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WEDNESDAY, 18 June 2014
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Jersey bull’s lasting legacy By Mike Barrington
LONG with pictures of children on the walls of dairy farmers Bruce and Ngaire Cutforth’s home at Whakapara are photographs of Jersey bulls, huge beasts showring posed with their noses held high like a line-up of snooty sultans. But while a ruling Oriental may once have produced scores of offspring from his harem, he couldn’t hold a candle to the fecundity of the Cutforth-bred bulls, particularly 14-year-old Okura Manhatten, put down last month with arthritic hips after siring 44,000 daughters. Manhatten was the top bull on CRV Ambreed’s Jersey sire team for a decade, helping put the company on the map for both Jersey and cross breeding dairy farmers in New Zealand and around the world. CRV Ambreed NZ managing director Angus Haslett said the Northland bull’s genetics were in the pedigree of at least 13 Jersey sires on the latest New Zealand Animal Evaluation list released last month. “Manhatten has made an invaluable contribution to the New Zealand dairy industry,” he said. Mr Cutforth, a former president of the Jersey NZ Council, said Manhatten was notable for his high protein component, with a gene that “was out of the blue.” “We have been fortunate to win the JT Thwaites Sire of the
BREED CHANGER: Bruce and Ngaire Cutforth hold a photograph of their top Jersey bull Okura Manhatten.
Season award with four bulls, but I really wanted a bull that was a breed changer — we got that with Manhatten,” he said. Manhatten is from a stable of exceptional bulls bred from the Cutforth’s Okura stud. But
although a sign at the couple’s front gate says the stud is at their 145ha farm where 430 cows produced 173,000kgMS last year, the pedigree herd is now at their daughter Lyna Beehre and her husband Luke’s farm at
Hukerenui. “They have taken over the stud,” Mr Cutforth said. A sharemilker has just moved on to his place and he described seeing cows other than Jerseys grazing his land in the tones of a man who had
spotted two moons in the night sky. Mr Cutforth, 71, grew up on and eventually took over a family farm at Whatatiri where
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
New rural publication
Weekly feature starting in Advocate next Thursday A new publication will feature in the Northern Advocate next week that will result in more Northlanders getting rural news and advertising information. The 8-page weekly publication starts next Thursday — it’s called The Land and will be included free within your Northern Advocate. Along with The Land being delivered to Advocate subscribers, 5000 extra copies each week will be delivered to rural delivery letterboxes. Northland news and columnists that are part of
"The Land . . . will be included free within your Northern Advocate" today’s Rural Advocate will be found in The Land. But rather than compile them monthly, we will be including them in The Land, starting next
week. We will no longer be publishing the Rural Advocate each month — the news and advertising content that was previously in Rural Advocate will all be part of the new publication. So this is our last Rural Advocate, but the start of a bright new way of delivering rural news and advertising deals to our readers, every week. Let us know what you think — feedback, ideas, bouquets and brickbats are welcomed at email@example.com — Craig Cooper, editor
David’s attendance goes way back David Kidd was a baby when he attended his first Young Farmer Contest Grand Final at Timaru in 1984. He was there because his father Richard, representing the Northern region, was competing and won third place on countback. David, now 30, said: ‘‘I don’t remember it, but I was at that Grand Final and it was my first Young Farmers experience.’’ He won’t forget his next experience. Following in his father’s footsteps, he will represent the Northern region in the 46th annual ANZ Young Farmer Con-
July 3 with the official test Grand Final at opening at Lincoln UniChristchurch on July versity Library. July 4 3-5. will be the practical A member of the day, held at Lincoln Auckland City Young University, and in the Farmers Club, David evening there will be a Kidd works as sheep dinner at the Wigram and beef farm manager Airforce Museum. in Shelley Beach and On July 5 there will holds a bachelor of apbe a live televised evenplied science degree. ing show at CBS Arena When he is not busy David Kidd followed by the on the farm he enjoys Celebratory Ball at sports, shooting and Addington Raceway. Tickets for working on training his work all these events are available at dogs. www.youngfarmers.co.nz Grand Final events begin on
WORLD RENOWNED: Okura Manhatten — 10 years on top.
One of a kind sire puts Okura stud on the map ■ Continued from p1 he got an early education in Jersey breeding. His grandfather used to walk cattle in to Whangarei agricultural shows and his father continued the breeding programme. Bruce and Ngaire subdivided and sold the Whatatiri farm and moved to Whakapara 22 years ago, first to a farm further east on Whananaki North Rd now owned by their son Murray, then to their present property alongside SH1. CRV Ambreed offer one-off cash payments or royalties for bulls they want for their sire team and the Cutforths always preferred taking the cash option so they could reinvest the money. But while the exceptional bull may not have brought them a fortune he certainly brought them fame. “CRV Ambreed sent me to South Africa a few years ago and it was quite a humbling experience. I could go to a farm and see
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200 Manhatten daughters in one paddock,” Mr Cutforth said. “It was probably one of the highlights of my cattle breeding career, being party to the pleasure and the profit those farmers had enjoyed by having him as a sire.” Mr Cutforth has worked with top geneticists in New Zealand and overseas. He’s an authority on cattle breeding, saying the key to success is meticulous recording and “every mating counts”. He’s also got that X factor he calls “gumboot logic” possessed by all top breeders. But he reckons he’s now quit breeding in favour of working with the Omapere Taraire E and Rangihamama X3A Ahu Whenua Trust, which has established a dairy unit at Kaikohe. “It’s a wonderful farm and the people there are great. I’ve given up breeding and now want to see them winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy [for Maori excellence in farming],” Mr Cutforth said.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Double glory for top trialist By Mike Barrington Northland’s most successful dog trialist, Maungakaramea farmer Murray Child, has earned a double dose of glory. He is to be the first Northlander installed in the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association Hall of Fame for winning three national titles — the zig zag hunt with his dog Beau Tye at Taumarunui in 2005, the long head with Dice in 2012, and the straight huntaway with Frank at Geraldine in Canterbury last month. And in September he will captain the five-man New Zealand dog trial team going to Strathalbyn in South Australia for the Transtasman Challenge, an annual eye dog duel against Australia for the Wayleggo Cup which he would dearly love to win. Barking commands with more authority than his huntaways can muster, Mr Child, 60, is a fierce competitor on a dog trial course. But the tough sportsman has a softer side. At home last week in the Maungakaramea house his family has occupied for 150 years, he said he always felt a lump in his throat when God Defend New Zealand was played before he competed for his country. He’s felt that emotion four times in the past.
TALENTED TEAM: Murray Child with his eye dog Dice, left, which he will take to Australia for the Transtasman Challenge in September, and Frank which he used to win the New Zealand straight huntaway title last month.
He first made the New Zealand team which crossed the Tasman to beat Australia in 2002. In 2005 he went to the world championships in Ireland. It was New Zealand’s first appearance in the world competition and the team placed 10th out of 27. In 2010 he was selected for the national team but didn’t go to Australia with them because his eye dog Glen was injured, so he missed a New Zealand Transtasman Challenge win. He was in the New Zealand team which lost to Australia in Queensland in 2012 and again at Ashburton last year. With him in the New Zealand
bid to regain the Wayleggo Cup in September will be Andrew Clark, of Canterbury, Eion Herbert, of Nelson/Marlborough, Bob Bruce of Hawkes Bay, with reserve Stu Millar, of Canterbury. It will be Mr Child’s first time as captain of the national dog trial team, but he is no stranger to leadership. He captained the Northland cricket XI for many years, leading the team to three Hawke Cup wins, played for Northern Districts and is now a Northland Cricket Association board member. Mr Child has also driven trotters he has owned to victory
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and is now president of the Northland Harness Racing Club. At home at Maungakaramea he has about 10 working dogs helping him control 230 breeding cows and 1000 ewes on about 400ha which has been owned by his family since soon after Thomas Child and his wife MaryAnn arrived from England in 1858. Murray’s late father, Ellis Child, was a president of the NZ Sheep Dog Trial Association, his brother Neville Child, of Maungatapere, has represented New Zealand and other members of the family also excel in the sport.
Humane stock kill talk for farmers Humane slaughter on-farm will be covered in a senior level workshop during a StockSense event in Wellsford tomorrow. Junior workshops providing hands-on training for calving will be part of the StockSense programme, which DairyNZ is running at 19 locations around the country. The events are being held to help farmers prepare for the calving season and DairyNZ animal husbandry and welfare team manager Chris Leach said the humane slaughter topic was timely because of the animal welfare code change stopping calves being killed with heavy blows on the head. “Farmers need to understand what’s expected of them,” he said. The Wellsford event from 10am-2pm will include a free barbecue lunch. The location of the workshops will be disclosed when farmers register to participate online at dairynz.co.nz/stocksense or phone 0800 4 324 7969.
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Discover new ways of piling on the beef A free seminar in Whangarei tomorrow will help farmers grow beef cattle faster so they get to slaughter weight at a younger age. The seminar, from 1-5pm in the Barge Showgrounds Conference Centre at Maunu, will present the results of the Finished by 20 Months project, which over the past three years has investigated how cattle can be finished at a younger age, ideally before their second winter. The project was initiated by the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Northern Farmers Council to find how farmers might improve cattle liveweight gains. Northland beef cattle have an average lifetime liveweight gain (LWG) of around 0.55 kg/day. However, some farmers are able to average up to 1 kg/day. The project has revealed how top farmers achieve their results and investigated new approaches to improving cattle growth rates. There are huge benefits from growing young cattle fast —
including better feed conversion efficiency, better meat quality, less pugging damage (if slaughtered before the second winter), more flexibility in timing of markets, less animal health issues and less farmer stress. Nutrition is usually the biggest constraint to better liveweight gains. This is very clearly seen when young cattle are growing 0.3 kg/day on pasture but others are growing up to 1 kg/day on herbs or crops. Some of the farmers involved in the project have proved they can achieve average cattle growth rates of up to 1kg/day on pasture only. Monitoring their cattle management has highlighted that feed quality and quantity is the main key to fast growth. Top farmers treat every day as a growing day with their young cattle and use a number of tools to keep pastures in the sweet zone of not too little and not too much. Having good contoured land helps, but is not essential. Having the right
WEIGHTY BENEFIT: Fast-grown cattle ready for market weigh 640kg at 18 months.
pasture species and means to control that pasture to keep it fresh and leafy is more important. This project has also been testing the profitability of cropping and supplements. Trial work with chicory, plantain and PKE blends has shown variable results, some profitable and some not. The seminar tomorrow will summarise the findings of the Finished by 20 Months project. All are welcome and no registration is required ■ For more details call Chris Boom on 027 488 4463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOOD TO GO: Bulls ready for market weigh 649kg at 18 months.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Local grower battles for recognition By Mike Barrington Patrick Malley is the first Northland entrant in the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower competition, under way at Mt Maunganui today. He is battling four Bay of Plenty (BoP) rivals for the chance to compete for the Young Grower of the Year 2014 title at the national competition run by Horticulture New Zealand in Christchurch on August 14-15. Kiwifruit Vine Health communications co-ordinator Lara Harrison said the BoP competition accepted contestants from outside the Bay of Plenty if there wasn’t a similar contest in their region. But if the Northland entrant won today, he would have to represent BoP in the national competition, she said. Mr Malley, 30, is this morning lined up again three men and a woman in a three-hour test of their skills in horticultural practice and theory. This evening they will each make speeches and the winner will be announced at a gala dinner attended by hundreds of industry people. Mr Malley is the contracting manager/director at the 24ha Onyx Capital kiwifruit and avocado orchard at Maungatapere which his parents, Dermott and Linzi Malley, bought in 2011.
CROPS: Patrick Malley in the Onyx Capital orchard at Maungatapere (above) where a bumper crop of avocados is growing, but the main focus is on kiwifruit because their returns are more predictable. PROTECTION: Mr Malley inspects the curved metal rafters (left) being erected at the orchard which will support a plastic roof to help protect gold kiwifruit vines from PSA disease. PHOTOS/MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
The couple ran an apple, pear and stonefruit orchard in Hawke’s Bay 15 years ago, which developed Patrick’s interest in horticulture. He later enrolled to study horticulture at Massey University in Palmerston North, but after a year switched to a bachelor of business studies degree course for which he has one paper to complete. At university he met his now wife Rebecca, a veterinarian. They spent five years working in Auckland before joining his parents on the Maungatapere orchard in 2012.
The property has 14.8ha of kiwifruit — mainly Hort 16A variety which they are converting to G3 — and 9ha of avocados, all planted about 30 years ago. Kiwifruit is the mainstay of the business. Since their arrival the family has doubled production to more than 150,000 trays this season and aim to bump it up to 225,000 trays next season. About 3.5ha of their gold kiwifruit is being covered with plastic at a cost of around $150,000 a hectare to help protect
the vines from the PSA disease which has decimated BoP orchards and emerged at Kerikeri. Patrick said the covers had been criticised as unjustified expense by other growers around Whangarei, where PSA is not yet evident, but the disease could bowl the gold kiwifruit — their best income stream — in a month and prevention was less costly than coping with dying vines. “Complacency has no place in horticulture,” he said. The family now employs 26
people on the orchard. They hire only locals and when they had 38 people on the payroll picking kiwifruit they paid a “living wage”of $18.50 an hour. “We want to do our bit to help reduce Northland unemployment,” Patrick said. “As long as our staff work hard enough we can afford to pay them a good wage.” Among his reasons for competing in the BoP Young Fruit Grower competition was the hope of developing a similar contest in Northland.
Fun & Games for Queenstown Hassle Free & Friendly Service Wood chopping, sheep shearing, sheep dog trials, speed fencing, coal shovelling and speed gold panning are being lined up for the inaugural New Zealand Rural Games at Queenstown over Waitangi Day weekend on February 7-8 next year. The Games showcasing the country’s agricultural past, present and future will bring together a host of traditional country sports for spectators and an international TV audience to enjoy. Top competitors from throughout New Zealand and Australia, including national and world champions, are expected to compete. The event will also feature Highland Games and a festival programme including live music and entertainment, fun audience participation events like cow pat throwing and cherry stone spitting, kids’ activities plus speciality food and market stalls. NZ Rural Games founder and trustee
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Steve Hollander said the event had been a dream of his for a long time. “New Zealand was built on farming and the economy still relies on primary industries and the people who work in them. The Games are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this essential part of our national character.” Mr Hollander’s company, Cutting Edge Sport (CES), is managing the event on behalf of the NZ Rural Sports Trust. The non-profit trust’s board features respected New Zealand professionals including former All Blacks captain and World Cup winning coach, Sir Brian Lochore and Taranaki rural spokesperson Barbara Kuriger as chair along with other representatives from the rural and commercial sectors. Anyone wanting more information should visit the New Zealand Rural Games website www.ruralgames.co.nz.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Briefly Farm accounting package Online accounting software company Xero has launched its dedicated rural online accounting and farm management solution — Farming in the Cloud — together with key farming solution partner, Figured, at the National Fieldays in Mystery Creek.
University offers step-change The University of Waikato has launched three key agri-tech innovation initiatives as part of a new approach designed to offer a step-change to the agriculture sector. The university will
appoint a dedicated agritech innovation manager to improve connectedness and engagement with the agri sector. An agri-tech seed fund will also be launched to back new agri innovations, and an agri-tech entrepreneurial fellowship will help build capability focused on industry innovation.
Exports on track for record Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says new figures show primary sector exports will reach record levels of $37.7 billion over the last year — about $1.3 billion more than previously forecast. High price levels for dairy were underpinned by demand from China, which remains an important market for dairy, meat and wool.
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Conservation projects cut pest numbers Animal pest control data from environment and its people. community-led and Department of Reconnecting Northland programme Conservation projects has been collated to manager David Mules says the demonstrate remarkable results at a local programme is a fresh approach to landscape level. ecological restoration, looking at the wellThe data was collated by Kiwi Coast, a being of the Northland environment and project helping to establish a safe kiwi communities as a whole. habitat in Eastern Northland. “Our goal is to help link people In total, the conservation projects last together, along with their knowledge and year trapped or poisoned 11,999 rats, 8997 possums, 647 stoats and 657 rabbits on about 150,000ha between Bream Head and Whangaroa. Kiwi Coast co-ordinator Ngaire Tyson says the actual impact will be far higher as most of the data is from ‘‘trap catches’' and many community-led conservation projects also use poison. In addition, one ferret kill was reported by Hupara Landcare north of Moerewa. As ferrets can quickly destroy local kiwi populations, this was a vital catch. “The collation of data is significant as it demonstrates the collective animal pest control efforts of the many local volunteer conservation projects across Eastern Northland,” Ms Tyson said. “Bringing the results together shows the huge amount of effort Northlanders are putting into removing predators and pests along the coast.’’ Jim Shaw, of Waimate North Landcare, says the collated data provides added motivation to keep up pest control efforts. CRUCIAL CATCH: A ferret kill reported by Hupara “It can be hard for Landcare Landcare north of Moerewa was a vital catch as the groups to keep battling away on mustelids can destroy kiwi populations. PHOTO/SUPPLIED pest control, even when it’s going really well,” he said. resources, so we are working collectively “Being part of the Kiwi Coast and in partnerships, rather than as individuals sharing results shows us there are others or groups or agencies in isolation,” he out there with the same goals, doing the said. same hard work, and that together we can “The implementation of the make a difference.” programme is being led by WWF-New Over 30 community-led conservation Zealand and NZ Landcare Trust, and groups between Bream Head and focuses on the relationship between Whangaroa shared their pest control the wellbeing of the land and its people — results to create the recorded totals. if the land is healthy, so are the people.” This is the first year of operation for Annual pest control results for the the Kiwi Coast, which is also a pilot Kiwi Coast will now be collected each project of Reconnecting Northland, a large January and it is hoped even more landscape connectivity programme landowners and projects will take part offering a new approach to improving the next year. health and well-being of the Northland Advertisement
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Exciting changes at The Vet Centre As a Vet Club, The Vet Centre is proud to be a community practice (i.e. not privately owned). We aim to provide high quality diagnostic, medical and surgical animal care for both our farmers and pet owners. The Vet Centre currently has four clinics across the Kaipara and Bream Bay region, overseen by elected representatives from the community. As part of our commitment to providing high levels of service a number of upgrades are underway. The Waipu and Mangawhai clinics are in the process of upgrading their X-ray machines to state of the art digital capabilities, with the Ruawai and Maungaturoto clinics to follow. The Vet Centre already has in-house blood testing
equipment, meaning that blood test results are available quickly to enable treatment of sick animals. Diagnostic capabilities are being further enhanced by the addition of small animal ultrasound at the Waipu clinic. Ultrasound is increasingly a vital part of effectively diagnosing a range of medical and surgical conditions. By investing in technology and the continuing education of vets and nurses , along with careful governance by the current Executive Committee, The Vet Centre is set to continue to provide an extremely high standard of veterinary practice to our valued clients in the Otamatea and Bream Bay areas.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Northlander to carve up rivals By Mike Barrington Butchery is a male bastion, but Northlander Abigail Lane has won a place in the Pure South Sharp Blacks team going to Britain on June 30 to defend their Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge title against Australia and England. She and the five men in the team will spend a fortnight in the UK, touring butcheries in London and in Yorkshire, where they will (hopefully) carve up their rivals in the July 10 test match. Ms Lane, 28, was born at Kaeo and grew up at Totara North where her parents, Christine and Stephen Lane, had a lifestyle block running a few sheep and cattle. Helping prepare animals killed for the freezer was her introduction to butchery. Fishing was a family activity she loved in her youth and her father also helped develop her interest in sport, hunting, target shooting and music. “Dad plays guitar and bass and sings. I played drums. We had a band called Floodgate and gigged on weekends with a couple of other players.” She left school at 17 to work in the family business, designing and maintaining an e-commerce website for the sale of hand tools imported from Canada. Self-employment as a computer technician followed, then she tried being a kitchen hand in a Thai restaurant before deciding to take up a butchery apprenticeship at Pak ’n Save in Kaitaia in 2009. Ms Lane commuted to work from her home at Mangonui, where her brother boards with her, and through the three years of her apprenticeship she competed in the Apprentice of the Year competition, winning the national title in 2011. She was runner-up in the Young Butcher of the Year contest in 2012 and last year she won the Alto Young Butcher of the Year competition, which had a study tour to Europe as its prize. PRESSING THE FLESH: Meet Abigail Lane, the sole woman in the New Zealand team which will compete in the Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge in England next month. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
In a supermarket you don’t get to do the displays I enjoy creating, and I’m also making products like bacon and salami which is furthering my skills. — Sharp Blacks team member Abigail Lane “This coming trip to Britain — which will be my first time overseas — is part of that prize. If I hadn’t made the Sharp Blacks I would have been able to go and watch them compete,” Ms Lane said. The Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge gives each team two hours to turn a side of beef and a whole lamb into more than 50 products similar to those seen on show in top butcheries. While male Sharp Blacks tackle the heavy work of breaking down carcasses, Ms Lane’s team role will be to tray and display the meat as artfully as possible to impress the judges. The team, which has been in existence for three years, will be battling to retain the Pure South Tri-Nations trophy, which New Zealand won by beating Australia and Britain in a butchery test match at Wanaka last year. Late last year Ms Lane moved from Pak ’n Save Kaitaia to Coopers Beach Butchery. She said working in a small shop gave her chance to use skills she had developed for butchery competitions. “In a supermarket you don’t get to do the displays I enjoy creating, and I’m also making products like bacon and salami which is furthering my skills,” she said.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Zespri eyes triple growth Export earnings from the horticulture industry are expected to double by 2025 to $7.3 billion with Zespri aiming to triple its stake from $1.36 billion in 2012/13 to at least $3 billion by 2027. The Ministry for Primary Industries People Powered Future Capabilities report said it would also need more than 34,000 workers in the next decade to cope with growth and departures. Most would require some form of qualification. In 2012, 40 per cent of the horticulture workforce had a formal post-school qualification. It was expected by 2025 that would need to increase to 66 per cent. Wine, kiwifruit and apples made up 70 per cent of total horticulture exports. Prime growth was expected in onfarm activities with horticulture farmers, farm managers and farm workers expected to increase. Skilled horticulture workers, engineers and sales staff were likely to become important. Replacement demand pressure for factory workers, technicians, trade workers ICT professionals and transport and plant operators could come into play, the report said. The main changes over the next decade were predicted to be in technology, access to new and emerging markets and consumer quality requirements. Zespri chief executive Lain Jager said its growth would come by marketing health to consumers. “A particular focus is successfully commercialising Zespri’s new SunGold variety. In 2013, we sold two million
MARKETS: Zespri is investing heavily in developing markets in China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East and has increased its focus on Brazil, India and France.
trays of SunGold, this year nine million trays, next year we will sell more than 20 million trays, with 50 million trays expected by 2018.” It was investing heavily in developing markets in China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East and had increased its focus on Brazil, India and France, he said. NZ Kiwifruit Growers president Neil Treblico said technology would be a game changer. “As technology changes, we will need more people with mechanical engineering and computer technology skills.
“There are packhouse facilities using robotics although that is still limited by some degree by cost. “We also use GPS mapping in orchards that we never used to do, so there will be an increase of education required by those who want to be in that part of the industry.” Last year, a kiwifruit young leaders forum was set up to help foster younger growers and NZ Kiwifruit Growers was involved with a new publication for secondary schools to encourage students into the primary industries sector.
— APN News & Media
By Roger Ludbrook, Northland Federated Farmers President Last week, I finally succumbed to the pressure and bought a quad bike helmet. I brought one because a farmer was fined $15,000 for not wearing a helmet after being repeatedly warned. As a comparison the maximum fine for your third excess breath or blood alcohol conviction is $6000. This is a new level of bureaucratic insanity. I believe an employer must make a helmet available to all employees riding quads, but the employer and employees should be able to make an adult decision around whether or not they need the helmets. I trialled the new helmet, and half hour into a cold morning lost all feelings in my ears. But I felt safe. I remember thinking if a rock falls from the sky and lands on my helmet I will be safe. It was less certain whether the helmet would assist me in avoiding a broken back, crushing or asphyxiation. Last year, it was reported that for every quad bike death in farming there was 18 farmrelated suicides. What are the health and safety regulators trying to do about this? The personal choice as to whether I wear a helmet is no longer mine to make, I applaud a recent decision by the Auckland Council to make it compulsory for boats to carry life jackets, but the decision to wear them is up to the skipper of the boat. In the interest of safety, health and safety regulators need to pass another helmet wearing law. Wellington is earthquake-prone therefore all workers in Wellington working in nonearthquake certified buildings should also have to wear a helmet, in case of falling rocks. It is, after all, an employer’s responsibility that “every effort” is made to ensure the safety of their employees, irrespective of the wishes of their employees. Imagine the furore and the amount of regulators the Government would employ seeing this being enforced?
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Give pasture what it lacks Land and environment management consultant Bob Cathcart (pictured) will be joined by colleagues Bob Thomson, Gareth Baynham, Chris Boom, Kim Robinson, Tracey Belton and Ian Hanmore in a new AgFirst column Here we are in the second half of June, the soil is still warm, there is plenty of sunshine and good pasture growth where there are adequate nutrients. The ground is firm so lime and phosphate fertilisers are still being spread. Some paddocks are, however, looking a bit yellow and urine patches are very visible, suggesting some deficiencies need to be sorted. It will mainly be nitrogen so is easily fixed with urea or, in the early spring when you may well also be short of sulphur, with sulphate of ammonia. These nitrogen fertilisers are very soluble so be careful how and when you use them. Overuse and applying immediately before heavy rain is literally money and fertiliser down the drain, benefiting neither your pocket nor downstream water quality. Make sure you have
sufficient pasture cover to reduce runoff and to respond to the extra nitrogen. Remember, grass grows grass. If grazed too hard, pasture species have no leaf surfaces to trap sunlight, photosynthesise and grow so are slow to recover. Applying nitrogenous fertiliser to almost bare ground is a waste. Dairy farmers understand the importance of controlled grazing followed by adequate spelling so fence their farms accordingly, using temporary electric fencing back and front to improve use, increase rotation length and reduce pugging. Beef farmers too are making much greater use of electric fencing to improve grazing management and feed use, and better redistribution of nutrients. Certainly, the urine
patches are more obvious on less intensively subdivided land so could also be due to poor distribution of nutrients by the animals. The urine patches may be showing up other deficiencies so talk to your fertiliser rep about soil testing and about preparing a nutrient management plan. Nutrient management plans have got bad press where they have been used for regulatory purposes, but they really are ‘‘good practice tools’’. Few of us would treat our animals with a cure-all elixir before finding out what we or they really need. The same goes for the soil, pasture growing on it and the animals eating that grass. Have your fertiliser rep monitor nutrient levels in soil and foliage, and involve your vet in animal health. If necessary, get assistance from another rural professional to help you understand their findings within the broader context of nutrient management on your farm. Then go about correcting deficiencies in the most costeffective and sustainable way.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Go out and get a weta Massey University entomologists are calling on those brave enough to capture specimens and photos of New Zealand’s creepiest of crawlies — the weta. Massey’s Ecology Group has launched the ‘‘Weta Geta’’ website with photos and information on how to identify New Zealand’s orthoptera such as grasshoppers, crickets and especially weta. They are inviting members of the public to send in photos of weta to help
Massey researchers classify new and existing species and catalogue their whereabouts. Associate professor in evolutionary ecology Steve Trewick said the team was primarily looking for photos of peculiar looking weta. ‘‘In the past we’ve had people send in some pretty grizzly packages, so we’re advising people to send us a photo first and kill the insect by putting it in a jar and freezing it,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ll look at the photo and
send the appropriate packaging for the insect to be posted to us.’’ New Zealand is home to 70 known species of weta, but Dr Trewick said we know little about them. There are five broad types of weta. The tree, ground, giant and tusked weta belong to one family and the cave weta belongs to a separate family with lots of native species but poor information. Dr Trewick said the main focus were the cave weta, many
ON LOOKOUT: Massey University associate professor in evolutionary ecology Steve Trewick is not averse to getting out and looking for weta.
of which are small and rarely seen.
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Soil carbon guru to be key figure at Green awards Ecologist Christine Jones, author of Amazing Carbon, is returning to New Zealand in August to be the key judge and speaker at the inaugural Green Agriculture Innovation Awards for farmers and growers adopting ‘‘biological’’ principles. Dr Jones (pictured) lives in Australia and has not been back to New Zealand since 2010, when she created a stir with an Association of Biological Farmers roadshow. Soil carbon is a hot topic internationally and Dr Jones is at the forefront of this emerging scientific interest. The awards are open to all farmers and growers. Nominations for awards covering innovation, transition, youth, dairy, pastoral, horticultural, viticulture and Consultant of the Year closed on May 7. Dr Jones will speak at a field day and awards dinner at Rotorua on August 6 and at a similar event in Christchurch on August 8. For more information about the awards visit www.biologicalfarmers.co.nz or contact Nicole Masters on 0274 523 900.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Never a dull moment out on the farm TRANSPORT: The perfect vehicle to drive for a girl’s night out — complete with tree stumps and boat.
Julie Paton to visit some other friends, and then all go on to the Fieldays in Hamilton together. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and with predicted heavy rain and strong winds and the possibility of floods and damage that brought, Bruce decided he couldn’t possibly leave the farm (it’s like prying a limpet off a rock, sometimes). So he stayed put — and although the wind blew and some places flooded, ours was actually fine. One mob of cows, despite having the option of higher ground in their paddock, chose to strand themselves on a little island among trees and bellowed hopelessly to be rescued, which they eventually were. But apart from this minor drama, not much else resulted from the storm and Bruce was feeling regretful that he hadn’t made the trip (I did go and it was a lot of fun). When the tractor broke down while he was feeding out silage, he attempted to justify his decision — what if someone else had been driving it and it had stopped working? Just imagine the disaster, who could have
SPECIAL TIME: Bruce with Milo and friends.
possibly coped? The tractor serviceman was soon on the job — but, next drama, said he couldn’t possibly fix the tractor because cows surrounded it, munching on the unfed silage it still carried and he was concerned they might start chewing on him. Another crisis for Bruce to solve — isn’t it lucky he stayed home? Speaking of decisions regretted, Milo our portly chocolate Labrador, who has very little idea about farming unless it involves food of some type, followed Bruce and the
kids into the calf paddock the other day as they visited their pet calves from last season. The calves were greatly intrigued by this plump visitor and before Milo knew what was happening, he was surrounded. He cowered and tried to look invisible (quite impossible for a dog of his girth) but the calves weren’t fooled, advancing even further and sniffing him all over. One even stuck out a tentative tongue and licked him — he didn’t react, except to look pleadingly at the laughing humans, as if begging to be released from this hell. The other week I headed off
for a rare night out. I knew, that as the last person leaving the house, I would have to drive the least-preferred vehicle, so asked Bruce earlier in the day to clear off the ute so I could go out on the town in it. Am not sure whether he didn’t hear me, or perhaps I was supposed to stay home — one look at the ute stopped me in my tracks and had me considering my options. There’s usually quite a lot of junk on the back but now, not only was there an upturned dinghy rearing up over the cab, the tray was full of enormous tree stumps and there was no way I could move them on my own. I sent a message of complaint and he replied, assuring me the boat was firmly attached and wouldn’t fly off while I drove along the main road. I was doubtful, but headed off with my spectacular load which, although embarrassing, did indeed stay put and lent new meaning to the phrase “arriving in style”.
NOFIN TI AL CE
Bruce had a birthday this month, and felt quite old when he received a congratulatory text message from his physiotherapist: “Wishing you a happy and pain-free day.” He must be far too regular a customer these days. Also not sure he was entirely thrilled when one of our daughters presented him with a mug reading: “Man Flu — only the strong survive”. His fire lighting tendencies remain robust despite advancing age — the other night I returned from our son’s hockey game in town to find a fire engine, lights flashing, in the tanker loop and our elder daughter at home fretting about why it was there. “Don’t worry,” I reassured her. “It’ll just be your father.” Sure enough, he was out the back with our other daughter and her friends where they had torched an pile of scrub and gorse which blazed merrily enough to be visible from the nearby town and mislead people into thinking a house, if not the hills themselves, were burning. Bruce took the fire chief out the back to inspect the bonfire and make sure it really was all under control, which it was — but I think he should warn them in advance the next time he’s planning to set fire to something. We had a great trip planned earlier in the month — to travel south with dairy farming friends
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Department of Conservation
Handy information from DoC By Beth Reynolds Administration Officer Kaiarahi-Koiora Rereketanga
HE Department of Conservation (DoC) is the point of contact for the public for various environmental, animal, pest and recreational questions. This month, Beth Reynolds, Whangarei Office Administrator, answers some of the most common questions she receives and points people in the right direction for calls coming into DoC for other organisations. Beth has worked at DoC for 27 years and is a fountain of knowledge for DoC visitors and staff alike. She has put together the questions below to perhaps save you a phone call, or point you in the right direction. If you are in doubt, give her a call, she is happy to help! The DoC website www.doc.govt.nz has a large resource of information available including visitor and educational information.
What do I do if I find an injured bird? Contact Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre (09) 438 1457, except if it’s an injured kiwi, then call your local DoC office. Who do I call to report wandering dogs? For Whangarei and Kaipara,
call Environmental Northland (09) 438 7513. For Far North and Bay of Islands, call 0800 920 029. What do I do if I see a suspicious fire? Dial 111 (the fire service will contact DoC if necessary). I think I have seen some illegal fishing — who should I contact? For fishing in marine reserves call your local DoC office, for any other activity (exceeding quota, undersized fish etc) contact the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 47 62 24. How do I get a DoC hunting permit? DoC hunting permits are available online. Game bird hunting permits (seasonal) are requested through the Fish and Game office. What do I do if I find or see injured or stranded marine life? If a marine mammal is injured or stranded please call DoC. If you see an orca please call 0800 SEE ORCA. I get a lot of calls about seals — it’s not
uncommon to see seals in urban areas near water and we don’t need to know about this unless they are injured. How do I make campground bookings in Northland? Campgrounds that require online booking (online open September 2014, check www.doc.govt.nz for details) are Otamure Bay at Whananaki, Puriri Bay at Whangaruru North Head, Uretiti Beach, Waikahoa Bay and Urupukapuka Island. Campgrounds that do not require a booking (first come, first served) are Forest Pools, Puketi, Kapowairua at Spirits Bay, Maitai Bay, Pandora and Trounson Kauri Park. All cabins and huts must be booked online. Does DOC have traps I can use? DoC do not sell or loan traps. We suggest you contact a commercial supplier. I have pests (including wasps) — what do I do? If the pests are on private land or council owned/managed land, phone the Northland Regional Council. If the land is
DoC in Northland DOC offices in Northland, all open Monday-Friday 8am-4.30pm, are ■ Whangarei: 2 South End Ave, Whangarei. Phone 09 470 3300. ■ Te Tai Kauri/ Kauri Coast: 150 Colville Rd, Dargaville. Phone 09 439 3450. ■ Pewhairangi/ Bay of Islands: 34 Landing Rd, Kerikeri. Phone 09 407 0300 ■ Kaitaia : 25 Matthews Ave, Kaitaia. Phone 09 408 6014. ■ After Hours Emergency 0800 DOC HOT managed by DoC, then call us. I would like to volunteer, how do I do this? Contact your local DoC office for the range of volunteering options in your area.
Northland Regional Council
Planting poplars and willows to halt erosion Our previous article focused on the subsidised willow and poplar cuttings provided by the Northland Regional Council to help reduce erosion. This article looks at how to plant poplar poles for best results. Planning is critical and getting things right at the beginning will give the best long-term results. Lead-in time is important to obtain quality poles, and in fact, ordering now for next year will allow ample time to undertake pre-planting tasks such as fencing off the area from stock, or spraying out with herbicide to keep grass or weeds down. It will also allow enough time to arrange a visit for a council land management advisor, for example, and to arrange a planting plan.
It’s best to obtain material from a reputable supplier or specialist nursery that will ensure quality, correctlyidentified material. The hybrid varieties of today are the result of years of research and development to produce superior hybrids and remove undesirable characteristics. In Northland, ensure that you have obtained your poles during the months of June through to August. Early planting will give the plant material the best chance of survival, as this allows sufficient time for a reasonable root system to develop, which in turn will support a good crown of foliage. This is becoming increasingly important in Northland, with prolonged periods of dry conditions through the summer months.
"Poplars are perhaps the best trees for stabilising unstable hillsides and slips." Poles that have not had time to sufficiently establish may struggle to survive without irrigation. Before planting, soaking the butt ends of poles in fresh running water will give them the best start. Also, if you cannot plant immediately, this will keep the poles viable for a couple of
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is to plant them into the soil as tightly as possible. The most effective way is to ram them (using a fence post rammer or similar). If you have access to an auger, a pilot hole takes care of a lot of the effort and hard work. Three-metre poles need to be planted approximately a third of their length into the ground (or at least 70cm). It is at this point that a tree protector can be fitted. While not essential, these have been shown to increase the survival rate of poplar and willow poles. The regional council’s land management advisers can help with all aspects of poplar planting, planting plans to supplying quality poles and Dynex tree protectors. We can loan you a pole rammer. For information, call 0800 002 004.
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weeks, but no longer as your poles will begin to grow where they are. Poplars are perhaps the best trees for stabilising unstable hillsides and slips. In terms of spacing each situation is different. However, as a general rule, spacings of 10 to 12m are recommended on gentle slopes, closing up to 5 to 6m spacings on steeper slopes. Choose the best site for each pole. Look for depressions and low spots, small channels or pools as these are spots where erosion is likely to occur and where poles will thrive. Ridges or high spots should be avoided as the wind can wreak havoc with both young and mature trees. The correct method and key to ensuring the survival of poles
Contact: Jewel & Matthew Sidford Dairy Tel: 09 4373277 or 027 5525657 Build.co.nz Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Key steps to get meat profit higher By James Parsons Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Recently, I spoke to a mixed group of farmers. I always enjoy some audience engagement, so asked the dairy farmers in the room to raise their hands if they knew what they produced in total kilograms of milk-solids last year. Naturally, they all raised their hands. I then asked the sheep and beef farmers in the room if they knew what they produced the previous year in total kilograms of wool and carcass weight. Out of about 25 sheep and beef farmers, one raised his hand. This crude straw poll reinforces the opportunity that as sheep and beef farmers we have to change our language, focus and the importance of measuring and establishing targets. I acknowledge that the dairy industry measure performance daily in the vat. However, measuring production quarterly and at least annually is still very do-able for drystock farmers. I’m increasingly of the view that we shouldn’t be benchmarking our farms on dollars per head, stock units or even on a per hectare basis. We don’t sell any of these things. What we sell and get paid for are kilograms of wool and meat. Along with knowing what you
James Parsons produce and sell, it is fundamental to know what profit is being made on those outputs. Bear in mind an average dairy farm produces 1000kg milk solids off 140 hectares, so totals 140,000kg. By contrast, a typical 450ha sheep and beef farm produces about 200kg carcass weight and wool per hectare, equating to 90,000kg of product. If sold for an average of $4.50/kg, that equals $405,000 total farm income. The next question is: what did it cost to produce each kilogram of product? If total farm costs are $305,000, the cost per kilogram is $3.39. This leaves a per kilogram profit of $1.11/kg and total farm profit of $100,000, which is just under the Beef + Lamb New Zealand mid-season update for average profitability in the 2013-14 year. Many farms perform at 250kg product per hectare with the same costs. In this instance, production equates to 112,500kg and total farm revenue of $506,250, leaving a profit of $201,250 or $1.78/kg. My message isn’t that more
CHALLENGE: How do you measure performance to get the most out of your sheep or beef farm?
"What we sell and get paid for are kilograms of wool and meat." production is the only answer to lifting farm profitability. Rather, that we need to continually look at drivers of profitability, understand our own business and consider ways to incrementally improve. Along with others, Beef +
Lamb New Zealand is investing in the Red Meat Profit Partnership to assist farmers with this. In the meantime as a challenge, if you haven’t already, pull out your kill sheets and sale receipts and calculate
your total production last year, less any stock purchases. Then divide it by your costs and income. And finally start asking yourself how you can increase that profit equation ($/kg product) by decreasing costs, increasing production or increasing sales revenue. ■ Feel free to call or email me on 021 2063 208 or James.Parsons@beeflambnz.com or go to www.beeflambnz.com.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014