FARMING Lifestyles January 2014 Edition
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Quad bike safety messages making a difference
Teamwork is key for dairy award winners P3
Nursery business with a royal touch P8
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Breeding top studs for high performance Page 4â€“5
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
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DOC and regional councils join forces to tackle pests by Denise Gunn
The Department of Conservation (DOC) and regional councils have joined forces to manage pest plants and animals in the lower North Island in an effort to protect the region’s natural resources.
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Chief executives of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, and DOC signed the first lower North Island Pest Management Accord recently. DOC’s director-general Lou Sanson said the Accord will pave the way for more effective management of pests across the lower North Island. “The Accord will see the four agencies working together from the planning stage, meaning we are all thinking bigger in terms of what we can achieve and coordinating work across the wider region.” Mr Sanson said the Accord will also bring benefits to the whole community by protecting the natural capital — water, soil, vegetation — which underpins the economic and social prosperity of the regions. “DOC is already working with each of these councils individually on pest control projects, but this Accord takes that to the next level. “It will enable much greater outcomes for conservation across the whole region.” The spread of wilding conifers in the Ruahine Ranges and other areas is altering the landscape, causing a reduction in natural water flow to surrounding agricultural lowlands. Like other pest control programmes, this problem crosses council and landowner boundaries. As part of the new pest accord, DOC and the three regional councils will begin working
more closely together to manage these kinds of issues. Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon said the Accord provides a basis for a collaborative effort across the lower North Island in the management of pest plants and animals. “By having the three regional councils and DOC on board, we can discuss initiatives together such as those concerning the Ruahines, and coordinate the management of possums across boundaries. “In that way we can reduce the threat to our native plants and animals, while protecting against production loss throughout the Horizons region.” The Pest Accord is the latest outcome of a formal conservation partnership between the three regional councils and DOC, which was agreed in December 2011. Horizons Biosecurity manager Bill Martyn said a joint research programme with DOC, which is in the very early planning stages, is looking at how fur trappers could be used on DOC land to reduce possum numbers and slow possum migration onto land covered by Horizons’ possum control operations. “Landcare Research has been commissioned to look at possum levels on DOC land and what this may mean for ratepayers across the fence,” said Mr Martyn. “However, this is in the very early stage.”
MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
Quad bike safety messages making a difference by Denise Gunn
Raising the awareness of quad bike safety has seen some success between the Christmas and New Year holiday period according to Federated Farmers’ Health and Safety spokesperson Jeanette Maxwell. Mrs Maxwell said there were no quad bike deaths recorded during this period. As an active member of the Agricultural Health and Safety Council, Federated Farmers is working to improve New Zealand’s on-farm safety record across the board. “We try very hard to get the safety messages through,” said Mrs Maxwell. Agriculture has one of the highest injury rates for any industry in New Zealand. And the number of fatalities for the industry is four times the combined industry rate for New Zealand. Statistics also show that the summer months are when the majority of workplace injuries and fatalities happen. And with more children on the farm over the summer holidays, extra precautions should be taken. Vehicle injuries account for 18 percent of all injuries on dairy farms and 11 percent of all injuries on sheep and beef farms. Accidents arising from the use of quad bikes, particularly quad bike rollovers, are a significant factor in these figures.
Mrs Maxwell said there are a lot of reasonable and practical steps that can be taken to get accident rates down. “Ensure the bike is well maintained and has suitable tyres for the terrain to be covered. “If you are covering difficult terrain, ask yourself if the bike is the right tool for the job.” Federated Farmers has advocated for safety aids to alert riders if their bike is in gear, as well as a reversing beeper. The Federation also emphasises wearing a helmet, training and the use of age-appropriate bikes. Mrs Maxwell said statistics show quad bike riders who are mentally stressed are more likely to have an accident. “If you are suffering from mental fatigue, you are more likely to have an accident. “You are also more likely to have an accident later in the day.” “Ensure you are well rested, well-fed and hydrated, and not stressed out,” she said.
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
BREEDING TOP STUDS FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE BY DENISE GUNN
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and the Newhaven Stud owned by the Ruddenklau family, went on to sire the highest priced ram in New Zealand, selling for $20,500 in 2010 at the Gore Stud Sale. Mapari 504/07 also won the Grand Champion Wool Breed Sheep at the Christchurch A&P Show in 2011, and is the only Perendale to have ever won this cup. “We have also sold rams for export to Australia,” said Paul. Mapari rams are available on farm and also sold at the North Island Perendale sale in Taihape and the stud sales in Feilding and Gore. The couple established Mapari through buying Perendale rams from Ailsa Farms. When that stud dispersed, Paul and Ann bought it. They’ve since ventured into Romdale rams as well, using Perendale rams over their elite Romney ewes. “We also breed from these firstcross ewes using top Romdale rams,” said Paul. “The Romney-base flock are lambed as hoggets and this year scanned 149 per cent.”
Paul said both the Perendale and the Romdale are easy-doing hill country sheep with minimal inputs, yet are still very productive and display excellent mothering ability. The couple now manage both a Perendale and a Romdale Stud — all Sheep Improvement Limited (SIL) recorded. The 900 Perendale ewes and 500 Romdale ewes are run under a strictly commercial environment. Ewes are only run separately at mating and lambing. Special emphasis is placed on breeding sound, meaty sheep with fast growth, and particular attention is paid to weaning weight and early growth before the lamb’s first winter. “We believe, as we are breeding rams for hill country, our clients need as many lambs off-farm at good weights as soon as possible to enable the ewe flock to be in peak condition ready for next year’s mating,” said Paul. “We keep up with all the most upto-date technology using Sheep 50k, Sheep 5k, DNA testing our sires for
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footrot resistance and cold tolerance, and our ram hoggets are scanned for eye muscle area (EMA). “Our sires have been used in the Central Progeny Test and also the Perendale Society’s own progeny trials, testing for growth and meat yield characteristics and have always performed extremely well compared with other Perendale sires throughout the country.” The Central Progeny Test is funded by Beef + Lamb New Zealand to help identify the best genetics across sheep breeds. These results include Mapari 415/08 being listed in the top 20 per cent in the Central Progeny Test for EMA and facial eczema tolerance. Paul and Ann place a great deal of importance on breeding structurally correct sheep that stand correctly on their pasterns and have sound feet. Wool weight is still regarded as important and a medium-type wool is aimed for with good colour and style. With a minimal drenching programme in place at Mapari, ewes are drenched only under exceptional circumstances. Lambs drenched at weaning are then taken as far into the autumn as possible. Paul said any that don’t stand
this test are culled. Rising from 427 to 610 metres above sea level, Mapari is generally winter wet and summer dry. This year’s drought has resulted in very little spring growth on the property. Paul said droughts and farming land that is prone to slippage if too much rain falls in a short time frame, presents challenges. “We suffered badly in the big 2004 storm, losing many fences and a lot of land. “I guess our weather patterns these days do present a challenge to our farming operation.” Limited supplementary feed is grown on the farm as part of the rotation of establishing new pastures. “Our main operation is to breed rams while our cattle keep pasture right for the sheep,” said Paul. Since taking over the property, the couple have cleared scrub, applied fertiliser, fenced, and concentrated on improving pasture. Covered yards, as well as other workable yards have been built around the farm. Short term plans include continuing to develop their farm with subdivision and better pastures. “We want to have a farm we are very proud of and achieved with our sheep operations.”
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
Teamwork is key for dairy award winners by Denise Gunn
Working in the dairy industry has provided Manawatu couple Michael and Raewyn Hills with plenty of opportunities along the way. Their hard work and dedication saw them win the 2013 Dairy Industry Awards Manawatu/Rangitikei/ Horowhenua Farm Manager of the Year title, followed by a second placing in the national competition. The couple are now into their sixth season on Michael’s family Colyton farm, co-owned by Brian and Alison Hills, and Peter and Sharon Hills. Michael is the fourth generation on the farm. Michael grew up on this dairy farm. Not long after he left school, Michael was involved in a serious car accident which left him in a coma for 18 days and with injuries which meant he had to retrain his left side. During his recovery, Michael worked at the RD1 store in Feilding. It was here that he met Raewyn. A few years later he went dairying in the Rongotea area.
Originally from Rongotea, Raewyn attended Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre in Masterton after leaving school, gaining a National Certificate in Agriculture (Dairy Farming) — Level 4. Over the next four years Raewyn worked for Nigel Taylor in Sanson and completed her Diploma in Agri-business Management through AgITO. Michael has gained a National Certificate in Agriculture (Dairy Farming) — Level 4 through AgITO and recently completed a certificate in Rural Staff Management. In 2008 the couple moved to Colyton to take up an opportunity to manage Michael’s family farm. They married in November the same year and now have two children, Lucy (2) and Mitchell (six months). Michael and Raewyn are just entering an equity partnership with the farm owners.
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Michael and Raewyn Hills with their children Lucy (2) and Mitchell (six months)
The farm’s dairy platform is 250ha. “Autumn calving works well here as An additional 320ha supports a bull we are summer dry and winter wet,” said beef and export heifer operation as well Michael. “It allows us to dry off cows as providing some supplementary feed in January who are at the end of their to the dairy platform. lactation, and provides better utilisation A herd of 700 cows is made up of of our runoffs so they don’t have to 90 per cent Friesian and handle peak numbers 10 per cent crossbreed through the winter as and pedigree Jersey with “We really enjoy they are hilly.” split calving. Around 600 calves the outdoors and Raewyn said autumn are reared each year get a real sense for replacements, and calving starts March 20 and spring calving supply bulls and excess of satisfaction begins July 25. heifers for the runoff. when we have “We also mate our R2 The farm produced heifers for the first three 236,000kgMS for the happy well weeks of AI in order to 2012/13 season, fed cows.” get a recorded calf out down on the previous season’s total due to of our heifers. “This is where the crossbreed weather conditions and less feed input percentage of our herd is coming from in a lower payment year. The target for as they are some of the best indexed this season is 260,000kgMS, including stock coming through.” calf milk. Michael and Raewyn own 100 cows There are two cowsheds, a 20-aside which includes the Jerseys. These herringbone and 36-aside herringbone, cows have previously been leased on the farm. Although the farm is run as one unit, the two herds are milked back to the farm.
MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
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One of two cowsheds on the farm
separately through the different sheds. Michael The property’s hilly location means the weather said this gives them flexibility as only one shed has a huge influence on the farm. Good use is will milk through the winter. made of stand-off pads during wet weather and a It then becomes a calf milk shed until lot of on/off grazing avoids pasture damage. midway through spring “We were able to calving when two sheds recover well from the are required. drought with growth levels Michael and Raewyn holding on for a lot longer job share on the farm than usual, subsequently cows are in optimum so they can both be condition heading into around for their children. Michael is also involved calving,” said Raewyn. with the Colyton Lions The cows are fed a Club and Raewyn is the mixture of maize and secretary/treasurer for grass silage throughout the year, along with the Manawatu-Oroua Boys palm kernel. and Girls Agricultural Club. Three staff members No supplements, are employed on the farm. apart from turnips, are Garth Davidson is herd grown on the dairy farm. manager for the smaller Feed is either bought in and/or maize and grass shed, Craig Smeaton is harvested from runoffs. a milk harvester in the The couple are larger cowshed, and Zane The herd of 700 cows are predominantly Friesian focussing on a long term Gates is a relief milker/ apprentice. goal of farm ownership but are careful to keep their Peter and Brian are also involved on the farm. options open. Raewyn said in any dairy farming business, “As opportunities come, sometimes you need communication is the key. to take a side-step to keep moving forward,” “Keeping everyone on the same page, which said Raewyn. always seems to be harder than it looks. “We really enjoy the outdoors and get a real “Also involving outside professionals as they will sense of satisfaction when we have happy well bring outside skills and ideas to the business.” fed cows.”
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
NURSERY BUSINESS WITH A BY DENISE GUNN
When Wayne and Maureen Healey opened Mauways Nursery near Hunterville in 1996, they had no idea that 16 years later they would be gifting hostas to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The nursery began on a small scale, measuring just nine metres square, growing between 500 to 1,000 plants for sale at any one time. Two years later, a close friend of the couple was very ill and wanted to give up growing hostas. Wayne and Maureen thought they would buy just 50 plants. However, they returned home with 2,000 plants and the nursery space was doubled to accommodate them. Now the four-acre property is divided into a nursery area covering close to two acres with large gardens and buildings on the remainder. Maureen said she has gained gardening knowledge through books and experience. “I am basically self-taught — I read and study lots of books. “Both of my parents were fantastic gardeners and loved their gardens.”
Wayne gave up his engineering business 15 years ago to devote more time to the nursery. “That was when we made the decision to give it a big kick in the pants and make it really work,” said Maureen. “Our gardens are open to the public and we also have groups booking tours through our gardens, as well as other gardens in the district.” Maureen arranges morning and afternoon tea for group visitors if required. “The most I have catered for in the garden tours is 90 gardeners from Waikanae and they had a great time. “We provided morning tea to the group and they shopped until they almost dropped.” Mauways Nursery’s location in the Managnoho Valley keeps plants well sheltered from the wind. “The most challenging aspect is Mother Nature,” said Maureen.
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“She does it her way. We can get snow here in the winter as well as some really bad frosts.” With 90 per cent of the couple’s product grown outdoors, they’ve learned to contend with the elements. “But we get there,” said Maureen. “Our motto is ‘We grow them tough’.” Hundreds of varieties of plants are available through Mauways Nursery and shipped all over New Zealand. Wayne
and Maureen travel to markets and garden shows throughout most of the lower North Island, attending more than 130 markets a year. The nursery also supplies plants to councils, botanical gardens, landscapers and plant brokers. “This is our main way of selling plants at the moment with gate sales and mail order sales, thus the web site.” Maureen said the nursery’s website is growing in leaps and bounds.
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES January 2014
Five staff members are now employed to help with the various day-to-day duties required to keep the nursery running smoothly. Last year, after learning that Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were due to visit the Feilding Farmers Market, Maureen contacted Highgrove Gardens in England with a list of hostas available at Mauways Nursery that she could gift them. Highgrove Gardens informed Maureen that three hosta varieties on the list: Brimcup, Thomas Hogg and Golden Edger, would be most welcome additions to Prince Charles’ private gardens. Maureen then contacted Assure Quality to carry out three inspections of the nursery and the plants that were to be sent to England. When Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the Feilding Farmers Market in early November, Wayne and Maureen gave them a letter of intent to gift them 24 hostas. The hostas were then separated and forced into early dormancy in December. “By the beginning of March, they had died back enough to prepare for shipping to England,” said Maureen. “The plants had to have all foliage removed, dirt removed and cleaned — literally scrubbed clean.” “They were taken to Assure Quality for final inspection under a magnifying glass as well, looking for bugs and dirt but these little babies passed with a clean bill of health.” The plants were air-freighted to England, arrived six days later and were viewed by Prince Charles that evening. “A couple of months later we received a letter from Prince Charles to say a very big thank you which was great.” Maureen and Wayne both thoroughly enjoy operating Mauways Nursery. “It keeps you on your toes and you meet lovely people,” said Maureen. “I am learning all the time along with our staff. “We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
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“It can be quite confusing at the moment with some of the old regulations still applying; so there is a mix of old and new at present. Therefore it is important rural contractors — and farmers — familiarise themselves with the changes.” One of the more important changes, which is now in force, relates to how tractors are registered. A two-tier system for agricultural vehicles has been established based on a 40km/h operating speed. Vehicles operating below this speed will have no compliance other than they must be roadworthy. “Tractor owners have to decide if they want to register their tractors as being able to travel over 40km/h on public roads or not,” Mr Levet explains. “If you opt for the former, then in effect your vehicle has to comply with rules and regulations which apply to other road legal vehicles and require the new simplified annual warrant of fitness for tractors.” Previously some heavier tractors needed to have a certificate of fitness, whereas now they just need a simplified warrant of fitness tailored for tractors. Meanwhile the new licence endorsement now allows for a greater range of
agricultural vehicles to be driven by the holder of a Class 1 (car) licence once they prove they have the skills to do so. “Drivers will need a wheels endorsement on their driver’s licence if driving a tractor over 40km/h or any other powered agricultural vehicle under 40km/h,” Mr Levet says Other changes have improved and simplified the rules on pilot vehicles, work time variation schemes, hazard identification and vehicle visibility. Agricultural motor vehicles — regardless of age — that operate at speeds exceeding 40km/h will now undergo an annual WoF inspection, rather than six monthly. Mr Levet says that despite some confusion, rural contractors welcome the
changes and the thinking behind them. He says the greater flexibility around work hours is particularly welcome. “Contractors and farmers will no longer face the situation of a contractor having to stop work because they have exceeded their work hours for the day, when perhaps the job could be completed in another hour. “The contractor will no longer have to come back the next day or the next day when the weather is suitable.” Mr Levet advises any contractors who are unsure of the changes, or which regulations have been changed and which have yet to change, to contact Rural Contractors NZ or go to its website: www.ruralcontractors.org.nz.
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
FA R M W H E E L S
No quiet retirement for these icons by Andy Bryenton
The news from the Australian motor industry these days is ‘all change’, with massive restructuring looming for the big brands and new badges seen on the hallowed tarmac of Bathurst. If, by 2020, the automotive landscape across the ditch has changed to the extent that some rumours would have us believe, the motoring scene will be very different here as well — New Zealand’s favourite big cars are as Aussie-inspired as the rotary clothesline. Perhaps the saddest thing which could come from a top-tobottom overhaul of Antipodean automotive manufacturing would be the loss of the V8 ute. Sure, the lines of the American El Camino may have been The Redline lives up to its name on the twists and turns of the Nurburgring in Germany the inspiration for workmanlike road monsters such as the heart of European motoring. The fact that this 6 litre, 270kW, Maloo and the FPV Typhoon, but Ford sedan-inspired work vehicle has blitzed the 25 kilometre Australia have been offering a ‘utility ‘green hell’ of the ‘Ring in eight minutes 19 seconds has coupe’ since the 1930s, and one with a secured the hot Holden a world record. The very production of such a machine — a powerful, Falcon badge since 1961. If both the big names cross their Oz-built large sedans almost brutal and utterly unrepentantly off the production list, the twilight of blokey muscle-truck is an indication that this gnarly sub-species may be in sight Holden have plenty of fighting spirit left, as well. even in the face of uncertain times for Or maybe not. Nothing makes a good Australian auto manufacturing. By 2016 case for global recognition like a world both the Holden Commodore ute and its first, and Holden’s attack on Germany's long-standing nemesis the Ford Falcon iconic Nurburgring (with a fire-breathing ute will be collectors’ items rather than VF Redline V8) has caused a stir in the forecourt fixtures, but Holden, in the
case of the Redline, are going out with delightful delinquency. Rather than opt for refinement and reserve in what may be one of the last of the great Antipodean utes, the VF has shown just how much fun a practical vehicle can be — while at the same time making the likes of BMW consider welding a flat deck to a chopped M3.
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Painting professionals preferred Painting is probably the easiest tasks that you can undertake yourself, when it comes to renovating — ‘probably’ because it can also be fraught with problems for the unwary. Right up front, there are obvious questions to answer. What type of paint is best for the job? Different types of paint are available for those jobs, both interior and exterior. You need to know which paint is best for different surfaces. What’s good for wood isn’t necessarily good for a plastered wall. You also need to know how to prepare the surface you are going to paint. While the basic preparation process is the same in terms of stripping and cleaning surfaces, base coats and primers are made for specific purposes. If you use a product that is not compatible with the paint you have
chosen for the top coat, it can mean money down the drain. So if you have studied up and feel you have the knowledge necessary, all well and good. But there are also good reasons to hire a professional painter. You don’t have to undertake tedious preparation and a professional will know exactly what products to use and help and advise on paint quality and colour ideas. Then a professional will already be geared up and will supply ladders, drop sheets, buckets, rollers, paint brushes, solvents and all the rest of the necessary kit. Tradesmen painters remove hardware like handles and
• When washing down, or using any chemicals on your home's roof and gutters, remember to disconnect tank water supply hoses and pipes.
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catches before they start work. It takes extra effort, but they are getting paid for this. And importantly, if the work isn’t done according to schedule and in terms of the contract, the painter will have to rectify the matter. If you do the painting, you have to live with it. When hiring it is a good idea to seek good references and ask to see examples of work the painter has already undertaken. You could even hire someone on trial, starting with one room or section of the house as a proving ground.
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e t a v o n e r r o d l To bui What about building consents? Building consents confirm that plans and specifications for proposed building work meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code, and ensure that any building work is safe, durable and does not endanger the health of property owners and users. It can only be issued in advance of any work taking place. You may also need a resource consent if your project has an impact on the environment. You can access details information from the websites of your local council. New rules came into effect in 2012 which apply to projects containing restricted building work critical to the integrity of a building by ensuring that it is structurally sound and weather-tight. Most building projects require a building consent before any work is started. The consent includes not only the building work but also any work related to site preparation, plumbing or drainage. If you do not obtain a building consent before starting work, it will cause problems later in the project and may also lead to anybody involved as
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property owners or tradespersons facing prosecution. You do not need to apply for a building consent if your project is covered by an exemption. However all building work undertaken must comply with the New Zealand Building Code.
Examples of exempt building works include decks less than 1.5 metres above ground level, a garden shed less than 10 square metres and at least its height from the boundary, fencing less than 2.5 metres high, car ports not exceeding 20 square metres and even playground equipment, used by a single household, that is less than three metres above the ground. For detailed information, consult your local or regional council. There are other areas council can assist with including building warrants off fitness, fencing of swimming pools, dangerous and insanitary buildings, earthquake prone buildings, and undertaking enforcement action in connection with illegal building works.
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
Wool Perspective From Rob Cochrane GM, Procurement, PGG Wrightson Wool Wool exporters draw breath after feverish battle The quiet after the storm began to evidence itself at auctions held in both Napier and Christchurch towards the end of November and into December as exporters drew breath after a feverish period of battle, throughout the October and early November weeks, desperately trying to fill forward orders from the limited volumes of wool available during that time. Whilst prices for, in particular, crossbred wool types eased considerably during late November and the first two weeks of December from their highs of the previous few weeks, the market tone in general remained positive allowing for good clearances of auction catalogues. Exporters had always made it clear that the majority of the incredible price spike was attributable to the ‘demand outweighing supply situation’ during our spring months plus the integrity of exporters to honour forward sales with their customers. By the end of the second week in December prices for almost all crossbred adult body wools were covered within the 520 to 550 cents per
clean kilogram range, except for a few shorter second-shear types which were fetching prices some 20 to 30 cents behind fleece prices, however much was dependent on evenness of length, vm content and micron. Oddment price was dictated mainly by washing colour ability, particularly for the shorter types, whilst a few bulky oddment lines received prices just below fleece levels. A large number of lines of crossbred fleece showed a distinct break in the staple and included a few soft cotts. As quality fell an expectation that prices would be quite subdued seemed appropriate, however in comparison to the better quality wools many of the poorer styles sold well. Solid demand continued for good style, good character, well-bred Corriedale and halfbred wools, and although the offerings of these types were relatively small, buyers showed wide-spread interest. Merino prices were mixed, as the season proper drew to a close for those wools, but a handful of very good adult wools drew a positive response from the
SEPTIC TANK OWNERS How you can save money by keeping your septic system effective and healthy Septic tanks and multi-stage septic systems are delicately balanced environments. It does not take much to upset them. Common practice is to ignore the septic system until problems occur. Good and best economical practice is to always keep your septic system well maintained. A malfunctioning septic system can become a health hazard. When a system is not maintained or operated as a delicately balanced environment, problems occur.These problems include nasty odours, leach line blockages, untreated liquid rising to the surface, toilets gurgling and taking time to empty. At this stage your septic system is a serious health hazard to you and your children. Human waste produces faecal coliform bacteria, a source of viral and bacterial gastroenteritis as well as Hepatitis A and other diseases. Hepatitis can be a debilitating condition and cause long-term harm to children. There are only three remedies. One: stop using the septic system until it recovers. This can take over a month and is not normally practical. Two: excavate your septic system and relocate it.This is very costly and time consuming, sometimes requiring new resource consents and different systems. Three: treat your septic system with Septi-Cure™ every six months. Septi-Cure is Cost effective. By far the most cost effective solution is to pour one litre of Septi-Cure™ down each toilet bowl every six months.This simple action will help keep your system working at top efficiency by reducing solids and scum. Instead of emptying your tank frequently, the reduction in solids and scum saves you expensive pump out costs.Your irrigation field and leach lines will become clear of slimes and blockages so nature can handle the gradual seepage and evaporation for you. When this is happening your system will be
operating effectively and not endangering you or your family’s health. What is Septi-Cure™ Septi-Cure™ is a concentrated mixture of selected naturally occurring microorganisms. These harmless tiny organisms live and multiply by feeding on waste material. When introduced to your septic tank system, they go to work straight away digesting waste material, reducing solids and scum, allowing your septic system to start operating to its maximum efficiency. As they progress through to your irrigation field they feed on the slimes that prevent seepage and evaporation. When seepage and evaporation return to normal, you have reduced the risk of contaminating groundwater and the environment as well as reducing the chances of infection for you and your family. Eventually, they get washed out of the system and have to be replaced to continue their work.This is why you introduce SeptiCure™ to your septic system every six months for maximum efficiency. A satisfied customer in Hamilton has been using Septi-Cure™ for three years. He says this allows them to have an odour-free septic tank with low maintenance costs. He also says that his service person is amazed at how well Septi-Cure™ works, keeping their tank in very good condition. Problematic septic tanks – treat with Septi-Cure™. Prevent septic system problems – treat with Septi-Cure™. For Septi-Cure™ - Call: 0800-109-202 Website: www.ecoworld.co.nz Also Available at
export trade. The earlier trend of very limited demand for super-fine and ultrafine merino types continued. It would appear that to create an over supply of ‘average’ extra-fine merino wool types has been too easy, and now as many growers both in New Zealand and Australia have swung towards producing such wool types, the market appears unable to accommodate acceptable (to growers) prices. In reflection of the 2013 calendar year in regard to wool production, prices and trends, it has been another ‘testing’ one. Focus on dairy along with incredible development in irrigation has continued to replace sheep as an option for many farmers within the South Island
which has had, and will continue to have, a dramatically negative effect on wool production. Also the dramatic improvement in crossbred wool prices throughout the year brought smiles to the faces of growers who were able to take advantage, however for many it came too late and following an ‘ordinary’ year for lamb meat returns, did little to improve sheep farmers’ attitudes towards sustainability. On a more positive note the PGG Wrightson wool team delivered a wide range of forward contracts to growers, enabling participants to lock-in price certainty for a portion of their wool clip. That’s my view.
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MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
Calf loss discovery by Paul Campbell
Scientists at the Livestock Improvement Corporation have announced that they have discovered a genetic variation which is one of the causes of dairy cows being empty through the loss of their calf through pregnancy. Their findings show that the variation, known as Fertility1, has been in the New Zealand dairy cow population for more than 40 years — with carrier sires identified that were born in the 1970s. LIC’s general manager of research and development, Dr Richard Spelman, says Fertility1 is a recessive genetic variation which means that both the sire and dam need to have a copy of the genetic variation before a calf will be affected — and then only 25% of them. “Three percent of Jersey animals carry the variation and 1.5% of crossbred animals,” he said. “The variation affects fertility and calf survival. Animals are thought to die in utero or are still born. No live animals have been seen with the variation.” Dr Spelman says LIC will genotype all of its active bulls and may use carrier bulls where their genetic merit warrants use.
“DataMate, used by LIC AB technicians, will issue alerts to reduce the frequency of matings between two carriers of the variation, and a genotype test will be available to farmers, wanting to test their cows, through GeneMark. “DNA sequence technology allows the entire DNA profile of an animal to be mapped out. This DNA sequence technology has allowed our scientists to map and compare the DNA of many different AI sires and to identify specific differences in their DNA. “Comparing the DNA sequence of a large number of sires has enabled LIC to identify a specific segment of DNA (one piece out of 3.2 billion) which is linked to the Fertility1 variation.” The discovery of the genetic variation was enabled by the sequencing dataset developed by LIC scientists and cofunded by government through the Primary Growth Partnership.
Three percent of Jersey animals carry the variation and 1.5% of crossbred animals
MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
Soil Matters with Peter Burton
Building something better takes effort It’s easy to criticise people, organisations and systems but it takes time and real effort to build something better. The superphosphate industry has been heavily criticised for producing crude outdated product, the performance of which has required the short term prop of regularly applied nitrogen. Its continued survival is justified not by performance but by the claim of lowest cost per unit of nutrient, with the argument being that the soil doesn’t
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know or care in what form nutrient is delivered as long as it’s delivered. The same philosophy has been used in human nutrition and it’s taken time for the consequences to become fully apparent. High quality fruit, vegetables, and meat may be analysed and the essential elements provided in manufactured products however the long term health and performance of people fed in this way is always inferior. The difference between butter made from top quality milk and competing manufactured products containing a range of similar elements may appear subtle but the differences are real, which is why there is a growing demand for high quality fresh unprocessed food. Quality
Roaring mad about Johne’s disease in your deer?
nearly always costs more initially, however those that have made the change to buying true high quality food have found that less is required to satisfy their needs. Their performance is better in all respects and with less illness and fewer visits to the doctor the purchase cost is relatively unimportant. Truly high quality food can only be grown on well-structured, biologically active soil. From the 56th edition of the Yates Garden Guide, ‘Soils which lack humus are unproductive because they contain no helpful bacteria, which aid in the releasing of all plant foods to the roots. Where humus is present in generous quantities, the land has a loamy fibrous texture and will conserve moisture over a longer period’. The principles of successful pastoral farming whether extensive or intensive are the same as those of home gardening. The dependence on regular applications of nitrogen fertiliser throughout the growing season at worst destroys humus and at best limits the speed at which it develops. Performance measures of CalciZest and DoloZestbased total nutrient programmes over ten years have shown that they increase the speed at which humus is built, resulting in higher and steadily increasing annual pasture production. The quality of the feed grown is also better with a recent independent report showing that 21% less feed is
consumed to produce a kilogram of milk solids. Due to the higher energy and actual protein content of the pasture the overall quality of the milk and meat produced is superior resulting in higher farm income, and with improved animal health the money left after paying all costs steadily increases. One of the keys to the superior performance is the inclusion of a selected range of beneficial fungi and bacteria. Just as the making of cheese and bread is dependent on the addition of the necessary microbes so too is the building of humus. Humus development takes place of its own accord provided the amount of air and moisture is adequate — however the addition of the right mix of microbes along with the nutrients that support their activity enhances the process. Humus is the ‘glue’ in soil and soil rich in humus has the ability to hold more moisture and nutrient and release them to the plant as required. A humus based system is both more effective and efficient. Nature always sides with the truth and ongoing testing of nitrate nitrogen from a longterm client’s property shows that even where annual pasture performance exceeds district average by 30% the loss of nitrates is low and meets the Ministry for the Environment’s standards. For more information contact Peter on 0800 843 809.
Meet Your Local Wool Representative at PGG Wrightson Wool
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Want to find the best way to market your wool?
Contact the Johne’s Consultant Network and JML on 0800 456 453 for a tailor-made Risk Management Plan to suit your deer unit and a comparison of your productivity figures with local and national averages
Expertise is only a phone call away PGG Wrightson Wool Ltd handles in excess of 350,000 bales annually through its wool store network strategically positioned around New Zealand and its export company Bloch and Behrens.
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HOOF TRIMMING SERVICES, EQUIPMENT & TRAINING
Hoof Print with Fred Hoekstra
Last month I was talking about knives and made a start on talking about sharpening knives. I want to stress again that a knife should never be sharpened on the back side because you tend to cut into the hoof rather than taking a slice off. If you use a bench grinder with either a linishing belt or a rubber disc, you will need to be careful not to overheat the knife. If the knife goes blue while you are sharpening it the steel will soften because it cools down too slowly. Having a knife with a soft steel blade will go blunt very quickly so you ruin the knife when you do that. Have a cup of water next to your grinder and dip the knife in the water on a regular basis. You can’t overcool it but it is easy to overheat. When the blade of the knife is sharp, and you can see that there is a burr along the full length of the blade, you can sharpen the hook. This can be done on the outside or on the inside if you have a rubber disc. We use a rubber disc with a groove in the side about 5mm from the edge. This groove is there especially for the hook of the knife. Because this disc is made of rubber it is important to have the disc turning away from the operator. You can achieve this by just turning the grinder around so that the start is at the back. If you don’t do that you will damage your knife, your disc and possibly yourself. Once the hook has been sharpened you can take the burr off. We use a cotton disc on our bench grinder for that. Burn some paste into the cotton disc as it is rotating. Just hold the paste against the disc as it spins around. Without the paste the disc is too smooth and it will take a long time to polish the burr of the knife. So every now and again when the cotton disc doesn’t perform very well you just
burn some more paste into the disc. The cotton disc is another reason why you have to have the disc rotating away from yourself. If you have followed this procedure properly you will have a knife that is sharp enough to shave yourself with, however a safer way to test it out would be by trying to cut a normal piece of paper by holding it up in mid-air with one hand and cutting it with the knife in your other hand. It should be sharp enough to slice through the paper by itself — just about! Most people don’t have a bench grinder with the right discs on it and we would be happy to discuss the options available to you. There are sharpening pens on the market. They may get your knife reasonably sharp but it will never do as good a job as a bench grinder. However it can be handy to use a sharpening pen while
you are trimming to get the dents out of the edge of the knife if you hit a stone. Using the backside of another knife is very effective for this as well. One more thing I would like to mention concerns the use of doubleedged knives. If you use the proper technique you should be able to trim a cow with one knife. The problem with double-edged knives is that you
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end up with quite a wide blade which makes it hard to steer your way out of the hoof when you are going too deep, and it is for this reason that I would not recommend them.
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40 things I’ve learned Whakatane supervisor of two dairy farms of 500ha, also running horses emus goats poultry and drystock, has learned 40 things about fertiliser, soil and organic principles and he runs his land on these. He says he thinks this is the only answer for a sustainable future.
THERE are 74,000 tonnes of free nitrogen above every hectare. This can be sequestered in the soil by having a 7:1 Ca:Mg ratio, available phosphorus, iron, cobalt and molybdenum. If one of these five requirements is missing, you may have to import nitrogen.
DR LINUS Pauling, winner of two Nobel Prizes, stated: “In my opinion, one can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.” If you accept this statement, then:
Stock health problems are caused by poor fertiliser practices. Insect problems are a symptom of poor fertiliser programmes. Fungal and bacterial diseases are a symptom of poor fertiliser programmes. Fruit and vegetables that rot and do not store have been grown with incorrect fertiliser programmes. If you are dipping, dagging and drenching, your fertiliser programme is not working. If you have to constantly re-grass areas of your farm, your fertiliser is failing you.
MOST people confuse symptoms with causes. This is deeply ingrained in our lives. The disease itself is not the cause, it is a symptom of an already failing and deficient
system. Once you accept that, you will have control over whether you and your property will be susceptible to disease or not.
SILICON is abundant in the soil, but not necessarily available. Available silicon in plants will thwart penetration by fungal hyphae and will cause dehydration and death in insects.
ORGANIC matter (OM) is the single most important factor determining profit, yet just one kilogram of excess nitrogen will account for a loss of 100kg of soil carbon so organic matter will decline slowly but surely.
SIMILARLY, we have been brainwashed into believing we need x units of this and y units of that. This is the Balance sheet theory and it is incorrect. If you subscribe to that view, you will have to purchase fertiliser ad infi nitum.
MOST farm soils being “fed” by chemical fertilisers are losing organic matter and the ability to hold nutrients and moisture. They are becoming more drought-prone, and pasture growth rates are decreasing, even with applied chemical nitrogen.
OVER time, correct fertiliser policies substantially drought-proof the soil, build organic matter and improve health. 29SOIL with one percent of organic matter (OM) will contain about 5900kg carbon. Carbon holds four times its weight in water, so 1% OM soil can only hold 5900 x 4 = 59,000kg/ha, or 5900 litres, or the equivalent of 6mm rain before the water runs off. But go up to 5% OM and the soil can hold 30mm of rain. If soil does not have good levels of organic matter, it will not store enough water to feed rivers over summer, which is why summer river flows are decreasing.
ABOUT 75% of soluble phosphate products complex (tie up) with aluminium, calcium, manganese and iron within six weeks of application.
PHOSPHORUS, along with nitrogen, is responsible for eutrophication of our water supplies. Eutrophication is increased algal growth and decreased oxygen levels of drains, rivers and lakes, owing to chemical phosphorus and nitrogen reaching waterways. One kilogram of phosphorus can grow 350-700kg of algae.
NPK does not build fertility or organic matter — only carbon, calcium and microbes do. The higher the organic matter, the greater the ability of the soil to hold nutrients and moisture.
HYBRID maize is called “dent” maize. The dent in the kernel is carbohydrate collapse caused by lack of phosphorus and represents a considerable loss of yield. You cannot eliminate the dent by using soluble phosphate products, but you can by using good quality guano.
LACK of VAM leads to soil erosion and leaching. New Zealand’s rates of soil erosion and leaching are very high. SOIL scientists claim 16 elements are required to support life. However,
some geneticists maintain that at least 64 nutrients are required for healthy life. If one or more minor element is missing, another can substitute, but it cannot carry out the same function as the missing nutrients, so disease will follow.
POTASSIUM chloride (KCl) kills microbes: just 2ppm (4kg/ha) of chlorine is enough to cause harm and the net effect of this is a rock-hard soil. KCl also encourages certain weed growth.
AVAILABLE (not soluble) phosphorus translates into better stock growth rates and weight gain. Replacing soluble phosphorus with alternative fertilisers and increasing calcium levels will cause elevated aluminium and iron levels to fall as the soil comes into balance. Weed pressure will also reduce.
IN general, the more NPK applied, the higher the yield, but the lower the mineral content, health & quality of that product.
NPK has grown grass and is growing grass, but the decline of organic matter (or transfer of carbon to the atmosphere) is not sustainable or acceptable & must be addressed if farming is to be sustainable in the long term.
AGRISSENTIALS “Rok Solid” is the only single product on the market I know of that comes close to addressing the above issues. It is made of ground paramagnetic basalt rock, with fish, seaweed, humates and microbes added. To fi nd out more about Agrissentials best on fertilisers phone 0800 THE KEY that’s 0800 843 539 today for a FREE INFO PACK or you can contact your friendly representative Ben Tippins (North Manawatu) 021 738 601 or Lyn Woodcock (South Manawatu/Wairarapa) 021 0204 3028 to fi nd out how we can make your farm more successful.
PART TWO OF TWO
MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
River wins award
by Paul Campbell
With farmland runoff and water quality an ever present issue, the Oroua River has been acknowledged as the most improved stream or river in the Horizons Region, at the inaugural New Zealand River Awards. The rivers improvement has been the result of wastewater treatment and a concerted effort by regional farmers to keep stock effluent controlled. The awards aim to encourage regional councils and their communities to work hard to improve the health of local rivers. There were three award categories: NZ River Stories, Regional Awards and the Grand Award. The Oroua River won a Regional Award, which acknowledges the most improved streams or rivers in each region based on significant improvement in long-term E.coli levels. Manawatu District Council infrastructure manager Hamish Waugh said the award recognises the work the community, the council and Horizons Regional Council had done to improve practices near the river. “The Manawatu community have made a commitment to improving the health of the Oroua River through the upgrade of the Feilding Waste Water Treatment Plant, and this award suggests we’re heading in the right direction.” The judging panel — Professor Gillian Lewis, of Auckland University, Dr Clive Howard-Williams, of
Niwa, and Dr Roger Young, of the Cawthron Institute — determined the award based on the results of Horizons’ long-term water monitoring of the Oroua River. The results showed E.coli levels in the river recovered on average 7.7% a year since 2004. Horizons’ chairman, Bruce Gordon, said that in recent years a lot of community effort
had been co-ordinated by the Oroua Catchment Care group. “Combined with efforts by farmers to remove effluent from our waterways, stream fencing, improving discharges by industry and upgrades to the Feilding wastewater treatment plant, the improved health of the Oroua River is something to celebrate as a communitywide success.”
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January 2014 MANAWATU FARMING LIFESTYLES
IF YOU CAN MILK, FEED OR STORE IT.
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