Page 1

fieldays preview

birds of a feather

Full preview of Mystery Creek including a lift-out site map. pages 35-52

Vet student fundraiser and drench resistance latest. page 61

Rural NEWS

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page 13

to all farmers, for all farmers

june 7, 2011: Issue 493

Minister lauds farming p e t e r bu r k e

FARMING IS financing the nation and it hasn’t escaped the attention of the Minister in charge. Statistics New Zealand’s latest trade figures showed a record surplus in April, lead by a 32% leap in dairy exports and supported by a 13% surge in meat (see sidebar). Exports to China were up by a staggering 27% over a range of commodities. Finance Minister Bill English told Rural News New Zealand’s farmers have been very resilient and have per-

formed better than expected. He says the challenge in the years ahead will be to meet the growth that’s occurring in markets such as China. “There is no limit in the market. There’s no protectionism in our way. The only limit is really our ability to organise ourselves well enough and produce enough to meet the opportunity. The opportunity there is so large it’s hard to know where to focus.” China’s government wants New Zealand to almost double its exports to that country during the next five years from $11billion a year to $20b. “This increase will mainly come

from New Zealand selling high priced products there,” English says. The scale and opportunity will test the constraints and biological limits of our production systems, as he says it’s going to be hard to continue making consistent productivity increases as have been Bill English seen over the last 10 or 15 years. English adds that while present prices are high, farmers should expect volatility.

“Really high prices are going to draw supply from other producers that are underperforming such as South America or Central Europe… But even if the current prices came down by 15% or 20%, as long as farmers have got on top of their debt, we’ve got the production skills and the persistence to handle prices lower than they are now.” Lincoln University Agribusiness Professor, Keith Woodford, says those who wrote agriculture off in the 1980’s as a sunset industry have to eat their words. “The sun may have set in the west back then, but it’s certainly come up in the east again in more ways than one.” Woodford points out while China is leading the charge, and is now New Zealand’s second largest export market, economic growth in all of Asia is phenomenal. “Just looking at the top 20 markets, 11 of them are now in Asia and it just keeps growing. It’s not a case of any one of them dominating. Collectively Asia is where all the growth is.” to page 4

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April’s trade stats NEW ZEALAND’S traditional staple exports, dairy products and meat, have lead the country to its largest monthly trade surplus in nearly 20 years. For the month of April 2011, there was a surplus of $1.1 billion or 24% of the value of exports, Statistics New Zealand says. Total exports for the month were valued at $4.7 billion, up $691 million (17%) from April 2010 Leading the export surge was the milk powder, butter and cheese commodity group, up $287 million (32%), spread over a range of markets. Statistics NZ say this was driven by an increase in unsweetened milk powder, with unsalted butter and anhydrous milk fat also significant contributors. Meat and edible offal were up $79 million (13%), led by frozen lamb cuts with bone in and frozen beef cuts. Other primary product exports were also up with wool increasing by $32m (58%) and forestry receipts growing by $41m (15%). “This is the highest monthly surplus ever recorded and the highest in almost 20 years as a percentage of exports,” says Statistics NZ .

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 3 issue 493

News��������������������������� 1-21 World���������������������� 22-25 Agribusiness��������� 26-27 Markets������������������ 28-29 Hound, Edna�����������������30 Contacts�����������������������30 Opinion���������������������30-34 fieldays preview�35-52 Management���������53-60 Animal Health������60-65 Machinery and Products����������������66-69 Rural Trader�������� 70-71

Head Office Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 Postal Address PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print Contacts Editorial: Advertising material: Rural News online: Subscriptions: ABC audited circulation 80,488 as at 30.12.2010

Establishment board named by WPC tony benny

AN ESTABLISHMENT board to resurrect the failed Wool Partners Co-op capital raising has been named but there are still no details on the structure of “Plan B”. “What we’re doing is wrapped up around confidentiality agreements so there’s not a lot that we can say other than what we’ve already said, apart from we’ve got our establishment board up and away and we’re working with as many farmer-owned entities as possible,” board spokesman Mark Shadbolt told Rural News. The new board comprises representatives from around New Zealand with farming, business and corporate interests (see panel). “Things are progressing and the motivation by everybody in the industry is pretty much aligned, it’s just a matter of getting there – that’s the hard part,” Shadbolt says. “We’re talking to everybody in the industry. I won’t be happy going back to the growers with another prospectus unless we’ve spoken to everyone.” Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre national executive vice chairperson Jeanette Maxwell says the calibre of the establishment board is good news.

“It shows that they have got a more comprehensive group and are prepared to encompass a greater circle of farming... I can think of at least four in that group who are very driven to take things forward. “They’re not just a board of directors ready to just clip the ticket along the way – it’s a board of people really

Ruapehu Meat and Fibre rep and BLNZ board member is also happy to wait for news. “They’re obviously working hard to get the ducks all lined up and hopefully they’re talking to some other industry people. That would be my hope – to see some of the farmer money out there consolidated into something

“They’re not just a board of directors ready to just clip the ticket along the way – it’s a board of people really wanting some action.” wanting some action.” Maxwell says she’s not bothered by the length of time taken for “Plan B” to emerge and attributes that to the industry being in a “state of flux”. When more is known about the future ownership of Wool Services International, the way will be clear for more progress, she believes. “It hinges on whether Cavalier will win it or whether someone else does. If Cavalier gets the monopoly for the scours, it doesn’t want the export desk. I’m pretty certain they’d put it up for sale.” Kirsten Bryant, Federated Farmers

that’s got some scale and a common strategic vision.” Bryant says she had misgivings about the original WPC proposal: “I didn’t think the picture had been painted well enough about what the future was going to look like but I think the concept was great.” She believes many lessons were learned from the failed capital raising. “They got it a bit wrong last time and they have learnt from that which is good... I’m looking forward to seeing what the outcome is.” Wool growers received a letter this week outlining progress to date and

Jeanette Maxwell

naming the establishment board but with no word on a timeline for the next step. Maxwell is confident there will be more news soon. “I suspect by the end of the month if not by the end of next month when we find out what’s happening with wool services and what’s afoot with the Wool Equities discussions there’ll be some quite good information out there about where to go next.”

Meet the board Ingrid Collins (Gisborne) Chairperson of the Whangara Farms Board (2009 winners of the BNZ Ahuwhenua Excellence in Maori Farming Award). Also a member of the Federation of Maori Authorities and immediate past chairperson of the Tairawhiti District Health Board. John Dalzell (Tinui, Masterton) A sheep and beef farmer and chairman of the Animal Health Board. Previously an appointee to the Wairarapa Rural Services Committee of the

Wellington Regional Council. Philip Guscott (Wairarapa) A sheep and beef farmer and a farm management consultant and registered valuer. Joint founder and chairman of Lean Meats Ltd and Atkins Sheep Ranch, California. Dan Jex-Blake (Gisborne) Managing Director of Mangapoike Ltd, farmer and advocate for change in the wool industry. Chairman of the Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Training Trust.

Robert Lawson (Waikouaiti) A sheep and cattle farmer and chairman of the meat and fibre section for Federated Farmers (Otago), member of the B+L NZ Farmer Council for central South Island and a former director of Silver Fern Farms Limited. Mark Shadbolt (Banks Peninsula) A sheep and beef farmer and managing director of Banks Peninsula Wool Growers Ltd. Active in the reform of the wool industry as a member of the Wool Advisory Group established

by the Wool Industry Network. Director of Wools of New Zealand and WPI and a past director of Wool Partners Co-operative. Keith Sutton (Wellington) Farming interests in Wellington, Lewis Pass and Darfield, chairman of Taranaki Investment Management Ltd and Tasman Farms Ltd. Director of Sutton McCarthy Ltd, Aotearoa Fisheries Limited, Sealord Group Ltd, Gough Group Ltd and Wellington International Airport Ltd.

Rural News // june 7, 2011

4 news

FTA with US could boost ag-chem range to n y b e n n y

A PROPOSED free trade agreement (FTA) with the US is unlikely to affect agricultural chemical and veterinary medicine prices, but could lead to a wider range being available, says Agcarm.

Chief executive Graeme Peters’ comments to Rural News follow suggestions these products would be affected if Pharmac, New Zealand’s state drugbuying agency, was disbanded as part of the Trans Pacific Partnership

deal currently being negotiated. Despite Labour’s demands, the Government has so far failed to rule out such a move. Peters says nearly 60 companies sell agri-chemicals, including many generics, in New Zealand. He believes if the FTA goes through, nothing in it will bring change to that market. However, Agcarm is keen to see one change likely to come under the FTA: bringing New Zealand’s data protection regulation in line with US standards. That would give New Zealand importers or manufacturers 10 years’ exclusive marketing rights,

Low-key reaction ONE OF the largest suppliers of generic chemicals in New Zealand is Ravensdown. Acting CE Mike Whitty is relaxed about the FTA proposal. “Most of the products we’re purchasing are not from the US, but from Europe and Asia, so we don’t really see a major impact. In pastoral farming there aren’t a lot of chemicals now that aren’t generic,” he says.

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as opposed to the current five years’ protection. “The more data protection there is, the more access farmers, growers and vets have to the best technologies and that’s what we’d like to see.” While he hopes increased data protection on new products will be good for Agcarm’s members, Peters doesn’t believe it will push up prices. “My personal view... [There will be] absolutely bugger all effect on prices because there’s a lot of competition in the market. “Just because you

introduce a new product into the market doesn’t mean people are going to buy it. You can’t put a big price on something and expect people to just come in and buy it. It’s very competitive.” Peters notes two new drenches were released last year, the first time that had happened in 20 years. “But farmers have a choice – they don’t have to buy those because they can still buy old drenches which still work, but if you’ve got a resistance problem then you might have to buy the new drench. “One of the reasons we don’t get a lot of new actives coming on the market is the lack of data protection. Another reason we don’t is the size of the market – companies may say ‘it’s just not worth it, maybe we should concentrate on Australia where they do have eight years of data protection’.”

RUGBY IS almost as much a part of rural New Zealand life as grass and gumboots. Which is why we’re pleased to be able offer readers the chance to win one of two copies of a new book celebrating our national sport. Published by New Zealand Geographic, Our Game is a lavish hardback photographic celebration of the grassroots of rugby, photographed by Arno Gasteiger and written by Peter Malcouronne. The image on the cover conveys the spirit of the book – it connects with the joy of the game, the central part it plays in many of our lives, the memories of footy practice on chilly evenings, the pride of parents and supporters on the sidelines of junior grade matches. It’s an honest, heartfelt and often irreverent account. Malcouronne’s writing captures the excitement rugby evokes among avid fans, as well as providing fascinating insight into the history of the game in New Zealand. To enter the Rural News draw, email your name and address to with ‘Book Draw’ in the subject line of the email. The draw will be made at the end of June. If you don’t want to leave it to chance, you can also order the book for $49.99 by phoning 0800 782 436 or emailing Christine at

Minister lauds farming

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Woodford says the April export statistics show that New Zealand is going through a big commodity boom and in an era where wealth is being created by agriculture. “I think everyone around the world is now recognising that resources, and that includes agriculture, is the space to be in.” He adds the outlook long-term is reasonably good, but we have to be on the lookout for warning flags. “We know there’s going to be lots of ongoing volatility – that’s just a given. So for New Zealand agriculture and agribusiness, we must plan on the basis that things should be good, but always watching for the inevitable downturn.”

ANZ rural economist Con Williams says the April trade surplus beat market expectations, but was in some part due to lower imports for the month. Williams expects trade surpluses to continue and prices to remain steady –although there will be some ‘kickback’ in demand due to high prices which will come through over the next two years. He says concerns that dairy is becoming a high input cost industry are not as worrying as some people might suggest. “Yes, it is becoming more high input, but compared with our overseas competitors it’s still lower and this provides a hedge when prices come down. “You’ll see production turn off in the US and Europe before you see that happen in New Zealand.”


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Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 5

NAIT delay no bad thing p e t e r bu r k e

AGRICULTURE MINISTER David Carter says the 12-month delay in implementing NAIT will make for a smoother transition. “I think this gives us a far better opportunity to introduce it without a hiccup,” he told Rural News. Carter says there is nothing sinister in the postponement and is due

to a combination of factors. “The Select Committee, which has been hearing submissions on NAIT, has still not reported back and this means it is now behind other bills coming back from the select committees. “As a result, it’s just becoming increasingly harder to get legislative time between now and the election.” He says NAIT has also

been unable to finalise its IT system in time. “So for that reason we’ve decided to signal now that November 1 won’t be the implementation date and that we are now looking at mid-to-late 2012 as a timeframe. “But there is still a commitment from NAIT, industry and the Government to proceed.” Carter has no fears the delay will spell an end to NAIT and says there is

cross party support for the proposal. “It was originally developed by the Labour Government prior to us coming in 2008. “The support is pretty widespread right across the industry and there was only one organisation which opposed it and that’s Federated Farmers. “However, even they have modified their stance and become far

less vocal than they were previously.” Carter says awareness of the scheme is good,

with a number of farmers already tagging cattle with the EID tags. He believes a bit more time

to do the job properly will be a good thing, allowing NAIT to get its systems in place and tested.

Lifestylers’ awareness good lers would be slow on the uptake, but WE’RE TAKING A STAND Poole told Rural News, if the field day anything to go by, awareness is ACTUALLY WE’REwas TAKING THREE better than first thought. LIFESTYLE FARMERS in the lower half of the North Island appear to have a good general understanding of NAIT. The organisation took a site at the recent lifestyle farmers’ field day at Otaki and NAIT Communications Manager Joanna Poole says she was surprised at the level of awareness. There had been speculation lifesty-

While it was only one day, in one area, Poole says lifestylers were keen to know some of the more technical aspects of tagging animals and how the system will work.


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PEELING AN apple and matching the juice to the fruit was all part of the fun in the Hortisports competition at last week’s Innovation Celebration and Education (ICE) event in Napier. Hortisports was just one element of the Young Fruit Grower of the Year competition held in conjunction with the fruit and vegetable industry expo, the largest of its kind in the country. Contestants were also are tested on their dayto-day fruit-growing knowledge such as mechanical know-how, health and safety protocols, pest and disease control, fruit quality assessments and implications and labour requirements. “It was great to see a full car park this morning,” said Lesley Wilson, one of the organisers of the ICE Expo. There was plenty on offer, from trade-stands, an art exhibition, machinery as well as workshops lead by Pipfruit NZ and the Hawkes Bay Regional Council. This year the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association Fourneau Award was presented to the Innovation winner at the HBFA Young Fruitgrower of the Year dinner. “The Fourneau Award presented to the Innovation winner is HBFA’s way of recognising people’s efforts in creating better, more sustainable and economically effective ways of producing and delivering fruit and vegetables,” said Leon Stallard, President of the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association. “Our list of winners is impressive. Having the award combined with the ICE Innovation Award was a natural progression and one that we are very happy to be associated with.”

Rural News // june 7, 2011


Dairy and enviro can dovetail says Smith mary wits ey


ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Nick Smith says an expanding dairy industry is possible in New Zealand while protecting the environment at the same time. His comments come as concern grows about the water quality of Southland’s Waituna Lagoon, with suggestions the waterway is being impacted by intensive dairy farming (see p18-19). “The Government wants to grow the economy and the dairy industry is of huge importance, but we need to do things in a smart way that doesn’t cause damage to the environment,” Smith says. “I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by demonizing the dairy farming community, but they do need to be committed to finding solutions.” Smith says despite New Zealand’s fresh water resources being among the cleanest in the world, quality problems are developing, with the recently-released National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management aimed at giving councils clear direction on management. “We need to get on top of these issues before they get to the stage that Waituna Lagoon is at.

“The issue of intensive dairy farming and managing water quality is a huge challenge across many parts of New Zealand.” But Smith is confident safe-guarding the environment and growing the

Nick Smith

economy can go hand in hand. “I believe we can have a growing dairy industry, in places like Southland, at the same time managing the fresh water quality in a way that doesn’t cause irreparable damage to waterways.” He is keen to work with Environment Southland on improving Waituna Lagoon, but expects the local council to take control.

“The Government is interested in being in a partnership, but the lead must remain with Environment Southland. It needs to come up with a credible plan to protect the Waituna Lagoon.” A new contestable fund of $7.5 million per year for 2011/12 and 2012/13 has been specifically set aside to help councils and communities cleanup water bodies like the Waituna Lagoon. However, a pre-condition is that councils have effective rules in place to prevent on-going pollution. “It’s about using both a carrot and a stick approach to improving freshwater management.” Smith suggests Waituna Lagoon would likely qualify for funding, although not without the pre-conditions being met. “That means Environment Southland needs to have a plan in place that sets limits on the nutrient flows into the lagoon, plans around effluent control and a clean-up plan. “Financial contributions from regional councils, Environment Southland and landowners in the catchment - who are part of the problem, but who want to be part of the solution - are also needed.” Smith will visit Waituna Lagoon on June 29.

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THE WAITUNA Lagoon is part of the internationally-recognised Awarua Wetlands and is one of the best remaining examples of a natural coastal lagoon in New Zealand. It is unique in Southland and New Zealand, sitting at the bottom of a small, intensively farmed catchment. Environment Southland says monitoring shows that since 1995 water quality in the lagoon – and the streams that flow into it – has

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 7

$200 lambs bring welcome respite Vivie n n e h alda n e

RECORD PRICES fetched for lambs at recent sales across the country is good news. But can this upward trajectory hold or is it a flash in the pan? Judging by meat company, livestock trade and farmer comment, nobody is prepared to say. But one thing is unanimous, without going over-board all are enjoying the current buoyancy. “It’s a welcome turnaround for sheep farmers, largely due to the fact that we’ll export only as many lambs as we did in 1961. So we are well down on numbers and 10% down on last year’s figures,” says Federated Farmer’s Meat and Fibre spokesman Bruce Wills. “Demand remains firm and supply is short, so good old economics means prices will rise.” Wills notes that the average lamb price in April was $116 compared to $76 a year ago. “That 50% increase is fabulous, but we’ve still got a long way to go. The T150 target is for the average mid-season lamb to be $150 by 2013. We’re heading in the right direction and many are already getting this.” The downside is a lack of sheep numbers to support the current

Plenty of feed and firm prices means everybody’s happy.

demand. “With these record prices it would be great if we had a lot more sheep and could bring more foreign exchange into the country.” Commenting on record two-tooth prices at a recent Temuka sale, Wills says it’s very rare to see those kinds of prices in the South Island and they are not often seen at all in the North Island.

He also warns about the danger of prices of moving too high, too quickly and frightening off consumers. “Lamb still has to compete with other proteins in the market place and when it comes to making their dollars stretch, people will be quick to put cheaper options in their shopping basket.” However, Wills acknowledges that




as a high input meat, lamb needs to sell at a high price in order to make it worthwhile for farmers. Emerging markets such as China and India look likely to bolster future sales of lamb. “Most farmers have a smile on their face and a bounce in their step – this trend just needs to hang around for a number of years so farmers can catch

up on those damaged balance sheets,” Wills adds. Meanwhile, CR Grace livestock manager, Greg Parkes says Taylor Preston and CR Grace have a contract that starts at $7.60 on July 1 and will increase by 10c increments to hit $8 for August/September supply. “Although we are at record highs now, we are going to be going higher than this. We are finding there’s higher demand and less buyer resistance, so most farmers will be very happy and it’s exactly what the sector needs. “Unless we get bad weather, we’ll see consistency in lamb prices,” Parkes says. “But at what level, I’m unsure.” PGG Wrightson’s South Canterbury livestock manager, Joe Higgins says: “it’s the best season we’ve ever had”. Higgins says there’s plenty of grass down in South Canterbury and in the South Island generally. “It’s the first time for ages that we’ve had good prices and plenty of feed around, so farmers are very positive. One farmer got $228 for one pen of ewes and that’s a record price. “After that, who knows; it’s in the lap of the gods – you tell me where the dollar is going to be? We’ll just take it while it’s here.”



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Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 9

Bounce back ability important in dairy SUD ES H K I SSUN

DAIRY BUSINESSES should have the ability to bounce back from economic shocks without breaking, says agribusiness expert Nicola Shadbolt. The Massey University academic and Fonterra director says both low and high intensity dairying have risks.

use, your business should be structured so that it bounces back from shocks without breaking.” Shadbolt’s comparison of different farming systems in New Zealand showed no significant difference in return on assets in 2006-07 and 2007-08. However, in 2008-09 when the milk price plummeted after a high forecast

“Whichever system you use, your business should be structured so that it bounces back from shocks without breaking.” Speaking at a recent Dairy Road Show, organised by Pioneer Seeds, Shadbolt pointed out efficiency remains the key for dairy farmers. The main risk in a low input pasture-based system is environmentrelated, she says. “If there is no rain, farmers are forced to dry off early and milk production is low.” When farmers move to more intensive systems, milk production is higher but they are at the mercy of international markets. “You move from environmental risk to market risk. “Whichever system you

payout, high intensity systems returns were hit. Shadbolt says increasing production intensity improved cost leadership in average and favourable market conditions. But this advantage disappeared under unfavourable milk price to input cost ratios. “The concern that New Zealand’s competitive advantage that has relied heavily on the use of low cost grazed pasture is being eroded by more intensive production systems is refuted by results.” Demand/supply imbalances will keep the market volatile, especially as 93% of milk is consumed in the

Farmer comp entries open ENTRIES FOR the 2011 South Island Farmer of the Year competition opened last week and will close Aug 1. Judges look for measurable and transferable innovative activity in production, management, and/or selling and marketing. “Through raising the profile of innovative farmers, we hope other farmers will consider the application of the innovative ideas so they too can grow their own business and ensure South Island farmers lead the world,” says Neil Taylor, chairman of competition organiser, Lincoln University Foundation. “Last year’s winners, the Avery family of Seddon, [Marlborough] epitomised the competition. By integrating animal and plant relationships they attained high performance on what is drought-prone country,” he says. “Since they won the award they’ve extended their farm and are now transforming more drought-prone country.” A $15,000 travel/education grant is awarded to the winner and the runner-up gets a $7,500 travel/education grant. All entrants are in with a chance of taking home, courtesy of TracMap, a TM465 GPS system valued at $6000. Entries or nominations at

country it is produced. Of the 7% of milk traded around the world, New Zealand chips in with 27%. Shadbolt says rising demand in China, India and the Middle East will be met by increased local production and more

imports, which turns the focus on the 12% of arable land available worldwide. The dilemma is whether arable land should be used for food production or growing feed for animals, or for other purposes, and how

the decisions will impact the supply of dairy. With world food demand projected to double by 2050, there is a need to double productivity on fertile soils already in crop production, she says.

Nicola Shadbolt

Rural News // june 7, 2011

10 news

Bees working under radar p e t e r bu r k e

A TINY creature that plays a major role in the production of $5 billion worth of primary exports was recently celebrated by way of ‘Bee Week’. The bee makes its greatest contribution by pollinating crops, but New Zealand also exports $100m-worth of honey

products. Daniel Poole, of the National Bee Keepers Association, says for many years bees have flown underneath the radar with people failing to recognise their value. He says this is now changing and people are starting to appreciate just how important bees are. “Of the 100 basic food

“There are the multi-billion dollars in export earnings derived from pollinated crops.” crops in the world which humans rely on for daily substance, something like 75% of them are pollinated by bees. This gives you some idea of the value bees are to our continued

existence.” Poole says a lot of basic forage crops which are vital for bees, such as gorse and broome, are disappearing as farmland is developed and crops that

are not ‘bee friendly’ are planted. Federated Farmers spokesperson on bees, John Hartnell says the outcome of poor governance and irresponsible actions relating to the honey bee could lead to economic and social collapse. “One-third of the food humans eat can be directly attributed to the pollina-

tion activities of honey bees and there’s no effective substitute pollinator. The bee is the most indispensable organism modern society depends upon. “When you eat your main meal this evening, examine what’s on the plate.  Literally, all of the colours on it, from avocados to turnips, are there as a result of bee pollination.” Hartnell says a third of the food we eat from the red meat sector is indirectly supported by the honey bee.  “Without the honey bee, no one will be rolling in clover because pasture not only needs the bee; soils also need the nitrogen which pasture ‘fixes’”. He points out that in China much of its pear industry relies on pollination by human hand, because irresponsible use of agricultural chemicals has made the land in that region toxic to bees. Horticulture NZ’s CEO Peter Silcock has called for

more research devoted to bees. He says the value of pollination to New Zealand is almost beyond calculation. “There are the multibillion dollars in export earnings derived from pollinated crops, which puts jobs in our rural towns and money in the bank. “Pollination is not easy work.  For example, a bee must visit a kiwifruit flower at least four times to ensure the fruit produced is of export quality size.”  Silcock says horticulture is the beekeeping industry’s biggest client and without the bee many growers would find it extremely difficult to continue to produce high quality products. “Bee Week is a good opportunity for growers, farmers and home gardeners to be reminded to use agrichemicals, and even some fly sprays, with care and according to the instructions because of the risk they pose to bees.”

Beekeeper shortage flagged by NBA THERE’S A national shortage of well-trained apiarists (beekeepers), so much so the trade is listed on the Department of Labour’s Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL), says the National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand (NBA). Yet despite the shortage, the New Zealand beekeeping and honey industry continues to expand, says NBA president, Frans Laas. “Kiwis should be encouraged to get involved and work in an industry that contributes $5.1 billion to New Zealand’s economy. “Lincoln University and some New Zealand polytechnics and private service education providers offer certificates in apiculture. The relevant training courses and certificates put students in good stead for a job in the commercial beekeeping industry.” It’s the perfect occupation for those who enjoy being outdoors, love working with their hands and are physically fit, he says. “And it has a relatively quiet period from May to September – so if you’re into winter sports or winter escapes, look no further!”

Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 11

Chinese kiwifruit demand rising p e t e r bu r k e

ZESPRI PREDICTS within six years China will be New Zealand’s biggest market for kiwifruit, both in volume and dollar terms. Simon Limmer, general manager grower and government relations, told Rural News China is now Zespri’s third largest market by volume, taking some 10 million trays worth more than $100 million this year. Six years ago just half a million trays were exported to China. He says the increase is due to the rapid rise of what’s called ‘the new consumer class’ in China. Zespri has a clear strategy for China and expects it to be in second spot within a year or two. “We’ve concentrated our marketing around the three major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and using quite specialised and a narrow range of distributors,” Limmer explains. “In retail it’s been a case of building up the recognition of the Zespri brand and the quality associated with New Zealand kiwifruit.” Zespri is now looking at other large Chinese cities besides the big three. “The focus is not only the taste and quality, but also other attributes, in particular health benefits. A new market like China, where health, nutrition and food go hand-in-hand, it’s really important that we build that profile so consumers understand what they are eating. “It’s also about positioning kiwifruit as a premium product.”

Limmer notes Chinese eat kiwifruit in the same way that is popular in New Zealand: cutting it in half and scooping the flesh out with a spoon. About equal volumes of the Hayward variety and Kiwigold are being sold to meet consumer preferences in China. Limmer says New Zealand is keen to see China improve the quality of its local production because this will help position kiwifruit as a premium product, which in turn will benefit New Zealand product.

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

12 news

Alternative pasture species gain attention The importance and value of different forage species was one of the popular topics at the recent Beef and Lamb Science day in Palmerston North. Peter Burke reports… ABOUT 200 farmers from the lower North Island flocked to Palmerston North late last

month for what’s becoming an increasingly popular event and a great opportunity for agricul-

tural scientists to present their latest research findings. As well as presenta-

tions on pasture species plantain and lucerne, the Beef and Lamb Science Day featured sesPeter Kemp urged delegates to think about plantain.

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sions on the value and efficacy of drenches (see p61), selecting sheep with short tails and resistance to dagginess, as well as information on managing beef cattle for maximum returns. Farmers spoken to by Rural News told of the value of the day and need for more forums where scientists engage with farmers. Massey Scientist, Peter Kemp presented on plantain – a pasture species he is passionate about. He says its main benefit is that it gives farmers a high quality feed through the summer period, when it’s hot and hard to have high quality feed. “Ryegrass is at its lowest quality in the postChristmas period and the use of plantain is just another way of making a quality feed available for the animals.” Kemp says while plantain does offer an alternative to ryegrass, there are some riders around this – especially if conditions are very dry and the leaves of the plantain get old. In this case, the quality is not as good as one might like or expect. He says the way plantain is grazed is important and fortnightly grazing of plantain from 8cm down to 5cm gives the best production and nutrient value to lambs. “When you’re trying to grow lambs really fast you’ve got to be sure they’re eating as much as possible. Because of the way that plantain grows and especially because it’s a bigger plant there is a rule of thumb that says that once you’re getting down to about 5cm it means that you’re going to limit the lamb’s intake and it’s time to move on.” Kemp says he wouldn’t grow only plantain in a paddock.

“It works ok, but I think that you’d be better off putting at least white or red clover in with it just to improve the mix.” One of the mysteries of plantain is that lambs both do and don’t like it. “In spring and late autumn, lambs love it. However, at times through the summer, they will still eat it, but if you give them other grass species they’ll eat these first. “This seems to be due to the fact at that time of the year, protein levels in plantain are lower and also related to the fact you can easily build up old leaf if you’re not careful. Young stock, especially, won’t eat the old leaf.” He says old plantain leaves are a bit like what broccoli is to some young kids. Kemp also points out that lambs tend to be more selective about what they’ll eat than any other animals. “Ewes won’t be quite so fussy. Put in dairy cows, they’ll eat first and think later.” To arrive at these conclusions, Kemp and his team have conducted some pretty interesting field trials. “The most interesting was where we had a mixture of chicory, plantain and red clover in a well established pasture. Individual plants were tagged by putting in pegs so we could find them afterwards. “We monitored them every day and saw the lambs eat the red clover first, move onto the chicory and then later eat the plantain.” He says this showed over a week, they are not eating the same thing every day and like a change of diet. Kemp also believes plantain is the winner because more is being left behind.

Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 13

Change your ways to max lucerne use FARMERS NEED to fall back in love with lucerne, according to a leading plant scientist Derrick Moot. The Lincoln University professor told farmers at the recent Beef + Lamb NZ science day that in the 1980’s farmers fell out of love with lucerne for a variety of reasons, including a poor cultivar that was around at the time. But he says times have changed and new research offers compelling evidence that lucerne has real benefits for dryland farmers. “The data we’ve got coming out of Central

Lucerne: you don’t have to let it grow tall before grazing.

Otago indicates the production of lucerne is similar to irrigated white clover pasture.” Moot says traditional wisdoms that it shouldn’t be grazed

until 10% flowering and that it is best used as a conserved crop need to be forgotten. “We grew a crop that was 80cm tall before it flowered, because in the spring it

doesn’t want to flower.” He says lambs love lucerne and ewes milk really well on it because it’s high in protein and a very good quality feed, so late spring grazing makes

Docking and dagginess WITH SHEEP, easy care is a popular catch-phrase and it can mean different things to different farmers and scientists. For AgResearch scientist David Scobie it’s all about sheep baring it all. Speaking at a recent Beef and Lamb-funded science day at Palmerston North, Scobie spoke about the value of breeding sheep that are less susceptible to dagginess. The aim is to reduce flystrike and also for lambs to put on more weight by weaning time. He says while docking by various means is the most common way of dealing with dagginess, there is the option of actually breeding sheep that will have less dags. “We can directly select for less dags. It’s not as heritable as some other traits, in facts it’s only 20% heritable in sheep,” Scobie explains. “That means 80% of the dags you see on sheep are due to internal parasites, lush feed, a change in feed or some pathogen that they are eating.” He says another alternative is to select sheep that have shorter tails

and progress will be pretty good. “Heritability of shorter tails is about 57%.” In the meantime, Scobie is advocating that instead of cutting off a lamb’s tail right at the rump, docking teams should leave a few centimetres of tail. “You need to leave a little bit of tail so the sheep can lift the wool above the anus out of the way when they are defecating and urinating and keep the wool clear of any faeces.” Scobie says farmers need to be more aware of their management, breeding and feeding practices as consumers are now taking a greater interest in how their food is produced. “In the future when changes happen in terms

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of social acceptability of doing operations such as docking, we may have to abandon them altogether. You’ve seen what’s happened in the pig industry and what’s happening now in the layer hen industry. “Consumers and animal rights people can put a lot of pressure on things that take a long time to change.” Scobie believes research into providing alternatives to docking may well turn out to be very important. “We humans are quite a clever species. We can fly to the moon and we don’t have to do things the way we have always done them,” he says.

Dock it about here, says David Scobie.

sense. However, Moot warns, you can’t set stock on lucerne. “You have to rotationally graze it. Lucerne grows from the top of the plant, not from below ground [like grass].” Fertiliser requirements are similar to highly productive ryegrass and white clover

pastures. Moot says a great advantage with lucerne is its utilisation of water. Annual farm rainfall is an important statistic, but it’s when that rain falls that’s really important. He says lucerne is not only able to access groundwater from much deeper than other pas-

ture species, but responds to any moisture in the air, and provides high quality feed through summer. “It’s not like ryegrass which has seed heads or dead material that’s unpalatable to stock.” Consequently stock grows faster on lucerne than on traditional ryegrass and clover.

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14 news

Deer progeny test launched Deer industry delegates from all over New Zealand descended on Timaru last month for the sector’s annual conference. Andrew Swallow reports A CENTRAL progeny test for deer (DPT) is underway and inter-stud comparisons of terminal traits should be available in a little over a year. Amanda Bell, chairman

Keynote speaker shares conference optimism

of the Deer Industry New Zealand’s Industry Productivity Group, told the sector’s annual conference, that 821 hinds split between two farms were inseminated in March

with semen from 15 reference sires. Progeny traits such as growth rate, weaning weight and carcase characteristics will be measured in male fawns to

produce Estimated Breeding Values for the sires; allowing inter-stud comparisons. Maternal traits such as fertility, survival and longevity will also be mea-

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CONFERENCE KEYNOTE speaker, Ministry of Foreign Affairs chief executive John Allen, noted the upbeat mood among delegates. “I’ve never heard a group of farmers speak so positively about their industry... so I know I am among optimists in this room today.” Being optimistic about New Zealand’s future is “controversial” and such optimism must be based on more than world population and wealth growth, says Allen. Wealthier consumers demand better service and quality and there is likely to be greater competition for their custom, he explains. “We’re not the only people on the planet to have seen these opportunities.” Allen says New Zealanders’ attitude to wealth creation must change, such that it is supported and celebrated. He also stressed the importance of science, and described DINZ’s circa $550,000/year research funding as “commendable but insufficient”, given the sector’s circa $300m/year receipts. “You, and Government, need to be putting more money into the science to help you succeed.” New Zealand needs to capitalise on its smallness, focussing on being nimble and quick in meeting market demands in a way larger nations may not. Collaboration and cooperation among New Zealand’s firms at home and in marketing overseas is essential. “We need to understand the primary competition we to page 17

Vets’ johnes work gains recognition

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JOHNES RESEARCH Group vets Mandy Bell and Adrian Campbell were joint winners of the 2011 Deer Industry Award in recognition of their work with the group and in raising the sector’s awareness and response to the issue. “It’s widely acknowlMandy Bell edged that Bell and Campbell have been at the core of the emotion, drive and vision that has taken the industry at farm level from reluctant acceptance that JD was an emerging management and productivity issue and risk, to the current state of awareness, planning for the future and coordinated activity,” read part of the awards citation. Bell told Rural News she was overwhelmed to have received the award. “It’s been a huge team effort; a lot of effort from many people has meant we have really gained significant traction in fighting Johnes.”



Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 15

at upbeat conference sured in hind fawns. EBVs for the terminal traits should be available within 18 months. “The maternal traits will be a couple of years behind the terminal traits.” The EBVs will be combined to produce an economic index based on growth rate and car-

case traits for terminal sires, and, in due course, a maternal index. Bell describes the DPT as “the missing link”, pulling together current breeding value work and DeerSelect records, providing the benchmarks to help ensure the industry as a whole is using the best genetics available.

“The DPT will deliver economics, heritabilities and correlations for us to improve a number of traits on-farm. They will lead through to efficiency benefits for the processors and – with the addition of venison attributes such as taste, texture and colour – add value to the market and consumer.”

With genetic technologies advancing, as evidenced by DNA sireproving in the dairy industry and SNP Chip technology in sheep, the progeny test for deer should facilitate such tools in the deer sector and further speed genetic gain. “It’s a fast moving and exciting field and we need

to embrace it... Genetic gains can arguably deliver the biggest productivity gains. “...Given the challenges of land-use can we afford not to be involved with these genetic advances?” Bell stresses the focus must be on profitability, not just productivity. “Whether you are a


commercial producer, or a [stud] breeder, we need to grasp the tools available to us. The challenge is to have 100% industry participation next season.” For breeders this means ensuring they record and log data with DeerSelect. For commercial producers it means using EBVs or indices in their sire purchasing decisions. The first “round” of DPT work will take three years and cost $430,000. Alliance Group has backed the project for three years, with Silver Fern Farms and Landcorp making a commitment for at least the first year. A proportion of the funding is also coming from levy funds, but Bell hints there will need to be greater funding from producers. “The challenge is we don’t want this to just be round one. We need to support it. We need to

think how we are going to keep this going. It’s so critical for how we position ourselves as deer farmers.” Deer Industry New Zealand has calculated the project will deliver a 28% internal rate of return. “So it’s a pretty good rate of return if we can nail it,” says DINZ chairman Andy Macfarlane. DPT Goals • Develop economic indices for growth rate and carcass traits to rank all stags. • Develop similar systems to compare animals for maternal traits, in dollars for a wide range of blood lines. • Provide a platform to build new technologies into breeding programmes, such as genomics. • Renew and strengthen linkage between current and new DeerSelect participants.

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FOR ALL the soul searching about where the next generation of deer farmers will come from, it seems the sector’s future is in good hands, judging by a fivea-side panel session at the conference. The session saw the “Faces of the Future” putting a youthful perspective on the industry with enthusiasm and enlightening insight – while five “Wisemen” made sage observations based on decades in deer. “Varied; outside; challenging; constantly interesting,” was how young, diminutive deer farmer Angela Whyte described her job on a Canterbury high country deer farm. “It’s very exciting to be a part of that.” However, she could see “some issues” arising for the sector if it’s not careful – particularly with public perception. “We have to keep flying below the radar. It’s so important not to have damaging publicity... velvetfree venison could do to the deer industry what cratefree pork has done for the pork industry.” She also thought some of the marketing could be more innovative to attract a younger clientele, suggesting the McRudolf burger, or perhaps a BK Double Deer burger. Fellow Faces of the Future speaker, Hamish Fraser, a National Bank rural manager with a deer farming family background, was equally enthusiastic about the sector’s outlook. “I truly do believe in the quality of the products produced: venison and velvet. I don’t believe the potential in either is really being realised yet.” His brother Duncan echoed that from a trophy hunting perspective, though he believes there needs to be a better understanding between farmers and trophy stag outfitters. “We’re not the only hunting destination out there.” Increasing red tape is also adding “unproductive hours”, but New Zealand’s combination of a safe family holiday destination with world-class deer, tahr and chamois hunting is proving attractive.

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 17

ETS opt-out window closes Sept a nd rew swa llow

DON’T JUST sit there, do something! It was a Basil Fawlty’s catchphrase to Manuel in the 80s TV comedy classic Fawlty Towers, but now it’s the plea from MAF advisors to landowners with pre-1990 forestry or plantations. “If you do nothing and September goes past and

next year you decide to turn that land into farmland with dairy cows or whatever on it, you’re going to have to pay,” warns senior programmes advisor Denis Albert. And the bill will come to tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, he told delegates at a workshop in Oamaru recently. While the November 30 cut-off for claiming

New Zealand Unit (NZU) carbon credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme on such land has been reasonably well publicised, there’s been less talk about the earlier deadline to register for exemptions from ETS liabilities. Exemptions are available for up to 50ha of pre1990 forest. Without the exemption, if such land is ever deforested, the

Future liability? They could be if you’re not up to speed with ETS options

Boosting profits and risk WHILE MOST delegates at Oamaru wanted to learn what the ETS meant for their pre-1990 forestry, the workshop’s main focus was on post 1989 forests. New Zealand Unit carbon credits (NZUs) are available for such woodland and will be allocated based on the amount of carbon it has accumulated since the beginning of 2008, if landowners, or those holding the forestry rights, register before the end of 2012. “If you defer and don’t join until 2013 you won’t be able to claim for the five year period 2008 to 2012,” explained MAF advisor Steve Ladanyi. He stressed the ETS is voluntary, and there’s no obligation on forest owners to join, but not doing so means they miss out on NZU allocations. Canterbury University’s Bruce Manly demonstrated how the accumulating cashflow from claiming and selling NZUs as the forestry grows makes it a substantially more profitable venture than growing timber alone, albeit with some extra risks. “For people with post 1989 forest the advent of carbon trading is a wonderful thing in most cases.” He says the extra risk is around the value of the NZUs, which could go up or down. NZUs corresponding to the

amount of carbon harvested have to be surrendered at the time of harvest, though stump and root carbon only has to be repaid if the forest isn’t replanted and only then over a period of ten years reflecting the decay period. Storm damage or fire is the other major risk, as the

More workshops

MAF IS running at least 10 more free workshops around the country in the next few weeks. Click on “Carbon Forestry Workshops” under the “Featured Programmes” heading on the front page of

landowner has to surrender NZUs corresponding to the amount of carbon removed, which is likely to be close to 1000 NZUs/ha, or possibly more. “The tally will probably come to $20,000 or $30,000/ha,” warns Albert. “That’s the kind of thing that will make you think twice about deforesting, which of course is exactly what it’s meant to do.” If a landowner opts to


ward looking at world markets, rather than getting hungup on internal issues. Inward investment from overseas organisations will be necessary for growth here and expecting markets in China and other Asian nations to open up to New Zealand enterprise without some element of reciprocity shows a lack of understanding of trade relations. A greater willingness to take risks and being prepared to stand, advocate for change and execute it is also essential. “If all you end up doing is talking among yourselves then it’s a waste of space.”

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from page 14

ers from liability for NZUs should that land ever be cleared, it just means they miss out on the NZUs, which can be sold and, as they are deemed a capital gain, the revenue is tax free. Recent trades have been just above $20/NZU. Allocations will be split, landowners eligible for 60 receiving 23 in 2012 and 37 in 2013. Allocations of 39NZUs will be split 15/24.

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claimant would have to surrender NZUs corresponding to the carbon lost to such catastrophes. How many NZUs/ha/year can be claimed depends on the type of forest, age, and area. For plots under 100ha regional tables will be used. Larger areas will be physically measured.

Deer conference speaker says ETS a marketing opportunity face is out there in the world... cooperation and market discipline is at the heart of our ability to deliver.” Allen also stresses the importance of brands, including brand New Zealand. He says an ETS should be seen as an opportunity to enhance that brand. “Rather than thinking of it as a cost imposed on your business, it’s an opportunity to go out there in the market and parade the only strategic framework of its kind in the world. Particularly in the very, wealthy European market you are attending to.” He says New Zealand business also needs to be out-

register such forest into ETS, rather than exempt it, they will be allocated 60 NZUs/ha by way of a compensation payment, assuming they have owned the land since before 2002. Forest bought since 2002 attracts an allocation of 39NZUs/ha. To claim NZUs for pre1990 forest it must be registered by November 30 this year. Non registration does not exempt landown-

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

18 news

Farmers facing up to Mary wits ey

SOUTHERN DAIRY farmers are ready to do what it takes to restore water quality at the world famous Waituna Lagoon. However, they’ve yet to be convinced that dairy effluent is the singular cause of the waterway’s decline. The race is on to save the internationally recognized waterway, with high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous found in sediments threatening to transform the lagoon from a clear water ecosystem to one filled with turbid water

Southland’s Waituna Lagoon: Farmers in the 20,000ha catchment feeding it are being asked to change their ways. Photo courtesy of Environment Southland.


and algae. Southland Fish and Game Council officer Zane Moss believes radical changes in dairy farming practices are the only way to save the fishery. “Fish and Game is not trying to attack dairy farming. We simply need to work together to reduce the amount of nutrient run-off in this catchment.” Environment Southland (ES) chair Ali Timms agrees and wants more dairy industry support to do the job. “Fonterra’s been paying lip service to sus-




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deny the science, the issues around winter grazing are there.” But it’s that very science – or the lack of it – that’s got farmers concerned. DairyNZ Southland regional leader Miranda Hunter says any future management decisions need to be grounded

in science and, as yet, that work is still being completed. “Farmers have said they want to play their part in getting things right, they want to know what’s causing the issues and they’re ready to do what it takes – once they get scientific information


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Southland Fish & Game officer Zane Moss says he is concerned about the future of Southland’s Waituna Lagoon.

Farmers are asked to:

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 19

Waituna issues to support that change.” DairyNZ has a water quality scientist and a regional policy advisor working on the issue and Hunter has visited almost every dairy farm in the catchment with wintering cows and says the majority are performing well. Federated Farmers is also looking to sciAn example of the dark unhealthy sediment that is on the increase in the Southland lagoon.

ence, with environmental co-spokesperson David Rose saying emotion has hijacked the debate. “Environment Southland has admitted there are a lot of knowledge gaps around Waituna. It’s a complex issue and while people would like to finger-point, they really need to rationally go through

Waituna lagoon key facts: • 40km South East of Invercargill • 1350ha with 20,000ha catchment • Approximately 130 properties in catchment • At least 5 farming sectors present: arable, forestry, sheep, beef and dairy • 40 dairy effluent discharge consents in catchment • 80 different bird species recorded • Over 2000 ‘angler days’ per year

More science is needed to determine causes and solutions to water quality decline, say farming leaders.

the facts.” Just 42 of the 130 farms in the Waituna catchment are dairy operations. “It’s about N and P and sediment getting into the lagoon – it’s not all about dairy effluent.” Local dairy farmer Peter Phiskie also insists

future management decisions for Waituna must be... “based on fact and good science.” “It’s not just about dairy farming. We’re trying to do our best and I feel like we’re an easy target.” He says many farmers are spending big dollars


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to invest in up-to-date effluent disposal systems and the majority take great care with winter management practices. “Farmers want to improve their farms to pass them on to future farmers. We must make sure that farmers are part of the Waituna catchment

going forward.” Conservation Minister Nick Smith says he expects Environment Southland to take the lead on this issue. “I’m open to providing support and funding, but they need to come up with a robust and credible plan.”

NAIT legislation has been introduced, and we are here to point you in the right direction In 2012, it will be mandatory for all cattle moving off-farm to be tagged with a NAIT-approved RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) tag.* NAIT-approved RFID tags are available now from your usual supplier. NAIT has been set up by our industry to run the process, providing all the information and help you’ll need to make the change. With a phased implementation, we’ll work with the industry to ensure we have a world-class traceability scheme. Lifetime traceability of individual livestock is an important move for New Zealand, and a big change – a change for the better. If you have questions or need more information, we’re here to help. Visit or 0800 624 843 (0800 NAIT ID). | 0800 624 843 (0800 NAIT ID) * Subject to the passage of legislation in its current form by Parliament.


Rural News // june 7, 2011

news 21

Managing risk in volatile times su e edm o n ds

BE PREPARED for up to $2/kgMS difference between dairy payout forecasts and the final figure delivered, says Dairy NZ. That was a key message delivered at the levy body’s Face to Face event in the Waikato recently. The comment, from DairyNZ economist Matthew Newman and regional leader Duncan Smeaton, came hot on the heels of Fonterra’s $7.15 to $7.25/ kgMS forecast for 2011/12 season. Newman says budgets should recognise such potential volatility so farmers and their businesses are prepared for downturns, or upturns, should they occur. The two speakers stressed there are risks attached to everything we do and each person differs in how they regard and react to those risks. Market volatility just increases risk. They say a useful equation in defining risk is Risk = Chance % x Consequence %. Individual attitudes will influence decisions, as well as levels of knowledge, about how much money it is

financial situation, its production and its people. Smeaton says farm profitability is directly related to how each farm business handles the various risks. While there are financial tools available to attempt to mitigate risk, including diversification, insurance, and future pricing contracts, key risk areas for all businesses are cashflow and profit, the cost of bor• Risk is the effect of uncertainty rowing and how much equity on business objectives remains. • Volatility increases risk There is a fair amount of • Adaption to volatility mitigates arithmetic involved in calcurisk lating cashflows, with forecast budgets at the top of the • Plan, implement, monitor and list. review “Look at possible scenarios; • Know your average cost of concentrate on big items; allow production, liquidity, and equity for price changes of everything; • Budgeting allows you to take and be realistic with your produccontrol of your business tion figure,” explains Smeaton. “From this you can determine your break-even milk price.” ernment decisions, community attiIf you’re armed with this informatudes etc. tion, approaching the bank can be a A second set of variations, closer to more positive experience. However, the farm, involves changes in interest current lending criteria cover more rates, feed and fertiliser prices and so aspects of a business than in the past, on. All of these impact on the farm, its worth spending to try to control various risks. Systems need to be adaptable to cope with variations in the external environment such as weather, gov-

keys to risk management

DairyNZ’s Matthew Newman and Duncan Smeaton.

he warns. Banks will want to know the level of equity in the business and return expected from that. They’ll want a character assessment of the borrower, and how much collateral there is available. Newman says remember “The First Law of Holes”. “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging and seek help.” He believes these days every farmer should be aware of what their return

on capital is. Without sound financial management and plans, and the creation of a risk management plan, the dangers of risk and volatility can put those with significant liquidity risks in real trouble. On a positive note, both Newman and Smeaton say for all the risk volatility creates, it also presents opportunities. The key to mitigating the former, and capitalising on the latter, is knowledge.

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

22 world

World grain supply fears remain SUD ES H K I SSUN

RUSSIA’S DECISION to lift a year-long ban on grain exports has eased prices, but serious concerns remain about the

global output. Drought has reduced wheat output in the US Southern Plains and Western Europe, while the US Northern Plains are too wet to plant

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wheat. Prices sank last week as traders projected Russia, once the world’s third-largest grain exporter, would steal business from the US once it resumes grain exports July 1. The Russian Government halted exports last August when a historic drought devastated its crops. This year, Russian farmers are expected to bring in large harvests. However, increased production from Russia may not be enough to cover shortfalls in US and EU production and prices will be dictated by supply constraints. The International Grains Council says concerns about unfavourable weather for some key 2011-12 crops largely set

the tone for world grains and oilseed markets during May. Traders had expected Russia to lift the export embargo, the IGC says in a report released

producers,” it says. “Concerns were mainly linked to dryness in the US and the EU, as well as spring planting delays caused by wet

“Concerns were mainly linked to dryness in the US and the EU, as well as spring planting delays caused by wet weather in North America.” on May 26. “The downward pressure from nonfundamental influences was regularly reflected in the wheat market, but sentiment was kept mostly bullish by deteriorating production outlooks in some northern hemisphere

weather in North America.” UK farmer lobby National Farmers Union expects harvest feed wheat prices to remain high in response to continued weather concerns in the EU including eastern parts of the UK where the bulk of the country’s

wheat and other combinable crops are grown. It says other cereals and oilseed prices have also risen and this market response is causing concern beyond the farm gate. “While farmers recognise adverse weather is part of the farming cycle, and while Europe’s competitors have access to substantial support schemes in the arable sector, current conditions here and globally are an example of why the limited EU market measures in place and the single payment remain relevant to UK and European producers and public alike,” it says. “It maintains productive capacity and enables farmers to respond to

market signals sufficiently quickly.” Western Europe’s largest producer, France, is a major wheat exporter and has already declared a state of crisis because of drought. Traders estimate production could cut France’s exportable surplus to just five million tons in 2011-12, down from almost 13 million tons in 2010-11. Russia’s harvest is expected to offset some of the expected crop losses in Europe, as both regions sell to key buyers in the Middle East. Still, some traders fear Russia could limit exports again if world wheat prices surge on smallerthan-expected global output.

$A2.2m of federal funds for Aussie beef expo BEEF AUSTRALIA has landed a $A2.2 million Federal Government grant towards its Beef 2012 expo with a view to boosting trade. “Our vision is not just to celebrate our great industry, but to generate new trade opportunities for the Australian beef industry through international collaboration and by exposing all sectors of the supply chain to innovative new technology,” says Beef Australia chairman Geoff Murphy. “This conference will bring international cattle industry players face to face with Australian producers, as well as showcase the latest advances in scientific research and animal management techniques.” Murphy says the event, which is held triennially and always in Rockhampton, Queensland, will


$2.2m beef hand-out: Australia’s Federal Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig and Federal Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore with Beef Australia chairman Geoff Murphy.

be the best ever. “Beef 2012 will not only deliver a much-needed boost to the Rockhampton regional economy, in the wake of this summer’s floods, but also deliver long-term benefits to

the beef industry right across Australia.” A new feature for 2012 is a genetics marketplace showcasing Australia’s best live cattle, the latest in animal reproductive

technologies and an international business lounge where new opportunities can be negotiated for the export of Australian genetics. Beef Australia has been promoting the event at major international livestock events, with representatives of Beef 2012 visiting Brazil, North America, Europe and other beef export destinations with the support of State and Federal trade agencies. “Beef 2012 will provide grassroots producers with an opportunity to engage with the world, to develop their skills through the educational programme, investigate the latest farm equipment at the trade displays and to build business networks at the event’s business lounges and social functions,” adds Murphy.

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

24 world

Indonesian footage prompts suspension SUD ES H K I SSUN

AUSTRALIAN LIVESTOCK exports to some Indonesian abattoirs have been suspended after media reports of animal cruelty. The Australian Government has also ordered an investigation into the footage shown on ABC’s Four Corners programme last week. The programme obtained footage of cattle being whipped, maimed and tortured before they’re killed for meat. Animal welfare lobby, Animal Australia, pushing for a ban on live animal exports, supplied the footage from its recent investigation into the live cattle trade to Indonesia LiveCorp chief executive Cameron Hall says after the video footage was provided to the industry it immediately requested for the Indonesian industry to suspend the supply of Australian cattle to the three facilities in question. “Cruelty to Australian animals is simply unacceptable. We will not tolerate it,” Hall says. “This graphic and

distressing footage has upset and frustrated the industry, particularly given our major efforts to improve animal welfare in Indonesia.” Australian Agriculture Minister Senator Joe Ludwig says he was shocked by the footage and the treatment of the animals involved. “I have ordered an immediate investigation into the footage by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and asked them to provide me with all available options in response to the evidence.” Ludwig has also ordered a moratorium on the installation of any new Mark I restraint boxes, as seen being used in the footage. He believes animal welfare standards in the livestock export trade are still falling short of the desired standard. Earlier this year, Ludwig asked for proposals on how welfare outcomes could be improved – particularly after animals arrive in importing countries. “I am currently considering these proposals. It is clear that industry

reforms to animal welfare standards have not gone far enough or been fast enough and much more needs to be done.” Hall says the industry recently released an animal welfare strategy containing a specific action plan for Indonesia (see opposite page), on the back of an independent review of Indonesian facilities conducted last year. “The tangible actions coming out of this Indonesian plan are essential to bolstering our existing animal welfare efforts and eradicating cruel practices. “We are devoting extra staff and resources to initiatives, including intensive training programmes run by Australian cattle handling experts and upgrading facilities.” Hall says the industry is committed to improving welfare at every facility that processes Australian cattle. “Our animal welfare strategy is focused on ensuring our cattle are only supplied to facilities where supply chains meet or exceed global animal welfare standards.”

Australian livestock exports are under the spotlight once again following reports of overseas animal abuse.

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UK SCIENTISTS have found a genetic mechanism in which seeds control germinaton and plants flowering. The work, by biologists at the University of Nottingham, could be a significant step towards the development of new crop species that are resistant to climate change. Seeds sense environmental signals such as temperature, light, moisture and nutrients, and then germinate or remain dormant accordingly. Evolution has genetically wired them to avoid making potentially deadly mistakes. “The induction of flowering, like germination, is highly responsive to cues from the environment,” says research team leader George Bassel. Bassel’s team compiled publicly available gene expres-

sion data and used a systematic statistical analysis to untangle the complex web of genetic interactions in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana*. The resulting gene network has been dubbed SeedNet. “Another key finding from SeedNet is that the same genes that leaves and roots use to respond to stress are used by seeds to stop germination.” This work could lead to identifying important factors controlling stress response in seeds and plants helping develop crops capable of producting increased yields under extreme environmental conditions such as drought or floods. (*Arabidopsis thaliana is commonly used for studying plant biology as changes are easily observed. It was the first plant to have its entire genome sequenced.)

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

world 25 K-Line Effluent TM

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Australian cattle in an Indonesian feedlot, with good shade cover. Photo: Livecorp

Live export plan to check standards a l a n h a rm a n

AUSTRALIA’S LIVESTOCK export industry has launched a plan for improving animal welfare in its export markets as part of a commitment to only supply cattle to overseas facilities that meet World Health Organisation (OIE) standards by 2015. The aim is to ensure acceptable standards governing the treatment of Australian animals from the point of arrival in overseas markets through to the point of processing, in the process, blunting the often sharp criticism of the trade by animal welfare activists. Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) chairman Don Heatley says an important part of the strategy is the development of comprehensive action plans for each key export market. The first plan will be implemented in Indonesia, Australia’s largest and most important market for cattle exports at $A319m or 59.5% of the trade last year. Heatley says while the goal for meeting OIE standards is 2015, the industry will be working hard to achieve this as early as possible.

“This is an ambitious plan that will enable our industry to have tighter management of animal welfare outcomes in our overseas markets… “It will deliver a system to identify, monitor and address welfare requirements through the implementation of endorsed livestock welfare standards.” The plan will cover port, transport, feedlot and abattoir systems to ensure Indonesia is operating at OIE standards. It will also see the establishment of an Indonesian animal welfare taskforce consisting of a team of Australian livestock experts and 20 new Indonesian animal welfare officers to conduct a stock take of all facilities and locations in that country processing Australian livestock. Following this, the programme will deliver any needed infrastructure upgrades and provide training to every facility processing Australian cattle. “This is a big step by a developing country – Indonesia will be at the forefront of developing countries in adopting OIE standards,” says Heatley. The new animal welfare drive has seen Australia stop supply of cattle to

three Indonesian abattoirs after video evidence of animal cruelty. Australian Livestock Export Corp chief executive Cameron Hall says the Indonesian industry has rallied quickly to sanction butchers and locations acting in a cruel and inhumane manner and is committed to suspending supply of cattle to such facilities until animal welfare issues are addressed. Hall says the new strategy will support and enhance the industry’s investment in a range of programmes designed to improve animal welfare in the markets where Australia supplies livestock. “It again demonstrates how the industry is committed to implementing lasting animal welfare improvements in our key livestock export markets… We are the only country in the world investing in animal welfare in our overseas markets.” Cattle Council of Australia chief executive David Inall says the live cattle trade is vital to cattle producers and regional communities, particularly in the north of Australia. “We know that demand from Indonesia helps to underpin cattle prices right across the country,” Inall says.

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Colony collapse disorder no worse AMERICAN BEEKEEPERS lost 30% of their hives during the 2010/2011 winter, a sign colony collapse disorder (CCD) isn’t accelerating, claim researchers. “But continued losses of this size put tremendous pressure on the economic sustainability of commercial beekeeping,” says entomologist Jeff Pettis, who heads the Agricultural Research Service’s Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. USDA and Apiary Inspectors of America’s annual survey

found in winter 2009/10 hive losses hit 34%, following 29% in 2008/2009, 36% in 2007/2008 and 32% in 2006/2007. “The lack of increase in losses is marginally encouraging in that the problem does not appear to be getting worse for honey bees and beekeepers,” says Pettis. Beekeepers can replace lost hives by splitting surviving colonies and re-queening to establish new hives, but the process is expensive and annual replacement of 30% of hives is not considered sustainable

long-term. Beekeepers there say, on average, losses of 13% would be economically acceptable. Among surveyed beekeepers who lost colonies, 31% reported losing at least some of their colonies without finding dead bee bodies, one of the symptoms that define Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Such beekeepers also reported higher average colony losses at 61%. A total of 5,572 beekeepers, responded to the survey.

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

26 agribusiness

LIC defends Agria loan SUD ES H K I SSUN

FARMER-OWNED cooperative LIC says its $10 million loan to a Chinese company now controlling PGG Wrightson is a strate-

gic investment. The genetics and farm software provider hopes to influence the future direction of PGG Wrightson’s grass, forage and seed business, AgriTech,

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which may be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. LIC chief executive Mark Dewdney is not ruling out a direct investment in a listed AgriTech, but points out it is a decision for shareholders and the board. Dewdney’s comments follow LIC shareholders questioning the $10 m loan to Agria Singapore, which last week completed a 50.01% takeover of PGG Wrightson. Agria Singapore is a joint venture between Chinese agribusiness giants Agria Corp and New Hope. Some LIC shareholders are asking why the $10m wasn’t returned to farmer shareholders instead of being loaned to Agria. But Dewdney says the investment ensures New Zealand dairy farmers have some influence over AgriTech’s future. “We believe there is a strong link between our core business and grass and crop seeds – it’s the next big opportunity for

improved management information and productivity improvement on New Zealand farms, behind improving the cow,” he told Rural News. “We hope PGW will separate out its grass seeds, crop seeds, animal health and feed supplements business and if they do LIC will then consider investing directly if given the opportunity.” A PGW spokesman says

Tech investment also fear LIC may start selling grain or grass seed. But Dewdney says it will stick to its current range of products. “If LIC invested into a stand-alone PGW AgriTech business it doesn’t follow that we would start selling grain or grass seed. “PGW has very well developed sales channels, and LIC’s customer relationship managers need to stay focused on our own

Mark Dewdney

gapore board. Dewdney says LIC remains committed to its core business of helping dairy farmers improve the

“LIC is more interested in how animal and forage genetics and management information can be combined for better effect on-farm.” talk of a possible listing of AgriTech is pure speculation. LIC also hopes to use its alliance with the Chinese agribusinesses to grow its export business to China. “We believe that Agria and New Hope represent very good partners for that expansion,” Dewdney says. LIC shareholders unhappy with the Agri-

extensive range of products. “LIC is more interested in how animal and forage genetics and management information can be combined for better effect onfarm.” He says the LIC loan to Agria is for a fixed term of 18 months on commercial interest rates. Under the deal, Dewdney will represent LIC on the Agria Sin-

productivity and profitability. He says its responsibility to shareholders is to invest their funds to provide a return on-farm and through annual dividends. “We’re confident that over the medium to long term this will deliver on both fronts, proving to be a good investment for current and future generations of shareholders.”

Over the past five years LIC has paid $42.5m in dividends, invested $19m in R&D and offered discounts of up to $8m annually. He rejected suggestions LIC is overcharging farmers. “We price our products on a value basis, taking into account our costs, our need to generate profits to re-invest, and the competitive markets we operate in. In every area of our business we have strong competition, increasingly from foreign owned companies. “Our last price increase for our genetics products was made on June 1 2009 and we have no intention of increasing the price of genetics in 2011.”

New name, same service MANUAL WEIGH


FARMERS SEEKING nutrient management advice face a new name – Altum. However, the people and knowledge behind the new name remain the same, says general manager Willie Thomson. Altum replaced the

Summit Quinphos brand in the Ballance Group on May 30. Thomson says Altum reflects a new era aligned to the increasingly high nutrient management demands placed on farmers, which require farm-

specific advice. “With good product returns out there in the market, everyone is looking for maximum production and the only way to achieve that is with good soil, plant and animal health. “At the same time, the Willie Thomson


agricultural sector is under pressure to lift its environmental game as much as it lifts production.” Ballance chairman David Graham says the level of sophistication required in nutrient management has increased, with regional councils looking to impose nitrate loss limits and groups such as the Primary Sector Water Partnership targeting that 80% of nutrient applications to land be managed through quality

assured nutrient budgets. “Currently, that stands at around 38%, so we see Altum playing an important role in enabling farmers to hit these targets using our tailored nutrient management programmes. “Nutrient budgets, nutrient management plans and whole farm management plans will be important tools in increasing productivity while decreasing environmental impacts.”


Preston Street, Invercargill Ph 03-215 8558 email:

NEW 10ft Roller with Extension Drawbar & Screw Jack $6200 Vee Ring Roller Seeder Drill with Vee bottom seed box, hydraulic clutch, ext. drawbar, ...................... $17,000 Special rollers made to order, • All prices ex-Factory, Excl GST • Spare parts, Rings and Bearings. Competitive freight rates to the North Island 26"dia rings ................... $79.00 24"dia rings ................... $73.00 Ph: 0800-838 963 AUSTINS FOUNDRY LTD 131 King Street, Timaru

Rural News // june 7, 2011

agribusiness 27

Landcorp-Rissington genetics merger LANDCORP AND Rissington are to merge their genetics businesses into a new company called Syrex Genetics. “Syrex Genetics will consolidate and focus the red meat genetics industry in New Zealand for the benefit of the whole industry including farmers, processors, retailers and consumers,” says chief executive of the new company Graham Leech. The merger will have a combined database of roughly one million animals and at least five million recorded traits. “That gives an indication of the sheer scale,” Leech told Rural News. He says it will be the largest available single, commercial database of farmed livestock genetics worldwide enabling significantly improved breeding gains for customers. Such scale is increasingly necessary to fund the cutting edge technologies that are making breeding gains faster and more targeted, Leech explains. “You can look at the gains in the dairy industry as the sort of progress we ought to be achieving in sheep and beef, but haven’t in the past because we’ve

not had that consolidated genetic base. “Having that, over time, will help our customers compete with dairy for land use. Land is a scarce resource in New Zealand and we need to use it better.” It’s also important for keeping New Zealand’s livestock productivity competitive internationally. “In sheep we are leaders, but we need to maintain that position.” Leech says there will be and should be a place for the smaller-scale ram or bull breeder in the future. However, he believes it will become harder for such businesses to keep up not just because of the extra selection pressure scale brings, but also because of the cost of the latest selection techniques, such as DNA parenting and SNP Chip analysis. That’s echoed by Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly who says the size of Syrex Genetics will increase the new company’s ability to invest in research and development technologies that are becoming more expensive and complex. The merger will go live on July 1 and is the result of five months’ due diligence. It includes Rissington’s UK and

South American ventures. Shareholding will be split 50/50 between Landcorp and Rissington Breedline, effectively making Rissington a holding company – its procurement and logistics arm having

Graham Leech

been sold to Silver Fern Farms in 2009. All existing breeding programmes including Primera, Lamb Supreme, Highlander, LandMark, Romney and Texel sheep breeds, Angus, Simmental and Stabilizer cattle breeds and Wapiti and Red deer breeds will be continued and all staff retained. Andrew McPherson, Richard Perry,

Andrew Kelly and Ben Absolom have been appointed as directors and the process to appoint an independent chairman is underway. Leech says customers will see no change in their day-to-day contacts when purchasing their genetics. The new company will be based in Ahuriri, Napier.

PGW seeds buys into tropicals LAST MONTH’S acquisition of Queensland-based seeds business Southedge Seeds, Mareeba, will provide “production, processing and export capabilities across a wide range of tropical species,” claims PGG Wrightson. Mareeba is on the Atherton Tablelands, Australia’s primary tropical pasture seed production area. The deal includes Southedge’s patented de-hulling and coating technology, branded “Envirogro”, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) for a number of tropical cultivars, sales capability and expertise in tropical species. PGW says its Australian seeds subsidiary is already the market leader in temperate pasture seeds and this acquisition provides the platform for growth into the tropical market. Group general manager of PGW’s AgriTech division, John McKenzie told Rural News it was unlikely it would result in any increased demand for New Zealand grown seed.

ho says the doors of commerce are closed? They’re not. At Westpac, the doors are wide-open. And, we’re backing that up by lending to businesses in ways you might not expect. Get up to 100% finance to buy equipment or your own premises to really help your business grow.

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To grow your business now, talk to your local business banker or call 0800 177 100.

Rural News // june 7, 2011



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    

  






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  


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   

  


      

 









 







































 Last Year


This Year


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 




 

  





 

   














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 

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 



 


 







 





   



  








80% 75%


  





  







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   





  




 






65% 60% 




 

 

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        


  

 


 

‘These guys know exactly what they are doing. I wouldn’t use anything else.’ Gary Peddle, Sheep and Beef Farmer, Patoka, Hawke’s Bay

Rural News // june 7, 2011 

 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



 



                                                            



















        










  


 





 

 

 


 






 


 





























 

   

 

 





 

 Jun




 

    







US Dollar  

    






UK Pound  



 





  












  


                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


 






   






Only Hatuma has spent 50 years refining and perfecting the art of dicalcic phosphate manufacture.

Quality is EVERythiNG

Every order of Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate® despatched, big or small, has been made to the highest quality standards to ensure you’re getting the very best dicalcic available. So if you want to deal with someone as committed to the quality of their product leaving the gate as you are, call 0800 80 65 65. Alternatively contact your local Ballance Technical Sales Representative or Summit Quinphos Field Consultant.

Rural News // june 7, 2011

30 opinion editorial


Not just for reps WHEN DID you last get off the farm for some professional development? Even if it’s just for an afternoon field day, getting away from the coal face on your own property can be invaluable. Whether it’s a discussion group on another farm in the area, a seminar in town, or perhaps a fullblown management programme that takes you away for a week or weekend several times over a year, that time outside your business, looking back in, is vital. Granted, the “to-do” list on every farm is never ending and there will be times when something on the list really must be done, so the time off farm genuinely can’t be afforded. However, the to-do list can also be a convenient excuse. So if you haven’t been to a discussion group, focus day, or monitor farm meeting in the past year, then you should be asking yourself why? For starters, chances are you’ve already paid for it with your levy funds, or in the prices you pay for your inputs in the case of commercial companyorganised days. So while you’re slaving away at home doing the same old, same old, struggling to make a margin, someone else is getting the good oil on how to farm smarter, not harder – and it’s at your expense. Secondly, do you really think there’s nothing that could be done better in your business? Are you really confident it is future proof? There will be few farmers in any country who can honestly answer yes to these questions. And those who do are probably heading for a fall. No, professional development isn’t just something for the reps that call on you, the agronomist, nutritionist, vet or bank manager. It’s something that if you’re a farmer, you should be doing too. If you don’t, you’re standing still and in practice – as those around you become more efficient – you’re actually going backwards. Which perhaps explains why, as the Meat Sector Strategy recently highlighted, the gap between the top performers and the bottom is becoming a chasm. Dairy is no different. Whatever the sector, those at the bottom are more or less farming as they’ve always done and quite probably as their father did. Their tried and tested approach used to be good enough to make a margin – and thanks to high commodity prices they may do so again this year. However, it would be naive to think the tough times aren’t going to return, even temporarily. In the meantime, those who have adopted more efficient systems are reinvesting in their businesses, stretching their lead and accumulating a war chest. Ultimately they’ll buy the poor performers’ farms. With winter here and conference season upon us, getting off the farm and engaging in some professional development appropriate to your goals and skill set, could help prevent this happening to you.

“There’ll be trouble when they find out how hard they are to light!”

the hound

Want to share your opinion or gossip with the Hound? Send your emails to:

Is your land sitting idle?

Selective reporting

How big is big?

ANYONE SEE Campbell Live a couple of weeks back? During a piece about the need for more housing in Auckland, a reporter interviewed a property developer looking out over lush pasture and dairy grazers. “This land is just sitting idle and needs to be opened up for cheap housing,” moaned the land shark. Don’t these dimwits realise such “idle land” earns 65% of our export dollars? Maybe we should rip up a few houses and return the land to productivity – starting with said developer’s dwelling!

YOUR OLD mate has to admit a recent front page story in one of the weakly (sic) rural rags made interesting reading. It concerned a certain high profile South Canterbury water storage system. What was even more interesting was the Stuff version of the same story a day later. This revealed the ‘journalist’ from the rural rag who wrote the story is also the spokesperson for the same organisation demanding Environment Canterbury investigate the dam. Even this dumb old dog can smell a conflict of interest here.

SO FONTERRA is to develop a pilot dairy farm in Brazil. It’s going to be 850ha with 3300 cows. Makes this old mutt wonder how big the real thing will be. Guess it means even our largest dairy farms in NZ are just pilot properties in the eyes of Fonterra. And as for the average farm, well that must be a mere model!

Ben Smith, please stand up! ON MAY 14 Ben Smith was named National Dairy Trainee of the Year at a gala awards night in Queenstown. Three days later, Hort NZ’s newsletter announces the Young Vegetable Grower of the Year for 2011 is, you guessed it, Ben Smith. Obviously two different people, but what are the odds? And given these young guys are leaders in their field, would the next Ben Smith please stand up!

Feds top talent contest THIS MUTT reckons Federated Farmers’ selfserving publication, The National Farming Review, is harder to read in its new, down-market, free-to-all, reincarnation. However, one item is worth a mention: The Offal Pit. “Talented MPs like Clare Curran and Stuart Nash...” it intones. Is that the same Stuart Nash MP who recently cast aspersions on dairy farmers’ tax bills? Seems Feds have a strange definition of ‘talent’.

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

opinion 31

Socio-politics cloud methane science PUBLIC DEBATE on methane emitted from ruminants, and whether or not it should be counted as anthropogenic, continues. Many commentators are right in the components they are considering; the problem is that biology, physics, chemistry and socio-politics are involved, and it is difficult to be right in all areas. The balance of carbon (C) in grazed systems is almost C-neutral. Plants

remove C (as CO2) from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and ruminants eat that C in plants. For every 100 units of C eaten by ruminants, approximately 70% is released back to the atmosphere as CO2 in respiration from the ruminants and later from their products. Approximately 5% is emitted as methane and the remainder is excreted (mostly as dung) to

the soil. This is balanced by a release of CO2 from soil to the atmosphere by soil respiration. The amount of C actually sequestered in soils can change over long periods, reflecting the balance of inputs and outputs. The concern with animals and green house gases (GHG) is that ruminants change the form of molecule containing C. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of methane, calculated over a hundred year period, is 25 times that of the same mass of CO2. The GWP impact of the 5 units of C released as methane is then 5 x 25 x (16/44) = 45 units of CO2. The 16/44 adjusts for the different mass of a molecule (despite each having one ‘C’) of each gas. This means that each ruminant elevates the GWP of those 5 units of C for some time in the atmosphere. As there are now more ruminants making emissions than in the past, the level of methane sustained by them is greater now than in the past. Another factor to consider is that the role of ruminants in global commitments is based not just on changes in ruminant numbers, but on how much

methane, but the impact of methane better they are fed. The New Zea(from all global sources and not just land ruminant methane emission has agriculture) on atmosphere radiative increased, despite reductions in stock forcing is substantial. Reducing methnumbers. ane in the atmosphere A second confuis extremely important sion is in the longevity in reducing total GHG of methane. The halfimpacts. life of methane in the This makes the socioatmosphere is approxipolitics complicated. mately eight years and In New Zealand, agrimethane decays to CO2. culture accounts for However, although half scientifically speaking almost half our anthrothe molecules decay in jacqueline rowarth pogenic GHG emissions, eight years, the impact using Kyoto definitions. We can conof methane extends beyond the time tinue to make the case that agriculture of the average lifespan. is already in the Emissions Trading Professor Tony Parsons, AGMARDT Scheme (ETS) as a business (fuel and Chair in Carbon Cycling at Massey electricity). However, New Zealand University, explains: “for methane it is does need to be seen to be making a 40-50 years before any gas pulse is gone contribution to mitigating all emisand reaction with other gases during its sions and is doing so by investing in life means impacts are accentuated. research through the New Zealand A further confusion is that although Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research GWP is expressed on a 100 year ‘time Centre and the Global Alliance. horizon’ this does not mean the GWP The Government is also giving the of methane would be less than 25, if it agricultural community time to make were calculated for a shorter period. changes while it considers a best route The GWP of methane expressed for forward. the first 10 years is over 90.” • Jacqueline Rowarth is Professor of A future constant level of ruminant Pastoral Agriculture, Massey University emission would help stabilise global





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Rural News // june 7, 2011

32 opinion

All change at Feds top table? In just over three weeks, Federated Farmers will elect a new president and national board. Long-standing rural media specialist and Rural News’ reporter Peter Burke reviews the running with the usual raft of not very important remits and a simple election. However, for first time in many years, all the positions on the National

FEDERATED FARMERS will stage their annual conference in Rotorua at the end of the month. Normally such events are pretty tame affairs

Board appear to be up for grabs and the winds of change are set to blow, including the election of the first woman. Every three years

Feds elects a new president, and if convention were to be observed, the vice president of the past three years automatically moves up a notch to the

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The other five positions on the board are filled in two ways. Three are allocated to industry representatives and it’s likely that Willy Leferink will represent the Dairy Group, while Jeanette Maxwell will make history by getting the nod for Meat and Fibre to become the first woman board member (how radical can you get?). Ian Mackenzie, an arable farmer from Mid

Many members have expressed concern about the perception of the organisation by some stakeholders, government officials and politicians.


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muhl and now Bruce Wills have declared they are in the race. The phones around the country are starting to run hot as the candidates, and in some case their friends and colleagues, are rustling up support. From what I have heard, there is a strong push for change in the way the Federation operates. Many members have expressed concern about the perception of the organisation by some stakeholders, government officials and politicians. They have concerns about its propensity to slag off opponents in the media and its sometimes high-volume media



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approach. There is also concern, in some provinces, about the way the board itself operates. Many believe that the National Council, which is made up of provincial presidents and other delegates, is not being given a say on certain key issues. So will the scuttlebutt around the traps translate into action? The answer is probably yes and it would appear that Bruce Wills is the front runner to get the presidency. While the others all have their own particular attributes and support bases, Wills is seen as a moderate, someone who’s highly respected within the Federation, has good commercial contacts. But, perhaps more importantly, is someone who can build relationships with stakeholders and work behind the scenes, especially in Wellington – as well as dealing with the media. Then it’s the case of who’ll assume the mantle of vice president. Stu Wadey of Waikato told me he’s standing and it’s mostly likely that William Rolleston of South Canterbury will also stand. It’s possible others could still enter the race and there is no odds-on favourite.

Canterbury, will get on the board representing grains and other sectors. He’ll replace John Hartnell who is standing down. Mackenzie has held various roles at a provincial level in the past and is also involved with Irrigation New Zealand. That leaves two other general positions. Phil York, who holds one of these positions, is standing down, but incumbent David Rose is standing. Two others are known to be challenging for these positions – Stu Wadey of Waikato and Anders Crofoot from the Wairarapa. The word is that Crofoot is the front runner for one of these positions, but as with all elections nothing is certain until the votes are counted. What is apparent is that there is some disquiet in the provinces. It now appears that a core of senior elected-people from the provinces is actively promoting change in a bid to rejuvenate the organisation by changing its political leadership. As Reg Ansett once said – the speed of the boss is the speed of the team. On July 1 expect a new boss, a different speed and a new team from Feds.

Rural News // june 7, 2011

opinion 33 Old dogs shouldn’t need a new home WITH REGARD to the article on page 35, Rural News May 17, “Giving an old dog a new home”: I’m so incensed by this woman’s article that my pumpkin soup and dinner can wait! What a horrible woman. The bitch (and I am talking about the dog) has given her owner the nine best years of her life as a working dog, but now she’s getting old they want to dump her onto someone else. She obviously worked hard, well and loyally for them or otherwise she would have been long gone. For the last few years of her life she deserves to be parked on

the porch with a bone and a couple of dog biscuits a day. Instead, Anna wants to get rid of her and palm the aging problem onto someone else. Yet she’s so indignant that potential new owners might expect the dog to earn her keep. Our neighbours are going through this exact situation at the moment. Bob, also a huntaway, and a long-standing working member of our neighbourhood, has arthritis and he no longer can run around the neighbourhood chasing cattle over the hills. Now Bennie, the new kid on the block, has taken over. Bob still goes out

on the quad, if he wants to, and watches Bennie learning the ropes giving him the odd pointer or two. When he finally shuffles off he will be joining all the other family working dogs and assorted pets in the old orchard beside the house. Call me a sentimental, but does the old girl in Anna’s article deserve any less? C Lawrence Golden Valley, Waihi.    

Putting the carbon before the horse? WHAT IF agriculture’s carbon outputs actually came first? What if animal’s carbon outputs were then mitigated by the carbon absorbed by the farmer growing a whole lot of photosynthesizing grass pastures completely consuming all the farm’s carbon dioxide and methane outputs? What if those nitrous oxide and urea outputs of animals were being

utilised by red and white clover rhizobia to make nitrates for the pastoral sward mitigating all the nitrogen outputs?  What if we are constantly storing heaps of carbon via organic matter in our pastoral topsoils? Where does that leave farmers? Taxed for no reason at all! Dave Stanton Geraldine

Got a gripe? Want to air an issue? Rural News welcomes your letters on all matters affecting farming and/or the rural community. To boot, Skellerup has thrown in a pair of classic Redbands for one lucky letter writer every issue. So pull out the pen or keyboard and write, e-mail or fax The Editor. The winner of this issue’s Redbands is C Lawrence, Waihi. Send to: Letter to the Editor PO Box 3855, Auckland 1140. Email: fax: 09-307 0122 Correspondence should be brief and to the point. Rural News reserves the right to edit letters as necessary. Please supply name and locality for publication, plus contact details in case of need for clarification.




ag twits



Rural News’ irreverent and hypothetical look at what’s happening in the farming world Top Bleats

Write and Win!


view all

snashlabourmp: All farmers – especially dairy farmers – are bludgers and tax dodgers. They should make a real contribution to the economy like hard non-working beneficiaries. dnicolsonfedfarmers@snashlabourmp: Stuart you’re about as honest and truthful on this topic as Arnie Schwarzenegger was to his marriage vows with Maria Shiver. pgofflabourleader: Labour’s winning election strategy this year is to label farmers as bludgers, tax evaders and lump them with a new carbon tax to pay for my extravagant election promises. mpetersenbeef+lamb: Phil Goff you are being about as straight with voters on the potential ETS costs to local consumers as your former whip Darren Hughes supposedly was. henryfonterra: Has anyone explained to Phil Goff and co that a forecast payout is just that a forecast and/or that estimated revenue does not equate to actual profit? andrewfonterra @henryfonterra: Apparently I told Goff his ETS would not increase dairy prices. Funny thing is I’ve never met Goff – a bit like he’s never met an economics lesson! dcarterminofag: Popular and modest agriculture minister now even more popular with farmers thanks to Labour’s anti-agriculture election strategy. Thanks @Phil. See more @ doconnormp: @Phil @Stuart is all this antifarmer stuff revenge for my “gaggle of gays and self-serving unionists” comment? How many times do I have to apologise to all the poofs and commies on our list before you stop punishing me? sbrowningsoilandhealthnz: Having secured a high Green list spot, I just can’t wait to implement compulsory organic farming and nude planting by moonlight as soon as I’m named the new Minister of Agriculture! daudbreyfedfarmers: Vote me for president – it’s my turn.

bwillsfedfarmers: No; vote for me – it’s my turn.

lmckenziefedfarmers: No; vote for me it’s my turn.

frankbrenmuhlformerfed: No; vote for me – I thought it was my turn last time!













Rural News // june 7, 2011

34 opinion

Labour making Ag the whipping boy GOOD ON Prime Minister John Key going into bat for farmers amid recent claims made by the Labour Party that the agriculture sector is not paying its fair share of tax or carbon emissions. Labour says it is now going to bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2013 to fund its $800 million research and

development tax credit announced at its annual conference. Phil Goff claims the exclusion of agriculture from the scheme is “distorting the economy”. This comes after Labour MP Stuart Nash “released” figures claiming the average dairy farmer pays less tax than a couple on the pension and raised questions

comment david anderson

about whether agriculture pays its way. The PM rejected the comparison, saying

Labour’s figures were based on turnover rather than profit, profit being what businesses are taxed on. Correct. Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson says Labour’s ETS announcement is linked with Nash’s tirade about tax. “It’s all designed to discredit the farmers of New Zealand.”


aLL CeReaL SiLaGe GRoWeRS Do YoU Want to BeneFit FRoM FaR’S ReSeaRCH? The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is an applied research and information transfer organisation responsible to New Zealand arable and maize growers. FAR will be conducting a referendum in August which will include the introduction of a levy on cereal silage. Levy funds would be invested in research, extension and education to provide benefits to all cereal silage growers. Currently FAR has a database of arable grain and seed growers and maize grain and silage growers; these growers will receive voting papers for the referendum. All growers of cereal silage harvested in the 2010/2011 harvest are also entitled to vote. Meetings will be held throughout cereal silage growing regions in June and July to explain the levy and the key benefits to farmers. Full meeting details can be viewed at Date


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The last time Damien O’Connor said something remotely sensible was when he labelled the Labour Party a “gaggle of gays and self-serving unionists”. Nicolson says Labour should wake up and realise the role farming plays in the economy. Last week’s record trade surplus figures prove his point. Unfortunately, Labour appears to be sticking to its guns on targeting farmers. Even Agriculture spokesman Damien O’Connor is running the party line about farmers not paying their share. O’Connor claims that under National’s proposal taxpayers will effectively subsidise farmers’ emissions for two more years and Labour believes it’d be better if the funds used to subsidise agriculture’s contribution to the ETS were spent on research and development – but not necessarily in the agriculture sector. Federated Farmers reckon Labour’s plan will cost $47,000 per farm and could drive many out of business. Bringing agriculture into ETS will raise the cost of milk, butter, cheese, lamb and beef for local consumers because farmers will pass any cost

increases on, as the PM has said. Labour conveniently forgets to mention this. Under National, agriculture is not due to come into ETS until 2015 and Key says agriculture will not be “thrown to the wolves” if other countries don’t get on board. “We are very conscious of the international competitiveness of our export sector. It’s our largest export earner, it accounts for a lot of the potential growth in the agricultural sector in New Zealand and we think our farmers should be competitive.” Despite claims to the contrary farmers are not getting a free-ride on ETS costs. Farmers already pay their share of the ETS costs because they are big users of petrol, diesel and power. The PM also acknowledges it’s more difficult for farmers to mitigate their carbon emissions. “If you are going to

Damien O’Connor

put an emissions trading scheme on them for the methane and nitrate gases that come from the burping and farting of animals when there is no other option, that’s pretty tough.” Labour’s attacks on agriculture are petty, envious and a strategy designed to further drive a wedge between town and country. The last time Damien O’Connor said something remotely sensible was when he labelled the Labour Party a “gaggle of gays and self-serving unionists”. By supporting his party’s latest attacks on the agriculture sector he is defending the indefensible. • David Anderson is a former Rural News editor.

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38 nz national fieldays

Mystery Creek, Hamilton June 15-18

Wool centre-stage as demand rises to n y b e n n y

WOOL THIS year takes centre stage at National Fieldays, with the Primary Wool Co-operative sponsoring the premier feature ‘Breaking Barriers to Productivity’. PWC chairman Bay DeLatour says Fieldays is a great time to remind farmers of the potential earning power of wool. “I understand Fieldays has never had a major feature on wool,” DeLatour says. “They approached me after I’d written an article on the fact farmers were probably neglecting wool to their detriment and that improved wool prices and wool weights go straight on the bottom line. “Fieldays chair Warwick Roberts rang me and asked ‘Do you think it’s

time for a wool expo of some sort?’ because Fieldays is charged with providing features on all parts of the agricultural industry, so we agreed.” PWC started in 1974 and today has nearly 1000 members throughout New Zealand. In partnership with Elders Primary Wool, PWC formed Just Shorn to supply carpets to US retailers. “We want to show off what we’re doing with Just Shorn and to show wool and the uses of wool. “So we’re looking at a small part of the feature being Primary Wool Co-op and this Just Shorn value chain. Then a bigger part of it will be a generic show – all the processes from farmer to retailer.” With returns in the doldrums for years, DeLatour says many farmers have given up on wool but they’re missing




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opportunities. “They’re probably going to go backwards because they could easily be buying rams with negative breeding values for wool and possibly pass over a positive one with a slightly lower weaning weight or something like that. “There could be an insignificant difference between two rams on, say, weaning weight but huge difference on wool weight and we’re trying to get people to reflect on getting a better balance.” Though there’s no guarantee wool returns will stay at present levels, DeLatour says ventures like Just Shorn promise sustainable returns. “The further we go into it we realise it’s miles ahead of anything else even dreamt of,” he says. “Basically the partnership is with the retailer.”

Top bachelors to face off WHAT DO you call a bachelor with a wife and kids? Fieldays calls them the “best of the best” – eight previous Rural Bachelor of the Year winners, returning this year for “the ultimate challenge.” The ‘boys’ (men?) have been invited to compete for a supreme-champion award. Many of the contestants now have “partners, wives” (eh? is there a difference?) and children, “but do they still have what it takes to be

titled best of the best?” a Fieldays spokeswoman asks. The contest’s strong rural focus will reflect the knowledge and skills required on the farm and in the agriculture industry. New challenges include fencing, horse handling, general knowledge, dog handling and excavating. Here they are: Mat Sherriff, farm owner/manager, Te Awamutu, 2003 People’s Choice Award winner. Tony Buckingham, farmer, Wyndham, South-

Matt Sherriff, winner of a previous bachelor contest.

land, 2005 Golden Gumboot and People’s Choice Award winner. Christen Diamond,

farm and bar owner, Waitomo, 2006 Golden Gumboot winner. Paul Slater, cropping farm worker originally from Te Pahu, Waikato, now in Western Australia, 2007 Golden Gumboot winner. Mark Woodcock, dairy farm manager/owner, Dargaville, 2008 Golden Gumboot winner. Charlie Taituha, rural supplies account manager, Piopio, 2008 People’s Choice winner. Mike Short, bull farm

manager, Sanson/Bulls, Manawatu, 2009 Golden Gumboot winner. Nick Torrens, sharemilker, Te Aroha, Waikato, 2010 Golden Gumboot winner. Heats will run during the four days of Fieldays. The Best of the Best Golden Gumboot will be awarded Saturday June 18, 12 noon. The winner will take away a luxury trip for two to Rarotonga, Suzuki Trojan motorbike and other stuff.





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Rural News // june 7, 2011

nz national fieldays 39

GPS tracking will discern preferences IN A novel bid to better discern what makes Fieldays ‘tick’ for visitors, the organisers will fit GPS to selected patrons, and track them through their stay. The aim is to keep the event fresh and interesting, and the GPS move should lead to improvements at Mystery Creek, says Fieldays chairman Warwick Roberts. “I keep saying I need to know our customers and unless you know what your customers want and where they go, you’re running in the dark a lot of the time. So this is the first move towards that.” Vodafone will supply the GPSs, issuing them to 15 patrons each day. “We’re going to track them through the Fieldays to see where they go and how long they spend there,” Roberts told Rural News. “This will be good for us, and good for the exhibitors to get some ideas. We want a cross section – we’d like some dairy farmers, some sheep farmers, farmers’ wives and the general public.” But while he’s excited about the improvement GPS tracking could lead to, Roberts is disappointed some high level guests he was expecting at the Fieldays have pulled out. Thirty-nine international Ministers of Agriculture who where to attend this year’s event are now going to Italy instead. “We’ve lost them in the mix somewhere; whether it’s cost I don’t know. It’s disappointing because one of the things we are working on is internationalism. “I guess maybe it’s the financial climate, who knows? You really wouldn’t know with these people. They meet together, I guess, to discuss their problems and we thought it would have been great to have them here to see what we do.” Roberts hopes Mystery Creek may gain some international profile on the back of the Rugby World Cup as overseas journalists look for story angles. “People are starting to write stories about the cup and I have a feeling they’ll pick up on the Fieldays as a sort of pre-cup story.”

Research to find out where visitors go and for how long. Left: Warrick Roberts.

How much do you weigh?

More notice for rainwater COLLECTING RAINWATER for household use can be safe in country or town, says a Massey researcher. Stan Abbott, from the Roof Water Research Centre, will show the latest systems and research. About 400,000 people rely on roof water for their daily needs, he says. “Many of these are in rural households, but urban dwellers are increasingly being encouraged to install rainwater tanks to save mains water, reduce flood risk and have an emergency water supply.” His team is working on ways to maximise water capture and ensure it is always safe to drink. The centre has a wide range of rainwater storage tanks with purpose-built plumbing for evaluating rainwater products and systems. Abbott says they use the latest laboratory methods to test a variety of water quality parameters. “We can test roof water samples from anywhere. A range of software packages are used for health risk assessment; modelling software is used to estimate tank yields and cost benefits of rainwater tanks in urban environments.” The microbiological quality of collected rainwater differs widely from tank to tank, but steps can be taken to lessen the risk of contamination.

Let Gallagher show you the benefits of weighing more... often. Visit us at National Fieldays® National Fieldays® 2011 For more information phone 0800 731 500 or visit

Rural News // june 7, 2011

40 nz national fieldays

Stronger bale feeder ‘lacks a match’ STRONGER CHAIN and several crucial design upgrades give McIntosh Bros Engineering’s new bale feeder a head start on competitors’ machines, the company says. Spokesman Brett McIntosh says they now use the strongest chain on the market – a 12000lb roller chain that lasts longer than smaller capacity chain.

“These chains also have large-diameter rollers that cover a greater distance with each revolution, so there is less wear on the chain.” Also, eight-tooth hightensile sprockets are used, these wearing better than six-tooth variants. Says Macintosh “We’re using our same V shape which is deeper than a lot of

our competitors’ machines, but this keeps the bale in the cradle a lot better on hilly country and makes it unroll better and longer before the last of it is fed out.” As in previous machines, the company continues installing bronze bushes instead of bearings, proven long-lasting on previous models and not at risk of

seizing if feed material or juices get into them. A better bite at ‘difficult’ bales is assured by angled slats with heavy, flat teeth on an angle. The 8mm-thick angled slats are fastened by 12mm bolts. A latch each side of the headstock attaches the cradle and headstock at both top corners instead of one. This prevents the

twisting that can occur in the headstock when only a single latch is fitted – important with bigger tractors travelling faster. It also means the rope is attached to an arm directly behind the cab, so it is pulled in a straight line, not to the side of the machine which could make it more difficult to open the latch. Macintosh uses a larger

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hydraulic motor with a 1.25 inch shaft and a bigger keyway than is found on most other feeders using 1 inch shafts. The open section of the headstock has been covered to prevent parts of the bale falling through. Very accurate positioning of the drive coupling prevents excessive wear which would otherwise occur when the pins are sliding against each other, because the headstock is a lose fit to the cradle. Brett Macintosh com-

ments, “Our new feeder is heavier than competitors’ but since tractors today tend to be larger, machine weight is not the issue it was when 60hp tractors were the norm. “We think it’s better to be heavier and stronger than to offer the lightest on the market when tractors are heavier and capable of higher speeds and so impose more stress on the 3-point-linkage area of the bale feeder. Tel. 06 356 7056

‘Crushing your own means it’s fresh’


SEE THIS NEW RELEASE at the Fieldays site I1-I3.

AUSTRALIAN AGRICULTURE’S long experience of crushing grain for stockfeed shows up in a farm feed mill proving popular with New Zealand producers, says supplier Hecton Products, Southland. Spokesman Aaron Bremner says a dozen or so units have been sold here, chiefly to corporate dairy farms “wanting to look at alternatives to commercially available processed feeds.” “Australians have been crush grain a long time for livestock feed, and that accumulated expertise has contributed to the design of this equipment.” Bremner says the model most commonly used on farms is a 3.5 t/hour mill with input and output augers of identical size. “This seems the most economical size for our use. The 3.5 t/hr model at $11,000 seems a better proposition than a 5 t/hr unit costing $15,000.” Features and options include: automatic digital controller that suits in-line applications (grain flow is actuated and shut off automatically on a variable timer delay); manual control – i.e. manual start / manual stop; three- or single-phase; overhead hopper and frame available; pneumatic actuation. Tel. 03 215 8558

Call (021) 653 956

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

nz national fieldays 41 Data goes easily to your desk A DONALDS FastEID livestock identification tool called Archer, new from Te Pari Products, conveniently interfaces paddocks with farm PCs, says EID product manager Patrick Blampied. EID or visual data captured in paddock or race via the Archer goes straight into the office computer by plugging in the device in the same way as a USB stick. The data can then be exported directly to Excel spreadsheet or email. And it doesn’t mind mud or cold -even temperatures as low as -30oC. “Drop the Archer in the mud, hose it off and carry on,” Blampied says. “It can also withstand multiple drops on concrete or water immersion for up to half an hour.” The software can extract stock weights from most scales using Bluetooth, and has up to 18 customisable data fields available for recording data about each animal including dam, sire, sex and colour. “Tasks such as matching cows and calves, and recording birth weights in the field are simpler. It also suits farmers with fattening stock who can calculate average daily weight gains, feed-to-gain ratios, the cost of gain, etc.” The system comes with four drafting

options. “Farmers can set up draft pens and data ratios on the system based on weight, weight gain or days to finish, and it will then calculate which stock go into which pen. FASTEiD will soon also interface with most auto-drafting systems.” An Auto-Scan feature allows for a quick inventory of animals, “particularly beneficial when identifying stock in remote or widespread locations. It will advise the farmer which animals still need to be located.” FASTEiD interfaces with all major EID Stick and Panel readers and most Scale indicators however it also is available with an inbuilt internal EID reader. It also comes with optional Bar Code label printing. Oamaru-based Te Pari Products has specialised in livestock handling equipment for 25 years. It is the Australasian distributor for FASTEiD system after sourcing it from the USA. “We introduced it to the market around three months ago and have already had great feedback. We’ve talked to leading beef breeders who were blown away and said they’d never seen anything like it.” Tel. 0800 837 274


Tracks glued to soil A NEW crawler from Kubota New Zealand will suit commercial growers, especially, during the wet season. The Kubota M126X Power Krawler will fill a market niche, the company says. “Chiefly the tractor will be used in the grower markets where jobs need doing during the winter months when a conventional tractor is unsuitable.” The Krawler retains traction in conditions that would bog a wheel

tractor even without having an implement above or in the ground, Norwood says. The design of the track unit is a key feature. The pivot point of the track unit is positioned in the middle so when weight is applied to the tractor via pulling, the front of the track unit is pushed down to keep the entire track in contact with the ground.

On other crawlers, when the pulling weight comes on, the front of the track comes away from the ground because the pivot point is higher and has a seesaw effect, causing the track to lose grip as less track is in contact with the ground. The Krawler is powered by a long-stroke 6.1L 4-cyl. common rail engine.Transmission is a 16-speed semi-power shift transmission with optional 8-speed creep. Tel. 0800 KUBOTA

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

42 nz national fieldays

New gear aplenty for soil, grass IN THE seven years since Origin Agroup first showed at National Fieldays the group has come a long way, now presenting a full offering of products. In the Pottinger range will be a release of the new X8 double rear mounted mowers with or without conditioners. Pottinger has also introduced the new high capacity V10 double rear mowers, proving a big hit among contractors for their large 9.8m cutting width, adjustable hydraulically on the move down to 8.76m. This allows the operator to increase the blade overlap when turning to eliminate or at least reduce striping.

Strength and reliability are notable features of Great Plains seed drills. The firm is now among the world’s largest seed drill makers. Its new Spartan 607 direct drill will be seen here for the first time. This has twin seed and fertiliser boxes with triple disc seed placement. An notable design feature is the active hydraulically controlled wing flex ground contouring system which ensures an accurate seed placement depth in the furrow over undulating ground.


Great Plains seed drill.

A New Eurotop 9.85m twin rotor swather is also being released this year along with the 1252C four rotor swather rake introduced last year. This will interest large scale contractors looking for a high capacity rake to maximize productivity for selfpropelled forage harvesters. Alpego’s new Roto-Pick one pass rotary cultivator is ideal for one pass cultivation direct into existing pasture or after crops, saving farmers and contractors time and costs. The Roto-Pick has an automatic leveling board and packer or cage roller providing a level finish. Also on display will be the full range of power harrows, mulchers and Sub Soilers. Dal-Bo’s popular Maxiroll 6.3m hydraulic folding Cambridge roller will also be displayed fitted with hydraulic leveling boards and a Hatzenbichler Air 16 seeder – a good package to reduce fuel, labour and seeding costs, Origin says. This wide one pass roller seed drill “covers the ground fast” and Dal-Bo’s

Pottinger fourrotor swather – new this year.

Duro-Flex hydraulic weight transfer compensation system ensures a well consolidated seed bed over its full working width. Seeding rates can be adjusted from 1-60kg. Hatzenbichler air seeders are proving versatile and cost effective for fast and simple sowing of forage crops, turnips and grass. These fit any make or model of power harrow, roller or cultivator. Two models will be on display from 8 to 16 outlets to suit 2.5m up to 12m working width. Also featured will be a 6.0m grass tine harrow with air seed box for pasture renovation and crop sowing. New Bogballe L2plus spreaders are designed for economy for dairy, cropping and drystock sectors, yet retain good accuracy, Origin says. All Bog-

balle spreaders have border spreading controls which are simple to calibrate and adjust with optional variable rate controllers. Also new will be this maker’s M2W Quadro models with or without weigh scales, and now fitted with a simple calibration design which means no removing the spreader vanes to take a test sample. A new ‘zurf’ USB memory stick is also added which allows downloading spread charts from the Bogballe website for plugging directly into the spreaders UNIQ controller. Origin says Bogballe is renowned for superior spread pattern accuracy from its Quad overlapping spread pattern, more accurate than conventional spreader designs, Tel. 07 823 7582

Oval feeder suits weaners A NEW oval stock feeder from Ag Brand Products suits weaner calves. This feeder, designed for larger calf mobs, can hold two round bales, or one square, and even large freeman bales. Features include: 20 feed positions; holds two size-12 equivalent rounds or one rectangular bale; a lower chest rail gives easier access to feed; bolted or pinned models are available. The maker says this model has been “tried and tested in the South Island as a perfect addition to our product range.” “The feeder has a lower chest rail and is narrower to allow total utilisation of feedstuffs by calves.” Tel. 09 292 8077

If it buckets down at Fieldays. Site G24-28 will still be smiling. The Tornado Farm range of wet weather gear laughs in the face of a good downpour. After all, it’s been designed and tested with the help of farmers to ensure it can handle the real demands of working on the land. Come and see it for yourself at NZ Safety’s Fieldays site, G24-28.

Automated Dairy Feed Systems Farmers invest in your farm with a PPP feed system; • Improved production • Improved animal health See us at Site PD24 • Less on farm feed labour required • Peace of mind – you can feed your cows in wet springs and winters and dry summers

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Bale Feeders Strong, reliable and great value for money,, giving you a very even spread. • Capable of handling round or square bales of hay or silage • Low centre of gravity, perfect for hill feeding • Linkage machine can be driven at either end which reduces tractor movement and saves time • Trailed machine has a fully controlled loading system

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

44 nz national fieldays

Sprayer death to gorse to n y h o p k in so n

GORSE SNEAKING through on the edges of lanes is killed by a Southland dairy farmer using a new Spraysmart Target 600 sprayer from Otautau Tractors and Machinery. A special feature of the sprayer is a specially

placed nozzle directed to spray the sides and edges of laneways. Ben Cricket, of Otautau, says he’s happy with his purchase – it’s doing everything he wanted. Cricket and his wife Renee farm with two equity partners on a 340ha rolling-to-steep property with a spread

rainfall of 1200mm. They milk 450 crossbreds in two herds on a seasonal supply contract to Fonterra. “This season we’re in a 42-aside herringbone shed we extended from a 20-aside last winter,” Cricket says. “Its’s made milkings a lot easier.” They also added a rect-

angular yard to hold 400 cows. The property has been milking cows for many years and the Crickets have been equity partners for two years. They have one full time worker. The farm is self contained, making 500 bales of baleage, 60-100 tonnes of grass for pit silage and

they plant about 38ha of kale/swedes for winter feed. “We run a split herd so we can better look after the younger and lighter cows.” The farm has an ongoing problem with gorse and they believe the best way is with spot spraying. They recently bought



Ben Cricket, Southland

a new Spraysmart Target 600 from Roger Scott at Otautau Tractors and Machinery. “We had been looking at second hand spray pumps and Roger showed us this setup and I realised it was good value for the price they were asking.” It has a 600L tank with integrated clean water and hand wash pump and

an 8m boom with manual fold with protected antidrip nozzles. He has also had an optional 50 m hose reel attached. The boom has three solenoids to control spraying from each section from the cab which also monitors are and usage. Tel. 06 879 9016

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MILKSOLIDS PRODUCTION is way up and calving this season is expected to be higher on a Waikato farm which last winter installed an in-shed feeding system. In a “very difficult” season Mark and Jo Turnwald achieved 33% higher production on their 94 eff. ha farm at Ohaupo, 15km south of Hamilton. They installed a PPP Industries in-shed feeding system so their cows could be supplementary fed all year round, Turnwald says. “We did not want the high capital spend on feed pads followed by expanded effluent disposal needs and costs for storing extra supplementary feed, and then using the pads only for a limited time each season.” This installation enabled them Mark Turnwald, to lift production from the 2009-10 Ohaupo. season’s 88,300kgMS an expected 2010-11 figure of 118,000kgMS – the cows were still milking during Rural News’ visit. “This in a season when the whole Waikato farming area experienced drought conditions before Christmas.” The farm has a small area of Hamilton clay but is mostly flat peat which can be wet but holds on about two weeks longer when the weather turns dry. This season they calved 295 Friesian cross cows, but with the better feeding system Turnwald expects now to calve 315 head. After discussions with SourceNZ, and using their Interlact programme, they decided last winter to install the PPP Industries feeding system. It has a 25m3 silo, two delivery lines to the shed and 28 dispensing units on each side of the milking pit. The feed falls onto a stainless steel tray without partitions, resulting in virtually zero waste. The feed varies through the year to meet seasonal stock needs. Following calving the PKE-based feed contains extra minerals and tapioca. Later in the season this changes to a mix of PKE, broll and dried brewers’ grain. All mixes are blended at the SourceNZ base, trucked to the farm and augured into the silo. Tel. 09 236 8414

Rural News // june 7, 2011

nz national fieldays 45 Weighbridge upgrade

Agile newcomer suits loading MASSEY FERGUSON has added four new tractors (82107hp) to its big-selling MF 5400 series. These “completely new tractors with innovative design features, are specifically to provide the power, performance and economy needed by operators in the mid-range sector,” says Agco general marketing manager Shane Snijders. “They are not simply updates to existing models. They are truly new… in our most popular sector where we have unrivalled experience. “We’ve consulted extensively with customers. Now we’ve introduced four new, agile tractors… with superb power-to-weight ratios, excellent visibility and novel features ideal for loader work.” Snijders says the company has taken successful features, such as the Dyna-4 transmission, and re-engineered them to suit precisely the customer requirements for this size and type of tractor. Power ranges 82-107hp from a Perkins 4.4L, 4-cyl. 1104D-44T mechanical injection engine with high visibility bonnet. Maximum power is at 2000rpm and “impressive torque” at 1400rpm – lower engine speeds, and less fuel consumption and noise. A new transaxle developed for these tractors has “optimised and flexible” Dyna-4 transmission ideal for sub110hp tractors.

MARSH CONTRACTING will display its proven weighbridges, including the latest upgrade to the bridges and accompanying software. The company’s MarshN Rings, for protecting large rotary tedders and rakes, will also be displayed. The weighbridges now have aluminium on/off ramps and centre inserts to reduce travelling weight, making them easier to assemble. New software purchased for older weighbridges will mean re-calibration of their weighbridge. The software is now set in a water/ dust proof container that travels between sites and is simple to disconnect and reconnect. The upgraded software now contains a roll or slip printer and is user

Data is stored safely and conveniently in the new data logger on Marsh contracting’s weighbridge.

friendly. There is a point for a memory stick that enables farmers or contractors to download data to their own computers. Tel. 07 533 1887


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AGRI-MAT INTERLOCKING panels of rubber matting will this season give a Kaimai herd an easier life in the dairy shed yard. The Kaimai farm (t/a Evendale) is owned by Ken and Thelma Hollinshead with son Tony and his wife Kirstin. Increasing use of yards as on/ off pads protects pasture during wet weather; cows also benefit from the softer surface. At milking, the cows can stay longer and the greater expanse of concrete gets Ken Hollinshead greater use. When Dairy News visited they were halfway through covering the yard. “We spread the project over two seasons, thinking if it doesn’t work we’ve made a big financial commitment,” said Hollinshead. But it has worked and they are now ready to lay the second section when the cows are dry. The Agri-Mat panels are interlocking on all four sides, are 1190 x 850mm x 24mm thick, each covering 1m2 . AgriMat Kura have a stud base so the hoof can sink into the mat and have maximum traction and comfort.

Rural News // june 7, 2011

46 nz national fieldays

In-the-bag win for contractor IN A first for John Austin Contracting, Te Awamutu, the company will exhibit at National Fieldays. Austin ranges as far as Matamata-Piako and greater Waikato, and now has a depot at Ohakune, working with vegetable growers, cropping farmers and others. “My business is usually servicing local customers,” Austin says. “But working at Fieldays with Webbline Agriculture I’ll show two of their machines I use: the RomillCP2 and the Budissa RT 8000 silage bagger. “Both are making a difference to how I do business with a growing number of clients.” RoMill grain milling and storage machines open a new window for handling grain. These can handle wet and dry grain and can tailor a grain product to suit farmers’ feed meal needs. High moisture or mature grain can be processed directly into an air-tight bag where it will keep 18 months. The machines save on drying, making the cost of feeding cows lower while getJohn Austin shows grain from an open bag. ting a better quality feed that is more digestible. Austin sees this system as the way to ensile bulk crops. Many farmers have inquired about using the bagger to store maize silage. Feeding out is easier; the farmer peels back a short area of the silage bag to expose the ration for one day. This reduces waste and precludes leachate from the bag. A Wairarapa farmer who uses the system says he need NEW FENCE Lite electric fencing only cut losses by 10% to pay for the extra cost of the bag. from Taragate features light-

The Romill set up to run: John Austin (right) with Michael Austin (left) and Webbline North Island manager Cameron Smith.

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three times the weigh at 13.75 kg,” says managing director Kerry Powell. The tread-ins are now stronger and hold firmer in the ground. Pushed over, they readily spring back to vertical. Having a simple top for attaching the electric tape and a right angled




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weight tread-ins that do not tangle when carried in bundles, a 3:1 geared reel, and a new fence hook that holds another wire without releasing. Also at Fieldays will be improved free-standing Tarapost for anchoring electric fences to aid sub-division sizes for break fencing, and a new carry frame for ATVs that can safely carry electric fencing gear, spades, etc. “A bundle of 25 of our new tread-ins weighs only 4kg, compared with light-weight pigtails weighing 8.25 kg and heavy-weight pigtails

tread at the bottom the standards do not tangle. The geared reels hasten the job of reeling in the tape. A positive tape guide and stop latch are strongly held so as not to flop shut when the farmer is half way across the paddock. “The Tarapost can solve all the problems of strip grazing with one tool,” Powell says. It can be placed at any point and act as a free-standing anchor to hang four different reel or four end attachments for wires. Tel. 07 843 3859

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• Vaccination • Earmarking and tagging • Castration • Drenching • Fly strike application and Tail removal

Rural News // june 7, 2011

nz national fieldays 47

Twin-floor spreader more accurate NEW FROM Robertson Manufacturing is the company’s 700 series trailing fertiliser spreader with the patented Transpread Twin Floor system. Twin Floor uses two floor chains and bar conveyors, and twin drive gear boxes, giving a high degree of accuracy to spreading. During turning, the wheel on the inside of the turn slows down, slowing that conveyor, while the outside wheel speeds up, increasing the conveyor speed on that

Ready to service top gearboxes KEEPING ZF transmissions in top running order is the aim of recently appointed distributor and service repairer MIMICO. The company will handle ZF off-road transmissions, driveline components and axles for New Zealand. Managing director Rex Davies says the company already has ZF sales staff on the road promoting parts sales and transmission repairs. “We’re looking to grow our existing markets in parts and service in the earthmoving and industrial markets [and see] possible new service opportunities in the agricultural machinery market. “There are large numbers of ZF transmissions and drive components in agricultural equipment. We’re looking at what services we can offer that market.” Most repairs and reconditioning of ZF transmission equipment are done in MIMICO’S workshop complex. It has New Zealand’s first ZF test bench which tests each transmission before it leaves the workshop and provides documents to prove the work is up to the required standard. The company offers a “flow of technical expertise and information from ZF to MIMICO’s service technicians, who have access to ZF’s international knowledge base.” ZF has made transmission systems since 1915 and is said to be the largest independent specialist of drive-line and chassis technology. Tel. 0800 806 464

side. So spreading on corners and bends is more accurate. The system also allows the operator to ‘turn off’ one side of the spreader for narrow strips and tapered runs. Load capacity can be increased because each drive is sharing the load. Robertsons will display a Transpread 785 (8.5 tonne) twin-floor twin-drive spreader. Tel. 03 303 7228

Rural News // june 7, 2011

48 nz national fieldays

Chops bales cleanly A TANCO bale shear from Norwood has raised feeding efficiency and made it easier at Sandy Bidwill’s dairy farm in Wairarapa. This simple machine has revolutionised his feeding system, he says. The bale shear retains both net and wrap as it splits a round silage bale, and also the action of the knife through all the bale’s layers causes the silage to be presented to the feeder in a more fragmented fashion. This chopping or reduction effect raises the consistency of the feed. Norwood says this auto cutting and wrap retention precludes the driver having to leave the tractor seat to cut and remove wrap prior to feeding. Time is saved and an unpleasant job erased. The bale shear can also be used as a conventional

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shear grab. With two extra tines added, the bale shear can feed out pit silage and keep the stack face free of waste. Bidwill says the feeding of 1200 cows in three herds has dropped from three hours to one.


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TRIANGULAR PROFILE used in the design and construction of the Beamtec mast on Fieldmaster’s Forte postdriver gives this component exceptional rigidity and strength, the company reports. The Beamtec mast section on this model


is custom folded and fabricated from 10mm high-strength plate into a triangular profile and attached to a 16mm front flange member. This construction provides “remarkable” torsional rigidity, precluding the problem experienced with conven-

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tional UB sections which can twist under the constant strain of hammer movement up and down the mast. Mechanical design engineers have done computersimulated deflection testing and proven the Forté mast is 21 times more resistant to twisting than equivalent 180UB postdriver types. Superior strength is also seen in the x and y axis with comparison test results confirming this mast is 4 times more resistant to forward and back deflection (top-link direction) and 1.5 times stronger in the side-tilt direction. This “tower of strength” runs a 315kg steel hammer to deliver impact force, driving posts with fewer

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blows. The hammer is milled to fit the 16mm Beamtec flange – no welding is present to reduce impact resistance. The Forté suits tractors 80-180hp and has a range of spike, auger and sidemounting options. Tel. 0800 500 275

Rural News // june 7, 2011

nz national fieldays 49

Deals on EID, tag readers A NEW-LOOK site jam-packed with the latest products and outstanding deals: that’s the promise from Gallagher Animal Management for this Fieldays. Regional sales manager Matt Macfie says much of the site will be dedicated to EID weighing and recording equipment. A focus will be helping farmers understand the technology, to use it to best advantage.

Visitors will see how EID products such as the awardwinning TSi weigh system can improve returns by providing timely, accurate information for pasture management, stock marketing and animal health. Other weighing and EID products will include new-generation weigh scale and data collectors, SmartReader tag readers and the DairyScale Walk-Over

including the new W610 model described as the best entry-level EID weighing system available. It can connect to any brand of EID reader and has a massive memory that can store weight readings from 12,000 animals. Upgrades have also been made to the existing W210 and W810 weigh scale models.

weigh system. Macfie says Gallagher will demonstrate how its products meet the requirements of the NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) scheme. “We are also offering some exceptional deals on EID packages and on the world’s best handheld tag reader, the HR3.” The site will also display new-generation weigh scales,

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UPGRADES TO Buckton Engineering’s side delivery wagons reduce wastage on feed pads, the company reports. “We were getting comments that when feeding finer material on feed pads it was dropping to the concrete under the wagon, so unavailable to the stock,” says joint owner Eric Buckton. This applied to fine materials such as PKE, fine chop silage and other mineral additives. The upgraded wagons have their floor extended further over the side-delivery conveyor, ensuring all material drops to the belt. To ensure no material can return underneath on the scraper arms, the maker has added, to the leading edge of the floor, small scrapers to ensure all material drops to the belt for placement in feed troughs. Different floor profile and a rubber seal on the back door also help prevent waste. The side delivery belt, which can hydraulically extend 250mm outside the wheel line, now has no cross cleats to preclude material being dragged under the wagon. The hydraulic jack attachment point has been repositioned so the weighing system still works when the wagon is disconnected from the tractor.

4x4, 60Hp, tyres: F:12.4x20 R:16.9x28, R: 12 speed F/3R Transmission, fitted PRICE Euro Series II Loader. INCLUD

Rural News // june 7, 2011

50 nz national fieldays

Shoot thieves’ rego, even at night DON’T UNDERESTIMATE the vulnerability of farms and lifestyle blocks to theft of property and stock or damage to fences and buildings, warns All Seasons Security. The company sells electronic security surveillance gear. Though isolation may work for farms in one sense, it can work against them too, says principal Greg Pringle. Hence

the need to protect properties from theft of ATVs, fuel, batteries, vehicles, livestock and tools. Land owners can protect such as forest plantings and milk vats by keeping intruders at bay. A digital video recorder in a shed, home or office, connected to a monitor allows a watch on key areas on a farm including driveways, toolsheds, milk vats and fuel tanks.

Especially effective is ‘filming’ intruders’ vehicle number plates. Results are excellent day and night. Recorders used with multiple cameras can monitor a wide area and will, for example, offer memory of between one and six months of information via a rewriting hard drive system. “Early footage is automatically deleted and replaced with new footage, so there’s always a

full hard-drive of current information,” Pringle says. “Data is timed, dated, in colour, and ready for transfer to a USB stick for the police.” Pringle says a landowner’s starting point with security gear could be a one-camera and recorder installation with options to add more later. Tel. 0800 47 49 11


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Working on weight gain, production ‘BREAKING BARRIERS to Productivity’ – theme of this year’s Fieldays – is an ideal close to the heart of PacificAg directors, a company spokesman says. “Our clients stay with us because we’re always working with them to improve their bottom line. PacificAg cites the example of its product Maxi Trace Dairy, a stockfood supplement specifically designed to meet the daily requirements of a dairy cow. It contains the essential elements that grass fed, lactating stock need to maintain production and good health. Maxi Trace Dairy is a concentrated liquid supplement made from quality, food-grade materials. It combines carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes, minerals, trace elements and vitamins essential for maintaining stock health. Its organic seaweed base enhances assimilation of these essential elements and provides additional nutrients from a natural source, the company says. The process creates a liquid suspension easy to use in most farm delivery systems – drench gun, trough treatment, in-line dispensing system or poured onto grain, hay or supplementary feed. “Better production, increased weight gain and higher conception rates all occur when stock is healthy, and Maxi Trace Dairy provides the platform for maximising farm profits.” PacificAg works with farmers and institutions in farm trials. All laboratory analysis is by Hills Laboratories, Hamilton. Soil tests are done regularly. Tel. 0800 476 969

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

nz national fieldays 51

Effluent system saves time EFFLUENT GEAR from GEA Farm Technologies is saving a Waikato dairying couple hours every week. Simon and Joanne Belton, Matamata, own a 73ha (eff.) 300cow farm and their intensive operation has required a sustainable, economic effluent solution. Three years ago, after milking two herds on separate farms, they decided to maximise the return off the land they had rather than buying the lease block the other herd was on. This involved a big spend on the home farm, including

a 40-bail Westfalia rotary shed and a feed pad capable of handling cows milked all year round, with individual cows dried off 50 days prior to calving. The cows’ diet is based on Keenan approach: high fibre in the form of straw acting as a rumen buffer for other feeds, addressing carbohydrate, starch, protein and energy requirements. The regime delivers record production – 146,000kgMS off 300 cows for 2010-2011, but also fibre dense effluent that typical effluent irrigators cannot cope with.

Says Belton, “Before we went with the GEA system I would have spent an hour a day during spring unblocking nozzles and pump heads. It couldn’t manage the slurry going through.” The GEA system includes Houle pumps and components designed specifically for effluent management. A Houle Agi-Pump with a 16” chopper propeller transfers feed pad waste to a slope screen separator. “To get the most out of effluent you need to separate th solids from ths liquid stream,” Belton says.

yEffluent with any sort of solids going into a storage pond is simply too difficult to manage later on, and only transfers the problem.” GEA Farm Technologies effluent expert Murray McEwan says slope separators are not new technology, but the beauty of the GEA design is no moving parts, no augers or motors that can quit. Belton will use the dry solids on the 17ha of maize he grows every year. Tel. 07 823 3660

Simon Belton, Matamata

Postdrivers further afield KINGHITTER POSTDRIVER’s new Kinghitter Multi-Positional Series 4 base now allows the operator “to actually position the post being driven within a 2m2 area,” says a company spokesman. “The Series 4 Multi Positional base can accept the Kinghitter Series 2 range of postdrivers and the Series 2 fully telescopic expander range. And it can be operated with the full range of accessories available for both models.” The company says the Series 4 multi positional base allows for a lower centre of gravity when being operated. The postdriver beam can be rotated into the side-mount position and angled for-


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ward or back 30 degrees from vertical position, and away 45 degrees from the base or 25 degrees back towards the base. And the base rotates around to the rear position for positioning side 30 degrees and back 45 degrees and forward 25 degrees. It’s also fitted with adjustable Teflon slides/pads, simple to adjust when required. “The huge side shift movement of 800mm and rotation over 90 degrees around to allow a 200mm back shift makes the Kinghitter Series 4 base one of the most universal postdriver bases on the market today,” the maker says.

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Spread wide over stock COW HOUSING concepts are bounding ahead at Widespan South Island, as seen from these computer-generated pictures sent recently to Rural News. The company says the concepts, and resulting specific designs, can suit dairy farmers and beef feed-lot operators. Buildings are ‘turn-key’ – walk in and start farming. Each design is to the customer’s specific needs. Construction time is surprisingly short, even on 34m spans. New technologies offered in the sheds are cow mattresses, automated cleaning systems, and feed out lanes for easier supplementary feeding Tel. 0800 94 33 77

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management 53

More cows less work for Swedes SUD ES H K I SSUN

A FOUR-FOLD increase in cow numbers would normally mean more work on a dairy farm. However, Swedish farmers Patrik and Elin Johansson have moved from 70 to 300 cows without hiring new staff. The operators of Torp Farm, Manstad, now spend less time feeding the cows than before and vet visits to fix feedrelated issues have also dwindled.

A holistic and automated approach to dairying is working for Torp Farm, says Patrik. In 2008, the Johanssons invested in a new barn. They also installed four DeLaval voluntary milking machines (VMS) and a fully automatic feeding system. The barn walls can be raised and lowered to control temperature, lights work automatically and the Optimat system cuts, mixes, loads and distributes feed auto-

Early morning starts to feed and milk the cows are now a thing of the past, say Elin and Patrik Johansson, thanks to automated milking and feeding on their farm at Manstad.

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matically day and night. Other smart barn features include swinging roller brushes and rubber floors. Patrik was surprised to scale up from 70 to 300 cows without needing more labour and becoming more efficient. “I could afford to hire workers that were good with computers or taking care of the animals instead of looking for employees physically suited to handle heavy equipment,” he says. Early morning starts to feed and milk the cows are now a thing of the past. The cows stroll up to the four VMS to be milked at their own time. Elin says some cows prefer to be milked in the morning while others are “afternoon cows”. “The cows go and get milked when it suits them,” she says. Feed is mixed and delivered to the cows by the Optimat system. Daily feeding-related tasks that previously took four hours now take 30 minutes. Patrik points out regardless of who loads the system the cows get the exact feed they need every day, according to the recipe he programs. “That extra time is important for us,” he says. “Now the vet does

not need to come as often and never has to treat the cows for feed-related problems. We have happier and healthier cows on this farm now.” Elin believes happier cows produce more milk. And the increased yield comes at a lower cost and a lower impact on the environment, she says. “Cow comfort is a must for us,” she says. “With good rubber floors, for instance, we’ve noticed how cows in heat play around and don’t risk injuries. “With clean cubicles we avoid mastitis and providing good bedding guarantees that our cows get quality sleep so they can produce lots of milk.” Technology and automation embraced by the Johanssons are part of DeLaval’s Smart Farming concept. DeLaval vice president marketing and communications Benoit Passard says it’s the key to long-term business profitability, expansion and sustainability. “We are pleased that customers like Patrik and Elin Johansson are a real example of what we as a company have been aiming for with our Smart Farming vision: the essence to long term dairy business success is to create a holistic profitdriving operation.”


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Warm weather good and bad With mating over for another year on most sheep farms, what are the key animal health issues from here on? Vivienne Haldane talked to Richard Lee, of Hawkes Bay Vet Services. A KIND autumn in most areas has laid the foundation for a good lamb drop this year and the Hawkes Bay is no exception. “The early production signals are looking really positive,” says Richard Lee, veterinarian at Hawkes Bay Vet Services in Waipukurau. “There’s a good lamb crop sitting in the ewes at the moment.” He says the key thing now is to get as many live lambs out of these ewes. “There can be quite a big attrition rate between scanning and live lambs and the biggest influence on the success of that is nutrition.” Lee believes scanning is essential to manage nutrition. “Farmers can’t feed differentially if they don’t know which ones to feed!” Two key management opportunities prior to lambing: are scanning and set stocking. “What farmers need to do is work out a feed and management plan from scanning through until set stock for lambing (usually at day 90 gestation) and then to lambing (day 145-150) as well as post set stocking.” Set stock is a complicated management event and should take into account age of ewe, body condition, number of lambs inside, lambing

vital updates on what’s happening across the district.” The warm, moist conditions increase the ability of third stage larvae to be ingested by sheep and infect them with production-limiting worm burdens. Appetite is lost, diarrhoea and scouring sets in and, potentially, death can result. Hoggets in particular need monitoring.

“However, most farmers are pro-active about parasite issues,” he says. Another manifestation of the warm, moist environment are cases of lameness caused by bacteria growing in feet (scald and foot-rot) as well as pink eye. “We usually associate these diseases with summer, but it’s quite uncommon to see them in autumn. “We are also getting

some dairy cows with metabolic issues such as milk fever and grass staggers. I’ve also seen milk fever in ewes this season already, which is very early.” The remedy is an injection of calcium. As for campylobacteriosis and toxoplasmosis, the most common causes of abortion in sheep, Lee says these are routinely vaccinated for and are now less prevalent.

Tune management according to scanning results to minimise animal health issues, says Hawkes Bay vet Richard Lee (inset).

date and land topography. It should also include known historical factors like paddock lamb survival history. Lee says this is crucial because once set stocked, ewes are not shifted and it is where their lambs will arrive. “What [feed] sheep need is well documented in feed requirement tables which are readily available, so there’s no excuse not to know. Good stockmen get it right, but some don’t.” Lee says farmers are “kinaesthetic people.” “They see and do as opposed to tackling figures and carrying out quantified feed budgets in terms of kg of dry matter per hectare. “This year, scanning percentages are good to very good. It’s running up to 168% for mixed age ewes mated on February 20. The significance of this is an early mating

date.” Lee expects March 1 matings may scan at 10% more and those on March 20 at 20% more. “There are a lot of lambs inside and the ewes are in very good condition.” In late gestation, vitamins A, D & E can be low but this can be rectified with a number of products via oral drenching. “These deficiencies are not widespread and are quite property specific. Each individual farm needs to find out what that is – either from historical records or their vet.” Lack of trace elements, iodine, copper – especially if it’s been wet – and selenium, can be production limiting. Although iodine is rarely an issue on the east coast of the North Island, Lee notes. However, selenium is one of the most common

deficiencies in Hawkes Bay and can be counteracted by inclusion of selenium in pre-lambing vaccines given to ewes. Copper and selenium deficiencies in late pregnancy can significantly affect new born lambs. Historical records should show if this is likely to be a problem. Severe cases of copper deficiency in ewes will show up as bone weakness in newborn lambs: legs spontaneously breaking at docking and swayback. While the kind autumn has been good for grass growth, “it’s also ideal for worm survival,” warns Lee, whose clinic also has a commercial parasitology lab. “Because we are doing faecal egg counts on sheep and beef and the level of infection quantified, daily reports and recommendations go out to farmers. This gives us

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

56 management

More data to support N enhancer a nd r ew swa llow

MORE GRASS with less nitrogen is the headline message to come out of a new suite of trials with fertiliser enhancer LessN. The work, commissioned by LessN manufacturer Donaghy’s, but independently conducted by IWM Consultancy, Lincoln, was carried out

on six dairy farms in the region during February and March. Adding the nitrogen enhancer to liquid urea boosted the pasture response on all sites and sufficiently to be a statistically significant lift on four out of the six sites. Measurements were taken over one grazing cycle by cutting and

probe. With no nitrogen (the control) mean growth was 1038kgDM/ha. Applying 40kg/ha of nitrogen as solid urea raised that mean 13.5% to 1178kgDM/ha, and when the same amount of nitrogen was applied as liquid urea, mean output was 1235kgDM/ha, an 18.9% increase. Adding LessN to the

Nigel Johnston

liquid application at the equivalent of 3 litres/ ha boosted the mean

to 1391kgDM/ha, a 34% increase over the no treatment control and 13% over liquid urea alone. An 80kg/ha application of nitrogen as solid urea produced 1372kgDM/ha on average, 32% more than the control. “These results offer huge benefits to the dairy industry, both in terms of financial benefits to farm-







Pasture dry matter response over one grazing cycle Treatment

Mean kgDM/ha

% response

No N



40kg liq N



40kg liq N + LessN



40kg solid N



80kg solid N



Results mean of six sites treated in February, cut in March.

ers and the environmental impact that nitrogen use has on water quality,” says Donaghy’s biotechnology business manager Nigel Johnston. Johnston told Rural News the product works by increasing chloroplast activity – ie photosynthesis – in a plant’s leaves to produce more carbohydrate. Some of that combines with the ammonium taken up from the urea to produce amino acids which the plant builds into proteins and enables it to grow faster. “One of the things farmers comment on is that the pasture looks a lot darker and greener where they’ve used LessN.” Whether applications are made every 30-40 days “following the cows” through the season, or two or three larger applications, the impact of LessN will be the same,

he says. “But my personal opinion is going on with less and more often is better.” The IWM work validates in-house trial work that Donaghy’s has conducted over the last three years, says Johnston. “Farmers can grow similar amounts of pasture as traditional spread urea applications, but with only half the amount of urea applied. This has significant impact on a farms’ profit as spend on urea is halved.” With urea at over $700/t, any savings in onfarm nitrogen will be very welcome, he suggests. Trial work with other crops including brassica, maize and cereals is being conducted, with promising results in brassica in particular. “We’re hoping to be able to put brassica on the label in the spring.”


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Wanaka couple win ewe hogget comp ROMNEY BREEDERS Phil Hunt and Lizzie Carruthers, Wanaka, are the 2011 New Zealand Ewe Hogget Competition winners. The couple beat more than 200 other entrants in the New Zealand Sheep Breeders’ Association-organised competition this year, including a substantial increase in entries from North Island flocks. The national final judges visited 23 properties. On accepting the award, at a dinner in Christchurch, May 27, Hunt said he was blown away by the announcement, felt humbled and paid special mention of his wife Lizzie who works the stock, while he does the book work. A field day will be held on the property in November.

Rural News // jun e 7, 2011

management 57

Mild autumn raises nitrate risk TAKE EXTRA care transitioning stock onto crops this year because the warm autumn has raised the risk of nitrate poisoning, warns Dairy NZ. Higher soil temperatures through May are likely to have resulted in more mineralisation of nitrogen in the soil and more nitrogen in the system – even if use of fertiliser nitrogen has been no different to previous years, explains DairyNZ Developer Steve Lee. “With sunshine hours up over previous autumns and fewer overcast days you might expect lower nitrate levels as growing plants will convert nitrate to plant protein, effectively diluting the nitrate that is present. That’s not the case.” Careful planning is

needed to safely transition cows onto crop, to avoid potentially serious animal health problems elevated nitrate levels can cause. “Having a plant nitrate test done will give you an indication of the nitrate

factors that can be implemented to reduce the risk of nitrate poisoning. “Control the rate of intake – a fast rate of intake of a crop with a medium level of nitrate can create similar problems to a crop with a

Transition tips • Introduce crop slowly • Don’t put cows on hungry • Measure yields and breaks • Use a safety fence to limit breakouts • Wait till frost is off before offering new break

levels in your crop, but should not be the only factor taken into consideration when determining how safe a crop is to graze.” Lee says there are a number of management

higher level of nitrate consumed at a lower rate, especially in cows still adapting to the crop. “Avoid putting hungry cows onto crop by feeding supplements first or ensuring sufficient sup-

plement is offered so there is always some available. And allow 14 days for the animal to fully adjust to the crop. This year the transition may need to be slower than normal to prevent nitrate issues.” He also says be accurate with crop allocation, especially during the transition phase. “Measure the width of your paddock and get a crop yield done – in a high yielding crop being out by 0.5 m with your fence can change the allocation by 2-3 kg DM/cow.” The risk of breakouts should be minimised and a second barrier kept in place, just in case. “Always have another break set up in front of the feeding face and/or use a catch-fence.

Winter warmer too says NIWA

“Lastly, wait until the frost has lifted before offering a new break to your stock.” Lee says with this autumn being different to previous years, vigilance when transitioning cows

to crops to ensure they remain healthy will pay off with cows in a good position to achieve their precalving body condition score targets. More on www.dairynz.

LA NINA has gone, but a mild winter is likely nonetheless, according to NIWA’s June-August outlook. It says temperatures are likely to continue above average in many regions, but near average in the west and south of the South Island, and average or above average for the northern North Island. Despite the overall pattern of mild conditions, cold snaps typical of winter will still occur. Seasonal rainfall and river flows are likely to be near normal in the north and east of both islands, and normal or below normal in western regions. Soil moisture levels are also likely to be near normal in all regions.




Rural News // june 7, 2011

58 management

Capitalising on advantages Rangitaiki Station is one of Landcorp’s largest sheep, beef and deer units in the central North Island. Recently it hosted a Beef + Lamb field day and reporter Peter Burke joined the 100 or so farmers who came to see this iconic property. THE FIRST thing that strikes you about Rangitaiki is the shear scale of the place. A sign showing the name of the station is about 40km from Taupo, on the Napier Taupo highway, but it’s another 10 km from it to the woolshed. You also get a hint of what the weather can be like too. The property is between 700 and 850 metres above sea level. While there was no snow on the day of the field day, the central plateau mountains to the south with a new sprinkling were visible. No kidding it was cold! Snow in winter is not uncommon on the property, but it tends to melt fairly quickly and causes

Rangitaiki Station at a glance Location: just off Napier Taupo Highway, 40 km from Taupo. Area: 9,694 hectares, 8,300 effective. Stock units wintered: 80,000 – 28,000 sheep (22,000 ewes), 19,090 deer (9,000 hinds fawning), 1,500 beef cattle (1,100 breeding cows), 3,200 dairy grazers. Rainfall: 1,400 mm. Altitude: 700 – 850m. Contour: mainly flat to moderate rolling. Soils: 70% yellow brown pumice and 30% yellow brown podsolised yellow brown ash. Staff: 17 – including Farm Business Manager. Owner: Landcorp.

There are also two wool sheds, 23 houses for staff and a fully-staffed office. Also there are 29 km of formed roads around the property. Rangitaiki is an amalgamation of six farms and was developed between 1967 and 1973. In charge of the station is 38-year-old Ross Shep-

minimum disruption to its farming operations The other sign of the scale is the numbers. The property carries a total of 80,000 stock units – made up of 28,000 sheep, 19,000 deer, 1500 beef cattle and 3,200 dairy grazers all of which coexist on this 9,694 hectare block (8300ha grassed).

herd. He’s an Aucklander by birth, who – as soon as he left school at 17 – went farming. Later he joined Landcorp as a shepherd and slowly worked his way up to his present role. Shepherd doesn’t have a degree, but has studied at Massey University and at the prestigious Mt Eliza Business School in Mel-

Aucklander by birth: Station manager Ross Shepherd.

bourne amongst others. He has a staff of 17 who help run the various units on the station. It’s a huge job filled with challenges. The sheep operation is on a scale that most farmers can only dream about. Lambing percentages during the last five years have varied from 144% to

116%, following the big October snowstorm in 2009. “We mate about 22,000 ewes. We also mate hoggets that are over 40kg and budget to produce 33,000 lambs,” Shepherd says. “The target of this sheep flock is to wean as many and as heavier lambs

as possible.” In terms of the finishing policy, it’s fairly flexible depending on the season. Ideally most of the lambs are fed into Landcorp’s finishing units. “The smaller lambs, if we can’t take them, will be either offered for sale as store lambs or go to

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

management 59

of scale BrownRiggs, a finisher based in Hawkes Bay, who we’ve developed a good relationship over the past two years.” There are 1100 breeding cows on the property and the calves are sold on the store market. The deer are all finished on the station. In recent years, Rangitaiki has farmed up to 4,300 dairy grazers from other Landcorp dairy units. One of the features of the farming policy is the use of monitoring data. Pastures are regularly checked to determine covers and to plan rotations. There is also a weather station on the farm which is linked into

Measurement makes the difference One of the keynote speakers at the field day was Professor Ian Yule from Massey University. He holds the chair in Precision Agriculture and was one of the inventors of a device called the Pasture Meter, which is towed behind an ATV to electronically assess just how much feed is available. It was originally designed for dairy farms, but can also be adapted for sheep and beef units such as Rangitaiki delivering significant benefits. “We have one dairy farmer for example who’s increased his pasture utilisation by 10%. That’s 10% more grass and it is money in the bank for him. “But it’s also about better planning. You know where you are in comparison to last year. “So if you’re ahead it’s the farmers’ decision as to

ment of the monitoring programme on Rangitaiki. Shepherd says they’ve been individually recording stock and collecting weights and have had a fairly big monitoring programme for about 15 years. “All EID has done is make things that little bit easier. You’ll notice going around that there wouldn’t be a stock class that hasn’t been weighed at least once in the past six weeks,” he adds. While all the dairy cattle have been EID’d, the rest of stock classes – namely sheep and deer – are monitored by way of representative samples. During the past five years, about 1000 lambs have

whether they put some pasture aside.” Good weather data is another invaluable tool in the decision making process. While there is a lot of technology available, Yule says farmers aren’t taking full advantage it. “With some of these measurement technologies we’ve really got to develop the knowledge and experience among farmers. Gut feel is like a reference point, we are looking to provide more detail around that.” Yule admits that it’s taking time for farmers to adopt new technologies. He says it’s taken about five years to get 10% of dairy farmers to use a pasture meter to accurately determine pasture covers and he expects it’ll be an equally long time for sheep and beef farmers to do the same.

Weights or weather: it’s all monitored at Rangitaiki.

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been tagged and monitored with the data from these analysed. “For example, with 7500 commercial deer on farm we always have about 5% of the herd with EID monitored tags, which means these animals are weighed and the data recorded to represent what is happening in the greater mob.” The work on developing the station doesn’t stop and because it’s been a good season, Shepherd is taking advantage and putting on next season’s lime early. There is also a programme in place to renew pasture and feeds crops are also grown on the station. For the average farmer, Rangitaiki, and other large stations, seem almost surreal. But the principles that apply on these properties can, for the most part, be replicated on smaller units, says BINZ chairman Mike Peterson. More from Petersen and the field day on p60.




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the Landcorp network. “We’ve had a weather station on the farm for probably 10 years and while it’s not a panacea for management, it’s another tool that we can use. It has good historical weather patterns which help our decision making in the summer especially when things are drying out,” Shepherd says. Grass grub is a problem on Rangitaiki and Shepherd and his team are working closely with AgResearch to find a solution. In the meantime, there’s a lot spraying of pasture to combat this problem. Another challenge is old pine trees, originally planted for shelter. They are now starting to fall down and damage fences and staff are busy milling these to minimise damage and take advantage of good timber prices. They are also replanting more pines to create shelter for stock. EID is another ele-

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

60 management

Lessons for smaller players says Petersen BLNZ CHAIRMAN, Mike Petersen says ordinary farmers can learn from what’s being done on a large scale farm such as Rangitaiki. For instance, there’s a real focus on seeking information and getting feed-

Ordinary farmers can learn from what’s being done on a large scale farm such as Rangitaiki. back from this. “The alignment and specialisation that they are doing is something that

smaller farmers can also do. They are simplifying their systems and focusing on what they are good at”.

“They recognise they have climatic issues here and challenges around some times of the year and with some classes of livestock, so they’ve adjusted their business accordingly.” Petersen says Landcorp has a huge resource

right across the country and for some time BLNZ has been talking with the company on how it can tap into the corporate farmer’s Mike Petersen resources and knowledge for the benefit of all farmers. business plan, which is He adds that the model part of the Red Meat Sector Strategy, is based on the Landcorp model. “It’s great that farmers can come in and see things that they wouldn’t see on a normal small-scale farm. For example, the weather stations on the farm and

the information that they are collecting is really interesting,” Petersen explains. “Another is the scale that they’ve got to build a genetic programme. It’s not something that smaller farmers can get to see often and this is an opportunity to do so.”

EID – an end to note books HIGHLIGHTING THE value of EID at the field day was Waikato bull farmer Graham Smith. By his own admission, Smith’s not a computer whizz, but for him the electronic system of recording stock data has put an end to dealing with wet note books. He told the visiting farmers that under the manual system there was always the risk of writing down the wrong numbers, but the electronic system ensures the data he collects is accurate. With good data the financial benefits follow and he sees it as a tool for the future. “We’ll be able to identify traits in the animals that we are buying. We can go back to the breeder and say progeny from that particular sire do well.” Smith says there may come a day when he will not buy animals unless he can trace their history. While he still needs his son to set up his cell phone, Smith is able to manage the EID technology and believes it’s a skill that can be learned. He also says EID tags means an end to trying to read standard muddy manual tags.

Rural News // june 7, 2011

animal health 61

Owning up to drench resistance p e t e r bu r k e

NEARLY ALL farms in New Zealand have a drench resistance problem, says a leading parasitologist. Dave Leathwick, AgResearch Grasslands, told farmers attending Beef + Lamb NZ’s recent Science Day in Palmerston North that 75% of sheep farms have a problem, while the figure is closer to 100% on beef farms. He urges farmers to get stock – or rather the parasites they’re carrying – tested for drench resistance because doing so is likely to be financially beneficial. Leathwick says sheep farmers are more aware of the problem because there’s been a lot more publicity, but in beef – because most resistance is to cooperia – it’s not really obvious and most farmers aren’t aware of the problem.

“They think they will see a problem and if the animals look fine and they are growing reasonably well, they just assume there isn’t a problem.” He’s not absolutely certain why there is such a problem in the beef industry, but believes some of it can be attributed to ‘pour-on’ drenches. “In sheep it’s probably due to a focus on maximising productivity rather than a balance of productivity versus resistance management. “All you did was use as much drench and as many drenches you could to maximise productivity and that’s what we did.” He adds that when it comes to choosing a drench, the buying patterns of farmers are pretty mixed. “Some will act on what Joe told

them down at the pub on Saturday night. Some of it’s around price and free give-aways, although some of that’s declining now. “Hopefully, some go and ask their vet or their advisor about what they should do.” Leathwick says his perception is most farmers are unaware of what drench resistance is costing them. “They think they will see a problem and if the animals look fine and they are growing reasonably well, they just assume there isn’t a problem. “What we know now is the cost of that sub clinical problem can greatly

Birds of a feather

exceed the cost of doing a drench test so it’s a false economy not to.” He adds that even regular weighing of stock won’t necessarily pick up a problem, unless there is something to compare an animal with. Often what looks ok is simply not. While reluctant to get into which drenches are best and which are not, Leathwick backs orals for cattle and says with sheep the best products tend to be the most expensive. He says there’s a lot of information about drench resistance available and farmers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for independent advice and simple messages, such as testing for resistance are still not being picked up. “Every farmer in New Zealand should be doing it, yet the proportion who are is probably only about 10%.”

Dave Leathwick

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Rotary Broom Sweepers MASSEY UNIVERSITY veterinary students Kelly McKenzie, Lily Chau, Steffi Jalava and Lauren Allen pose on an ostrich farm for a fundraising calendar. “We’re celebrating reaching the half-way point in pursuit of a gruelling veterinary degree,” says third-year student and fellow calendar model, Rosie Keen. Other location shots in what is the sixth ‘Barely There’ calendar include a fire engine, old farmhouse veranda and a large Tui “Yeah right” billboard. The July to June calendars cost $15 with 10% of proceeds going to SPCA Canterbury’s efforts to house mistreated, abandoned, sick and injured animals, especially those affected by the Canterbury earthquakes. See

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

62 animal health

Skin cell theory in FMD spread a l a n h a rm a n

SKIN CELLS shed from livestock infected with foot and mouth disease (FMD) could very well spread the disease, says a scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California. Michael Dillon’s theory is based on the fact FMD virus is found in the skin

and that airborne skin cells are known to transmit other diseases. If proven, his theory could lead to more effective controls, new surveillance methods, and improved studies of the persistence of the disease in the environment. The research may also be applicable to how other infectious diseases are spread.

“This is believed to be a significant source of bacterial infection for surgical procedures and other infections that are a result of treatment in a hospital.” FMD is highly contagious and has multiple known routes of transmission, including: direct animal-to-animal contact at mucous membranes, cuts

or abrasions; indirect contact such as via contaminated bedding; ingestion of contaminated feed; and inhalation of infectious aerosols – the respira-

essential minerals for animal health

tory or airborne pathway. “The airborne pathway may play a role in some outbreaks by causing disease ‘sparks’ (disease spread to regions remote

from a primary infection site),” Dillon says. “If the disease isn’t detected quickly, these ‘sparks’ can lead to major outbreaks.” Dillon cites the widespread dissemination of FMD during the catastrophic 2001 United Kingdom outbreak, which was thought to be caused by the inadvertent transport of animals with unrecognised FMD infection to areas previously free of FMD. Mammals actively shed skin cells into the environment and make up 1% to 10% of measured indoor and outdoor aerosols and indoor dust. These cells and the bacteria, yeast, fungi and viruses known to be present on the surface of them, or in some cases inside the skin cells, can become airborne by being shed directly into the air or when dust is disturbed. “This is believed to be a significant source of bacterial infection for surgical procedures and other

infections that are a result of treatment in a hospital.” While not a typical site for initial FMD virus infection, skin is a major viral replication site in most animals, adds Dillon. “The outermost layer of FMDV-infected skin needs to be analyzed to find out how stable the virus is in these skin cells.” Dillon’s proposal suggests sampling and management of settled dust could prove to be a useful tool for disease surveillance and control. Slaughtered animals may also emit airborne FMD virus via infected skin cells simply by exposure to wind and/or mechanical abrasion. “Given the potential for skin cells to protect infectious virus from the environment, the management of other viral diseases may also benefit from enhanced dust surveillance and management, and skin decontamination,” Dillon says.

Truck winds up in Wyndham COOPERS’ CLASSIC 1956 Ford truck has been won by Wyndham sheep and beef farmers Brent and Ann-Maree Robinson. The animal health firm’s staff took the truck on a road trip from Kaitaia to Bluff this autumn, calling at 39 rural retailers or vet clinics for barbecue breakfasts and sausage sizzles en route (see Meanwhile, buyers of the firm’s products between March 14 and May 6 went into the draw to win the eyecatching machine, with the Robinson’s name being pulled out from the 5000-plus entries. Brent says they have plans to put the truck to work for community fundraising initiatives, as well as the odd weekend drive. “Everyone knows about the Coopers truck and we just want to develop that.”

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

64 animal health

World first disease eradication A nd r ew swa llow

THE WORLD is rid of the deadly cattle disease rinderpest. In a declaration, comparable with the eradication of smallpox, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announced May 25 that all 198 countries and territories with rinderpest-susceptible animals are free of the disease. “Today we witness a historical event as rinder-

pest is the first animal disease ever to be eradicated by humankind” said Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE. “It’s a major breakthrough, not only for science, but also for the cooperation policies amongst international organisations and with the international community as a whole. “Above all, it is a success for veterinary services and the entire veterinary profession, since the scar-

city of resources available in many countries that were previously infected constituted a major obstacle to the progressive control of rinderpest.” United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) deputy director-general Ann Tutwiler says the disease’s eradication was a top priority for FAO in its quest to defeat hunger and improve lives through agriculture. “With the eradication of the disease livestock

production around the globe has become safer and the livelihoods of millions of livestock farmers are less at risk. There are important lessons to be learnt when it comes to defeating other animal diseases.” A three-stage “OIE Rinderpest Pathway” for countries to be officially recognised as free from the disease was launched in 1989. In 1994 it was implemented in parallel with the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP), managed by the FAO in collaboration with the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In February this year,

OIE experts in charge gave the green light for recognising the free status of the last eight countries not yet recognised. Eradication was made possible by considerable donations from bodies

such as the European Union to eligible nations. This international cooperation and coordination were keys to the eradication, particularly in the poorest countries, says the OIE.

About rinderpest RINDERPEST MEANS bovine plague, reflecting the devastation the contagious virus can wreck on domestic and wild animal populations, people’s livelihoods and entire local or national economies. It affects cloven-hoofed animals, notably cattle and buffalo where mortality can hit 100%. Sheep and goats

show milder clinical signs. The disease was recognised even before Roman times and plagues of it killed hundreds of millions of cattle in Europe, Asia and Africa. An outbreak in Belgium in 1920 was the impetus for international cooperation in controlling animal diseases and a key factor in the OIE’s establishment in 1924.


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Rural News // june 7, 2011

animal health 65

Homeopathy helping organic producer p e t e r bu r k e

SOUTHERN MANAWATU dairy farmer Jamie Dunlop swears by the value of using homeopathy to treat his cows. Dunlop – an organic producer – has a great love of the land and a genuine desire to do all he can to farm in an environmentally-friendly way. He runs 240 crossbred organic cows on a 140ha block just out of the small rural township of Tokomaru. Dunlop took over the running of the family farm about five years ago and since then it’s been operating as an organic farm. Almost all of the milk is sold to Fonterra, but he does sell some at the gate to locals who are keen to enjoy organic milk. As with any organic farm dealing with animal health is different. However, not so with Dunlop who says for years they’ve been using homeopathy to treat their cows. “We seem to have very good results most of the time. We use a variety of things such as Arnica and Echinacea and these will deal with stress anxiety,” he explains. “You just give them a spray for four days and then after that you can reduce it to once a week or once a month and the animals seem to really thrive.” As far as Dunlop is concerned, homeopathy works as well – if not better than – chemical drugs which he says are invasive. He says giving drugs such as penicillin to his cows’ means having to take milk out of the vat, whereas with homeopathy it doesn’t require any milk to be lost. In addition to using homeopathy on his cows, Dunlop has to deal with issues such as weeds in a way that complies with his organic certification. “The most common weeds on a dairy farm are ragwort and thistle. We normally manage those by hand and it’s not too big an issue. “However gorse is a much bigger challenge and it requires a bit more effort to cut it down,” he says. Another challenge is buying stock and organic feed. “There are not many organic farmers who have stock they are willing to sell and also not a lot of organic farmers who have feed to give either. Keeping stock is the key and you’ve got to rear and replace your own stock as best you can.” Dunlop grows some of his own supplements and also grows a summer crop. He’s also managed to find another organic farmer who’s able to supply organic hay. The soil around Tokomaru is clay which means it

holds water, but can get very dry in summer. Care has been taken to plant grass species which best suit the property and his organic system. Despite the challenges of being an organic dairy farmer, Dunlop wouldn’t have it any other way. He is unapologetically ‘green’ and being an organic farmer is “all good”. For more information you can view the Homeopathy Farm Support group,

No witholding period for milk is one of the benefits, says Manawatu farmer Jamie Dunlop.


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RAVENSDOWN HAS launched a combination pour-on for lice control. “Fleeceguard has two active ingredients, diflubenzuron and deltamethrin, which gives rapid lice knock down in three to four weeks and sustained control of lice,” says the cooperative’s veterinarian, Gavin Goble. “Combination products prolong the development of resistance and Fleeceguard is a water-based pouron, so it’s safer, more user-friendly and easy to use.” Goble says the product isn’t a generic, like some of Ravensdown’s animal health range, but a brand new product developed with new technology for the wool industry. “With the current increase in wool returns, Fleeceguard means farmers can enjoy even greater returns with increased fleece weights and overall fleece quality.” A heavy, lice-infested fleece can return up to 24% less than a normal fleece and lice also increase the risk of flystrike.

lice treatments. Ask for COOPERS at your local animal health supplier. ACVM Registration No’s: A3832, A3977, A934, A935, A7704, A5997, A4558, A7705 and A6102. ® Registered trademarks. Schering-Plough Animal Health Limited, 33 Whakatiki Street, Upper Hutt. Phone: 0800 800 543. PLMB-302-2011. Priority Partnership is a registered trademark of Nufarm Limited.

Rural News // june 7, 2011

66 machinery & products

Ploughman wins ‘bronze’ ONE PLOUGHMAN from New Zealand gained a ‘bronze’ in a category of the 58th World Ploughing Contest 2011, held May 13, 14 in Sweden. Malcolm Taylor gained 3rd place in the reversible class and 5th overall. Scott McKenzie, in the conventional class was placed 21st in grassland and 17th overall. Complete results are: (conventional) 1. Chris-

tian Lanz, Austria; 2. Bengt Andersson, Sweden; 3. Andrew Mitchell Jnr, Scotland. (reversible)

1. Andrew Mitchell Snr, Scotland; 2. David Wright, Northern Ireland; 3. Dietmar Haas; Austria.

Ploughmen in Sweden (from left) Ray McKenzie, conventional coach; Scott McKenzie, conventional contestant; Bruce Redmond, reversible coach; Colin Millar, New Zealand world board member; Graham Miller, team manager; Malcolm Taylor, reversible contestant.

Keeps pace with any baler KUHN’S NEW trailed SW 4004 square and round bale wrapper offers many features to contractors, the company reports. The SW 4004 is Kuhn’s first ISOBUS compatible wrapper. Its IntelliWrap system uses electronics and hydraulics to monitor the wrapping process and continuously control film overlap. The operator can easily adjust the number of film layers from the terminal, while the overall capacity of the machine means it can keep up with the output of today’s balers. Kuhn technical service spokesman Chris Bruce

says ISOBUS compatibility means the SW 4004 is an easy machine to operate during long days in the paddock. “A key feature is easy change between bale sizes and shapes. It is ideal for a contractor doing wrapping for a variety of operators. Everything is programmed into the system from the start.” With its advanced hydraulics and electronics, the SW 4004 provides smooth operation. The multi-purpose wrapper features Kuhn’s patented roller design that enables it to wrap the bale horizontally without the risk of contamination.

The rollers also allow it to place more film accurately over the entire bale to prevent wrinkling and create a maximum oxygen barrier for excellent silage quality. The innovations on the SW 4004 bale wrapper make a difference when it comes to wrapping and storing high-quality fodder. For example, the wrapper automatically adjusts the wrapping process to match the oil flow from the tractor and the bale shape. Bruce says the SW 4004 also puts in a consistent performance. The Kuhn SW 4004 can wrap bales weighing up to 1500kg. It can handle

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large square bales of 1.2m x (0.6m-1.0m) x 2.0m, including double bales of 1.2m x 0.7m x 2.0m. It wraps medium square bales of 0.8m x (0.6m– 0.9m) x 2.0m and round bales up to 1.5m in diameter without any additional equipment. Strength and robustness are notable, so is its

narrow 2.5m travelling width. The wrapper has a hydraulic sliding frame that allows drive-through operation. This gives the wrapper stability, even on slopes, and provides the driver visibility of the wrapping operation. Tel. 0800 585 007

DOMHEALTH IS newly appointed distributor of New Zealand-made Zeosoft Soaps, a ‘natural’ hand cleaner that removes ingrained grime and dirt, and absorbs odours. The abrasive is a fine volcanic ash from a geothermal hot springs area; effective for removing oil, grease, grime, paint and dirt. Other ingredients are lemon, tee tree oil and manuka oil, both with antiseptic qualities. Domhealth says the soap contains only biodegradable plant and natural ingredients, and “the cell structure in the SoftZeolite minerals allows them to go on sponging up contaminants.” Sold in a gel format packed in a 300gm tube, 4.75kg pump container or 4kg refill for wall mounted dispensing. It is also available in a paste format and is packed as a 100gm hand soap or in a 300gm tube, 600gm tub, 2.5kg tub and a 4kg refill.

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

machinery & products 67

New ute suits people, gear RUSTLER 4X4 farm utility new from New Holland hauls supplies or people and their gear. It can be configured to suit, in two- or fourpassenger versions, with petrol or diesel engines. Transmission is via a wide-range CVT, giving the vehicle 40km/h top speed. And it’s built tough, New ZHolland asays: the frames of the 120 and 125 models are made of the same grade corrosionresistant, lightweight aluminium used in jet fighters; while the 115 has a steel frame and box construction. Capacities range from 420kg to 725kg. All models have high ground clearance and independent front suspension; the Rustler 115 also has independent rear suspension. Rack and pinion

steering the package to ensure ease of handling. On the 14hp 115 petrol model the driver engages the shift-on-demand 4WD; the larger models engage 4WD automatically. The 20hp 120 diesel and 23hp 125 petrol models have the maker’s IntelliTrak, an automatic, all-wheel-drive system that delivers traction automatically – no levers or buttons – and the auto system transfers power to the wheel/s. Safety features are certified ROPS and retractable safety belts at all seats. Bench seats are standard with retractable belts across the range. The Rustler 120/125 utility vehicles can be equipped with optional high-back bucket seats with 13-position driver seat adjustment. Also in the ‘cab’: weather pro-

tected glove box, storage pockets and console mounted cup holders. The vehicle carries a two year/2000 hour limited warranty Tel.06 356 4920

$55,900+GST Includes FEL

L Landini Globalfarm 90 Rops 9 • • • •

Perkins 4 cylinder, 4.4 litre engine Synchro shuttle 24F/12R speeds 2 post ROPS with sun canopy Euroloader self leveling loader

Once-over for DC3 McCormick CX110 Cabin

OSSIE JAMES’ old DC3 aerial topdresser won’t fly again but it will be smartened up for posterity. Work has begun to restore the aircraft that once stood at Mystery Creek – painted in McDonalds Lime colours. 37 years outside has left it in poor condition. The project is being overseen by a charitable trust, The Ossie James DC3 Conservation Trust, chaired by Jame’s daughter Lynette. Lynette James says the project will take 24 months to complete the first three stages including repairing and


• Perkins Tier 3 4cyl turbocharged/intercooled engine • 4 post cabin design with rear hinged doors for wide access • Power shuttle 3 stage • Powershift trans 24F/24R • HD360 Euroloader

McCormick Tmax 110 10 4C Cab RPS • • • • • •

4.4 litre Perkins engine 102Hp 36x12 wet clutch power shuttle transmission ssion 4 wheel disc brakes Spacious air conditioned cabin Front: 440/65R24 Rear: 540/70R34 tyres es

Includes Euroloader (Trima +3 option available)

$84,900+GST Includes FEL Limited numbers.

SAVE OVER $20,000

*Conditions apply. Photos shown here may include optional extras. s.

repainting the aircraft. “The ‘Highland Duster’ (ZK-AKL) is ravaged by 37 years in the weather. The fist stage of the project is underway with the commissioning of Crater Lake Developments to build a roof up and over the aircraft to protect it from any further weather degradation.” The restored plane will be the centerpiece of a learning centre where visitors will hear about the impact on farming of agricultural aviation.


Lynette James with Crater Lake prinicpal Brian Hermann.


Ag & Earth Power Farming Wellsford The Tractor Centre Maber Motors Power Farming Te Awamutu Maber Motors Capital Tractors Jacks Machinery Maber Motors Power Farming Gisborne Power Farming Hawke’s Bay Power Farming Taranaki

09 438 9163 09 423 8558 09 238 7179 07 889 5059 07 870 2411 07 882 1310 07 543 0021 07 308 7299 07 882 1310 06 868 8908 06 879 9998 06 278 0240


Power Farming Manawatu James Trucks & Machinery Brian Miller Truck & Tractor Power Farming Canterbury Ashburton Implement Services Power Farming Timaru Power Farming Timaru Peter Watt Machinery Power Farming Otago Power Farming Ganders Power Farming Ganders

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

68 motoring

Flywheel to send Volvo spinning VOLVO WILL later this year begin testing KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) flywheel technology on its road cars. This light, cheap and eco-efficient technology is said to make a 4-cylinder engine feel like a 6-cyl., and reduce fuel consumption by 20%. Volvo Car Corp will be one of the world’s first car makers to test the potential of flywheel technology on public roads. The company has received a grant of 6.57 million Swedish kronor from the Swedish Energy Agency for developing technology for kinetic recovery of braking energy in a joint project together with Volvo Pow-

ertrain and SKF. “Our aim is to develop a complete system for kinetic energy recovery,” says Derek Crabb, vice president VCC Powertrain Engineering. “Tests in a Volvo car will get under way in the second half of 2011. This technology... gives the driver a power boost, giving a four-cylinder engine acceleration like a six-cylinder unit.” The new system is fitted to the rear axle. During retardation, the braking energy causes the flywheel to spin at up to 60,000 rpm. When the car starts moving again, the flywheel’s rotation is transferred to the rear

wheels. Formula One has used a similar KERS system in recent years to give cars added performance for short times to aid overtaking on the race track. Volvo’s testing will turn off the combustion engine that drives the front wheels as soon as the braking begins. “Our calculations indicate the combustion engine will be able to be turned off about half the time when driving according to the official New European Driving Cycle,” explains Derek Crabb. Since the flywheel is activated by braking and the duration of the energy storage is limited, the

Flywheel technology has been tested before, but Volvo’s new system is lighter and better

technology is at its most effective during driving with lots of stops and starts. Fuel savings will be greatest in busy urban traffic. If the energy in the flywheel is combined with the combustion engine’s full capacity, it will give the car an extra boost of 50 kilowatts, and thanks to the swift torque buildup this translates into rapid acceleration, cutting 0 to 100 km/h times signif-

icantly. Flywheel propulsion assistance was tested in a Volvo 240 in the 1980s, and flywheels made of steel have been evaluated by various manufacturers in recent years. The flywheel Volvo will test is made of carbon fibre. It weighs about six kilograms and has a diameter of 20 centimetres. The carbon fibre wheel spins in a vacuum to minimise frictional losses.

Bouquet for Skoda ŠKODA has gained joint-third with Jaguar out of 28 car brands in the annual UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS) carried out by respected independent research firm J.D. Power and Associates, the New Zealand distributor reports. “It means the Czech brand has been in the top 10 for 18 years without a break.” The study covers vehicle quality and reliability, vehicle appeal, dealer service satisfaction and ownership costs.

ATV QUAD BIKE HELMETS FOR ALL KIWI WEATHER CONDITIONS New Zealand’s warm summers and cold winters may suggest that farmers need to have two forms of head protection for use with the farm bike; one for warm conditions, another for the cold. PACIFIC HELMETS has a solution with its new range of QUADSAFE HELMETS. IN ADDITION PACIFIC QUADSAFE HELMETS ALSO OFFER • CLIMATE ADAPTABILITY They incorporate a DSVS vent that can be opened to allow for additional airflow. • COMPOSITE CONSTRUCTION Constructed from a fibreglass reinforced composite called Fibre-Tuff which may increase the life of the helmet to a minimum of six years, which can be extended dependant on user care and maintenance. • COMFORT AND VENTILATION A bigger internal cavity, similar to rescue helmets. • SECURITY AND STABILITY The headband size can be adjusted to the wearer’s head size even when wearing the helmet with a beanie. The new models can be offered in a wide variety of colours, including the all-popular high visibility fluoro-lime. The helmets are certified to NZS8600: 2002, the New Zealand Standard for ATV/Quad bike helmets. See us at Field Days – Site RM10. Pacific Helmets (NZ) Ltd.

Accessories available for the helmet include: • Mesh Face Guard and Earmuff/Ear Defender Combo Kit, for use with chainsaws & power tools • UK 3AA/4AA LED Torches • Easi Glide Torch Clip for use with UK 3AA/4AA Torches • Merino Wool Beanie • Oily Japara Neck Protector

Rural News // june 7, 2011

vintage 69

Dad’s old wheels discovered in field ALLEN HOSKING and Land Rovers have come full circle in a heart-warming coincidence of man and wheels. It began in 1957 when Hosking, then aged eight, enjoyed riding in his dad’s new Land Rover series 1 LWB (109 inch). The story appeared to end in 1993 when it was sold during to tidy up his dad’s estate. But the memories lingered for Hosking, and he took to wondering what had happened to the vehicle? Then in October 2002 during a practice for the

Round Lake Taupo cycle race, he stopped for a breather near Te Hoi on the western access road. There in a paddock lay a decrepit Land Rover series 1 LWB. “My curiosity was aroused. I walked up to it and there were those distinctive features my father had designed. I knew immediately it was dad’s and after some delicate negotiations it was mine again after nine years.” Allen’s father Lloyd had a farm, Awatea, at Huiroa, 23km east of Stratford: 375ha of rolling-to-steep country with only 12ha of

Can’t you just smell it?

hay country. He never lived on it; he had 20ha at Wharehuia and for 36 years did a round trip of 34km/day to and from the farm. “Dad was a fine Christian gentleman and these trips were done six days a week because he rarely


worked on Sundays.” His commuting to the sheep-and-beef farm was first in a Vauxhall car and a trailer. When he later married and raised a family of two boys and a daughter he still commuted. Land Rovers had been

arriving in New Zealand since 1948 for buyers lucky enough to have overseas funds. They proved popular with farmers for what they could carry and where they could go. In 1957 Lloyd Hosking imported one of the last of the Series 1 LWB (109 inch) cab and chassis through Moller Motors, New Plymouth. “He had the deck put on by a motor body builder in Stratford and asked for dog

boxes on each side under the deck and in front of the back wheels.” These boxes enabled Allen to confirm it was his father’s Land Rover he saw at Te Hoi. “I remember going for my first ride in dads’new Land Rover when I was eight years old. Later he took me to New Plymouth to see a shipment of Land Rovers being lifted out of a ships hold.” In 2005 he began the res-

toration, everything unbolting “like Meccano”. Helped by a friend with joinery skills he restored the deck with rimu. Some mechanical parts had to be imported but were readily available in the UK. One important import was the ‘elephant hide grey’ coloured vinyl for the seats. Now living in Taupo, and still owning Awatea Farm, Hosking is active in the Land Rover Series 1 Enthusiasts Club.


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You know what it is like when you buy a piece of gear which is OK at the time of purchase, but a soon as your needs change it is not up to the job. Fence-Pro design their range so you can add options such as sidemounts units and hydraulic augers later on. This even applies to the base model Farmtek, so you can be sure you are not going to be caught out further down the track. Come and see for yourself at the Fieldays.

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Rural News // june 7, 2011

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1/6/11 12:54:15 PM

Rural News June 7 2011  
Rural News June 7 2011  

Rural News June 7 2011