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FARMING Lifestyles January 2014 Edition

10,000 copies DELIVERED FREE to every rural delivery address in Taranaki

Quad bike safety messages making a difference

Caring for the animals


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January 2014


Yellow bristle grass on the increase

The Taranaki Farming Lifestyles is published with pride by NorthSouth Multi Media Ltd, a privately owned New Zealand company. Phone: 0800 466 793 Advertising: Kelvin Green — 021 431 090

Editorial: Denise Gunn — 06 329 7701

by Denise Gunn



With a significant increase in the appearance of yellow bristle grass (Setaria pumila) in the Taranaki region, summer is the ideal time for farmers to identify and eradicate it.

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The annual summer grass, which is thought to originate from China, is now widespread in Europe, the United States, Africa, and Australia. Although first observed in New Zealand in 1905, it wasn’t until the 1990s that yellow bristle grass was noticed spreading along roadsides. More recently it has reached pastures. The plant has since become established in the Waikato for several years. It’s only in the past few years it has become more widespread in the Taranaki. Yellow bristle grass is commonly found on the roadside and is an aggressive annual seeding plant. Each seed head can contain between 100 to 200 seeds. Roadside mowing spreads the seed into pasture. It can also spread to farms through stock movement, supplementary feed, roadside grazing, and agricultural contracting machinery. The invasive weed is capable of reducing pasture productivity by up to 20 per cent. Federated Farmers’ regional policy adviser Lisa Harper said yellow bristle grass primarily out-competes ryegrass.

If left uncontrolled, there are concerns that the plant will spread further. Farmers are urged to check roadsides and pastures for these plants. Often it is difficult to see until a seed head is produced. During periods of drought, yellow bristle grass spreads faster. Young plants often appear in patches of bare ground and also in areas recently sprayed. Once established, the plant can take over pasture within a few years. Although livestock find yellow bristle grass palatable when it’s in the vegetative stage, stock tend to steer clear of it when seed heads appear. “When it’s dry, cattle avoid it as the seed heads cut their tongues and mouths,” said Dr Harper. As stock bypass the plant, this can lead to a rapid re-infestation of the pasture. After investigating several herbicides, Puma® S, which has been developed in conjunction with the yellow bristle grass action group, is currently the recommended herbicide to control the plant.

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January 2014


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 per cent of all injuries on dairy farms and 11 per cent 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

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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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For Opunake couple Kenneth and Rachel Short, dairy farming has provided them with an ideal family lifestyle.

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achel grew up on the family’s dairy farm but initially her career path began to follow a different track. After completing her high school education, Rachel went on a 12-month AFS exchange to Quebec, Canada. On returning to New Zealand, she obtained a diploma in hotel management at the Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Plymouth. She then spent a year working as a farm assistant on the family’s home farm, before moving to their current property in 2005. Raised in New Plymouth, Kenneth completed a building apprenticeship at the end of 2005.

Kenneth and Rachel share the farm and family duties

“Together we headed off at the beginning of 2006 and spent six months working in London and travelling the United Kingdom and Europe, before returning to our current farm to get married and have kids,” said Rachel. After joining Rachel to work on the farm in 2008, Kenneth also continued

building on a part-time basis for two years. In 2010, Shortland Farm Limited Partnership was formed. The couple and Rachel’s parents, Louis and Barbara Kuriger, farm this partnership. Kenneth and Rachel are 20 per cent equity partners and 25 per cent variable order sharemilkers.

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Kenneth and Rachel with their two sons, Zak and Max

Rachel said this arrangement provided an ideal opportunity to go into an equity partnership near her home town of Opunake, and a great place to bring up their young two sons, Zak and Max. “Raising a family on a farm is definitely a great way of life for us. “We are very lucky that our two boys love being on the farm, in particular in the tractor.” Together Kenneth and Rachel make up 1.5 labour units, sharing the farm and family duties. The partnership employs one full-time farm assistant. Rachel said this gives them a great balance. Kenneth manages farm and machinery maintenance, cropping, harvesting and effluent while Rachel takes care of the day-to-day running of

the farm, farm dairy, livestock, pastures, administration and financials. Both of them manage health and safety. “It has all been about having good time management.” Following an extension in farm size in 2007 to 142 effective hectares, the herd size has increased from 330 to 450 cows — primarily Jersey. Calving begins on July 23 and the herd is milked in a 36-aside herringbone shed. The partnership has an annual target of 144,000kgMS per season. Due to this year’s drought, production figures dropped to 128,211kgMS. “One of our strengths is being able to control the cost of production, so we can achieve a system that is profitable and sustainable at all payouts,” said Rachel.

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Four-hundred bales of hay and 110 tonne of turnips are grown on the farm as supplements. No imported feed is used. “We also have a strong focus on good pasture management. “Being a grass-based system, use of pasture is a key to high profits.” Rachel said autumn droughts have been their biggest challenge, particularly in 2008 and 2013. “In these years of autumn drought, we have lost autumn production and dried our cows off up to a month earlier.” The couple’s short term plans include increasing their equity position with a future goal of 100 per cent farm ownership. They believe a range of skills and ensuring a good profitable business that is sustainable in terms of people and the environment, is the key factor to a good dairy farming business. Kenneth and Rachel Short won the 2013 Taranaki Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, following in the footsteps of Rachel’s parents who won the same title in 1987. “It’s a fantastic industry and a great place to bring up children.”

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January 2014



Animal therapist, Fenella Grigsby, has always loved animals.


he grew up in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom where her parents raised a beef herd. Horses, dogs, cats and poultry also featured on the farm and the family regularly went horseback riding together. Her childhood growing

up around animals proved to be an ideal foundation for Fenella. She has combined this passion with bodywork therapy skills and training to reduce their pain and increase their mobility. After suffering a head injury in 1996, one week before she was due to begin


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A variety of animals have benefitted from Fenella’s bodywork treatment

studies at Bristol University, Fenella’s interest in bodywork began. Fenella was finding it intensely painful to lift a small glass with her right hand. “This led me to receive McTimoney Chiropractic treatment from Gabrielle Swait at the Cotswold Chiropractic Clinic in Cheltenham, UK. “A few sessions and I was away.” Shortly afterwards Fenella travelled to New Zealand to groom and play polo with Nick Jones in Auckland. “This is when I fell in love with New Zealand.” On her return to the United Kingdom, she completed five years of study at the McTimoney College of Chiropractic and spent two years with registered animal physiotherapist Sarah Stafford. Another two years study followed to complete

a Postgraduate Diploma in Animal Chiropractic from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT). “Prior to this, I studied human sports therapy and massage at Gloucestershire University (GLOSCAT), UK, providing techniques I use to help people here in New Zealand.” Fenella moved to New Zealand 10 years ago and is just one of a handful of qualified animal practitioners here. “In the past, crude forms of animal manipulation have been used by untrained people, which runs the risk of injury to the animal, either by techniques themselves, or due to underlying conditions being undetected,” said Fenella. “Unfortunately, for the consumer it is often difficult to distinguish between

SEPTIC TANK OWNERS FARMERS How you can save money by keeping your septic Do your own maintenance! 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: Also Available at

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Fenella has always loved animals

those who are qualified in their field and those who purport to be.” The Animal Chiropractic Program at RMIT University, run by the Australian Veterinary Chiropractic Association, offers training in treatment of dogs and horses using chiropractic techniques. Horses, dogs, cats, alpacas, cows and pigs have all benefitted from Fenella’s bodywork treatment. Although she used to travel extensively throughout the North Island offering animal therapeutic services, Fenella now concentrates on caring for patients in the lower half of the North Island. She travels to clients from her Taihape base. “One of my equine clients had a few problems with a selection of the cows on the dairy farm she managed,” said Fenella. “Interesting cases are the treatment of dairy cows that have collapsed and are unable to stand by themselves.

“The cows responded well to treatment and their standing and walking did improve substantially.” Fenella has also had success treating pigs for reduced mobility through the spine. She offers human sports therapy and massage too. “I sponsor the show jumpers, Robert Steele and Lydia Quay, by providing musculoskeletal therapy and support for their horses and themselves,” said Fenella. “I guess I love treating high performance athletes, however, I love it just as much when I can help reduce pain and increase mobility in a kid’s 12hh pony, or see the difference in the demeanour and well being of a Huntaway who has had an unfortunate incident with a cattle beast or a quad bike.” Fenella always begins an initial consultation with a case history of the patient. “This u nv e i l s possible contraindications,” she said. A gait analysis and palpation of the entire body follows. “If no contraindications are revealed, the appropriate treatment is likely to go ahead.” Fenella plans to further her studies through either Otago or Auckland universities. “In the meantime I am exploring routes to be an Alexander Technique teacher as I feel this will further help people I come across. “I am humbled by the powerful tools I have learnt that help to improve a patient’s health and wellbeing.”

Help with muscle cramp I had someone call me about severe body wide cramps. These were not the common night cramps in your leg. They affected her in her torso and many other parts. She was under the care of her GP for the problem. Our goal was to ensure her muscles were getting all the important minerals especially magnesium and also her blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to her muscles were working as well as possible. Be aware that medications especially cholesterol medicines can cause muscle problems and these need very different treatment including intensive CoQ10 therapy. After three months she noticed the cramps had significantly reduced. She also noticed her general energy and wellbeing had improved as had her hair and nails. These were matters we had not discussed and the benefits completely unexpected. We often think of our bodies as separate components or systems that are somehow independent of each other. Anyone who has studied Physiology learns that this interconnectedness is central to how our bodies operate. Of course sometimes damage or disease is localised but systemic weakness can cause local problems. As a simple example, if your immune system is generally producing too much background inflammation this may show up as seemingly unrelated problems. You may have a problem with various joints and have swollen gums. If we can lower overall inflammation we may be able to help both problems. In the case of the person with cramps we included specific antioxidant complexes with minerals especially magnesium along with solid Omega 3 doses. These nutrients affect every cell not just muscle fibres. We also used targeted nutrient therapy to assist with proper blood flow and to improve blood vessel function. This is especially important with people prone to cramps. The really good news is that despite her 70+ age she is now experiencing a period of significant health improvement. Our bodies are very capable of healing once we give it what it needs. John Arts (B.Soc.Sci, Dip Tch, Adv.Dip.Nut.Med) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health Ltd. Contact John on 0800 423559 or email Join his weekly newsletter at For product information visit www.

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January 2014



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.

34 35

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 Adrian Rowe (North Taranaki) on 021 873 304, John Winter (South Taranaki) on 021 738 513 to fi nd out how we can make your farm more successful.



January 2014


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DRIVE PHONE FREE! 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-to-bottom 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 inspiration for workmanlike road monsters such as the Maloo and the FPV Typhoon, but Ford Australia have been offering a ‘utility coupe’ since the 1930s, and one with a Falcon badge since 1961. If both the big names cross their Ozbuilt large sedans off the production list, the twilight of this gnarly subspecies may be in sight as well. Or maybe not. Nothing makes a good case for global recognition like a world first, and Holden’s attack on Germany’s iconic Nurburgring (with a fire-breathing

VF Redline V8) has caused a stir in the heart of European motoring. The fact that this 6 litre, 270kW, sedaninspired work vehicle has blitzed the 25 kilometre ‘green hell’ of the ’Ring in eight minutes 19 seconds has secured the hot Holden a world record. ONLY 6.99%P.A OVER 24 MONTHS ONLY 6.99%P.A OVER 24 MONTHS The very production of such a machine — a powerful, almost brutal and utterly unrepentantly blokey UPFRONT MONTHS IN 24INMONTHS 24 MONTHS UPFRONT ININ 1212 MONTHS muscle-truck is an indication that Subject to credit approval, fees, terms and conditions apply. Based on a 24 month Hire Purchase Contract. To approved Registered GST No Holders for business purposes only on applications for Polaris Ranger 400 and Ranger 500 Models. Offer expires 31/12/2013. Polaris Finance is a program operated by De Lage Holden have plenty of fighting spirit left, Landen Ltd Company No: 135515. Overseas Model Shown with optional accessories. 0800 440 290 0800 440 290 even in the face of uncertain times for DARYL ZANE Australian auto manufacturing. By 2016 both the Holden Commodore SEE DARYL OR ZANE Mon-Fri 8am-5pm ute and its long-standing nemesis Phone 278Hire4160 Subject to credit approval, fees, terms and conditions apply. Based on(06) a 24 month Purchase Contract. To approved Registered GST No Holders for business purposes only applications Polaris Ranger 400 and Ranger 500 Models. Offer expires 31/12/2013. Polaris Finance is a program operated by De Lage Landen Ltd Company No: 135515. the Ford Falcon uteon will be for collectors’ 141 Glover RoadOverseas Hawera • 027 444 4037 Sat 9am-12pm Model Shown with optional accessories. items rather than 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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January 2014



Rural transport laws change

Rural contractors are being urged to get themselves up-to-date with changes to transport regulations around the use of agricultural machinery.

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A number of new rules came in from November 11. “However, not all the proposed changes will be in place until late 2014,” explains Rural Contractors NZ president Steve Levet. “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:

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e t a v o n e r r o d il u b o T 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 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.


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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

January 2014

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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January 2014



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 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 lockin price certainty for a portion of their wool clip. To get up-to-date information on current lamb’s wool and second-shear contracts for delivery through June 2014, call one of the PGG Wrightson wool reps listed in the accompanying advertisement. That’s my view.


January 2014



Harnessing soil biology — the effect of lime and fertilisers by Dr Tim Jenkins

Soil fertility is often defined by the figures on a soil test. That's telling part of the story — the chemistry part. Also important is the physical structure of the soil and the biological activity in the soil. And all three parts, chemical, physical and biological interact with each other. Healthy soil biological activity, for instance, assists in the maintenance and improvement of good physical structure and in the turnover of chemical nutrients to keep them available and working for crop growth. The fertiliser and lime we apply can affect soil biology so its makes sense to factor in the wider effects of inputs on soil biology when making fertiliser decisions. Bulk Liming Liming is partly about getting the right pH in the soil to maximise the availability of mineral nutrients. If the pH is too low, phosphorus availability can be restricted by aluminium and iron. On the other hand, if the pH is too high phosphorus uptake can be restricted by complexing with calcium. Metal trace elements like copper, zinc, iron and manganese can have a higher availability at lower pH but molybdenum is poorly available at low pH levels. The Goldilocks zone of not too high and not too low a pH is around 6 to 6.4 for most New Zealand soils (with peat soils the aim can be lower and with sandy soils the aim can be lower). Soil pH also affects soil biological activity. In general terms, many fungi are favoured by lower pH levels and many bacteria by higher pH levels. Most agriculturally important earthworms are favoured by higher pH levels. A good balance of pH for soil biology is perhaps around pH 7 for many soils but this is too high for metal trace element uptake important for many crops and pasture. One approach is to realise that the main benefit to earthworms (and many bacteria and even a few fungi) of liming and a higher pH is the higher availability of calcium.

If bulk liming is used to get the soil pH up to a good level (but not so high as to unduly restrict copper, zinc, manganese or iron uptake), further levels of available calicum can be achieved with pH neutral gypsum (at say 200 to 500 kg/ha) and with small doses of finely ground and highly available limeflour (at say 100 to 200 kg/ha). Lime is calcium carbonate. Much has been made of the fact that it is the carbonate that brings the pH lifting effect. While calcium in itself may not have much alkalinity (pH reducing power) but the level of calcium as a proportion of cations (positively charged ions) in the soil is important for maintaining good pH in the soil. Calcium is also a crucial element for earthworm digestion and for bacterial activity. Calcium also contributes to good soil structure through flocullation (the two positive charges on a calcium ion help hold together negatively charged organic matter and clay particles to help with soil aggregate (crumb) binding. This can be seen clearly in the clay improvement properties of high gypsum doses (1.5 to 5 tonne/ha). Gypsum is good for subsoil structural improvement too since it naturally works down the soil profile at a much faster rate than lime. The sulphate in gypsum is also useful for leaching out excessive sodium levels in saline soils. Adding organic matter It is becoming increasingly practical to add compost to soil with the large municipal composting schemes being undertaken. These represent good value for money on a mineral element and nitrogen content alone and offer added value through providing additional organic matter to build up soil organic matter

Municipal compost at Living Earth Christchurch offers nutrients for crops and organic matter for soil biology

levels and provide an energy source for soil organisms. Even if you're not adding compost, organic matter can be built up over time with good pasture management (avoiding overgrazing, leaving a higher residual and allowing longer grazing rotations. Cover crops or green manures can be a source of short term soil organic matter — while the long term soil organic matter levels may not be boosted these

crops can provide readily available nutrients for a cash crop that follows. The addition of organic matter from compost or from plant growth can boost soil biological activity leading to improvement in the biological, physical and chemical aspects of soil fertility. Next month will look at the management of other fertiliser inputs with soil biology in mind.

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January 2014




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.

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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 double-edged 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 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.



Calf loss discovery

January 2014


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 per cent 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 Three per cent of Jersey animals carry animal to be mapped the variation and 1.5% of crossbred animals out. This DNA sequence technology has allowed our scientists out of 3.2 billion) which is linked to the to map and compare the DNA of many Fertility1 variation.” different AI sires and to identify specific The discovery of the genetic variation differences in their DNA. “Comparing was enabled by the sequencing dataset the DNA sequence of a large number developed by LIC scientists and coof sires has enabled LIC to identify a funded by government through the specific segment of DNA (one piece Primary Growth Partnership.

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Taranaki Farming Lifestyles, January 2014  

10,000 copies DELIVERED FREE to every rural delivery address in Taranaki

Taranaki Farming Lifestyles, January 2014  

10,000 copies DELIVERED FREE to every rural delivery address in Taranaki