Farmers Weekly 27 May 2019

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Best trade/specialist publication and website – Voyager Media Awards 2019

Vol 18 No 20, May 27, 2019

Fonterra revamp splutters along Hugh Stringleman


ONTERRA’S thirdquarter results and announcements are a mixed bag of positives and negatives, including a strong 2020 farmgate milk price opening but another downgrade of the 2019 earnings. Chief executive Miles Hurrell denies the Milk Price Model is unbalanced and creating an inability for the co-operative to be profitable when milk prices are high. “It just highlights the need for the strategy reset and the three quite significant announcements we made today signal the direction and the intent.” The announcements were a strategic review of two dairy farm hubs in China, options for the future ownership of the Dairy Partners Americas distribution joint venture with Nestle in Brazil and the closure of the Dennington, Victoria, plant. Next season will begin on June 1 for farmers with a range of $6.25 to $7.25/kg milksolids and an advance rate schedule based on $6.75. Payments will be only $3.80 in the first three months of the new season, which farmers say is a low starting level. The directors have also revised downwards and effectively

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capped the 2019 outcome to $6.30-$6.40 when some analysts were predicting upside. As a consequence of high milk prices the full-year earnings per share guidance was revised down to 10-15c a share, from 15-25c previously. That is a 37.5% chop in the midrange numbers. In February the directors ruled out an interim dividend and said they will reconsider paying a year-end dividend but the prospect looks increasingly unlikely.

Dennington is not viable in a low-milk pool environment. Miles Hurrell Fonterra The revised forecast earnings before interest and tax for ingredients was $645-$725 million and for consumer and food service $400-$430m, down 15% on the forecasts made in March. Though Fonterra is recovering from its 2018 losses, selling assets and reducing debt and capital and operating spending, the projected profits are lower. Chief financial officer Marc Rivers said two areas of most concern in the third quarter results are the ingredients side of

Fonterra Australia and the Latin American operations. The Australian drought is shrinking the milk pool and Fonterra has to put that milk into the highest-returning products and most efficient assets. Dennington is a 100-year-old powder plant at Warrnambool, Western Victoria, with 98 staff who have been offered redundancy and help finding other jobs or Fonterra placements. “It is not viable in a low-milk pool environment,” Hurrell said. Fonterra’s Chilean business had a tough first half with several categories underperforming, consumer and food service chief operating officer Judith Swales said. China food service had recovered as demand for butter bounced back and consumer and food service in Australia and NZ performed well, especially in Australian spreads. Chairman John Monaghan said Fonterra is forecasting its milk collection for the new season to be 1520m kg, up only 10m from this season and 15m on the 1505m in the 2018 season. The $1 range in the opening forecast is realistic because Fonterra has to look more than one year into the future. “The information we have available is continuing to show us that demand remains strong across key trading partners and this is reflected in Global Dairy Trade prices,” he said.


Incl GST

Tough times ahead

DAIRY farmers will be under pressure from the low start to Fonterra’s new season advance rates, Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis says. “Cash is king for farmers because of seasonal conditions, demands for debt repayment from the banks and the rising tide of on-farm costs,” he said. The forecast of the fourth $6plus season in a row is welcome but farm working expenses have gone up 50c a kilogram of milksolids over the past couple of years and margins are tight. “Tradesmen are charging up to $100 an hour plus travel time and mileage, rates

and insurances have risen considerably and labour costs are going up.” Lewis also mentioned the wall of potential regulations looming and the risk of increased interest rates because the banks expect the Reserve Bank to introduce tougher requirements. “That is why we need Fonterra to have a strong balance sheet and make higher advance rates – farmers were expecting something closer to $5 than $3.80.”


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WEATHER OVERVIEW Hold onto your hats, this week is looking much windier across the country, especially in the South Island. We have a few deep lows in the Southern Ocean right now and with high pressure finally moving north of the country this week it will allow windier conditions to move in along with rain, heavy at times, for the West Coast. On Thursday and Friday this system surges across all of New Zealand with heavy rain in the west, shifting to the east and strong to gale force northwesters turning southwest with a temperature drop. Heavy snow in the mountains and ranges of both islands too. Conditions should ease around Queen’s Birthday Monday as high pressure expands over the Tasman Sea.


Pasture Growth Index Above normal Near normal Below normal


38 Buyers influence bull breeder



The benefit of experience has helped to ensure the bulls available at Ngakouka Herefords’ third annual sale later this month are looking great.

Monday: Heavy rain on the West Coast. Tuesday: Rain spreads across all of western and northern NZ. Wednesday: Heavy West Coast rain again. Thursday: Heavy West Coast rain, showers for the western North Island. Friday/Saturday: Rain crosses the North Island.

Newsmaker ������������������������������������������������������22 New Thinking ��������������������������������������������������23 Opinion ������������������������������������������������������������24


Northwest winds will dominate this week and will surge up and down across the week with the South Island and Cook Strait most exposed to gales. Windiest days are Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday a windy southwest change spreads nationwide.

Highlights/ Extremes

Temperature Warmer than average this week in many regions, especially northern and eastern areas of both islands thanks to the west to northwest winds. A colder change is coming this Friday and weekend with a southwest surge dropping temperatures.

Severe weather is highly likely this week. Gale force west to northwest winds are likely around the eastern South Island and Cook Strait, especially mid week. Heavy rain off and on for the West Coast. Heavy snow in the ranges this weekend.

14-DAY OUTLOOK has been speaking to farmers across NZ and despite less-thanaverage rain this year in many regions the warmer-than-average autumn so far is leading to very positive pasture growth. Rain and soil moisture levels are both down, especially through the upper North Island then in a line down to Manawatu. This week we have some good chances of rain coupled with warmer air right up until late week, when it does turn cold.


28 Farming his way back to nature Hawke’s Bay farmers Greg and Rachel Hart are committed to producing top-quality food by using nature as a guide while re-establishing a connection between people and the land that sustains them.

REGULARS Real Estate �������������������������������������������������30-34 Employment ����������������������������������������������35-36 Classifieds ��������������������������������������������������36-37 Livestock ����������������������������������������������������37-43 Markets �������������������������������������������������������44-48 GlobalHQ is a farming family owned business that donates 1% of advertising revenue to the Rural Support Trust. Thanks to our Farmers Weekly and Dairy Farmer advertisers this week: $1924. Need help now? You can talk to someone who understands the pressures of farming by phoning your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.


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FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Upton backs farmers’ gas worries Neal Wallace FARMERS should be able to use forests to offset methane and nitrous oxide emissions, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton says. And he says fossil fuel emitters should not be allowed to use forest to offset their gas. That will lead to better quality land use change. Upton was responding to farmers’ concern the Government’s Zero Carbon Bill will lead to wholesale afforestation with inevitable land use change in response to climate change. But the shape of that land use change can be better managed by farmers working together and taking a landscape approach to establishing forests rather than blanket planting by those seeking to simply offset their emissions, Upton said. “That’s the bit I think needs to be thought about a bit harder.” But he is not recommending emission targets for the Government to adopt, saying such decisions should be left to the Climate Change Commission. Farmers feel the Government’s methane target means they are doing most of the heavy lifting for the country to meet international emission obligations. Whatever targets are chosen the rationale and their expected economic and temperature impacts should be made clear and explicit, something that is lacking in the Bill. “If there are reasons why the temperature objectives and emissions reduction targets for fossil emissions and biological emissions are different, these should also be clearly stated.” Farmers and rural communities should seek clarity on the Bill’s implications. The Bill aims to reduce net

GARBAGE: Allowing forests to be used to offset fossil fuel emissions is like letting townies dump their rubbish in the countryside

emissions of carbon and nitrous oxide to zero by 2050, gross methane by 10% by 2030 and by 24% to 47% by 2050 compared to 2017 levels. Forests can be used to offset carbon and nitrous oxide emissions but not methane. Upton quotes modelling that shows methane from NZ agriculture does not cause extra warming beyond 2016 levels, emissions need to reduce by at least 10% and 22% by 2050 with further reductions by 2100. He says separating methane and nitrous oxide targets could still allow NZ to meet the Paris Agreement’s warming goal. “However, because these gases are shorter-lived in comparison to carbon dioxide I proposed that any biological emissions target could be offset with forests.”

Upton noted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicated a gross reduction in nitrous oxide of 26% is needed by 2050. Using forests to offset emissions will still result in 1.5 million to 3m hectares of new forestry but Upton says it doesn’t have to be blanket planting and, if managed correctly, can have multiple environmental benefits. Excluding forests from offsetting fossil fuel emissions recognises the difficulty of guaranteeing their permanence and avoids a delay in tangible steps to reduce total carbon emissions. Allowing farmers to offset methane and nitrous oxide emissions will result in better management of forest planting and address environmental

issues such as water, soil, erosion, biodiversity and climate as a landscape rather than the alternative of wholesale planting of trees based on property boundaries. “The best chance, it seems to me, of making a revolutionary step and to get better suited land use, contour and physical characteristics is if landowners operate together.” Upton says forestry will be a cheap source of mitigation and those seeking to offset carbon emissions do not have the same drivers as landowners. “Do we want our landscape change in NZ driven by forestry and trees in respect to soil, water, erosion, climate change and biodiversity challenges or driven by urban NZ wanting to park its waste?”

Photo: Paul Sutherland/NZ Story

Do we want our landscape change in New Zealand driven by forestry and trees in respect to soil, water, erosion, climate change and biodiversity challenges or driven by urban NZ wanting to park its waste? Simon Upton Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

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FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

NEWS BRIEFS Dogs line up THAT’S US: Farmers Weekly editor Bryan Gibson addresses more than 600 media luminaries in accepting the Voyager Media Award naming us the best specialist publication and website in New Zealand.

Commitment to farmers a winner FARMERS Weekly has been named the best trade and specialist publication and website in the land. It beat the other finalists, Air New Zealand’s Kia Ora, NZ Doctor and 1972 from the Spinoff to take the award. “Farmers Weekly addresses issues of concern to farmers beyond the farm gate. Its companion website balances engaging content that adds a human dimension with news stories that are of critical importance to the rural community,” the judges said. “That sums up what we are all about,” editor Bryan Gibson said. “Our aim is to provide business, policy and political information farmers need to know in making decisions about running their farms. “We put farmers first in everything we do. “We don’t always tell them

what they want to hear but we tell them what they need to know. “Our newspaper and website are unashamed champions of the agriculture and horticulture sectors and primary industries but that doesn’t mean we ignore the difficult issues. We believe it’s important for farmers to know what the critics are saying and what the industry is doing to address those concerns. “It’s important in these days of instant communications that farmers are aware of and responsive to issues here and abroad. “But it’s also important that farmers are recognised for what they are doing, that their issues and difficulties receive due and appropriate consideration and that their stories are told. We do that by giving farmers a platform for their views, covering their activities in

The Algerian RPR deposit consists of one deep (35m) layer, with a thin vein(1-1.5m) of dolomite running through it. This dolomite reduces its citric solubility in short lab tests, but has no adverse effects on its field performance. Like all true RPRs, it has a short crystal a-axis, which creates instability or ‘reactivity’, greatly increasing its dissolution in even slightly-acid soils. This is caused by it’s high substitution (>20%) of phosphate by carbonate in the crystal lattice. It has passed rigorous XRD crystallographic testing conducted by the IFDC, who have consequently defined it as a ‘Highly Reactive Phosphate Rock’.

news stories and telling the New Zealand farming story one farmer at a time in our weekly feature On Farm Story which has an accompanying video,” Gibson said. Owners Dean and Cushla Williamson, themselves farmers at Feilding, believe the award vindicates what they are trying to do. “We back farming as critical to New Zealand’s economy and way of life,” Dean Williamson said. “We’re hands-on in this company which exists to serve the agricultural community. “It’s important that community has access to a comprehensive view of the major issues and decisions that affect it. “We pride ourselves on our original news content, strong opinion section, our delivery of useful news to help farmers transition to a rapidly changing

It contains 12.7% P, which all becomes available to plants. It also contains about 7% free dolomite, which adds to its intrinsic liming value. No non-RPR gets mixed with it.

world and our ability to help them tell their stories. “Everything we do is aimed at and for farmers. “But our staff and contributors have editorial freedom to raise whatever issues they feel need an airing. “It’s important to note the award was judged not in a farming context but in that of the entire media. “That means we are on the right track. Convincing media judges we are doing the right thing and doing it well is something our staff can take satisfaction from.” Farmers Weekly is produced by GlobalHQ, which also publishes Dairy Farmer magazine and runs the AgriHQ data and analysis service.


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It was rated in the highest reactivity group in an international review of the use of phosphate rock as fertilisers by the FAO (2004). No Moroccan rocks were.

It passes all known longer-duration (60-120 min) citric acid solubility tests used overseas, both ground and unground. To our knowledge Fine grinding typically increases RPR citric P solubility by 2-3% P in any given test.

QUINFERT ALGERIAN RPR Protecting Kiwi Waterways

It has relatively low dust compared to some other RPRs and mixes of RPR and non-RPRs, and even the low dust level it has can be eliminated with only 3% Controlled-Moisture (CM) water.

It also has low levels of all other heavy metals such as uranium (U), mercury (Hg) and chromium (Cr). Note some Moroccan phosphate rocks contain high Cd and U.

It has a low cadmium (Cd) content of 18ppm or 140mg Cd/kg P. This is only half the limit used by some other companies in NZ. It is below BioGro’s maximum, and is registered.

THE Tux North Island and New Zealand sheep dog championships will be held near Kaikohe, Northland, from today. More than 440 dogs have already qualified in one or more of the four events and there might be some more late qualifiers, championship secretary Anna Blair said. The two heading dog events have more than 200 entries each and the two huntaway events have more than 230 dogs each to go through the first run for the North Island championships. Run-offs for the NZ championships will begin on Friday morning, weather permitting. The championships are being held on the Te Ahuahu grounds, Hariru Rd, Ohaeawai, on the volcanic hills near Kaikohe.

Sheep stolen POLICE are seeking information about the theft of 320 ewes and eight rams from a Southland farm last month. The theft, between Sunday April 21 and Sunday April 28, was from a property at Waimumu, southwest of Gore. The stock are valued at $65,000 and police say the rams have distinctive orange spray marks on their backs. Anyone who might have seen something suspicious in the area or who has information that might assist can contact Constable Wayne McClelland at Mataura Police on 03 203 8164 or information can be passed on anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Speak out NEW Zealanders with an interest in the outdoors are being invited to have their say on legislation that helps them access nature. The Ministry for Primary Industries is reviewing the Walking Access Act and wants public feedback. Environment and communities policy director Charlotte Denny says the act gives people access to many outdoor spaces including bush, rivers, coasts, mountains and areas of cultural significance. “The act aims to provide free, certain, enduring and practical access to the outdoors for all sorts of activities, not just walking, The review is looking at whether the act is fit for the future and what improvements are needed. We’re keen to hear from individuals, organisations and groups with an interest in enjoying the outdoors,” Denny said. Public meetings will be listed on the MPI website.

Quinfert Algerian RPR has not yet been shown to meet the Fertmark 30-min citric acid test and consequently is not an ‘RPR’ as defined in the Fertmark Code. This test is used nowhere else in the world. It has been concluded by the International Fertilizer Development Centre in Alabama to have better or equal agronomic performance than North Carolina RPR. The IFDC have also demonstrated that it has equal agronomic performance to Gafsa (Tunisia) RPR, but much lower Cd than Gafsa.

Phone 0800 QUINFERT (0800 784 633), Office email, Bert Quin mobile 021 427 572


FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Farmers hang on for better days

TOEY: Farmer patience with Fonterra is wearing thin and rightly so, farmer Melissa Slattery says.

They are definitely listening to their farmer shareholders. Simon Topham Farmer pretty difficult to get it right on a single figure.” But Slattery said this season’s drop is very disappointing. “The mid-point of $6.35/kg MS means millions of dollars to dairy farmers.” Farmers will be redoing budgets. As for share earnings – “It means capital tied up. Of course they are not a good return on investment.” “And dividend earnings, who knows what that will be in October? I’m not counting on anything. “We all know there’s work to do in sorting Fonterra’s investments and strategy and getting the return on our investment but how much more hardship can farmers take while they wait? “Everyone is questioning their investment now. “Patience is getting a bit thin and rightly so,” Slattery said. “In terms of this season’s pull back to $6.30-$6.40 it is a surprise,” Horowhenua herdowning sharemilker Richard McIntrye said. “Most of us have budgets done up to the end of the season and to lose 9c now in this surprise drop at this stage when the analysts talked it up 20c does impact heavily on the budget.” Next season’s forecast range at $$6.25-$7.25 is more palatable. “I would much rather Fonterra under-promised and over-delivered and that’s where it looks as though we’re headed for next season. “I would be more concerned if they came out at $7. Previously that would have happened so, really, this forecast now is cautious and prudent and I respect that.”

GDT dips slightly THE Global Dairy Trade index has dropped for the first time after a record 11 consecutive increases. The GDT price index was down 1.2% at last week’s event, driven largely by a decline in prices for whole milk powder and milk fats. WMP average prices eased to US$3180/t, with the price index down 2.1%. Though offer volumes leading into the event were unchanged on the previous event prices likely reflect buyers having adequate

short-term cover, with milk supplies coming online in the northern hemisphere, NZX dairy analyst Robert Gibson said in a note. SMP average prices lifted slightly on the previous event to US$2529/t, with the price index up 0.5%. Milk fat average prices decreased. Anhydrous milk fat average prices decreased to US$6140/t with the price index down 1.4%. Meanwhile, butter average prices decreased to US$5297/t with the price index down 3.2%.

OKAY: Sharmilker Richard McIntryre says Fonterra’s results are not the end of the world and he is happy enough with the milk price. The advance rate is lower than McIntrye expected and will create cashflow problems. “The advance rate at $3.80, based on $6.75, is a little less than expected and will affect my cashflow. “I will have to have a chat with my bank manager.” But it’s not the end of the world. “It’s good milk prices. Anything at the mid $6 mark is good but having said that we need to get that to counter the increasing costs in running our farm businesses.” Southland dairy farmer Simon Topham sees plenty to please him in Fonterra’s third quarter financial results. While disappointed this season’s forecast payout is at the lower end of the range Topham is delighted the co-operative is taking decisive action on some business issues that have plagued its performance and lingered for too long. “That is positive in my point of view. “It is the basis of the dividend and where the business is at and needs to change, so it is good to see a move in that direction.” Topham milks 500 cows at Hedgehope, southwest of Gore, and says the payout, while disappointing, is the mathematical quantum of international dairy prices and the exchange rate. He is proud to be a Fonterra shareholder and supports the changes and the improved interaction with shareholders. “They are definitely listening to their farmer shareholders,” he says. His commitment to Fonterra and co-operatives in general was strengthened by attending this year’s My Connect conference run by the co-op and by the upheaval in overseas dairy markets and the state of the industry in Australia. “NZ is in a positive position and I am grateful we have got a co-operative. We only need to look across the ditch at Australia and see farmers are struggling.”

Chinese farms might be sold FONTERRA’S seven wholly owned Chinese dairy farms have joined the assets under review, chief executive Miles Hurrell says. More than $1 billion was spent establishing the two farm hubs with more than 30,000 New Zealand-bred cows. They have made regular operating losses disclosed since 2015. Fonterra has proven, highquality, model farms to produce fresh milk for Chinese consumers. “However, this does not necessarily mean we need to have large amounts of capital tied up in farming hubs,” Hurrell said.

The joint venture with Abbott for two more Chinese farms is not under review and those farms could supply Fonterra’s fresh milk customers if needed. In the interim report in March Fonterra said China Farms made a loss because of lower production, added effluent and animal management costs and increased feed prices because of trade disputes between the United States and China. The plan now is to grow threefold this year the proportion of milk going into consumer brands and food service from 5% of output to 15%.


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DAIRY farmers are not happy with Fonterra’s performance setting this year’s milk price at the bottom end of its predicted range but are happy enough with next year’s wide range. They are concerned about having to remake their budgets and about cashflow for next season with early payments set at $3.80 based on an eventual price of $6.75/kg MS. And they are getting edgy about the co-op’s change of direction – both in the lack of detail and its failure to show up in improvements in the third quarter results just released. However, they still have faith in Fonterra as the best vehicle for their milk. Melissa Slattery runs a 300-cow dairy herd with her husband Justin in Waikato. The couple, Sharemilkers of the Year 2015, recently moved north from Canterbury to become farm owners. Slattery is also an accountant. “Yes, I do a bunch of forecasting,” she said. “And yes, this result comes as a surprise and I am disappointed. “I think the ranges are positive because it is hard to forecast 15 months out so I don’t think $6.25-$7.25 is a bad thing. It’s


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FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Westland’s options too narrow Hugh Stringleman A SIZABLE group of Westland Milk farmers wants a viable alternative to keep all or part of the processing company in co-operative ownership, supplier John O’Connor of Westport says. However, the cold, hard reality of their financial situation is likely to determine otherwise. A meeting of 40 suppliers in Greymouth on May 17 raised concerns about the proposed sale of Westland to a subsidiary of Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group. Those concerns and questions will be sent to the board and management to get more details of the deal and the 20plus alternatives that were investigated. O’Connor said farmers are also very concerned about the short time between the mid-June publication of the scheme booklet and the report of an independent adviser and the requirement to vote on July 4. The company will be asked to extend that 15 working day period to let farmers consult their rural professionals. “Farmers I have spoken to are pretty sceptical that this is a great deal in the long term although there is no denying it will be very good for them in the short term. “I think we under-sell the benefits of co-operatives and their long-lasting strengths. “Not only are we being presented with a take it or leave it choice now but because of our location choices in the future could be limited.”

Farmers I have spoken to are pretty sceptical that this is a great deal in the long term. John O’Connor Farmer

ONE OR OTHER: Westland chairman Pete Morrison says he was elected to turn the co-op around or go back to farmers with the best deal.

The value of Westland Milk, its provenance and its products and brands will grow in the future but farmers will not share in that. “We face mediocrity in a situation that will potentially last a generation.” O’Connor is dismissive of chairman Peter Morrison’s comment that another cooperative could be formed after 10 years – that would be very hard to achieve. Co-operatively minded shareholders would have wanted a capital injection and/or cornerstone shareholder option

included to retain farmer majority ownership, he said. “All we have been presented with is a sale to Yili or the status quo, which is not viable any longer. “It is another in the long list of mistakes by directors over the years, which got us into this position.” Westland directors need to explain why talks with Fonterra have not proceeded because that might have been a way of keeping farmer ownership, he said. Long term strength and viability in the dairy industry has been

built on co-operation between farmers. O’Connor hopes Fonterra will consider helping West Coast farmers once the details of the Yili scheme of arrangement are known, however he is realistic in his expectations. The Greymouth meeting heard a wide range of views, including those farmers who do not want the Yili sale to be jeopardised because they need the money and their banks want overdrafts and loans repaid. ANZ rural economist Susan Kilsby has estimated the deal will

provide an average cash injection of $572,000 a farm. The Yili offer is $3.41 a share for about 72 million shares spread among 429 supplying farms. To proceed the deal requires more than 75% approval of shareholders who vote and over 50% of all shareholders. It also requires High Court approval and consent under the Overseas Investment Act. O’Connor said the cooperative’s constitution caps the voting strength of any entity to 10 votes, equivalent to 100,000kg milksolids annual supply. Therefore, multi-farm suppliers like Morrison himself, Landcorp and Southern Pastures cannot dominate voting. Another Greymouth meeting is scheduled for June 17 after the scheme booklet, notice of meeting and reports have been distributed. Morrison says he was elected to turn the co-operative around or go to shareholders with the best option. The directors believe the proposed deal with Yili is the best available outcome for shareholders, he said.

Carbon goes on the arable menu Annette Scott CARBON will be on the agenda at the Foundation for Arable Research conference next month. The introduction of the Zero Carbon Bill to Parliament has been a major talking point in agricultural circles. Just what that means for the cropping industry and what, if anything, farmers can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from arable farms will be thrashed out at the FAR conference, FAR communications manager Anna Heslop said. The conference at Lincoln University on June 27 and 28 has the theme Research Leading Change. Climate change and zero carbon will feature on the first day, in the soil, water and nutrients session. “Our keynote address in that session will be delivered by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton.

“We expect him to touch on a range of environmental issues including nutrient management, water quality and, of course, climate change and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions,” Heslop said. The session will include talks on nitrogen leaching, emissions from arable systems, the state of arable soils and new research to maximise the value of irrigation. The conference also features sessions on crop protection and innovation and technology with an afternoon of field trips investigating issues associated with lime spreading, weed management in vegetable seed crops and biological farming. Meanwhile, Canterbury and North Otago farmers will have a chance to gain a better insight into carbon farming. On behalf of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum and the food and fibre innovation programme the Agribusiness Development Group is running free seminars at Glenavy on May 29, Ashburton

on May 30 and Darfield on May 31 to help farmers understand the science, policy and market opportunities of carbon farming. Experts on carbon and the Emissions Trading Scheme will discuss how carbon farming might not just be a green initiative to plant trees but a means of maximising production across all land classes and increasing income and profits through more commodity production and market trading while improving conservation, biodiversity, environmental and recreational values with the benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The workshops will include presentations from local farmers who will share their experiences of being involved in carbon farming.


Register for the conference and field trip at Register for the seminars at www. or email

SPEAKER: Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton will talk to arable farmers next month.



FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Wood trade talks get the wobbles Nigel Stirling A CHANGE in direction by New Zealand in negotiations to upgrade the free-trade deal with China is off to a wobbly start. The National-led Government signed up to the talks in 2016 only after getting agreement from China that safeguards slicing up to $100m a year off milk powder returns were up for negotiation. But after two years of trying for their early removal the Labour-led Government decided it was time to wave the white flag on the dairy tariffs. Ahead of her visit to Beijing in April Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated tariffs on wood products and paper would be the new priority for NZ in the talks. However, an insider said that got a cool reception from the Chinese at the most recent negotiating round in Wellington on May 6-8. Chinese negotiators told their NZ counterparts their demands tariffs on wood products be scrapped violated a commitment by both sides at the outset of the negotiations not to push for increased access for goods exports over and above what was granted in the original 2008 agreement. “Dairy safeguards got the same treatment as wood tariffs, which was ‘thank you for your comments but market access issues are not on the agenda for the upgrade’,” the source said. Another insider was only marginally more optimistic about the chances of progress. He said both sides agreed before the upgrade talks began that either one should be allowed to raise issues of importance to them. The clause was inserted at NZ’s instigation to get dairy safeguards on the table for discussion. That was about dairy and now it has become wood products. The former trade negotiator

BARRIER: The timber industry argues Chinese taxes that favour log imports over wood products are a bigger problem than tariffs.

I am well aware of the issues raised by the NZ wood processing industry and well briefed on those issues and we are trying to fix what we can. David Parker Trade Minister said NZ is likely to keep plugging away on wood tariffs for now. That’s because China does not

always stick to the script when renegotiating trade agreements. “There have been concessions granted to Chile and a number of developing countries in that space. “So there is an argument that it is not new, unique market access but matching what others have achieved.” However, there are other obstacles in the way of progress being made on wood tariffs. Not the least of them is an undertaking China gave to Canada in the late 1990s not to reduce tariffs on imported wood products for one country without extending the reductions to all countries.

That was in exchange for the North American lumber giant’s backing of China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and was the principal reason why wood products are one of the few products not to achieve a timetable for eventual tariff elimination in China’s free-trade deal with NZ. Asked how much of a stumbling block to NZ getting wood tariffs scrapped that was Trade Minister David Parker wasn’t giving much away. “I am well aware of the issues raised by the NZ wood processing industry and well briefed on those issues and we are trying to fix

what we can through the freetrade agreement that relates to tariffs.” Parker had no comment about VAT rates at the Chinese border in favour of log imports over processed wood products. The industry has long argued they push up the price of logs here and are more damaging to exports of wood products to China than tariffs, which are in the low single digits. Last September Parker asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to look into the effect foreign subsidies have on the competitiveness of the wood processing industry.


nery ldings and Machi Fieldays | Farm bui


June 2019

s and upwards Moving onward Top lady industry’s Celebrating the top farmers

The latest Dairy Farmer will hit letterboxes on June 3 Our On Farm Story this month features Northland farmer Guy Bakewell who is generating extra income through a raw milk vending machine. Fieldays/ Farm buildings and machinery A good time for shopping, gear that might need upgrading or you might have on the wish list.

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June 2019

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10 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Quake farmers back to normal Annette Scott CLARENCE Valley farmers say there are lessons to be learned following the Kaikoura earthquake that geologists claim is the biggest land uplift ever recorded in the world. November 14, 2016, is well remembered in the Clarence Valley farming community as the day a 7.8 earthquake transformed their land. The worst hit, Rick and Julia King of Middle Hill Station, lost everything except their will to keep farming. “The fault line went right through all our infrastructure – sheep, cattle and deer yards, the woolshed, the cottage and our house – all damaged beyond repair. “Geologists say it’s been the biggest land uplift ever recorded in the world,” Rick King told farmers on a field trip across the valley’s ravaged land as part of the high country farmers’ annual conference. “There wasn’t much left really but what else were we to do. Farming is what we know.

HAPPY NOW: Rick and Julia King stand before a major slip caused by the biggest land lift ever recorded in the world that destroyed beyond repair all their Middle Hill station farm infrastructure.

“Land changed – flat land turned into hills, tracks and fences were covered by slips. “We were cut off from everywhere, the helicopters were flying back and forwards but never stopped in to see if we were alive – eventually, after a few days they did come in with food and water.” It would have been easy to walk away but the couple battled on and with massive help – the

support of neighbours, the community and government – their farming has survived. Two and half years on the deer shed, sheep and cattle yards and the woolshed are rebuilt, the property is refenced and new tracks are established. Just this month Rick and Julia moved into their new house. “It really has been a hell of a couple of years but the help and

Ams atozing priezewon! b

RUEFUL: Farmers, from left, Colin Nimmo, Simon Williamson and John Murray discuss the Clarence River flood risk they say could have been avoided if the bureaucrats had listened.

support we got kept us positive,” he said. “We’ve rebuilt everything bar a few fences. Everything is new and we are quite happy now. “It really does makes you realise we are just ants on this land.” Communication and access have been a huge lesson from that day of devastation, Waipapa sheep and beef farmer Ben Milton said. “For 14 months we were the biggest cul-de-sac in New Zealand. “We never went to Kaikoura or Christchurch for a year. The kids went up the road to Ward for school. We couldn’t get south.” It was a bit of shock when he first surveyed the damage. “Things weren’t looking too good. It was fortunate we had a bulldozer working on the property at the time. There was no way we could have got one in after the quake.” Milton lost 150 sheep, a handful of cows and calves, 10km of fences and 3km of water pipe, a month out from weaning. “The plus is we have better water pipelines now.” The water table changed and land transformed and while it was a year before the land actually stopped moving he has fingers crossed things are stable now. Access and a business interruption plan become really important, Milton said. “Being able to get help in and get things done is crucial when you have livestock running free, no water and access is a real challenge. “We were 14 months without a road. The only good thing about that was stock movement. “We did have 100 people

helping us in that first month or so. Without them we couldn’t have done it.” The concern now is the next big rainfall. “The river has jumped its channel and is now taking its own course. Our flats have got no protection. “In a big flood the river can do 1500 cubic metres a second bank to bank and that could take us out. We’ve lost land before, now we are more vulnerable so that’s a real risk. John Murray of Woodbank said lessons need to be learned from the inefficiencies of the recovery. His Woodbank property and access has become increasing vulnerable to flooding. “We have got major problems if we have another disaster like this in this country. “There needs to be a review and there needs to be accountability. “If the bureaucrats had listened earlier we could have had the river back in its original channel and we wouldn’t be at risk of losing more farmland and also a county road.” A bridge was wiped out and will not be replaced. “Now there is no cross-access over the river. Each side now has roads to nowhere.” Farmers were offered the option of reinstating access but with a user-pays cost of $15m they baulked. “It’s been a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians. “Farmers have adapted to transformed land and waterways and now just want to get on and farm and hope that lessons have been learned for the future,” Murray said.





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AT RISK: Waipapa station farmer Ben Milton looks over the new course of the Clarence River posing more risk to his farm land. Photo: Annette Scott


FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


IDEAL: Tuatahi director John Hura says the streams and wetlands in the land managed by the farming partnership might provide the perfect place for koura farming.

Farm replacing beef with koura A MAORI farming partnership near Lake Taupo, which began to diversify 10 years to lower nitrogen impact, is experiencing wide-ranging benefits and opportunities. Tuatahi Farming Partnership, which farms 6000 hectares of high country land in the catchment above Lake Taupo, was one of the first and largest landowners to strike a deal with the newly established Lake Taupo Protection Trust to protect the long-term future of the lake. Tuatahi sold 28 tonnes of its nitrogen footprint to the trust for $10 million and sold carbon credits from tree planting to Mercury Energy. The contracts led to significant land change water scientists say will, in the long term, benefit the lake. The nitrogen and carbon deals have also led to new farming and business opportunities for Tuatahi. It has significantly reduced its beef and sheep operation, moving into forestry, tourism and now potentially into koura farming. Tuatahi land has 60km of streams, ponds and wetlands, waterways that are becoming cleaner by the year and that might be ideally suited to farming the native freshwater crayfish. Tuatahi director John Hura says an analysis is being done to see how the koura venture stacks up financially but there is no question the environment is right. “I guess what this is showing is that we are developing a farming and business operation that is throwing up opportunities,

It hasn’t been the doom and gloom for farming that was envisaged by some 10 years ago and, of course, we hope the real winner will be the lake itself. Clayton Stent Lake Taupo Protection Trust things that we would have never considered 10 years ago,” he says. Added to the possible koura enterprise are a tourism-focused deer hunting lodge, which is running, and nearly 1000 hectares of forestry plantings. It is a farming operation very different from what it once was. Trust chairman Clayton Stent says success for Tuatahi is also success for Lake Taupo. “It’s a great story. It shows the work of the trust to remove non point-source nitrogen from the catchment has been achieved with positive consequences. “It hasn’t been the doom and gloom for farming that was envisaged by some 10 years ago and, of course, we hope the real winner will be the lake itself. “Before we started the science was telling us that as a country and a local community we needed to act if we wanted a healthy future for the lake.

WIN-WIN: Tuatahi directors John Hura and John Mariu say the contracts to reduce nitrogen on their farming operations have been the catalyst for a more progressive farming approach while retaining their cultural ties to the land.

“The overall nitrogen reduction target for the catchment of 170 tonnes was met ahead of schedule and a very important step has been taken for the long-term protection of the water quality of Lake Taupo,” Stent said. Tuatahi director John Mariu says the contracts with both the trust and Mercury were a dynamic step in the future management of the land. “It has taken us to a new place in terms of land utilisation and commercialisation and, very importantly, it has also seen a greater merging of the cultural

intent that the shareholder owners have for the land.” Tuatahi has grown to a $60m enterprise and provided shareholders with a secure financial future by also adding considerable off-farm investment. The Tuatahi directors say that when it came to changing farming practices and land use they really had no choice. The long-term protection of Lake Taupo was paramount for them as tangata whenua. The fact they’ve been able to take advantage of other opportunities along the way has been a bonus.

Hura says land use change was the catalyst. “It has enabled us to be a lot more progressive in our approach to farming but without compromising our connection with land as Maori owners. “And thinking about the possibility of farming koura, one of the things I have found out, and is interesting to know, is that prior to 1926 local Maori had a commercial enterprise selling koura in the area so the fact that we might be doing this again is a great story all round ... a bit like back to the future,” he says.


12 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

KEEN: Consumers embracing healthier products are pushing up demand for kiwifruit, Zespri chairman Bruce Cameron says.

Zespri strikes gold in season’s returns Richard Rennie SOLID growth in international sales volumes, a faster rise in accompanying fruit revenue and strong fruit licensing income have all helped push Zespri’s gross revenue exceed $3 billion, a first for the kiwifruit marketer. The results have SunGold growers, particularly, in the box seat for increased returns, up 28% on last year.

As the industry’s sole exporter of kiwifruit Zespri had a 21% increase in sales volumes last season, moving a record 167.2 million trays over 2018-19 season while the revenue generated rose by 26% to $3.14 billion. The announced increase has also been matched by a 24% lift in the total premiums and payments made to growers. They amounted to $1.82b, which has pushed average orchard gate returns up by 6% to $63,622 a hectare for Green growers and a massive 28% for SunGold growers putting their average orchard gate returns at almost $146,000 a canopy hectare. Zespri chairman Bruce Cameron said higher than expected volumes of Green fruit pushed returns per tray down slightly but that was offset by higher-than-expected volumes that pushed out that fruit’s sales window. Meantime, SunGold continues to enjoy strong uptake, particularly in developing Asian markets. “Consumers around the world are increasingly embracing healthier products and want more of our kiwifruit because they know it is a convenient way to get their daily nutrition and because it tastes great,” Cameron said. Overall net profit for Zespri was almost $180m, up from $101m in 2017-18. Zespri noted the strong impact on revenue figures its fruit licensing for SunGold is having and now represents 6% of the company’s income. Gross revenue of $192.8m was generated from SunGold fruit licences last year, taking the average per hectare value to buy a licence to $256,000 a hectare. This year’s tranche of 750ha is estimated to average $290,000 a hectare, with another two seasons to follow this season in the five-year release plan. Zespri’s shares have been undergoing a re-allocation in recent months as grower shareholdings align closer with production. The buy-back scheme to remove retired growers achieved a reduction of 30% in ex growers by late last year. There were 250 applications for the buy-back from non growers and 427 applications for the purchase of $95m of shares by existing growers, increasing the percentage of shares held by growers to 85%. On the back of the profit announcement Zespri is expected to pay a dividend of 92c a share, up from 50c last season.

Financial pressure builds INTERNATIONAL financial pressures that could eventually affect the value of global currencies are building. ASB institutional currency dealer Tim Kelleher says while currencies are settled, economic pressure is starting to bear on the New Zealand dollar-sterling cross while the United States Federal Reserve and Reserve Bank of Australia are being encouraged to cut rates. The Dow Jones futures market is also negative but Kelleher says change in the NZUS exchange rate has been measured as high US interest rates attract investors. “It’s just not bouncing but working itself lower.” Should the Fed cut interest rates, that might have a bigger impact. Fonterra’s quarterly result and Freightways’ business slowdown were not welcomed by financial markets. The NZ-Australian exchange rate has been stagnant for some time about 94.5c though the Australian central bank is talking of a cut next month.

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EU poses threat to NZ cheese WITH the fourth round of negotiations for a European Union-New Zealand free trade agreement under way in Wellington cheese makers are warning European proposals to protect names of many common foodstuffs might stifle local investment and innovation in cheese making and limit choices for Kiwi consumers. The NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Association and the Dairy Companies Association are concerned the extensive framework surrounding geographical indications proposed by the EU could limit future use of common cheese names by New Zealand cheese makers. “We would be concerned if the trade agreement started to remove choice for NZ consumers. Our cheese makers have spent years developing their products and brand identities,” cheese

association spokesman Mike Hannah said. Dairy Companies’ executive director Kimberly Crewther said the Europeans’ GI agenda has intensified in recent years and now extends to a broad range of cheese names that are globally generic, rather than geographically unique in nature. “In pursuit of commercial advantage for European producers the EU is ignoring common food heritage to extend protection to cheese names that have been produced and traded between many geographies for decades.” There is a lot at stake for the NZ dairy industry with exports of $2 billion worth of cheese exports a year. NZ also has a diverse and growing community of specialist cheese makers, some of whom have used common cheese names on the local market for decades.

HELP: Kiwi cheese makers need protection from European demands, Dairy Companies Association executive director Kimberly Crewther says.

“The potential costs of losing the opportunity to use common cheese names are wide-ranging in terms of loss of investment,

intellectual property, rebranding and relabelling. But it is more difficult to see how NZ consumers or even EU producers will be

better off under this scenario,” Hannah says. “Locally made cheeses like havarti, halloumi and gouda are no longer strongly associated with European locations. “There are long family and company heritages behind many local NZ specialty cheeses. This history has been the foundation of the dynamic and innovative cheese making we are seeing today.” They urged the negotiators to work towards agreements that will comprehensively remove barriers and distortions from global dairy trade rather than creating new ones for NZ producers. “The EU and NZ are both major dairy exporters so there is an opportunity in the EU-NZ free-trade agreement to agree something quite significant for global dairy trade and policy,” Crewther says.

Families on top for cheese making awards TWO long time cheese-making families have topped the national cheese awards, both with their Dutch style gouda cheeses. Waikato based Meyer Cheese claimed the Countdown champion of champions cheese in the commercial section of the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards with their goat milk gouda and Northland’s Rosevear family won the boutique champion award with their cumin gouda from the Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese brand. The 16th year of the national cheese awards had 223 gold, silver and bronze medal recipients, determined in an exhaustive tasting session held

ON TOP: Waikato cheese makers the Meyer family have claimed the top commercial cheese award in New Zealand.

earlier this year led by Australian master cheese judge Russell Smith. The Meyer family has been making cheese since 1976. The

work has been continued by Miel, son of founders Fieke and Ben Meyer. Eldest son Geert also picked up the champion cheese

maker trophy for the second consecutive year, having arrived in NZ from Holland in 2011. Smith said their goat milk gouda delivers sweet, nutty

flavour. It was also champion goat cheese at the same awards. The Mahoe offering followed a traditional Dutch recipe and Smith said it is an exceptional cheese. The Northland family has been making cheeses in Bay of Islands for 33 years with milk supplied by their 60 Friesian cows run next to the factory. The cheeses, yoghurts and butters entered in the competition were assessed by 21 judges and this year included the introduction of fresh Italian style cheeses, introducing types previously little known in NZ including burrata, a cheese similar to mozzarella. The award for the best cheese retail experience went to Wairarapa cheese outlet C’est Cheese from Featherston.

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16 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Zero carbon to cost economy $12b Neal Wallace THE Zero Carbon Bill will cut annual growth by 0.33% or more than $12 billion a year for the next 30 years, according to economic modelling. An Institute of Economic Research report and another by a group of economists on the economic impact of reducing emissions by 2050 notes the value of dairy, sheep and beef will fall sharply and the area of forestry will grow significantly. The institute says dairy and meat processors will be able to soften the impact because of their scale and by introducing energyefficient technology. Its report, the Economic Impact of Meeting 2050 Emission Targets, assesses various scenarios including the Government’s chosen target of net-zero carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and reducing methane by 10% by 2030 and 24-47% by 2050 without allowing offsetting. The report does not provide detail on the impact at sector, farm or business level but says the split gas regime imposes a hard output constraint on two key sources of GDP and export earnings, dairy cattle and sheep and beef. “The economy, therefore, has less flexibility to adjust than in the net zero all gases scenario.” Introducing emission targets will have significant impacts on land use change with the area of forestry increasing nearly 30% under the split gas with a methane cap scenario and the area of sheep, beef and dairy to shrink 20% with horticulture losing 15%. The value of forestry and wood processing will increase from $3.7 billion in 2020 to $4b in 2050 A goal of all gases reaching net zero would have had the harshest economic impact, reducing growth or GDP by 0.35% a year at a

COSTLY: Economists estimate cutting emissions will reduce farm exports income by $10 billion to $18b a year while increasing forestry returns by only $300 million a year.

The economy, therefore, has less flexibility to adjust than in the net zero all gases scenario. Institute of Economic Research cost of $18.4b. Had the Government opted for a less ambitious methane reduction target of 75% of 2016 levels by 2050 but net zero for other gases, the economic impact would have lessened, with annual GDP 0.31% or $9.9b lower. The analysis assumes a methane vaccine is available from 2030,

methane cannot be offset by planting trees and the global carbon price will reach $978 a tonne by 2050. It says being able to offset emissions is cheaper for emitters than abatement, as is buying international units. Average annual household purchasing power between 2020 and 2050 is forecast at $230,000 but over that period will fall by up to $11,400 a year as the volume of goods and services that can be bought diminishes. A July 2018 report Modelling the Transition to a Lower Net Emissions NZ, by Vivid Economics, Concept and Motu Economic and Public Policy Research warned clear shifts in land use are required to achieve NZ’s targets.

“Central to this is a moderate reduction in land use for pastoral agriculture which enables relatively significant expansion of NZ’s forestry industry.” That analysis gives even less detailed financial forecasts or a comparison of policy options but its general trend, that pastoral agriculture will shrink and the area of forestry almost double, is consistent with the institute’s view. It predicts between 1.5m ha and 2.2m ha of forestry could be planted to offset carbon emissions, taking the total area of exotic forest to 3.5m to 3.8m ha by 2050. That is in addition to the Government’s billion trees, which will result in up to 430,000ha planted. Land farmed for sheep and beef

will be the hardest hit, shrinking from 8.5m ha now to between 6.4m and 6.9m ha by 2050. The area of dairying will stay the same but the analysis assumes new dairy conversions will be banned after 2025 because of water quality restrictions. The analysis assumes a methane vaccine will be available by 2030, reducing emissions by 30% in cows and 20% in sheep. However, changes to the area of horticulture are difficult to model because of its variation, covering orchards, viticulture and cropping and in estimating price responses for the sector. It also assumes exotic forestry will follow a 28-year rotation with peak carbon sequestering at age 21, absorbing 31.83 tonnes of carbon a ha.

Parker prompt makes farmers nervous Neal Wallace OTAGO irrigators are nervous an independent commissioner has been appointed to investigate whether the Otago Regional Council is on track to reallocate water rights based on centuryold mining permits before they expire in 2021. Environment Minister David Parker has appointed Peter Skelton to investigate, saying while the delays are not all the council’s making, switching management of the 300 mining privileges to modern regulations remains unresolved after 30 years. Manuherikia farmer Andrew Paterson, an Omakau Irrigation Company member, said the council and farmers are making progress and working through what is a complex issue.

“Parker is putting his nose in and potentially stirring the process up, which could make it difficult for the Otago Regional Council to handle. “I don’t think it is going to be helpful.” The issue relates specifically to the Manuherikia, Cardrona and Arrow Rivers in Central Otago. Parker said Skelton will investigate whether the council has or will have an appropriate planning framework in place to give effect to the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management before the old permits expire in October 2021. The problem has been modernising permits negotiated in the late 1800s and, in the case of the Manuherikia River, extremely challenging catchment hydrology. They delay has also been caused by the need to match

water allocation for those with rights with minimum river flows. Parker raised concerns late last year that the council’s intention to notify a plan change setting minimum flow rates for the three catchments was suddenly stopped and a new timeframe for minimum flows and allocation set for December 2025. Earlier this year Parker met the council and told it he expected a framework be established to set minimum flows ahead of the expiry date but now says that won’t happen. Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said the council will co-operate with the investigation and show what it is doing to meet its obligations under the Resource Management Act and that it has a plan. Parker wants to ensure the plan is on track, Woodhead said.

HARD WORD: Environment Minister David Parker has told Otago Regional Council it must have a plan to replace mining water rights before they expire.

News – May 27, 2019


Agrigate includes new target areas



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Hugh Stringleman PROTOCOLS and pathways for sharing individual farm data with authorised people who need to know has been a priority for internet platform Agrigate in the two years since its launch. Feedback from its 2000-plus farmer clients quickly showed they want duplication and compliance problems tackled, chief executive Emma Parsons said. “We had always intended to deal with that at some stage but it became clear that was the most pressing priority, even more so than the performance insights and benchmarking available to users.” So Agrigate has progressed from just data inputs and decision tools to data exchange. Agrigate has enabled for the first time in the dairy industry a digital representation of dairy farms on one platform, including their inputs, outputs, weather, pasture and employment records, management decisions, financials and genetics. Founding partners Fonterra and LIC, both co-operatives with overlapping farmershareholder bases, are building the platform for the good of the industry. While similar platforms are being built in dairying elsewhere in the world they aren’t owned and developed cooperatively so rely on fees and subscriptions. Other commercially owned agricultural databases want to sell the data mining opportunities, she said. Individual farmers can have several different profiles and management regimes, such as multiple herds, calving seasons, farm dairies, milking times, vats, animal health programmes and reproduction plans. All that complexity has to be accurately captured and made meaningful for benchmarking and data sharing, with permission of the farmer-owner. “We have enabled farmers to bring groups of their data together and share it with their rural professionals instead of having to be collated and put in each time. “Everybody is welcome on Agrigate and we want to have as many partners as we can, sharing data around the industry. “The role for Agrigate is powering up the agritech sector to avoid unnecessary competition and wasted investment. “Once everyone’s systems can talk to each other there are a lot of benefits to be had in regulatory compliance,

COME IN: Everyone is welcome on Agrigate, its chief executive Emma Parsons says.

for example, or validating product claims in the marketplace. “Connecting the data sets is fundamental to unlocking those benefits.” Parsons said the primary sector already has written and implemented farm data standards, the farm data code of practice and the data linker for connectivity. But that relationships work did not establish a data lake like Agrigate and its partners.

Connecting data sets is fundamental to unlocking benefits. Emma Parsons Agrigate “Not only do we now have the lake being filled but we are building great data science and applications to mine that data for insights.” Agrigate has multiple levels of farm data and operates in real time, as distinct from Dairybase’s historical financial data. Parsons likened the concept to the London tube map, where information flows in all directions. “We will greatly reduce the expense of partners sending data to one another.”

Agrigate is free to Fonterra and LIC farmers and available at $15 a month for multi-farm users. Farmer users can build up their own benchmarking reference group of like farms in a district, at the same management level, once-a-day milking, etc. Entities in the primary sector are all going through digital transformation and into cloudbased applications at the same time and there are hiccups along the way but nothing that Agrigate has experienced on its own. “We have a really engaged group of users so if someone’s cow numbers are wrong we hear about it pretty quickly.” Agrigate has 13 full-time staff equivalents and is building its platform and services quickly though Fonterra and LIC are asking if more progress can be made, Parsons said. What about the remaining 80% of dairy farmers who are not yet using Agrigate? “Farmers will adopt good technology that solves their problems. “When we have a digital ecosystem that avoids duplication and removes barriers to use farmers will join.” The next development will be the ability to auto-populate the Dairy Diary from MINDA data from the new season. Agrigate will also be launching PaySauce and Farmax as partners.

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18 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

BAD: Worms create hidden losses on farms, PGG Wrightson expert Andrew Dowling says.

Pasture is the key to worm control Gerhard Uys THE biggest threat from intestinal worms is the hidden drop in income from sub-clinical losses and consequent slower growth, PGG Wrightson animal health technical expert Andrew Dowling told a Wormwise seminar. “Worms make sheep and cattle feel sick and as a result suppress appetite. “A large worm burden can cause gut upset and protein loss resulting in poor growth,” Dowling said. To reduce worms’ impact farmers need to understand how pasture management can lead to lower worm burdens and understand what effective drenching means. “About 5% of a worm population lives inside animals. The remaining 95%, comprising eggs and larvae, is in pastures. One wants to reduce the number of larvae in pastures that animals can consume and manage drenching so you don’t create drench resistance,” Dowling says. Pasture management is key to managing worm loads. Mixed stock classes grazing and multi-species grazing are critical tools for farmers to combat large worm loads in their pastures. Research shows the immune system can make life more hostile for worms and is a heritable trait. Studies show that if Telodorsagia are fed to a 30kg lamb about 30% of those worms can reach adulthood. However, if the same is fed to a ewe then, depending on genetics, only about 2-3% of the worms will reach adulthood. Worms are host-specific so cattle eating sheep worm larvae do not seem to be affected and vice versa. That is valuable when using different species grazing paddocks to help manage the worm challenge and is also a significant consideration in systems with

monocultures of young stock. A farm system with only young cattle will gradually become more wormy, Dowling says. Ewes can follow lambs on pastures because lambs will eat the newest growth of grass and ewes will clear pasture of worms on lower parts of the grass and create relatively worm-free pastures for lambs that might follow on new growth.

To determine if drenching was effective in a herd do a faecal egg count seven to 14 days after drenching. Andrew Dowling PGG Wrightson If, in such a grazing system, ewes have a high faecal egg count then the cause needs to be investigated because they could be under some form of stress or potentially have a condition affecting their immune system and their ability to fight off worms. The FEC is a good indicator of the adult worm burden in sheep. With cattle, calves should follow cows on a specific piece of pasture because cows will create relatively worm-free pastures for calves. FEC is not as reliable in cattle but live weight gain or lack of it is the best indicator of parasitism, Dowling says. It is a misconception that a drench directly kills worms. “A drench needs to reach the liver, which metabolises it to form the chemicals which kill the worms,” he says. “To determine if drenching was effective in a herd do a faecal egg count seven to 14 days after drenching.

“If there are eggs present then they are likely to be from worms not killed by the drench.” The use of combination drenches is advocated to slow the development of drench resistance because using a single drench means worms can develop resistance faster by facing only one threat. However, a combination drench means worms find it tougher to figure out how to develop resistance to multiple enzymes. Three other aspects that need to be kept in mind for successful drenching are preventative drenching, quarantining new stock and creating a refugia. Preventative drenching is a programme of four or five drenches given to lambs or calves at four-weekly intervals. The programme often starts at weaning. After the initial four or five drenches the intervals should be stretched out to prevent overdrenching. Quarantining new stock is necessary because it prevents the introduction of another farm’s resistant worms. A quarantine drench followed by seclusion of stock from established mobs is necessary. About 10 days after drenching a FEC can be done to determine if drenching was effective and whether the new stock can be moved in with established mobs. A refugia is a part of a worm population that remains unexposed to drench and completes the life cycle. They are critical because they can breed with drench resistant worms to ensure complete resistance to drench does not develop. On a farm, creating refugia simply means leaving some animals undrenched. The refugia plan for each farm is different and needs careful thought to both be successful and not create clinical parasitism.

HIDDEN: About 5% of a worm population lives inside animals. The remaining 95%, comprising eggs and larvae, is in pastures.

LIMITED: Faecal egg counts give information only on adult worm populations.


FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Bank reserves decision in November THE Reserve Bank will announce its final decision on new bank capital rules by the end of November. The central bank says it has received 164 submissions on its bank capital proposals and reiterated its commitment to release them publicly in June, along with its summary. While many in the market have taken a cynical attitude towards the consultation, believing bank governor Adrian Orr has already made up his mind, the central bank indicates its views might have shifted on how long the phase-in period will be. It says implementation of any new rules will start from April 2020 with a transition of a number of years before banks will be expected to fully comply. Previously, the Reserve Bank proposed a five-year phase-in period. “The proposals are consistent with steps taken by other banking regulators after the global financial crisis,” deputy governor Geoff Bascand said. That is contradicted by the Bankers’ Association’s submission, which includes an update from PricewaterhouseCoopers showing the proposals would effectively lift the big four banks’ common

DECIDED: Many in the market believe Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr has already made up his mind on how much capital trading banks should hold in reserve.

equity to 27.1% of risk-weighted capital. While the Reserve Bank’s proposal is to near double the minimum common equity banks should hold from 8.5% to 16%, it takes a more conservative approach towards measuring capital, according to PwC. “It is important that the public understands how higher levels of capital better protect

their deposits,” Bascand says. “It is pleasing to see stakeholders’ interest in the proposals reflected in the 164 responses received as well as in the feedback received through our briefings with banks, industry bodies, investors, the news media and social sector groups.” So the Reserve Bank will continue its stakeholder outreach programme, which includes focus

groups on how New Zealanders feel about risks in the financial system, how the risks might affect them and how the risks should be managed.” An important part of the consultation involves seeking relevant information from industry and broader stakeholders to better understand costs and benefits, Bascand said. In April the Reserve Bank said it

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hadn’t done a cost-benefit analysis and many observers have said that should have been the first thing it did. “The proposals were designed around a net benefits framework where more capital was required up to the point that financial stability gains were matched by increases in costs,” Bascand says. “Our policy development process is to develop policy options, lay out our thinking on the nature of the costs and benefits of the policy being consulted on, seek input from affected parties and produce a full cost-benefit around any modified proposals before making final policy decisions.” Estimates of the costs of the policy vary. The Reserve Bank has said it might raise the cost of borrowing by 20-40 basis points but UBS has estimated the cost at 80-125 basis points. Others have arrived at estimates in between. The Bankers’ Association estimates the cost at $1.8 billion a year. The Reserve Bank says it is in the process of appointing external experts to independently review the analysis and advice underpinning its proposals. – BusinessDesk


20 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

IMPORTANT: Patoa Farms managing director Holly Sterne says monitoring pig health and condition is one of the most crucial jobs.

Pig farming is about efficiency Neal Wallace


RIVING up the gravel access road there are plenty of signs of the sheer scale of Patoa Farms, the country’s largest free-farm piggery. Initially, the small huts providing shelter in the paddocks and their sizable tenants come into view then pigs lounging in the shade of woodlots appear. The size of the farm near Hawarden in North Canterbury is further confirmed along a large, tree-lined clearing in which sits a series of pig-handling and feed facilities including 30 eco-barns where piglets are grown out and finished. A fleet of tele-handlers, sideby-side vehicles, tractors, feed wagons and numerous other implements and equipment are neatly parked in a shed next to a house converted into a smoko room and offices for staff. Managing director Holly Sterne says Patoa Farms is a free-farm because sows are kept outdoors and pigs are finished in openended barns with deep-litter straw floors. The farm supplies more than 100,000 prime animals a year, 18% of the country’s domestic pig meat production.

The piggery covers about 450ha of a 900ha farm with 450ha leased out for cropping. There are 5500 breeding sows and 50 staff and each year they use 12,000 to 15,000 big square bales of straw for bedding. Every week about 15 truck and trailer units each delivers 38 tonnes of feed with wheat primarily sourced from Canterbury. The feed mix is made at the Mauri ANZ feed mill in Rangiora. Sterne says the pig breeds are Large White and Landrace for fertility crossed with Duroc for hardiness and improved eating quality. The sows have 2.3 litters a year and will each wean on average 24 piglets a year. The target is 26 piglets weaned a sow. The gestation of a sow is 115 days – three months, three weeks and three days. Piglets are weaned at four weeks. Patoa Farms was established in 1998 by Steve Sterne and Jens Ravn, on the stony, free-draining soil. Sterne says her father had a strategic planning and marketing role with New Zealand Steel in Christchurch when he decided to change careers instead of moving to Auckland as his employer sought. “He saw an opportunity of

putting his skills into practice pig farming,” Sterne says. It was a bold move to invest in a free-farmed pig finishing system at a time before pig meat produced that way was acknowledged by consumers. Importantly, it is a sign of her father’s forward thinking. “He went into that farming system a long time before he was financially rewarded,” she says. Six years ago Sterne gave up her banking career in Auckland to return home to the farm and though not planned, out

of necessity stepped in to an administrative role and 18 months later moved into management. While the size and complexity of the business sounds daunting, Sterne says it is a simple concept of efficiently managing a process to use feed to produce pig meat. Equally significantly, it is also about uniting a workforce in that common goal. That means having multiple balls in the air at any one time: pig health, pig and environmental management, feed quality, production targets, quality

ANOTHER DELIVERY: One of the 15 weekly consignments of feed arrives at Patoa Farms.

control, waste management, supplier contracts and staff to name a few. There are several crunch points in the system but Sterne says one of the most crucial is monitoring pig health and condition, requiring staff to check twice a day that water and feed are operating as they should in the eco barns. Ensuring all this efficiently occurs for 52 weeks of the year is the challenge but the successful implementation of the Sternes’ business formula has been acknowledged by Patoa Farms winning the North Canterbury business award in 2016 and the Lincoln University Farmer of the Year title in 2015. Patoa sells pigs to Christchurch small goods manufacturer Hellers for its Kiwi bacon range and to a supermarket chain and local butcher. NZ processors prefer pigs about 80kg with supermarkets preferring smaller carcases than that but that size animal suits what abattoirs can handle. In contrast, United States piggeries produce 120kg animals. At weaning any light piglets are put on a nurse sow, an older lactating sow, for another week, a technique that successfully boosts lighter animals. The weaned pigs go to the grower unit where they have ad


lib access to water and food while straw is renewed each day. There are more than 30,000 pigs in the finishing area at any one time. The older finishing sheds are being replaced with new, halfround eco-barns that provide a more controlled environment in which to raise piglets. Patoa bought its own roofing machine from the US for what will be a year-long project.

Feed, labour and straw are our main costs. Holly Sterne Patoa Farms Fully covered, they are light and airy and can be easily cleaned and provide few places for rodents to nest. Controlling the environment is important for outdoor farms where straw and forestry harbour a variety of rodents so reducing nesting sites is one of the most successful management techniques. Feed supply is contracted to suppliers at exacting specifications determined by a vet. Feed is half of the farm’s operating costs. The diet for young pigs contains 30% milk powder. “Feed, labour and straw are our main costs.” Scales next to the feed bins give an indication of weight gain so Patoa can supply markets with animals at tight specifications. The scales can be programmed to a specific weight range to identify pigs ready to be sent to market. Pig farming is cyclical, with a week’s activities repeating itself 52 times a year. It involves trucking prime stock, feeding pigs, giving health checks to recently weaned sows, artificial insemination, weaning, putting farrowing pigs in the right paddocks, receiving feed and dealing with compost and waste. The compost generated from the pigs is a valuable resource sold to other farmers with the balance used in the rotational cropping system.

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019 When suppliers deliver straw for bedding they take away the used straw, which they use as compost. The threat of introduced diseases is of major concern and while NZ has remained free of the worst of them, lowering control at the border has heightened the risk for producers. Patoa’s workforce is a mini United Nations with staff originating from nine countries but with a core of North Canterbury locals. About 30% of staff come from overseas and have work visas but others are on rural exchange programmes, employee referrals and even the local store referring people looking for work. “While the pork industry in NZ is small, pigs overseas in countries such as Denmark and the Philippines have huge industries and staff from these backgrounds often have more experience than those from NZ. “What they aren’t used to is the climate, outdoor farming systems, driving different types of machinery and the geographical layout of 450ha of pigs,” she says. When assessing staff she favours those who have stock handling ability, have values that align with the business and what she calls the right attitude. Given the reliance on foreign labour Sterne recently bough the Hawarden Hotel from a local community trust when it was about to close. It has reopened as the Hogget Bar and Restaurant to provide a social environment for families but also includes accommodation for farm staff from outside the area. The fifth generation Hellers Christchurch small goods firm uses only Patoa Farms meat for its Kiwi bacon range. Hellers marketing assistant Brigitte Robertson says that guarantees its bacon is freefarmed and meets animal welfare and sustainability standards. Patoa has supplied Hellers since 2014 and in response to consumer feedback Hellers has moved to nitrate-free, natural bacon with the development of a natural cure made from citrus and yeast extracts. Robertson says the decision to put an image from Patoa Farms on the Kiwi bacon packet has


FEEDING TIME: Pigs in a woodlot waiting to be fed.

resonated well with customers. “We’ve had no customer issues. They thought it was great.” Brand manager Brydon Heller says people want to know the provenance of their pork and bacon. The largest user of NZ pig meat for bacon, ham and small goods, Heller says there is not enough NZ pig meat produced to meet demand let alone that for freerange or free-farmed. Hellers, established in 1986 by Todd Heller, opened its first butcher shop in the Christchurch suburb of New Brighton and now has plants at Kaiapoi near Christchurch and Auckland employing 650 staff and generating close to $300m in revenue. Almost half of all sausages eaten in NZ are from Hellers. The company produces more than 300 products a week and releases up to 50 new lines each year. Following an investment by Rangatira Investments in 2003, it invested in the first modified air packaging plant in NZ to supply long-life, sliced and shaved meat packs.

Exports to Australia have grown The following year Hellers bought the Kiwi brand and in 2015 rapidly since Hellers shipped its first pallet of chunky cheese added Santa Rosa chicken. sausages to Costco three years In 2016 it began exporting ago and recently it acquired the precooked sausages to Costco Australian poultry company Moira supermarkets in Australia and in Mac. 2017 it bought the ChristchurchIt also exports to a number of based Flavour House, adding Pacific Islands. sauces and innovative production to its offering. Recently Rangatira sold its stake to private Australian equity company Adamantem Capital, providing Hellers with capital and a partner Thursday 13/06/2019 NZ Grain & Seed Trade Assn (NZGSTA) to accelerate its Grains & Pulses Forum growth strategy Time: 9.30am and finishing approx. 2.00pm and forge new Venue: Fitzgerald Room, Plant & Food Research Centre, markets in both Lincoln. NZ and in Registrations: Online at forum/ Todd Heller AWDT Understanding Your Farming Business & Wahine remains a Maia, Wahine Whenua significant 3 full-day workshops and an evening graduation ceremony shareholder and run over four months. Equips and supports women involved director and the in sheep and beef farming to lift business performance. Heller family Registrations for 2019 programmes are now open, visit the continues its website for more information and to register. involvement with Locations and dates (3 modules & graduation): Christchurch (WMWW): 5 Jun, 3 Jul, 31 Jul & 28 Aug the business.


Takaka: 21 Aug, 18 Sep, 16 Oct & 13 Nov Pukehou: 4 Sep, 2 Oct, 30 Oct & 27 Nov Masterton: 5 Sep, 3 Oct, 31 Oct & 28 Nov Clinton: 11 Sep, 9 Oct, 6 Nov & 4 Dec Lawrence: 12 Sep, 10 Oct, 7 Nov & 5 Dec

Website: To register visit Contact: or 06 375 8180 for more information.

Action Network Fundamentals and Extension Design 2019 workshop dates: Gore 10-11 July Havelock North 24-25 July Christchurch 20-21 August For more information or to register go to or email

Should your important event be listed here? LIKE A ... A sow fossicking at Patoa Farms.

Phone 0800 85 25 80 or email


Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) – facilitation training workshops For rural professionals looking to facilitate an RMPP Action Network Action Group. Lead Facilitator 2019 workshop dates: Gore 11-12 June Havelock North 24-25 June Christchurch 9-10 July Rotorua 3-4 July Alexandra 13-14 August Palmerston North 4-5 September


22 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Farming to fit the landscape The vision of a sustainable farming system ensuring long-term protection of the environment and sustainable production has earned Central Hawke’s Bay farmers Evan and Linda Potter top honours in the biennial Deer Industry awards. They talked to Annette Scott.


WENTY years of working on enhancing the environmental performance of their property has earned recognition for Evan and Linda Potter who have won deer industry’s premier environmental award. The couple never set out to win awards. They just want to leave Waipapa Station in Central Hawke’s Bay a better place for the next generation. “It’s been quite humbling and very much a surprise. We never set out to win anything,” Evan said. “But we had a bit of pressure put on us to enter and this is the result. “Really, we are doing no more than any other farmer wants to do. “We are farming to our philosophy of leaving the property a better place for the next generation and obviously we want to make a profit and land is our biggest asset, not necessarily in value but as a resource.” Before buying Waipapa the Potters worked on and managed farms for other people. They had a goal to own their property. “Waipapa is an old lease block. There was a lull in forestry at the time and given it required a lot of work it was the perfect storm for us for achievable entry there. “It was the worst house on the street scenario – the agent listed it as a doer-upper. “It had a beautiful home and woolshed but the rest of the place was a real project ready to get your teeth into.” With a blank canvas, a gorge system that ran through it and good working relationships with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the QE11 Trust, the Potters set about transforming the 640 hectare station. That meant retiring some land and matching the rest to its most suitable use. “It was the focus right from the start for us to match land use to land class. “Some is better in bush, some in livestock, some forestry, some wetlands. It was about evolving that in tune with our philosophy.” Waipapa now has 130ha under QE11 covenant after retiring a fifth of the original 740ha over a sevenyear project. “We continue observing what happens and we’re constantly retiring land in terms of finding areas better suited for other things including environmental habitat, forestry in both radiata pine

SHARING: Involvement in local deer industry initiatives such as the Advance Party provides premier deer industry award winners Evan and Linda Potter an avenue to share their achievements with other deer farmers.

and native bush and livestock production.” The livestock operation on Waipapa is split evenly as one third deer, a third sheep and a third beef across 600 effective hectares. The 750-deer herd is predominately velvet and runs on a 145ha block on one side of the gorge. It is separate to the sheep and beef on the other side of the gorge. “We do cross-graze the deer block, the sheep and beef are always floating in and out of the deer unit but we never have the deer on the sheep and beef blocks.” Waipapa runs a Romney ewe flock, buying in ewe replacements. On the beef side Friesian bull calves are reared, some sold as yearlings, some as two-year-olds to processing with some finished as three-year steers. “This came about through matching the environment and feed supply to the production system. “When we came here 20 years ago it was a traditional sheep and beef property running 2500 ewes, 150 cows and 30 deer as a hobby herd. “It wasn’t giving the focus it should have had on matching land use to land class.” Three years on the Potters had grown the deer herd to 150.

“A good friend said to me you have to be in or out. The industry was in a bit of boom. It was good timing so we went in. “You either love or hate deer, there’s nowhere in between. Obviously we love deer.” Because of the climatic conditions the cattle are all trading and with buying in the ewe replacements the lambs can be ditched early if need be. “That’s our safety valve and it needs to be here.”

It was the worst house on the street scenario, the agent listed it as a doer-upper. Evan Potter Farmer The Potters hope to create more wetlands in future. “There’s biodiversity areas that naturally lend to the choices we are making in matching land use to land class. “I can easily see what still needs to be done. “Living in it all the time I struggled to see what we had done but this (award) makes you step back and take a look. It’s been a

light bulb moment for us and we are truly humbled by it.” The Potters were praised by the judges for the work they have done to enhance the environmental performance of the property, a bush-clad gully on the farm that was put into a QEII covenant being one of the most visible and attractive aspects. Their carefully planned nutrient management and waterway protection and extensive use of willows and poplars to help prevent soil erosion were highlighted in their awards haul. The judges said building a thorough knowledge of soils on the property helped develop an excellent fit of stock class to land. The Potters also won the NZ Landcare Trust Award for excellence in sustainable deer farming through action on the ground. Central Otago deer farmers John and Mary Falconer received two environment awards – the Duncan NZ Award for vision and innovation while mastering a demanding environment and the Gallagher technology and innovation award for excellent use of farming technologies to improve productivity and manage resources. The Falconers have a wide range of deer-based business streams including venison and velvet

production, trophy hunting and genetics. In particular, the judges commended their efforts to manage water quality and quantity in Central Otago’s lowrainfall environment. Adam and Sharon Waite, who manage the intensive finishing farm Northbank Station in Canterbury, also won two awards – the Firstlight Foods Award for total commitment to farming sustainably with a strong customer focus and the NZ Deer Farmers’ Association next generation award for outstanding performance across environmental, financial and social aspects of the business. The Waites have been managing an extensive redevelopment on the property, featuring more water-efficient irrigation systems, improved pasture covers and new native shelter belts and other plantings to provide shade. Young South Canterbury couple Kiri Rupert and Josh Brook were highly commended by the judges for excellence in business planning, farm environment planning and farm succession. The Kinzett family, who farm for velvet production near Murchison, received a commendation for their work on fencing and shelter belts, providing shade and shelter and screening stock to prevent deer fence pacing.

New thinking

THE NZ FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


CLOUDY: Landcare Research team leader Chris Phillips sifts through sediment.

Putting light on the dark horse In the quartet of environmental nasties comprising nitrogen, phosphorus, E coli and sediment, the latter is very much the dark horse that can prove tough to understand in terms of its environmental impact and even tougher to contain. Richard Rennie spoke to Landcare Research scientist Dr Chris Phillips about an initiative to get smarter about managing erosion and the downstream sediment it inevitably generates.


S THE pastoral sector grapples with issues around managing nitrogen losses to waterways, a group of scientists is looking just as hard for ways to better evaluate sediment levels and how best to control them on the land. Landcare scientist Chris Phillips leads a team working on a five-year Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment funded programme, Smarter Targeting of Erosion Control. Sediment might appear to be the more benign offender among its water contaminating companions of nitrogen, phosphorus and E coli but it has a devastating effect in many rivers, lakes and estuaries despite not having a toxic signature. It can clog waterways and damage ecosystems along a river’s entire length while imparting an ugly aesthetic that affects recreational users. According to Ministry for the Environment’s Our Land report almost half of sediment losses originate from pastoral land, often because of erosion of productive land on slopes beside waterways.

But it is difficult to know if sediment losses from erosion have declined nationally though looking at individual catchments some parts of the North Island hill country could have declined, given efforts to plant trees there. “Places like Manawatu where Horizons (the ManawatuWanganui Regional Council) has a very good sediment monitoring network and we are starting to see some responses there after the big floods in 2004.” Phillips agrees most catchments are quite nitrogen-centric when trying to measure water quality. That is partly because nitrogen, phosphorus and E coli are all included in the national policy statement on freshwater management already. “Sediment is coming into it too but, because of the difficulty in assessing and measuring, it is not there yet. This project hopes to provide information and tools to support policy implementation when it happens.” Researchers hope to take sediment back to its roots, identifying the primary sources like bank erosion and land slips in hill country. They can now get a geological fingerprint of sediment in systems

and using computer analysis identify its most likely source, sometimes many kilometres upstream.

Some catchments north of Auckland and those that empty into Kaipara Harbour can be particularly bad, often due to the level of clay in soils there. Chris Phillips Landcare Research The most problematic sediment in many rivers is the finer material suspended in water, clouding the water column and making it difficult for fish to see. It is aesthetically unappealing. “Some catchments north of Auckland and those that empty into Kaipara Harbour can be particularly bad, often due to the level of clay in soils there.” Phillips said researchers hope, once sediment sources are better understood, they can develop

better real-time models they can interrogate with different flood, storm and event scenarios. “We can ask questions of the model as to what level of reduction we will get using certain mitigation tools, whether it is riparian planting, bank rebuilding etc.” He sees that information being as valuable for regional councils as for farmers. Remediation after flood events is a hugely expensive drain on councils, particularly where improvements to flood protection assets are typically not insured. Cyclone Debbie that ravaged eastern Bay of Plenty in 2017 scoured away more than 100ha of farmland and left Bay of Plenty Regional Council with a $50 million clean-up bill. Costs to fix kilometres of damaged river banks have amounted to about $1000 a metre. Riparian planting is a key example of a practice crying out for better evaluation of its effectiveness in reducing sediment. “Riparian planting is a very capital-intensive process and requires ongoing maintenance for plants to establish and to really

grow well, unlike sticking a poplar or willow in the ground. “You can literally flush money down the drain if it’s not done properly and plant on guesswork. Better data and modelling mean we can tell farmers and councils how many trees, where, how wide and how long it will take those plantings to become effective.” The models Phillips’ team will help develop will be able to stress test mitigations like riparian plantings against theoretical big events, like the one-in-500 year flood caused by Cyclone Debbie, as well as smaller, more frequent events. “You will be able to determine the thresholds your mitigation can withstand and see what tools work together and what do not.” The research team is working to a five-year window to develop a model that will also link to economic analysis, determining the most cost-effective methods to manage sediment sources in catchments. “Our current model is a hybrid, long-term-average model. This will be a move to an event-based model that is scientifically and computationally a big stretch from where we are now.”


24 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Govt must listen to rural people


OVRNMENT policies have tilted the balance in favour of forestry over livestock. Subsidies encouraging afforestation, changes to investment laws favouring foreign-owned forestry companies and allowing emitters of carbon but not methane to offset their emissions could see livestock displaced by 2.5 million hectares of trees. This is at a time when food producers are enjoying buoyant prices and bright prospects from the growing global population and when we should be expanding exports to fund research to tackle the challenges of climate change. NZ’s plantation forests cover 1.7m hectares and farmland 12.6m hectares. The Government’s Billion Trees policy will encourage through subsidies the planting of up to another 430,000ha. The Zero Carbon Bill enables emitters of carbon but not methane to offset their emissions with forestry resulting in, according to Climate Change Minister James Shaw, another 2m hectares of trees. That creates anomalies where farmers rightly feel aggrieved that fuel companies and cement and steel manufacturers can plant trees to offset their carbon emissions but they must reduce methane emissions from livestock. Ironically, the Government has tightened overseas investment rules on the sale of farmland and houses to foreigners but eased the purchase of land for NZ’s mostly foreign owned forestry companies. Inevitable changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme and the global focus on climate change will increase the price of carbon, making the economics of forestry even more attractive. This raises some very real questions that have so far been ignored, such as what happens to rural communities when jobs and services are lost as livestock is replaced by trees? Surprisingly, there is also little research into the impact on NZ’s economy of reduced animal protein exports. Like the sudden ending of oil and gas exploration in Taranaki, the Government is once again being condescending to rural communities by embracing a solution, in this case large-scale planting of carbonsequestering trees, without discussing the implications with those most affected. It hasn’t learnt from the Taranaki debacle that instead of telling rural communities what is good for them it would do well to listen.

Neal Wallace


Fonterra takes stick to gunfight I WAS disappointed and hurt when I read the milk incentives outlined by Fonterra recently at the My Connect conference. Titled the Co-operative Difference, farmers will get a bonus 500-1200 Farm Source dollars for exceeding consumers’ and our communities’ expectations around things such as milk quality and environmental guidelines. The idea is correct. However the proposed incentives are an insult. The so-called premium does not compete at any level with other milk processors. The consistent investment and changes to our farming practices mean we are often producing less milk now at a lower environmental footprint.

We need an actual premium to do this instead of another free raincoat and gumboots at Farm Source. Quite simply, money talks. It always has and probably does now more than ever. We want to stay with the co-op. Please give us some real recognition to do so. Until the attitude in the coop changes that we can treat people differently for the right reasons, we are taking a stick to a gunfight. We are a noncompetitor. A G Hall Cambridge

Why cut at all? THE latest publications are full of angst at the targets set for reductions in methane. Beef + Lamb, Federated farmers, Deer farmers and the

Nats are all up in arms about the unrealistic targets. If you just think back to the very recent past you will recall that methane was treated exactly like all of the other greenhouse gases, ie all emissions are equal. Thank goodness the message has finally got through that this approach was hopelessly flawed and unscientific. It is the amount of warming caused that is the vital factor, not the tonnes of gas emitted. I would also like to remind you there are some who have told us this all along but they were ignored. Now we are allowing ourselves to be drawn into a debate over what percentage reduction we will accept when the real question is why

should we have to reduce methane emissions at all? We have already reduced methane emissions by about 30%, meaning the amount of methane in the atmosphere is less than it was in 1990 and therefore the warming caused by our livestock has reduced. Meanwhile, transport emissions have almost doubled and all of that carbon dioxide is still up there. I am still waiting on the scientific reasoning showing a reduction in methane is necessary to stop warming the atmosphere unless, as some are suggesting, agriculture is being asked to offset the warming caused by emissions from transport and tourism. Lindsay Brown Outram

Letterof theWeek EDITOR Bryan Gibson 06 323 1519 EDITORIAL Stephen Bell 06 323 0769 Neal Wallace 03 474 9240 Colin Williscroft 027 298 6127 06 323 1561 Annette Scott 03 308 4001 Hugh Stringleman 09 432 8594 Alan Williams 03 359 3511 Richard Rennie 07 552 6176 Nigel Stirling 021 136 5570 PUBLISHER Dean Williamson 027 323 9407

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FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Trees plant targets poor land Julie Collins


HE One Billion Trees programme offers an opportunity for landowners, particularly farmers, to turn unproductive land into an asset. By integrating trees, both natives and exotics, on farms we will see landowners diversifying income, improving land productivity, addressing environmental issues like erosion, water quality and climate change, increasing habitats for a range of native species and enhancing our natural landscapes. It will also help New Zealand move towards a low-emissions economy. We already know many farmers have identified these benefits. Of the 2100 Emissions Trading Scheme participants, 1700 are farm foresters. At the farm forestry conference in Rotorua we heard small scale forestry is seeing average annual returns of $1100 a hectare, not including income from carbon credits. We’re aiming to increase the planting of trees on farms through the One Billion Trees Fund, which has $120 million to support landowners to get the best out of their land. The fund has a target of planting two-thirds natives and makes higher payments for the most erodible land. To date most grants approved through the fund are for native planting projects, with all grants approved for less than 140 hectares. We are aware of concerns raised by particular local communities around whole farm conversion to forestry. This is not being subsidised by the Government. Rather, it is market driven – particularly with high carbon and



log prices. As markets change, so too does land-use. Take, for instance, the last decade or so where more forestry was converted to farmland at more than 7000 hectares a year. Or the fact the long-term trend is a reduction in the total number of farms because of things like farm amalgamation and an aging population. Or the high kiwifruit prices seeing some forest land bought to be converted to kiwifruit. It is all variable because changes in land-use are driven by the aspirations of individual landowners, sector innovation and those market drivers I’ve already mentioned. That is why Te Uru Rakau is increasing its regional presence to build even closer relationships with landowners and ensure longterm, sustainable land use that supports our goals as a country. In this context, it’s important to note that achieving our goal of planting one billion trees requires only 230,000 to 430,000 hectares of new planting. If all planting occurred by integrating trees on farmland that

NOT MUCH: If all tree planting occurred on farmland it would take up just 3% of farms, Forestry New Zealand head Julie Collins says.

That does not suggest a major conversion of farms to forests and that is not what we are aiming for. would equate to just over 3% of all farmland across the country. That does not suggest a major conversion of farms to forests and that is not what we are aiming for. We know how important farming is to our economy and

will continue to be. However, we do need to work together to address wider environmental issues and improve land-use to support a balance between volume and value and reinforce our reputation as a world leader win sustainably grown, lowemissions, high-value natural products. Achieving our goals is an ongoing and evolving process and we all have an important role to play. The Government is committed to supporting communities to embrace the opportunities in front of us that have arisen from global and local drivers.

The key takeaway here is we have an opportunity to see farming and forestry work together to get the best outcomes for the country.

Who am I? Julie Collins is head of Te Uru Rakau Forestry NZ

Your View Got a view on some aspect of farming you would like to get across? The Pulpit offers readers the chance to have their say. Phone 06 323 1519

Trust us to help you through M bovis Neil Bateup THE Rural Support Trust has been part of our rural communities since the 1980s. We’re a network of 14 independent but connected trusts with a mix of paid professionals and volunteers. The trust was specifically established to support farmers who, through no fault of their own, face challenges that bring hardship, stress and uncertainty to themselves and their families and businesses. Farmers are recognised as being resilient people but they are dependent on self-motivation to manage the daily vagrancies of nature. The isolation of rural life and extra stress that sometimes arises when things go wrong is perfectly normal and can understandably overwhelm individuals. The trust has been involved in the response to Mycoplasma bovis from day one.

While the road to eradication has been difficult for all involved it’s my view everyone’s doing their best to manage the disease and ultimately make New Zealand M bovis-free. For individual farmers affected, however, the bovis outbreak has severely affected their livelihoods, families and way of life. The trust’s goal has been to provide support to affected farmers and help them to make their involvement as smooth as is possible. The first and most critical skill we can provide is someone with a sympathetic ear who will willingly listen to someone’s concerns. That’s where our free and confidential service starts. The trust has such people available, many of whom are farmers, who possess the skills to listen without prejudice or judgment. They have a good understanding of the upheaval unforeseen changes can

have on the normality of farm life. Trust members recognise no two farms will be in the same situation. Our networks are strong and we can put you in touch with services and advisers to provide more help where needed. While we are contracted to the Ministry for Primary Industries we ensure our people bring an independent voice to the rural community. We have the ability to raise questions with MPI and make representations on your behalf to deal with the more complex issues. If you need to talk, remember we can help only if you ask.

Who am I? Neil Bateup is the Rural Support Trust national chairman.

MORE: 0800 787 254

READY: The Rural Support Trust can help farmers affected by Mycoplasma bovis, national chairman Neil Bateup says.


26 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Tourism gases outdo cattle’s Alternative View

Alan Emerson

I RECEIVED a ridiculously stupid, contradictory and asinine press release from the Government last week. It was from Kelvin Davis, who I always thought was rational, and Eugenie Sage, who I’ve never thought was. The heading was ensuring New Zealand benefits from sustainable tourism growth. Tourism and sustainability in the same sentence, you’re joking. Davis and Sage were effusive. “Tourism is a vital part of NZ’s ongoing success, supporting national and regional economies, creating jobs and allowing us to celebrate who we are.” How, they don’t say. The strategy has five broad themes. They are the economy, the environment, international and domestic visitors, New Zealanders and our communities and, finally, regions. That was all huff and puffery to me. Starting with the economy, tourism is a low wage industry

with many people massively exploited. If we ever want to even approach the ideal of wage parity with Australia we won’t do it with tourism. Then there’s the environment where, we are told, tourism is sustainable. For a start one would respectfully ask, how? The carbon dioxide emissions from international air travel far exceed NZ’s total emissions. Aviation contributes 2.5% of total world carbon emissions and is picked to rise to 22% by 2050, making a complete farce of any zero carbon aim. According to the MyClimate calculator just one person flying from Beijing to Auckland return is responsible for the emission of four tonnes of carbon. For politicians flying business class the figure is three times that of cattle class. Putting the Beijing-Auckland return flight into perspective, it is equal to half the total carbon emissions from a Californian living in Orange County and our politicians flying business class is equal to nearly twice that amount. And they have the gall to tell us to cut methane emissions. It has been reported nothing we do causes greater or most easily avoidable harm to the environment than flying, which more often than not is optional or merely recreational.

Our Government wants to increase that harm by encouraging tourists? It makes burping cows quite insignificant in the overall scheme of things. Late last year Air NZ effusively told us it had flown 30 billion kilometres but had offset close to 27,000 tonnes of carbon last year, mainly through forests. This further questions the Government’s position on methane because farmers can’t mitigate their own emissions. What’s Air NZ got that provincial NZ hasn’t? Why can corporates take out large tracts of productive farmland land to plant trees and mitigate their carbon emissions? Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton said pines won’t mitigate carbon dioxide, yet once that land is taken out of food production it is gone forever. Last year we were told our international aviation emissions in 2016 were 3.4m tonnes of carbon dioxide, up 152% from 1990, making methane emissions insignificant by comparison. Moving on from air travel, how are all these tourists travelling the country? There’s freedom campers in cheap and cheerful wagons that one could respectfully suggest aren’t state of the art when it comes to fuel efficiency.

BAD FOR US: Emissions from air travel far exceed New Zealand’s total emissions.

Then there are all the big camper vans on the road, many holding up productive traffic while belching carbon dioxide by the bucketful. Others will hire cars and some will go in buses. In addition, we have cruise ships hugely polluting the sea and the atmosphere with estimates one cruise ship can emit the same amount of particulate matter a day as a million cars. I reiterate my position that tourism is not environmentally sustainable and should not enjoy the highly privileged position it holds in the economy, certainly at the expense of food production. One plank of the DavisSage statement was tourism’s contribution to the regions. Researching that contribution isn’t difficult. In February this year tourists dumped vast amounts of rubbish by our iconic Lake Waikaremoana. The lake’s trustees were astonished at the dumping and vandalism at the lake this summer. Central Otago was a favourite place of mine for travelling and fishing. That was until

recently when the excessive detritus of human excrement and paper made lakeside walking hazardous. In Queenstown 485 infringements for freedom camping were issued in the short period between December 21 and January 8. Freedom campers have, in addition to other misdemeanours, forged self-contained stickers on their vehicles even though they don’t have a toilet. What that inevitably means is they relieve themselves at will. What we have in NZ is one sector of the economy, tourism, getting considerable support from politicians and political parties. The industry is allowed to pollute at whim without incurring the wrath of Fish and Game or Greenpeace. We then have ridiculous statements that we’re going to have sustainable tourism. An oxymoron surely.

Your View Alan Emerson is a semi-retired Wairarapa farmer and businessman:

Maybe I was weird but I was right From the Ridge

Steve Wyn-Harris

I DON’T recall being a weird kid but my family thought I was and let me know it. Just because I watched Star Trek, Dr Who and Lost in Space. They would scoff and laugh at my programmes and the gadgets waved about by the characters as they battled aliens and sought to survive in the far-flung reaches of the universe. But who is laughing now? Captain Kirk and his mates would get beamed down onto some alien planet. If an emergency happened, and they always did, they’d whip out their communicators and call for backup from the Enterprise. There are not many reading this who don’t have their own communicator tucked into a pocket or charging on the

windowsill. There are nearly five billion cell phones in use and these modern-day communicators do a heck of a lot more than just being able to dial up for help. Bones used to give someone a shot most episodes because you are going to need an awful lot of vaccines when encountering new worlds. He used his trusty hypospray hypodermic injection, which used high-pressure air to squirt the meds through the skin. They are now called jet injectors and mean you don’t need needles and can do lots of people in short time. The crew of the USS Enterprise all carried phasers when going down onto an alien planet. Which was a good idea because it was a rare episode when they didn’t have to be used. But Captain Kirk was no imperialist invader and just about always instructed the crew to set them to stun, unless Klingons were involved. Our own police force carries these things now but has been instructed not to call them phasers but instead Tasers. How on earth, or not on earth, were Kirk’s crew going to understand beings whose first

COPYCATS: Our police now use phasers pioneered by Star Trek but call them Tasers.

language wasn’t going to be English? Or any of the other 7000 languages we have on Mother Earth. Cue the universal translator. They held it up to the half stunned local and got a pretty good idea what he was saying and where he was telling them to go. Oh yeah, my cell phone has an app that lets me do that into other languages, not to mention the voice recognition on my PC. When Mr Spock finally got

killed his mates fired him out of the torpedo bay in a coffinshaped casket to fly through space for all eternity. In November 2014 the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry were blasted off into space. His remains were joined by those of Scotty (James Doohan) and the great science fiction writer Arthur C Clark. All three going where no man has gone before. The Star Trek crew could talk

and see each other from great distances on big screens. Basic teleconferencing now but a pretty unlikely idea back in the 1960s. Spock would wander around a new planet with his trusty trirecorder, which measured all sorts of useful information such as whether there was enough oxygen to breathe, were there nasty bugs floating around and was that thing over there worth eating. Even Dr Who foretold future devices. The nasty Daleks were vulnerable little creatures that could use their minds to move their robotic outer shells around in order to exterminate anything that got in their way. This technology is just beginning to help people with disabilities to control bionic legs. The Daleks’ voice synthesizers are now standard fare though not nearly as scary. Stephen Hawking used one for decades. So, you have a weird kid watching something very odd? You better be nice to them.

Your View Steve Wyn-Harris is a Central Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmer.


FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Ag is committed to gas targets Meaty Matters

Allan Barber

THE negative reaction to the methane target range in the Climate Change Amendment (Zero Carbon) Bill should not be taken as an indication the rural sector is at all opposed to the purpose of the Bill, nor does it suggest unwillingness to be part of the solution. Industry bodies including Dairy New Zealand, Beef + Lamb, the Meat Industry Association and Federated Farmers are fully committed to seeing their members do all that is realistically possible to achieve the overall greenhouse gas reduction target. That goal is seen by science organisations, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as essential if the increase in the planet’s temperature is to be restricted to 1.5C by 2050. However, the sector bodies are taking a strongly science-based approach to the issue and have concerns, particularly about the extent of the maximum range for reducing methane emissions, which is both unachievable and, according to the science, unnecessary. Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman, among others,

sees only farmers trying to get a free ride at the expense of the rest of the country, using agriculture’s past resistance to being included in the ETS as evidence for his argument. The sector’s new commitment to making whatever changes are necessary demonstrates Norman’s suspicion is unfounded. Farmers, not unnaturally, are worried about what all this means for the future of their businesses, not least whether they will still have a social licence to operate and what they can do to meet the targets if they are adopted.

Farmers, not unnaturally, are worried about what all this means for the future of their businesses.

Scientists, like Victoria University Climate Change Research Institute director Professor Dave Frame have welcomed the recognition of the difference between long-lived gases (carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide) and short-lived (methane) and caution against getting too worked up about the actual targets at this stage. Specific targets to be adopted in legislation will be subject to plenty of debate and revision during the select committee process. Frame’s research indicates 60% of methane’s effects disappear after 12 years and 95% after 50 years compared with carbon

dioxide, which lasts in the atmosphere for 1000 years. Therefore, while all greenhouse gas reduction is good it is far more important to focus on reducing what he terms stock pollutants like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide as distinct from flow pollutants like methane. If the Government’s goal is to reduce non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases by 35% by 2050, as recommended by the IPCC, the logic of the carbon zero target is irrefutable. Achieving it will require a combination of zero nitrous oxide as a result of animal management and zero carbon dioxide through tree planting but, more particularly, it demands a major change in energy use, transport and urban pollution. A large proportion of these measures lies outside the scope of agriculture if the targets are to be met. A 10% reduction in methane emissions in addition to zero nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide would achieve a 33% emissions reduction while increasing methane savings to 22% would increase the total reduction to 41%. This demonstrates the inequity of demanding a decrease in methane emissions to the higher range of 24-47%. Quite simply, the long-lasting nature of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide has a far greater influence on the amount of warming in the atmosphere. B+LNZ’s chief insight officer Jeremy Baker points to the emissions reduction of 30% since 1990 on sheep and beef farms as strong evidence of the red meat

DOING OUR BIT: Beef + Lamb’s chief insight officer Jeremy Baker points to the emissions reduction of 30% since 1990 on sheep and beef farms as strong evidence of the red meat sector’s commitment to the goal,

sector’s commitment to the goal, a result of greater efficiency and improved farm management, as well as reduced flock size. He claims the proposed targets in the Bill do not recognise the long-term carbon sink benefits of native trees that can absorb carbon for 300 years, 10 times longer than pine trees. There are already 1.4 million hectares of natives planted on sheep and beef country, which should be taken into account when setting targets and measuring performance. DairyNZ also advocates the recognition at the farm gate of all farmer efforts, including tree planting, to reduce emissions.

DairyNZ is working with scientists on several strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the case of methane, options are limited by NZ’s grass-feeding regime but research shows managing use of drymatter intake is critical while brassica rape can produce a 30% emissions reduction compared with a traditional ryegrass-white clover diet. Fodder beet trials demonstrate a 20% reduction, but only when it makes up 70% of the diet. Nitrogen leaching can be mitigated by applying the right fertiliser in the right place at the right time, planting low-nitrogen crops and improving pasture quality as well as carefully planned paddock strategies in autumn and winter. It is obvious the sector is totally on side with the Government’s overall goal to meet NZ’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. In no way is agriculture unwilling to ensure its farmers and processors are in possession of all the tools necessary to meet the target but the sector wants fair and equitable treatment and recognition of the correct science underpinning that target. It will also be up to the Government to devote funding to research necessary to develop some of the solutions.

Your View Allan Barber is a meat industry commentator: allan@barberstrategic., http://allanbarber.wordpress. com

Government action smacks of treason Off the Cuff

Andrew Stewart

THERE is an old saying about not biting the hand that feeds you. It is loosely translated as meaning it is in your ultimate best interest to take care of those who take care of you. The metaphorical hand that feeds you might be providing you with a monetary value, with education, with health care or anything else and of course actual food can come into it too. As a Kiwi sheep and beef farmer I feel like I am a feeder. Not only do I grow natural products that provide healthy options for consumers, I also feed a considerable amount of financial support into our local community and also into the Government’s coffers. Over my 16 years of farming in my own right various governments have come and gone. They have all presented

challenges to our farming communities but ultimately we have been able to manage a path through their policies with not too much disruption. That has now changed. The introduction of the Zero Carbon Bill by the three-legged monster that is our Government attacks and insults our industry in a way I have never experienced before. To impose such flawed and taxing legislation on the only industry that built this country is at best incompetent and at worst smacks of treason. I have read numerous reactions over the past few weeks from various farming leaders from all around the country and there is a strong theme coming through. We all agree this is a step too far and too big a pill to swallow. There has also been a strong sense of unity in the reaction to this Bill and that is being reinforced by farmer sentiment. I recall, just over a decade ago, similar sentiment around a similar subject. The Emissions Trading Scheme was created to tax farmers for their animal emissions based on flawed science and a greedy government. We were told by the various

ETS calculators of the day that our own 600 hectare farm, which is covered in poplars, willows, areas of native bush and some production pines, would need a third of it to be planted in trees to offset our emissions or we had to stump up with nearly $50,000 a year.

The Emissions Trading Scheme was created to tax farmers for their animal emissions based on flawed science and a greedy government. Luckily, this flawed thinking was defeated before it became a reality but I fear this time around we might not be so lucky. This Zero Carbon Bill feels very personal to me. It tells me I am facing the prospect of reducing production on our farm even though I look out the window to green, grassy hills with healthy and happy stock. It tells me that despite the landscape being littered with

thousands of trees I can’t use them to lessen my impact on the environment. And probably most importantly, it tells me this Government simply does not care for the industry that built and now sustains this country. It simply will not stop till it gets its pound of flesh. I am the first to admit I am no expert on climate change and the emissions associated with it. But I do know a flawed model when I see one and this Bill is certainly that. For any Zero Carbon Bill to work effectively without crippling the backbone of the economy it has to be well structured and thought out by those who know the farming industry the best, farmers. We all accept the responsibility farming bestows on us with regards to emissions and we know we have a role to play in reducing them. If farmers don’t educate themselves now on what is happening with this issue they will face dire consequences in years to come. In its current form this legislation has the potential to put some people out of business should it be allowed to proceed unchecked. And many more could also choose to leave our industry because they no

longer have the stomach to fight. The Zero Carbon Bill is already in motion so this Government needs to know it has a scrap on its hands until this is fixed. Local and national lobby groups need to be supported en masse by farmers if necessary amendments are to be made. This can happen only with a good knowledge base, communication and determination. We all watched in horror at the last election when Winston Peters and his party played the role of kingmaker. Maybe the time has come for rural NZ to forget about voting for anyone else, circle the wagons and form a new political party that represents our own best interests. If we were all to get behind such a movement we could find ourselves in the position of kingmakers for the election next year. I will leave far greater minds and personalities the responsibility of turning this into reality. But one thing I do know for certain. They would have my vote.

Your View Andrew Stewart is a sheep and beef farmer and tourism operator in Rangitikei.

On Farm Story

28 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Farming his way back to nature Hawke’s Bay farmers Greg and Rachel Hart are committed to producing top-quality food by using nature as a guide while re-establishing a connection between people and the land that sustains them. Colin Williscroft visited to see what they are doing.


PTIMISING life – whether that’s soil life, plant life, animal health or the people who make it happen – is a guiding principle for Central Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmer Greg Hart. Greg, who farms Mangarara Station near Elsthorpe with his wife Rachel and children George, Bill and Emma, operates a farming system focused not only on being productive in the short term. It has a longer-term focus, aiming to regenerate the land while helping build stronger connections between the landscape and people. A key is balancing relationships between nature and production agriculture as part of ecosystem restoration, including a focus on soil health, carbon sequestration and planting native and foodproducing trees. The farm and an eco lodge built in 2015 are also used for education, accommodation and inspiration, allowing people to connect back to nature, food and farming. Greg’s parents moved to Mangarara Station – part of Elms Hill Station before it was subdivided – from Methven in 1990 while Greg was doing his OE. He came back and worked on the farm while also getting other work experience. Then the part of the farm he and Rachel now live on, which was part of the original block before being split off, became available and the couple moved there in 1996. That saw the two farms put together, bringing the property to about 600ha, or 470ha effective. Since then the couple have moved the farm away from a traditional sheep and beef operation, which used to run about 3000 ewes, to a diverse and integrated farm that seeks to balance ecosystem restoration and the production of healthy, nutritious food. It’s a philosophy that represents a big change in approach from when they first began. Greg comes from a conventional agricultural background with a degree in agriculture from Massey University while his early working life involved jobs using a solely production model. Around the time Greg and Rachel’s first child was born he was learning all he could about the sustainability of traditional agricultural practices and the role of energy in everyday lives. It led him to think about New Zealand pastoral agriculture and its reliance on bringing nutrients in from the other side of the world. That included the availability of phosphorus and the amount of energy involved in getting it onto paddocks in NZ. He began digging deeper, learning more through reading and workshops, with early

influences including the work of Arden Andersen and Graeme Sait. Andersen is an American who promotes natural soil fertilisation and the natural maintenance of agriculture, while Sait, NZ-born but based in Australia, is chief executive of Nutri-Tech Solutions, a company that aims to improve nutrition from the soil up, working with food producers to maximise profit while improving sustainability. Through his research Greg began to understand the importance of using nature as a guide, to look at how nature has not only survived but thrived over millennia and how those principles can be harnessed for the benefit of future food production. At Mangarara that involves a regenerative approach, building soils, restoring watercourses and encouraging biodiversity while reducing dependence on outside inputs, improving livestock health and increasing farm yields and profits. It also means quite a diverse mix of production types. “We’ve got a number of different enterprises going on here,” Greg says. “What we’re trying to do is stack layers of production on the farm so as well as just having the cattle we have a hen house that moves around the farm, following behind the cattle just like in nature where the big mobs of buffalo and bison in different periods of America or Africa always had big flocks of birds behind. “They’re spreading the manure and picking out the bugs and sort of sanitising but also helping to fertilise the pastures as well.” There are also a few pigs and a small dairy on-farm, where cows are milked through spring to rear calves. “It’s just another income stream and the milk is also given to pigs, as well as people living on the farm.” The farm operates a holistic grazing system that allows pastures to grow taller than is the norm. The taller pastures mean the farm is home to a lot more cattle than sheep because cattle graze it much better. The cattle are run behind electric fences in reasonably large mobs and shifted daily so not every blade of grass is chewed down. “We try not to have more than about 50% of the grass eaten so that it recovers a whole lot better.” Greg believes grass grows grass

HELPERS: Like any sheep and beef farmer Greg has a loyal team of dogs. Photos: Colin Williscroft

We’ve got a number of different enterprises going on here. Greg Hart Farmer and says the blades of whatever is growing in the paddock, be that clover, plantain, chicory or whatever else, act as solar panels capturing sunlight and the taller they are the more sunlight they catch. Taller grasses also have longer root systems that act as a battery bank, which is a handy form of drought-proofing in Central Hawke’s Bay. Their other advantage is that stock going onto taller grasses trample it down, providing a mat that covers the soil, reducing evaporation in much the same

way gardeners use mulch for the same purpose. Mangarara has been on the regenerative path for 10 to 15 years and Greg says they are starting to see positive change around the farm because of it. However, regenerative agriculture is not prescriptive. It’s outcome focused rather than telling farmers what they have to do. “For me it’s basically soil focused and carbon focused and through that you get a healthy soil biology as well as cycling nutrients. “I see regenerative agriculture and the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil as a key to the future of civilisation and, for all the bad rap that farmers are getting at the moment around the country, we also are the key to the future because there is more carbon stored in the soil than is in the atmosphere and all the terrestrial plants combined.”

Tree planting has been an important part of the farm for more than 10 years with more than 108,000 trees planted – 85,000 in partnership with Air NZ’s environment trust. The project started in 2008 and most trees planted at Mangarara are natives on erosion-prone, steep hill country next to an existing 12.5ha block of native bush. What’s heartening is the natural regeneration now happening, he says. A small amount of the Air NZ money has gone towards other planting around the farm. Part of the deal with Air NZ was to open the farm to the public to show how the trees work in with the farm’s operation. Tree planting will continue at Mangarara this winter with a mix of exotics and natives. The focus will be on integrating them into the pastoral landscape to sequester even more carbon and to provide shade, shelter and

On Farm Story

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


HOME: Greg and Rachel Hart farm 470ha effective near Elsthorpe in Central Hawke’s Bay.

drought fodder while helping cycle nutrients from deeper in the soil. Greg’s a big believer in the advantages of more of this type of planting, rather than just blanketing hillsides in pines. He sees huge potential in developing integrated livestock and agri-forestry systems that encourage diversity and get production from different levels of farming enterprises. That combination of pastoral animals with trees is also the ultimate in sequestering carbon and helping find a solution to climate change. For Greg and Rachel, being able to measure improvements to their land, water and food quality is a win-win in terms of marketing and sales. Mangarara is part of a Red Meat

Profit Partnership group of nine Hawke’s Bay farms. The group is monitoring soil health, just as stream health has been assessed. It is also discussing on-farm biodiversity. It’s a message that can be taken to the market. “It’s a story that urban NZ wants to hear and if we have the data to prove what we’re doing, rather than just the hot air, then we can use that.” A big part of the couple’s philosophy is building connections and relationships with people, whether they are from NZ or overseas. They’ve been welcoming visitors for years as Wwoofers and for the past four years they’ve run an eco lodge and education centre near the shore of Horseshoe Lake, which takes up about 35ha of the farm.

MONEY: Greg Hart says the eco lodge and education centre built about four years ago provide another income stream for the farm while also helping connect visitors with farm life.

The lodge means they can host everything from corporate events, weddings and other special occasions to relaxation time with family and friends. Staying at Mangarara lets work teams and families take part in farm activities including milking, tree planting, feeding the pigs and chooks, collecting eggs, harvesting fruit and veges and gardening. School groups and other visitors are encouraged. All get a taste of what happens on the farm by experiencing it first hand, which helps provide them with a real connection between the land and how the food they eat is grown. “Part of what we’re doing is about connecting people back to the land – where their food comes from and how it’s produced – because over the last century

or so we’ve become incredibly disconnected.” Better informed consumers can only be good for farmers, particularly with the lobby that would rather not have pastoral farming at all and advocates vegan or vegetarian diets. That sort of approach would be misguided because not only can holistic grazing sequester carbon and provide a climate change solution, the reality is vegan and vegetarian diets rely on fossil fuels to grow monoculture crops that are not grown in NZ, such as rice, grains for pasta and many pulses. Though the Harts’ regenerative approach to running their farm is a shift away from traditional approaches to agriculture, an increasing number of people are becoming more open to them.

RELAX: Anyone staying at the lodge, which overlooks Horseshoe Lake, can wind down at the end of the day relaxing on the lodge’s large deck.

More reading Greg Hart’s recommended reading for people who want to know more: • The Carbon Farming Solution by Eric Toensmeier • Drawdown by Paul Hawkin • Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepherd • Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown • The Soil Will Save Us by Kristin Ohlson • Kiss the Ground by Josh Tickell • Holistic Management by Allan Savory • Climate – A New Story by Charles Eisenstein

For Greg that’s great but he’s not interested in preaching. He knows he is in a privileged position to be a steward of the land and that’s not something to be taken lightly. But all he can realistically do is continue to shape Mangarara as a sustainable way of producing quality food in the future and share the experience with others who want to know more. “The best thing we can do is model what we are doing. There’s no question that it’s an experiment and mistakes have been made along the way but as long as we learn from those mistakes, then we’re making progress. “It always will be a work in progress and the more I learn the more I realise I don’t know.” >> Video link:


Waipaoa 198 Humphreys Road

Dairy operation with scope for diversity Strathallan Station is an exceptionally well located and strategically positioned 1214ha property, providing a very rare and unique offering in the Gisborne region, boasting strong cash-flow. A profitable dairy operation with over 10 years conversion experience, this proficient operation, includes a 700ha dairy platform milking the 1000 cow herd, with renewed resource consents. Additional dry stock capability add to already sound income figures, with the ability to further increase the dairy operation and increase production levels, or diversify into other income streams. Supported by good infrastructure, including a fully automated 54 rotary dairy shed, self-contained on farm runoff, excellent lane-ways, and four well-kept homes. At circa 12,000SU, Strathallan presents multiple opportunities to capatilise and grow, or diversify.

Tender (unless sold prior) Closing 4pm, Wed 17 Jul 2019 10 Reads Quay, Gisborne View by appointment Simon Bousfield 027 665 8778 James Bolton-Riley 027 739 1011 MACPHERSON MORICE LTD, BAYLEYS, LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008


Ashburton 161 Wheatstone Road

Quality, irrigated, arable property The property consists of 156.5146 hectares in two titles with excellent soils and irrigation consents allowing for numerous cropping options. At present grass seeds, maize, fodder beet, wheat and barley are grown plus winter contract lambs finished. The property has an excellent layout for ease of management and irrigating with a good central lane system, sheep and cattle yards, shedding and grain storage facilities. The renovated and modernised permanent material four bedroom home (master with en-suite) has been maintained to a very high standard and has all modern conveniences. There may be an opportunity to purchase part or the total area.

Deadline Sale (unless sold prior) 1pm, Tue 25 Jun 2019 201 West St, Ashburton View by appointment Jon McAuliffe 027 432 7769 Simon Sharpin 027 631 8087 WHALAN AND PARTNERS LTD, BAYLEYS, LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008

Martinborough Hautotara White Rock Road

Craigieburn 11075 West Coast Road

White Rock Road - 121 hectares

Grasmere Station

Hautotara is bounded by the river on both sides, which meet at the northern end of the property, giving the block a triangular shape. The block consists of a series of river flats and terraces, leading to rolling hills at the rear of the property. Wonderful aesthetics with beautiful stony rivers, great for fishing, swimming, kayaking and camping - real tourist potential. This is an extremely appealing property, only 8 minutes drive from Martinborough, with many options. Currently used as a cattle finishing operation, this property can be utilised for dairy support, cropping, hay, silage, lamb finishing, deer farming, horses and glamping - the opportunities are endless. Wonderful outlook, superb sites for a home - this is a rare opportunity.

Tender (unless sold prior) Closing 4pm, Tue 25 Jun 2019 186 Chapel Street, Masterton View by appointment Lindsay Watts 027 246 2542 Andrew D Smith 027 760 8208 EASTERN REALTY (WAIRARAPA) LTD, BAYLEYS, LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008

The iconic Grasmere Station is nestled amongst some of New Zealand's most spectacular and picturesque scenery, on the Great Alpine Highway around ninety minutes' drive from Christchurch and well-positioned to prosper from the rapidly increasing tourism industry. A very productive and easily managed 555.54ha freehold bareland property, it is currently grazing dairy stock and has approximately 148ha of well-established lucerne. It is also wellsuited to sheep, cattle and deer, and has a consent in place to irrigate with low-cost water. Up to 435ha of the property could be irrigated and a pivot plan has been designed to cover 375ha. Considerable recent development has been done, with a central lane, new fencing, cattle yards and re-grassing completed.



Pleasant Point 55 Dinda Road

Temuka 231 Opihi Terrace Road

Waitohi rolling downs A 210.9196 hectare grazing and finishing property situated in the rolling downs of Waitohi. Located approximately 30 minutes from Timaru, this property offers the convenience of having all amenities close by. Good subdivision and excellent shelter from numerous tree plantings and hedges, as well as a woodlot with mature oak trees and an established orchard at the old homestead site provide a unique character to the land that is hard to come by. The present vendors have owned this property for approximately 45 years and in that time it has traditionally run 1,450 ewes and 370 ewe lamb replacements. Over this period of time the reliability of the farm has seen almost all the progeny finished to good weights.





Deadline Sale (unless sold prior) 1pm, Wed 19 Jun 2019 201 West St, Ashburton View by appointment Simon Sharpin 027 631 8087 Jon McAuliffe 027 432 7769 WHALAN AND PARTNERS LTD, BAYLEYS, LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008

Looking for a first farm or to become self-contained? • • • • • • • • • •

44.5910 hectares(more or less) Options to purchase entire farm or in two smaller separate titles Very favorable, arable soils Currently used for grazing cattle and mixed arable farming Excellent rectangular shape Good standard of fencing throughout Located only minutes from Pleasant Point Three-bedroom Weatherboard home Two-stand woodshed Three road boundaries make it very attractive for bio-security

Deadline Sale (unless sold prior) 4pm, Fri 7 Jun 2019 3 Deans Ave, Chch View by appointment Ben Turner 027 530 1400 Craig Blackburn 027 489 7225 WHALAN AND PARTNERS LTD, BAYLEYS, LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008





Deadline Sale (unless sold prior) 3pm, Wed 12 Jun 2019 201 West St, Ashburton View by appointment George Morris 027 212 8668 Nick Young 027 437 7820 Mark Parry 0274 330 350 WHALAN AND PARTNERS LTD, BAYLEYS, LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008

32 0800 85 25 80

Real Estate

FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019

COMMERCIAL Property Brokers Limited Licensed REAA 2008

240 Broadway Avenue PALMERSTON NORTH Office 0800 FOR LAND

High profile development opportunity


Upokongaro 187 Kukuta Road 186ha - Breeding and finishing unit Currently operating as a breeding and finishing unit. This property has been leased since the early 2000s, and has been in the same family for multiple generations. It has a complimentary mix of flat, easy and hill country. Approximately 23.8 hectares is classified as flat to undulating tractor country with a further 13.2 hectares of easy to moderate rolling contour while the balance is made up of easy to steeper hill country. Improvements include: Two sets of sheep yards, an older disused cottage with power connected, a set of cattle yards and a basic two stand dagging facility.

WEB ID BC68138 WOODVILLE 49 Vogel St and 16 and 18 Atkinson St View By Appointment TENDER closes Thursday 27th June, 2019 at 4.00pm, Sited on the corner of SH3 and McLean Street, the former "Woodville County Council" building has come Property Brokers Limited, 240 Broadway Avenue, PNth to the market For Sale by Tender. With a Commercial/Residential zoning, this high profile, Dave Looney 3,971m2 site is ripe for development. Mobile 027 446 2889 •3,971m2 land area on 4 titles •Zoned commercial and residential •Workshop and storage sheds Kate Looney •Realistic vendor expectations Mobile 021 517 340 •230m2 recently refurbished office space


For Sale by Deadline Private Treaty (will not be sold prior)

2pm, Wed 26 Jun 2019 158 Wicksteed Street, Whanganui View by appointment Knud Bukholt 027 222 6161 Tracey Wilson 027 412 1586 BARTLEY REAL ESTATE LTD, BAYLEYS, LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008

Dannevirke This model lifestyle block/small farm is arguably Dannevirke’s finest. Situated on Adelaide overlooking Dannevirke. The quality low maintenance home has been superbly maintained and presentation is first class. Three bedrooms, generous sunny living with unsurpassed views, all set in grounds that are renown in local gardening circles. The immaculate parcel of land has been run as a very productive small sheep farm, ideally a stud operation. A rare opportunity to secure a property second to none in the marketplace.


For Sale by Tender Tender closing Thursday 20 June 2019 at 4pm Craig Boyden M: 027 443 2738 O: 06 374 4105 E:



Property ID FF1299

LK0068450© - FF2833

Real Estate 0800 85 25 80




FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019

BARELAND KIWITEA & MARTON SOILS Somersal Lane, Marton Situated 6km north of Marton on a quiet no exit road, this immaculate property instantly impresses as one that has been well cared for. The Kiwitea and Marton loams have been utilised for intensive cropping and stock finishing that includes maize grain & silage, wheat and barley. The strong fertiliser and re-grassing history is reflected in the current quality pastures. Conventional fencing is top notch with a central lane servicing 8 paddocks, with stock water via easement. Settlement flexible. Open Days 11:00-11:45am Sun 26 May & Wed 29 May 2019.

28.39 hectares Video on website OPEN SUN 11:00-11:45AM Tender Closes 11am, Thu 20 Jun 2019, NZR, 20 Kimbolton Rd, Fldg Peter Barnett AREINZ 027 482 6835 | NZR Limited | Licensed REAA 2008

06 323 3363 Farm & Lifestyle Sales 1043 Lockwood Road, Kairanga

Looking for the complete package?

We’ve got you covered with digital and print options.


Contact Shirley Howard phone 06 323 0760, email


This grows grass well, some of the best soils around on this 12.7 hectares (31.5 acres) on two titles. A 240m² building which includes a self-contained living quarters, shearing facility, loose box, workshop and plenty of room for vehicles. Two water bores, sheep and cattle yards, load-out-race and nicely fenced. Immaculate lifestyle property in a top location with elevated building site waiting for a nice home to be built. All the hard work is done!

To be Sold by TENDER closing 4.00pm on Wednesday 19 June 2019 at our office Gordon Brooker

M 027 443 0698 E Web ID RAL674 ▪ 56 Stafford Street, Feilding

34 0800 85 25 80

Real Estate

FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019



OTAUA, WAIKATO 188 Forestry Road Dairy Farm Otaua Size equals production • 240 hectares with 195 hectare dairy platform • Calving 520 cows • 208,000kgMS average for past four years • 36 aside herringbone built 2003 • 3,500,000 litre effluent pond built 2011 • Three dwellings • Inline feed system/auto cup removers • Comprehensive PIM available upon request • Zoning Waikato District


Plus GST (if any) (Unless Sold By Private Treaty) Closes 4.00pm, Wednesday 26 June

VIEW By Appointment Only

Mark Needham M 027 704 6833 | B 09 237 0644 E

WAIKARETU, WAIKATO Surplus to Requirement After 28 years of diligent farming now is the time to sell. • 130 hectares of flat to rolling contour • Excellent fertiliser history • Soil type Mairoa Ash • 38 paddocks predominantly 7 wire post and batten • Spring water reticulated to every paddock • Woolshed, hay barn, two sets of cattle yards Do not delay, instructions are to sell!


Plus GST (if any)

VIEW By Appointment Only

Adrian van Mil M 027 473 3632 | B 09 237 2041 E Helping grow the country

PGG Wrightson Real Estate Limited, licensed under REAA 2008

Accelerating success.

Reach more people - better results faster.


Land is the biggest asset to any farming business so it pays to stay up to date with the market. Connect with the right audience at


FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019



Corteva Agriscience is the new standalone agriculture business which was formed out of the global merger between Dow Chemical Company and DuPont. Globally, the Corteva Agriscience product offering is comprised of the three heritage portfolios – Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Crop Protection and DuPont Pioneer.

We are a family run contracting and farming business specialising in big straw and hay baling, silage and haylage production. We are looking for employees to help us this coming season. Start date is mid June and finishing the end of September. We have accommodation suitable for males and females and are situated within one hour of London.

In New Zealand, the business is entirely focused on crop protection, with plans for future developments into digital technologies for the agricultural market. Following restructuring of our commercial team and re-alignment of territories, we now wish to appoint two outstanding individuals to join our NZ commercial team, whose focus will be to provide technical support and service to our retail distribution partners.

Please email Gavin & Liz or telephone UK 077 0232 2203

Senior Territory Sales Manager

Territory Sales Manager

• Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson – fly/drive • Pipfruit, Viticulture plus wider horticulture focus • Significant horticulture expertise required

• Central Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu regions • Primarily pastoral and forage cropping, plus cereals and horticulture • Will suit a graduate with two – three years’ commercial experience


East Coast (NI), Nelson, Marlborough

Western North Island

We will offer both incumbents significant opportunity for career progression, highly supported by Corteva Agriscience, both locally and globally – the sky is the limit if you have this ambition. You will be supported by a comprehensive induction to Corteva Agriscience’s local business, including a territory wide ‘meet & greet’ tour with the Sales Manager and the opportunity to spend time in other territories with your TSM colleagues.


We have a suite of product training resources, and an outstanding technical manual to assist rapid product learning and capability to respond to customer enquiries. Corteva Agriscience also has an exceptional global learning portal to assist technical and commercial development. Best of all, you will be surrounded by a highly supportive commercial, technical and customer services team, intent on helping you find your feet and prosper.

Cheltenham Downs Station Pämu are looking for an experienced Farm Manager to run Cheltenham Downs, a predominantly flat contoured 1237 ha effective sheep, dairy heifer, and cropping property near Feilding. Stock policies involve approx. 3,000 bought in ewes lambing, approx. 30,000 lambs finished in season, a winter lamb programme, plus rearing of dairy heifer replacements from the Pämu dairy portfolio. The ideal candidate will be a strong people leader, experienced in running a high paced finishing operation, as well as cash cropping and use of specialised forages. This role comes with a 4 bedroom house. For more information call Mary on 027 295 0824. To apply visit company#careers. Applications close 3rd June 2019. – 0800 85 25 80

An outline of Corteva Agriscience’s local and global business, plus position descriptions are available by verbal request. To inquire in strict confidence, please phone Deb Francis from AgRecruit on 021 224 5000. Otherwise send your CV with covering letter via by Thursday 13 June.

We specialise in agri-business

Farmers Weeekly




Rural Directions seek Trustee applications for the Future Farming Charitable Trust (FFCT). The Trust is the nominated mechanism to further the mission and vision of the Hawke’s Bay Future Farmers Initiative Establishment Working Group (FFIWG). The FFIWG was established pursuant to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s longterm plan, the Council has seed funded the initiative for a period of 3 years however the Charitable Trust is independent of the Council.

Tupu ake mai raro - growing from the bottom Arahihia mai runga - leading from the top

The ambition of FFIWG is to make Hawke’s Bay’s food producers the pride of our entire community. To shine a light on our region’s existing and emerging agricultural expertise and create a local hub of knowledge, research, education and opportunity for profitable and resilient farming that ensures the health of the region’s soil and water, communities and farmers into the future.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is searching for two new members to join the Investment Advisory Panel that supports Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures).

The FFCT will be made up of 6-8 Trustees and we seek applications across the breadth of the primary sector. It is desirable that the board is selected by way of diverse sector representation and recognises the requirement to foster governance development with a cross section of experience and youth. Applicants should be Hawke’s Bay residents committed to the proposition that growing / farming profitability and sustainability are interdependent.

Members will be selected to ensure a diverse panel in respect of experience, skills and demographics.

SFF Futures invests in transformative programmes to deliver significant sustainable benefits in the primary industries. The Investment Advisory Panel (IAP) is an independent body appointed by the Minister of Agriculture. The IAP plays an important role in the success of SFF Futures, by providing expert advice regarding funding proposals and active projects. Across the IAP, what we’re looking for includes: • general knowledge and understanding of NZ’s primary industries – capabilities, challenges, and opportunities • experience in Māori agri-business • experience in the business, science, community and government sectors • knowledge of current and future trends in the international food, fibre, and agri-business markets • environmental sustainability principles and challenges

The Trust offers the exposure to both innovation and governance; we seek an enabling attitude, integrity, energy and a genuine desire to link the producer, community and consumer via an innovative initiative.

Each individual IAP member must have the following skills and attributes: • understanding of the principles of governance, public accountability and risk management • effective communication skills, including the ability to reason objectively and convey ideas clearly and accurately • strong relationship management skills, including working effectively with peers

There is an information pack with further detail on the Rural Directions website. A Trustee position description will be provided to shortlisted applicants. To view an Information Pack or to apply, please visit or phone the Rural Directions team in confidence on 06 871 0450 (Reference #2490). Applications close 5pm, Monday 10th June 2019.

The appointment is scheduled to commence in October 2019. To find out more about the role and get a copy of the position description; or for inquiries please contact To apply please email your expression of interest and CV to LK0097810©


Future Farming Charitable Trust

RECRUITMENT & HR Register to receive job alerts on

Applications close 5pm, Friday 28 June 2019. The Ministry for Primary Industries is a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone’s differences are valued and respected. We welcome enquiries from everyone and value diversity in the workforce and we are willing to consider flexible working arrangements. MPI is an employer of choice.

Tuhonohono Connect

Manaakitanga Respect

Whakamahi Deliver

Whakapono Trust

Growing and Protecting New Zealand





FLY OR LICE problem? Electrodip - The magic eye sheepjetter since 1989 with unique self adjusting sides. Incredible chemical and time savings with proven effectiveness. Phone 07 573 8512 w w w. e l e c t r o d i p . c o m

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Saleyard Manager to join our Frankton Saleyard Team. You will be responsible for carrying out the management of day-today Saleyard operations. This will include managing the Saleyards team to ensure the safe and efficient conduct of the livestock sale.

The applicant must have experience handling livestock,



agricultural worker. The farm is an extensive 1200ha of hill country only 20 minutes from Contact Debbie Brown 06 323 0765 town. We calve 800 fully performance recorded or email classifi Station Manager Hereford cows and lamb 500 ewes. LK0092630©

Contact Debbie Brown 06 323 0765 or email

The Role You will be in charge of this 7500su property and will work with one other staff member, who you will assist in appointing. The operation will have a 70:30 sheep to cattle ratio but the policy is being fine-tuned and you will be part of this journey. You will have a supportive team at all levels from governance, advisory and office support to work with to ensure that the operation can achieve its goals. This would suit someone looking to take the next step in their career and you will have strengths in maximising stock performance, utilising the latest technology, planning, organisation and communication with the wider team. In return we will offer excellent remuneration, a quality four bedroom home, access to further training and the opportunity to be part of a wider group of farms. Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ work visa and will be required to have a clear pre-employment drug test.


Applications close Monday 3rd June 2019.


GORSE SPRAYING SCRUB CUTTING. 30 years experience. Blowers, gun and hose. No job too big. Camp out teams. Travel anywhere if job big enough. Phone Dave 06 375 8032.

FOR FARMERS & HUNTERS When only the best will do!

NATIVE FOREST FOR MILLING also Macrocarpa and Red Gum, New Zealand wide. We can arrange permits and plans. Also after milled timber to purchase. NEW ZEALAND NATIVE TIMBER SUPPLIERS (WGTN) LIMITED 04 293 2097 Richard.


Shepherd General – 490ha

GOATS WANTED GOATS WANTED. All weights. All breeds. Prompt service. Payment on pick up. My on farm prices will not be beaten. Phone David Hutchings 07 895 8845 or 0274 519 249. Feral goats mustered on a 50/50 share basis.


12 MONTHS TO 5½-yearold Heading dogs and Huntaways wanted. Phone 022 698 8195. BUYING 350 DOGS annually. No one buys or pays more! 07 315 5553. Mike Hughes.

FARM SERVICES /SUPPLIES TARPAULINS PVC TARPS. All sizes. Top quality Ripstop PVC.NZ Made. Phone for quote Westlorne Ohakune 06 385 8487. or email: westlorne@xtra. Free delivery North Island. FOR ONLY $2.10 + gst per word you can book a word only ad in Farmers Weekly Classifieds. Phone Debbie on 0800 85 25 80 to book.

FERTILISER DOLOZEST® AND CalciZest from Functional Fertiliser 0800 843 809. Keep growing soil! www.

NZ KELP. FRESH, wild ocean harvested giant kelp. The world’s richest source of natural iodine. Dried and milled for use in agriculture and horticulture. Growth promotant / stock health food. As seen on Country Calendar. Orders to: 03 322 6115 or

LAND WANTED LAND WANTED FOR leasing. 300-3000ha. Trusted farming group experienced in leasing. References available. Market rates reflecting land type. Phone 021 228 2573.

LEASE COWS WANTED APPROX 40 LEASE cows wanted for 2018/19 season on OAD operation in Matiere, Taumarunui. Prefer Jersey or Kiwi cross. Phone Sean 07 893 7515.


Te Paiaka Lands Trust runs a drystock farming operation located right on the edge of Rotorua. The operation carries a total of 7000su comprising dairy heifer grazing, steer finishing and breeding ewes. The Role The Trust is seeking a Shepherd General to assist the Farm Manager in the day-to-day operation of the farm. The successful applicant will have a broad range of skills including fencing and general farm maintenance as well as 1-2 dogs to assist with stock work. You will need to be an excellent communicator with an eye for detail and be up to speed with the latest farming practices. We offer a great package including fair remuneration, a new house (being built) and a great working environment. Rarely do such positions become available that enable you to be part of a solid and diverse farming operation and have all the opportunities of a thriving city right on your doorstep.







Our homes are built using the same materials & quality as an onsite build. Easily transported to almost anywhere in the North Island. Plans range from one bedroom to four bedroom First Home – Farm House Investment – Beach Bach

Call or email us for your free copy of our plans Email: Phone: 07 572 0230 Web:

TO SAV $3 E U 50 P +G ST

Free Freight Nationwide on Mowers until end of June 13.5HP. Briggs & Stratton Motor. Electric start. 1.2m cut


12Hp Diesel. Electric Start

SCOTTY’S CONTRACTORS Under Woolshed/ Cover Yards Cleaning Specialist

All standard pre-employment checks will be required.

Now in Tolaga and Tokomaru Bay area

Applications close at 5.00pm Friday 31 May. For further information phone 027 229 8325 Please forward your application and CV to: Farm Vacancy (0520) PO Box 976, Rotorua or email to:






11.5HP Briggs & Stratton Motor. Industrial. Electric start.






To find out more visit LK0097766©

Due to this exciting opportunity they require a Manager to come on board and take this already high performing farm to the next level.

E N G I N E E R I N G BUSINESS for sale. Sheet Metal, stainless steel and aluminium fabrication, East Auckland area. Established 40+ years ago. Servicing the marine, automotive, building and hospitality sectors. Currently owned and managed by an ex dairy farmer. If you are looking for a change in lifestyle, respectable hours and 5 days a week if you choose. No more worries about mud, mastitis or M. Bovis. Please reply with expression of interest to



Our clients have large scale, sheep and beef operations located in the heart of the King Country spread over three farms and they are on a pathway to maximising operational excellence. They have recently formed a partnership and purchased a neighbouring farm located just 35 minutes from Te Kuiti with take over this winter.

Applications with reference #0386 including CV can be sent to: AgFirst, PO Box 976, Rotorua or to

Apply by Email with CV, Cover letter and 2 referees to: before June 10, 2019. Phone 06 8747844 for more information.

Sheep and Beef Farm Manager – 707ha


021 441 180 (JC)

At Koanui you will be part of a dynamic work team. We strive for a high standard of farm management and top genetics. A competitive salary package based on your level of experience is negotiable. Accommodation is available on a school bus route. Start date ASAP.

14-MONTH HEADING bitch, tri colour. Good on cattle. $1000. 7-YEAROLD Heading dog. $2000. Phone 06 388 7552. Evenings. BEARDIE HUNTAWAY bitch, 3 years, spayed, whistle commands. Phone 06 328 9878 or 027 657 7388. Feilding. HEADING BITCH, 4 months old, had three vaccines good breeding, parents hard on cattle, started training. $500 Phone 06 752 5837. HUNTAWAYS AND HEADING dogs. Deliver South & North Island. trial, guaranteed. www. mikehughesworkingdog/ videos 07 315 5553.


Phone 027 367 6247 • Email:

Ph: Scott Newman 027 26 26 272 0800 27 26 88 NZ’s #1 service provider for under woolshed cleaning for more than a decade


Employers: Advertise your vacancy in the employment section of the Farmers Weekly and as added value it will be uploaded to for one month or close of application.




DAGS .30c PER KG. Replacement woolpacks. PV Weber Wools. Kawakawa Road, Feilding. Phone 06 323 9550.


udly NZ Madew Pro Since 1975

We need someone who is: • Skilled at riding a two-wheeled motorbike. • Confident and calm working with cattle. • Experienced with 8 wire fencing. • Proactive with general farm maintenance. • Has a Current Full Driver’s License.


FAST GRASS GROWTH PROMOTANT Only $6.00 per hectare + GST delivered Brian Mace 0274 389 822

0800 436 566

For a delivered price call ....


Employers: Advertise your vacancy in the employment section of the Farmers Weekly Sharemilker and as added value it will be uploaded to SHEPHERD/GENERAL WANTED for one month or Our large Beef Breeding operation near Sheep Dairy Opportunity Havelock North requires a skilled and practical close of application.

Shepherd General


BOOK AN AD. For only $2.10 + gst per word you can book a word only ad in Farmers Weekly Classifieds section. Phone Debbie Brown on 0800 85 25 80 to book in or email

NZ’s finest BioGro certified Mg fertiliser


Saleyard Manager farmer owned, very competitive prices. Phone 0800 4 DRENCH (437 362).

CRAIGCO SHEEP JETTERS. Sensor Jet. Deal to fly and Lice now. Guaranteed performance. Unbeatable pricing. Phone 06 835 6863.

• 2019 Trainee Programme - Livestock be able to carry out or oversee repairs and maintenance. Representative You should have excellent communication and • Agribusiness organisational skills. This role requires knowledge and •Agricultural Agronomy Assistant management of all compliance issues relevant to the • Analyst saleyards environment. •Agribusiness Dairy This is a salaried position of 40 hours per week with the • General Maintenance potential for an agreed overtime rate. Remuneration will Farm Manager • Livestock Specialist reflect the successful applicants experience. •General ManagerManager If this sounds like an opportunity for you, please • Pasture and Grazing Specialist email your CV and cover letter, or any questions •Operations Sharemilker Manager to: • Shepherd or phone 027 777 8285 •Other Shepherd/General








LOOKING FOR A suitable farm in the lower North Island. Any size up to approximately 500 acres. Experienced in leasing. Innovative and open to developing land in partnership if required. Phone Michael 027 223 6156. FARMERS WEEKLY Classifieds. Phone Debbie on 0800 85 25 80 to book.

LIMOUSIN-NORTH ISLAND Bull Trial Sale. Thurs 6 June. 1pm at 26 Buckingham Rd, Mangatawhiri. Catalogue:

LIVESTOCK FOR SALE WILTSHIRES-ARVIDSON. Self shearing sheep. No1 for Facial Eczema. David 027 2771 556.




LIVESTOCK FOR SALE – CAPITAL STOCK 90 x Mixed Age South Devon Cows $1150.00 VIC to South Devon & Hereford Bulls Bull in 20/10/18, out 30/12/18 Big frame cows in store condition Average age 5-6 years. Location Whangarei.



Also available on quote: 90 x Mixed Aged Angus Cows For further details, please contact:


HAY 12 EQUIVALENT squares $70. 15 equivalent rounds $75. STRAW 12 equivalents $55. BALEAGE at $80. Unit loads available. Phone 021 455 787.




HOUSE FOR REMOVAL wanted. North Island. Phone 021 0274 5654.





Colin Turner 0274 927 779 e :



Phone: Address: Email: Heading: Advert to read:

LOT 16

LOT 18

Colvend Angus established in 2016 on females from the Oakview, Turihaua and Springdale Studs. Colvend Shorthorns established in 2000. Successes at Beef Expo 3 Supreme Champion bulls and 2 Reserve Champions. BVD tested free. TB C10

ALAN & VAL PARK • PH 07 894 6030 841 Tapuiwahine Valley Road Ongarue, Taumarunui E:

Colvend Shorthorn & Angus Stud


RANUI Bull Sale

Thursday 6th June 2019 2.30pm at Benmore, Cheviot

3.00pm Thursday, 6th June Karamu, 662 Rangitatau East Rd,Wanganui

Riverlands J Angus – 21 bulls –

• • • •

Grassmere Poll Herefords – 11 bulls – Capethorne Poll Herefords – 10 bulls –

• • • •

Bulls displayed on concrete Hard surface in sale ring. Feet visible BVD Tested Antigen Clear & Vaccinated 3-year Guarantee for soundness & fertility

“Internationally proven from sea level to snow line” Enquiries to:


Capethorne: Greg & Debbie Chamberlain P: 03 319 8500 M: 021 549 229 Riverlands J and Grassmere: Chris & Amanda Jeffries P 03 319 8585 M: 027 460 8849

All bulls are semen and service tested Scanned for carcase Independently inspected Cow herds run under commercial conditions

Lin Johnstone Phone: 027 445 3213 Lindsay Johnstone Phone: 027 445 3211 PGG Wrightson Agents Callum Stewart Ph: 027 280 2688 Ken Roberts Ph: 027 591 8042



LOT 10


Advertise in the Farmers Weekly $2.10 + GST per word - Please print clearly

Sale Catalogue online:

NETHERTOWN ANGUS TUESDAY 4TH JUNE 2019 - 2.30PM Jennifer, Fred, and Chris Chesterman invite you to our sale.

SALE DATE: Thursday June 13th, 2019 at 1.00pm

70 Bulls on Farm Auction

AT 6402 Hyde-Middlemarch Road, RD 1, MIDDLEMARCH 9596

In conjunction with Foulden Hill Herefords

“The Sale Shed” 811 Maraetotara Road, Havelock North. Ph: 06 874 7844 Mobile: 027 4888 635 Email:

ON ACCOUNT OF Lindsay Carruthers Ph 03 464 3885, Mob 0274 643 885


Return this form either by fax t 06 323 7101 attention Debbie Brown Post to Farmers Weekly Classifieds, PO Box 529, Feilding 4740 - by 12pm Wednesday or Freephone 0800 85 25 80

38 – 0800 85 25 80


FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019

Buyers influence bull breeder Colin Williscroft THE benefit of experience has helped to ensure the bulls available at Ngakouka Herefords’ third annual sale later this month are looking great. There are 18 R2 bulls up for auction on-farm at Mironui Station, between Dannevirke and Weber, on May 30 and Ngakouka owners Bruce and Chrissina Donald say this year they have captured more consistent substance and volume across the line. “We are delighted with how the bulls are tracking, showing great growth and condition.” Experience gained from the first two sales gave Bruce a better understanding of what bulls need and when they need it by so they are in prime condition at the time of the sale. Bred on medium to steep hill country, Ngakouka cattle are not only strong and reliable they are street wise when it comes to hill country and coming off the property will be ready to go from the start, needing no conditioning. Proven bloodlines are at the heart of the operation guaranteeing high-quality genetics. Those genetics shone through at the recent Future Beef New Zealand Hoof and Hook

You’ve got to look at the animal and the science and be confident in the type you want. HAPPY: Bruce and Chrissina Donald are delighted with the bulls they will auction at Mironui Station on Thursday.

Bruce Donald Ngakouka Herefords competition, with Ngakouka picking up a swag of awards. The Donalds put plenty of emphasis on the cattle’s structural conformation, soft skins and hair types and heavily muscled back ends in the belief those traits help produce easy doing and fleshy cattle. Sires are selected with that type of animal in mind. The dam line of a potential sire is assessed on fertility then EBVs are considered once the visual appraisal has been ticked off. This year they had one dry cow out of 110, with five sets of twins. EBV traits looked at seriously are milk, fats and scrotum size because they have a big influence on other EBVs, which means selecting those first will benefit the rest. All annual calf drops are DNA profiled, which guarantees parentage. The DNA is also tested for tenderness gene markers with

the bulls being used at Mironui scoring extremely high. It’s all very well having the scientific information but it’s what you do with it that’s important, Bruce said. There’s got to be some science behind it all and Ngakouka Herefords uses that information to back up its ability to breed quality stock suited to the operation. “You’ve got to look at the animal and the science and be confident in the type you want.” Bruce is a strong believer in the qualities Herefords bring. Not only are they excellent

“The proof is in the

cattle to deal with and an absolute pleasure to handle, they tick a raft of commercial breeders’ boxes. They are fertile with a great mothering ability and are excellent forages with sought-after carcase attributes. “For commercial farmers, that’s what they want.” All cows at Ngakouka are subject to the same pressures expected of any commercial cattle, Apart from mating in the first two cycles and calving the cows have sheep in front or under them all year, which helps find the true performers, making culling easier. The average price for bulls at Ngakouka’s first sale in 2017 was $4800, with heifers

$2040. There was a total clearance of heifers and 17 of 19 bulls sold. The sale was well supported by both the Dannevirke community and beef breeders from Wairarapa, King Country and Hawke’s Bay. The following year the 15 bulls were sold for an average of $5500 to Levin, Gisborne, Wairoa, Martinborough and Wellington buyers and others in between. This year’s sale is expected to attract farmers from Gisborne and to Te Awamutu along with interest from the South Island. It’s hoped the rise in the average sale price will continue. Viewing for this year’s sale starts at 8am, with the sale to begin at 10am.



495 Potaka Road, RD 1, Aria, King Country Ph/fax (07) 877 7881 Email:


Sound well fleshed sires, Excellent temperament 200 Fully breedplan recorded cows 20 Bulls Catalogued

> Genuine full shed sheep > No shearing > No dagging > No dipping





find out more at:

Making Black Better!








Bull Sale – 4th June 12 noon, On Farm Tiraumea

Fully Guaranteed Service & Semen Tested TB Clear C10 EBL & BVD Tested & Vaccinated Free Delivery (NI) Stuart Robbie 027 848 4408 Douglas & Dara 06 376 7765




FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019 – 0800 85 25 80


Weaner fairs wrap up for the season Mel Croad SALE yards have been brimming with freshly weaned calves for the better part of three months. It has been well documented that weaner prices have been back on previous years, reflecting the change in market conditions. There have been several factors influencing the softer market tone, namely drier conditions, a focus on margins and softer farmgate beef prices. However, as farmgate prices firmed into May, in stark contrast to last year, it injected some life into the last of the fairs. As a result some weaners were attracting higher prices than calves sold in April. In general, at the sale yards AgriHQ covers the top end of the market still managed to range between $1000-$1200/head but with much less frequency than in previous years.

That dropped averages well below the $1000/head mark. Bidders were also more selective on lighter weight calves and many of those types failed to match year-ago levels. Weaner fairs dominated by dairy-beef cattle, regardless of their location, appeared the hardest hit in values compared to previous years. The average beef weaner steer and heifer values at Stortford Lodge were back by only $50$100/head on 2018 levels. At Feilding the average beef steer and heifer prices were back $65/head and $45/head respectively, year-on-year, but both were down $170/head on 2017 levels. At Temuka weaner steer and heifer values were on average down $130-$140/head respectively, year-on-year. Canterbury Park also recorded a drop in average weaner values of $140-$150/head.

SELECTIVE: Value at fairs dominated by dairy-beef cattle were hardest hit. Photo: Georgia Hendrie

Feilding and Temuka sale yards record the largest volumes of weaners to pass through in one season. Feilding’s tally this year was just above 16,000 head while Temuka pushed back closer to the 10,000 head mark. The dominant breed sold at those two yards is Angus, as is often the case at other sale yards across the country. For the last three years Angus weaner calves have made up 3040% of the yarding at Feilding. Angus and Angus-Hereford take out second spot, Charolais-cross and Simmental-cross fourth and fifth spots respectively. The dominance of traditional breeds is also apparent at Temuka where over the last three years 4752% of the weaner yardings were

Angus calves, followed closely by Angus-Hereford calves and Hereford calves. Charolais and Simmental calves round out fifth and six spots. In terms of throughput, in the North Island most of the sale yards recorded lower numbers than last year. However, in regions where beef cow numbers have either been maintained or had some resurgence, weaner tallies were still significantly higher than in 2017. The strength of the market in 2017, when weaner prices peaked, clearly influenced a lift in the volume of cattle sold as weaners in subsequent fairs. It also backs up anecdotal evidence that breeding cow numbers have grown over this

LATE: Some life was put into sales in May, AgriHQ analyst Mel Croad says.

period in some regions. In the South Island weaner numbers sold at most key sale yards were up on last year and reflective of a more pronounced revival of breeding cow numbers in recent years.


Martin & Mary Taylor PH:06 8555322 E: View Online:

Lot 16


Lot 5

29 Powerful Poll Hereford Sires

Glenbrae Annual Bull Sale 1019 Mangaorapa Rd, Porangahau. Thursday 2pm. 30th May 2019


BULL WALK OPEN DAY 23RD MAY, 10AM-4PM Waipapa Station, 163 Clemett Road, Te Akau W: E:

Contact: Roger and Susan Hayward – 07 8282 131

AGENTS: Richard Johnston, PGG Wrightson 0274443570 Callum Dunnett, Carrfields 0275870131



FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019


Wanted 2018 Spring Born Friesian Heifers

3rd Annual Bull Sale 11th June 2019, 1.30pm

F12 $1,125 F8-F11 $1,000 North Island Tim Brandon 0274 437 420 South Island T J Visser 027 314 8833


Held under cover on farm 2354 Rangiwahia Rd Rangiwahia, Manawatu

Australasian Global Exports

41 Rising 2yr bulls

20 R2yr Polled Hereford Bulls

Friday 7th June @ 1.30pm on farm, Pahiatua

Email for a catalogue: Mark Crooks PGG Wrightson 027 590 1452

Chris McBride Carrfields 027 565 1145

Enquiries & Visitors Welcome Murray & Fiona Curtis 06 328 2881 or 027 228 2881

44 ANGUS 2-YEAR-OLD BULLS FRIDAY 14TH JUNE AT 1PM 839 VALLEY ROAD, HASTINGS Contact: Will MacFarlane 06 874 8762



Daimien & Tally 06 376 8400 021 430 710

Selling Agents: Carrfields Livestock: Bruce Orr 027 492 2122 Lindsay Bensemann 027 484 0551 Dan Warner 027 826 5768 NZ Farmers Livestock: John Watson 027 494 1975 Brent Bougen 027 210 4698




Have you got a sale coming up? Advertise in Farmers Weekly

86a Thames Road - Paeroa - 20th June 2019- 1pm

Wa i t aw h e t a A n g u s On Farm 2yr Angus Bull Sale - 26 Bulls Bulls Sired By:

Waitawheta H8 ET - Waitawheta D12 - Basin Paycheck 5249 Kowai Trust 484 - Glanworth Waigroup 1213 Waimata E230 - MF Wallace 2014 Best offering of Waitawheta Angus Bulls to date

LIVESTOCK ADVERTISING Advertise your stock sales in Farmers Weekly

To advertise

Contact: Alistair & Pat Sharpe 07 863 7954 or 021 054 7862 Kevin Fathers 0272 799 800 - Brent Bougen 027 210 4698 - NZ Farmers Livestock Stud Stock

If you are looking for Pure NZ Genetics with substance and constitution we recommend you attend this sale.

Phone Nigel 0800 85 25 80 or email

Hinewaka Shorthorns 16th ANNUAL BULL SALE Wednesday 5th June 3pm – on farm


20 R2YR BULLS View online catalogue at and visit our facebook page

David, Pip & Mitch Blackwood – Ph: 06 372 7615 456 Te Wharau Road, Masterton

5 625

p: 0272 53 eygenetic www.sudel etics sudeleygen




FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019



The children were lined up in the Catholic school cafeteria for lunch.

June 6th, 2019 2.00pm at Te Kuiti Saleyards 7 Hereford rising 2-year bulls

At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun posted a note on the apple tray: ‘Take only ONE. God is watching.’

Bull Sale

Enquiries: Bruce Masters 07 878 8502

A child had written a note, ‘Take all you want. God is watching the apples.

Kevin Mortensen PGG Wrightson 07 877 8205 027 473 5858 Cam Heggie PGG Wrightson 027 501 8182


Brent Wallbank NZ Farmers Livestock 027 488 1299

John Grainger PGG Wrightson 07 878 8969


SINCE 1979



If you’ve got a joke you want to share with the Farming community (it must be something you’d share with your grandmother...) then email us at: with Sale Talk in the subject line and we’ll print it and

Further along the lunch line at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.



Here at Farmers Weekly we get some pretty funny contributions to our Sale Talk joke from you avid readers, and we’ve keen to hear more!

at Kairuru,28Reporoa (m R2YR BULLS

26th March a FREE DELIVERY


Strathmoor Polled

Or agents: Brent Bougen NZ Farmers Livestock 027 210 4698 – 0800 85 25 80



KEVIN & JANE MCDONALD (REPOROA) 07 333 8068 • 027 451 0640 JEFF & NICOLA McDONALD 021 510 351 •

credit it to you. Conditions apply


C E L E B R AT I N G 6 9 Y E A R S O F B R E E D I N G H I S T O RY


S E C O N D O N FA R M S A L E T U E S DAY 1 1 T H J U N E 2 0 1 9 , 1 0 . 3 0 A M 1 0 2 L AW S R O A D , D A N N E V I R K E

Steak of Origin 2017 Gold and bronze medals and ‘Most Tender Steak’ in Competition Steak of Origin 2018 Gold, Silver & Bronze medals. 2nd place in Grand Final

d if SED Oie rt CLe ISc P TEeDf,r ePI M TEv % ISo 0 V is 10 M O . -B E M m-B EGATh IV D . N d er HE cRlDose

Docile, easy calve Bulls and semen available All bulls growth recorded, breed plan, muscle and fat scanned. BVD blood tested and vaccinated, lepto vaccinated, TB status C10

“ A Consumer orientated breeding programme

using proven performance genetics to enhance commercial returns for our clients

Thursday 6th June 2019 PORI - PAHIATUA

65 - 2yr old bulls for sale

Steak of Origin 2017, Gold and Bronze medals and ‘Most Enquiries, inspection welcome, contact: Tender Steak’ in Competition. Steak of Origin 2018, Gold, INSPECTIONS WELCOME Graeme Dyke 06 376 3966 | Email Silver & Bronze medals. 2ND place in Grand Final.

ALL Bulls are i50K tested for enhanced EBVs

Enquiries and Inspection Welcomed:

Contact John & Joss Bayly,


Docile, easy calve Bulls and semen available. All bulls growth recorded, breed plan, muscle and fat scanned. BVD blood tested and vaccinated, lepto vaccinated, TB status C10.

Waitangi Angus Ph 09 402 7552, Bay of Islands : Email

13 in-calf R2yr heifers 13 heifer calves

Willy Philip 102 Laws Road, Dannevirke Ph: 06 374 8857 Email:

Enquiries, inspection welcome, contact: Graeme Dyke 06 376 3966 Email

For Sale

Registered Polled Herefords

88 G3 Frsns cows with A2A2 content BW56


PW59 DTC 1/8 17yrs LIC, 400ms. Spring calving


content out of split calving herd Mid-June Delivery $1750 35 Xbred I/C heifers BW145 PW168 RA100% DTC 20/7 Top hfrs, herd sold last season $1500 21 F/FX I/C Hfrs BW60 PW74 DTC 1/7 $1200


07 333 8068 7

72 R1yr mixed brd calves BW149 PW145 $Offers

On Farm Bull Sale

Paul Kane: 027 286 9279 National Dairy Coordinator 18 Frsn I/C hfrs BW90 PW93 DTC 18/7

45 Quality Rising 2yr Bulls

Well grown $1200 70 Frsn /FrsnX cows BW67 PW116 DTC 14/7 400+ms. $1500 170 Frsn/Frsnx Herd BW78 PW124 DTC 15/7

Sire – Springdale Dandaloo 472

6wks AB, good condition, 20/6 del. $1800 Matt Hancock Ph:027 601 3787

58 Top Quality CRV R1 Xbred calves

Lepto & 10 in 1 Vaccinated

CRL urgent sale $550 35 Top Frsn I/C Hfrs BW96 $1475 pay 20th Sept

Free North Island Delivery

150-180 Jersey – Xbred Herd Brent Espin Ph: 027 551 3660 Taranaki Regional Manager

Sires of Sale Bulls

Rangatira 14-254 • Kaharau 12-40 • Kaharau 179 • Stokman Thunder L159 Stokman Intensity L169 • Springdale Clarion 244 Springdale Dandaloo 468 • Springdale Dandaloo 472

Wanted Capital line of Jersey in calf R2 heifers must be fully recorded.

Catalogue available online at: LK0096437©

Capital lines of X Bred R2 heifers

Dairy Coordinator

Lot 3 – Springdale Victor 628


TB C10


Philip Webb Ph: 027 801 8057

Thursday 30th May 2019 Ngakonui – 12 Noon

BVD Tested & Vaccinated

Waikato Dairy Coordinator

Central & Southern North Island

John Philip 923 Mangatuna Road Dannevirke Ph: 06 374 2861


Ian & Karenne Borck –1094 Taringamotu Rd, RD4 Taumarunui 3994 Ph/Fax: 07 895 3452 ~ Email: Website: ~ Or your local agent


42 – 0800 85 25 80


FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019

Red Oak



FE Tolerant RW Rom & Terminal Ram 14/04 – Priced to SELL 56 R2YR FRES BULLS 325kg

14thbulls Annualavailable Bull Sale Another great line-up of quality by these outstanding sires

Friday 16th June 2017 3pm on-farm 40 meaty hill-country 2yr old bulls





Stud cow with a hill-country bull calf from this season


R2YR FRIESIAN BULLS 400-480kg R2YR ANG & AX STEERS 460-500kg

All seasons at Red Oak - dry and snow

Red Oak Meaty 293



Ross Dyer 0274 333 381


A Financing Solution For Your Farm E

At Red Oak we breed cattle that are run commercially on hill country up to 2600 Ft . They compete with large sheep numbers, 66% sheep to 33% cattle stock units, and are exposed to all conditions from 2 year droughts to snow as the pictures indicate. We select cattle that thrive in this environment and deliver top actual growth and scanning data. We are proud of the raw actual data our cattle achieve which is always available for potential clients to observe. We don’t believe in, or hide behind estimates as they have failed to deliver results under our conditions.It is easy to breed pieces of paper but a bit harder to breed decent cattle! The results of this, breed bulls like Herdsire ; Red Oak High Country 770 (pictured), Outstanding sons will be available for sale this season.

Breakfast and viewing from 7am

Combining old NZ bloodlines, common sense stockmanship and modern technologies to produce functional high performinghill country cattle!

Rick & Deb Orr

Red Oak High Country 770

Red Oak, Weka Pass, RD3, Amberley Phone: 03 314 6759 Mobile: 0272 457 751


16th Annual Bull Sale

PHOTO TO BE SUPPLIED Kate Taylor (2/3 Feb 2015)

Friday 14th June 2019 at 3pm 40 meaty hill-country 2 year old bulls

Trade livestock online with bidr® – your new real-time auction platform.

Combining old NZ Bloodlines, common sense stockmanship and modern technologies to produce functional high performing hill country cattle!

JUSTIN & MEG KING, 34 PAULSEN ROAD, TAKAPAU P: (06) 855 8288 | M: 027 248 8400 | E:


Red Oak 949, Red Oak 11, Meadowslea 179, Waitawheta K144, Waitawheta K25, Red Oak 278

Rick and Deb Orr Red Oak, Weka Pass RD 3, Amberley Phone: 03 314 6759 Mobile: 027 245 7751 LK0097819©


Inspection and enquiries always welcome

2019 Bull Sale 6th June 11.30am


312 Tutaenui Road, Marton


40 BULLS Lot 3:

Bond N38


Steakhouse N46

34 Quiet Meaty Bulls

View Catalogue:

EDWARD SHERRIFF 06 3276591 or 021 704778

Enquiries and viewing welcome, contact:

RODDY 06 372 7533 or NEIL 06 372 2838 Check us out on

TE WHANGA ANGUS power plus performance

OREGON 130.71x100angus 0097594 Oregon Angus


Tuesday 4th June 2019 – 3pm

23, 2 year old Angus Bulls

JASON COFFEY 691 Te Kopi Rd, RD4, Masterton P. 06 372 77 20 M. 0274 570 526









FARMERS WEEKLY – May 27, 2019 – 0800 85 25 80


SHIAN ANGUS Annual On Farm Sale - Thursday 30th May 2019 @ 3pm Bid, buy, sell all things rural

Meads Road Taumarunui

LIVESTOCK TRANSPORTING OPPORTUNITY Horses, cattle, sheep and all other farm animals. Transporting for Lifestyle block owners. Low loader, no loading race required. Can be operated in any region. Owner retiring after 30 years. American-type Gooseneck trailer. Full accommodation complete with Mitsi tractor unit $60,000 as a going concern, includes registered company name. Please phone 0274 967 388

43 BULLS FOR SALE Enquiries & inspections are always welcomed

Contact: Brian & Sharon Sherson 07 895 7686 Rob & Tracy 07 895 6694/ 027 230 8230 Email: / Find us on

sons of KATOOMBA K312 Top selling bull Banquet, Victoria 2016 - $31,000


Bulls Sired by: • Tangihau Kaino H29 • Kaharau 321 • Turiroa 13740 • Matauri Ulong JO58 • Libido tested & semen evaluated • Lepto & 10 in 1 vaccinated • Shian 609 • TB C10, BVD tested & vaccinated • Free delivery North Island • Shian 446

Hillcroft Angus Hillcroft Angus Hill Country Specialists Hill Country Specialists

Lot 2 Tag 127-17

Est.Est 1960 1960

Lot 1 Tag 84-17

PICTURED: Rangatira 13-4

A couple of great sons of new sire Rangatira 14-206

Bull Sale Annual Annual Bull Sale Tues 5 June 2018, Midday

Sires Salebulls bulls: Sires of ofsale Rangatira 13-50

Rangatira 14-206 Rangatira 13-50 Tues 4 June7352019, Midday Rangatira (sonCobra of Cobra) Matahuru Rd, Ohinewai Rangatira 13-4 (son of 13-4 Kaharau 546) Stern 358, Meadowslea All bulls fertility tested and fully guaranteed 820 Waiterimu Rd, Ohinewai Stern 176 358 BVD tested clear and vaccinated twice

HillcroftAngus All bulls fertility and semen tested, fully guaranteed F Hillcroftangus BVD tested clear and twice vaccinated Malcolm & Fraser Crawford: Matahuru Rd, Ohinewai. Malcolm Ph 07 828 5709; Fraser Ph 0272 85 95 87

merchiston Selling 50 rising - 2 year Angus bulls

5th June 2019 - 2.30pm, on farm at Rata Enquiries welcome to - Richard Rowe

Ph: 06 322 8608 Mobile: 027 279 8841


see catalogue online -


Key: Dairy



130 Jsy Jsy X In Calf Cows PW 169


RA 97% DTC 8/7 to LIC 6 weeks, 310 M/S per cow. 3 digit herd code, farm sold, quality cows, ONO. Allan Jones – 027 224 0768 Agonline ref: 4072

Contact Paul Peterson 0274 449 176 PW 91


RA100% DTC 19/7 to LIC Jsy 4.5 weeks, 300 M/S per cow. Hilly farm, bigger stature cows.

Pinebank By Private Treaty Celebrating 100 years of breeding history 1919 - 2019

Wednesday 5th June 2.30pm On Farm Putorino Road, Rata Comprising: 51 Angus Bulls Also offering 24 R2yr Angus Hfrs, VIC to Angus bull 10/12

59 Frsn Frsn X, 3-8yr In Calf Cows BW 70

Glanworth on farm auction Thursday 27th June 2019 at 2.30pm



BW 137


Malcolm and Fraser Crawford: Matahuru Rd, Ohinewai Fraser 0272 85 95 87 • Malcolm 07 8285709

Matt Hughes – 027 405 2824 Agonline ref: 4066

For photos and more information on listings visit

FRSN/FRSN X IN CALF COWS Wednesday 29th May 11.00am Morrinsville Saleyards A/C Whynot Farm This has now been sold. Contact Dave Stuart 027 224 1049 or Matt Hughes 027 405 2824


The Bull Sales Specialists View upcoming bull sales Freephone 0800 10 22 76 |

Helping grow the country



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Seasons winding down NORTH ISLAND


HERE’S not much feed ahead of any class of stock in Northland. Apparently, the Far North has had its second lowest rainfall on record for the year to date and records began in 1938. Kaitaia and south are a little better off. The lack of kikuyu growth has been an issue but that short-term pain will be a longer-term gain in that clover and other grass growth will be better in late winter and early spring. There’s been no rain in South Auckland apart from rogue light showers in some places. Otherwise it’s been overcast and gloomy with mild days and light winds. Brassicas and lettuce plants are still going in the ground and more onions have been sown. Waikato looks a whole lot better than a month ago when things were a mess. Pasture covers have increased significantly so most farmers will hit target covers and cow condition for June. Farmers have made a big effort with supplementary feeding according to the farm consultant we talked to. Some dairy farmers who send cows to winter graze on sheep and beef farms are being caught out because drystock farms are short of feed so not entering grazing contracts or are taking fewer animals than usual. This week’s payout announcement was close to expectations for next season but farmers were certainly hoping for more this season. In Bay of Plenty the kiwifruit harvest is progressing well with beautiful clear days. The warmth means the fruit’s not maturing as fast as the pack houses would like. They want fruit with high sugar levels because it means they can store it for longer. Lots of workers are doing 70 hours a week to get through the work. Taranaki had thick fogs in the morning last week but it’s warm and grass is still growing well. Most herds are dried off. There’s very little grass in central King Country. Luckily, frosts haven’t hit yet.

Farmers are desperately trying to get cattle into the works to get the extra mouths off the farm but there’s a backlog to get stock killed. The East Coast is continuing to have beautiful weather. There are still a few paddocks of maize to be harvested. Surging seas are holding up logging boats – half a dozen were sitting at sea last week waiting for things to calm down before they got to the wharf for loading. The mandarin harvest is starting to really crank up and it’s nice and dry underfoot on orchards. Hawke’s Bay apple orchardists were thankful to get through the harvest with great weather. They were short of labour and any days lost with rain would have caused real headaches. Asian countries are very receptive to our apples this year and paying good money. China had a big frost last spring and because it grows half of the world’s apples losing about 20% of its production has had a huge impact. Conditions on Wairarapa dairy farms are more like early autumn than late autumn. It’s dry under foot and there’s enough grass around. Herds are being dried off now. Pasture covers are definitely lower than normal around Taihape. There was a green drought in autumn with very little rain then any follow up came too late to do much. Dams are low. Ewes have come through mating well but a number of hoggets have struggled or died with pneumonia. It was cold and rainy in Horowhenua last week but on dairy farms the grass is still growing more quickly than the cows are eating it. SOUTH ISLAND Apple packing continues in cool stores in Nelson and Motueka. Royal Gala and other early varieties are being pruned. Some people are tree training in younger orchards and pulling out blocks that haven’t performed well. Kiwifruit picking is over apart from a few blocks of green

Haywards. Overall, this season’s apples and kiwifruit are sweet with great flavour. Eastern Marlborough’s dry and warm. A farmer at Seddon says it’s hard yakka doing the fencing as the ground is like rock. There’s plenty of feed around for the dairy grazers being trucked in for winter and beef bulls have moved onto barley crops. Now the leaves are dropping in vineyards, pruning is full steam ahead in sauvignon blanc and pinot noir blocks and sheep have moved in to clean up between the rows. A number of dairy farms on the West Coast have dried off. Our contact near Lake Brunner says he’s still going but has already dried off any cows tired of being milked. The Westland Milk factory closes its doors on June 10. A few guys are putting urea onto paddocks because it apparently works as an antifreeze and stock are getting a top-up of supplementary feed. It’s been another great week in Canterbury with mild temperatures, the odd light frost and the grass is still growing. Dairy farmers are finding it odd drying off in these conditions, however, winter will come at some stage. Over the next couple of weeks a large volume of cows will be moved to winter grazing blocks. Conditions in South Otago last week were ideal for drying off cows with sunny days and little rain. Some herds have gone to winter run-offs while others are transitioning onto fodder beet. A farmer at Balclutha says it’s been an average season milk production wise but a mixed bag for other dairy farmers in the region. Some are down on last year and others way up. A farmer at Waimahaka in Southland says she dried off on Wednesday and the cows have moved onto the winter feed regime until milking begins again in August. Contract dairy farm staff are finishing up and moving to other jobs. On sheep farms the rams are still out and stock are behind hot wires on grass and swedes.

Courtesy of Radio New Zealand Country Life You can listen to Country Life on RNZ at 9pm every Friday and 7am on Saturday or on podcast at

Livestock Insight

Every week, we explain the context of the current market situation, drivers which are impacting the livestock markets and what to expect in the coming week.

Livestock Outlook

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ALL IN: Ricky Alabaster musters in the Kowhainui Station cows and calves the day before the Feilding weaner fair on Thursday, May 16.

We create transparency for the industry with these independent, objective reports providing full sale results and informed commentary covering 10 saleyards across NZ that are emailed directly after the sale.


FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Buyers front for final in-calf fair at Feilding Just like the weaner fairs the previous week, Feilding waved the last flag for the in-calf cow and heifer season last week. Close to 1100 were penned with almost a clean split down the middle for the R3 heifers and mixed age cows. Despite dry conditions those in the market for this type of cattle fronted up and most were sold for breeding. The top Angus and Angus and Angus-Hereford cows to an Angus bull reached $1240-$1290, while 36 R3 Angus to Angus bull topped the show at $1700. Other top Angus and Hereford heifers to an Angus bull reached $1610-$1690, while most other heifers traded at $1330-$1520. NORTHLAND Wellsford store cattle • R2 Angus and Angus-Hereford steers, 327-397kg, eased to $2.29$2.39/kg • R2 beef-dairy steers, 340-469kg, softened to $2.27-$2.46/kg • R2 Angus heifers, 304kg, held at $2.53/kg • R2 Friesian bulls, 434kg improved to $2.47/kg • Weaner Hereford-Friesian steers, 157-284kg, held at $585-$760 A mixed quality yarding of just over 460 cattle were penned at WELLSFORD last Monday. Most R2 heifers held at recent levels with Hereford-Friesian, 276-415kg, earning $2.31-$2.48/kg. Weaner dairy-beef steers, 150-213kg, sold well at $490-$600. Weaner heifers were steady for most with traditional, 143-154kg, at $435-$510, and beef-dairy, 121198kg, $295-$485. More vetted-in-calf and run-with-bull heifers and cows were on offer and all traded at improved levels. Traditional cows and heifers returned $900-$1085, $1.96-$2.03/kg. Kaikohe sale • 2-year white-faced and Angus heifers made $2.40-$2.50/kg • Boner cows lifted to $1.60-$1.70/kg • Yearling autumn born white-faced heifers made $2.50/kg There was around 500 head of cattle at last week’s KAIKOHE sale and in general the market was on par with the previous sale. The best 2-year white-faced steers earned $2.65-$2.75/kg, while the rest were around $2.40-$2.55/ kg. Beef-cross yearling steers sold for $2.80-$2.90/kg, while yearling Friesian bulls made $470-$480.

AUCKLAND Pukekohe • Best prime steers earned $2.67-$2.79/kg • Best prime heifers sold for $2.67-$2.74/kg • Boner cows softened to $1.22-$1.65/kg • R1 steers sold for $500-$635 Prime cattle sold well at last week’s PUKEKOHE sale, with demand strong despite the large numbers. The better prime steers and heifers were mostly steady, while the lesser steers made $2.38-$2.71/kg and heifers were $2.46-$2.70/kg. Store cattle were great buying despite decent quality. Crossbred weaner steers made $490-$530, while small steers were discounted to $200-$400.

WAIKATO Frankton cattle • R3 Hereford-Friesian steers, 441-500kg, improved to $2.63-$2.70/ kg • R2 traditional steers, 378-398kg, held at $2.61-$2.67/kg • R2 dairy-beef heifers, 268-453kg, improved to $2.49-$2.69/kg • Weaner Hereford-Friesian steers, 181kg, improved to $570 • Prime traditional steers, 536-648kg, sold well at $2.75-$2.78/kg A slightly increased yarding was on offer at FRANKTON last Wednesday, though with quality mixed throughout results varied. R2 Hereford-Friesian steers, 450-471kg, held at $2.71-$2.73/kg, as did traditional heifers, 352-418kg, $2.44-$2.64/kg. Friesian, 328-390kg, traded at $1.98-$2.15/ kg. Weaner Angus steers, 153kg, earned $420. Hereford heifers, 135-180kg, improved to $412-$545, with most

dairy-beef, 159-227kg, earning $490-$635. Weaner bulls eased with beef-cross, 237-257kg, down to $600-$670, and Friesian, 104-203kg, $230-$400. Dairy-beef bulls, 99-134kg, were solid at $410-$450. Prime dairy-beef steers, 525-576kg, softened to $2.43$2.66/kg, while Hereford-Friesian heifers varied as 515576kg eased to $2.51-$2.59/kg, and 435-456kg held at $2.68-$2.71/kg.

COUNTIES Tuakau sales • Good Angus steers, 519kg, made $1230 • Heavy prime steers sold to $2.85/kg • Top prime lambs fetch $195 • Heavy ewes returned $140-$190 TUAKAU drew a big yarding of 730 store cattle last Thursday, Chris Elliott of PGG Wrightson reported. Heavier cattle held value but prices for steers and heifers under 400kg eased. Steers in the 400-520kg range earned $2.70-$2.95/kg, with 300-400kg making $2.30-$2.77/kg. Weaner steers, 180-240kg, fetched $670-$750 and Friesian bulls, 200kg, $500. Most heifers in the 400-470kg range sold at $2.45-$2.65/kg and 300-400kg made $2.20-$2.60/ kg. Weaner heifers, 180kg, $540. Last Wednesday’s prime market was firm. Medium steers averaged $2.70/kg, with lighter making $2.50-$2.70/kg. Heavy heifers sold to $2.81/kg and lighter lots sold down to $2.40/kg. Beef cows returned $1.64-$2.12/ kg and well-conditioned Friesians, $1.70-$2.10/kg. Goodmedium cows fetched $1.50-$1.70/kg and light, $1.30$1.50/kg. Monday’s sheep market was strong. Good prime lambs made $145-$195, with medium earning $125-$145 and stores, $75-$127. Medium ewes returned $90-$140.

BAY OF PLENTY Rangiuru cattle and sheep • Prime Hereford cows, 527-547kg, strengthened to $2.06-2.12/kg • Boner Friesian cows, 480-580kg, sold for $1.71/kg • R2 Hereford-Friesian heifers, 345-430kg, firmed to $2.42/kg • Heavy prime lambs earned $151.50 -$168 Despite the proximity to winter, store market results were pleasing at RANGIURU on Tuesday. One line of 281kg R2 steers hit $3.08/kg, replicating prices briefly hit in early April. Double the number of prime and boner cattle were penned, with a significant lift in boner cow entries. A few purebred Hereford bulls made $3.00/kg, with other prime bulls achieving $2.62-$2.81/kg. Sheep volume also improved on last week’s sale with 419 sold. Prices for prime lambs dropped slightly across all classes, with the best price at $168.

TARANAKI Taranaki • Hereford-Friesian, 393-398kg, were in demand making $2.93$2.95/kg • Better R2 heifers made $2.63-$2.65/kg • Good quality Charolais-cross weaner heifers, 278kg, sold well at $790 The R2 steer market generally improved with most earning $2.71-$2.87/kg, although good quality types sold above this. Friesian boner cows were of better weights which lifted the market to $1.77-$1.79/kg, while limited prime steers also strengthened to $2.82-$2.83/kg.

POVERTY BAY Matawhero • Heavy male lambs mostly sold for $126-$130 • Heavy ewe lambs earned $116 • Prime lambs earned $120-$170 The volume of lambs on offer at last week’s MATAWHERO sale was down on recent weeks to 2835 head and in general the market softened slightly. Heavy cryptorchids were on offer and these sold well with most earning $149. Male lambs eased, with mediums at $111-$120. Ewe lambs varied although mediums lifted to $100-$106.


NUMBERS GAME: The PGW auctioneer team sells Ricky Alabaster Family Trust Angus steer calves at the Feilding weaner fair on Thursday, May 16.

Stortford Lodge prime sale • Very heavy cryptorchid lambs returned $174 • Very heavy male lambs held at $180.50-$203.50 • Top ewe and mixed sex lambs improved to $180-$195 • Very heavy ewes held at $180-$194.50 • Good to very good ewes traded at $130-$145 Throughput lifted in the sheep pens last Monday at STORTFORD LODGE, with strong demand throughout. Most ram lambs earned $157-$169, though a small top end pushed to $197.50-$201.50. Heavy ewe lambs were not far off their mixed sex counterparts at $136-$165, though good mixed sex eased to $127. Top ewes lifted to $220, while heavy types held at $151-$166. Light-medium eased to


FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


SUNSHINE AND LAMBS: Stock for sale at Stortford Lodge last week.

$100.50-$106. Just a smattering of cattle was on offer and eight Hereford bulls, 781-830kg, managed $2.59-$2.61/kg, with their sisters, 411-520kg, steady at $1.68-$1.83/kg. Stortford Lodge store cattle and sheep • Good to heavy cryptorchid, ram and wether lambs made $120$156 • Good ewe lambs firmed to $126-$139 • Mixed age Romney ewes, scanned 186%-188%, made $172-$176 • R2 Angus heifers, 330-420kg, eased to $2.62-$2.71/kg • Friesian cows, vetted-in-calf to Friesian bulls, sold for $1.81$1.86/kg Blue skies brought caution to the cattle market at STORTFORD LODGE last Wednesday, though there was no hesitation from local and outside buyers for lambs. Very few male lambs traded below $115, and good to heavy mixed sex earned $124-$147. Capital stock four-tooth Romney ewes, scanned 189%, fetched $180. Cattle volume fell to 200 head and cautious bidding resulted in a softer market. Selective bidding meant a wide variance in prices. Seven R2 Angus steers, 395kg, topped their section at $3.09/kg, and six four-year Angus cows to Angus bull sold for $1.96/kg, while their younger sisters, 511kg, made $2.34/kg.

MANAWATU Feilding prime • Prime Angus cows, 460-520kg, strengthened to $1.84-1.88/ kgBoner Friesian cows, 495-590kg, averaged $1.77/kg • Boner Friesian cows, 425-475kg, averaged$1.62/kg • Good and medium good ewes earned $119-$149 A smaller tally of cattle was present at FEILDING last Monday, with the total below 200 head. Small price rises featured across several categories, though steers and straight-beef heifers were rare. Most prime cows sold on a steady market at $1.67-$1.75/ kg. In-calf cow prices did not attract much of a premium, generally aligning with their empty contemporaries. The sheep section featured an extra 2000 lambs on offer over the previous week. Sellers were awarded a rise of $6 per head to a $167 median price. The main range for the good prime lambs was $163-$177, and $144.50-$158 for the next cut down. Top end ewes made $162-$171.50, and low end $100-$113. Feilding store • Traditional R2 steers, 375-550kg, were mainly $2.89-$3.02/kg • R2 Friesian bulls, 420-460kg, fell to $2.45-$2.48/kg • Weaner Friesian bulls, 175-185kg, made $470-$510

• Capital stock five-year ewe, scanned 169%, made $206 • Good and heavy male lambs were $148-$156.50 Store cattle were loosely in-line results noted a week prior at FEILDING. Straight-beef R2 and older steers were again centred around $2.90-$3.00/kg, though up to $3.10/kg was possible on the odd line. Straight-beef R2 heifers were a bit tougher moving, same with Friesian bulls. More than 17,000 store lambs hit the yards again. Although the top-end cuts were still strong selling, there was a bit of a drop-off on the lower-quality lines. Ewe lambs were nearly all $100-$140 bands. Male lambs were mainly $140-$155, the rest usually $115-$135. A large showing of run-with-ram ewes typically made $124$156, though some top cuts were $178-$206 Rongotea • Two-year Hereford bulls, 622kg, made $2.72/kg • Murray Grey-cross bulls, 187-235kg, made $500-$515 • Friesian boner cows, 475-630kg, made $1.47-$1.75/kg • Friesian bull calves made $170 • Crossbred yearling steers, 255kg, earned $510, $2.00/kg Quality cattle were easy to move at last week’s RONGOTEA sale, although lesser types struggled as reported by Darryl Harwood of NZ Farmers Livestock. Two-year Friesian steers, 415kg, made $2.29/kg, while Hereford-Friesian bulls, 348-485kg were $2.31/kg, and Hereford-Friesian heifers, 357-500kg made $2.42-$2.53/kg. R2 Hereford bulls, 485kg, were bought for $2.37/kg, and R2 Angus-cross heifers, 370kg, made better money at $2.58/kg.

CANTERBURY Canterbury Park • Heavy prime lambs strengthened to $170-$200 • Good store lambs made $110-$123 • Hereford-cross prime steers, 660kg, made $2.75/kg • Prime beef-cross heifers, 650-685kg, earned $2.60/kg A medium sized yarding of prime lambs sold on a strengthened market at CANTERBURY PARK last week. Medium lambs earned $140-$170, while light types lifted to $110-$140. Prime ewe numbers were low although prices improved, with heavy ewes making $170-$200. A large yarding of store lambs had medium to heavy types strengthening, while longer term lambs eased. Prime cattle numbers were low, made up of mostly beef-cross. Heavier prime steers strengthened, with the majority of 580-650kg earning $2.55-$2.66/kg.

SOUTH-CANTERBURY Temuka prime and boner cattle; all sheep • Heavy cryptorchid lambs lifted to $119 • Heavy wethers sold well at $131 • Good ewe lambs made $132 • Prime Angus heifers, 668kg, earned $2.56/kg It was another strong sale last week at TEMUKA and the large yarding of good quality store lambs sold well, and this market strengthened. Most lambs were mixed sex and good demand saw medium lambs gain $4, to sell for $105-$123. A good line up of prime lambs made a top price of $190-$194, although most earned $130-$160. Prime ewes strengthened, particularly at the top end lifting $22-$40 to $231-$248. A limited prime cattle offering held for most. Boner cows were mostly Friesian, 458-680kg, with the better types lifting slightly to $1.39-$1.49/kg.

OTAGO Balclutha prime and store lamb sale • Heavy prime lambs, strengthened to $140-$170 • Medium prime lambs made $130-$140 • Prime ram lambs earned $80-$100 • Top end of store lambs lifted to $110-$125 • Medium store lambs made $100-$108 At last week’s BALCLUTHA sale there was a large yarding of prime lambs which attracted good competition from buyers. Heavy lambs lifted, with even light lambs earning $100 and over. Prime ewes were on par with last week, with heaviest making $150-$175. There was also a large offering of store lambs which sold very well, lifting across all weights.

SOUTHLAND Charlton sale • Heavy prime lambs made $171 • Heavy prime ewes earned $185 • Heavy 2th rams made $134 • Top store lambs fetched $127 Heavy prime lambs firmed around $20 a head at last week’s CHARLTON sale, while mediums softened to $127$140, and light $100. Heavy prime ewes lifted, with medium and lighter types steady. There was a solid yarding of store and forward store lambs, with a good bench of buyers lifting this market by around $5-$7 a head.














- $1690 $115 - $134 high $1610 R3 Hereford heifers, 514- Medium-good to good lights 535kg, VIC to Angus bull mixed sex lambs at Temuka

at Feilding in-calf Fair


Store cattle but not lamb buyers wary WELL PERFORMED: Bulls from Martin and Mary Taylor’s Glenbrae stud did well at the recent national Herford sale.

Guts, butts and nuts Colin Williscroft


ULLS for sale at Glenbrae Stud’s annual are the complete package, owners Martin and Mary Taylor say. Their breeding programme focuses on guts, butts and nuts along with maternal excellence. This year there are 29 poll Hereford sires for sale on the Porangahau farm on May 30. The sale will feature the first sons of senior herd sires Matariki 255 and Grassmere Gallant 996, both powerful bulls. Data shows bulls from Glenbrae are the most powerful in the country in terms of growth, Martin said. However, it’s important not to focus on any one trait but to take them all into account. Maternal traits are very high with 90% of cows in the top 10% of the breed in the country for maternal excellence. Emphasis is also put on carcase traits while the bulls are structurally correct.

Though EBVs are a fundamental part of the approach at Glenbrae, eye appeal and structure are not forgotten. It’s a policy that is paying dividends with bulls from the stud performing well at the recent national Hereford sale at Kiwitea.

It’s important not to focus on any one trait but to take them all into account.

Norton 1716 was the top priced bull at the sale, attracting a price of $13,000. The stud’s other bull at the national sale was Glenbrae Navigator 1711, which won reserve champion Hereford. Together, the two bulls mean Glenbrae won the best two entries award. Martin has held a bull sale for about 35 years, previously in Dannevirke before he and Mary moved to Porangahau. Farmers

from all over the North Island attend the event with some from the South Island also making the trip. The bulls always seem to shift well with most clients returning buyers, some of whom have been going back for a long time. Martin usually contacts previous buyers presale to see if there have been any issues with bulls they have bought previously so if there have been problems they can be dealt with quickly. There has been good interest in this year’s sale, he said. Over the years Martin has worked with a variety of breeds but he’s sold on Herefords. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he worked on the farm that ran the Angus test station and he has also played around with Charolais and Simmental cattle. But he likes the temperament of Herefords and the growth they are capable of because even with all the hype around Charolais and Simmental growth rates they don’t outgrow high-performing Herefords.

THE weather lately will be putting people outside farming in good spirits, with endless sunny days and mild day temperatures keeping the winter wolf from the door. While it makes for pleasant on-farm work conditions each day of clear blue skies brings mounting concern and murmurs of an autumn drought along the east coast are now becoming reality. In the Kaweka Ranges foothills the last significant rainfall we had was in late February with only intermittent amounts since then. April recorded just 16mm and while that is localised to our area many others along the east coast of both islands are in the same boat. The lack of rain is having varied effects on store markets. Store cattle have not had the easiest time this year and that adds insult to injury. Buyers are already approaching the market with caution with ongoing concerns about Mycoplasma bovis and tight margins made in previous years are now rolling out to constricted budgets for today’s cattle. Add tight feed levels because of very dry conditions causing a need to offload stock and you can see the dilemma. Demand for store cattle typically drops at this time of year anyway and in response the sales usually shut up shop, moving into winter mode as far as volume goes. However, some farmers need to offload and they have to meet the market set by a very limited buying bench. There is always an exception to every rule and in this case it is the better-bred traditional cattle that seem to attract premium prices at any time. Store lamb prices so far seem immune, with enough buyers to absorb them on a very competitive market despite good volumes. Lambing is sneaking up fast in the North Island and ewes must take priority, which means even short-term lambs are being offloaded to the yards as precious feed is reserved for the ewes. Buyers are not out of pocket though as auction prices are very competitive with processor values.

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Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Contents 3

Primary sector outlook bright


Hard to be green when in the red


Challenges become opportunities


Farm biosecurity must stay tight

Dump tradition to get youngsters


Looking out for future farmers


Stand for something and mean it


China relationship has a reset


A food and fibre vision


Value-add is a meaningless concept

From the editor K IA ORA tatou. Welcome to the first edition of our Farmers Weekly Fieldays Special, a new supplement designed especially for farmers who want to know more about industry challenges and what it takes to prosper on the land. It is for readers who want the latest outlook covering export and local markets and what’s happening behind the farm gate and everything in between. The first time Fieldays opened its gates NZ’s primary sector was the engine that drove our economy. It provided jobs and opportunities for thousands of New Zealanders and it was the glue that held rural communities together across the country. That was 51 years ago and it’s a testament to the vision, energy

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wide range of ag topics. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor gives us his take on the outlook for the primary sector while Southland farmer Dean Rabbidge tells us the way we create value from land is becoming more difficult by the day. Former Massey University vice-chancellor and politician Steve Maharey debunks the traditional ways of attracting young people to agriculture while 24-year-old Jack Keeys from Waikato gives us his unique take on the international consumer trends important for NZ as a rural professional temporarily based in Scotland. We also have commentary on why value-add is meaningless, the complexity of the NZ-China relationship and an update from

the Primary Sector Council a year into its work. For many farmers Fieldays is a time to get away from the business for a few days and enjoy some time with the whanau. So, I hope you do that and have a good show. Luke Chivers Editor Fieldays Special

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and innovation of the sector that all those things still hold true. This year’s Fieldays theme is cultivating value, so we take a close look at the many ways our land, our people and our markets are adding value to the primary industries. Farmers are forever being bombarded with messages giving contradictory advice — do this, don’t do that — so it’s difficult to know what to believe and what to ignore. We aim to cut through the confusion and give you clear, sensible and reliable information from writers and experts you can trust. We want it to be entertaining and informative, at times contrary, but above all useful. Inside you’ll find a mixture of news, features and columns on a





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Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Primary sector outlook bright New Zealand agriculture is moving into a new era where consumers are more discerning, more demanding and we have more competitors with similar products, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.


UR primary sector has been at the heart of the New Zealand economy for a long time and it will remain that way. We have a natural advantage with fertile soils, good rainfall and a good climate. And we have used the innovation, commitment and passion of New Zealanders to turn those variables into products the world has needed and wanted. Overall, the outlook for the primary sectors is very bright. Our exports continue to exceed expectations. Forecast revenue of $45.6 billion means an extra $3b will pour into the NZ economy this year. The outlook provides confidence the primary sector is robust and doing well. While the forecast is good in the short and medium terms we need to be looking further into the future to ensure our primary industries are sustainable in the long term. There are real challenges ahead. We are seeing some turbulence in global trade in the form of rising protectionism, including the United States re-imposing tariffs, tensions between the US and China and Brexit. We have a six-part strategy for responding to this: defending international trade rules, participating in regional agreements and institutions, pursuing ambitious open trade deals and developing a Trade for All agenda to ensure the benefits of trade flow to New Zealanders. We are the producers of the world’s finest pasture-fed protein but internationally we’re seeing a change in consumer preferences. Alternative proteins are on the rise. With the millennial effect we’re seeing a generation who prefer premium and niche brands, who believe newer brands are better or more innovative. And then there’s Conscious Foodies – consumers who

care about where their food comes from. They need strong traceability and transparency of good on-farm practice in terms of animal welfare and environmental standards. People are looking for a grassfed product and the story behind it. Consumers want to make a connection back to real food. The NZ story is key – the story of our unique, grass-fed, freerange farming systems. NZ has a natural advantage and we need to get better at selling our world-class product to the world’s most discerning customers. We have to move past volume to value and, further still, to values. We must be better able to answer the question of why we’re doing what we’re doing and who we’re doing it for. In the spirit of kaitiakitanga, our food and fibre goes from people who care to people who care. I appointed a Primary Sector Council for the sole purpose of establishing a shared vision for the future of our primary sectors. The council, made up of experts from across the sector, has been talking to industry leaders around the country over the last six months. I will be announcing this vision to our farming communities at Fieldays. New Zealanders and our customers here and overseas know we are good stewards of our land and animals. It’s now more important than ever for our farming community to understand and strengthen its social licence to operate. This Government is bringing in freshwater standards that are expected of New Zealanders across the board and by our international partners who perceive NZ to be clean and green. We are working on a budget package that will give comprehensive advice to farmers and land users across NZ to help

them meet the requirements of climate change, biosecurity, water, animal welfare and options for diversification and land use. There’s no denying Mycoplasma bovis is having a significant impact on the dairy and beef industry.

and honesty across the farming sector. We will not beat this without the support of farmers and you will not beat it without supporting one another. Together we can do this, we can eradicate this disease.

New Zealand has a natural advantage and we need to get better at selling our worldclass products to the world’s most discerning customers. No country in the world has ever done this before and we don’t have a textbook. We were never going to achieve perfection but I’m confident we can achieve eradication. I welcome steps released recently by eradication partners to strengthen the programme. A year in and with the surge of work before Moving Day it is appropriate to change approach where required. I have always said I expect the 10-year programme to be proactive and adapt. This is a time for co-operation

And, of course, climate change is another big challenge for our sector. The Government needs to give farmers certainty and direction on the path to a low-emissions economy – this certainty will enable them to make long-term decisions. We’ve done that by introducing the Zero Carbon Bill to the House. The Bill indicates a range for its methane target below 2017 levels by 2050 because the amount of reduction that can take

place depends on technological developments and when they will be on the market for farmers to use. This is a forward-looking target and the science and research is developing. The targets will be reviewed at regular intervals as things like methane-inhibiting feed and other technology come on-board. Sustainability is key. This Government is ambitious about transformative change and our goals around climate change, water and a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. We want this transition to be a positive one, where the sectors are fully informed, confront new disruptors and challenges and seize new opportunities. To do this we need to collaborate, plan and act rather than fight change or bury our heads in the sand. By being agile and innovative farming will ensure it remains a core part of NZ’s economy and society.

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Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Hard to be green when in the red New Zealand agriculture is at a crossroads. It has many roads to take and a lot of traffic coming from many directions. Trying to find a gap in the traffic to continue to improve the way we operate and create value from our land is becoming more difficult by the day. Southland sheep, beef and dairy farmer Dean Rabbidge makes his case.


FEW weeks ago I was at a conference and this traffic was described as a fourpronged legacy project. We have heard biodiversity statements from Conservation Minister Eugene Sage, fresh water guideline indications from Environment Minister David Parker, carbon dioxide targets from Climate Change Minister James Shaw and the infamous billion trees from Forestry Minister Shane Jones – not to mention the continued threats around biosecurity, increased capital holding by banks and capital gains tax. Each of these elements will have significant influence on people’s operations. But what if all four of these major policy changes get implemented simultaneously? Have these ministers stopped to think about the economic implications? I am worried that our ability to remain financially viable will be severely limited. We are very fortunate to operate our own sheep, beef and dairy operation in Southland. Having recently gone through the farm succession process and now farming on our own we find ourselves in the delicate position of extracting as much value from our business and continuing to enhance the environment that we operate in. It is difficult to remain fiscally responsible while doing the right thing by the environment. This relates back to the fourpronged attack. We would love to be in the position tomorrow to be able to meet all the proposed targets from the respective ministers. It would be substantially easier if we had access to all of the tools in the box, such as gene editing. Unfortunately, we don’t so all of this comes at a significant cost. This year we have spent more than $50,000 installing a stock water scheme, continued fencing for stock exclusion and planted native trees to develop the biodiversity of our farm. We do this because we want to, not because we have to. This discretionary spend will be

the first to be cut if any form of environmental tax is implemented. I know that if the ministers left Wellington more often they might understand what producers are already doing. As cliched as it sounds, it is hard to be green when you are farming in the red. However, with all of the external pressures facing the agriculture sector there is another sleeping giant I feel the sector needs to address. Without it, extraction of value from our land will be impossible. That giant is succession. There are numerous industry organisations and service providers out there offering help but the success stories are few and far between. They nearly always involve established families and, unfortunately, hardly ever involve people who have entered the industry on their own accord.

to yet another attack on the farming sector from Jones. If he gets his way, small rural towns will be devastated and will awaken only with the rattle of logging trucks in 30 years. Unfortunately, the land Jones wants to plant in trees is some of the most affordable land in the country, land that provides great entry-level operations, land that is still very productive under management that uses innovation and dedication. That type of management comes from youth. All Jones is going to achieve is an environmental disaster in 30 years. I would have thought that with the political and social opposition to water storage and irrigation the obvious place to plant trees would be dry land Canterbury. It is flat, which allows for easy harvesting, very little risk of erosion, roading is easier to maintain, it’s close to Lyttleton port and close to a labour

I know that if the ministers left Wellington more often they might understand what producers are already doing. I know it is easy for me say this as we have been very fortunate to be in the position to transition into land ownership. But there are hundreds of farms out there where the owner-operators want to exit the sector but don’t have family wanting to continue or the means to retire comfortably. The next logical step then is to sell up. This poses the next issue, with land values being where they are, capital stock values through the roof and the uncertainty provided by previously mentioned external influences, who can afford to buy the property? Do we need to see more lease to buy arrangements, the formation of more equity partnerships or share farming models? The dairy industry has these pathways but it is the sheep and beef sector that is sadly dragging the chain and that needs to get creative. While writing this I am listening

force. However, the trees would have to withstand the northwest winds. It is the younger generation who are going to create the value from our land. It is also the younger generation who are encouraging the change in environmental behaviours and who are keen to embrace new technologies. Yet it is also the younger generation who are struggling to establish themselves in ownership and senior management to drive what we need to. I know the ability for value to be generated from the land in future relies on future generations. We need to do as much as possible to make succession successful, especially in the sheep and beef sector.

Who am I? Dean Rabbidge is a Southland sheep, beef and dairy farmer. deanrabbidge@

CHALLENGING: It is difficult to remain fiscally responsible while doing the right thing by the environment, Southland farmer Dean Rabbidge says.

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Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Fruit, trees replace cows Hugh Stringleman


URAL land use in New Zealand has begun another transformational chapter towards fewer cows and more fruit and forest, RaboResearch food and agribusiness analyst Emma Higgins says. The magnitude of the potential land use change has been understated until recently and there is not enough regulation clarity yet.

Higgins says improved on-farm efficiencies and productivity gains will not be enough for all farmers to meet higher standards of production and higher regulatory compliance thresholds. More will be required and for some it might mean fewer or no cows. “It could be partial diversification of the business into another industry. “For others, complete land use change could be on the cards.” The more significant driver for on-farm adjustments will come

As woolsheds gave way to milking sheds, land used for dairying jumped over 40% while sheep and beef dropped 20% between 2002 and 2016. All people in the rural sector know what happened over the past two decades as dairying moved into sheep and beef farming regions. “As woolsheds gave way to milking sheds, land used for dairying jumped over 40% while sheep and beef dropped 20% between 2002 and 2016.” Now some regions have reached their maximum capacity for natural resource use in dairying and farmers must re-assess the sustainability of their businesses, both environmentally and financially.

in the form of pending regulation regarding agricultural emissions. Land use change will be hurried along by new laws specifically designed to tighten agriculture’s environmental footprint. The Productivity Commission noted in 2018 the land use transition required for NZ to move towards a low-emissions economy will be comparable to the rate of change over the past 30 years towards dairy, forestry and other land uses. As it stands today, the socalled Zero Carbon Bill targets to 2050 will require more than

CAREFUL: The conversion of farmland to forestry is being made more appealing but the implications are not yet known, Rabobank food and agribusiness analyst Emma Higgins says.

productivity gains and good farm management practices. In light of the challenges that lie ahead, many dairy farmers are reconsidering the highest and best use of their land. There have been some reported instances of land previously tagged for dairying now switching

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back to sheep and beef or, more commonly, into horticulture. But the more significant change creating comment is the switch from pastoral farming into forestry. “The Government’s policies make the forestry land use option more appealing than previously

but the current opportunities must be balanced against the potential loss of future use benefits. “Furthermore, wider and farreaching implications of large forestry plantations in rural communities and supply chains are yet to be worked through,” Higgins cautioned.

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FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019




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Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

HE pricing of farmland is entering an era where cash generation will be a greater determinant than speculation for future capital gain. With forecasts for primary product prices to stay buoyant for the next five to 10 years the cash generated from those ventures will be the main determinant of land price instead of capital gain, as has been the case for the last few decades, ASB chief economist Nathan Penny says. Pressure, that once came from dairying, from alternative land use that generates greater cashflow is

now being driven by horticulture, especially in Bay of Plenty and Northland and will now come from carbon farming of forestry. Sheep and beef farmers enjoying a buoyant period are also competing for land but the drivers of price are different to what they have been. “Looking to the long term we think there is still room for capital gains to be had but it will not be the same as it has been in past. “We think there will be a greater emphasis on cashflow in the long term,” he said. A combination of greater environmental compliance and banks concerned at their

exposure and degree of leveraging has driven the change. “There is competition for land use and at the same time society has said they are not comfortable in terms of nutrient levels and it’s fair to say banks are being more careful with their lending and level of leveraging than they have been.” The dairy market has effectively become two tiers because of economic and environmental constraints and tighter rules governing overseas ownership. The price of farms that generate healthy cash returns has held up but those that aren’t and are outside the mainstream


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REMOVING SPECULATION: Nathan Penny says shifting the drivers determining land price is the way the sector must move.

dairying areas are drifting lower. “We think over the next few years that wedge will continue.” That land price differential or wedge will remain irrespective of the milk price and despite the removal of the threat of a capital gains tax. “The more nuanced aspects of farming are being looked at rather than production per hectare.” For example, the Superannuation Fund has started buying farmland but it bases buying decisions on the returns that can be achieved not what size capital gains they expect to make.

Shifting the drivers determining land price is the way the sector must move even though it could cause problems for those relying on making financial gains from substantial capital gains. “There is a lot less speculation and that was a big part of the market in the last 10 years.” Those prices were driven by speculation of a heightened milk price or increased production. “Now let’s dial it back to what the farm can generate in cash and in terms of what local limits are and constraints around water.” Removing land speculation should also make it easier to attract people to the industry.

Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Milking organic for all it’s worth Luke Chivers


T A time when livestock farming is arguably facing its greatest threat – alternative proteins – farmers could also be, if they choose, on the verge of exciting new times. Norsewood dairy farmer Jon Meek has more than two decades of experience yet three years ago ditched traditional methods for an alternative approach. The downturn of the Global Dairy Trade in March 2016, when returns to farmers fell to a discouraging $3.90 payout, sparked his shift. “We were making a huge loss,” he said. “So, we looked at what we were doing and thought ‘we need try to get better value for what we are producing’.” Meek, 43, grew up on a Waikato dairy farm but he’s adding a twist to the family tradition. In place of what he calls farming’s rigid, chemical-based practices he’s transitioning his 500-hectare property to organic farming. It hasn’t been easy.

He’s navigated challenges by trial and error because, despite the growth of organic agriculture, there’s no playbook to follow. On a conventional farm he can hire sprayers to do the whole farm in a day and then spread the fertiliser. “I can’t do that with organic.” It’s not a matter of simply turning off the chemical sprayers. Farmers must learn to manage soil nutrients without chemical fertiliser, tackle weeds and insects without herbicides and pesticides and treat mastitis and high somatic cell counts without antibiotics. It’s a steep learning curve. It echoes the pragmatism in Jon’s and his wife Kate’s decision to turn from conventional to organic in a three-year process to be completed in September. Meek is inclined to figure things out so at any given time he’s experimenting with different cultivation strategies. “In the first six months I had to unlearn everything I had learnt over the past 20 years. “It meant learning alternative ways of managing our pasture, regrassing plant varieties such as shifting to a nine-grass mix and

new ways of handling the health of our animals.” The Meeks supply Fonterra under United States Agriculture Department requirements. During the conversion years Fonterra pays organic farmers 45 cents a kilo of milksolids to contribute to the costs of maintaining organic certification on top of the conventional milk price. “But in that third year our milk is processed into European Union and Chinese organic milk and helps to subsidise that 45c across the board.” With USDA certification NZ organic farmers are paid $8.30/ kg MS. “That’s a whole lot more than what we’re on right now. “It means you can effectively take your business from breakeven or making a slight profit to something that is very profitable. You can really start to get some headway.” Fonterra is committed to developing its organic milk supply over the long-term to meet escalating demand. Three years ago the cooperative took only 600,000kg MS of organic milk a year but

DETERMINED: Jon Meek says he navigated the challenge of shifting to organics by trial and error.

the figure is now 1 million kilos MS. NZ has the reputation, production and export capabilities to meet demand in markets hungry for organic food and other products. Its organic sector has grown 30% since 2015 to now be worth $600m a year, buoyed by consumer demand here and globally, a 2018 report by Organics Aotearoa NZ showed. Meanwhile, retail sales of organic products are growing twice as fast as conventional products. The research also showed eight out of 10 Kiwi consumers are buying organic fresh, frozen or packaged food at least fortnightly. Exports, too, are booming, up 42% since 2015 to $355m as

consumers in Asia, North America and Europe are hungry for NZ organic fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, wool and wine. OANZ chairman Doug Voss said a recurrent signal is that consumers want more organic products and it is up to producers, manufacturers and retailers to respond to a burgeoning opportunity. “The organic market, particularly the food segment, is the fastest-growing sector in the world, driven by consumers who seek sustainable, ethical and authentic natural products that are good for them and easy on the planet. “It is up to producers, marketers, retailers and policy makers to act on the market signals.”

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Our Land

10 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Change nothing new for Pamu Pamu, formerly Landcorp, has worked through strategic transformational change over the past five years with the key focus on farming smarter. Chief executive Steve Carden has primarily led that change. He talked to Annette Scott.


AMU is a 130-year-old company that has a proud history of converting land into higher-intensity pastoral farming. It first moved land from forestry into sheep, beef and deer and more recently converted land to dairying. It is the largest farming company in New Zealand, managing about 350,000 hectares of land and 800,000 animals. While the model has been successful over the years it had become unsustainable, Carden says. Pamu was getting lots of criticism for its dairy conversions and there were growing concerns about the environmental impact of its farming. The company had a poor health and safety record and had some staff killed on its farms.

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The farming enterprise was producing large volumes of commodity products that fluctuated in price, all while costs continued to rise from growing regulations and compliance expectations of its customers. “We realised we needed a

different model. “We needed to shift from a focus on producing lots of food at a low cost to a concentration on producing valuable food in a sustainable way,” Carden said. It was time for Pamu to farm smarter, not harder. “So when people think Pamu they think of a company at its core that is innovating in new land uses and the product that comes from that land. “It’s farming to produce specialist products away from producing commodity products – playing up unique and special over commodity, as in producing lots of it.” Pamu did three things under the theme of farming in a smarter, more sustainable way to reduce its environmental impact. “We established an environmental reference group of environmental experts to advise us. “We stopped our dairy conversions, de-intensified our dairy systems, eliminated palm kernel from our farms and greatly expanded our planting programmes and set big QEII covenants aside throughout the country.” Pamu focused on completely changing its health and safety culture. “We put people at the centre of all we do. “We invested in training our staff to identify and manage risks on-farm and think differently about how they can keep themselves and their workmates safe. “The programme was so successful that we have set up the Pamu Academy.” It is a company that specialises in health and safety training for people who work in the rural sector including private farmers, rural bankers, trucking companies and meat processors. “We’ve now trained over 1200

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people in one and two-day safety leadership and mental health programmes across the country.” Pamu invested in being a business that uses technology. “We’ve partnered with Vodafone to roll out a 10Mbps broadband network so our staff can get data fast and we invested in mobile technologies for farm staff to access information and communicate with each other.” The company helped develop FarmIQ’s farm management system as the central point of all on-farm information and helped make it available to the wider industry. Investment in livestock genetics improved the breeding worth of lamb and beef herds. That information was also made available to the market. “And we’re running lots of trials of new agriculture technologies, especially those that help reduce our environmental footprint.” Producing higher value products has become a key focus. “We realised that we couldn’t expect to get paid more than a commodity price if we just produced a commodity product so we went about changing our farm systems to produce products that attract a premium.” Changes included organic conversions, achieving premiums for palm kernel-free, grass-fed, A2 and winter milk. Pamu developed some new

products using new farm systems. The Spring Sheep joint venture to establish sheep milking farms and take nutritional products into southeast Asia is one that has won Pamu food awards. Partnering with private farmers to produce deer milk powders now being used in top restaurants throughout NZ, Australia and Hong Kong is taking off as a delectable dessert ingredient. Korea’s top pharmaceutical company Yuhan is also using the product to make deer milk cosmetics with the deer milking venture winning innovation awards. A number of Pamu’s branded products are going direct to market including organic powders and UHT products into China and venison into the United States. “We are focused on unique, special products that we believe will command a premium in the markets.” Changing land use towards more plant products has seen Pamu invest heavily over the past four years to increase its forestry portfolio, now 4500 hectares, to increase returns from both forestry and carbon farming. Plans are for another 40005000ha in the next few years. Branching further Pamu is dabbling in horticulture, establishing some avocado and kiwifruit trials while also investing in large hemp

LEADER: Chief executive Steve Carden says he had to move Pamu away from an unsustainable farming system.

plantations across the country. “We are actively looking to expand the amount of our land that is producing high-value, plant-based products. “This both diversifies our land uses and also ties the company into producing products that will be in increasing demand from consumers in the future. “At our core I want people to see Pamu as a company that innovates in new land uses, farm systems and the products we produce from our land. “That is a powerful role Pamu can play in NZ’s agricultural future,” Carden said.

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Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Challenges become good opportunities Neal Wallace


AMES Ryan has watched environmental evolution unfold before him. The manager of the Farm Environment Trust said farmers viewed environment rules and regulations as compliance 10 years ago but now they are increasingly viewed as a marketing opportunity.

commitment by investing in effluent management, water use, fencing streams, riparian planting and new fertiliser application technology. This is now starting to show in improving water quality data that reveals major reductions, especially of phosphorus. In Canterbury catchments farmers are committed to reducing nitrogen loss by changing management practices.

Dairy, sheep and beef now view the environment and sustainability front and centre … and are translating it into their marketing strategy. “Dairy, sheep and beef now view the environment and sustainability front and centre, more so than they ever have and are translating it into their marketing strategy as Beef + Lamb NZ have with Taste Pure Nature.” Farmers are listening and responding to community expectations for improvements to the environment even though they might not get the credit they deserve. They have shown their

Ryan said there is also a lack of wider appreciation that even if farming ceased overnight there is a time lag for nutrients to be removed from soil, the result of previous practices. He is confident regional councils will start reporting significant improvements in water quality in five years as gains from farmers changing their practices start to pay dividends. A recent Environment Aotearoa report by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ

highlighted the impact our way of life is having on the environment. Based on a comparison with previous reports, analysis of more than 60 indicators and new methodologies, the report highlighted nine key issues. It found native plants, animals and ecosystems are under threat, changes to land vegetation is degrading the soil and water, farming is polluting waterways and water use affects freshwater ecosystems. The report also found urban centres create environmental pollution with urban sprawl occupying the best soils and destroying native biodiversity. It concluded NZ greenhouse gas emissions per person are among the highest in the developed world and climate change is already affecting NZ. Ryan said it shows more needs to be done but the primary sector is leading the way by adopting solutions to environmental challenges in marketing to differentiate its products. “My observation is that, yes, we are facing significant challenges but, increasingly, these are being reframed as opportunities.” The response to climate change

GETTING IT DONE: James Ryan says farmers are listening and responding to community expectations for improvements to the environment even though they might not get the credit they deserve.

has created new challenges for the sector and Ryan is confident farmers will once again show a response that is innovative, resourceful and creative. “I’m actually optimistic about some of the new policy regulations being asked of farmers who right now may not feel happy staring down the barrel of nitrogen loss or greenhouse gas reduction. “But over time it will compel us to do a better job of record keeping so we have overwhelming evidence farmers are doing what is expected of them.” Farmers have shown that presented with a problem, once they understand it, they will get the necessary resources and respond. That is happening now.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards is evidence of the growing awareness and move to turn challenges into marketing advantages. Management practices considered fringe 10 or 20 years ago are now mainstream while a recent poll of levy payers by B+LNZ showed support for more investment in environmental issues. But there still needs to a be a balance between community expectations and social, economic or environmental considerations, Ryan said. The farm environment awards, run by the trust, are evolving and next year a new climate stewardship award is being offered for farmers addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Land

12 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Farming for the future Dairy farming is evolving. We are at a point where a lot of farmers feel that they are being challenged to change the way they farm and many are not sure what that means for them or their farming businesses. Some practices that were common and in fact encouraged in the past are no longer acceptable today. DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel looks back on industry efforts.


HEN I look back at the dairy industry and reflect on how it has grown to be such a large contributor to the New Zealand economy and to the living standards of all New Zealanders I’m not sure we don’t take it for granted. They enjoy those benefits because dairy farmers are such innovators and are so responsive to the signals they receive. We have grown to be worldleading in many facets of our farming businesses from animal welfare to carbon footprint per litre of milk produced.

didn’t always take that into consideration. Many dairy farmers today feel under pressure because they are not sure how they will deal with the extra expectations coming their way. DairyNZ is working to develop future farming systems and practices that will incorporate our challenges around greenhouse gases and water quality as well as world-leading animal welfare and thriving rural communities that benefit from our activities. These future farming systems are being developed through the Dairy Tomorrow Strategy,

For waterways in New Zealand to continually to improve it will take a commitment by all New Zealanders to do their share as our worst waterways are now often not in dairying areas. That doesn’t mean we get everything right. There is always a range of operators from those who are quick to adopt the latest practices to those who are slow to change and will sometimes need regulatory change to get the outcomes required. As dairy farming grew we were not always aware of our environmental impacts so

which is a joint initiative with our sector partners and sets out what our commitments are for the environment, milk quality, animal welfare, employment standards and the values of our milk. We are actively working with the Government to agree what are appropriate targets for methane and nitrous oxide. We want to play our part for NZ to be a good global citizen

and meet our commitments to reducing greenhouse gases. The principle we work to is that all gases should have targets set that reflect their contribution to further warming and allow farmers to be able to offset their emissions. Same for water quality. We understand better now what impact certain practices have on ground water and the rivers that run through our farms. Dairy farmers have already voluntarily fenced 95% of all significant waterways as well as made investments in riparian planting and upgrading their effluent systems. Farmers take pride in their farms and their environment and the continual commitment to continually improve is proof of that. For waterways in NZ to continually to improve it will take a commitment by all New Zealanders to do their share as our worst waterways are now often not in dairying areas. We know that milk is a source of high-quality nutrition the world will need more of. We are the most sustainable dairy industry in the world. Experts believe the world will have another 2.3 billion people







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Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Farm biosecurity must stay tight In the past year the Government’s Biosecurity 2025 initiative has started to shift the focus of biosecurity onto greater community and social responsibility, pushing it beyond simply being an issue for agencies to deal with on a crisis to crisis basis. But as community awareness in some regions is growing, farmer uptake of biosecurity controls on farms remains a tough ask. Richard Rennie spoke to AgResearch experts on where the challenges lie and what communities are doing to lift the country’s defences.


VEN in the wake of Mycoplasma bovis’s devastating impact on individual farms and an $880 million initiative to eradicate the disease, farmer focus on onfarm biosecurity remains light at best. AgResearch scientist Mark McNeill said in his role working for AgResearch he felt compelled to treat biosecurity seriously when visiting farms, and took precautions that reflected that. “That includes washing my vehicle well with disinfectant, avoiding going into paddocks and wearing booties over my gumboots. I do feel though that it is sometimes still looked on as being a bit over the top.” He appreciates many drystock and dairy farmers have had less awareness of the implications of biosecurity and it is simply a reflection of human behaviour that people often don’t act until something is materially affecting their lives or businesses. “Health and safety get higher priority, biosecurity not so much. “I do wonder if M bovis was to be dealt with, would we see an even lower priority around it? Ideally we would like to instead see procedures be included as part of business practice.” His concerns are echoed by Nuffield Scholar recipient Simon Cook who examined on-farm biosecurity practices here and abroad for his 2018 scholarship. “Post-Psa there was a lot of attention paid to spraying and cleaning equipment but once the disease had spread that has dropped away. Really, there are procedures we should be sticking to, not so much to cope with Psa but to help prevent whatever disease it is that follows Psa.” Cook said WorkSafe research has identified two key reasons farmers farm are the same reasons they loath to voluntarily adopt biosecurity measures. “They farm because they want

COMMUNITY EFFORT: Taking biosecurity to the community will aid greater collective effort, John Kean says.

to make their own decisions about their business and because they prefer to work alone. “So, as soon as you require changes to things like biosecurity they are unlikely to pick up on it voluntarily and only through regulation will those requirements be adopted.”

colleagues has highlighted just how great the vulnerability of NZ farms to biosecurity incursions really is. A study of dirt on international visitors’ footwear through Auckland and Christchurch airports found over half the samples had seeds in the dirt,

Health and safety gets higher priority, biosecurity not so much. I do wonder if Mycoplasma bovis was to be dealt with would we see an even lower priority around it? McNeill agrees with these findings and said AgResearch has invested in social science research to help learn how best to affect behavioural change around biosecurity. Research by him and his

two-thirds had nematodes and almost all had fungi and all had bacteria present. Perhaps surprisingly, more than a third also had the body parts of insects in them. The researchers concluded that

given the high occurrence the cost of disinfesting soiled shoes could probably be justified. The work also highlighted the risks NZ farms are at, given the increasing link between tourism and farm visits. “I think those farms and orchards that have a direct link to tourists do appreciate the risks and act accordingly.” McNeill’s experience monitoring the devastating clover weevil outbreak in the 90s highlighted how farmer behaviour can exacerbate a pest’s spread. “It moved from the North Island to South Island and in Canterbury that came directly from livestock transported south. “We found hotspots of the pest in paddocks in at Culverdon and north of the Waimakariri.” At a community level engagement has been lifted in

the past year with the launch of a new region-wide biosecurity initiative in Western Bay of Plenty, the Tauranga Moana Biosecurity initiative. As an umbrella organisation it includes the earlier Port of Tauranga biosecurity initiative that aimed to engage with all immediate and indirect employees, suppliers and companies interacting with the port. John Kean of AgResearch’s biosecurity team said the initiative has worked to get all community groups engaged about biosecurity in a region that felt the sharp end of biosecurity incursion from Psa in 2011. It has included getting iwi and schools on board, including a partnership with House of Science, a charitable trust aiming to raise scientific literacy among children. Biosecurity board games and a very popular sentinel garden that helps draw in unwanted pests are all a part of the link to children learning more about biosecurity’s importance. “We are also using social scientists to survey port workers, transitional facility workers and the general public (through Facebook) about their perceptions of biosecurity. “We will then resurvey them in a couple of years to track how successful the initiative has been in raising awareness.” Kean said it is an unfortunate reality that often the communities most receptive to biosecurity education are those that have borne the sharp end of an incursion. However, he is encouraged in the interest the port initiative has created among other port facility management around NZ. “When people start to see biosecurity impacting on lifestyle, like the impact of the guava moth on feijoas in Northland, they tend to start to take notice.”

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Our Land

14 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Seeking answers to soil mix Landcare Research is spending more of its time and money studying hotly-debated black-box questions about the relationship between carbon, nitrogen and water in soil. Tim Fulton reports.


HE relationship between carbon, nitrogen and water in the soil is a black box, Landcare Research chief executive Richard Gordon said. Landcare wants to do more to understand that interaction. But such work is not funded here, Gordon says. The Crown research institute has applied for Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment funding for a home-grown project involving other institutes, universities, Ngai Tahu and a small number of international researchers. If fully funded it will be a national project looking at a wide variety of farm systems. “We would be doing studies on 180 farms and 60 of them in depth.” Gordon acknowledged there’s debate about the strength of the evidence to support regenerative agriculture. “You have the relationship between the nutrients that are being put on, the nutrients that are escaping out of our system into the waterways, the carbon that’s being sequestered in the soil – how long is that there and does

that represent a carbon sink that could be useful for our national accounting. “And, obviously, there’s our water; the impact of irrigation and how is that impacting the soil system.” All of that is mediated by microbes in the soil, he said. “That’s the bit that’s really the black box. We need to get a better understanding of that.” On that basis Landcare wants to get data so it can really understand what’s going on and what the benefits are. The answer might be “Can’t see any, we can’t put any benefits on a really firm footing, so think again”. Landcare is already studying regenerative agriculture as a member of Australia’s Soils Cooperative Research Centre. Meantime, a Landcare worker is involved in a short-term regenerative agriculture project in the United States. The study in California, funded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, is gathering experiences of regenerative agriculture in several countries. Regenerative agriculture is based on a systems approach to

CALL FOR RESEARCH: Landcare Research chief executive Richard Gordon says there’s debate about the strength of the evidence to support regenerative agriculture.

farming, Gordon said. “It’s thinking about soil health as fundamental to the productivity of the farm and through that to the wellbeing of the farmer and the community.” Landcare also wants to examine the economic and social impacts of regenerative farming, Gordon said. “I think it’s worth emphasising that our interest, at the moment, is to get the evidence around regenerative agriculture and to try to put the concept on a firm footing from a scientific evidence point of view. “We’re taking a neutral position on that. We’re not trying to get

the soil data for everybody to promote this and say ‘this is the way that everybody should go’.” As a science organisation Landcare has said there is a lot of interest in this and many farmers in other countries are going this way. Gordon said farmers seem to be interested because it’s a broad, systems-based approach. “I think that feels natural to farmers. It’s like a Maori attitude, they take a whole systems approach, thinking about land, nature and communities.” In its funding brief Landcare says it wants to study how regenerative agriculture can restore the health of soil damaged

by past production processes. In practice, farmers already widely understand practices such as minimum till, plant certain forage crops to maintain soil health and avoid bare soil times of the year, for example. They almost aim for biodiversity in their agricultural systems. “I wouldn’t say that any of these concepts is necessarily new. Some of them have been around for a long time but I guess regenerative farming as a concept is saying ‘let’s bring all this together as a concept as a whole system. Let’s think about the practices that are used on the land and their relationship with the quality of the product’.” Understanding these production principles will help farmers, manufacturers and retailers to tell a story to consumers. It could also shed light on the wellbeing of farmers, who have to constantly deal with worries like variable pricing and the cost of agricultural inputs. MBIE funding is critical to the work. Gordon said the organisation and its prospective partners did a lot of work to get the proposal this far and they expect to hear from MBIE in September. “I hate to think of the prospects if we don’t get that funding but we have to accept there’s a lot of risks associated (with a science funding bid).”

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Our Land

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Richard Rennie

High-value soils under pressure Richard Rennie


ALUING high-quality soils as a resource of national significance is a step closer as the Government considers submissions in coming weeks on a national policy statement to protect them. Horticulture New Zealand natural resources and environment manager Michelle Sands is reasonably optimistic about what the final version of the statement will look like and the protection it is likely to offer soils of highproductive value. The statement was first raised by Environment Minister David Parker last year as a result of concern over the amount of quality soils lost to urban development in the past generation. The statement is intended to target the high-value classes 1 and 2 soils that account for 5% of NZ’s soil profile but almost 85% of its high-value crop production. Between 2002 and 2016 NZ has

been losing just over 100,000ha a year of growing land to urban development or lifestyle blocks that have been growing at a rate of 5800 a year. Auckland has swallowed 10,500ha of high-quality soils in the past 35 years as it supports an average annual population growth rate of 3%. That lost area alone is sufficient to supply most of the North Island with vegetables.

Auckland’s highly valuable volcanic soils used for over 100 years to grow crops supplying the city and much of the North Island. Only 3000ha of this soil is protected by the Unitary Plan, less than half what many want to see protected. Sands is also encouraged by the statement possibly containing a provision that councils avoid inappropriate development on

While we have a lot of good quality soil that is only one factor in growing things like vegetables. They also require certain climate conditions to be productive. “Indications are the NPS is looking to have quite a broad definition of soils, enabling regional councils to identify themselves what soils in their region are classed as highly productive, based on land use capability. “It will also enable them to identify special soils, such as gravels that may be suitable for wine growing,” she said. It is hoped the statement will bring greater security to

certain soils. There is a strong likelihood that could help put the brakes on land-sucking lifestyle block developments that have locked up 10% of the land lost nationally from 1990 to 2008 with 170,000 blocks occupying almost 900,000ha by 2011. More than 40% of them came after 1998 at the average of 5800 a year and account for 35% of Auckland’s high-value land. But Sands cautions a statement is unlikely to take account of the

need for a domestic food supply policy. “While we have a lot of good quality soil, that is only one factor in growing things like vegetables. They also require certain climate conditions to be productive.” HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman said food security requires a plan unlikely to be covered in the statement. “The soils protection is really only one leg in the trifecta. “The concept of food security is quite foreign in NZ. It has tended to be left to commercial forces in the past.” Sands said continued conversion of land to higher-value vegetable growing is challenging in most parts of the country, given regional plans prevent changes in land use on grounds of nutrient losses. Both Chapman and Sands maintain it is not too late to stop the slide in NZ’s productive soil loss. They look to Melbourne as an example of leaving it too late. With a population similar to NZ’s Melbourne provides 85% of its own fruit and greens but based

PRESERVE THEM: High-value soils are a resource that once built over are lost for good, says Mike Chapman.

on continuing land loss that is expected to fall to only 20% by 2050, entirely because of urban development. A report commissioned by Auckland City in 2017 predicted Auckland, too, risks losing a similar amount of soils should growth continue unimpeded for the next 50 years.



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Our People

16 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Dump tradition to get youngsters Getting young New Zealanders to want a future in the primary industries means upending all of our traditional ways of thinking. Former Massey University vice-chancellor and politician Steve Maharey puts his case.

ANOTHER VIEW: Steve Maharey says New Zealand needs to shift from being an agricultural nation to a food nation.

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HEN I was growing up most New Zealanders lived in small to mediumsized towns and had a close connection to agriculture. Farming was the backbone of the nation and we lived off the sheep’s back. Fast forward to the 1980s and the deregulation of agriculture when almost overnight people began moving to the bigger centres, especially Auckland, and what we now refer to as the rural-urban divide began. Agriculture was labelled a sunset industry. Fewer people worked on the land. A diversified economy meant more people working in areas with no connection to agriculture. For a while this dramatic shift away from what had for generations defined NZ did not seem to matter. Agriculture shrank in importance while other industries grew. But by the end of the 20th century it had become clear a mistake had been made – New Zealanders were good at agriculture, the climate provided a natural advantage and other industries were not filling the gap left in the ways that had been anticipated. Attention again turned to the land. Unfortunately, in the years since deregulation New Zealanders had lost interest. Young people, their parents and their schools were guiding them towards jobs they thought would be better paid, more interesting and less arduous. Agriculture had unfairly gained a reputation as the place for less able students. To counter these perceptions successive governments and the industry have put a lot of effort into promoting agriculture and what it has to offer. There has been some success – but not nearly enough. The number of young people wanting a future in agriculture remains far below what is needed. And it will stay that way unless we are willing to fundamentally change the way we think – shifting ourselves from being an agricultural nation to a food nation. The clue to what we might do is in small but significant trends that

are emerging around the country. After many years of relentlessly expanding milk production some in the industry are realising more does not necessarily mean greater value. A growing number of farmers are looking to do things differently and move into niches that catch the interest of consumers. Producing lamb is now less about carcases and more about cuts of meat that fit the lifestyles of busy consumers. Merino wool is finding its way into a wide range of new products such as shoes, recreational clothing and building products. Kiwifruit, once a volume industry, is now focused on skills and knowledgeintensive vine management.

In the emerging economy people are using knowledge – whether it be science, marketing, big data, logistics, manufacturing, automation, design, finance, sustainability, animal welfare, packaging, information technology or water management. This is an industry that is beginning to look like the 21st century. This is the kind of industry we need to be putting in front of NZ’s young people with a clear vision of an industry that belongs to the future, one that benefits from all aspects of the industry working together, that has a place for every talented young person, that offers high incomes, interesting work, rich and

The number of young people wanting a future in agriculture remains far below what is needed. And it will stay that way unless we are willing to fundamentally change the way we think. The apple industry is characterised by sophisticated marketing and a consumer-friendly range of varieties. The creation of a highly regarded wine industry remains one of the main success stories for agriculture. Across the country regions are discovering how to link food to tourism to encourage higher value returns. Maori are at the forefront of combining agriculture with tourism and new products in areas like health. In regions like Hawke’s Bay, Otago and Wairarapa land is being used in new and more diverse ways. Everywhere is an awareness that something new, exciting and of greater value is dawning. What we are watching is the emergence of a new biological economy – an economy based on rethinking traditional behaviour in favour of building relationships between the producer and the consumer. As this relationship develops everything about agriculture begins to change – on the farm and at every step along the way to the consumer. Meeting people who work in this emerging biological economy is very different from meeting people who are still in the traditional economy.

varied careers and a sense of purpose that will bring pride. We do not need to start down this road because at least some people are already on it. What is needed now is leadership. We need to be hearing from leaders across our community that a biological economy belongs to the 21st century. The story needs to be clear, compelling and practical. What we need to stop is talk of agriculture and primary industries. Stop anything that sounds like the last century when agriculture ended at the farm gate. It is now about producer and consumer relationships fuelled by knowledge. If we persist with the old story the struggle to interest young New Zealanders and the people who influence their choices will continue. If we talk the language of the future I have no doubt the struggle will be over.

Who am I? Steve Maharey is an advocate of New Zealand becoming a food nation – the world’s leading producer of quality food that meets the constantly changing needs of consumers. He was formerly the vice-chancellor of Massey University and a senior Labour Cabinet minister holding a variety of portfolios.

Our People

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


INNOVATOR: Woodville dairy farmer Ben Allomes and wife Nicky have taken a different line on employing people.

Employment model tipped on its head Richard Rennie


S DAIRY farmers struggle to hire and keep staff Woodville farmer and DairyNZ director Ben Allomes has tipped his farm employment model on its head. He and wife Nicky aim to attract and retain people in an environment that recognises effort and nurtures potential while recognising a work-life balance. The challenges in attracting and retaining good people and a need to restructure their business two years ago presented the Allomes with a chance to look at how they employ people on their 750-cow operation. “It also came from a realisation that if I was in this industry for the long haul and was relying upon key people then I had a duty to make it work for them. “I was not doing any service to the primary sector if I did not,” he said.

“I worked closely with my farm manager. This was important as it meant I had input from the next generation coming through, recognising their particular needs and putting weighting on that.” Rather than people dodging work or opting for the plum hours, Allomes found they were flexible and open about options and have tended to stick to what they originally said they could do. “By having those conversations upfront about what they wanted was an excellent opportunity to build trust. “Now, over the course of a year we have 12 people working on the farm when traditionally it would have been that four FTE set-up.” Having that flexibility has also fed through to how Allomes recognises staff performance and spreads responsibility. “Typically, responsibility is allocated based on experience. Newer staff may have less experience but they can still be

sector last year. They also picked up the Innovative Employment Practices Award. Meanwhile, he sees the benefits flowing into the work-life balance of the rural community. As daily interactions in rural areas get hollowed out by partners working in town and children often ending up in town schools, Allomes described his approach as a back to the future reinvigoration of small communities. “People often want or need to do different things at different times of the day.

60 eC ! t i S l in Cal

“Urban places are trying to get more connected with their residents and that often involves the evenings. “But we have the flexibility in rural areas to do things during the day, if we make it flexible enough.” Allomes said his approach is a constantly moving target and good communication between boss and staff is vital, with a good dose of empathy required to stay tuned. “The conversations tend to be more holistic, more around how the person is, rather than just about what they are or are not doing in their job.”

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We tipped that on its head and instead decided to work it like a pasture feed wedge. That is, we have this much demand in front of us, how are we going to make up the supply? Allomes’ year spent as a Nuffield Scholar in 2015 played a big part in how he went about taking a long look at employment. His scholarship work looked at the importance of self-awareness and reflection in developing leadership among farmers. “Basically, if you are going to start anywhere you have to start with who you see in the mirror and asking yourself ‘how can I influence a positive level of change within my business and within my team?’” Thanks to earlier analysis Allomes knew the farm business takes 8000 working hours to run. “Typically, we would look at that and say that it required four full-time equivalents. We tipped that on its head and instead decided to work it like a pasture feed wedge. That is, we have this much demand in front of us, how are we going to make up the supply?” People were given a chance to say how many hours they wanted to work over a year and what sort of shifts they wanted.

allocated a narrow band of responsibility, right through to the top of the task.” While unemployment rates are at an historical low Allomes does not believe there is necessarily a shortage of staff for the farming sector. “There is a significant level of under employment where people would like to work more but can’t get hours that work for them.” Having up to 12 people employed on his farm over the year means his core staff get greater exposure to a wide variety of people, building their professional and social networks in the process. The flexibility of hours includes three milkings in two days from January onwards, requiring only one person to start before 7am when cows are milking twice a day. “Really, our team are our customer so the challenge is how can we make this work for them?” The creative approach earned the Allomes the inaugural Primary Industry Good Employer Award for the primary


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Our People

18 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Youngsters want jobs with passion Neal Wallace


ORGET using images of shearing sheep or early morning milking of cows to attract young people to agriculture and horticulture. They want careers that relate to areas in which they have an interest. Given difficulties in attracting young people it needs to change the narrative and find new and engaging ways of showing young people the variety of opportunities that exist, Primary ITO marketing and communication’s general manager Mike Stephens said. The recruitment challenge is compounded by low unemployment, urban dominance and the reality many potential primary sector employees live in Auckland. It requires a different approach to simply asking if they want to milk cows, work in a pack house or crutch sheep, he said.

The volume of traffic and interaction shows it is working and the degree of interest is more than passing but tangible results will take some time. “We are definitely creating more than just passing interest and that is apparent from the activity.” The next phase is translating that into young people embarking on careers. Primary ITO is partnering with Federated Farmers and the dairy and horticulture sectors offering apprenticeships and training but getting more boots on the ground will also not happen overnight. “We are seeing interest from young people interested in a career but it is slow.” This partnership also provides a structure where people forced to move from a city to a rural area to pursue their careers have support to settle in a new community, such as being introduced to Young Farmers clubs. A further avenue to encourage young people are trades

Rather than take the sector to them, get them there in a more engaging way. Once connected the next step is to identify a young person’s hobby, passion or interest then link it to a potential career. That means asking what young people like, such as whether they are interested in building, the outdoors, if they are adventurous or like working with animals. “Rather than take the sector to them, get them there in a more engaging way.” From that they can narrow down and see the relevant potential career options. Organisations such as Primary ITO need to talk to young people in their language and in their forums so social media is a key link to drive young people to the Primary ITO website, Stephens said.

academies run by Primary ITO, which provide a two-year course in sheep, beef, dairy and horticulture to about 900 school students from 50 schools. They provide a taste of primary sector careers. Primary ITO will roll out a 1.5m-high hamburger display at National Fieldays in the stand it shares with Young Farmers. In earlier outings it proved to be a discussion point with young people about where the various ingredients in the hamburger come from and the process of creating it. Bream Bay College horticulture teacher Allie Digweed-Jamieson said when she recently asked her pupils how the primary sector could promote itself better they

answered pay higher wages. The response highlighted a more significant issue. “It made me see that they really did not know there are good paying jobs out there, that horticulture and agriculture are more than just going on to a farm. “There is a lack of knowledge of the amazing jobs and opportunities they offer.” Digweed-Jamieson, who is also the horticulture president of the Horticulture and Agriculture Teachers Association (HATA), said some of the most engaging initiatives she has encountered have been a Beef + Lamb programme using agricultural scenarios to help teach subjects as diverse as English, mathematics and geography. It taps into students who might have no interest in the primary sector but see an application for a subject they are passionate about. Similarly, one to two-minute fly-on-the-wall videos of people at work in the primary sector provide students with examples of the variety of careers. There is room for both initiatives to be rolled out further, she said. Napier Boys High School agriculture teacher Rex Newman said employers need to show young staff patience and offer encouragement. “Don’t expect a young worker to come in knowing everything, even if they pretend that they do.” Newman, president of HATA’s agricultural sector, said employers cannot afford to scare young people out of the industry so a motivated young worker should be nurtured rather than abused by long hours and hard work. Of the nearly 1200 boys attending Napier Boys High School about 200 study agriculture across all year groups. They are mostly sons of farmers or boys who have relatives in farming. “Those who do the subject tend

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE: Primary ITO marketing and communications manager Mike Stephens says the agriculture sector must adopt a different approach to simply asking young people if they want to milk cows, work in a pack house or crutch sheep.

to be off a farm, have visited farms or have a bit of interest in it.” Newman said parents can also discourage a young person’s interest in farming, questioning what future or progress it offers. Attracting those to the sector who have not been exposed to farming is very difficult, compounded by the reality that most teenagers are still trying to determine what career they want to pursue. While not shying away from the realities of farming there is still an opportunity to be honest while also promoting the sector. “It needs to be branded more positively that agriculture is not all about shearing sheep or digging fence post holes but it’s a global industry and it offers different jobs.” Helping that has been the launch of the agribusiness course at NCEA levels two and three, exposing students who excel in science and commerce to the range of career opportunities

available beyond the farm gate. The course complements traditional agricultural courses and is needed with the Ministry for Primary Industry forecasting 45,000 graduates are required across the agribusiness sector by 2025, he said. It is being offered by 10 secondary schools from Auckland to Invercargill. “Agribusiness gives another level of academic achievement kids can work hard to get and establish a career.” While encouraging students to study agriculture is challenging, finding teachers with knowledge of and a passion for the industry is equally difficult. It is difficult to train a teacher who specialises in another field such as science to teach agriculture and finding replacement teachers with agricultural skills and knowledge is becoming increasingly difficult. “If they go, where do we get the next one from?”

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TIPS FOR WINTER GRAZING CROPS Soil is our greatest asset. Holding on to more of it makes good economic sense. Furthermore, too much soil and nutrients in waterways impact on water ecology and can kill freshwater species.



Graze paddocks strategically On a sloping paddock, fence across the slope and start grazing at the top of the slope. That way, the wettest and riskiest areas are grazed last, minimising soil damage and leaving the ungrazed buffer to reduce soil losses. Or, if there is a waterway in the paddock, start grazing at the far end of the paddock. Make sure to regularly back fence and use portable water troughs when necessary.





Exclude stock from waterways, wet areas and wetlands

Leave an ungrazed and uncropped buffer zone* around Critical Source Areas

Create an ungrazed buffer zone between the livestock and the waterway. About 3-5 metres is a good starting point*, but this should increase with slope and instability of soil.

Critical Source Areas (CSAs) are parts of the paddock that can channel overland flow directly to waterways (e.g. gullies, swales, very wet areas, spring heads, waterway crossings, stock camps and vehicle access routes).

*check your local rules

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Our People

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Get to know: James Robertson A career in agriculture can involve anything from science and engineering to marketing and design and involves working as part of an increasingly globalised supply chain. Fonterra business graduate James Robertson knows that all too well working at the world’s largest dairy exporter.


AN you tell us about your involvement in the primary sector, past and present? I grew up on our family dairy farm, just down the road from the Mystery Creek Fieldays, and quickly developed a love for the land and the wider New Zealand primary sector. Following my years at Hamilton Boys’ High School, my bags were packed for Palmerston North to pursue a Bachelor of AgriCommerce at Massey University. While studying I was immersed in a cohort of diverse and passionate agriculture students and became heavily involved in the university’s Young Farmers club. My summers were spent in south Waikato working for family-owned agricultural contractor T and K Alcock. Studying agriculture at university opened my eyes to the world of international trade and agribusiness, attracting me to a career opportunity as a Fonterra business graduate. So far I have held roles in Fonterra’s sustainable dairying team, ventures team and currently reside in the co-operative’s trade strategy team, navigating the changing global geopolitical world of agricultural trade.

with those in the industry who you admire as mentors. Having an underlying passion that related to my work and its purpose certainly made the shift to fulltime employment an exciting prospect for me. It was important to have a sense of connection to the work I do. It allows challenges to become learning opportunities rather than obstacles. Having grown up on a 200cow farm in Waikato and now working in Auckland City what are your thoughts on the urbanrural divide? And, as a sector, how can we help to bridge the gap? The urban-rural divide is real but it is a common misconception that it exists because of negligence or a lack of interest in our food production and rural life. Food is now too easy. It requires minimal effort to buy or prepare meals in our city environments, food’s convenience promotes a lack of thought and connection with food producers. However, it’s easy to point the finger. The divide is a two-way street. It’s not uncommon for our rural communities to avoid connection and interaction with

The urban-rural divide is real but it is a common misconception that it exists because of negligence or a lack of interest in our food production and rural life. After completing your study at Massey University what has been particularly helpful for you in shifting from tertiary education to full-time employment? The transition from study to the workforce is often an underrated challenge, especially when the sector offers so many diverse opportunities. Developing a robust network while at university helps to ensure the transition is not solitary. Instead, you can ask questions and voice concerns

the somewhat daunting city environments. I challenge rural folk to become inquisitive and participate in urban communities where possible. We have only to look at the popularity of Auckland City farmers markets to see the value both sides get from learning and becoming a part of each other’s community. People are genuinely interested to learn about the opportunities the rural sector provides but it requires support and openness from rural

CLOSING THE GAP: Urban people are genuinely interested to learn about the rural sector but it requires support from rural communities to include them in the conversation, James Robertson says.

communities to include them in the conversation. A Primary Industries Ministry report, People Powered, published in 2014 estimated an extra 50,000 people were going to be needed to work in the primary industries by 2025 and there was a growing demand for professional skills such as engineering, science and management in the sector. What has kept you engaged in the primary industries and, specifically, in agribusiness? The primary industries are exciting. We face pressures to produce products for the world’s growing population but have encountered challenges with the suitability of today’s production systems. How can we increase output with less inputs and externalities? To me, this is a stimulating question and I want to be a part of a solution. Agribusiness encompasses every aspect of our primary supply chain and stretches far beyond the farm gate. So, how can we develop business models that support succession


and ownership opportunities for the next generation? How can we position NZ as the world’s sought-after producer of premium food? And how can we make sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand? These questions are why I’m engaged in the sector. Fast-forward to 2025 – what do you think will be some of the key trends facing our sector and how are you preparing for them now? By 2025 things will have evolved. Today our consumers are looking to hold a closer a connection and sense of belonging to food with a growing awareness of quality nutrition and environmental concerns of primary production.

Our primary producers are seeking ways to become involved in the final product they help produce rather than traditionally being paid for quantity and, to some degree, quality at the farm gate. I believe we will see a growing provenance narrative in the sector, driven by supply and demand. Increasing environmental and compliance pressures are likely to bring the discerning consumer closer to food producers. Personally, I’m looking to develop a range of skills that encompass all aspects of the agri supply chain. The aim is to put me in the best position to tell our primary production story and build an awareness of the challenges at every step in producing worldclass products.

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James Robertson Age: 22 Location: Auckland City Interests: Dairy, agritech and future of food Qualification: Bachelor of AgriCommerce, Massey University Role: Fonterra business graduate, NZYF Auckland club secretary and 2019 FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist

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Our People

22 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Looking out for future farmers Farmers are facing an increasing array of challenges at the same time as traditional means of peer support and communication are drying up but, as Colin Williscroft found, it’s not all bad news.

Need support or advice? Rural Support Trusts 0800 787 254 Farmstrong National Telehealth Service 1737


ARMSTRONG project manager Gerard Vaughan tells a story of an older farmer who was really under the pump, struggling to keep up with an ever-increasing list of jobs to be done and regulations to be complied with. He was putting in long hours and doing it tough but he told himself the sacrifice was worth it because it was for his children. They would be the ones to benefit. So it came as a bit of a shock when, having sat down with his kids to explain his lifestyle and why he didn’t spend much time with them, they told him “If it means my life is going to look like yours I don’t want to be farming”. Though that is not necessarily the norm, Vaughan said it illustrates the need for farmers to keep some perspective in their lives for their own sake as well as their friends and families. Farmstrong turns four in June and during that time the programme has engaged with an increasing number of farmers who, according to surveys, find

the information available on its website, especially around mental health and wellbeing, very relevant. What is also helping is farmers sharing their own experiences. Though the impact of people with a public profile like Sir John Kirwan and Doug Avery talking about mental health cannot be underestimated it is farmers opening up publicly about the challenges they face that is really important, Vaughan said. “Once farmers start talking, other farmers will listen.” In the lead-up to Farmstrong’s launch farmers were more focused on decisions over their land and their stock rather than the most important part of their business – themselves. That is changing but more work is needed, Vaughan said. One area farmers should think about more is how to build in regular breaks and time away from the farm. Vaughan understands it can be difficult with a farming business to get away completely but spending money on getting other people

in to make time off possible is a smart investment by farmers in their own wellbeing and by default the future of their business. There is potential for communities to work together to help make those breaks possible, he said. Rural Support Trust Manawatu spokeswoman Dame Margaret Millard said changes in farming workplaces and communities have created a disconnect among people. Smaller, family operations are not as common as they used to be and on larger farms staff are more likely to come and go without really engaging in the community. With the closure of sale yards, country schools and churches over the years the chance for rural residents to catch up for a chat are less than they used to be. “It’s not like in town when you can just go out and have a coffee.” Sports teams and clubs like Young Farmers have an important role to play but there are fewer of them around than there used to be.

That means people who are often working in isolated locations have less access to peer support at times when pressures on them are increasing. Not only is farming becoming more technical and compliancedriven, there is a lot of negativity being directed at the industry. Instead of the respect farmers were used to they are now being treated as whipping boys, Millard said. That is hard to take and quite damaging to some, especially when much of the criticism is misinformed and misdirected. Positive support is important and rural communities need to continue to contribute towards that, now and into the future. Keeping in touch with other people and being reminded of the many positive things going on in communities helps individuals look ahead and realise that even though they might sometimes feel a bit isolated, there are people they can talk to who understand the challenges they are facing. Rural support trusts are always

there for a free, confidential chat, available to anyone in the rural community who is finding things getting a bit much. Farmstrong will use Fieldays to give one of its newest resources, Under the Pump, a push. Under the Pump, which can be found in the resources section on the Farmstrong website, provides farmers with a guide to recognising burnout along with some tips from Farmstrong ambassador and All Black Sam Whitelock on ways to deal with it. Farmstrong can be found at Fieldays at site E34-E36. Whitelock will be on-site on Friday, June 14 from 2-4pm Vaughan is confident farmers are on the right track in acknowledging the importance of looking after themselves but now is not the time to drop the ball. “Ultimately, when it becomes normal planning for farmers to consider how to get the best out of themselves just as important as how to get the best out of their land and stock, that’s when we’ve turned a corner.”

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

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24 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Our People

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Women’s role is ever-changing and make a difference in the rural communities.” Rural women are increasingly taking a place around the decision-making tables at all levels from local community right through to national level and from community groups to national agribusiness.

Annette Scott


OMEN make a huge contribution to the agriculture industry and Rural Women New Zealand has been right there meeting and adapting to the challenges arising in the rural sector for more than 90 years. And the philosophy of the organisation has not changed. It is what women do that has changed, president Fiona Gower says. Rural Women has a strong, charitable history as an authoritative voice for the rural community and in the changing face of agriculture that voice has become more diverse in its support for rural communities. “We have always been a strong voice for women in isolated locations, bringing awareness to the decision makers. We have just got a lot stronger on community issues rather than industry issues,” Gower said. Though it’s far from being a tea-and-scones organisation these days the social support aspect of the organisation remains as important now as when it was established in 1925. The rural sector has seen many challenges over the years but through knowledge sharing, collaboration and good communication we can all grow and work through these challenges, she said. “We are focused on building stronger relationships with other

Trust, Young Farmers, Dairy Women’s Network and Kellogg to help upskill and grow its members. Gower said it’s very rewarding watching members develop their volunteer skills through training and leadership courses. “This boosts their confidence

Women are seen as change agents and we are seeing results in farming partnerships, in businesses and communities.

CRUCIAL: Fiona Gower says women are the glue that holds our communities together.

rural organisations and working more closely with decision-makers to develop synergy.” A key part of that has been improving access to services to encourage people to rural communities. A lot of the more recent work has focused on rural health, connectivity and education with

members of the organisation coming from all walks of life. “Our members come from the middle of cities through to the high country with a diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experience. “That’s one of our greatest strengths in building networks where members can meet, learn

“Part of what we do is encouraging our women to take the first step of a journey – there are roles for us all out there. “Women are seen as change agents and we are seeing results in farming partnerships, in businesses and communities. “Women are the glue that holds our communities together.” So why are rural women doing so well in leadership roles? “It’s their ability to multi-task. They can cope with the drop-of-ahat emergencies while still helping children do their homework, getting them to sports, cooking dinner, making phone calls to the bank manager and maybe running their own business or working off-farm. “It’s that ability to multi-task and think diversely that stands women out in leadership roles.” Rural Women provides some great opportunities to learn leadership roles but it also receives great support from other organisations it has built partnerships with including the Agri Women’s Development

and knowledge, arms them with skills that lead them to bigger roles. “That’s what RWNZ is about – giving women opportunities to support their communities and make a difference. “Continuing to have that authoritative voice for rural communities is even more powerful now than ever in the changing face of regulation and ensuring communication and connectivity is a priority for rural communities will be an ongoing key focus for RWNZ. “We need to be heard and heard strongly that connectivity is as important for rural communities as it is for towns and cities, especially those running agri-businesses, for children’s education and to attract people to rural communities.” It’s also an important safety aspect for those living rurally. Gower said there are woman running amazing businesses in rural areas and each year they are recognised and celebrated in the RWNZ business awards.

Students get kiwifruit insights Richard Rennie


HE pressing demand for staff in the kiwifruit sector has been most apparent this harvest season with expectations the shortage of picking and pack house workers might be 3000. But the demand for skilled staff is expected to extend from orchard to outlet with industry efforts ramping up to make the industry an appealing one to talented school-leavers. The industry’s school leaving initiative, Cultivate Your Career, recently attracted 280 Western Bay of Plenty students and gave them a first-hand insight to the options careers in the horticultural sector can offer. A focus of the initiative has been to give students an insight to the behind-the-scenes professions and technology now establishing in an industry becoming increasingly automated, digitised and high-tech. Event organiser Renee Fritchley said students were surprised by the high-tech,

LEARNING: Opportunities exist across the training spectrum in kiwifruit, says Nikki Johnson.

cutting-edge industries in Bay of Plenty providing support to the horticultural sector and particularly kiwifruit. Kiwifruit Growers chief executive Nikki Johnson said the sector now offers a broad spectrum of opportunities for school leavers from those who want to step straight into orchard work to those who want tertiary education. “The opportunities include

cadetships within the industry’s post-harvest processors and the opportunity to work while also obtaining a training qualification.” Kiwifruit Growers has also been supporting an in-school initiative at Katikati College, which has integrated an industry academy in the school, including trades education and NCEA papers. The school hopes soon to learn whether it has managed to get funding for a separate academy classroom on its campus. A Waikato University report in 2017 predicted the kiwifruit sector will generate an extra 29,000 full-time jobs over 13 years, in addition to the 11,000 already in the sector. It will accompany an increase in kiwifruit’s export earnings from $2.6 billion now to $6b by 2030. The report attributed much of the sector’s strong future growth to SunGold fruit and estimated without it the growth would be only half the 2030 projection. But Johnson said Kiwifruit Growers is doing its own work on what sort of staff numbers the sector might require in years to come, both full and part time.

“Those were very big numbers in the university report and may well be the case but we want to have more targeted data on where the needs are.” Kiwifruit Growers has also been working with iwi to support the Kiwi Leaders programme run through Te Awanui Huka Pak, the

100% iwi-owned and operated post-harvest processor. With intergenerational land ownership, young average age and extensive kiwifruit holdings the sector is working to address and accelerate the development of young Maori into higher levels across the sector’s value chain.

GIVING TIPS: Hamish Mckain from DMS talks to Bethlehem College students about harvesting kiwifruit at Cultivate Your Career.

Our People

26 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Get to Know: Megan Robertson Finding and attracting young people to take New Zealand farming forward is recognised as one of the biggest challenges facing the primary sector. Massey University Young Farmers Club chairwoman Megan Robertson looks to the future.


AN you give us some background on your involvement in the primary industries? How did you start off in the sector and what made you decide to stay in it? I grew up on my parents’ dairy farm at Hari Hari on the West Coast. They have recently bought an avocado orchard in Bay of Plenty so I’m excited to learn more about the horticulture sector. Being involved in dairy and orchard discussions as well as seeing my parents meet their goals has made me eager to be part of such a progressive sector. I am in my final year of agri-commerce degree at Massey University. I’ve been involved with Massey Young Farmers first as a member then vice-chairwoman and now chairwoman. I am also fortunate to represent the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management as the Manawatu student representative and Massey Agriculture as the student liaison. In the summer breaks I have worked on my parents’ dairy farm as assistant hoof trimmer in Waikato then as an agribusiness intern for Farm Source. Being around passionate students, friends and family has cemented my decision to pursue a career in the sector. No doubt there are challenges ahead but it is exciting and something I will be a part of. What is the overall goal of Young Farmers and how can young people get involved? NZYF aims to develop its members both socially and practically alongside motivated, like-minded people in a progressive club environment. NZYF’s purpose is to ensure the

Profile COMMITTED: Megan Robertson says she wants to share her story and passion for the industry in a positive but honest way.

future success of NZ’s primary industries and that is being achieved through the 80 clubs across the country. Massey Young Farmers Club is the largest club in the country with more than 200 people involved. We run social events as well as practical skills days in an inclusive and fun environment. The leadership, personal development and networking opportunities are invaluable. These skills are highly transferable to any career. No matter your age there is an area of Young Farmers you can get involved in. Check out the NZYF website for club locations, contact numbers and more information. MPI has released data on the primary industries workforce. Overall, the average retention rate of new entrants is 48% after a year in the job and 29% after three, while the NZ-wide average is 34% after three

years. What is likely to retain you in the primary sector? I guess I am in the easy cohort for attraction to the industry in the first place, having come from an agricultural background. The thought of being able to spend every day working in an industry that has a sense of community motivates me. Immersing myself in the sector has opened my eyes to just how progressive and rewarding a career can be, both on-farm and as a rural professional. The investment organisations could or are making in the form of summer internships is priceless in retaining and engaging students. At Massey Young Farmers Club our goal is to expose as many students as possible from all walks of life to the primary sector. I am putting a proposal to NZYF to lower costs for student membership to futureproof NZYF by boosting numbers and diversity in the organisation and wider industry.

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Megan Robertson Age: 20 Location: Palmerston North Interests: Dairy and horticulture Qualification: Bachelor of AgriCommerce, Massey University Role: Massey University student, Massey Young Farmers Club chairwoman, Cervus Equipment Manawatu intern

As a sector how can we better help boost students’ understanding of and engagement with the primary sector? Take on students over the summer and teach them about your business. Engage students and help them understand the breadth of opportunities in the sector. As well as the traditional farming path, students need to be made aware there are primary industry careers in marketing, banking, science, trades, logistics, IT and the list goes on. Help be a part of breaking the cycle of negative and outdated industry stereotypes. Tell our story well but tell it honestly. The sector should continue to support and invest in students through work experience and organisations such as NZYF.

The Government is set on doubling primary sector exports by 2025 but that needs a sustainable and skilled workforce. How do you see yourself contributing to our industries now and in the future? Being the chairwoman of the Massey Young Farmers Club I am responsible for motivating and engaging club members. Next year I’ll begin my professional journey in the primary industries as a Fonterra Farm Source agribusiness graduate. One day I hope to travel overseas and use the knowledge from my international agribusiness major working internationally to promote NZ agri-food products. I will continue to invest in the professional development of others by sharing my story and passion for the industry in a positive but honest way.

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28 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

“Every single one of us needs to take responsibility and move from talking about safety to farming safely every day.” ANDREW MORRISON Southland sheep and beef farmer, Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Our Markets

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Stand for something and mean it Daniel Eb


HE first video rental store opened in 1977. For a $50 annual membership customers could rent movies for $10 a day, taking them home to play on their $6000 video cassette recorder. Twenty years later along came $1 rentals and the DVD player, a relative steal at $1500. Today $12 a month and a $100 smartphone get you all the movies you want. Welcome to the world of the zero-marginal-cost business model. Coined by economist Jeremy Rifkin, zero marginal cost is a useful way to understand the trajectory of technology and price. Stepping back to high school economics we recall that marginal cost is the extra cost incurred to add a unit of production. On the farm that means shouldering extra land, hours, vet bills and transport costs for every extra stock unit. Businesses like Netflix, Spotify and online education are zero or low marginal cost information products. Once the infrastructure is in place it costs next to nothing to scale up and add customers. Uber, Tesla and Amazon demonstrate the disruptive potential of low-marginal-cost models in the physical world. Food is next. Our future food competitors will be low-marginal-cost alternatives – plant-based or cultured meat and milk, vertical horticulture or molecular whisky and wine. For these producers, scaling up is relatively cheap. The real grunt of their business model is in their intellectual property. Once the recipe is right the marginal cost of making more is minimal. The end result is a cheaper product that’s constantly improving with potential to steamroll higher-marginal-cost competitors out of the market. There is no place for New Zealand agriculture in the zeromarginal-cost game. Innately, we know that ours is a different path – one of


DON’T GET LOST: There is no place for New Zealand agriculture in the zero-marginal-cost game. Ours is a different path – one of provenance, premium and deep customer connection.

provenance, premium and deep customer connection. It’s a great strategy. It plays to our strengths, our heritage and our sense of kaitiakitanga. And it’s what our customers want.

our customers slow down and feel something beyond taste and personal pleasure. That’s easier said than done. There is no blueprint to transition a national industry from a technical, productivity focus to

We need to prioritise research and development that promotes and protects our reputation, even at the expense of productivity. Emerging in parallel with the zero-marginal cost model is the experience economy. I like to think of it as fast, cheap and functional versus slow, expensive and meaningful. Those global citizens who can afford to are looking for products that shape their identity, define their social status and make life worth living. To stay competitive, the food and fibre we produce has to make


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a strategy based on intangible values like authenticity and customer connection. As it stands we have a foot in both the marginal-cost and experience economies. Our apprehension to take a leap of faith into the experience economy is entirely reasonable. Generations of investment in infrastructure, human capital and personal identity are sunk costs in a model that till now was rational,

profitable and something we were exceptionally good at. Change is hard. But what got us here won’t get us there. To earn a niche in the experience economy we have to choose to be remarkable. What do remarkable brands look like? Their actions speak louder than their advertising. Patagonia made headlines when it endorsed two United States senators with strong conservation platforms. Tesla doesn’t run ads but firing Elon Musk’s personal car into space on a SpaceX rocket spoke volumes. Rolls Royce has never advertised. Even Nike waded into divisive social justice issues last year, igniting praise and backlash by running a campaign with a controversial National Football League player. To compete in the experience economy we need to stand for something and mean it.

Top producers like First Light Foods are leading the way. Their success is what happens when we combine exceptional farming with authentic action and storytelling. Our great experience economy opportunity, our moonshot, is for all NZ food and fibre to be like First Light. But we have to build it before our customers will buy it. That requires remarkable actions that broadcast our values beyond traits like pasture-fed and hormone-free. Banning feedlots, rejecting imported feed, refusing to export live animals, ending bobby calf wastage, committing to onfarm biodiversity, measuring carbon capture, mainstreaming regenerative farming, pioneering calf and cow milking, sourcing ethically-produced fertiliser and transparent supply chains. We need to prioritise research and development that promotes and protects our reputation, even at the expense of productivity. These are all difficult and expensive actions but that’s what makes them powerful. When we make a values-based connection to our customers, price premiums and new revenue streams become possible. Why not a Kiwi meat, milk and produce box for a taste of southern summer in the middle of the northern winter? Or international Kiwi countrylife roadshows where we teach regenerative living and share seeds, native food and Maori values. How about a global Patreon (online donations) campaign to back Kiwi farmers pioneering a better food system? At home urban Kiwis will support our farmers’ transition to this new model with local price premiums or temporary government subsidies. We don’t have to launch rockets or court controversy, that’s not our way. A quiet, humble but unwavering commitment to our land, animals and people will be enough for a world desperate for authenticity to take notice. Let’s show them what we stand for.


Our Markets

30 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

A close glance at the global economy


HE world economy is a not too hot, not too cold scenario for New Zealand exports, MyFarm rural economist Con Williams says. “We’re in interesting times and the trade issues are probably benefiting us in an indirect way.” With all the attention on the trade row between the United States and China and the implications of tariffs on the twoway trade between them NZ is under the radar and that is one of the reasons for the good demand for a range of NZ’s primary sector goods. “That’s why I say not too hot, not too cold. There’s not enough happening to reduce our inmarket returns.” The former Beef + Lamb NZ and ANZ Bank economist is now head of investment research at the primary sector investment syndicate organiser MyFarm, which is active across a range of sectors. He said the second part of the equation is the slowdown in

general global trade, which also hasn’t been at a level to affect our commodity prices. But if the US-China relationship breaks down fully it could be the tipping point for a larger pullback in activity that will hurt trade growth for NZ. There would be collateral damage to equity markets in China and the US and economies would be hurt. His view is common sense will eventually win-out, with the timing not known but likely to be influenced by the US election cycle. In the meantime, Chinese tariffs on US agricultural imports, including animal feed products, such as soy meal, will make domestic production and prices more expensive, improving the attraction of imported meats from other countries. China’s own swine flu problem knocking back pork production means consumers are looking for substitute red meats like beef and lamb. That demand boost is pushing NZ farmgate returns higher. “It will be interesting to see how permanent that impact will be but

INTERESTING TIMES: Con Williams says New Zealand is under the radar and this is one of the reasons for the good demand for a range of our primary sector goods. it can have a marked effect for a couple of years at least.” Finally, the uncertainties in financial markets and the slowdown in the NZ economy are putting pressure on the currency and the lower Kiwi dollar is also a positive for farmgate returns.

We’re in interesting times and the trade issues are probably benefiting us in an indirect way. “There’s always ups and downs in the primary sector,” he said. Across the globe it is too early to say how helpful the Trans Pacific trade bloc is for NZ and Brexit is still an unknown for lamb and wine because of Britain’s market importance.

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The Middle East’s challenging political state is weighing on trade though parts of the market are reasonably lucrative for dairy, sheep meat and apples in smaller volumes. A key gain for NZ over the last five years has been the

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value-add focus and leadership roles, notably with the SunGold variety in kiwifruit, infant formula in dairying led by A2 Milk and Synlait Milk, the new taste and colour apple varieties and the extremely successful vineyard sector.

Wines, such as Marlborough sauvignon blanc, have gained market share even amid lower overall alcohol consumption because of their reliability and quality to suit various occasions. In the meat sector it is difficult to say there is a huge price premium for what we produce. There are good local examples and the question is how they could scale-up. Generally, the sector has optimised carcase returns across global markets without being fully recognised for that. As a buyer of beef and lamb China has its own market dynamics. For the future MyFarm sees hops, cherries and avocados as three emerging winners.

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Our Markets

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


China relationship has a reset As the ink dried on New Zealand’s free-trade agreement with China more than 10 years ago few would have appreciated just what an economic behemoth the Asian economy would become today. Ten years on China’s economy has more than tripled, competition has intensified and despite the opportunity that still exists, many NZ agri producers are more realistic, if not slightly jaded, about how tough the market is. Richard Rennie visited China in March to take the pulse of NZ’s exporters in what has become our number one trading partner.


ONG-TIME Beijing resident and New Zealander David Mahon believes NZ might well have dodged something of a bullet in its relationship with China, thanks in part to Prime Minister Jacinda Adern’s fleeting visit there in April. While she was in the air longer than on the ground, Mahon said her visit was significant in that she made the effort to visit despite the domestic demands of the Christchurch shooting crisis. “It also came after she made a statement Huawei was not banned and it was simply under a process of review. “The moment she said that the Chinese government acknowledged its importance given she is the boss and it showed NZ is still independent in its views as a country.” The two actions did much to repair damage done by Winston Peters’ pro-United States speech late last year in Washington and Ron Mark’s defence paper issued a year ago identifying China as a threat. Mahon agrees the NZ government now has some wriggle room around Huawei with the recent leak from the United Kingdom on its intentions for the company and 5G. The UK has reportedly decided to compromise over its earlier ban on Huawei equipment in its 5G cellular network and that might also provide a way forward for NZ in future conciliations. Huawei is to be allowed to contribute to less sensitive components in the UK network but that has yet to be officially confirmed by the UK government.

earnt significant respect from Chinese authorities in dealing transparently and forthrightly with the issue. “It was an open, honest approach and built real respect from the Chinese.” The ability of NZ food producers to work in partnership with their Chinese distributors and key GETTING BETTER: David Mahon says the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s accounts is a consistent visit did much to ease Chinese concerns over New Zealand’s position. theme across all selling models in China, where trust can typically be thin running means many of the timeto combine marketing talents in business dealings. consuming and expensive back and resources, drawing on A particularly successful model office tasks of doing business Chinese nationals with a deep has been built from the Primary in China are established for understanding of their home Collaboration NZ (PCNZ), which participating companies. Working market and a commitment to has helped take companies that jointly the participating companies promoting NZ sourced products. might struggle to resource a and contracted staff often work The 22 largely local Shanghai full head office/marketing team together in joint NZ-focused employees are usually tertiary facility to access large Chinese city food promotions to hotel and qualified and are contracted to markets. restaurant chains. client companies. Commitment by the client Kevin Parish has recently The moment she said that, the Chinese service execs employed by PCNZ stepped down as chief executive government acknowledged its importance is strong and regular trips to NZ of PCNZ having overseen its given she is the boss and it showed New help keep them informed firstestablishment four years ago. hand on farm and processing He took the enterprise’s Zealand is still independent in its views as a developments. combined brands business to country. Parish has also been working about $700 million today. to establish the NZ Business “This model has proven that Roundtable in China (NZBRIC), working in combination from With its foundations in But despite its success with aiming to provide a forum for NZ the same spot we can do a Shanghai, PCNZ includes China now accounting for more businesses across China. lot more for those next tier cornerstone investors Silver Fern than 15% of kiwifruit sales in only “Ten years post-FTA this is a companies. Farms, Bostock Apples, Mr Apple, four years, even Zespri has not very different market and NZBRIC “The knowledge captured is Freshmax, Villa Maria, Synlait, been without its issues in China. is a way to help businesses better shared among all the team here Kono and Sealord. Some staff were arrested several understand where the market is with market intelligence being fed PCNZ has provided a years ago for import document at and keep pace with the fast back to the NZ producers.” collaborative approach for those fraud, resulting in imprisonment. changing nature of China.” Having PCNZ already up and companies and others since But Mahon said Zespri has Mahon agreed that is helpful and might provide a pathway for NZ to follow. The reset in NZ’s relationship was consolidated with what Mahon said was a very successful visit by Trade Minister David Parker in late April, hard on the PM’s heels. “He brought a high-quality delegation and got all the meetings he had sought, which is good going considering the competition from 40 heads of state.” Relationship issues aside, China is a tough, competitive market and one in which Mahon sees a lot more domestic competition pushing up against traditionally imported products. Partly in response to food scares like the San Lu melamine crisis, food standards are significantly tighter than 10 years ago and locals’ expectations on quality are higher. The two standout NZ success stories in Mahon’s mind are Zespri and A2 Milk.

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32 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Our Markets

A food and fibre vision

HERE TO STAY: The food and fibre sector is and will remain central to the New Zealand economy, Primary Sector Council chairman Lain Jager says.

It’s an extraordinary time to be a farmer in New Zealand. On the one hand returns have been strong across most sectors and the demand outlook continues to look good for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, there is deep concern across the sector that farmers are not receiving credit for the hard work being done in the environmental sustainability space and, perhaps more concerning, we are being asked to shoulder an unfair share of the burden of addressing climate change. Primary Sector Council chairman Lain Jager explains.


T IS in this context the Primary Sector Council set up by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor in April last year has been talking to farming groups around the country about what a vision for the future might look like. O’Connor set up the council because it is clear the sector faces multiple challenges including changing consumption patterns, emerging technology in the alternative proteins space, challenges associated with environmental sustainability and the continued challenge to grow value. The food and fibre sector is and will remain central to the New Zealand economy. It makes up about 20% of GDP, one in 10 jobs, 75% of merchandise exports and covers 14 million hectares of productive land and vastly more ocean space. It’s important the sector continues to grow, on average at about 2% annually and that will be challenging given growth can’t just be from agricultural intensification. Increasingly, it needs to consider value and optimal land and water use as well. The climate change challenge is real and

to acquire access to our land and water. impacts of climate change. Despite the urgent. It is of overriding importance for all Let’s ensure we fully understand its value as growth of synthetic food off a tiny base, New Zealanders and global citizens. carbon and food inevitably become more the future demand for food and fibre from Many climate experts acknowledge it fully priced. NZ will likely be strong provided we are is unlikely the Paris Accord targets will be The second is that NZ is well-governed producing what consumers and markets are met because countries around the world with strong institutions and we have a looking for in a genuinely sustainable way. are already failing to hit intermediate tremendous capacity to demonstrate It is also clear that while the sector is milestones. determined leadership in the face of taking strong actions behind the farm gate That means that the planet will continue adversity. It’s clear that what is to warm through two required is high-quality, pandegrees with significant It’s clear that what is required is high-quality, sector strategy and policy and impacts on living standards, pan-sector strategy and policy and a strong a strong partnership between biodiversity and food production globally. partnership between Government and business government and business as we navigate the transition ahead The clear strategic as we navigate the transition ahead of us. of us. implications for the NZ food Talking to food and fibre and fibre sector are that leaders around the country over the last in areas such as effluent systems, precision as the fear of climate change continues six months gives me confidence we can application of water and nutrients, riparian to grow, the pressure on issues related to organise ourselves to demonstrate the planting, fencing of waterways and farm environmental sustainability will become required leadership. environment plans, these actions alone will more severe. To counter this we must do The vision work of the Primary Sector not be enough to support our social licence all we can to mitigate climate change and Council is one small part of the broader to operate. building resilience into our farming systems dialogue occurring across the sector. Rather, as the fear of climate change will be critical for a prosperous future. As we continue our discussions some grows and pressure on issues related to But it’s all not downside for food and fibre themes are emerging. environmental sustainability continues producers in NZ. We are moving environmental to mount, what is required is that New Global food production systems are sustainability to the core of everything we Zealanders are confident our country, increasingly being challenged by the do, working as part of nature as stewards of including the food and fibre sector, is doing our land so we have healthy land, healthy the right thing. air, healthy water and healthy communities. That’s as much about transport, We are building our leadership in renewable energy and industrial heat as it sustainable farming systems and optimising is about sustainable farming systems and land use. optimising land use but it’s important to Prioritising investment and science be clear that nothing less than genuinely focus will be crucial to this work as well environmentally sustainable approaches as aligning policy and regulation as is to farming will be acceptable as the future continuing the volume to value journey. unfolds. I’m optimistic about our future for two reasons. The first is that in the context of the Who am I? challenges ahead NZ is wealthy from a natural capital perspective. Lain Jager is the chairman of the Primary We have great land and water resources, Sector Council, which provides independent a temperate climate and we are surrounded strategic advice to the Government on issues by oceans. confronting the primary industries. The council’s This is important commercially as well as discussions with stakeholders across the strategically. sector are ongoing. To get in contact, email its All manner of actors, including those from secretariat at PrimarySectorCouncilSecretariat@ the transport sector and offshore, will seek

Our Markets

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


Sustainability must come faster Richard Rennie


ESPITE a definite quickening in consumers’ interest in sustainably produced products there is still a long way to go before the world experiences a significant shift in attitude and approach to sustainability, Untouched World founder and director Peri Drysdale says. Data on consumers’ online purchases indicate a lift of 47% in inquiries in the past year for sustainably produced clothes. Allbirds and Wellington-based Kowtow Clothing are examples of companies, along with her own, that are building on the growing sustainability move by consumers.

carbon emissions as the only environmental issue. With countries like Ireland pursing sustainable certification processes Drysdale can see the potential for one in NZ. But she warns the road to achieving that can be a complex route. “The problem facing industry is the integrity of the data used to develop these measures. “If we did have some sort of national index or certification it would be great but would have to be very carefully thought through as to how it applies and is relevant to every step in the supply chain. “There are such systems in play around the world but they are hard to build to reflect the net impact of different types of operation.”

It isn’t enough to just be sustainable – for example, in fashion quality, style, fit, performance all have to stack up. Meanwhile, at the farm end of production she is heartened by what she sees as the development of more sustainable, niche farming operations established in the past 20 years since she started her lifestyle clothing label. “Back in the early days when we first started looking for organic wool farmers didn’t really get the sustainable aspect. “Now they are contacting us with opportunities they want to explore.” Despite debate around the veracity of New Zealand’s 100% Pure slogan the connotations have stuck and remain salient to the people who visit NZ and those wanting to buy food and fibre from here. “That’s the perception and we should be prepared to put legislation in force to reinforce that and do better than we have so far.” But it is important not to lose sight of the whole picture, which includes water quality, deforestation, biodiversity and plastic contamination rather than become solely focused on

In a climate of shifting consumer perceptions opportunities exist for coarse wool products as more is understood about the fibre. “For example, we now know about the thousands of plastic microfibres released from synthetic clothes every time they are washed. “In contrast wool offers a biodegradable material option. “We are also seeing exciting opportunities in new uses like surfboards, really left-field products that may never have been considered before,” Drysdale said. AgResearch work is also finding wool contains proteins that have a high nutritional value and can be used as ingredients in pet food products, with potential for human health products as well. Consumers’ concern over issues like plastics and microfibres in the ocean have moved up to a level they are now prepared to pay for sustainable products. However, Drysdale notes there remains a gap between the premium they say they will pay for sustainable products and

FASHION: It is important sustainable businesses deliver overall value, like-for-like categories, Untouched World director Peri Drysdale says

what they actually will pay. “Therefore, it is important sustainable businesses deliver overall value, like-for-like categories. It isn’t enough to just be sustainable – for example in fashion quality, style, fit, performance all have to stack up.

“But data is showing they are increasingly searching out sustainably produced products.” In light of some bleak environmental reports including United Nations predictions a million species will be wiped out before 2050 Drysdale admits

moving between optimism and overwhelming concern the pace of change is not faster. “But this is something we cannot do on our own and the shift needs lots and lots of other brands on board within NZ to tell this story and not just within the clothing sector.”

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Our Markets

34 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Agritech moves bode well for NZ’s future Kiwi innovators are stepping up to meet the global challenges of a rapidly evolving agritech landscape, Callaghan Innovation agritech manager Simon Yarrow writes.


OPULATION and wealth growth will drive a 70% increase in demand for calories and a 100% increase in crop demand by 2050, according to a 2015 study by McKinsey Global Institute. Expanding the farming footprint and cultivating more land is not the answer to meet that demand. Instead, it will come down to increasingly efficient use of existing resources, including land and labour.

breeding and pasture production. Now, the focus is shifting to automation and smart, connected, digital solutions using data to improve farm management and deliver more efficient, more productive use of resources. Many New Zealand companies are already rising to the challenges presented by the rapidly evolving agritech landscape. Digital sensors that collect and apply data from different

There is a good reason to be especially excited about the current wave of agritech solutions being developed in NZ. One of the key mechanisms capable of delivering the efficiencies is the application of smart digital tools and new agritech innovations. Traditionally, agricultural change has been biologically driven, with agritech advances focusing on areas such as animal health,

sources around the farm offer massive opportunities for efficiency. One example, from Kiwi company Levno, is a sensor on rural fuel tanks that monitors capacity and automatically notifies fuel suppliers when a delivery is needed – a time-saver for

the customer and vastly more cost-efficient in terms of route planning. Often referred to as the Internet of Things, these sorts of technology-enabled, data-driven solutions not only reduce handson administration, helping to ease labour demands, they can also improve the quality of critical decisions on the farm. NZ company Regen’s services use real-time data from sensors on the farm, analyse it and deliver text recommendations about water, effluent and nitrogen management. With access to timely, accurate scientific analysis, farmers and growers can make better decisions to improve their productivity and economic outcomes while also meeting their sustainability targets and regulatory reporting requirements. Satellite technology, drones and unmanned aerial vehicles are another area that could deliver a big agritech payoff.

USEFUL: Technology-enabled, data-driven solutions not only reduce hands-on administration, helping to ease labour demands, but can also improve the quality of critical decisions on the farm, Callaghan Innovation agritech manager Simon Yarrow says.

Kiwi company Aeronavics is using hi-tech drones to provide quality data about stock, crops and nutrient management. Like the sensor data, it connects to other systems on the farm to support smart, timely decisions. The smart solutions coming out of our local agritech scene are no surprise. NZ’s agritech sector has always had a natural advantage grounded in our deep, fundamental understanding of agriculture and the fact many of our leading innovators come

from a farming background with first-hand experience of the challenges. But there is a good reason to be especially excited about the wave of agritech solutions being developed in NZ. In the past, one of the limitations for our agritech sector was that our businesses tended to take a very NZ-centric approach to the products and solutions we developed. Now, there is an ambition to solve global problems and the global potential is massive.

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Our Markets

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


It’s time for NZ to be brave Jack Keeys


HE consumer trends important for New Zealand agriculture become clear when strolling through the supermarkets of larger British and European cities. There are two key criteria of the high-priced, added-value products: fast-paced foods, those ready to eat or quick to prepare, and functional foods, those providing clear health benefits. It is even more apparent in the colourful and vibrant aisles in wealthier parts of Asia. Seeing the agricultural and food innovations around the world and reflecting on the pace of change in NZ does bring some concern. As a nation we have a habit of picking up themes for a few years, investing millions in pursuing those themes then identifying we are a few years late to the game.

A CHANGE IN TACK: Jack Keeys says it is time for New Zealand to be proactive and lead from the front.

Telling the NZ Story is the perfect current example. Our insightful agricultural leaders pick-up these emerging trends through international

expeditions and communicate this to our primary industries then our agricultural sectors try to react. But reacting is following and following is done from behind. It’s time for NZ to be proactive and lead from the front. It’s time for NZ to be brave. We need to use our foundation. It’s critical to remember those themes important to us in the past – food quality, food safety, clean and green sustainability, a nice NZ story – are all still very important. But they are a foundation not an innovation. We need to catch-up. For the added-value target market NZ has identified as a goal we need to provide functional foods that combine quality and taste with nutritional and health benefits. Clear labelling of the nutritional content and health benefit is paramount. It is the instant information consumers use

to make choices in the sparse seconds dedicated to staring at each food group in the aisle or on the shopping webpage. Most of these functional foods must also be fast-paced, whether smoothies and yoghurts or preprepared meat cuts and meals. We need to lead innovation. It’s time to forecast consumer demand based on expected technological, environmental and social trends and begin developing products based on those future needs. There are clear candidates for NZ’s new focus – food purchase options that aren’t just sustainable but contribute to improving the environment or society, personalised nutrition based on individual real-time health requirements and, of course, foods that look interesting and exciting on a millennial’s Instagram feed. We must also remember that forecasts will change, demands

will change and our predictions are simply a short-term target that exists to be constantly reevaluated. My message to NZ: Let’s build on our obvious platform of agricultural success. Let’s keep pivoting, reinventing and reinnovating. Most importantly, let’s be brave and pick up the pace. The rest of the world won’t wait for us to catch up and it’s time for NZ to be the world leader of innovation again.

Who am I? Jack Keeys, 24, is a business development manager at Farmax, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, on an AGMARDT early career international placement award, hosted by AbacusBio. To share your views in Farmers Weekly write a letter to the editor or provide a contribution to The Pulpit, email farmers.weekly@

Sector needs empathy Being a good human is the game and social licence is the name. Kellogg rural leader and social licence consultant Penny Clark-Hall puts her case.


E MUST value our stakeholders and have empathy and respect for them, even those who challenge and disagree with us, if we are to have a social licence. A powerful way to earn your social licence to operate (SLO) is to align your values with those of your stakeholders. The value connection is where you find common ground, understanding, familiarity, respect and trust. The economic security achieved in New Zealand by the primary sector has now afforded us the ability to focus on our values rather than financial security. But values can be extremely divisive and are showing businesses and industry up every week. If you are out of sync with the general populace’s values and opinion the trust they have in you

will start to wane. We can all be tripped up by the passivity of our extended stakeholders, focusing on the readily available and agreeable ones. The problem is, when an issue arises you don’t have a relationship to build solutions from. If there’s no trust there your SLO can slip away before you’ve had a chance to engage to remedy the situation because you haven’t earned the right for them to listen to you. Reputations are hard to build and quick to be lost. The people at the helm of your business or industry need to understand it takes a village and we are all a mere blip in the industry or business we represent. Our stakeholders’ values can change and evolve over time. If we can’t co-exist and build

relationships with those who are affected and can influence our business, the future is grim. The challenge is to find empathy with all stakeholders, not just your number one fans. Everyone likes to feel listened to, respected and considered. If stakeholders are not made a genuine part of the process from the beginning a business can end up wasting a lot of time and money on assumptions. There are many examples of this in agriculture. We’ve got to start letting people in and asking them what they want. Finding out what matters and affects them, not only shows you care but it gives you an opportunity to fix issues before they become a social licence issue. The term community capacity building is about empowering community stakeholders to be a part of the solution and is something I believe should be used by all businesses to create

enduring solutions for their SLO. Acting on behalf of a community without consultation shows a complete lack of respect and consideration for those who can make or break your business. The world is moving and changing too fast for us not to have our finger on the pulse and understanding who our stakeholders are, what they value and how we affect them. A prime example is how NZ builds its trade relations with China. Before any trading can begin there is considerable investment that goes into building relationships. We all must put our stakeholder relationships first and I mean stakeholder in the broadest sense. Anyone who consumes our products or is reliant on the resources we use is a stakeholder in our business. They all deserve our respect and best efforts. Without them we don’t have a business. To rebuild our SLO we need

INCLUSIVITY: The challenge for agribusinesses is to find empathy with all stakeholders, not just number one fans, Penny ClarkHall says.

to be better humans. We have control over only our good human moments so make them count.

Who am I? Penny Clark-Hall is the founder of NZ’s first social licence consultancy, which helps farmers and agribusinesses earn and maintain their social licence to operate.

Our Markets

36 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

Value-add is meaningless concept Value-add is a term tossed around so much it’s become meaningless. We use it in NZ ag to excuse us from the cognitive challenge of a deeper definition. We use it to falsely project to ourselves the belief that we’ve got this “added value” thing covered. St John Craner pens his view.


ERY few of us can accurately articulate the “add” bit in “valueadd” without resorting to generalisations. Like the catch cry “we just need to tell our story better”, value-add is easy to say but far harder to execute. And before we start adding value, we need to stop subtracting value – like the recent loss of Tip Top. The very definition of valueadd is simplistic and singular. Truly sustainable and defendable value has never been about one factor. It’s about lots of factors combining to create what we call a value equation. A value equation is multidimensional and multi-faceted group of drivers that customers use to denote and define value. Think about when you bought your own home. You didn’t make your decision based on one factor alone. You made it based on many factors. Price, location, school zone, indoor-outdoor flow, street appeal, neighbours, light, space, re-sell value, potential and feel or vibe all played a part. The same logic applies when it comes to appealing to the hearts, head and hands of our global customers. They will have a list of criteria they use to evaluate our products: price, service, people, relevance, distribution, association, status, reputation, trust, social capital, usability, experience, sustainability, animal welfare, environmental stewardship and so on. Meeting one of these single values on its own isn’t going to win NZ ag more business. We have to invest in the right research to find out which values motivate our customers most and adapt our story and positioning accordingly. Some do this well like Synlait with their sleepy melatonin milk, Tim Brown with Allbirds where design meets sustainability or Te Mana with Omega 3. Pamu too with Glerups, sheep milk and deer milk. All compete on many

fronts rather than appealing to one. Instead of a point of difference, we need to be talking about points of differences. We can’t be good at one thing, we need to good at several things. Without getting all Sun Tzu, one of the best ways to do this is to employ a parallel attack as colonel John Warden termed in the Iraq War. This is where you deplete your enemy’s will and ability to respond. Or as Warden said: “The sum of attacks are greater than individual parts”. Apple employed parallel attacks very successfully in their early years but lost their stride more recently. Samsung are hot on their

WRONG TERMINOLOGY: The very definition of value-add is simplistic and singular, St John Craner says.

heels. Apple has stopped using the parallel attacks strategy – including iTunes, iPod, iPad, and iPhone – which served them so well. Instead they’ve become a one trick iPhone pony backed by slowing sales. The best brands keep coming at you with new ideas to keep you buying. They never stop innovating. Amazon is the new Apple. They bought WholeFoods, Audible and Zappos. Amazon Web Servers now runs Netflix, Airbnb, Expedia, LinkedIn and Spotify. Not bad for a business that started selling books whose market capitalisation is closing in on Google parent company Alphabet, and Apple. They attack on many fronts, not one. It’s naive to think any of us can complete on one factor such as grass fed or free range. We have to compete on many. Competing on and compiling a set of value drivers isn’t easy. This is why so few companies do it well. Yet when we create a number of factors we create formidable, defendable barriers to entry that other countries and companies find hard to match.. NZ ag’s value equation needs to be perfectly orchestrated because of its many interdependent parts. Having the glossiest, clean green marketing isn’t going to help us engage with our customers if they don’t think we’ve cleaned up our act or treated our animals or people fairly. Those are the basic hygiene factors that don’t differentiate because they are already expected givens. With an increasing highly educated, highly paid and discerning customer base who can find out things at the touch of a button, we must get our orchestration aligned. It means we have to get our recipe right if we want to remain relevant. This is about ensuring we have the right ingredients


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WON’T DO IT: It is naive to think New Zealand products can compete on one factor such as grass-fed or free-range. Many are needed.

Like the catch cry ‘we just need to tell our story better’, value-add is easy to say but far harder to execute. in place. Then we can bake the cake that everyone wants to eat. That cake we can call our value equation. So, when you next hear someone mention “value-add” stop and politely ask them what they mean. Better still, ask them to define it for you. When we hear more about our value equation and less about

value-add we’ll know we’ve got our formula right.

Who am I? St John Craner is the managing director of Agrarian, a communications agency that specialise in rural brand, sales and marketing strategies for NZ’s agribusiness sector.



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Our Markets

38 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019

So, where to from here? Luke Chivers


HEN I was 21 years old I ditched the city life for rural surroundings. The quiet community of Waimana, 27km inland from Whakatane, was a stark contrast to my former life in Auckland. I was hungry for change. I wanted work with meaning. I had never been on a farm, let alone milked a cow. So, when early July came around I rolled up my freshly pressed shirt, took out my squeaky-clean gumboots and

tucked in my newly purchased chinos. It was a baptism by fire. And that regime didn’t last very long. There was discomfort in the change but there was never any force. Particularly, never pressure by the industry for me to fit any mould. I didn’t last long on the farm. In fact, no longer than a season. But what has endured is my passion for NZ agriculture. We have long heard the statistics about how many new jobs will be created in the primary industries and the trouble we have filling them. The harsh reality is NZ needs a

new generation of rural leaders and innovators to maintain a dynamic and thriving sector. Steve Maharey’s comments in this supplement are right: we need to upend our traditional ways of thinking if we want young New Zealanders to want a future in ag.

and on-orchard cadetships to tertiary scholarships and industry exchanges – to reveal the value of our food. Not to mention its graduate development programme which shows youth first-hand that a career in ag can involve anything from science and engineering

I was hungry for change. I wanted work with meaning. Zespri embodies his view. The global kiwifruit exporter has developed a pipeline of engagement with young people – from high school case studies

to marketing and design but, regardless, involves working as part of an increasingly globalised supply chain. The reason I have stayed in

the primary sector isn’t because of any pressure to be a farmer. Instead, it’s because of my passion for people, a passion to deliver real value to NZ and a passion for storytelling in the industry that is the backbone of Aotearoa. If we truly develop the relationships we have with our own people, particularly our young, we can and will build our relationships with our consumers – locally and abroad. So, where to from here? Perhaps a Maori proverb has the answer: He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata. It is the people, the people, the people. That’s got to be true for NZ ag.

FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


40 FARMERS WEEKLY – – May 27, 2019


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