Waikato Farming Lifestyle March 2021

Page 1

March 2021 Edition

A trek to tranquillity Pages 6–7

Ahuwhenua competition finalists

Girls on the grid



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Dairy farmers at the Dairy Environment Leaders Forum heard first-hand what will be required of all New Zealanders to meet our climate change obligations.

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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The Wellington forum’s first day opened with keynote speaker Climate Change Commission chair Dr Rodd Carr, followed by Climate Change Minister James Shaw and speakers from other sectors. Dr Carr told the group of around 40 Dairy Environment Leaders that all New Zealanders have a responsibility to begin reducing emissions if we are to rise to the climate challenge. “Human beings have a carbon footprint, no matter what we do, so it’s about containing it, and how we contain it,” he said. “The climate waits for no one. As a nation, we can choose what we do but we can’t choose not to reduce emissions. It is about our share of the responsibility. The science is now so clear that we have to act because greenhouse gases are causing the climate to change. The needle on the dial is moving toward doing what we can, when we can. “There is technical feasibility, economic effects and social acceptance we need to address. I think the journey is underway; we just have to configure how we do it. Long-term, we will need a technological breakthrough.” Climate Change Minister James Shaw echoed that view, saying there are diverse tools farmers can use in different farm conditions across New Zealand, and there is time to achieve the changes. “We can get to where we need to, over the next 30 years, with

the options we have now,” said Mr Shaw. “Fortunately, we are not starting from scratch. There has been a lot of good work done in the last five years, including through the He Waka Eke Noa partnership.” Dairy Environment Leaders chair Melissa Slattery said farmers are committed to playing their part to solve environmental challenges and have a lot of great work underway already. She said regulations need to be practical behind the farm gate and have pragmatic timeframes. “Dairy Environment Leaders Forum is an opportunity for environmentallyminded farmers to get together and discuss the opportunities we see, the challenges we face and the support that we will need to succeed.” DairyNZ strategy and investment leader Dr David Burger said the forum is a valuable opportunity for farmers to hear first-hand the factors being considered for New Zealand’s future and to ensure decision-makers understand the challenges and practicalities on-farm. “It is one way our Dairy Environment Leaders can meet and hear from decision-makers, discuss the sector’s future and solutions farmers are rolling out for climate change and water quality. “Our farmers lead the world in the production of sustainable and low emission milk, and we want to ensure we protect that position.”

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Ahuwhenua competition finalists

March 2021

Anahera Hale, Ben Purua and Quinn Morgan are the finalists in the 2021 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Dairy Award. The award is designed to recognise up-and-coming young Maori in the dairy, sheep and beef and horticulture industries, with this year’s competition focussing on the dairy industry. Judge Aaron Hunt says the standard of entrants in the competition was very high and reflects the number of young Maori who are making successful careers in the dairy sector. “The sector has natural appeal to young Maori because it offers an outdoor lifestyle and a significant career path,” says Judge Hunt. “It is also good for those with young families and allows them to have a supportive environment in which to work. The judging panel found all the entrants passionate about the industry and enthusiastic about their future prospects.” The Ahuwhenua Trophy management committee chairman, Kingi Smiler, says it is great to see another cohort of young Maori from the dairy industry entering this event. “The Young Maori Farmer competition is very important both for Maori and the dairy sector because it helps foster a

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new group of potential leaders and role models for the future. “Since the award was inaugurated, it has proven to be very popular and has attracted high-quality entrants, many of whom have gone on to take leadership roles in the wider agri sector.” Twenty-five-year-old Anahera is the 2IC farm assistant on Rod and Jacquie McPherson’s dairy farm near Whakatane. They run between 340/345 cows and winter about 360 cows. Anahera says she loves her dairy farming career — especially the fact that she can work outdoors and with animals.

Ben Purua is 26 years old and currently working as the 2IC for a contract milker at Trinity Lands farm near Tokoroa, which runs 900 cows. He recognises that the dairy industry has helped turn around his life. Quinn Morgan, also 26, is very new to the dairy industry and is in his first season of farming, working as a farm assistant for Sam and Kate Moore on their 155ha farm in Otakiri near Whakatane. The winner of both the senior and junior competition will be announced on Friday May 14. More details are available at ahuwhenuatrophy.maori.nz.




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t n h o e s g l r r i i d G by Ann van Engelen

The Nash family are big stock car supporters with Ange, Craig and daughters, 12-year-old Charli and eight-year-old Milla, all members of the Dargaville Production Stock Car Club.


hen I was born, my dad Warren Beachen was a top Northland saloon driver, and I was introduced to the sport from a very young age,” says Ange. “I grew up in Dargaville and have fond memories of going to the track with mum and dad when I was very little. Dad gave up for many years but is back racing at Waikaraka Park. He is one of the big boys and drives a limited saloon. He pops up to our meets when he can.” Ange travelled overseas in 2000, and when she returned, she met Craig, who had started racing cars himself in 2003. “We met through a mutual friend. I started going as a passenger with him, and he eventually talked me into driving, and I got the bug. I started driving myself

in 2006 and then he built his own car and gave me his old one. “Craig is so talented he can build a car from scratch. People talk to me about motors, and I laugh and say Craig does everything. I just hop in and drive. When I got Craig’s old car, we painted it pink, white and black. We are a Honda family when it comes to racing. I have a Prelude. Craig drives a Civic, and he and Charli rebuilt an Integra for her. “Getting out on the track is a huge adrenalin rush. It may look slow to the spectators, but when you are out there — it is all go. You are reading what the other drivers are doing and what is going on. “There is a competitive side, but it is more about fun. If you are not having

Ange Nash enjoys every aspect of racing at the Dargaville Speedway and says the sport is fun and helps to build confidence in young drivers

fun, you shouldn’t be out there. People are there for a good time. No one wants to put their car on a trailer pranged up every week. “Drivers have to meet the Circle Track Racing Association of New

Zealand standards and rules for their vehicles. New cars go through a rigorous scrutineering process. We have the roll cage, five-point harness and safety gear.” Drivers and passengers wear overalls, boots, a neck brace, helmets and gloves.


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Three generations of speedway drivers — Ange, her dad Warren Beachen and Ange’s 12-year-old daughter Charli with their race vehicles

“You have to be tight in your belts because you don’t want to be moving around in your seat. To begin a race, we go to the grid for starting. We do a slow lap in preparation, and then the flag drops, and the race is on. “You can have a plan on the day, but it depends on who is in front of you and how they drive. The track conditions come into account. Some people like wet tracks, and some prefer dry.” Craig had been asking Charli if she would like to try racing for years. “Last year, she was keen, and his brother had the Honda Integra sitting on his back lawn. He gave it to her to turn

into a race car. Charli and Craig worked on it together. They dismantled it, built the roll cage and put it back together. Now she knows how it is done, and she helps tie the cars on to the trailer for race days. Charli and Milla also wash the cars. “Charli is in the novice grade, which is young learning drivers, and she will stay there for a few years. I go as her passenger as I freak out too much as a spectator. I am then a mentor helping her to learn the gears, watch the flags and everything else going on. “Being involved in racing early teaches children resilience and how to win and


lose. It is good for her to not be great at it. Racing helps build confidence. “I cried the first time she was on the track, purely out of being proud of what she accomplished. Milla thinks when her dad wins Lotto, he can buy her a quarter midget. “There are so many talented drivers in our club. People come from Taipa, Kaikohe, Whangarei, Auckland and beyond at times. I race with the men because there are not many lady drivers. I really enjoy the challenge.

“It is like, what man wants to be beaten by a lady — it makes them drive harder. “Dad and Craig are both proud of Charli and my driving skills. “We wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t for Craig’s help. Driving is both exciting and exhilarating. “As a family, we also enjoy things like going to the beach and fishing. We believe you should count your blessings every day and create memories with your children.”

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A TREK TO TRANQUILITY by Andy Bryenton Deep in the central Waikato, Nicole Singh has created a thriving tourism business alongside the productive farm she and her husband Shaan live and work on. Balancing equestrian adventures with innovations in livestock, Stone Hill is a place of natural beauty and surprises.


rowing up in rural Germany, Nicole lived in a town that has more in common with her current Waikato address than the cities one often associates with the heart of industrial Europe. “I came from a small village where everyone knew everybody else,” she says. “It was a remote location but perfect for owning and riding horses. Before I came to New Zealand, I was living in Berlin for my career, but I always wanted to go back to the countryside, and I wanted to have horses again.” A backpacking tour, working in Kiwi cafes provided one of those unexpected twists which make life interesting. Meeting and marrying Kiwi Shaan, Nicole moved to the Waikato, to a place near the green forests of Sanctuary

Mountain in Pukeatua. Half a world away from the centre of Europe, this was a place of similar rural tranquillity to her hometown. It was also a place with a rich equine history. Shaan and Nicole represent the third generation of Singhs to farm Stone Hill’s rugged and rolling pastureland, where weathered remnants of old volcanoes thrust through the turf to create walls, pinnacles and a unique landscape. “We’ve had visitors comment that it looks like Lord of the Rings country,” says Nicole. However, the reality of farming there is far from the fantasy of moviemaking. To patrol the 1,500 acres of Stone Hill, Shaan’s father and grandfather took to horseback, eschewing the quad bike and motorcycle for sure-footed transport

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Stone Hill offers terrain and scenery like nowhere else on earth for horse trekking visitors to enjoy


Riders set off on the trail from Stone Hill’s farm base to the picturesque hinterland and a bit of company while mustering and droving. Soon Nicole began to offer horse trek adventures through the interesting scenery of Stone Hill. She found that people were very interested in coming and exploring the landscape. Some were also there to explore the very concept of horse riding itself; people from big cities and foreign lands where getting in the saddle was never a day-to-day option. “Before Covid, when our lives were ‘normal’, about 70 per cent of our guests were from overseas, places like Australia, France, England and Germany,” says Nicole. “About 30 per cent were Kiwis. Now, of course, it’s 100 per cent locals enjoying the experience, but we have not slowed down on the weekends due

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to Kiwis exploring their own country.” Those numbers mean it’s necessary to keep a large stable of horses onsite. Nicole has a herd of 10 currently living at Stone Hill, each with their own personality and temperament. “I think I have a good sense of choosing the right horse for my team,” says Nicole. “They also get a lot of care, training and attention here. They live together as a herd, which is very natural for them, and meet new people all the time. “Sometimes we have people returning who ask to ride the same horse as the last time because they have made a bond over the few hours of the trek, and that’s a wonderful thing.” Some treks take only a couple of hours, while others can last up to five.

March 2021


Picking horses with the right temperament and personality is all part of creating the perfect team A favourite route allows riders to stop on a hilltop, drink from a natural spring of clear, clean water, and enjoy a picnic before riding back to base. Sometimes the working farm is as fascinating as the ride or the landscape, says Nicole. “We love educating people from the city about the real New Zealand farming experience. We get compliments, some of surprise, as to how clean and ecologically friendly everything is, from our clear streams to our happy livestock.” Building a functioning tourism enterprise next to and around a working farm with one-third in dairy and the rest in sheep and beef has been hard work, but good work. Nicole always has time for the next innovation; she’s

thinking about glamping opportunities, and how to create a cabin or campsite for overnight trek-and-stay adventures. This is one of the few places where you can come on holiday with your own horse, and that’s an avenue of possible future expansion. Meanwhile, Shaan has brought 45 water buffalo to Stone Hill, an experiment in cheesemaking with an Auckland mozzarella maestro. “The best part is that some of our visitors have absolutely loved the horse ride here. They’ve gone on to have riding lessons, and they’ve come back, and tackled the more challenging treks, and have gotten into having horses themselves,” says Nicole.

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PRODUCING THE PERENDALE BY DENISE GUNN The late Sir Geoffrey Peren played a leading role in the development of the Perendale sheep breed, in addition to the establishment of Massey Agricultural College.



orn in Surrey, England, in 1892, Sir Geoffrey took a keen interest in nature from a young age. He was just 14 when he chose to leave England to go farming in Canada, moving to a small mixed farm in southern Ontario. Two years later, he took up work as a teamster in British Columbia and also gained orcharding experience. On winning a scholarship to the Ontario Agricultural College in 1911, Sir Geoffrey’s agricultural academic studies began. Four years later, after

graduating with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, Sir Geoffrey enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery, serving in France during the first world war. He rose to the rank of major and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. At the end of the war, Sir Geoffrey worked at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) research station in Kent, England as an assistant then as a MAF inspector. From 1920 to 1924, he lectured at the University of Bristol’s agricultural and horticultural research

station. Sir Geoffrey, and his wife Violet, moved to New Zealand in 1924 following his appointment as the new chair of agriculture at Victoria University in Wellington. With much ongoing discussion about the need for an agricultural training institution in the North Island, Sir Geoffrey joined forces with the professor of agriculture at Auckland University College, Professor William Riddet. The two professors travelled to assess potential sites, settling on land near Palmerston North. Massey Agricultural College, named after former prime minister William Ferguson Massey, was officially opened in March 1928. Sir Geoffrey was appointed principal of the agricultural college, and Professor Riddet became

the chair in agriculture. On returning to Massey after serving in the second world war, where Sir Geoffrey commanded the Manawatu Mounted Rifles and other units, he furthered his interest in research and teaching. The areas of sheep husbandry and wool, and the development of fleece testing, particularly interested him. Sir Geoffrey began looking at the development of a sheep breed that would particularly suit the North Island’s steep hill country. It followed on from earlier attempts by a handful of North Island sheep farmers crossing Romneys with Cheviots. The Perendale, named after Sir Geoffrey, was produced from the offspring of a Romney ewe and a Cheviot ram. In 1959, he was also a key figure FOREST HARVESTING & MARKETING SOLUTIONS • Forest and woodlot harvesting and marketing • Domestic and export log sales • Harvesting management • Forest management • Harvest planning and roading

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Sir Geoffrey Peren and Professor William Riddet check out a possible site for the new Massey Agricultural College in 1926

in the formation of the Perendale Sheep Society of New Zealand. Horowhenua sheep farmer, Gilbert Timms, is a former president of both the Cheviot and Perendale Sheep Societies. His involvement with Perendales stretches back more than half a century. It was while working for sheep farmer David Law as a teenager that he met Sir Geoffrey. “He was a very enthusiastic man with sheep and did a great job for Massey, the Perendale breed, and every breed really,” said Gilbert. “He had a saying ‘keep the water dripping on the stone’. Just keep improving all the time.” Gilbert said Sir Geoffrey was very encouraging, particularly towards new breeders.

“Romneys and Southdowns were the main sheep breeds 60 years ago. Sir Geoffrey encouraged and helped people to get started and ensure they registered with the breed society. He would tell them what to do to improve. “The Perendales are really good dual-purpose sheep, really hardy and adaptable. “When things get tough, they don’t die. They might lose condition, but they hang in there and bounce back very quickly. “They are a good breed, and the Perendale Society has worked hard to keep the standard up, right through the years.” Perendale Sheep Society of New Zealand president Warren Ayers said Sir Geoffrey was the father of the breed.

March 2021

The 1928 official opening of Massey Agricultural College with Professor Geoffrey Peren on the left in the front row Photographer JH Daroux, Palmerston North — taken March 20 1928

“He was very forward-thinking for his time, not only with Perendales but with other genetics as well.” Sir Geoffrey was awarded a CBE in 1953 and a KBE in 1959. In 1977, Massey University awarded him an

honorary Doctor of Science degree (DSc). He passed away on July 19 1980, in Palmerston North. Peren Park in Palmerston North was named in Sir Geoffrey’s honour.

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New life for old police jerseys Police are supporting a repurposing initiative with a New Zealand-owned woollen mill to turn old jerseys into unspun fibre and then into blankets for official police use only. The blankets are initially due to be trialled with Wellington’s maritime policing unit and in patrol cars. The current uniform policy states that all obsolete or faulty items of police uniform must be returned to be destroyed and disposed of at a landfill. Since June 2019, 17 tonnes of uniform items have been returned for disposal in this way. “Working in partnership with other groups to explore ways to achieve broader positive outcomes is important to us, be they environmental, social, economic or cultural,” said manager procurement and contract management Ged Callaghan. “We’re hoping that this initiative to recycle what would have been destroyed and sent to landfill can be a springboard into other recycling or repurposing initiatives.” In July 2020, a call went out for old jerseys that could be used for the first test run. Procurement worked with Response and Operations Group (R&O) to ensure this went smoothly. Staff answered the call, and 145 old jerseys were returned to Lockheed Martin, who manage police uniform supplies. The jerseys were sent on to a team at The Information Management Group (TIMG), who manage police secure document blue bins. They removed and destroyed the police coat of arms and anything else on the jerseys that was not wool. These leftover jersey pieces were then sent to Woolyarns, a 74-year-old Lower Hutt- based mill that’s usually in the business of turning natural fibres like wool and possum fur into yarn. “This is certainly a different project for us, and we’re literally breaking down the jerseys and turning them back into woollen fibre that can be repurposed into a new product,” said Woolyarns general manager Andy May.

Old police jerseys are being repurposed and turned into blankets for official police use

“The test run was a success, and we have proved police jerseys can become yarn once again.” In collaboration with police R&O Group, a prototype hand-knitted beanie was initially produced, and consideration was then given to other types of woollen products before deciding on a blanket. Staff at Police National Headquarters were canvassed for a name for the blanket. The winner was Ahurutanga, meaning warmth, comfort and security. Staff are encouraged to hand their old jerseys in to be recycled.


March 2021


(Part one)

Is your body hot, cold or lukewarm? I am not talking about your actual body temperature but the degree to which unwanted inflammation is affecting your body. Some inflammation we can feel and see. There is also silent inflammation that has no symptoms but can cause disease. Inflammation is an amazing part of our body’s healing systems. It is an essential part of how we fight infections and heal against damage caused by injuries. It is always associated with fighting infection. Without inflammation, our first infection or injury would have probably ended our lives. The signs of inflammation are heat, swelling, redness and pain, including loss of function. Inflammation is a process where our immune (white blood) cells produce a wide range of chemicals that coordinate the process of removing the cause of the problem and then clean up the mess to complete the healing process. These processes are incredibly complex and involve a wide range of cell types and a variety of messenger compounds. Many inflammatory problems are caused by overactive messengers triggering unwanted inflammation. The inflammatory process is like your kitchen tap. When working well,

you get cold water when you turn the cold tap and hot water when the hot is on. Unwanted inflammation is like turning the cold tap and getting warm or even hot water instead. A common cause of unwanted inflammation is when our body tries to repair a problem that it cannot fix. That is typical of osteoarthritis. The problem is caused by cartilage erosion. However, most of the pain is caused by immune cells inflaming joint tissue in an attempt to repair it. All this does is cause unnecessary pain, swelling and loss of function. If you are affected by arthritis or any inflammation, I recommend following an anti-inflammatory diet with supplements that can help reduce unwanted inflammation. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. John Arts (B.Soc.Sci, Dip Tch, Adv. Dip.Nut.Med) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health Ltd. For personalized advice, contact John on 0800 423 559 or email john@abundant.co.nz. Join his full weekly newsletter at abundant. co.nz.


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March 2021


A sharemilker, a Dairy Business of the Year recipient, and a contract milker and farm consultant have been named as this year’s finalists for the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award. Belinda Price, a sharemilker based in Whanganui, joins Ashburton dairy farmer Rebecca Miller and Chevon Horsford, a contract milker, farm consultant and Maori farm adviser in Whangarei, in the running for the respected industry award managed by Dairy Women’s Network. Already a celebration of leadership inside and outside the farm gate, this year’s award shows a strong focus on people and highlights the work of the three finalists in leading and mentoring others through their farming journeys. Dairy Women’s Network trustee and award judge Sophie Stanley said the three finalists were recognised by the judging panel as representing a wide range of diversity in leadership within the industry and for their commitment to supporting people as well as dairying as a whole. “Belinda showed strong focus and determination to not only improve her own farming business through continuous learning but to nurture and mentor others in the industry and contribute back to a wide range of industry organisations,” she said. “Chevon’s passion, purpose and vision for encouraging and supporting Maori farmers and other wahine toa in

the industry are inspiring. Rebecca’s positivity, enthusiasm and holistic approach to farming and family life shine through her nomination, which has enabled her to give back to the industry in a number of varied roles.” The finalists were selected by a judging panel comprised of Sophie, 2019 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Trish Rankin and representatives from Fonterra, Global Women and Ballance Agri Nutrients. Sophie said the award and the judging process shine a light on the work these women do for the industry behind the scenes to encourage the next generation of dairy women to follow in their footsteps. “What excites me the most is being in the presence of incredibly hard-working, passionate and inspiring women who every day wake up to make the dairy industry a better place for their families, peers, the environment and New Zealand as a whole.” The recipient will be announced at a gala dinner in Taupo on April 3. Miles Hurrell, chief executive of Fonterra, will be presenting the award. Registrations are still open to join in and celebrate the finalists.

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Gas axed in proposed plan by Andy Bryenton

The plan is in from the central government; no new natural gas connections to the network or bottled LPG connections after 2025. Ailing gas heating and hot water systems may have to switch to electricity or biomass when replaced, and existing natural gas supplies might be phased out as early as 2050. The story of natural gas begins millions of years ago, with the mass extinctions that ushered out the dinosaurs. The end of that story looks likely to be written by government legislation, starting in the present day. Proponents are in favour, for green reasons, preventing what is being called the Anthropocene extinction, the climate shift that could wipe out life as we know it. Detractors point to the almost universal use of natural gas for barbecues, restaurants, welding and more. The end of gas is part of the Climate Change Commission’s report on how New Zealand could go carbon neutral by 2050. While many of the suggestions made in the report are focussed on agriculture and transport, the gas phase-out came as a shock to small businesses in the hospitality industry, where 95 per cent of restaurants are gas-powered. It’s also

prompted a rethink by building firms looking at future-proofing their designs, and consumers considering the end of califonts, gas hot water heaters and gas fires, gas ovens and hobs. “We can’t continue to postpone what we need to do to reach our goals,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “The government will not hold back,” she reiterated, saying that future generations should not foot the bill for current inaction. The cost of this is estimated at one per cent of our national gross domestic product each year, or roughly $2 to $3 billion. However, those in the gasfitting industry, those who supply gas to homes and restaurants, and those who sell heating, cooking and water heating appliances will feel a much bigger shake up coming. Already gas products have seen a dip in sales, based only on the revelation

Government proposals to reduce carbon emissions include the recommendation that gas could be turned off for good, starting with no new installs in just four years’ time.

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March 2021


Apprentice stars sought by Andy Bryenton

New Zealand’s building industry is searching for its top rising stars, as the 2021 Registered Master Builders Apprentice of the Year competition gets underway. Applications are open now for young builders to have their chance in the spotlight. Bound course, top-flight tools ‘As an apprentice, you are and products from Carters’ the sector’s future leaders,’ suppliers, and a business states the invitation to get tools grant from Carters to the involved. ‘The competition value of $2,000. Then there’s will test your project the honour of representing management, business and the north at the national presentation skills as well as competition in Auckland practical skills.’ during November. The competition tests There’s an extensive not just the skills of young application to be part of tradespeople on the tools, this competition, as young but all those other aspects apprentices will need their that make for a top builder. employer and training advisor’s Fostering this kind of talent support to get involved. is vital to producing the However, it’s a great way of leaders of tomorrow in an New Zealand’s Master Builders, BCITO and Carters are proud to advancing young careers, and industry tasked with tackling a team up to foster young talent with the apprentice of the year awards an opportunity to celebrate not nationwide housing shortage. Applications are open from April 1 and Carters Apprentice of the Year. The just the young people who have decided run all month. Every entrant receives a competition runner-up went to Matthew to train up and become future builders, complimentary pack of clothing and gear Van Boheman, 23 from Bay of Plenty- but also the companies passing on from Carters, the hardware and timber Central Plateau who is employed by their skills and experience to make company, to help get them started. The Beck Building, with Mark Lovelock, 27 this possible. If you know an apprentice who is middle of the year will see practical from the Upper South Island, employed tests laid down and judging taking place by Timbercraft Construction, being dedicated and talented enough to deserve a shot at the top honour in region by region. awarded third place. Thomas O’Brien, 20 from the As well as bragging rights and a their profession, tell them to visit Northern region, employed by Beacon fantastic boost for their CV, each apprenticeoftheyear.co.nz and get Construction and trained with BCITO, regional winner in 2021 will receive a prepared now to apply in just under a took the title of 2020 Master Builders place at a specially designed Outward month’s time.


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March 2021




A home with a view Chris and Caroline Lewis don’t do things by halves. In one year, they demolished their house, renovated their farm cottage, excavated a section and built their 310sqm, four-bedroom dream home on a four-acre section. If that wasn’t enough, moving day was in the middle of calving season. The family’s dream home is on their Pukeatua farm, at the base of Maungatautari Mountain. Although architecturally designed, the couple worked with the Urban Homes team on a number of suggestions that significantly reduced the cost of their build without losing any of the design elements. Central to the build was capturing the view of the mountain and creating an outdoor entertaining area, complete with a pool. It’s not just the mountain that’s a feature of Lewisridge Farm; there’s plenty to admire within, from feature barn doors and oversized windows to boldly painted statement walls. An increased 2.55m stud height creates a feeling of space and openness, while the polished concrete floor gives a stunning salt and pepper look in keeping with the modern style of the home, allowing Chris’s collection of 8,000 recycled Canterbury bricks to take centre stage behind the fireplace. Caroline says they wanted a beautiful home but something that wasn’t too show-home-like. “It was important for us that the house complemented the environment it was to be built in. We

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have a lot of established trees on our property, plus Maungatautari Mountain nearby, so the home had to hold its own. It’s all come together really well and looks amazing.” Having gone through the build process twice, Caroline’s advice for others building a home is to spend time on research. “Time is essential,” she

says. “We had the time to look into renovation options first, then go down the build track.” She admits they asked many a question of the Urban Homes team, but nothing was ever too much trouble. “They are always so genuine and very honest about cost,” she says. “The service from the Urban team has been amazing!”

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Home of the year sets trends by Andy Bryenton

They’re the Academy Awards of tradespeople, the builders’ Golden Globes; the New Zealand Master Builders Home of the Year Awards has been handing out coveted titles for many years. Each of those years is reflecting in the styles, materials and designs utilised in the winning homes. This year 359 entries contested awards across many price-bracket categories, reflecting the ways in which graceful execution of architectural principles could be achieved with modest budgets and small spaces, as well as with grander designs. There were also awards for specific rooms, such as bathrooms and kitchens, awards for outdoor spaces and landscaping, and a special award for sustainability. “House of the Year continues to showcase what is possible in home building each year, across all price brackets,” said David

Kelly, chief executive of the Master Builders Association. “We are delighted to play our part, supporting homeowners by protecting their investment during the build and for the next 10 years. “Building guarantees are an essential part of the build process, and we are proud to have the most comprehensive product on the market. “Our guarantee has protected more than 140,000 homes through all economic cycles of the past 30 years. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners — you’ve done our sector


The New Zealand Master Builders Home of the Year for 2020 has set the trends for 2021 and inspired designers and architects

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proud.” Longevity, functionality, energy efficiency and clever use of space were all core factors in deciding winners across the country, from a 90 square metre modern bach-style home in Flaxmill Bay, Cooks Beach, through to the long, low, glass-fronted supreme renovation winner, brought to life by Haimes Building in Taupo. The supreme winner was constructed in Queenstown by Triple Star Management, but it’s not the views or location that cinched the top spot. Blending modern techniques and light, airy glazed areas with traditional stone created a visual impact. While it was the small details that impressed;

this home also took out the supreme bathroom award. “This home is an outstanding example of the builder’s attention to detail. Clever use of natural materials creates an intriguing home that has visual warmth and a harmonious balance,” said the judges’ panel. “The geometry stirs the imagination with a dramatic use of steeply pitched roofs, sculptured shapes, and five interconnecting pavilions. It’s clear that this incredible home has been designed and built to successfully offer comfortable living. The flawless implementation of these details proves this build was no easy feat.”


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March 2021


AG CONTRACTORS & SUPPLIERS Technology offers a helping hand The days when a farmer needed to walk the paddocks to check on pasture growth and see where a renewal programme was needed are still valid and a part of normal farm operation. Technology is also at hand, which makes the job quicker and less tiring perhaps. Technology is opening up handsfree pasture assessment. DairyNZ has established that in the past few years some 50 per cent of farmers are using this for pasture measurement, with the balance surveyed still using visual examination on the land. There are improvements on the old favourites: plate meters, sward sticks, and tow-behinds with Bluetooth connectivity and apps to automatically upload paddock data to software. Some of these tools come with global positioning systems (GPS), so you can link paddock pasture data to your farm map. Also, emerging recently has been pasture measurement by satellite or using a robotic tow-behind to populate your feed wedge or farm map with the data without slipping on the gumboots. Drones have also been found increasingly effective in remote assessment of far-distant paddocks. Of course, that doesn’t mean getting into the paddocks to check pre-grazing covers and post-grazing residuals are any less important.

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Drones are providing a farm overview

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Spring Rotation Planner will help keep you on track when pasture growth rates and covers fluctuate. Comparing whole-season paddock dry matter (DM) performance will lead to paddock improvements, including pasture renewal rates, drainage and soil fertility.

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The importance of renewal Pasture renewal is important for increasing productivity and long-term farm profitability, particularly in the dairy sector. While grasses can grow indefinitely, factors such as drought, pests, and pugging damage will cause deterioration. Total DM production drops, weeds increase and feed value is therefore reduced. Renewal can see increased total pasture yield (one–eight tonnes DM/ha/ yr) and gives control over seasonality of production. It makes pasture management easier by using late heading varieties to minimise the drop in pasture quality as seed heads appear in late spring. New pastures produce, on average, 0.5–0.9 MJME/kg DM more. Reasons for this include higher proportion of desirable species, later and more uniform flowering, leafier sward, with fewer seed heads produced and less dead leaf material. Most new perennial ryegrass cultivars are available with new endophytes developed to solve particular problems in different regions.

Thus animals are fed better. Cows on new pasture graze more grass, and that grass is leafier, higher in ME and more palatable. That will be reflected in more milk solids production, faster live-weight gains, higher stocking rates, and at the end of the day, much more contented cows. Replacing poorproducing pasture is profitable. It is one of the simplest ways to invest on-farm for a significant and relatively predictable rate of return. Although the rate of pasture renewal is often set by historical practices or the budgeted levels, the most profitable rate of renewal for an individual dairy farm is best determined by an analysis of paddock performance, and from this, the cost/benefit for gains through renewal. Analysis of your pasture growth data will help you plan the most profitable renewal programme. While you may instinctively know your best and

Renewed pasture has benefits

worst paddocks, without measuring or assessing pasture growth, paddocks cannot be accurately ranked to identify worst performance. The best paddocks to renew are the poorest producers as these have the potential for the greatest improvement. For example, where the yield can be increased by two tonnes of DM/ ha, the return is around 130kg MS/ ha. The return will be greater if the extra growth occurs at a time of the season when animal demand exceeds pasture growth.

The highest producing paddocks on a farm indicate the property’s overall potential. Under-producing paddocks highlight the opportunity for extra pasture growth. Use grazing and yield records to identify your best and worst paddocks. The more measures and assessments you have to compare, the better (and easier) the decision will be. If records are unavailable, use the Pasture Condition Score Tool and walk your farm at least six months before the sowing date.

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March 2021



Farmers need competent spreaders by Paul Campbell

Drive through rural New Zealand anywhere from North Cape to Bluff, and you will soon see fertiliser spreading, by land or air, as farmers boost the productivity of soils often deficient in nutrients. The work is almost always carried out by contractors, specialists in the business of getting the best spread for the farm they are engaged on. Today, contractors must be skilled in many facets of their operation, abiding by increasingly tight regulations in several areas of their business, so it is incumbent on their employers to make sure they are fully accredited. WorkSafe New Zealand provides the ground spreading industry with guidelines in a specific manual aimed at doing the job well. It says that when working with fertiliser, you can be exposed to a number of potentially serious hazards. Farmers, contractors and workers need to be aware of the risks when using fertilisers and know how to use them safely. This material can be dangerous to work with, especially in adverse weather or if it isn’t stored properly. “With the Groundspread Fertiliser Association, we have produced guidance for farmers, contractors and workers on how to safely use fertiliser on the farm,” a Workplace Safety spokesman says.

“This covers general health and safety, job planning, storage and maintenance, pre-start checklist, dealing with hazards and emergency planning.” Another area where contractors need updated qualification is in following the government’s vision to see a noticeable improvement in freshwater quality. New regulations to effect this came into force last September. These are aimed at reducing the amount of pollution — nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, E coli and other contaminants — entering waterways from our cities and our farms. These contaminants can be harmful to human health and damaging to freshwater fish and other aquatic species. Higher nitrogen levels contribute to the growth of slime and other harmful plants. The government is committed to supporting farmers to make the further changes needed to stop water quality from getting worse and starting the process of reversing past damage. MPI says it will continue to

work with the primary sector through the transition to more sustainable land and water use. Many farmers are already following good practice and taking action to reduce their impact on freshwater. It also sounds a warning on excessive


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Why are Secure Covers the ultimate? Simple: • Labour saving – takes only a fraction of the time to complete a stack compared to using tyres. • Protection – eliminates damage from birds & stock, and due to no tyres, minimises rodent problems. • Quality – near perfect silage is produced due to the perimeter sealing ability of the Gravel bags. • No Tyres – yes, no more tyres!!!! • 7 year UV guarantee Contact us now 0800 30 40 30 info@securecovers.co.nz Waikato Farming Lifestyles - Oct20 Secure Covers 2.indd 1

19/10/2020 6:47:57 AM


March 2021



Winter is time for stock care New Zealand’s codes of animal welfare generally require that livestock have access to areas that are free of surface water and mud, have protection from adverse weather and are able to lie down and rest comfortably for sufficient periods to meet their behavioural needs. Of course, it goes without saying that stock requires feeding. As winter approaches, farming thoughts are concentrating on good feed sources. Two main risks with winter cropping are that animals can get sick from changing their diet from pasture to crops too quickly, and paddocks can quickly get muddy during long, wet periods. These problems can quickly become welfare concerns. Mud happens. However, it can be managed; some resources to help are available online. The Winter Grazing Action Group, established in early 2020, is made up of 15 representatives from industry organisations, government, vets, farmers and other rural professionals. It’s tasked with implementing recommendations to improve animal welfare in winter grazing systems. The group has put together guidance for farmers. Short-term expected outcomes for animal welfare will help farmers understand what they’re doing well, highlights where improvements can be made, offer advice around planning during the year and has some important winter grazing management practices. Following the guidance will be good for the animals’ welfare. The group says the practice changes are realistically achievable by spring 2021. Action group chair Dr Lindsay Burton said it’s important everyone worked together to ensure farmers had the

right tools to get through winter on MPI’s website. “Ensuring you follow a gradual transition plan when moving your animals from pasture to crop and back again will help prevent issues. This is particularly important for cattle wintered on fodder beet. “For farmers, the focus heading into winter should be on providing the right feed at the right time, as well as shelter and easy access to drinking water. Doing this should have the flow-on effect of limiting stock movement and help reduce damage to crop and soil.” Farmers and rural professionals should refer to the levy organisations websites — Beef+LambNZ, DairyNZ and Deer Industry NZ. They have advice on good winter grazing practices and specific recommendations for transitioning stock on to crop and balancing the diet, which differs between the species. During the lockdown period, Dr Burton says the action group has remained committed to progressing its work to improve wintering practices, meeting virtually to keep up the momentum. “We recognise the good work that has already been done by farmers throughout New Zealand.”

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