locally grown grain for Countdown Grain growers are over the moon that Countdown will use 10,000 plus tonnes of Canterbury-grown wheat to make in-store baked bread and rolls and hope this will catch on with other supermarkets. United Kingdom chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s have, along with Australian supermarkets, trumpeted locally grown produce and grower suppliers would like New Zealand operators to be more parochial with their food buying. Most New Zealand made bread is made from Australian wheat, which has always irked local growers. Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury Arable chairwoman Joanne Burke said Countdown’s pledge to buy locally grown wheat each year would give growers confidence to grow more milled wheat. The extra demand would strengthen wheat contracts, she said. “That’s huge for us as if we go into the supermarket most of the grain products are from Australia. Even bags

Tim Cronshaw


of flour are from Australia and anything we can do to get them to use New Zealand product would be welcomed.’’ Most mills in the province are foreign-owned, with the exception of a locally-owned mill in Timaru. Burke said Australian supermarkets had run a campaign a few years ago to stock locally supplied food and removed New Zealand goods. She said growers would love to see New Zealand supermarkets stock more local produce. “I go through supermarkets for every single product and a lot are Australian … We would think the chocolate and black velvet cakes in boxes are from here but they are all Australian.’’

Countdown’s head of perishable, deli and bakery goods Nikhil Sawant said the multi-year commitment would mean growers could have the confidence to invest in their businesses after a tough few years of low wheat prices. He said Countdown was increasingly partnering directly with growers and farmers and the relationships had given them a better understanding of the challenges they faced. “Giving wheat growers a guaranteed market in our supermarkets provides longterm surety of supply and the knowledge that if they plant crops, we will take them.’’ He said knowing the provenance of food and supporting Kiwi producers was increasingly important for customers. United Wheatgrowers vice chairman Syd Worsfold said wheat growers would welcome the move as they could plant crops, knowing they would be used. He said it was a fantastic result also for customers as it provided them with

traceability of their food and quality assurance. The in-store baked bread and rolls from local wheat are available in 177 Countdown stores nationwide.

Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury Arable chairwoman Joanne Burke 





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Dry start to winter for farmers Tony Davoren


Picture searing temperatures – some heading to records of 48 degrees Celsius – drought conditions, bushfires, failed crops, heat-stressed people and psychological distress among farmers. Everywhere around the globe, and particularly in the northern hemisphere, the headlines are the same. Is it coming our way? Last month I wrote from Melbourne of the plight of the New South Wales farmers. The prediction of a less than 30 per cent chance (20-25 per cent was considered likely) of exceeding median rainfall through the winter has turned out to be about zero per cent. The isolation of farming in parts of central NSW and the consequences of the long-running drought is contributing to psychological distress among farmers under 35. There are also some whacky items for sale – like a rain gauge for sale in Bunnan aiding to having a sense of humour to help with the stresses of the drought. “Little point in keeping it because couldn’t even remember when we had rain in the gauge”. Parts of drought-stricken NSW are having their driest July on record, and coldest and warmest July in more than 20 years based on maximum and minimum temperatures. How dry? Most of NSW has received less than 20 per cent of the usual July rainfall and some places like Forbes only received 0.8 millimetres

Snow has been an uncommon sight on the ground this winter. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN

(the driest July in 143 years of records), and Nyngan and Brewarrina registered their first rainless July since 1970. While our July has been dry it can’t compare with NSW. But the 19.4mm recorded in Ashburton is just 22 per cent of the average July rainfall of 62.7mm. I wonder what the chances of receiving the mean rainfall were back in June when I wrote from Melbourne. Probably not much different from NSW I expect. And the first six days of August haven’t added to the rainfall total. Does it mean we will follow the northern hemisphere? Will we have an El Niño? Will the patterns in NSW continue and will we be

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similar? In their June outlook Niwa said: “June – August 2018 rainfall totals are forecast to be near normal (35 to 40 per cent chance) or above normal (35 to 40 per cent chance) in the east of the South Island. We haven’t quite reached these forecasts to date with 42.6mm in June (83 per cent of the 51.1mm long-term average) and well below average for July. Hmmm? There is no evidence in the climate records to date that we follow the northern hemisphere (or vice versa). There is general consensus that northern and southern hemisphere climates follow the beat of different drummers. For example; only twice over the entire last millennium

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have both hemispheres simultaneously shown extreme temperatures - once in a global cold period in the 17th century and the second one is the current warming phase since the 1970s. The Medieval Warm Period identified in some European accounts, was a regional phenomenon with temperatures in the southern hemisphere only average. Are the dry east coast months of June and July the result of a developing or developed El Niño event? Once again, no evidence of that with no dominant SOI index, neither El Niño nor La Niña. All pretty neutral still. So no major climatic driver like an El Niño although there have been a predominance


of west-south-west frontal systems affecting the South Island. There has been plenty of rain in the west and much less in the east. Above average temperature days in the east are resulting from the north-west conditions. These are sort of El Niño like conditions. We will just have to watch this space during August. One thing is for sure, we are prepared for the irrigation season – installing monitoring sites in autumn sown crops, getting early soil moisture measurements to provide advance notice for clients and ensuring all existing soil moisture sites are functioning correctly.





Our experience counts Keep track of water

creating innovations, something which helps maintain their position at the forefront of the irrigation industry. In April this year, the company won an award for its Vibra Screen, a cutting edge piece of equipment designed and built in Ashburton. The screen removes solids larger than 1mm, which allows solids and liquid to be separated in effluent, with the liquid able to be recycled in centre pivot irrigators to fertilise pasture. Whether you require an upgrade to your existing irrigation system or a full installation, Rainer has the knowledge, experience and resources to offer a turn-key solution for all of your irrigation demands. Advertising feature

Environmental Consultancy 2015 Ltd. (ECS) specialise in investigating and monitoring surface water and groundwater resources, and monitoring of compliance of resource consent conditions. Established in 1994 (Environmental Consultancy Services Ltd) and based in Timaru, we combine an extensive knowledge of the surface water and groundwater resources within the central South Island of New Zealand with the requirements of the Resource Management Act and the resource consent process. We can assist clients in obtaining resource consents for irrigation, dairy conversions (effluent disposal / consent to farm / change of land use), and to comply with conditions of current resource consents. ECS has developed an excellent working relationship with Regional Council resource management officers. Some of our services include: • Irrigation New Zealand certified water measurement system verification practitioner; • Installation and operation of flow monitoring equipment, including remote access by telemetry and display via our web portal for both open channel and pipe flows; • Provision of flow/water data

management - processing, auditing and reporting services; • Specialists in flow measurement - we can measure rates of water flow in open channels (irrigation races, rivers and streams) or within pipes; • Collection of surface water and/or groundwater samples for chemical analysis; • Installation and operation of meteorological instrumentation (rainfall, wind direction, wind speed, solar radiation, relative humidity), including remote access by telemetry and display via our web portal. We provide regular reports to clients on the way in which compliance is achieved and, where appropriate, recommend ways in which compliance could better be achieved.” 

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tion N iga








I rr

For nearly 30 years, Rainer Irrigation has evolved from humble beginnings to what is now one of the largest, privately owned, irrigation company in New Zealand, employing over 80 employees with great skills and understanding that gives their clients an outstanding level of support from start to finish that simply can’t be beat. Rainer Irrigation serves the greater South Island, delivering successful irrigation projects from Southern Otago, up to Nelson, and everywhere in between. The company provides their clients with the latest developments and innovations relevant to the industry such as Variable rate irrigation (VRI), GPS guidance and corner and Z arms. Rainer irrigation will design, supply, install and service a tailor-made scheme to suit the client’s application, maximise available resources to produce an efficient future proof irrigation system. Rainer also imports and distributes Zimmatic centre pivots and laterals, Trailco irrigators, as well as manufacturing a large range of travelling boom irrigators called RotoRainers, supply sprinklers and just about anything irrigation. Rainer prides themselves in being early adopters of new efficiency

Our services include:

> Surface water and groundwater monitoring > Resource consent assessments and monitoring > Data collection, processing & management > Water quality sampling and monitoring

Telephone +64 688 5522 Level 2 | 139 Stafford Street | PO Box 952 | Timaru 7940 | New Zealand For more information please email



The good news on irrigation With the ever-increasing pressure on the agricultural industry from environmental groups and the government to mitigate its often exaggerated effect on the environment, it is essential that farmers continue to work towards limiting nutrient leaching from their farms. Farmers with irrigation receive more criticism as this is seen as the most serious of evils, but irrigation when used with precision can be beneficial to the environment – good pasture or crop growth uses up available water and nutrients and limits runoff in times of drought. Using precision technology on irrigators not only provides these benefits but also greatly reduces the amount of water used to grow good pasture or crops. Irrigators using Growsmart Precision VRI experience water savings of between 25 to 30 per cent, reducing electricity and giving the other benefits of being able to turn off irrigation over and around pivot ruts, tracks, water troughs, gateways,

drains and any boggy areas. Growsmart Precision VRI has been supplying these benefits for 10 years now with the original systems still working perfectly and producing world record crops for their farmers with technology that leads in this area and is continually updated to provide the farmer with ease of use and the

required reporting for the environmental regulators. A new innovation enables farmers to create irrigation plans to apply effluent, fertigation and/or chemigation to specific areas under an irrigator. This enables farmers to target resources to maximise yields, ensuring efficient use of inputs such as water and nutrients, yet

still preventing leaching and run-off. Couple this with FieldNet, which is the platform that remotely monitors and controls all the Lindsay irrigation products from your mobile or laptop. The newest addition to this technology is FieldNET Advisor - a revolutionary management solution


designed to provide simple science-based irrigation recommendations enabling faster, better-informed irrigation management decisions. This innovative solution combines more than 40 years of crop and irrigation research into FieldNET’s proven technology platform, leveraging massive amounts of data, cloud computing capabilities and machine learning to deliver one easyto-use tool. No need to manually track growth or make complex calculations to ascertain the daily water usage with the frustration of using multiple unintegrated tools to track water needs and manage equipment. Growsmart Precision VRI can be installed on new irrigation systems or as an add-on to existing systems. For more information, contact your local Growsmart by Lindsay dealer or visit 

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With Growsmart® Precision VRI, FieldNET® remote management and Zimmatic® irrigation systems, your Zimmatic dealer will deliver a “single box” irrigation solution – the only fully integrated solution on the market. Growsmart Precision VRI is the world’s first true variable rate irrigation system, and it’s the most advanced precision irrigation solution available. The fully integrated system, managed through FieldNET, provides unparalleled ease-of-use. And with the support of your Zimmatic dealer backed by Lindsay you can rest assured you’re working with the most experienced precision irrigation specialists globally. Having one point of contact makes upgrading and maintaining your irrigation system seamless, so you can spend less time in the field, giving you more time for what matters.






What are banks looking for? With the pending demise of Crown Irrigation Limited from funding either new or expanding irrigation schemes there is an increasing focus on what bank requirements are for lending to irrigation projects. The key question is what is the bank looking for in the irrigation scheme and its shareholders? A high level question for the bank will always be, is the scheme affordable. Scheme directors and shareholders through their surveys may predict a certain uptake at a certain water charge, a certain price per share and water charge per hectare. It will form the view that the share price and water charge is affordable. The bank may take a different view of the risk and its appetite will vary depending upon its exposure to irrigation and the sector. On any given day one bank may have greater appetite for risk in the sector than another bank and this can change. Having asked the question in relation to the affordability of the scheme the bank will look to see the necessary legal structures are in place to ensure that the shareholders must pay the irrigation company the water charges owed. The ability for the irrigation company to recover water charges to repay principal interest owed to the bank is fundamental. It will look to see that there is a valid constitution in place containing an express provision on the part of the farmer to enter into the company’s current water supply agreement. The water supply agreement should provide the company with a clear and broad authority to charge water charges and recover interests and costs recovery on those water charges if required. Lastly the bank will be looking to see that the constitution and water supply agreement has teeth and that the company has the power to enforce the provisions of the water supply agreement in the event of default through the cutting off of the water supply, redemption or surrender of shares. It is important to appreciate that the constitutional and water supply provisions are necessarily tough for the greater good of the scheme. If one or two shareholders/ farmers default on a payment of water charges it is in the interest of the remaining performing shareholders/ farmers that the company is

in the position to take strong action to enforce payment. Often individual farmers may see the constitution and water supply agreements as draconian and a surrender of their property rights. Putting in place a new constitution and water supply agreement that will meet the bank’s requirements and protect the company as a whole requires careful drafting and explanation to shareholders so that they

scheme enter into the water supply agreement. The bank will be looking to sight all the water supply agreements as a condition precedent to drawdown or alternatively receive the certificate from the irrigation company’s solicitors certifying that a certain percentage are current and signed up e.g. 95 per cent. In addition to water charging requirements the bank will be looking to see

and easements supporting races and pipes. It is not uncommon for gaps in easements to be discovered when due diligence is undertaken in respect of an irrigation scheme there is some merit in front-footing the exercise and making sure that the scheme’s house is in order before approaching the bank. The bank will do due diligence on the company’s take and land use consents.

be looking for step in rights in respect of the construction agreements and tripartite agreements between the construction company, the irrigation company and bank. These arrangements can be complex and require lawyers with the appropriate construction and banking experience. The level of due diligence that will be undertaken by the bank and its lawyers for significant loans cannot be

It is important to appreciate that the constitutional and water supply provisions are necessarily tough for the greater good of the scheme

understand that the provisions are there for the greater good. Having put in place the necessary constitution and water supply agreement it is necessary to properly administer and maintain the company. Often companies will make a significant investment in constitutions and water supply agreements and then fail to properly administer the water supply agreement ensuring that new farmers in the

that the company’s liability to farmers for non-supply is suitably limited and that there will be an ability to sign the rights under the water supply agreement to the bank in the event of receivership. In addition the constitution and water supply agreements the bank will be looking to see that the company’s key infrastructure is secure. Typically this means that there are necessary water consents in place to take water

The simpler the consenting arrangements the easier it is for the bank to understand. In particular the bank will be concerned that the company owns and controls all the relevant consents and complex arrangements where third parties or shareholders hold some of the consents will not be attractive to the bank. Lastly in terms of extensions or new schemes where significant construction is anticipated, the bank will

underestimated. Legal costs can be significant if extra unforeseen work is required to get your house in order. Any irrigation schemes or projects looking to borrow significant sums should ensure that they are “match fit” before the term sheet is signed up. David Goodman is a Partner at the Christchurch office of law firm Anderson Lloyd. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer



Quality is everything Electrical know how

In as few words as I can possibly cut it down to, here are the principles that guide us here at Sema: • Quality is not just the most important thing, it is EVERYTHING. • With good design and reasonable margins quality can still be affordable. • If a customer finds one of our products difficult or confusing to set up it is not the customer who is wrong it is the design of our product. • Test every function on every controller before it is dispatched ... then test them all again. • The preferred sources for parts are in this order: 1. Make it ourselves:

2. Buy it in New Zealand 3. Buy it overseas One final word – the rural environment where our controllers are installed is wet and has bad power. We design our controllers to be able to run in this environment. At the time of writing this (May 2018) we have over 1500 controllers operating on dairy farms. Only three of them have ever failed because of power issues (these have all been severe power events, lightning strikes etc) and none have ever failed due to moisture problems. Final, final word – if you buy one of our products I really hope that you like it because it’s designed to last for a long, long time!  Advertising feature

Timaru couple Jeff and Sarah Pierce purchased Sullivan & Spillane Electrical in 2015. A business operated locally for 45 years with a staff of 12, providing domestic, commercial and industrial work along with their longstanding reputation as one of South Canterbury’s leading Fujitsu heat pump suppliers. Soon after takeover, a rural division was also introduced. Jeff has spent the last 15 of his 20 years in the electrical industry designing and installing on farm irrigation pumping systems and community irrigation schemes throughout Canterbury and Central Otago. Prior to purchasing Sullivan & Spillane Jeff was employed as an irrigation design engineer in Central Otago so has an in-depth knowledge of all manner of pump applications and characteristics which, combined with his electrical background, leaves him well positioned to provide designs and advice on your irrigation system. Jeff has worked with all models of VSD and pump starters along with most major brands and systems of irrigation. Farm monitoring is becoming a greater focus for Sullivan & Spillane

Rural and they now offer monitoring systems to keep farms operating round the clock. Whether it be soil moisture, pump status, flow monitoring, effluent monitoring, pretty much anything can be monitored and logged which saves downtime when faults occur whilst also making your farm compliant. Jeff enjoys the variety of challenges rural work brings and works alongside a number of irrigation suppliers and farmers to build ongoing relationships and management/strategy plans for their farming operations. Sullivan & Spillane Rural provides a vast range of services such as irrigation pump control, stock water systems, soil moisture monitoring, flow meters and effluent proof of placement, from Mid Canterbury though South Canterbury to MacKenzie and North Otago. If you’re seeking a fresh approach to your farming requirements, with a reliable electrical team to work alongside your operation, then give Sullivan & Spillane a call on 03-688-6690.


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How much time does your irrigation system soak up? Ashburton arable farmer Adam Wilson knows irrigation is a game of hours. How many hours the water is on (or off, if his pumps unexpectedly cut out), can have a dramatic effect on the growth of his crops and consequently his bottom line. “Those hours all add up in the growing season,” he explains. But thanks to WaterForce’s leading SCADAfarm technology, he is more in control of those hours than ever before. “It has really lessened the down-time during our irrigation season and we’ve been able to stretch our water further. Last year, when it was very dry and our well water levels were down, you could really see the benefits of it.” Best of all, Adam’s decision to install six pivots on his 296ha property and control them all remotely using SCADAfarm, has saved him up to five hours of work each day in summer – time which he previously spent shifting “A remote system like this, where travelling irrigators we have control from anywhere, and checking everything was is excellent. If you’ve got access running as it should. to the internet, you’ve got access Now he simply uses to your irrigation system. It’s a the SCADAfarm app really efficient use of time” on his smartphone to control his irrigation system in real time. He can turn water on and off, set each pivot’s speed and direction, check water pressure, change the watering depth and much more – all at the touch of a button. He also receives an immediate alarm notification if his pivots or pumps stop working for any reason – allowing him to rectify the problem and get water back on as soon as possible. “We don’t have enough water to run all six pivots at once so it’s quite a balancing act to decide what water goes where. A remote system like this, where we have control from anywhere, is excellent. If you’ve got access to the internet, you’ve got access to your irrigation system. It’s a really efficient use of time in terms of getting water on at the right time, in the right spot,” he says. “It’s also handy to be able to keep an eye on things – knowing each pivot is still going without having to physically be there to see it.” Developed specifically for New Zealand farmers, SCADAfarm is supported by the technical expertise of global automation management specialist, Schneider Electric, and telecommunications experts, Vodafone. These two companies have partnered with WaterForce to provide unrivalled control and peace of mind for Kiwi farmers across all farming sectors. Adam admits he was nervous about whether SCADAfarm would work on his property because cellphone coverage is extremely poor. “WaterForce spent a lot of time testing and working out where to position aerials to pick up the best signal. It was surprising what they could come up with. The system certainly works in an area where the signal’s not strong at all.” He’s also impressed by how easy the SCADAfarm app has been to use and understand. “The SCADAfarm platform is basically a replica of the controls at the base of each pivot. So you need to know your machines, but you don’t need to be a computer genius to operate it by any means.”

Ashburton farmer Adam Wilson with his son Ben

One of the most useful functions is the ability to monitor water pressure, Adam says. “Being able to monitor water pressure at each pivot lets us know how the system is running in real time and if we have any pumps out. We can detect any issues straight away and get things going again, whereas before those sort of problems used to go unnoticed for periods of time.” Now he no longer has to spend four or five hours a day shifting and monitoring irrigation, Adam has more free time with his young family and can focus on getting other tasks complete.

SCADAfarm is available for an affordable annual subscription. For more information about the application’s benefits and features, contact your local WaterForce Branch on

0800 436 723 or email the dedicated SCADAfarm team at

SCADAfarm Pivot Pivots can often be spread over a wide geographical area or multiple properties. SCADAfarm Pivot will free up valuable time by giving you remote access and control over your irrigation equipment. Developed specifically for New Zealand farmers, SCADAfarm is supported by the technical expertise of global automation management specialist, Schneider Electric, and telecommunications experts, Vodafone.

Using SCADAfarm’s app you can: • Turn Irrigation on and off • Alter pivot speed and direction of travel • Check water pressure and flow rate • Change watering depth • Apply water with precision to suit crops and seasons • Receive immediate alarm notifications if your pivots aren’t working • Safely park your pivots using the ‘stop in slot’ function Farmer Benefits • By having remote access, you will save time by not having to manually check individual pivots • Save power by running an efficient irrigation system • You will be able to review performance and management of your irrigation system over the season • Keep your water and compliance data safe and secure in our cloud-based servers • Using SCADAfarms secure cellular connections and cloud-based technology, you can check the status of your pivots 24/7 and control their operation via your laptop, tablet or smartphone What Farmers Say Rather than being tied to the farm we can operate our pivots from anywhere. I’ve preloaded into SCADAfarm all the safe wind positions on our farm. That way if we’re out for tea and the wind picks up, I can park them in slot and not have to worry.

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Plan before irrigating Instant pools Development of irrigation starts at paddock level with an assessment of the necessary water requirements. Irrigation to deliver cost effective plant growth is a fine balance between water supply reliability, climate, crop seasonal water demands, soil properties and scheme capacity costs. According to Brian Ellwood, irrigation specialist at Lowe Environmental Impact, two key questions stand out: is water the only limiting factor in the system, and is it economically viable and necessary to eliminate moisture stress 100 per cent of the time? He looks at how irrigation fits into the farming system in combination with other factors that drive profitability and restrict crop growth, such as nutrient levels, sunshine hours or rainfall. Nutrient leaching losses can also be a limiting factor to irrigation development. For any new irrigation development and associated intensification of land use there are likely to be additional nutrient management needs. Nutrient leaching by drainage to groundwater can be exacerbated by poor irrigation, if application depth, timing and management actions are not correct. Brian recommends engaging an

Nutrient leaching by drainage to groundwater can be exacerbated by poor irrigation, if application depth, timing and management actions are not correct

advisor with a good understanding of nutrient management and regional plan requirements relating to water quality for your farm development. To obtain consent from council to irrigate, an assessment of the effects on the environment and other users’ needs to be undertaken. The effects and benefits of taking and using water need to be carefully considered, along with how obligations to maintain and improve water quality and demonstrate efficient use of the water will be met. It is important to engage early with agricultural environmental specialists who can provide you with irrigation, groundwater and nutrient management advice.  Advertising feature

Container Pools NZ mission is to be the foremost supplier of quality, durable, above ground bespoke swimming pools within New Zealand. Current pool types available are a 6 metre plunge pool, an 11 metre lap pool, and an 11 metre entertainer which has both a swimming pool AND a spa pool included! All pools come standard with pumps and a filtration system ready to plug in and enjoy. The liners are pre-made from gel coated fibreglass moulds with added insulation. The container doors are retained for easy access to the filtration and pumping systems that are stored internally within the container itself. We only use Zodiac pool systems which have extensive back-up and warranties for worry free enjoyment. All pools are finished with a sharp looking hardwood decking. Each pool is “bespoke”, meaning each pool is built to order. Many

additions are possible including: internal access stairs, upgraded filtration, heating options for extended season or year-round swimming, swim jets, the list is extensive. Container Pools NZ look after the whole installation process for you, so all you need to do is fill the pool up and enjoy! Most pools are lifted into place with a Hiab truck crane, so depending on site access we can have your pool ready to go in a matter of hours! Our pools are self-fencing, at 1.55 metres high with a gated and lockable internal access stairwell, meaning they fall within most council guidelines for both consent and fencing. In most cases minimal site preparation is required. Call Tod on 027 8911461 today and you could be swimming in your own pool by the start of summer.  Advertising feature

Helping farmers create sustainable long-term irrigation and land management solutions

Our specialist environmental science and engineering Ourteam, specialist environmental scienceManagement and engineering including Certified Nutrient team, including Nutrient onManagement Advisors can helpCertified resolve challenges your farm: Advisors can help resolve challenges on your farm: • Storage and irrigation dairyshed shedeffl effluent management • Dairy uent management farmenvironment environment plans • Farm plans  OVERSEER® nutrient budgets • OVERSEER® nutrient budgets  storage and irrigation • Resource consent applications  resource consent applications • Technical ng technicalreporti reporting We look to do the right work at the right time, Wemanaging look to costs, do the at the right risksright and tiwork melines; leaving youtime, with managing timelines; leaving time to costs, do the risks stuff and on farm that really mattyou ers! with time to do the stuff on farm that really matters!

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The best solution for irrigation Irrigation Logistics is a family owned company based in Darfield servicing the wider Canterbury area with the Pierce Pivot dealership. Pierce Pivots originate from the USA and have been servicing the agricultural sector since 1932. We have CP600 Pierce Centre Pivots, Linears, Corner arms and Acremaster Micropivots for the smaller farmer. Pierce have pioneered and advanced center pivot and control technology and have a long proven track record of commitment to innovation and technology What makes us different from the rest? An experienced designer with over 20 years experience and extensive knowledge of our products. This is key to providing you the best fit for your property and your requirements. This can be the key to the success of your project. We also have a competent service team on the ground to help with queries and provide regular services to pivots. In addition to irrigators we also provide PVC pipe, pumps

and tanks for all irrigation requirements. To meet the varying demands of crops, terrain, and water quality, our pivots can be configured with

multiple types of sprinkler packages, various span and overhang combinations, as an all-galvanised system, or a galvanised structure with Poly-Line Pipe components.

We have a positive track record selling over 50 pivots in the wider Canterbury area in the last year alone. Let us understand your needs and provide you with

the best solution. We have a friendly, knowledgeable and organised team ready to help. 

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Tanks and a whole lot more! As an established NZ-based plastic manufacturer, Kiwi Tanks has been producing high-quality plastic products for more than two decades. Our team are dedicated to creating the best quality products on the market from plastic water tanks to eco toilets and plenty in between. Our products are backed by great customer service and affordable prices and are UV protected to insulate it against UV damage. Kiwi Tanks manufactures and supplies high-quality plastic water tanks and storage tanks designed for use in residential, commercial, industrial and farm settings. As well as stocking a range of ready designed products in varying shapes and sizes, we also offer a design and build service for customers with a particular need. Talk to us about custom plastic water tanks for difficult spaces or extra storage requirements, or custom products for storage or spraying. All you need to do is to bring your ideas to us and our team will create a design

and then create a mould and manufacture the part for you. Contact us to discuss your ideas. Alternatively, we have tanks for sale online including retention and detention tanks,

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We also manufacture strong, durable composting toilets delivered NZ-wide. Bioloo composting toilets are the ideal option if you are looking for eco-friendly

toilets for your lifestyle block, campsite or public space. Experience - with more than 20 years in the business, we know how to make polyethylene tanks that really do the job. Kiwi Tanks is an experienced and established rotational moulded plastics manufacturer and all our products are NZ-made. Custom-design - if required Kiwi Tanks can make you a tank that fits your exact specifications. Our team offers NZ-based plastic product design and manufacture to ensure you get the right product for your needs. Delivery NZ-wide - We work as plastics manufacturers for customers in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and everywhere in between. Order online www. or give us a call on 0800 768 666 if you would prefer to talk to someone before you order.

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Beauty in the matagouri beast Mary Ralston


As we all know, things can change rapidly in the natural world. A few years ago, no-one would have thought mycoplasma bovis would be here or that the majestic kauri would be threatened with extinction from dieback disease. And who would have thought the native shrub matagouri would be classified as a threatened plant? The conservation status of our native plants is regularly updated in the The New Zealand Threat Classification System report. The most recent edition reports that there are now 113 more plants classified as ‘threatened’ (with extinction) compared with the last assessment in 2012.

Myrtle rust is a serious threat to many of our native plants in the family myrtaceae, which includes manuka, kanuka and rata. These species are now classified as threatened. Other species, such as the native dwarf brooms, are considered threatened because of pressures from the expansion of irrigation in the drylands of the Waitaki Valley and the Mackenzie Basin. “Threats like kauri dieback, browsing by possums, goats, rabbits and other animals, and changes in land use, particularly in the eastern South Island, have caused the observed decline of 61 plant species, which are now in a worse state than five years ago,” Matt Barnett, from the Department of Conservation said. Matagouri has been given the classification of ‘At Risk – Declining’’. There is a lot of matagouri, but the rate of decline is high, hence the ringing of alarm bells. We don’t need to go far around our district to see the truth in this. Matagouri has all but disap-

An old matagouri bush. PHOTO SUPPLIED

peared from the Canterbury Plains, and much of the foothills, and the rate of decline is indeed high. In the North Island matagouri was once widespread and in places abundant, but is now reduced to a few scattered individuals. Matagouri is part of a community of vegetation

called grey scrub but in many pastoral situations it is the only shrub left; the coprosmas, olearias and others have gone. Thorns and fire resistance give matagouri an ability to hang on in the face of grazing but it rarely regenerates in pasture; it likes to germinate in disturbed soil such as shingly fans.

And when matagouri is cleared, it’s not just matagouri that goes – there is a whole suite of plants and animals associated with this thorny remnant. Native grasses appreciate the habitat provided by the shrub, lizards find a refuge and bees find nectar. Its nitrogenfixing ability enriches the soil underneath. Protected land such as conservation areas and covenants are important for the maintenance of even seemingly common species, such as matagouri, so that the whole range of plants that occur together can thrive. But in farmland, it’s also valuable to keep scattered individual matagouri plants because they provide shade and shelter to native species and sheep. And they are one of the defining elements of the special New Zealand foothills and high country landscape.

The Selwyn App is the one-stop shop for everything the Selwyn District has to offer. Download FREE today and keep up-to-date with: • • • • • •



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Reducing waste in a changing world The times are changing in the world of waste. There is no longer a need to spend time trying to convince people to tackle waste; the good news is that more and more people are looking for practical ways to do their bit and make a difference. Recently I have spoken to two community groups and over 90 people who really want to make good purchasing choices, recycle all they can and find practical ways to compost and look after our precious soil resources. It’s heartening to see this new wave of interest with several further groups booked in. So what has changed? Many people are becoming more aware that the products and packaging we use for all aspects of life are often designed and manufactured with little thought for the resources consumed in making them or what happens to them at the end of their life. Apart from the most expensive purchases we make, like a car or house, when something breaks in our modern world it is often more expensive to repair than to buy a new one, and usually it goes to the landfill. This take-make-dispose mindset has created a linear economy. What we need is a more holistic framework for production and resource

Sheryl Stivens


use, to allow us to live in harmony with the earth. The circular economy describes a regenerative economic system, in which there is no waste. All resources are kept in use for as long as possible before being recaptured through quality recycling or composting systems. We can see for ourselves that the make-use-dispose economic system is harming the planet we live on. Not just through waste and plastic pollution, but through mining raw materials, the burning of fossil fuels, depletion of our soil, and pollution of precious water supplies. A circular economy is an alternative to the traditional linear economy in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while they are in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE What can we do to make a difference in Ashburton District? Buy wisely – durable goods and only as much food as we can eat without wastage.

Keep our community recycling depots clean and free from rubbish, lawn clippings and non-recyclable items.

Compost garden waste, lawn clippings and food scraps.

Drop off items for reuse or safe disposal at the Ashburton and Rakaia Resource Recovery Parks operated by Envirowaste.

Recycle and sort clean loose products into the correct recycling bins for; glass, plastic containers and bottles, paper and cardboard, metal cans.

For information on what to recycle and where, visit the Ashburton District Council website:

Sana Watts deposits household recycling at the Willowby Community Recycling PHOTO SUPPLIED depot.

A circular economy is fuelled by renewable energy (such as solar, hydro, wind and tidal power, and biofuels). Why transition to the circular economy? Growing international research and evidence shows numerous benefits over the traditional linear economy. These include: • Long-term cost savings • Increased local job opportunities • Encouragement of technical innovation

• •

Reducing the amount of harmful waste produced Reversing our impacts on climate change.

For help with your farm waste and recycling systems Call: Deidre Nuttall, phone 0275 490-904 or email: deidre.nuttall@

MANUFACTURERS OF TIMBER BOXES & PALLETS So for all your pallet or box requirements, no matter how big or small, give Wayne a call today at Adams Sawmilling Also Manufacturers/Suppliers of FARM IMPLEMENT SHEDS IRRIGATION PUMP SHEDS

Adams Sawmilling Co Ltd ISPM 15 accredited for Export Pallets

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

WE GO THE EXTRA MILE Waste and recycling collection services for rural New Zealand. • The easy and safe way to dispose of your general waste and co-mingled recycling • Our range of front load bins are strong and robust, ideal for farm use • Schedules and bin sizes can be tailored to meet your specific requirements

To order your front load bin, give us a call on 0800 240 120. Conditions may apply.




PGG Wrightson to sell seed arm PGG Wrightson (PGW) has entered a deal to sell its seed business for $421 million to Danish company DLF Seeds. The sale is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and clearance from the Commerce Commission and other regulatory bodies. PGW shareholders must also back the transaction. DLF Seeds’ offer for PGW Seeds exceeds the book value of its net assets estimated to be $285m. The conditional sale is a result of a strategic review carried out by the Christchurch-headquartered company. PGW chief executive Ian Glasson said the deal was “pretty compelling’’ for all shareholders, including majority shareholder Agria Corp, and likely to be supported, but he would leave it to the likes of the OIO and Commerce Commission to PGG Wrightson chief executive Ian Glasson.

Tim Cronshaw


make their decisions. He said the agreement provided for an ongoing working relationship between PGW and the seed business. For seed producers in Mid Canterbury little would change and PGG representatives in their blue jerseys would continue to visit farms and the PGG Wrightson Seeds brand would be licenced to DLF Seeds, he said. Growers might be questioning the wisdom of PGW selling its seed business, often regarded as its most profitable arm. Glasson said the seeds business was the largest division earner but had also taken a large chunk of capital during investments in South America and Australia. This

had led to the strong interest by parties keen to buy the business. “But in terms of cashflow it

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would be a taker of cash.’’ PGW would still be left with a $800m revenue earning business in mainly retail,

wool, livestock and real estate and remain the leading rural service business in New Zealand, he said.


PGW referred any queries about speculation that the sale was a result of Agria wanting to exit its 50 per cent

shareholding to Agria. Glasson said the sale would generate a lot of cash and the board would make the decision whether to invest this for growth or pass it on to shareholders. New markets would open up from the new owner’s global presence and this would bring more royalties to New Zealand. Deputy chairman Trevor Burt said PGW had received interest from other parties internationally wanting to buy the seed and grain business. “The DLF Seeds’ offer was particularly compelling in terms of the value it would deliver to PGW shareholders.” PGW delivered a strong result last year with revenue of about $1.1 billion and an after-tax profit of $46.3m. However, revenue from its seed and grain group dropped 7 per cent and pre-tax earnings were down 11.5 per cent to $37m. DLF Seeds chief executive Truels Damsgaard said DLF Seeds had long viewed PGW Seeds as a strategic and complementary business to its operations.


Growers might be questioning the wisdom of PGW selling its seed business

The company is owned by a co-operative of about 3000 Danish seed growers with revenue of about $881m last year. Under the agreement DLF Seeds will buy all the shares of PGG Wrightson Seeds Holdings Limited and take all the assets and operations of the PGW Seed and Grain business in New Zealand, Australia, South America and internationally. PGW and PGW Seeds will enter into a long-term distribution agreement for seed and grain and PGW will continue to provide a range of services to PGW Seeds for 12 to 18 months. PGW plans to present the deal to shareholders at an October meeting.


Plains Contracting offers a complete cultivation and drilling and forage harvesting service



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Few can match Trojan’s performance Want a pasture that peaks when your cows do, and then some? Take a look at the latest DairyNZ Forage Value Index rankings, and you’ll see why Trojan NEA2 perennial ryegrass fits this role perfectly. It has more stars for seasonal performance from winter through summer than any other ryegrass in the South Island FVI lists. On farm, that translates to much

higher daily grass growth rates and subsequently faster return times for Trojan NEA2 paddocks compared to others, especially at key times of the season like now. This extra dry matter (DM) yield from the start of lactation through to Christmas, combined with leafy high quality feed, drives peak milk production and helps extend the glide as long as possible.

PRECISION FODDER BEET PLANTING • 375mm and 500mm row spacing options • Fertiliser down the spout • Diamond pattern planting Please phone Jacob to discuss the advantages of these options


Trojan – leafy high quality feed for better milk production. 

That means more kg milksolids (MS) per ha at the height of the season, with less need to feed imported supplement. Craig Weir is upper South Island area manager for Barenbrug Agriseeds, the company behind Trojan NEA2. He says one of the reasons it remains a best seller eight years after it was launched is that few if any other ryegrass cultivars can match its depth of data or its performance. Key features include late heading (+16 days), with a low level of

aftermath heading, which improves Trojan’s feed value in late spring and summer. “In trials for the DairyNZ FVI Trojan showed very high feed quality with an average 12.5 MJME/kg DM through the year,” Craig says. Trojan NEA2 seed is available now for spring sowing. Contact your seed merchant or visit to find out more. 


Trojan is the five-star perennial ryegrass with unrivalled performance value ratings in Dairy NZ’s Forage Value Index (FVI). Trojan is a perennial ryegrass certified under the New Zealand seed certification scheme as Lolium boucheanum.

As Barenbrug Agriseeds we have access to the Royal Barenbrug Group’s world-leading research, knowledge and plant genetics. All of that helps us deliver superior pastures for superior returns. 0800 449 955


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Be on the front foot with Ecotain Farmer Stu Russell of Ngatimaru Farm wants to be on the front foot when it comes to adopting new technology for their 287ha (263ha effective), fully irrigated dairy farm, that is milking 700 cows. They pride themselves on being pro-active, rather than reactive in everything they do, particularly in the environmental space. They are well advanced in their processes and practices they are using on farm, so it was a no-brainer for them to start incorporating Ecotain environmental plantain into their dairy pastures. So how have they incorporated it into their pastures? There are a number of potential ways, from sowing in an initial seed mixture, to direct drilling into existing pasture, or through broadcasting. Stu opted to disc drill in autumn 2018, into a straight tetraploid perennial ryegrass paddock that had been established the previous spring. He chose this over broadcasting, due to his prior

experience and understanding that there can often be greater success of establishment with seed-soil contact. Stu had drilled straight grass in spring because their property is an ex-cropping farm, and they get large weed populations coming back in new pasture. This has worked well, as it allowed for a very successful weed spray to tidy up the establishing grass paddocks prior to drilling their Ecotain and red clover mix. In January 2018, they

Nitrogen management with the power of 4.

waited for the chemical plant back period to be over prior to planting their Ecotain mix (this was four weeks). The mix was 4kg/ha Ecotain and 2.5 kg/ha Relish red clover and the 50ha of straight grass paddocks were given a light nip with the cows, then disc drilled in. No white clover was used in the mix as Stu finds they already have a large voluntary population that establishes. Stu managed the paddocks through the establishment phase with some light w

grazings and has been really happy with the results and populations they have achieved. Given this promising start, they’ve indicated they will continue to implement Ecotain in this way. “We are always looking for ways to minimise our nitrogen footprint, it’s going this way, and we want to be on the front foot,” says Stu. Stu appreciates the solid science and data around Ecotain, and likes that it is a ‘big tick’ in the farm environmental plan if they’re seen to be making a start in this space. While Ngatimaru Farm have incorporated Ecotain in their mix for environmental reasons, the value of using Ecotain can go beyond this with the potential for a number of agronomic benefits on farm. Wider experience has shown Ecotain is capable of adding value in terms of both drymatter and quality to any farming system. While Stu has used it in a mix with a tetraploid perennial ryegrass, Ecotain can also be used as a straight


Huge reduction in N leaching from the urine patch - up to 89% depending on sward blend*


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An ideal source of minerals for animal health and performance


* Lincoln University lysimeter studies (Woods, 2017)

crop, or with short term Italian or hybrid ryegrasses. This product is able to perform under rotational grazing with dairy round lengths or it can also tolerate periods of set stocking under sheep systems. Like many farms, Ngatimaru are big on looking after the soil and plants. As a farming business, they have already managed to get down to a very good overseer number with some adjustments to some key areas. Stu uses very little nitrogen fertiliser, and uses it in the dissolved liquid form. He only has three applications a year of around 15 units at a time. They have adjusted stocking rate, their effluent management, and they use oats as a catch crop after winter feed crops. Implementing Ecotain as part of their pastures is just another tool in the tool box. “This kind of technology, along with some other changes we’re making, should allow us to keep farming the way we are,” says Stu. Article supplied by Agricom.




Getting your crops sorted Waller Precision Spraying & Direct Drilling is a family owned business based in Geraldine, operating in Mid and South Canterbury. James and Nicky Taylor purchased Waller Direct Drilling from Nicky’s parents in 2017 to merge with their spraying business. James has over 10 years of agricultural spraying knowledge behind him, and is a registered chemical applicator which keeps his knowledge up to date. The company now consists of two Valtra tractors and two Duncan 3000e direct drills, and a 24 metre Isuzu spray rig. All our machines are fitted with the latest GPS technology to help ensure the ultimate job. We have just put new wider tyres onto our spray rig which helps on the sticky ground this area has. Our Duncan 3000e triple disc drills have narrow spacing between the discs for closer rows which in turn mean less weeds. Our drills also have cranes to lift seed and fert bags.

With having both the drilling and spraying together as one business, this means just one phone call to James

will ensure your job is done with ease. You will find James on the phone talking to clients,

looking at crops as well as in the spray rig, while Joel and Brett are on the direct drills. James and his team pride

themselves on great service and a job done well. To help get your crops sorted this season, give James a call.

Servicing South and Mid Canterbury

For all your spraying and direct drilling needs phone James on 027 325 1495 or 03 692 2827


Of things rural and other matters I was asked to write a few words for this month’s farming supplement. So what to write about? The rural market is steady rather than spectacular. Everybody is a bit cautious to downright pessimistic and so the old adage applies. When people are not confident with the future and cannot see a clear picture ahead it is not that they do the wrong thing they do nothing. Capital always follows confidence so when confidence returns then I know that the market will get more active. So why the lack of confidence when the statistics show us that things are not too bad. Change of governments always causes some anxiety as the new Government blames all the bad things on the old Government and the ousted Government blames the new Government for all that is wrong. I do wish they would credit us, the person in the street, with some degree of common sense and the ability for some critical thinking. Also the

“ Rodger Letham

As individuals we can only do the best we can with what we’ve got where we are but we need to have the courage to say “no” sometimes


social media distributes news/ noise to many people but it can get very inaccurate and really amounts to no more than an electronic version of over the back fence gossip. How can we get the facts of the matter? Some months ago Bob Brockie wrote in the Christchurch Press on the matter. He said “when the web was invented, it was generally supposed that it would promote wide democratic discourse. That hope has gone out the window. The web and Twitter are now awash with salesmen, conspiracy theorists, demagogues and messianic gurus. They can be anonymous, crazy, odd, hateful, abusive and the

most loud-mouthed people on earth,” as United States President Trump has shown. The foreign policy of the United States appears to be formed by rants and raves on Twitter from the president. Where has the dignity, the decency, the forbearance and the moral compass gone? Has it got to a stage where everyone has rights and no one accepts responsibility? However let’s not be too despondent. We have seen similar things many times over the centuries but I feel we have lost some of the compass settings that previous generations have used. There is an immutable law in the universe, like it or not, called the “law of sowing and reaping.” Like gravity it works all the time. We

cannot see gravity, we may not understand gravity but if we step off the roof of a building gravity will work and we will be enlightened. In my opinion we are today reaping what we have sown over three generations of well-meaning stupidity. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We expect our teachers to educate and look after our children and we take away all their authority. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honoured value of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. We always get what we sow. If a farmer wants to harvest wheat in the summer he does not sow barley in the spring. As individuals we can only do the best we can with what we’ve got where we are but we need to have the courage to say “no” sometimes. We need to start sowing the right seeds. The good thing about all this is that the majority of this community are good honest decent people going about their business, bringing up their children and supporting their community. The Ashburton District has a great record in supporting charities and local projects. Long may it last and that is why I am proud to live here and I have no intention of moving. That was a bit of a ramble but I hope you find something worthwhile in it.

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Calving a time to keep workers safe a Farmers in the middle of calving should be thinking about ways to keep workers safe and well, says WorkSafe agriculture sector lead Al McCone. “Calving is a challenging time in terms of health and safety and there’s a lot to think about from setting up calving sheds and putting together calving kits, to managing hygiene and planning staff rosters. “On the safety side, slips, trips, falls and kick injuries are high safety risk factors during calving. Cattle should only be handled by suitably experienced people who know the hazards and how to avoid them. McCone said planning would pay off to identify risks and working out how to manage them would ensure farms operated efficiently. WorkSafe, a Crown agency, recommends team meetings should be held on handling the risks and to ensure people also ate well, kept hydrated and had sufficient breaks, he said. McCone said fatigue was a risk during busy periods. “Workers need to ensure they get good rest and maintain a work-life balance. While fatigue can cause or worsen physical and mental health problems, it can also affect work performance and lead to accidents.” To reduce on-farm fatigue, work rosters and hours should be reviewed and workers encouraged to get adequate rest and exercise, and maintain a healthy diet to sustain them when they were busy. “Hygiene must be a major focus too. A bucket of water, soap and towel in the shed doesn’t cut it. Workers need a clean place to wash hands and faces. That should include running water, liquid soap and a hygienic way to dry their

hands, such as paper towels.” Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans

include campylobacter, cryptosporidiosis, E. coli, leptospirosis, listeriosis, milker’s nodules, ringworm,

salmonella and streptococcus. Farm workers can become ill through small cuts or abrasions, by getting animal

blood, urine or faeces splashed in eyes, nose or mouth, or through cross contamination via hands.



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and well, says WorkSafe “Workers should all have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Hands should be covered so suitable disposable gloves should be provided. Waterless alcohol-based hand rubs can sanitise visibly clean hands,’’ McCone said. Workers should take off their stock-handling protective equipment after leaving the cattle shed, and wash before eating, drinking or smoking. “Make sure everyone knows their role, what the risks are and the best ways to mitigate them. By working with your team to establish and communicate a safety and wellness plan, you’ll limit the risk of staff sickness or injury at such a key time.’’ McCone said the combination of long days, physical work, and wet or cold weather added to the risks experienced throughout the rest of the year. “No farmer should lose sight of the fact that most farm at-work fatalities occur in and around farm vehicles and they

need to have in place systems that make sure the risk from vehicles is fully identified and managed.” Meanwhile, WorkSafe is committed to keeping bullying and harassment out of city and farming workplaces. Studies suggest that one in three workers in urban and rural workplaces report experiencing some form of bullying or harassment each year. WorkSafe records show about 125 cases indicated bullying in the past four years among more than 10,000 of health and safety incidents or events. The agency investigated 11 of them and nearly half were either referred to the Employment Relations Authority, police or other agencies. Part of WorkSafe’s harm prevention work this year is to help create workplace cultures that support good health and safety and assisting businesses to recognise bullying and harassment risks.

Calving is a busy time for dairy farmers and can put workers under stress. PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN 




Training for H&S

The Quadbar story

WorksafeReps has been successfully delivering workplace health and safety training since 2003. Our courses are designed to ensure that business owners and employees understand their responsibilities, either as a H&S Representative and/ or as a manager/supervisor, under the current health and safety legislation (Health and Safety at Work Act 2015). The courses start with an initial training in the basic knowledge requirement for H&S representatives in the workplace. Participants are awarded the unit standard 29315 – Describe the role and functions of the health and safety representative in a New Zealand workplace - after successfully completing the course. Our Stage 2 course focuses on managing risks, building knowledge and skills in hazard and risk management, and injury and accident investigation. The course covers important concepts, legal requirements and practical skills in hazard and risk management, and injury and accident investigation. The Stage 3 course (Advanced Training) extends participants’ skills so they can take an active part in injury management and continuous improvement of health and safety practice, to increase productivity and ensure that all workers can go home

When I first began manufacturing the Quadbar in 2011 and even though extensive testing had been done on it in Australia, I wasn’t totally sure how it would perform in real farm situations. Since then, sales have rapidly grown each year and now in 2018, I can happily say that the Quadbar has been a great success in preventing injuries from quadbike rollovers and of course, not a single death from bikes fitted with one. In Australia, it has gone nuts and sales are around 10,000 now since 2011. The Quadbar is simple to fit to your bike, fits all makes and models and is height adjustable. You can fit it yourself or your local bike dealer can do it for you. Generally, when rollovers have happened, it is not through speed but usually from a moment’s inattention. It can happen to anyone. The bike simply ends up on its side and you can slide out, using the bar to put the bike back on its feet and carry on with your day. I couldn’t be happier with how it works and just love the phone calls and emails I get after a farmer has rolled and hasn’t even got a scratch. The quadbike is also usually undamaged. I have sent Quadbars all over New Zealand but particularly to areas such

Why Use

safely after work. The Manager course is designed for managers, supervisors, team leaders, and board members. This makes them aware of the health and safety legislation so that they understand the legislative responsibilities of a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). The courses can be completed either face-to-face over two days, online or through a blended learning of one day in the classroom plus an online assessment. The courses are run in a friendly, non-threatening environment with the aim of informing workers, managers and those in a governance role, of their rights and obligations under the 2015 legislation. For further information please contact us on 0800 336 966 or visit our website nz or email us at info@worksafereps.  Advertising feature

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as Northland, Gisborne, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Nelson, West Coast, Oamaru, Ashburton, Otago and Southland. I have spent my life farming and manufacturing and it is a pleasure to make something that saves lives and keeps families together. – Quadbar Owner. Stuart Davidson. Orewa.


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Getting the employment basics right Many farmers (and small businesses!) are not getting the employment basics right. Figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) show that 28 per cent of farms they visited did not keep correct records - resulting in $11,000 in fines. Labour Inspectorate regional manager Natalie Gardiner stated that “Part of being a good employer is ensuring that everyone on your farm is getting all their minimum employment entitlements. “By keeping good records, you offer protection to both yourself and your employee should anything go wrong or come under dispute – and you are on your way to a best practice employer. “Meeting all obligations also helps New Zealand retain its reputation as an equitable place to work and do business, with consumers here and abroad increasingly demanding fairness on the farm.” So, what are the records, or minimum employment standards, MBIE are looking for?



An up-to-date, signed, employment agreement. All employees must have one that properly reflects the work that they do. Wage records are of utmost importance. You need a good roster that allows for days off (preferably two at a time) and all employees should complete timesheets – either electronically, or on paper. All employees should receive payslips that should


clearly document any deductions (including house if you provide a house as part of their salary package). You need to keep good holiday and leave records – both leave taken and accrued, in days and in monetary records. Pay every worker minimum wage for every hour worked. This is simple to work out if they’re on a salary – take the hours they worked last week, multiply it by


the current minimum wage and that is what they should have earned gross in their week. If they haven’t, then you will need to top them up and note that on their payslip. A good idea is to take their weekly salary amount, divide it by the minimum wage and this will give you their maximum hours for the week. If it might get close, then make sure you roster accordingly – or, be aware that you’ll need to pay them more that week. The law no longer allows farmers to ‘average’ it out over the year between the quieter times of winter and the busier times of spring. Every hour must be at least minimum wage. Public holidays are another area that farmers often slip up on. You must pay your workers for their entitlements of time and a half for any hours worked on a public holiday. So, if their

normal work day is 5.30am to 5.00pm and they work they will get time and half for the 11.5 hours (so 17.25 hours) and they will get 11.5 hours put in lieu (make sure you record this!). If they only work part of the day, say 6 hours, they get paid for 9 hours only but 11.5 hours go into time in lieu. z Take it as a given that MBIE will visit more farms going forward and any which are found not meeting their employment obligations can expect to face serious consequences. If you have any questions or if you aren’t sure if you’re doing the right thing, then give Compliance Partners a call on 0800 BIZSAFE and we’ll help you get it sorted. We are the local HR partner providing businesses peace of mind for employment compliance and helping to develop the workplace culture. Advertising feature Pin m e notic to your e you’l board, l nee one d d me ay!




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Ulcers common in horses The symptoms of ulcers and the symptoms of being ‘grass affected’ can be confusingly similar. It is very easy to leap to the conclusion that your horse has ulcers without considering other possible causes. Gastric or stomach ulcers are most common because horses have a smaller stomach than other animals. Hence they cannot handle large amounts of food at a time. Instead they graze for most of the day so the stomach has a continuous trickle of fibrous material going through. This, in turn, necessitates a steady flow of acid for digestion so the cells of the stomach lining produce large amounts of acidic fluid 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even over those periods of the day when they are not eating. The chewing process produces a continuous supply of saliva which acts as a buffer to keep the stomach acid at exactly the right pH and prevents it from becoming even more acidic. Any time there are lengthy (3-4 hours or more) spells without access to forage, as

Jenny Paterson


when horses are fed ‘meals’ without access to roughage in between, the lack of chewing and associated saliva means the stomach acid becomes progressively more acidic. According to the veterinarian lecturing on this subject at Equitana, this means ulcers can start forming if the stomach is empty for as little as four hours. Slowfeeder hay-nets are a great way of slowing down hay consumption to prevent this happening especially overnight. Horses who are out at pasture 24/7 or otherwise housed with ad lib access to hay, are very unlikely to develop stomach ulcers. In fact a big part of the ‘cure’ for horses who have developed

ulcers, apart from a short-term course of medication, is 24/7 pasture turn-out or ad lib access to hay. There are many signs of the presence of ulcers in the stomach, but it can be confirmed by having your veterinarian take a look. Gastric ulcers are most common in horses that perform athletic activities. 80-90 per cent of racehorses have been found to suffer from ulcers and it is no wonder. Exercising on an empty stomach is a contributing factor. Apparently exercise not only increases gastric acid production and decreases blood flow to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract but also causes the acidic fluid in the stomach to splash around thereby subjecting the upper, more vulnerable portion of the stomach to damaging acidity. When transporting horses for long distances it is wise to stop every couple of hours so they can have a graze or some hay. A few hours of transport has been known to induce stomach ulcers in previously healthy horses.

Small-mesh hay-nets help the hay last longer. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Prevention and Treatment As always, prevention is preferable to treatment. Feed horses frequently or on a freechoice basis. Strong stomach acids are necessary for the breakdown of coarse fibrous material, to sterilise ingested food and kill bacteria (such as the Helicobacter Pylori) and facilitate the absorption of certain minerals (calcium

in particular) which require an acidic environment. Treating horses for ulcers unnecessarily or for too long, or feeding products which contain unprotected sodium bicarbonate can interfere with all these processes. There are several approaches for the treatment of ulcers in horses: 1. Administer substances which neutralise the acid much like antacids in humans. 2. Administer substances which inhibit the production of acid. Long-term administration of some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be detrimental to the stomach’s protective mucus layer, but shortterm use does no harm and is preferable to the horse enduring unnecessary pain. Obviously ANY treatment needs to be accompanied by appropriate lifestyle changes to prevent recurrences. Supplying plenty of forage will increase chewing time and saliva production which is the nature’s way of keeping stomach acid at the optimal level of acidity.

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Staying ahead of fungicide resistance No time to rest in cereal fungicide resistance battle says expert. On his recent return visit to New Zealand, Andy Bailey, an international expert in Septoria (speckled leaf blotch) resistance in cereal crops, reinforced the very real threat it continues to pose to yields here. Andy, who has over 20 years’ experience, and is a fungicide technical advisor at crop protection company Adama UK, was a guest of Adama NZ. During his stay, late last month, he met with agronomists and industry influencers throughout the North and South Islands. This was a follow-up to his weeklong visit in 2017. Reduced sensitivity to single-site azole chemistries, which cereal growers have relied on for generations, is regarded as one of the biggest potential production limiters, next to extreme weather events. The issue appeared in the UK and Ireland over a decade ago, much earlier than in New Zealand. Andy says scientists there had been alert to its impact for some time. “Pre 2003, azoles worked really well in curative situations. I mean, they were giving 80 to 90 per cent control.” Now he says evidence shows that curative action is as little as 30 to 40 per cent at best. “We’d been monitoring azole sensitivity shifts with Septoria in the UK and Ireland for many, many years. And this enabled us to plot the sensitivity shift year on year, implement programmes, and do research to work out what’s the best way of protecting that chemistry from further erosion.” Andy says New Zealand growers have a window of opportunity that may help them keep on top of the worst of the effects of this potentially devastating yieldrobber. “Your resistance issues and sensitivity shifts are in an earlier phase and you have access to a multi-site fungicide in Phoenix, so you can do something about it now. You can actually include Phoenix in programmes to protect single-site chemistry and hopefully prolong their effective lifetime.” Phoenix® (Phthalimide – Group M4) has as its active ingredient folpet, which works against Septoria at a cellular level using a multisite action. This inhibits spore germination and cell division, and reduces energy production in the mitochondria.

Top: Andy Bailey, Technical Specialist at Adama UK, visited New Zealand late last month to talk about resistance management in cereals.

Bottom: Septoria infected wheat.

Currently there is no known resistance to folpet anywhere in the world. Phoenix also works to enhance DMI uptake, increasing the speed of action and efficacy. However, timing of application and the accompanying partner compounds are also vital, as Andy explained. “The key timing for me for the use of Phoenix in programmes would be the T1 application. I really think that if you’re going to go once with Phoenix, then that would be the one. Multisite chemistry is a contact protectant. We like to lay down protection and we need to put that in early in a programme, so we’re ahead of

the disease.” ”Keeping leaf 3 clean is essential for maintaining full yield potential as the crop reaches maturity.” Andy recommends combining Phoenix with Bolide®, which Adama released in New Zealand last season. “Bolide is a good solution for Septoria control, because it contains two different azole active ingredients. Epoxiconazole is a tri-azole, prochloraz is an imidazole and the two select for different strains of Septoria, so they complement each other in a mixture at optimised ratios. Using a highly effective azole fungicide such as Bolide at T1 can help reduce selection pressures on SDHI fungicides.”


“With Septoria you just do not want to get yourself into a heavy curative situation,” he warns. Andy says, compared with his visit here a year ago, there is a broader awareness of fungicide resistance in New Zealand, though he makes no apologies for repeating messages from 2017. “When I came over here last year, we were sharing experiences from the UK and Ireland and there was interest, but I certainly get the feeling now, on my second visit, that it has increased. There are a lot more resistance conversations going on. People are much more in tune with it and also I think even hungrier to listen. People seem receptive and I think they get it.”

Andy says his message is not all “doom and gloom” and that there is a lot that is positive in the cereal industry including a way of approaching the issue of resistance that does not put all the weight on fungicides, while still respecting their importance. “The way we tackle Septoria in wheat in the UK and Ireland is through an integrated approach that is not only fungicides. We now have very good varietal resistance coming through. Growers have lots of choice. The varieties are much better than they were, so that’s an important tool in reducing the levels of Septoria. We also integrate techniques like delayed drilling. That’s very much driven by the problems with blackgrass (which is not an issue in New Zealand), meaning that growers have to drill later. However, they are seeing an added benefit, in that the drilling later does actually reduce the Septoria burden that’s carried over through into the spring.” Daren Mabey, Commercial Manager of Adama NZ, says Adama’s decision to bring Andy Bailey back to New Zealand this year is a reflection of how seriously the company takes the resistance issue, and the company’s continuing emphasis on sharing research and experience as well as bringing effective products to market. He agrees that growers here need to be proactive to protect the efficacy they have. “Sound resistance management strategies and programmes have become imperatives. We’ve lost some sensitivity, and we don’t want it to get to UK levels.” Daren says it is not about spraying more. “It’s about getting the product you’re using, and when it’s applied, exactly right.” A pitfall that has caught some growers unawares in the past is a relatively long latent period with Septoria of 14 to 42 days (depending on the temperature). This means crops will be infected well before signs of infection are visible. Daren says growers should assume it is present and front-foot the problem. For more information on how to up-date your resistance management strategy for 2018/2019 with Adama products, contact your local technical advisor or visit www. Advertising feature

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Guardian Farming - August 2018  

Guardian Farming - August 2018  

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