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INSIDE Page 02

Wilding pine – out of control or manageable? Page 09

Irrigation issues

‘Quantum Leap’ for Heartland in PWF acquisition by Hugh de Lacy Buying PGG Wrightson’s finance arm for $102.5 million is ‘a quantum leap’ for the Heartland Building Society’s goal of becoming a fully-fledged bank in head-on competition with the Australian-owned players that dominate the New Zealand banking industry. That’s the view of Heartland chief executive Jeff Greenslade who told Canterbury Farming the acquisition gives the bank-to-be a much wider base and ‘accelerates our growth trajectory’.

Page 15

A New Zealand First

Heartland, formed in January this year by the merger of the Canterbury and Southern Cross Building Societies and Marac Finance, is awaiting only the final approval of PGG Wrightson Finance (PWF) bondholders and depositors on the transfer of debt securities for the acquisition to go ahead. The price comprises $90m in excluded loans, $5m in deferred tax and $7.5m in cash and brings with it a strategic alliance between Heartland and PWF’s parent company that gives the proposed bank access to PGG Wrightsons’ extensive farmer client base.

CONTACT US Canterbury Farming 03 347 2314

August 2011

PWF is a neat fit in Heartland’s aim “to be a financial institution that’s geared to the productive sector, particularly SMEs [small-tomedium enterprises] and the rural sector,� Greenslade said. “We had a small rural capability here in Heartland

prior to the acquisition, and though it’s growing quickly it’s still very small. “The acquisition gives us a quantum leap in terms of clients, loans and depositors in the rural sector. “More importantly and more long-term, it gives us the opportunity to develop an enduring relationship with PGG Wrightson, and to be aligned to their national network,� he said. Greenslade added that the relationship with the country’s biggest stock and station firm was an exclusive one, though both sides would have the opportunity to review that exclusivity periodically. “We want to be alongside them providing finance as an enabler to their business, so it’s a win/win for both organisations.� Heartland will gain a licence to use the PWF brand through a distribution deal in association with certain products, while PGG Wrightsons will promote Heartland financial products on a commission basis to its stock and station clients. Heartland, which has total assets of $2.6 billion, has been given a BBB- credit rating with a stable outlook by global rating agency Standard and Poors, an investment rating that Greenslade describes as ‘an important milestone’ in the society’s progress towards

recognition by the Reserve Bank as a trading bank. Greenslade is uncertain as to when that recognition will come through and customers can begin to patronise their local branch of Heartland Bank. “There are no guidelines or prescribed time frame: it will be when it will be,� he said. Early this month Heartland launched a $35m fully underwritten share purchase plan, with the 8200 existing shareholders being offered shares at a 5% discount to the average end-of-day market price over the five days up to August 25. The price is capped at 75 cents a share, and eligible shareholders can apply for up to $15,000 worth. The $35m raised will be added to a recent $23m placement comprising $10m with PGG Wrightsons, $10m with Pyne Gould Corporation and $3m with an institutional investor. The total of $58m raised means the society will have a robust balance sheet even after the PWF acquisition. Early this month Heartland shares were trading at around 57 cents, giving the society a capitalisation of $171m. Greenslade said the partnership with PGG Wrightson was “almost like turning back the clock to the old days when finance and the rural side were linked.

Jeff Greenslade Heartland chief executive

“Now, for regulatory reasons, it’s very hard to have finance integrated into another business because the regime encourages financial specialisation, but we want to be very closely linked to the rural sector via PGG Wrightson, particularly around the livestock side. “We want to be there to provide seasonal finance to farmers, for dairy herds, for dairy farmers, as well as rural contractors, transport and manufacturing.� Defining SMEs as businesses with turnover of up to $20m, Greenslade said Heartland’s goal was to “make sure credit is available where it’s needed in the economy, and top of the list has got to be the rural sector.� Asked whether it was a good time to launch a bank given the turmoil on global markets

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following Standard and Poor’s cutting the United States credit rating, Greenslade said that, “perversely,� it is. “The right time is at this part of the cycle when credit’s in short supply. “The current turmoil we’re seeing is not linked to the financial sector. “It’s the sovereign sector: people are having doubts about certain governments – 2008 was certainly about the banking sector, but this is about governments. “For us, we’re 100% New Zealand funded, so we borrow all our money from within New Zealand and we lend all our money within New Zealand. “What is happening in the world is a distraction, but it’s business as usual for us,� Greenslade said.


2

August 2011

O’Connor Comments With Damien O’Connor, Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture

Biosecurity priority The new super ministry of fisheries, farming, forestry, biosecurity and food safety will have to sort out its priorities and focus its efforts accordingly. We have had a Ministry firmly focussed on trade and opening up access for new marketing opportunities for the farming sector. This supportive role has been very beneficial over the years but questions are starting to emerge about how far we should go to trade off other responsibilities in our economy. Environmental, social and biosecurity considerations should always be part of our international trading environment and obligations.

Strict controls are placed on our exporters to ensure we do not transfer any unwanted pests and organisms to our trading partners. We expect the same from them. However the reality is that our disease free status is not shared by many other nations in a whole range of plant and animal diseases. Therefore the increasing level of imported products from our trading partners should not pose any greater threat to our nation’s biosecurity status. While most export industries are prepared to accept competition we should never be prepared to accept unnecessary biosecurity

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risks from imported products. This month the National government, advised by its new super Ministry will have to decide whether it will allow the lowering of biosecurity import health standards for imported pork to New Zealand. We already import large volumes of pork but have high standards of biosecurity protection to prevent the importation of Porcine Reproductive Respiratory Disease (PRRS) a severe animal disease that affects pigs in every country other than Australia and New Zealand. Our relatively disease free status across our primary industries is a huge advantage when trading with the world and we should keep it that way. The recent KPMG Agribusiness report identified biosecurity as the number one issue of concern for industry leaders. We hope the National government, advised by their trade enthusiastic super ministry does not allow the lowering of the import health standards for pork as they have proposed. The only reason it has been prevented from doing so is a High Court injunction that ends this month. I congratulate the Pork Industry for making a stand on behalf of the whole country. If the National Government gets its way and the biosecurity standards are lowered, every New Zealander should be outraged.

Wilding pine – out of control or manageable? Some pests get a lot more attention than others. Possums, rabbits, rats and stoats have caused this country no end of grief. It’s an ongoing battle to control them and limit the damage they inflict. Everyone knows this. But it’s not just introduced mammals we have to deal with; invasive weeds are just as difficult to counter. Wilding pines and conifers are a blight on New Zealand, especially in the South Island. Earlier this month I visited an operation trailing different herbicide sprays with the ultimate goal of removing these stubborn trees at Mid Dome and Wakatipu. It can be easy to underestimate the economic impact the spread of wilding trees is having on our countryside. Left uncontrolled, wildings will dominate productive farmland, forests and tussock lands at frightening pace. Iconic backdrops, such as those that draw tourists to Queenstown, could quite easily be degraded. Wildings know no boundaries. They spread their seeds on the wind and once established take a lot of effort to remove. The herbicide trials have been going on for some time. In Wakatipu, DOC is working closely with the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group — a collection of farmers,

Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson and Environment Southland chair Ali Timms inspect wildings at Mid Dome

businesses, government and the public. One trial carried out over the past six years has focussed on two wilding pine species, European larch and Douglas fir. The former has been targeted using Answer, which is selective to hardwood and has proven to be 100 percent effective. Dense stands at Mt Aurum have been virtually eliminated as a result. Douglas fir was attacked with Answer and Roundup, and while this tree is particularly pervasive in Wakatipu the spray method has meant it can be controlled and contained. The latest trials are focussed on Scots pine and Pinus contorta and began two years ago in Twizel using heavy concentrations of Grazon with

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high rates of crop oil. The success rate has been pushing 95 percent and further trials are taking place in the Von Valley and at Five Mile Creek near Queenstown, with the same technique also being applied at Mid Dome as of January. Spraying at altitude and in the alpine environment together with the resistance of the pines due to their waxy cuticle are constant challenges. Spray oils and additives to enable the active ingredient to penetrate the plant have quickly become the focus of recent trials. Factors that affect outcomes at different sites include altitude, genetics and ages of the trees. Altitude slows growth, which in turn may mean the chemical uptake is so slow that the tree is able to cope and survive. Genetics can play a part where resistance to the chemical is part of the tree's DNA, while old, large trees can cope merely because they are so large and difficult to effectively spray enough to kill. Spraying to defoliate and following up with a fire is another option that is being investigated at the moment and may have particular application at Mid Dome. There is no magic bullet we have at our disposal to rid ourselves of wildings. But these trials are showing positive signs and will hopefully allow us to better tackle this problem across the country in the near future. There are constant demands on public funds and the Government quite simply doesn’t have the resources to tackle everything it might want to. We do rely on local, passionate groups to take the lead in many of these pest control operations and it’s great to see them succeeding.

Canterbury Farming prints material contributed by freelance journalists, contributing columnists and letters from readers. The information and opinions published are not necessarily those of Canterbury Farming or its staff. Canterbury Farming takes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Canterbury Farming is published by NorthSouth Multi Media Ltd

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August 2011

3

From the Minister David Carter, Minister of Agriculture There are many reasons why we are one of the top producers of food in the world — not least, a great reputation built up by the hard work of our farmers and growers. The last couple of years have been a roller coaster ride for New Zealand producers. A bleak economic picture with global markets falling has given way to a surge in commodity prices and more confidence at the farm gate. The signs for farming are good. The hard work of our primary exporters is paying off, with high prices in foreign currency terms for dairy, beef, lamb, timber and wool products. This is seeing a recovery of balance sheets, reinvestment and, importantly, some breathing space after a tough few years. A recent survey by Federated Farmers points to a mood lift across most types of farming. Most notably, there’s a rise in spending expectations which can only be positive for New Zealand’s rural communities. Rabobank’s rural confidence survey, taken last month, recorded historically high levels of farmer confidence in the July quarter, with investment expectations at their highest level since August 2008. This clearly shows that producers are recognising their competitive pastoral advantage is starting to pay dividends in international markets, due to global food

demand. But New Zealand producers can’t afford to be complacent. The environment is which we farm is more challenging than ever before. We must produce more with less, we must be more environmentally conscious, we must continue to improve the way we farm our animals and we must come to grips with growing competition from new markets. There’s been a huge change in the way New Zealand’s goods are now positioned. Our brand has shifted to a higher cost, higher quality product aimed at a more discerning consumer. Retailers are attempting to meet this demand by being ethically and environmentally responsive. And this plays to New Zealand’s strengths when it comes to primary production. An innovative and prosperous rural sector is at the heart of New Zealand’s economic growth agenda and there are many opportunities for our producers. The Government is playing its part by creating the right environment for the sectors to grow. The challenge is to tap into the right markets that lift our earnings and reputation for quality. If we don’t continue to do this, someone else will and their prosperity will come at our expense.

PIVOT TRACK FILLING

Sustainability world wide While we are setting out standards for irrigation and sustainability here in Canterbury, it seems that there’s a similar trend all over the world.

He admitted that the farmers in the States do have the advantage of subsidies and a friendly Government, but they still have to be sharp to hold their own.

I was talking with an American, or to be exact an American from the California side of the States, and he was very strong on the fact that they are determined to use every drop of water that lands on the property. Just as we are.

His thoughts about how the New Zealand farmers operate are simply that he is astounded.

He says they are now onto centre pivot machines and they are moving away from flood irrigation, a means of watering that was the only option until recently. An interesting point is that there’s a bit of a rural versus urban battle going on in his region as the farmers say that the water storage was done and paid for by the farmers, but the urban folk are now demanding it for their settlements. He was fascinated by where we are in our quest for sustainability, but also envied the river flows that we have and he admitted to wondering why there aren’t major dams on our rivers (and he is an avid fisherman) Like us here, they are wanting to produce vegetables and produce for as long a season as they can, and face producing on a world market meaning they are competing against all the other growers around the world.

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It is interesting that he was also very complimentary about our cultivars and in particular the lucerne stands that he saw. We are again leading the big acre farmers and there’s probably a very good market there for those Kiwis who are selling seed and expertise. Nice to know that we are considered to be world leaders, that we are envied by the world’s producers and that our plant and animal genetics are in strong demand. My hope is that those who are leading our sustainability ranks will continue to do it the Kiwi way and continue to give us the edge. We can be assured that other countries will be watching everything we do and learning from it, but to be innovative is simply being a New Zealander.

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August 2011

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The ground-breaking channel has attracted a number of top line staff, many who will be familiar to Farming Lifestyle readers up and down the country. “We’re a private company, backed by rural investors broadcasting on Channel 99 on the SKY TV platform,” said station communications manager, Raegan Houldridge. “We’re small and effective, hands on and hugely experienced in the television industry. What’s more, we know rural New Zealand and what’s important to our viewers.” Country99TV has on offer a rich selection of agricultural,

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I often hear politicians say that they want our laws to be in clear modern language. Trevor Mallard springs immediately to mind as an advocate of plain simple language. Sometimes the trouble with plain simple language is that it is too simple and open to unintended interpretation. The modern education system does not put any value in precise use of language. It is therefore surprising that the politicians have not taken any action to revise the law on adoption. The current legislation was enacted in 1955

and it reflects the standards of society at that time. Since then the Adult Adoption Information Act has provided the means for adopted persons and birth parents to contact each other and the Adoption (inter-country) Act was enacted to regulate the adoption of overseas children. But the basic law of adoption in New Zealand remains as it was in 1955. Anybody in legal practice at that time would recall the very strict secrecy surrounding the adoption of children. At the time the legislation was enacted the birth parent

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(usually the mother) was not permitted to know the identity of the adoptive parents if the adoption was arranged through the Social Welfare Department. Until the passing of the Adult Adoption Information Act that rule remained absolute, but has been relaxed. When considering whether to make an Order for adoption the Judge was required to ensure that the adoptive parents were fit and proper persons to have the role of providing for the day to day care of the child and sufficient ability to bring up, maintain, educate and care for the child. The Court was also required to be satisfied that the adoption was in the best interests of the child and that any religious condition imposed by the birth mother or parents would be complied with. The adoptive parents had to be married to each other. There was no recognition of the informal arrangements which pass for families today. One of the objections to the 1955 Adoption Act is that it does not recognise the Maori custom of adoptions which were quite commonplace in Maori society. While it is accepted that the 1955 Adoption Act is not the subject of a lot of applications in modern society it should be revised and brought up to date to accommodate the new norms of our society. This article has been prepared by Bessie Paterson, a partner with Ronald Angland & Son Solicitors, who may be contacted on Tel: 03 349-4708 or e-mail bessie@anglands.co.nz.

Money Talk

With Andrew Wyllie Hard to believe we are less than a month away from the Rugby World Cup. Great to see us playing with a huge deal of confidence in the lead up games and managing to put away the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup challenge. This month I wanted to have a look at the recent United States government rating downgrade. Very simply, on August 5th Standard and Poors downgraded the US long-term government rating one notch from AAA to AA+ and retained a negative outlook on the credit. So what, you might say, but to put that in perspective this is the first downgrade of the US government debt since it attained an AAA rating 70 years ago and therefore represents unchartered territory for global financial markets. Previously we had become accustomed to viewing US treasury debt as a pure ‘risk free’ asset. What we can say however is that this downgrade was not a total surprise. In the wake of the debt ceiling debacle, the three main rating agencies (Standard and Poors, Moody’s and Fitch) have all flagged that the US rating was on the radar with a negative outlook. Both Fitch and Moody’s have retained the US on AAA rating for the time being. Some analysts have said for a while, how can they maintain a top credit rating when

they have a debt to GDP ratio of close to 100%? (By comparison Australia’s ratio is 21%). The surprise has been the timing of the downgrade announcement, less than a week after the debt ceiling agreement and after the largest global equity market correction since 2008. What does this mean for investors? This is the just the latest in a series of negative events for both the economy and global financial markets following on from ongoing doubts about the US economy plus concerns over sovereign debt in countries such as Spain and Italy. In the short term market participants will continue to avoid risk assets and seek out ‘safe havens’. Longer term it is likely that global central banks (China for example) will slowly look to diversify away from US treasury investments over the coming years in favour of other currencies. Countries such as Australia, where China is the destination for 25% of their exports could be real beneficiaries. We need to remember that with all this negative noise around weak growth in the United States and parts of Europe, global emerging markets led by China and other parts of Asia are entering major growth

phases with the global growth outlook still at 4%. Whilst these areas won’t be immune to aftershocks, they are growing their share of global GDP very strongly with China currently representing 10%, up from 5% in 2005. These emerging economies are consuming plenty of our farm produce and this demand is only going to improve as westernisation continues. Watch this space! Locally the winter has been very mild so far and with the sight of a few more lambs on the ground, spring must be just around the corner. If you would like to confidentially discuss your investment position or would like to find out more about our portfolio services please give me a call. Andrew Wyllie is an Investment Advisor for Forsyth Barr in Christchurch. To contact him about portfolio management, fixed interest or share investments send him an email at andrew.wyllie@ forbar.co.nz or phone 0800 367 227.The comments in this note are for general information purposes only. This article is not intended to constitute investment advice under the Securities Markets Act 1988. If you wish to receive specific investment advice, please contact your investment advisor. Disclosure statements for Forsyth Barr and its investment advisors are available on request and free of charge.

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Are you annoyed about the KiwiSaver cuts? You’re not alone. There are a lot of annoyed people out there, thinking the Government has done an about-face on KiwiSaver, depriving them of a decent retirement by cutting the member tax credits in half, removing tax breaks, and making savers put in more of their own money. That’s not what you signed up for, is it?

We hear you — But we want to ask you three questions. t What retirement plan, other than KiwiSaver, comes with $1,000 from the Government just for joining? t What retirement plan, other than KiwiSaver, comes with $521 a year from the Government, just for saving $20 a week? t What other retirement plan is your employer required to contribute 2% and soon to be 3%? Think about it. Your retirement will probably still be rosier with KiwiSaver. Time to stop whining and get on with saving.

Phone us on 0800 GARETH or visit us at www.gmi.co.nz Adviser Disclosure Statements and the Investment Statement for the Gareth Morgan KiwiSaver Scheme are available at www.gmk.co.nz or 0800 472 384.

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WATER

August 2011

New face at Watermetrics Watermetrics is an Ashburton company that specialises in water flow monitoring and helping farmers and water consent holders manage any risks in an informed way. In June they welcomed a new water meter and consent compliance specialist to the team, Anna Rhodes. Anna joins Watermetrics at a crucial time for farmers, as new water metering regulations come into effect nationwide. She also brings considerable experience and knowledge to the team, including a degree in resource studies from Lincoln University and the experience of working on farms in New Zealand and overseas, along with her last role at Environment Canterbury (ECan). “I joined ECan in 2007 and worked as part of the compliance team before joining the water metering team in 2009,” says Anna. “This has set me up nicely — feeding into the water metering side of things and understanding resource consents and how the whole consent process works. “In June I joined Watermetrics which has been a nice change. The work is similar to that of the water metering team at ECan but I’m working on the opposite side of the fence. At ECan I advised consent holders on the concept of water metering but now I am able to promote Watermetrics as a company and the specific products and services we can offer. “In my new role, I will be advising farmers on water meters and soil moisture monitoring. I can also help farmers with their resource consents and advise them on what they should be doing to become compliant. “I was still part of ECan’s water metering team when the new regulations came into effect last year and in my advisory role I offered independent advice about meters and individual companies throughout Canterbury.” Originally from Hawkes Bay, Anna says that Canterbury is now very much home, and she lives on an irrigated farm with her partner.

Anna Rhodes

ECan has been raising awareness and helping farmers ready themselves for the new regulations through large scale advertising campaigns, pamphlets and a series of road shows around the region. “ECan works quite closely with the irrigation industry to ensure that they are up to speed with what’s happening and can then correctly advise their clients,” adds Anna. “The new regulations come in over the top of any resource consent, so both have to be looked at hand in hand. For any take above twenty litres per second the deadline is 2012 and then it’s staged — so for smaller takes there’s a bit more time.” The Watermetrics team, Anna, Andrew and Mike, will be able to offer the correct advice for each individual situation.

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WATER

August 2011

9

Irrigation Issues Dr Tony Daveron

We might be still waiting for winter and what might still come. Unfortunately, it is that time of the year where there are some unusual decisions regarding irrigation and where I could delve into my drawer of previous articles to meet the deadline this month. While Christchurch might have received a touch of winter in late July — July 25 to be precise, with snow boarders and skiers enjoying the slopes around the city, the rest of Canterbury was mostly bypassed. Certainly in our area of Christchurch snow boarders enjoyed 35cm of powder on the 25th and created an ice slope for the following day. But not in the next few days according to the weather forecasters. As I write this en route to Auckland (Saturday 13th) the forecast is grim for the next week. It will fortunately, one would hope put paid to those who considered the few balmy 17°C days necessitated irrigation. It never ceases to amaze me why irrigation starts unnecessarily. Some of those irrigating were amid a constant discharge pump test — fair enough, the water has to go somewhere. However, I know the consultants carrying out pump tests and two of those companies were carrying out tests for us. But the number of pump tests and those irrigating just did not equate. I seem to write the same thing every year and have the same reasons for irrigating prematurely every year: • ‘Really freshened the grass up’, and I agree but for different reasons. Almost certainly the grass looks better, all the dirt and dust has been washed off. • ‘There was a response’, except the response is inevitably visual with no pasture measurements to back up the response claims. There is no disputing there is a soil moisture deficit at the moment — measurements will confirm that fact. That deficit is about 5-8mm, not enough

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to justify irrigation. As usual at this time of the year the soil temperatures are just too low for there to be any response in growth. The plot of temperatures (see graph) over the last few days shows that the 9am temperatures are simply far too low for any growth response. In the last six days the 9am temperature was below 6.2°C and was as low as 3.6°C. There is little else to write about really — would you irrigate given these conditions? I wish you well in the snow and inclement weather forecast. While it will be of great benefit for groundwater recharge, there are better times for it to arrive for the stock farmers.

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August 2011

COUNTRY MOTORING

We drive the latest small cars — Suzuki Swift and Hyundai i20 With the increase in demand for smaller more fuel efficient cars, manufacturers are responding with ever better offerings that now offer levels of comfort and ride that rival many of the larger models. Two of the most popular on the market today are the subject of this month’s review, the Swift from Suzuki and the i20 from Hyundai. Both are 1400cc 4 cylinder front driven 5 door hatchbacks, both are all new and they both offer 4 speed automatics or 5 speed manual versions. Importantly they now have 5 star ANCAP safety ratings.

The all new Swift. What do you do to upgrade NZ’s top selling small car and at times best selling vehicle? Well every panel is new, though the silhouette is the same. In fact while the car is some 90mm longer, it’s lighter and more spacious on the inside, particularly for the rear seat passengers. It’s also more fuel efficient and the handling, while nimble, is enhanced by the 45mm stretch in the wheelbase. This makes for a comfortable ride for all five occupants. Not addressed is the lack of boot space, which even with the false floor removed — that raises the boot area to that of the lower lip of the hatch — the Swift barely carries three shopping bags. My hay bale would have to be broken up to get it stowed away. The move to smaller lighter cars is very evident across the market today and Suzuki has been at that forefront for years. The Swift now sports ESP on each of its three model range, lifting its ANCAP rating and making it competitive. Suzuki took the unusual step of lowering both the capacity and power of the engine from 1500cc to 1400cc and losing 5kW on the change from the M15A power plant to the K14B’s 70kW unit. Torque also dropped by three to 130nm. However, through clever use of lighter weight materials the overall mass is down by 35 kilograms while increasing the roll stiffness by 25%. All that combines to make the Swift just that and very surefooted. I drove both the manual and the auto and found the super slick shifting action allied to a light throttle and clutch made the manual the pick of the transmissions. Given its traditionally older market, the Swift will sell 5 to 1 in favour of the auto which is a pity made even more so as it needs an extra ratio, as its new sibling the excellent Kizashi has. On the road the Swift now really sparkles in a way the old one never did. It’s easy and safe to throw it into corners, powering out to maximise grip while letting the electronics handle any grip issues. It accelerates and brakes smoothly with no fuss or thrashiness from under the bonnet. Unsealed roads still are heard but the undersides are better insulated. Size wise the car now rides on a 2430mm wheelbase with l/w/h at 3850/1695/1510mm. We achieved 5.5l/100km which is bang on the manufacturer’s claim and exceeded 100km/h in just 10.5 seconds from rest. The interior is thoughtfully laid out maximising space and has six speakers for the Limited model Swift, four in the GL and GLX. The sound system allows steering wheel controls for the Radio/CD MP3 USB WMA set up. It works really well in practice and the sound from my credit card sized USB with 8gb and over 70 albums is some of the best acoustically on any vehicle.

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COUNTRY MOTORING had changed to an alphanumeric one in line with some of the rest of the range. Like the Swift, it misses out on Bluetooth or reversing camera and along with a higher price, blunted the enthusiasm for the new baby Hyundai. As is normal at press launches, the company had us arranged classroom style for a couple of hours while they explain and laud the praises of their latest offering. To be quite fair they do make it entertaining, with good graphics and loads of background info. All that aside though, all we wanted to do was get into the damn car and drive . . . out of Auckland. Finally at 11am, that’s just what we did. A line up of twelve sparkling clean Hyundais greeted us as we emerged on a dreary wet day. We were to get them filthy pretty quickly as we drove over 300km on a variety of roads south of Auckland for the rest of the day. First up though, we checked out the demisting function of the air conditioning, finding it well up to the job of keeping us warm and dispatching the condensation almost instantly, even when we got back into the car after stopping for numerous photo ops and getting back into the car wet. Our concerns as to the i20 marketability also waned the more we drove it. I had a bright red manual which, despite my penchant for automatics, even in small cars, won me over on the decision to replace the Getz with a completely new vehicle from the ground up. I know the Getz well as my wife, a district nurse along with hundreds of other health professionals, drives one daily. She enthuses regularly about the Getz and as this is her third one, she knows a thing or two. Will the new i20 sell? Absolutely. When I drove it back to back with the Getz the differences are amazing and immediately obvious. Quieter, more powerful, significantly bigger and better fuel consumption characterise the i20 along with a smoother more compliant ride over rough surfaces. In fact country roads, sealed or unsealed, are dispatched with alacrity and feel more like a full size sedan.

August 2011

11

I took a photo with the Getz at home to emphasise the differences. Gone is the boxy squared off looks replaced with teardrop headlights and an elegant elongated nose, with the bonnet and windscreen sharing the same plane. The interior is all new too with nice feel fabrics and leather facings for the gear selector and steering wheel. Safety has been addressed with ESP ABS and six airbags covering the front and sides. As is usual with Hyundai they also mount a fire extinguisher in the car along with a comprehensive first aid kit and a hi-vis vest. I was able to sit five adults in comfort in the cabin and still get my conventional plastic wrapped hay bale in the ample boot area. The rear seat passengers benefit from ducted heat to their feet while the front seat passenger has a large cooled glove box to keep the bevies ready. The driver has a lumbar support adjustment for the seat and steering wheel controls for entertainment functions, which include MP3 and USB with the AM/FM radio/CD. Both benefit from illuminated vanity mirrors. An easy read trip computer on the dash shows all the regular functions including average and instant fuel consumption.

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The old sunglass holder mounted above the driver’s door has been replaced with a centrally mounted one including two map lights. The 1396cc mpi 16valve DOHC engine liberated 73.5kW and 135nm with a 0–100km/h coming up in just 10.2 seconds for the auto with the manual nearly a second quicker. Wheelbase is up 25mm at 2625mm and l/w/h are 3940/1710/1490 all up on the Getz. We achieved 5.8l/100/km over a mixture of town and country running in the automatic we drove in Canterbury. In Auckland that same mix produced 5.7 so it is reasonably economical. The i20 now has a choice of 4 speed auto or 5 speed manual retailing at $26,990 and $25,990. Both these vehicles live happily in the rural environment and forced to pick, the choice is hard as the Suzuki has a $2,000 price advantage, while the Hyundai has slightly higher specs. Given that retail is seldom the final price paid, the margin may be less. If you can find a dealer that offers a no cost option for servicing and WOF then that would be the way to pick them.

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Canterbury Centre Dog Training Day and Judges’ discussion seminar — Waihi Station — Geraldine The Canterbury Sheep Dog Trial Association hosted a very successful training day and Judges’ Discussion Seminar on Saturday 23rd of July at Waihi Station, Geraldine. The day was attended by over 100 folk from as far afield as Waiau in North Canterbury, Waikouaiti in the South and the top of Lake Ohau to the West. It was really encouraging to see the large number of young shepherds, male and female, that attended alongside the older hands. The training session in the morning kicked off with Glen Tomlinson demonstrating his method of training a Huntaway. Glen is a very successful young trainer and trialist, having recently been in both hunt run offs at the South Island Champs at Haka in May and placing second in the Zig-Zag Hunt Run Off at the New Zealand Champs at Masterton in June, all with three different dogs. Glen presented four young dogs at different ages and stages, working through from starting as a very young pup teaching them to stand up, (and to lie down square on the deck as a form of discipline), right through his pole and Eion Herbert from Nelson demonstrating with a young Header rope training, with work on and off sheep, always balancing the young dog on a focal point, and putting his New Zealand Test Team again this year, when the Aussies will come sides on, (generally at around twelve to eighteen months old). With to contest the coveted ‘Wayleggo Cup’ in Auckland in October. Eion beginning all facets of his training system at a very young age, Glen presented six dogs at various levels of training, beginning with a demonstrated how it becomes second nature for a young dog to wee tacker that had hardly seen sheep, yet was keen to work them. settle into a training practise, if you work within the maturity level Eion stressed that, ‘You are the Centre of the Universe’ to a header of any given dog before moving on to another phase. It was pretty and to let them work freely on balance to you, with little stopping, impressive stuff and Glen’s dogs were all very happy in their work until they are mature enough to move on to more command and and quite obviously thought the world of him. training. Misdemeanours are growled at, but not dealt with heavy Eion Herbert from Wakefield, near Nelson, needed very little handedly. He prefers to use little in the way of restraining devices introduction to the crowd, having also been in Island and New when training. Zealand Run Offs, has judged a Short Head at a New Zealand Championship and competed for New Zealand in the Trans Tasman test series against Australia in 2009. Eion has been selected for the

Both Eion and Glen stressed that their training methods were the ones that suited them and were not gospel. We are very fortunate to have folk of this calibre that are prepared to share their knowledge and methods with us and I am sure that everyone took something away from the day that they could put into practise at home. The afternoon’s blackboard proceedings took a less orthodox approach to a judging session. Chaired by Merv King, the Canterbury Judges selection panel of Tony Wall, Mark Copland and Neil Evans worked through a document of pre-prepared questions pertaining to all courses, judging systems, protocol and different interpretations of rulings. Although a lot of these questions were covered off in the rule book, a show of hands saw that only around half the attendee’s had access to a rule book. A healthy discussion continued throughout the afternoon with really good interaction and feedback from the floor.

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In closing the day off, Canterbury President, Mike Brown gave thanks to everyone that had helped make the day a success. In particular Glen, Eion, Tony, Mark and Neil, Archie Reid and the Reid Family Trust for the venue and use of the sheep, Mark and Tim from Waihi, TUX for their Sponsorship, Alliance Meats — (George Renshaw), Bayer — (Pete McRae) the ladies that fed the troops, and the crew that master minded the event. A very successful day with a great turnout, that saw everyone take something away from the day. Sally Mallinson — Promotions Officer C.S.D.T.A.


August 2011

13

Soil Matters — with Peter Burton Proven performance — a priceless commodity A dairy farmer entering his fourth season on a large dairy conversion phoned to ask whether an application of dolomite would help relieve the growing number of calcium/ magnesium related problems on his property. As that question could not be adequately answered without at least knowledge of current soil nutrient status and past fertiliser inputs the call took some time, with several pieces of extra information providing a clearer picture. The entire farm had been cultivated in the autumn prior to dairy cows being introduced. At that stage there had been no known applications of fertiliser nitrogen. Initially pugging damage was minimal even in extended periods of wet weather, with excess moisture draining freely without ponding Animal health during the first two springs had been largely trouble free. Calcium/ magnesium related metabolic problems had been few, cows calved without difficulty, the

occasional mastitis case easily and effectively treated, with somatic cell counts remaining low throughout both seasons.

excess water to drain freely, with the soil above the developing pan more easily scuffed and pugged.

The third spring had been more challenging with a range of issues requiring extra time and effort. The number of calcium/ magnesium related problems had increased particularly amongst older higher producing animals. The incidence of mastitis also increased with somatic cell counts remaining stubbornly high at times.

With plant roots concentrated in the top 100cm, soil moisture content and chemistry rapidly change. The potassium content in the leaf of pasture often increases significantly during periods of wet weather at the expense of calcium and magnesium, which are more tightly held.

Is it possible that all issues are related? The downward pressure exerted by the feet of heavy animals is significant, and as soils are ideally by volume 25% air, 25% moisture and 50% solid, compaction particularly in periods of wet weather can readily occur. Reduced air content reduces the activity of beneficial soil organisms as they rely on a steady interchange of air entering and gas being released. Under intensive dairying soils will often compact at 75 — 100ml, slowing the ability of

The question of whether compaction is inevitable is then open for discussion. Under treading pressure soil compresses, compaction occurs when it does not return to its ideal state. This is not inevitable and careful management is required. When the ideal levels of calcium and magnesium are obtained soils are much less likely to compact. The ideal levels are best ascertained by soil testing. In all situations where magnesium is required Golden Bay dolomite is the most effective input.

For an intensive dairy operation a single application of dolomite at 220kg/ha provides 25kgMg/ha, sufficient for one season, and 53kgCa/ha, approximately one quarter of the required annual calcium input. Due to the fineness of grinding the release of nutrient can be rapid with a marked improvement in animal health achievable within three weeks of application. Dolomite also has a strong conditioning effect on the soil, increasing the crumb content, reducing the likelihood of compaction occurring and as with all living systems when one aspect of health improves every aspect improves. For more information call 0800 436 566 (0800 4 DOLOMITE).

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14

FORESTRY

August 2011

Forestry Market Report Allan Laurie MNZIF Laurie Forestry Ltd Possibly the best way to describe the current log export market is to suggest it is an oops . . . That is to say oops, the Canadian lumber suppliers have flooded the China market with cheaper product from Bark Beetle Harvest. Also, oops the US forest growers have flooded China with logs in the face of few alternatives in their domestic markets. And it is also oops, demand in China has not matched the over-supply of logs.

The wilding pine problem Without doubt the spread of wilding pine is getting worse, and obviously the longer we wait the worse it is going to get. The invasion of our farm land from the spread of wilding pine was not considered a future problem when the high country was initially planted up to stop erosion. Hindsight is a luxury we didn't have 30 years ago. But that doesn't mean we haven't got it now. Jim Ward from the Molesworth can foresee major problems with the spread of wilding pine from mature seed trees on the leeward side of our nor’ westers. Several months ago Jim approached Amuri helicopters with the idea of controlling ‘patches’ of wilding pine (approx 30ha), ranging from seedling trees to mature 30 metre-tall pine spp. Not only did he want them contained but he did not want any collateral damage on non target vegetation such as native bush, nor any damage to his grazing grasses and finally no residual effect in the soil, and therefore no threat of erosion. It was a big ask, but as can be seen from the enclosed photo the goal has been achieved. (photo showing sprayed verus unsprayed mature pine spp.). The formulation used here was first used at Molesworth back in 2001 and since then has been continually improved upon. Not only becoming more effective but also cheaper. This work is ongoing and a field day has been proposed at the

03 323 7797

The inevitable result of this fairly lamentable combination of factors has seen the market respond negatively although not to the degree that would suggest a major market blow out. Indeed at time of writing some of the market planets are starting to come back in to alignment with demand making an encouraging lift and supply falling away. Some are even suggesting small price increases could be in the offing for September sales.

trial site early in the new year. I'll keep you posted on how things progress with the ongoing trials yet to be established. Joke time: An old timer applied for a job at a Northland lemon orchard. The foreman frowned and said, "I have to ask you this old timer, but have you had any experience in actually picking lemons?" The old guy looked him straight in the eye and said, "I've been divorced three times, bought a Leyland P76 when they were brand new, a beta video player and invested most of my savings in Bridgecorp. I voted twice for Helen Clark and once for Hone Harawira, so how am I going so far?" He started work the next day.

The domestic scene has continued to just exist with some sawmill owners/managers suggesting stocks are rising, sales are slow and frustration over ‘foreign’ lumber from the North Island flooding the market is mounting. To compound this issue, 2 larger North Island companies are going head to head on price in Canterbury as they vie for market share for the yet to materialise earthquake re-build. This ‘forcing’ of wood into the market is seeing framing grade lumber prices tumbling to 1990s levels - hardly a sound basis for forest owners to be able to negotiate higher log prices! One larger Canterbury sawmill manager recently astutely commented, ‘significant progress in the domestic construction scene will not happen until the issue of insurance is sorted. Many projects are known to have made it to first base and most are stalled while the banks and insurance companies go head to head on who makes the first move. Even construction insurance cannot be

found. Clearly we need the likes of Government underwriting or else re-building is just going to remain stalled”. For both the domestic and export log segments the declining gap between pruned and unpruned log prices is of some concern. Five years ago the gap was $50 to $70 per tonne between P1 and the likes of S30 or A-grade logs. Now it is less than $40 and that is on a good day. There is a clear need to restore a sensible margin between the two if forest owners are to continue to carry out expensive pruning operations. One positive emerging from the melee of current international economic uncertainty is the impacts on shipping costs. September settlements for export log cargos are currently being negotiated down in the order of US$3 – 4 which will add a little more flavour to the wharf gate price pot going forward. This trend is expected to continue as International commodity trade suffers uncertainty in terms of volume consequent on liquidity. New planting appears to be on the rise with nurseries reporting good sales well ahead of last year. Unfortunately as is so often the case they are also reporting some orders being cancelled as projects have failed to go ahead. However if our own company is anything to go buy, this year’s new planting area is well over twice last year’s and enquiries for next year are already indicating further significant new planting. Good news indeed for the short term but unfortunately too late for the wood availability slump that will occur in 10 – 15 years’ time. Thus it is has never been more timely to remember the only way forward for climate, country and the planet is to get out there and plant more trees!

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EQUINE

August 2011

15

Equine Feature A New Zealand first The first New Zealand Qualifications Authority approved equine dentistry course in New Zealand has been accredited to the New Zealand Equine Dentistry School based in Tuakau. The school will be running courses in Northland, and the 22week comprehensive course has both theory and practical sections. It is the brain-child of equine dentist Warwick Behrns whose passion for the well-being of horses — through their mouths — began at the tender age of 15. He knew that if a horse could not gain all of the goodness from its food, its performance and well-being was affected. Thirty-five years later, he is a certified advanced member of The International Association of Equine Dentistry with experience gained nationally and internationally, including six years at the American School of Equine Dentistry as an instructor. He is looking forward to passing these skills and knowledge on as a formal education to others interested in the same career. Warwick and his wife Dianna started the NZ Equine Dentistry School in 2004 to complement their busy horse dental service.

Dianna handling the business and student side of things, while Warwick did the teaching. Initially with two students three times per year, Warwick taught a small amount of theory, but the three-month course was mostly practical. In 2006 the couple started expanding the theoretical side and in 2009 began correspondence with the Ministry of Education and NZQA to formally develop the curriculum, evaluations and quality management systems.

will be a separate pre and post treatment facility for horses including covered yards.

From the horse’s mouth Horses rely on their mouths to eat. Since most horse owners wouldn’t recognise dental problems, it’s important to have a professional check your horse’s teeth at least once a year. Equine dentist Warwick Berhns says the importance of teeth to the animal’s well-being is vital.

They gained NZQA registration in November 2010 and course approval and accreditation in May 2011.

“The teeth act like a mortar and pestle grinding the food into a paste, to ensure all amino acids and other goodness can be extracted out of the food,’’ he said.

The NZ Equine Dentistry School is proposing to build a state of the art purpose built complex, specifically designed as an educational and clinical treatment facility for the prophylaxis of equine dentistry.

“If the mouth cannot perform this efficiently, horses will at first over eat and then eventually not be able to eat at all. Horses with dental problems can go through stages of excessive weight gain to total weight loss including muscle loss.’’

The classroom will be a generous space to accommodate a number of students and there will be a separate library for students to have access to industry related media and internet. Attached to the classroom will be a wet lab for working on equine cadavers. There will be a separate space within the wet lab for skeletal remains, including a classified skull, dentition and specimen collection. The clinical treatment area of the complex is where students will learn the practical processes involved in performing equine dentistry on live horses. There

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16

August 2011 Authority (EECA) in a recent Forest Residue Workshop in Taupo.

Forest residue — the new energy source for industry and communal projects The main problem with forestry in general is it is just not economically sexy enough to catch the attention of mainstream media. It is well down the pecking order for central government attention. Also it is long term. Very long term, therefore hardly registers on share market boards or part of investment portfolios. Quarterly balance sheets just do not come into it. Investments can take 30 plus years to mature. Yet it provides this country with some $4 billion in export earnings. And there is a huge potential for multi use of wood products other than sending raw logs to China or sawlogs to local mills. The product ranges are mind boggling. Paper to particle board, house framing to laminated beams coming from renewable sustainable resources. In many cases taking the

place of finite resources, such as fossil fuels. Also timber is eco-friendly; exposure to ETS carbon credit costs is negligible compared with burning of fossil fuels when managed under rotational regimes, of which some 95% of exotic plantation forests are in New Zealand. Replanted forests attract an extra income for growers through carbon sequestration over its lifetime in carbon credits. And in the last couple of decades dedicated forest researchers and some innovators have been beavering away on recovering post harvest waste and converting forest residues into bio-energy products.. An eye-opener, which should have caught the attention of mainstream media (but didn’t), came from a presentation by the Energy Efficiency Conservation

Shaun Bowler, EECA team leader on wood energy was quoted: ‘…The amount of energy contained in the left over wood each year is equal to 40 oil tankers sitting off the coast, waiting to unload their cargo. The oil in their holds equates to 40 petajoules of energy, which is the amount that could be harnessed from forest residues’. (NZ LOGGER trade journal) Up until this year EECA had funded some 71 capital projects under its wood energy grant scheme totalling $5 million helping projects worth a total of $28 million. Working in collaboration with Canterbury University Forestry School engineering department’s Associated Professor Rien Visser, and with input from Scion Forestry Research, EECA has published a Good Practice Guide on the production of wood fuel from forest landings. This is aimed at forest owners, managers and contractors. Certainly a lot has been done to date in the development of machines, technology and systems for conversion of residues. Scion has published case studies and is very much involved with ongoing research, but this fledgling industry with a potential to generate up to $5 billion turnover is badly in need of step changes in government policy, possibly regulation better targeting emitters of green house gases (GHG), to create market demand and provide funding to enhance conversion technology. Already some processed wood fuels are competitive with high quality coal but still battle the lower quality lignites. With new innovations it is getting there. And in the future the delivered heat into furnaces may even undercut fossil fuels in dollars per energy

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unit, measured in gigajoules. This country’s exotic plantation forests total 1.7 million hectares, 30% of which is in the central North Island. Current annual harvest was 22 million cubic metres (roughly 20 million tonnes) of softwoods, predominantly pinus radiata. On average commercial grade log recovery is between 450500 tonnes p/ha. Some 20-25% remains on landings and cutover areas as residue depending on harvest methods. These are cable haulers on steep country (towers using skyline systems), or swing yarders and ground-based systems, skidders, traxcavators or feller bunchers on flatter to rolling country. Scion estimates some 3.2 million tonnes of residue remain as forest residue per annum of which three million M3 is potential wood fuel. One estimated figure for ethanol from wood fibre recorded during the April conference on Revenue from Residue in Rotorua was that the total transport fuel (petrol and diesel) was 80 billion litres per year. However as more forests are established on low to moderate productive land the sustainably managed biomass resource would meet predicted demand for transport fuels by 2030. Although the processing and transporting of wood wastes for this purpose is similar to that for heat energy a bio refinery would be required to separate fuel from the lignocellular material. John Rutherford, chairman of ANZ Distilleries, had been working on this technology for several years and was setting up a pilot plant in Temuka, South Canterbury. This is still a work in progress as with other players in the business. Scion predicts a large expansion of forests, thanks to the ETS carbon credits, from 2011 to 2025 based on the existing forest estate predictions, could double the cut from 2010 levels

larger volumes of reject wood. Branches, tops and sloven are of virtual nil value to forest owners, and in fact, are an impediment to contractors.

adding another three million tonnes of green wood for energy conversion. Just to get some idea of volumes involved, it takes 143,000 tonnes of wood to equal one petajoule against 43,000 tonnes of coal. It all boils down to dollars and cents.

In the last few years several methods have been used to breakdown (comminute) all forms of residue varying from expensive hoggers and chippers capable of taking on full trees up to a metre in diameter. They can chomp through 25-40 tonnes of material an hour. Curtain-sided chip-liner trucks are capable of transporting 100 M3 a trip. The logistics now rest with reduced material handling. The same with moisture content in relation to calorific values. Distance from forest to user is being extended in relation to dryness of product. Newly felled stems contain from 55 to 60% moisture. Left for a couple of months the moisture content drops to roughly 30-35% calorific values of 7 gigajoules p/t to 12GJ/t. Why cart water?

However, the devil is in the detail. It comes back to the practicalities and logistics of how this can be successfully achieved. Through from recovery to processing, to transport and to the chemical analysis on wood properties, such as calorific values against varying moisture content, furnace design, bio digester establishment and handling methods. Apart from the adapted science we are in need of innovative contractors, local, regional and central government encouragement. New Zealand is a virtual new chum in this field compared with some European nations who are streets ahead in developments. However we are lucky to have a small population and benign land conditions for the growing of trees under sustainable regimes.

Just of interest, delivered heat for lower grade coal is roughly 16GJ at $5-$7 p/GJ, much the same for hog fuel from wood. Chipped wood is slightly more expensive, and pellet fuel due to further processing goes up some notches.

Starting at base level forest owners are asking ‘what is in it for us’? The base residue materials on skidsite and landings can be divided into three entities. That is branches, tops, slovens and offcuts from log grading. (Slovens are the cutoff sections from the stump). At the top end of the cut are pulp logs which do not make the grade of commercial specifications but still have value to the forest owner, but is the preferred material for firewood or chipping.

Several businesses and organisations have converted their boilers to take wood fuel and are said to be making considerable savings, particularly in the South Island where gas and electricity had been used. But these are relatively small users, such as schools, hospitals, community centres and one or two businesses involved in manufacturing. Meridian Energy has a subsidiary, Wood Energy NZ operating through Energy For Industry (EFI) which has set up plants and is currently working on a cluster of Dunedin businesses who aim to source wood chip from local plants. Fonterra has also installed multi-use furnaces for co-generation capable of taking a mix of wood chip and coal. Volumes for delivered heat generation vary between 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes per annum but work is currently targeting medium heavy industries which require from 20,000 to 100,000 tonnes p/a. Golden Bay Cement up in Northland have furnaces suitable for co-generation and use a mix of up to 27% wood fuel to coal.

Scion has estimated a royalty based on pulp and firewood logs. This makes the forest owner happy, but how to handle this on the landings? Logging contractors target the better grade log and mechanised grading (log making) tends to end up with

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DAIRY

August 2011

17

Growing field earthworms

by Dr Tim Jenkins

For most farms it should be possible for the stocking rate under the soil to be greater than the stocking rate on top of the soil. Under good conditions, there can be more than 10 grams of earthworms in a spadeful of soil (10 grams is pictured in the photo). With 25 spadefulls per square metre that makes the equivalent of 2,500kg per hectare of earthworms stocked in the paddock.

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Most of the earthworms pictured are Aporrectodea caliginosa (easier to spell as ‘grey field worm’ and they are the most dynamic burrowing earthworms we have for speeding up nutrient cycling and improving soil structure. Other types of worms are beneficial too. The humbly named dung worm is more of a surface dweller and true to name handles dung decomposition but also plant litter. These are some of the fastest worms to appear in an improved paddock. The slowest beneficial earthworms to show up are usually the deep burrowing ones like Aporrectodea longa and Lumbricus terrestris. L. terrestris is a well known very large worm in the Northern Hemisphere and frequents the pavements of the North Island in rainy periods (often suffering the consequences when the sun returns). It has been very slow indeed to arrive in most of the South Island — it hasn’t turned up in more than a century. Its great to see that AgResearch now have a programme looking at the benefits of introducing A. longa to paddocks. Fortunately for most paddocks there can be dramatic improvements in nutrient cycling, productivity and soil structure from the species that are already present. It takes calcium, healthy growing grass or other fibrous rooted plants and care for soil structure (avoiding over cultivation or compaction).

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DAIRY

August 2011

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DAIRY

August 2011

19

Building better rumen function key to production gains Learning more about rumen function and how to improve it is key to boosting production in dairy herds and generating wealth for New Zealand farmers.

replacement heifer conception rates improved to 100% while the control herd achieved just 95%. Mrs Aveling said other trials on Crystalyx were currently underway here in New Zealand, and work continues elsewhere, investigating how improved rumen function could reduce methane emissions from stock.

Altum Animal Nutrition Manager Jackie Aveling said the benefits of rumen research are two-fold because it focuses on both animal performance and reducing methane production, with both subjects often linked as energy is lost through methane production.

“Projects like this demonstrate the rural sector and the entire global agricultural economy are serious about the environmental impact of farming, not just production. If we can extract more from the diet and reduce non-productive animals it’s a win-win situation.”

Mrs Aveling was one of 220 delegates from 23 countries around the world who attended a conference focused on rumen function in German hosted by Caltech Crystalyx and German agricultural co-operative Agravis. She said a lot of rumen research has been conducted through universities contracted by UK-based Caltech Crystalyx, who produce a range of dehydrated molasses blocks to provide a targeted highenergy supplement to the main forage diet. Altum markets Crystalyx exclusively in New Zealand as part of its broad strategy to provide complete farm nutrient management to its customers. Mrs Aveling said international interest in the research demonstrated at the conference was focused on maximising rumen performance. “The theme of the conference was ‘feeding the rumen in a changing world’ and the focus was about getting the right balance with animal nutrition to not just boost production, but to also reduce farm input costs,” Mrs Aveling said. “Much of the ground covered at the conference was linked back to the need to understand more about the rumen and how that knowledge can be turned into practical on-farm advice in the future.” According to Professor Maciej Kowalski from the University of Krakow in Poland, who was a keynote speaker at the conference, forage is still the major component of dairy diets despite the demand for “fast” nutrients to meet yield demands and so the importance of forage quality in reducing diet costs and maximising productivity can not be over-emphasised. “Ultimately the effectiveness of forages depends on how well they are fermented in the rumen. Only a healthy rumen can exploit

the potential in forages,” Professor Kowalski stressed. Researchers speaking at the conference highlighted practical steps which farmers could take now to improve rumen performance. These included ensuring adequate protein in the diet, especially where lower quality forages were fed. “In trials with Crystalyx and hay diets, the addition of nitrogen in the blocks led to a significant increase in the rate of fibre digestion and up to a 25% increase in feed intakes. This is of particular interest as poorer quality forages are often fed to growing heifers and dry cows,” Professor Jim Drouillard from Kansas State University said. Mrs Aveling said when we think of livestock farming we automatically think of cows and sheep and how they convert pasture into protein in the form of milk, meat and wool. “However, the rumen is the engine of farm animal performance and the more we learn about it the better we can improve production. As Professor Drouillard stated during the conference, although the rumen contains billions of micro-organisms we currently only know about 5% of them, which means there’s a lot more we can learn.” Crystalyx has conducted many field trials in Europe and other parts of the world, but Altum has recognised the need to run similar trials to demonstrate the effectiveness under New Zealand farming conditions. One such trial looked at the benefits of Crystalyx Forage Plus dehydrated molasses blocks. The AgResearch study showed

Wastewood grinding Your site or ours Wood Chip Supplies Dairy Conversion Cleanup


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August 2011

Farmside launches new mobile phone service for rural New Zealand Rural telco Farmside has launched a new mobile phone service that complements the company’s existing broadband and home line services and effectively positions Farmside as a one-stop shop to meet rural communications needs. Delivered using the Vodafone platform, Farmside Mobile will capitalise on the extended coverage resulting from new cellphone towers that are to be constructed as part of the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative. Farmside Chief Executive Richie Smith says the introduction of its new mobile service is a logical progression for the company. “We’re in the business of providing cost-effective communications solutions to those who live and work in rural locations. Farmside Mobile fits alongside our satellite, wireless and fixed-line broadband and voice products to enable us to provide a complete suite of telecommunications services — all geared to help put New Zealand’s rural households, farms and businesses on an equal footing with those in urban areas.” With plans starting from $19 per month, the new mobile service is competitively priced and specifically targeted to support rural users. Features include free calls to other Farmside mobiles, and options to bundle broadband, phone line and mobile services in a single package that can be charged through rural supply accounts. A key draw card is the ability to combine with Farmside’s broadband and/or phone line services and gain interchangeable free airtime, discounted pricing and the convenience of a single monthly account for telecommunications charges. Customers will also be able to tailor-make packages that reflect the peaks and troughs of their activity by adding on text, calling and data packs to suit their needs on a month to month basis. As with other mobile providers Farmside Mobile allows customers to bring their existing mobile phone number across to its new platform.

Practical Skills Training in Tractors ATV’s Workshop Skills Growsafe

The front tipping trailers allow for better and safer access. By filling in the ruts this alleviates the possibility of irrigators tipping over in their tracks David showed OSH his original idea back in 2005 and they were impressed, as anything which can help stop accidents has got to be a positive investment for the farmer. As far as David is aware, there have been no accidents involving pivot tracks he has filled since starting this work.

Do you have people on your property through the night and don’t know until the morning, when you realise your quad bike’s gone!

O

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David took his idea to Gary Baker of Agmech, who refined it to include a hydraulic operated sliding door which allows enough material to fill the hopper. The tractor wheel then follows the rut and back wheels of the trailer roll the fill down. This is then graded and finished with a heavy roller. The front tipping trailers have proven very successful and David now has two tractor and trailer units with a third unit coming shortly. The average cost is still only about $8.00 per tonne, which is extremely cost effective — large jobs can be as little as $6.00 per tonne. To find out more about this and for a quote phone David Buckley on 027 659 6596.

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t Next course: 22nd Aug 2011

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David Buckley of Rural Fields first came up with the idea of front tipping trailers for filling in irrigator pivot ruts and tracks back in 2005. Although the idea of filling tracks is not new, David felt that front tipping trailers would allow for the operator to see what he was doing and what was happening. David says that when you fill a track, you should fill it from the bottom up, not the top down — this is the same way we build our roads.

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McHALE HS2000 Bale Wrapper, 22,000 bales, self steer $32,000

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WOOL

Cautious optimism for wool Those of you who are involved with wool growing will be aware that the past year provided renewed hope as wool prices rocketed, in particular for adult crossbred wool types, and demand outstripped supply with a completely new pricing platform created as many processors rebuilt their depleted stock levels. A number of players within the wool market commented that the new levels of pricing were ‘sustainable’ and whilst some were cautiously optimistic for pricing to improve further, many were concerned that prices had improved too quickly and that a reversal of the price hike could occur. Regardless of the opinions shared, all involved recognised that even a slump in market pricing would still deliver acceptable returns to growers in comparison to the past decade. With only seven days between auction sales ending last season on June 30th and beginning the new season on July 7th, I’d suggest the time frame was a little short, particularly when many of New Zealand’s wool users are domiciled in the Northern Hemisphere and enjoy their summer holidays from late June to early August. The new season opened on a cautious note with prices in general cheaper than at the close of the previous season and as July progressed, the market became weaker on the back of a highly valued Kiwi dollar, due to the debt problems in the USA, inflating our currency levels to as much as $US0.88. Exporters appeared very selective at auction sales buying only what they had obviously sold forward and, as a result, the percentage of bales failing to reach grower reserve prices increased considerably on that of sales during the latter part of the previous season. However, in comparison to the similar period last year, and without taking into account the much stronger cross-rate of our currency than that of July 2010 (approx $US0.72), prices were still reaching levels some ninety percent better than in July 2010. Early August saw the Kiwi dollar in ‘roller-coaster mode’ plummeting from it’s high of $US0.88 to approx $US0.80 on the morning of the latest auction at time of writing (11th August) but climbing to around $US0.83 later that day, however auction prices were surprisingly steady with the exception of very short second-shear types, many of which dropped in price substantially between June and early August reinforcing the need for extreme care when preparing wool in-shed. Back in the old days when growers seemed more content to sell their wool through the (still) most effective and efficient method of auction, the month of July was that of the ‘off season’, allowing time for exporters to travel to their off-shore processor customers and discuss requirements for the coming season. Whilst communication is significantly further advanced now and much more business is conducted via electronic mediums, there remain vital elements to ensure satisfaction between all participants in the supply and sales chain, and wool exporters still travel off shore to talk to their customers ‘face to face’.

August 2011

My point of view Allen Cookson

A dangerous mindset John Key has been working for a free trade agreement with the US. The US is seeking other bilateral free trade agreements. Holdups by the Republicans are prompted by their opposition to ‘Trade adjustment assistance’ which attempts to reduce the problem of increased unemployment. The Labour Department has estimated that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the US cost the latter 525,000 jobs. KORUS, proposed between Korea and the US, will cost America 159,000 jobs. KORUS also signs away the right to a wide range of financial regulations of the kind that might have helped avoid the crisis of 2008. KORUS allows America to export 75,000 cars a year to Korea. This translates to 800 jobs. These cars can have up to 65% non-American content. Korea’s exports of cars to the US in 2009 on the other hand were 476,833. The 65% non-Korean content allowed for Korean exports to America could include North Korean slave labour or low paid Chinese labour. Free trade enthusiasts say it replaces low skill, low jobs by high skill, high wage jobs. The evidence in America is against that with huge shrinkage in the electronics industry. Paradoxically US trade with treaty partners has increased at less than half the rate of trade with non-treaty nations. Obama has done about-turns on some of his election trade promises. There seems to be pressure from big business and the finance industry who want to profit from cheap foreign labour while dispensing with American employees. Knowledgeable observers are highly sceptical about NZ’s trade prospects with America given that our most competitive products are a threat to powerful political lobby groups. America’s loyal ally, Australia, was treated with contempt in its trade deal. Anyway it is highly likely that the US currency will plummet still further, making any favourable concessions, which are unlikely, irrelevant to our trade balance. We would be better to look elsewhere for trade opportunities. So-called free trade, as commonly practised, involves slightly reduced trade barriers and subsidies along with freeing of capital flows and loss of sovereignty over human rights and environment. Only tough negotiators such as the Koreans and Europeans benefit. I don’t believe John Key when he says he will keep NZ’s interests paramount. His mindset, derived from his work history, is of a global economy. Effects at the local human level do not seem to enter his consciousness. Obama has the problem of lack of economic background. He seems to have been inveigled by his advisors into the same dangerous mindset.

EWES & RAMS WANTED WOOL BUYERS Providing direct wool links from farm to user with a low cost marketing pipeline

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At the end of the day all business transactions involve people and respect. Confidence and trust which builds over time between buyers and sellers can be the main ingredients for successful transactions and repeat business. The wool business is an excellent example of how respect, confidence and trust ensures future transactions take place, whether it be between wool growers and their shearing contractors, wool growers and their broker, wool brokers and wool exporters, wool exporters and spinners, or spinners and their carpet manufacturers. All of these links (plus others not mentioned) involve people — it’s a people business and often a back-to-basics approach is the best option. That’s my view.

21

3 vouchers = 40kgs Workdog Biscuits Minimum 10 head Limited Time So Hurry!

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August 2011

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FARM 4X4

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FARM, LIFESTYLE & VITICULTURE EQUIPMENT SPECIALISTS SALES + SPARES + SERVICE + HIRE + FINANCE NEW MACHINERY IN STOCK HUSTLER chainless bale feeders FREE spot sprayer & $500 vouchers AITCHISON 8122 direct drill c/w disc openers Special SPRAYERS; C-Dax, Silvan - full range for farm, ATV & Horticulture KRONE mowers and balers, top German quality at excellent prices Indent deals now AITCHISON direct drill, new, 16 run ‘T’ boot Special $10,995 KINGHITTER & HYDRORAMMER hydraulic post drivers from $5,300 HOOPER & LYNDON chain and leaf harrows for farmers and lifestylers from $465 FERTILISER SPREADERS; C-Dax, Vogal, Aitchison, full range from $1,575 RATA silage grabs, bale forks, bale handlers, trailing grain feeders from $1,270 RZ 11 tine chisel plough c/w spring releases & depth wheels $19,500 DUNCAN Mk 4 renovators and Duncan eco drills IN STOCK NOW BERENDS 12’ chisel plough - simple and robust $6,000 SHIBAURA & EUROLEOPARD tractors, 25-60hp from $20,000 EXTRA SPECIAL PRICES ON GENERATORS Phone now for a price RZ multidisc 3m, c/w packer, excellent stubble machine DEMO NOW $17,500 USED MACHINERY IN STOCK HEENAN ATV trailing round bale feeder, V/G order $4,950 REID & GRAY 10’ wheel controlled discs, near new blades $5,950 DUNCAN Renovator Mk III single box c/w discs & rear drawbar, ex cond arriving HOOPER 30’ bush & bog discs, very good condition $6,500 SHIBAURA SX 24 Sub-compact tractor $15,500 SIMBA 3B 30’ offset discs, new blades $28,750 HOOPER 30� 7 aside B&B discs, ex cond, new blades $15,500 BERTI TSB 250 mulcher mower, top order $9,250 GILTRAP 16 cum side feed wagon $29,500 RATA 18’ 203 centre fold, as new $11,750 TAEGE 2 bale trailing feeder, very good order $8,250 ROBERTSON super combi c/w forks & bin preparing Prices Exclude GST

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24

August 2011

Kit out your 4wd with Ironman 4x4 New Zealand now has greater choice in 4x4 suspension and accessories. Ironman 4x4 products have been developed in the harshest proving ground in the world — Australia, and have been the first choice for Australian customers for over 50 years. Sold in more than 120 countries, Ironman 4x4 will deliver the comfort and safety you demand as well as quality and value for money. The Australian manufacture offers state-of the-art, outback tested suspension kits, shock absorbers, springs, winches, bullbars, snorkels, recovery kits, lights, tents and many other off road accessories all available from Terraquip NZ Ltd. Bullbars The range of bullbars is extensive with an entry level commercial black bar which is airbag and winch compatible, a deluxe bar which is similar to the commercial bar but has an integrated driving light and the protector bar with a hammer tone finish and stainless steel hoops. All have an aerial lug as well as spotlight mounting points and a number have high lift jack slots. Winches Ironman monster winches are becoming very popular with 2 in the range, a 9,500lb and a 12,000lb. The gearbox on the winches has an upgraded design with hardened gears to eliminate float for precision operation along with an improved sliding clutch with straight cut gears which eliminates any gearbox slip. The rotatable gearbox allows positioning of the clutch handle to allow fitment to most bars easy hand access. Winches come complete with a wireless remote with a 50m range as well as a 3m lead remote. The 12,000lb monster winch has a 6hp (4.5kw) motor and has 28m of steel cable. Ironman 4x4 also producers a hand or turfor type winch with a 2,500kg pull and 1,600kg lift, complete with 20m of 11mm cable and extendable handle. Lighting To help you enhance your current vehicle lights, Ironman 4X4 produce a range of lights including the Gamma 175 H3 halogen with a pencil and spread beam, the Vega 220 H1 halogen and the Supernova HID 35W with internal ballast, a glass lens, polycarbonate lens cover and with a range of up to 1 km!

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Canterbury Farming, August 2011