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April 2021 Edition

Tenacity brings reward Pages 6–7

Ceasing live exports

A sea of mushrooms

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April 2021 WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

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The Waikato Farming Lifestyles is published with pride by Integrity Community Media, a privately owned NZ company. Phone: 0800 466 793 Email: info@integrity.nz General Manager: Deb Wright | deb.wright@integrity.nz | 021 639 696 Editorial: Ann van Engelen, Paul Campbell, Andy Bryenton Advertising: Teresa Steed 027 525 8223 Accounts: accounts@integrity.nz Distribution: Laurie Willetts Website: www.farminglifestyles.co.nz

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Protecting food production While the Ministry for the Environment Our Land 2021 report identifies some challenges in front of us, it also includes plenty of positives, Federated Farmers says. “The fact that 49 per cent of New Zealand remains native land cover is something to be proud of, especially as we get ready for the release of the National Policy Statement Indigenous Biodiversity,” says Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen. “Our Land 2021, recently released, also notes no decline in soil quality from 1994–2018. That is worth acknowledging given the big jump in food production and value from a declining area in farmland. “Farmers rely upon good soils, and we are positive about soil quality improvements to come through good management practices. Federated Farmers would encourage the Ministry for the Environment to use a more current and wider soil database to determine current soil health across New Zealand, as the data used in this instance seems too small to give an accurate picture. “While the report indicates New Zealand’s soil profile overall is not improving, we are at least holding even while farm good management practice begins to bear fruit for our land, our waterways and emissions. “Export earnings from our land-based primary industries shot up 91 per cent from $23 billion in 2010 to $44 billion in 2019. The MfE report notes the government wants those earnings to grow by another $44 billion in the next decade to support post-Covid economic recovery. “That is a hairy and audacious goal when you consider the report also shows that since 2002 nearly 1.9 million hectares has gone out of agriculture and horticulture production. “Even more tellingly, of our most highly productive land, flat, best soils, etc, the amount lost to urban sprawl and lifestyle blocks jumped 54 per cent from 69,920 hectares in 2002 to 107,444 hectares in 2019. “Any encroachment of residential living on to productive farmland not

Chris Allen, Federated Farmers environment spokesperson

only means a loss of that farming land — it also has consequences for those farmers who remain. They face higher land values and consequently higher rates, along with increased council rules and restrictions that fall upon them due to increased amenity expectations of those new urban residents.” “New Zealand’s farmers have again and again proven adept at driving up production from less land and from management and genetic improvements but there comes a time when you run up against limits of nature and efficiency. “The sector is being hammered with all sorts of new regulations and costs, and some farmers are at the end of their financial and mental wellbeing tethers. Contrary to perceptions, Our Land 2021 highlights that only about five per cent of our agricultural land is irrigated, most of it in Canterbury. The other 95 per cent is dependent on increasingly unreliable rainfall. “It really does add to the case for increased investment in community water security that Federated Farmers has been pushing for some time now.”

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Ceasing live exports

April 2021

The government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. We must stay ahead of the curve in a world where animal welfare is under increasing scrutiny,” said Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “This decision will affect some farmers, exporters and importers, and a transition period will enable the sector to adapt.” Live exports by sea represent approximately 0.2 per cent of New Zealand’s primary sector exports revenue since 2015. “I acknowledge the economic benefit some farmers get from the trade, but I also note that support of it is not universal within the sector.” The Ministry of Primary Industries review of live exports, which started in 2019, identified mixed perceptions of the activity. “There is a split opinion about its long-term value and how it fits with the story we want to tell internationally to consumers. In its review submission, the independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, which advises ministers on animal welfare issues, advised that the practice should stop. “Improvements have been made to the practice over recent years, but despite everyone’s best efforts, the voyage times to our northern hemisphere markets will always pose animal welfare challenges.” He said officials had spoken to key trading partners about the decision.

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“I recognise the importance of our trade relationships with our international partners, and we are committed to working with them as we transition away from the shipment of livestock. New Zealand has an opportunity to boost trade through our cutting-edge scientific work into dairy cow genetics and germplasm use. “During the transition period, exporters will meet the extra requirements that we introduced following the independent Heron report, which was carried out after the tragic loss of the Gulf Livestock 1 in

September 2020. I have asked MPI to provide further advice on improvements to animal welfare during the phase out. “I want to thank all of those who took part in the wider review. The government is committed to high animal welfare standards.” There have been no livestock exports for slaughter since 2008.

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April 2021 WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

A SEA OF MUSHROOMS BY ANN VAN ENGELEN Sean and Emily Mills have lived in Raglan for five years, and through a chance meeting, have taken the opportunity to create a mushroom growing enterprise.

“E

mily and I met someone who had previously worked at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, and they said there were no speciality mushroom growers in the area,” says Sean. “We had purchased our own grow kit, and then during the lockdown last year, we began our adventure of learning to grow oyster, coral tooth and shiitake mushrooms. “We have never looked back and now sell our Mushrooms by the Sea products

at the Hamilton and Cambridge Farmers’ Markets. We also have a shop at home on Thursday in Raglan and our website.” The couple also supply mushrooms to a variety of restaurants in the Waikato area. “We grow commercial strains. It is a full-time job to keep up with the demand and supply. Our species are all wood loving mushrooms, and you can grow them in quite a small space. They have a short shelf life, so there are no big producers of them.

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Sean and Emily Mills began their Mushrooms by the Sea journey after purchasing a grow kit and becoming fascinated with the fungi

“We have a laboratory because we need sterile conditions to do the culture work. We take the cultures from a petri dish and add them to sterilised whole oats before finally being transferred to a sawdust block where they grow.

“Using oats is the way to rapidly expand the amount of blocks I can make. We expand the cultures into the bags they grow out of, and there is an incubation area and a climate-controlled room to grow them in.

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“It takes approximately seven days from placing the blocks in the grow room to producing mushrooms, but eight weeks to be ready to expose, with the shiitake taking 16 weeks. Once they are harvested, they last around five days. “My favourite is the shiitake as I think it is the nicest flavour along with the grey oyster, which is known worldwide and is a native to New Zealand. We also grow the pink oysters that originate from the tropics. “We have found the best way to care for them is to supply them in cardboard boxes lined with baking paper. This doesn’t trap the moisture, and they don’t dry out. Keeping the mushrooms in the fridge is best. “We also sell pink and grey oyster kits on our website so people can grow

their own at home. You just cut the bag where marked, and the website has a how to section and shows each step. A week later, you can start harvesting. The shiitake and coral tooth need a more controlled humidity — you can’t just do them on the kitchen bench. “These mushroom varieties don’t put out much water, so they fry really well and have a mild flavour and meaty texture. We recommend they be shallow fried like fish in a tempura batter or egg and flour dip. They are delicious and not like mushrooms as we would expect. “The shiitake has a rich deep flavour while the coral tooth has almost like a crab seafood flavour. They are all often used in Asian cooking as they make a great meat replacement. We love how fascinating it is to see them grow

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and are constantly keeping an eye on them. In a matter of hours, they go from looking like days until harvest to being ready for cooking. Meeting the chefs and seeing what they do with them is often far beyond what we can imagine. “We stayed mostly with the farmers’ markets before approaching restaurants as it was difficult to get growth consistency. We wanted to be confident that we could keep up with supply and demand. “The coral tooth is from a completely different family and literally looks like a piece of coral. We grow vegetables, but mushrooms are completely different. It has been a massive learning curve, and

April 2021

Emily and I are constantly experimenting with them. We have recipes and ideas on our website and Instagram page. “Lately, our favourite thing is drying mushrooms, turning them into powder and blending that with sea salt. We use the mix on our vegetables, and it is absolutely beautiful. “Raglan is an awesome place to live. We moved here originally to surf and fish and never imagined mushrooms would be a thing. We are now looking at expanding our varieties as the season changes. We started with a grow kit, and they fascinated us. From there I learned through Google, textbooks and YouTube, and it has certainly paid off.”

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April 2021  WAIKATO FARMING LIFESTYLES

TENACITY

BRINGS REWARD BY ANN VAN ENGELEN CHRISTOPHER VILA WON THE 2021 WAIKATO DAIRY MANAGER OF THE YEAR TITLE AT THE NEW ZEALAND DAIRY INDUSTRY AWARDS RECENTLY.

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hristopher grew up in the Philippines and was a veterinarian, specialising in dogs and cats. He is now the farm manager on the JA BE Turnwald Family Trust 103.8ha farm, milking 341 cows in Ohaupo. “I finished my animal husbandry and veterinary degrees and came to New Zealand around 14 years ago to visit my sister and brother-in-law. I loved the country, and they suggested I consider living here as it is so different to the Philippines,” says Christopher. “There was a need for migrant workers, so I applied for a position through an agency and was accepted to work on a 1,200 cow dairy farm in Reporoa. I have spent the last 13

years in the dairy industry, learning and accumulating knowledge. “Entering the awards was a great way to gauge where I am and challenge myself to take the necessary steps to further my career in the dairy industry. I believe there are many reasons why farming is a great career choice. “The doors of opportunity in dairy farming are open to all, and I would like to set an example to other migrants that one should always challenge and improve yourself. There are no limits in the dairy industry. ”The biggest challenge I have faced is the fact that I had to start from scratch with no monetary resources. This placed me at a disadvantage in terms of career progression, and you don’t necessarily

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CHRISTOPHER VILA WON THE 2021 WAIKATO DAIRY MANAGER OF THE YEAR TITLE AT THE NEW ZEALAND DAIRY INDUSTRY AWARDS RECENTLY.


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AS A SMALL ANIMAL VETERINARIAN FROM THE PHILIPPINES, CHRISTOPHER BROUGHT HIS KNOWLEDGE WITH HIM AND CONTINUES TO LEARN ABOUT LARGE ANIMAL WELFARE FROM NEW ZEALAND VETS

know anyone as you are in a new country, so you have to depend on yourself. “Not everyone you meet is honest, and you don’t always have a good mentor, so you need to learn yourself. This can include how to put a fence up and hose a yard down properly. It is hard if you don’t have a good mentor. “I am thankful I was given the opportunity of farm management with the Turnwalds. It has been a great experience for myself, my wife Jonah and baby Lily.” Being the first farm manager from outside the Turnwald family is a fact Christopher is proud of, as is his success in beating almost all the farm records in terms of production, mortality, SCC and empty rate. “I have also achieved Fonterra’s Gold Award for Milk Quality, which is

four consecutive years of having gradefree seasons. The farm has been in the family for generations, and to me, this means the farm is a stable business. “The Turnwalds have kept up with the times and practices in terms of breeding, technology and human resources. I am excited about the advancement in research and development and technology in the industry and am eager to be part of finding solutions to worldwide problems. “Farming is a hard job, but it is very rewarding if you work hard and are passionate. It is very important you work for the right people and realise you make sacrifices to reach your goal. I rely on my sister and brother-in-law when I am stuck for answers as they are now equity sharemilkers and have more experience.

April 2021

CHRISTOPHER SAYS FARMING IS A HARD BUT REWARDING CHOICE OF CAREER AND BELIEVES THAT BEING PASSIONATE ABOUT THE JOB IS IMPORTANT

“I have brought my veterinary experience with me, but I was not an expert in cattle as exposure to dairy in the Philippines is very small. We are used to pig farming and small animal husbandry. I never imagined I would be a dairy farmer when I was at university. They say sometimes the least thing that you expect to happen to you is the exact thing that will happen. “We are grass-fed and bring in supplements with a blended in shed meal, and we make grass silage if we have surplus grass and we grow our own maize. I am hands-on with the calving and call the vet when needed. I know my capabilities and my limits. I don’t pretend I can do something that I can’t. “We have developed a good relationship with our vets and I love learning from them. Being already

accustomed to animals has helped me but it is very different to being a large animal vet. I can spot if something is wrong, but I don’t always know what it is. “I love New Zealand and am a citizen now, and am going to stick to dairy farming. There was a point that I almost quit, but with Jonah’s encouragement, I stuck to it and am very pleased I did. “The Turnwalds hold work-life balance as an important factor and value family time. They treat us like family and include us, and we started enjoying the lifestyle again. “That is what farming should be. By joining the NZDIA, I discovered there are a lot of farm owners with the same values as the Turnwalds and the awards helped me to connect with others in the industry. Mixing with the right people is a very important part of a positive future.”

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April 2021  WAIKATO FARMING LIFESTYLES

A SOLUBLE SOLUTION by Liz Clark In the early 20th century, New Zealand’s dried milk powder technology was in its infancy; the vision of enterprising dairy co-operatives changed the industry to the giant it is today.

I

n 1918, the Thames Valley Co-operative Dair y Company amalgamated with the Te Aroha Cooperative Dairy Company to form a new venture and build a dried milk powder factory at Waitoa. By June 1918, the Thames Valley Dairy Association met at Waitoa to discuss the merger between the two companies and the proposed dried milk powder factory to be built at the settlement. ‘The proposal to erect a dried milk factory was enthusiastically received, and guarantees of 3,200 cows were received in the room. The factory is for skim milk powder and butter …’ The goal was to increase the number of cattle for the milk supply up to 5,000 for the future factory to maintain production. Chairman of the board of directors for the Thames Valley co-operative,

George Buchanan, had advised the company’s suppliers that a group of farmers from Hikutaia had asked the board to investigate the possibility of setting up a factory for dried milk powder manufacture. Factory managers representing the interests of the Thames Valley, Waikato and Te Aroha co-operatives were sent as a delegation to the US to investigate its dried milk powder industry. The Thames Valley co-operative representative Mr Peterson had remained in the US to further investigate the processing and market demand for a product gaining popularity with the domestic consumer market. In his report back to the board, Peterson noted that the processing technology was significantly superior in US manufacturing compared to the techniques used in New Zealand at the

Image — courtesy of Te Aroha and District Museum

The Waitoa dried milk powder factory in its infancy with one of its 10 Edison-Walker electric trucks in the foreground

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April 2021

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New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Company milk tankers during the early 1950s carrying the Anchor brand logo

time. The appeal of milk powder as a ready-made soluble had gained favour in several countries. The advent of the first world war had increased demand, oppor tunities and technological advancements in the dairying industry. Peterson had noted dried milk powder was being used on the US hospital ships to supply wounded soldiers with a ready supply of milk. Due to Peterson’s and his fellow factory managers’ investigations, the Thames Valley Co-operative Dairy Company board of directors decided to proceed with the building of a new processing facility at Waitoa. The cost at the time was estimated at £40,000. By October 1918, the Te Aroha Cooperative Dairy Company chairman announced to its shareholders a decision had been made to merge with the Thames Valley co-operative by the board of directors.

The Thames Valley company had approached Te Aroha’s board with the proposal for the two companies to amalgamate to form a larger and more influential force in the dairy industry. The proposal was accepted by its shareholders by a majority. Thus, the beginnings of the Waitoa factory were realised with the merger of the two co-operatives. In February 1919, the now larger Thames Valley Co-operative Dairy Company announced, after securing a further supply of the milk of 1,600 cows, it would build a condensing station at Elstow ready for the following season’s processing at the yet to be built factory at Waitoa. The end of the 1918–1919 season saw the company in a strong financial position and with it a record year. The board of directors in its report reiterated the advantages of building the factory

at Waitoa. ‘The investigations of your directors regarding milk powder have fully justified them in purchasing patent processes for the manufacture of the article and the desiccation of liquids by the best-known methods. We hope to have one of the largest milk powder factories working at Waitoa before another year elapses.’ By October 1920, the construction of the Waitoa dried milk factory was underway. The complex had been designed by local architect Edgar Ernest Gillman. In November of the same year, the Thames Valley co-operative merged with the New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Company. By mid-1921, the Waitoa factory was close to completion and was estimated at the time to have cost £250,000. The settlement had been transformed

into a small village complete with housing for the factory workers and outbuildings connected to the manufacturing complex. The dairy company was innovative in its approach towards the use of transport and the utilisation of electric vehicles. It obtained 10 electric Edison-Walker trucks from AR Harris in Christchurch. The vehicles were charged on-site at a station set up at the factory. The factory has continued at the site, continually evolving and changing as technology advanced. In 2001, the merger of the Kiwi Cooperative Dairies and New Zealand Dairy Group with the New Zealand Dairy Board formed the Fonterra cooperative that now operates the Waitoa factory.

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April 2021 WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

ADVERTORIAL

Helping Osteoarthritis (Part one)

I regularly find myself buried in scientific research, always looking to improve both my products and the advice I give. Ultimately, it is the real benefits people get that is important. If the best research cannot be translated into health benefits then it is of no value. One of the main differences between orthodox medicine and nutritional medicine is that, for good reasons, medical treatment is generally limited to those medications that are registered treatments using drugs that have gone through many years of testing. In nutritional medicine, we first gain an understanding of the disease processes. We then identify natural compounds that help. With osteoarthritis, this means adding compounds, most importantly quality chondroitin at 800+mg daily with glucosamine to impact the actual disease processes. Chondroitin is so effective that it is now available on prescription in Europe. Once we have helped correct faulty disease processes, we then focus on reducing inflammation, the cause of much of the pain and mobility loss. We identify dietary changes and

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Dirty dog challenge Waikato District Council and Hamilton City Council have announced that the Dirty Dog Challenge is back for 2021. It is a unique event where people navigate their way through a mudfilled obstacle course with their dogs. The competition will be held from midday on Saturday, June 26 at the Ngaruawahia Christian Youth Camp, 48 Waingaro Road, Ngaruawahia. “We are so excited to be able to bring this funfilled event back in 2021 after unfortunately having to cancel last year due to Covid-19 restrictions,” says Hamilton City Council Animal Control Unit manager Sue Stanford. “Dirty Dog has grown in popularity since it was introduced in 2018, and it is a great way for dog owners to get out and have some mucky fun with the four-legged member of the family. We encourage you to get in early and book your spot.” It is the third year the event has been held. In 2019 more than 300 dogs and their owners completed the challenge. “We are proud to co-host this unique event, which has been really popular with dog owners,” says Waikato District Council’s Animal Control Team leader Tracey Oakes. “People come from all over the North Island to participate with their furry friends. What’s even more special is that the money raised from this event goes towards a fantastic cause. It creates an amazing opportunity for

the Waikato District Council Animal Control team to get more dogs in our communities desexed at a subsidised rate, which will help reduce the number of unwanted dogs in New Zealand. We can’t wait to see you all on the day.” All profits from this event will go to helping animals in Hamilton and Waikato District’s communities. The Dirty Dog Challenge has a 2.5km or 6km option. The event is open to dogs of all shapes and sizes, but they must be vaccinated and in good health. They will need to be kept on a lead through the course. Tickets are $40 for one person for each dog, and a second runner is $20. You may only have one additional runner, and the second runner must be at least eight years old. Terms and conditions do apply. Tickets are available through the councils’ websites. For more information, visit waikatodistrict.govt.nz/dirtydog or hamilton.govt.nz/dirtydog.

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April 2021 WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

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Stay dry to stay warm by Andy Bryenton

Winter is usually not so much a matter of cold, biting chill, but of damp and persistent conditions, which can promote illness and mould through an excess of moisture. Heating your home, whether by firewood, electricity or gas, is harder when the air is filled with moisture. Imagine the difference between getting warm while wearing a dry sweatshirt and wearing one that’s soaked through. The energy from your heat pump or fireplace has to heat the water molecules in the air to raise the temperature in the room, and it can be hard going. At the same time, warm and damp conditions are just the ticket for mould and fungus to take hold. What’s the solution when Kiwi homes are often built more to a northern hemisphere design than to fit our subtropical climate? The first step is to expel as much moisture as you can at the source. In winter, it’s not practical, safe or smart to have windows open day and night, so extractor fans in damp areas are your best bet. The bathroom and shower area comes first-equal with the kitchen when it comes to moisture output; both pump out steam with litres of moisture a day.

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What’s worse is that modern homes are more weathertight than ever before. That is a good thing in many other ways but trapped moist air can’t escape via ‘unintended ventilation’, a nice name for draughts, gaps and cracks. Before winter, clean out your kitchen range hood and bathroom extractors. They may have built up dust, scurf, lint and grease during the year that’s affecting their operation. In some cases, replacing cracked or bent fans is a good idea too. If you have no extractor in the kitchen or bathroom, contact a handyman or grab a kitset from your hardware store. That leads to one of the biggest modern questions: will an in-ceiling ventilation system warm my home? The short answer is no, but the more complicated truth is that you’ll feel warmer if your ceiling cavity contains dry air. Most of these systems take dry air from in the roof, where there’s no respiration, cooking or cleaning being done, and bring it into the home to stop window condensation and mould. The added bonus is that low-moisture air heats up more easily. Of course, it depends on your ceiling and your roof. A roof getting lots of sun, fitted

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with tar paper and insulation, will be a good source of drier air. A roof cavity connected via wall gaps to a damp undercroft and foundations will be of little use. As a general rule, systems in the roof and extractors at the source beat chemical mould absorbers and electric dehumidifiers, hands down. If you have to use these products, consulting with an HVAC professional about how to stop the issue is a must.

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ADVERTORIAL

13

April 2021

Pay attention!

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The team at A1 Concrete Pumping Waikato Ltd has been operating since 2000 and is proud of the reputation they have built. “I got into the business purely by accident, and the company and team grew well in the first three years,” says owner-operator Quin Abraham. “I reduced back to myself during the 2000 recession and worked alone until five years ago. A mate of mine, John Fawdry, hit me up for a job, so I purchased another pump to get him going. We have since upgraded our pumps, and I now employ four staff. My partner Sandra does the books and keeps everything in control. “In the last three years, we have acquired some big contracts including chicken sheds and large commercial facilities as well as cowshed pads. We have some of the biggest Sermac equipment in the country and recently purchased a 38-metre boom, with our largest being 46 metres. “Sermac is an Italian brand that I source through AW Trucks in Kerepehi. AW Trucks is very supportive of us, and I appreciate their knowledge and expertise.” A1 Concrete Pumping Waikato Ltd also has two 27-metre booms. “The pumps are brilliant for creating house floors, commercial buildings, retaining walls, and any other projects

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people may have. No job is too big or too small for our team. “The reason I have been able to grow is due to the support of my staff. They are the ones out there doing it now, and they are the front of the company. The team are all very good workers who say they enjoy working in the industry. They look after their vehicles and work professionally. “We are available for all types of concrete pumping across the Waikato region. The area is important to us, and we appreciate the support we get from our clients. We work every day. For us the sun is always shining — you just have

to keep your head above the clouds.” People can follow the A1 Concrete Pumping Waikato Ltd Facebook page, call 021 395 025 or email A1pumpit@ xtra.co.nz for more information.

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WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

Providing environmental assessments

As the agriculture industry continues to move toward more sustainable solutions, Alltech E-CO2 is pleased to be working with He Waka Eke Noa: The Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership to provide greenhouse gas emission assessments to New Zealand dairy farmers. A release issued by He Waka Eke Noa on March 28 states that all farms in Aotearoa-New Zealand will need to know their GHG numbers by the end of 2022. Alltech E-CO2 Dairy EA has been assessed and classified by the organisation as a GHG calculator for dairy farms. Alltech E-CO2 has developed the Dairy EA model to help producers measure and lower the carbon footprint of their dairy operation. These accredited assessments capture a wealth of in-depth data on animal production, health, feed, fertiliser, water, energy and resource use. Clear and concise information is delivered via reports for producers and industry, along with onfarm consultancy advice. “Farmers are always striving to improve animal health, welfare and productivity,” said Nigel Meads, innovation sales manager for Alltech New Zealand. “What makes the Alltech E-CO2 approach such an exciting concept is that it quantifies the gains in environmental performance that come along with these improvements and is focussed on the animal, the environment and profitability.” He Waka Eke Noa has developed resources to help industry bodies and farmers understand their agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Knowing a farm’s nitrous oxide and methane numbers is the first step toward

April 2021

15

Our team of call out technicians are ready 24/7 to help you get back into action and for any maintenance requirements you may have.

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managing and knowing how to reduce on-farm emissions. “Measurement is key. Our farmers understanding their numbers means they are in a position to decide how to make changes to their farming practices to mitigate or reduce emissions,” said Kelly Forster, programme director for He Waka Eke Noa: The Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership. “There is now a range of tools that have been assessed as suitable for calculating a farm’s biological greenhouse gases, and more are in development and will be assessed soon.” Dairy EA provides producers with a summary report that splits out the three key GHGs and identifies the sources of each. Furthermore, guidance is given in the report on recommended actions

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that farmers can take to help improve their numbers. This development comes as Alltech continues to focus on its mission of Working Together for a Planet of Plenty, which calls for the agri-food industry to utilise sciencebased solutions, collaboration and innovation to help ensure sustainable food production while conserving the Earth’s natural resources. Working with He Waka Eke Noa and New Zealand’s producers to provide measurement tools to ensure their sustainability and profitability contributes to Alltech’s Planet of Plenty mission as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Climate Action, which is one of the nine SDGs to which Alltech is committed. For more information, visit alltech-eco2.com.

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April 2021 WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

DAIRY

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A winter mating edge When Shaun did his homework on full autumn calving last season, he realised he’d need every heat detection advantage and discovered FlashMate. Bulk Fertiliser Spreading Mini Spreader Available Book your upcoming spreading requirements now

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“With autumn calving, cows are less likely to cycle or are harder to pick up on heats,” says Shaun. Silent heats during wet winter months can drag down submissions, impacting six-week in-calf and empty rates. After asking around, FlashMate was consistently the answer. The top autumn calving herd in New Zealand for reproduction statistics is Dan and Abbie Hinton at Eureka, Waikato, who have been using FlashMate for six seasons. Shaun and Michelle Gardner run 120 cows on their Waiiti dairy farm in Taranaki. They’d heard good things, and the initial nervousness soon faded. “After two weeks using them, I felt very comfortable that the right cows were going up for AB,” Shaun said. Now, even his four-year-old daughter can spot cows on heat. Then came the added advantage of detecting silent heats, quickly covering the investment right there and then. “With FlashMate, we picked up cows that we wouldn’t have seen, with slightly lower heats and less rubbing,” said Gardner. Moreover, because FlashMate is touch-sensitive, when cows are quietly

cycling, they still receive attention from other cows, which sets FlashMate off. Large overseas studies show silent heats can range from 10% to 20% of herds. The wider product experience got the thumbs-up from Shaun. “I had none come off the cows in the first six weeks. I was very, very happy with that!” FlashMate sticks firmly to cow

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hair, which stays with the cow a lot more during winter. Shaun believes FlashMate takes away decision-making stress. Peace of mind means that, just like other farmers Shaun spoke with, he “doesn’t have to worry if he goes away for a weekend, that staff can see a flashing light and pull them out with no hesitation.”

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Opportunity for agriculture

DAIRY

WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

April 2021

17

Federated Farmers hopes that the government will take the opportunity of newly available space in MIQ quarantine to bring much-needed workers for the primary industries into New Zealand. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins estimates that the Australian quarantine-free travel bubble will free up 1,000 to 1,300 beds in MIQ a fortnight. “MIQ spacing has been continually quoted as a barrier for getting the workers we need. With more beds becoming available, it should now allow those with agricultural skills to enter the country,” says Federated Farmers Immigration spokesperson Chris Lewis. “With continued low unemployment and the majority of available workers remaining in the urban centres, all of the primary industries are crying out for labour. “Farm Source, a leading job website for the dairy industry, currently lists over 1,100 vacancies on-farm, far higher than the usual number for this time of year. All of the primary industries have been working hard to attract and upskill Kiwis to work on farms, but unfortunately, these initiatives don’t address the immediate labour problem. We need people in our fields, orchards and cow sheds now.”

EITHER WAY IT’S 20K

Federated Farmers has asked the government to allow 500 skilled dairy staff into New Zealand for the new milking season. A survey was undertaken in March to gain a better understanding of the staffing issues on dairy farms. The survey had 1,150 responses in just one week. Survey results showed that 49 per cent of dairy farmer respondents were currently short-staffed; 46 per cent had vacancies unfilled for more than three months. Nearly a quarter had been unable to fill a gap on their team for more than six months. “Federated Farmers acknowledges the government has already made some limited border exceptions for agricultural machinery operators, veterinarians, sheep shearers, animal pregnancy scanners and some skilled dairy staff to date. “However, these limited exceptions aren’t going to go very far with the number of workers needed across the primary industries in the coming months.”

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April 2021 WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

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RESURFACING

Now there is an extremely cost effective and easy to use product that will bring back your damaged concrete floors to an approved standard. COLOURCRETE DAIRY FLOOR RESURFACER has been specially formulated for the repair of worn or damaged concrete in the dairy industry. Dairy Floor Resurfacer is a two pack system combining a Portland cement, fine aggregate based micro concrete and sophisticated binders that provide superior, compressive, tensile and flexural strength as well as a very high level of abrasion resistance and adhesion. This product is suitable for repairing worn or pitted areas or to provide a non-slip surface where necessary. A two pot clear epoxy sealer can be supplied to reduce the wearing effects of milk and acid. COLOURCRETE DAIRY FLOOR RESURFACER can be supplied as a ‘do it yourself kit’ and delivered anywhere in New Zealand or applied, in most areas, by contractors. COLOURCRETE DAIRY FLOOR RESURFACER Part A is supplied in 20kg bags and covers approximately 3m square. Part B modifier is supplied in both 10litre and 20litre containers and approximately 4litres per 20kg bag would be required. After trowelling, the surface can be broomed or sponge finished.

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WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

Hope for farmers over exclusion by Andy Bryenton

There’s new hope for farmers battling the onset of new legislation, which they, and rural advocacy groups, are calling ‘unworkable and inaccurate’. The government’s controversial livestock exclusion policy of 2020 raised the ire of farmers due to what was seen as ‘wildly inaccurate’ mapping of zones in which fencing would become mandatory. Seeking to exclude livestock from waterways in ‘low slope’ areas, the government released a map on which to base new regulations. However, farmers were shocked to see low-intensity, very steep hill country included. Places where fencing would have to be undertaken by helicopter for a negligible amount of sheep a hectare. The contentious map showed that areas labelled ‘low slope’ increased from the 3.8 million hectares indicated in 2019 to 6 million hectares. Fencing these areas would cost $4.5 billion for the farming sector. However, recent moves by the government to accept industry-driven alternatives to their ‘hard targets’ on another issue, winter grazing, have been welcomed, with Beef + Lamb New Zealand saying the move provides hope for more workable options. “We’re not against the ‘why’: the intent of the rule is good, but we are concerned about the ‘how’,” says Beef+Lamb boss Sam McIvor. “We have been very

April 2021

19

FOREST AND WOODLOT OWNERS

IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING THE HARVEST OF ANY:

Steep order — farmers were left fuming by an inaccurate map which would have required $4.5 billion worth of fencing at their cost; now, a compromise may be possible

clear that farmers need workable and relevant rules and have been advocating for effects-based approaches at the paddock scale to both intensive winter grazing and to stock exclusion, delivered through effective farm planning. “We ask the government to give certainty to farmers and to apply a common sense approach to the low-slope map. We’re very willing to work with the government on getting this right.”

The government has delayed the implementation of 2020’s winter grazing regulations and accepted an interim solution in the form of an industrydeveloped Intensive Winter Grazing module added to farm plans this season. A reasoned, regionally-based and common sense bilateral approach to the low slope exclusion issue could follow this bridge-building success; and should, if Beef+Lamb and their many farming supporters have their say.

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April 2021 WAIKATO FArMiNG liFESTYlES

Not just Urban Homes Looking to build on your patch of paradise?

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Profile for Integrity Community Media

Waikato Farming Lifestyle April 2021  

20766 copies DELIVERED FREE to rural delivery address in Waikato and King Country

Waikato Farming Lifestyle April 2021  

20766 copies DELIVERED FREE to rural delivery address in Waikato and King Country

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