Page 1

innovation winner

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The paddock to packet story of Lincoln Foundation’s Farmer of the Year. pages 28-29

Massey researchers aim to quantify losses to leptospirosis. page 31

Rural NEWS

rural health President of the Rural GPs Network Joe Scott-Jones speaks out.

page 4

to all farmers, for all farmers

march 20, 2012: Issue 511 

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Tech transfer image issue pa m ti pa

NEW ZEALAND’S agricultural technology transfer system is complex and fragmented, and the consequences could blemish our image overseas, a Government commissioned report warns. But Federated Farmers vice-president William Rolleston disagrees, saying the bottleneck is not in the technology transfer, but in the science to innovation.

William Rolleston

The Greening New Zealand’s Growth report was released this month at the National Party’s Bluegreen conference in Auckland. It recommends developing a “toolbox” system to deliver technology developments to farmers. The failings in the transfer systems mean there’s wide variation among farmers in the uptake of tools to improve productivity and reduce the environmental footprint, the report says. The “tail” of lower performers could “attract increasingly negative scrutiny from international customers and market observers to the likely detriment of New Zealand’s reputation for ‘clean green’ production,” it warns. Greater clarity is needed about who is responsible for helping farmers manage diffuse source pollution and greenhouse gases, so farmers receive factual, trustworthy information that reflects the latest science. It says MAF needs to work closely with industry and sector groups in enhancing existing programmes and developing programmes or “toolboxes”. Delivery of advice on new technologies is most effective through trusted advisers in existing channels. But Rolleston says “if

there’s something that works, farmers don’t need much convincing.” He thinks the report’s authors may have had the example of nitrification inhibitors in mind, which work in some places, but not in others. Technology transfer shouldn’t try to convince people to take things up where they’re not proven. But Rolleston agrees with the report finding that maintaining a world class agricultural R&D system in New Zealand is a challenge. “That’s a challenge we have to rise to. Having a good scientific capability that’s able to develop the knowledge that we are going to need in 15, 20, 30 years’ time is a critical investment for the future.” The report’s “tool boxes” are a good idea, but DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb already have them. “You have to be careful with consolidation of information channels that you do not try to be too many things to too many people.” Waikato University Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth says there needs to be a clarification of roles. “The CRIs are supposed to be commercialising IP - so ‘giving’ it to the levy bodies is not easy. The competitive funding model is anti what is being recommended here, and, in fact, what is needed for the future.”

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Rural News // march 20, 2012

news 3 issue 511

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Banker flags payout warning SUDESH K ISSUN

News������������������������������ 1-16 World������������������������� 18-19 Agribusiness����������� 20-21 Markets�������������������� 22-23 Hound, Edna������������������� 24 Contacts������������������������� 25 Opinion����������������������� 24-26 Management����������� 27-30 Animal Health�������� 31-34 Machinery and Products������������������ 35-42 Rural Trader���������� 42-43

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: editor@ruralnews.co.nz Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: fionas@ruralnews.co.nz ABC audited circulation 80,879 as at 31.12.2011

NEXT SEASON’S milk payouts face a greater threat from the surging Kiwi dollar than supply/demand issues around the world, says BNZ economist Doug Steel. He’s confident there won’t be another downgrade this season following Fonterra’s 15c cut to its milk price forecast earlier this month. That puts the combined dividend and milk forecast at $6.75 - $6.85/kgMS, dividend profit forecast being maintained at 40-50c/kgMS. The co-op blamed the declining commodity prices and a stronger New Zealand dollar, having issued an opening forecast range $7.15-$7.25/kgMS before retentions last June. “The foreign exchange’s impact on this year’s payout is more or less done,” Steel told Rural News. “[But] next year’s forecast payout will be lower due to the delayed effects of the dollar.” Fonterra made no mention of the outlook for 2012/13 when announcing its revision. A forecast for the coming season is usually made in late May. Steel says there was “some surprise” at Fonterra’s revision of this season’s

figure. He’d expected the co-op to hold onto the forecast payout this season as prices had only dropped slightly. Steel believes global dairy prices will remain “relatively stable” despite small declines in recent months. Dairy demand and supply are both growing. In the last few months the US has ramped up milk production. With a low dollar, its dairy products are becoming competitive in the global market, weighing down prices. But at the same time, demand in China, Middle East and Asia remains strong, he says. “While we have a balance between supply and demand, it’s just tilting slightly towards the softer side.” There have been some slight declines in recent GlobalDairyTrade events but prices are still in what’s been a tight trading range of 5% for some time, he adds. “So that’s relatively stable.” Announcing the payout revision, Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings said prices would “remain under some pressure through to mid-2012,” but made no reference to the 2012/3 season. Demand would remain strong but economic and political uncertainty is a threat to that. Meanwhile trends indicate stronger

Forex taking shine off beef and lamb POTENTIALLY GOOD returns from beef for New Zealand farmers are being eroded by the strength of our dollar against its US counterpart, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service director, Rob Davison. “We know that the US beef price is increasing and taking all the factors into account we’ll be looking at something like a $270 increase in beef prices from offshore markets. “But when we take off the impact of the strong NZ$, this turns out to be a mere $30 increase to the New Zealand farmer,” he explained to Rural News. Davison says meat export companies will take forward cover on exchange rates, but that will only smooth short-term fluctuations. With lambs, because it’s been such a good season, farmers have had the option of holding back some stock that they would normally sell at this time of the year. Average kill weight is up 0.6kg on last year already, but he says the increased weight will not compensate for the falling schedule. Last week North Island primes were making $6.10/kg compared to $6.65/ kg this time last year.

global production continuing in 2012. “While we have had a strong start to the season in New Zealand, with record milk flows, we are also seeing higher milk production levels in the US and Europe. International milk powder demand, however, currently appears robust which should help offset the impact of the stronger milk supply growth.

“In the past few weeks, global markets seem to be reacting to the ongoing economic difficulties in Greece, the potential for conflict in the Middle East and China’s reduced growth forecast. These events appear to be having a negative influence on most commodity prices.” Further comment from Fonterra is likely when it announces its half year results next week.

End in sight for some AS RURAL News went to press thousands of hectares of crops remained to be harvested across the country in what’s turning out to be one of the trickiest seasons for decades. Here, Lyndon Baxter brings in barley in South Canterbury. “We’re just over half way through,” he told Rural News last week. “This year’s certainly a lot later than usual – probably about three weeks.” Yields are still “about average” he says, despite some ear and grain loss due to crops standing out in all weathers. Meanwhile in Southland Feds Grain chairman John Gardyne says most autumn sown barleys have been cut, and they’re into

MS1311

spring barleys now. “Most are keeping up with dryers.” Yields are “good to average. I wouldn’t complain considering how dry it got before Christmas.” A legacy of that has been widespread secondary growth in spring barley, requiring pre-harvest glyphosate. “It’s a hassle, and it reduces yield too.” Feds’ Grain & Seed chair Ian MacKenzie says while it’s been a tough season, a finish is in sight for most in Canterbury. “Despite the logistical problems [and extra cost] of handling wet grain, and sodden grass seed, we are now getting close to an end and it’s been quite a good harvest across the board.”


Rural News // March 20, 2012

4 news

Rural GP’s see reform opportunity p eter burke

THE PRESIDENT of the Rural General Practitioners Network says more centralisation of medical services is inevitable but it needs to be done with input from the rural communities affected. Dr Joe Scott-Jones, a GP in Opotiki, Bay of Plenty, was speaking to Rural News after the Network’s annual conference in Queenstown earlier this

month. “I think we have an opportunity to do this in a way that’s planned and considered so that people will have reasonable access to an appropriately qualified person within an hour of needing them, which I think is reasonable. “It’s a question of helping people understand the change process and level of service they will get.” Scott-Jones says many of the health profession-

Dr Scott-Jones

als working in rural areas – nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists as well as doctors – are getting

older and the willingness to work long and difficult hours is starting to disappear which will lead to more centralisation. A government bonus scheme that attracts young doctors is good, but he says he’d like to see that extended into primary health care. “We really need to get the nursing schools thinking about developing education pathways that take their students out into

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rural areas. I am excited to see, for example, an interprofessional training programme where they get pharmacy, physio, nursing and medicine students out into rural areas for a period of six weeks at a time. They not only learn about the rural areas but they also learn about team work and how things work in primary care.” For older people, the level of health service in a rural area can be a determining factor as to whether they stay, or move to be near one of the larger towns, he notes. Scott-Jones has been based in Opotiki for 19 years and says he finds working in a rural area exciting because he’s able to use a wide range of skills, dealing with everything from car crashes to mental health matters. But he concedes that this is “not everyone’s cup of tea.” As it is, doctors who currently end up working in rural areas were often brought up in the country, or they or their partner may have rural interests such as owning a small farm or outdoor activities.

in brief careers spotlighted YOUNGSTERS NATIONWIDE will get a one-day taster of careers in the rural sector with the Get Ahead Careers Programme, kicking off in Te Awamutu, Tuesday, March 27. Organised by New Zealand Young Farmers, DairyNZ and Beef&Lamb NZ, interactive modules allow students and teachers to learn about the breadth of career opportunities within the agricultural sector. Careers are profiled in a “food supply chain from paddock to plate” format including a Supply Chain Amazing Race in which teams complete around 12 modules taken from different industry segments. The students are selected by their schools to attend. The programme runs at 10 locations, finishing June 14.

QEII Trust turns 35 PRODUCTION AND environmental protection can “co-exist very comfortably on New Zealand farms,” says QEII National Trust chair James Guild. The trust is celebrating its 35th year, having been named to mark Queen Elizabeth’s silver (25th) jubilee in 1977. It has since established over 3500 covenants protecting more than 100,000ha of “open space” in perpetuity.

fert still needed MASSES OF grass is no reason to cut maintenance fertiliser, says Ballance Agri-Nutrients. If anything, the growthy season means more nutrient will need replacing, particularly if more silage or other feed has been taken. “Our focus with maintenance fertiliser is about maintaining soil nutrition for the future rather than generating a boost to pasture growth now,” stresses Ballance extension manager Aaron Stafford. The one nutrient not to apply in a surplus feed situation is nitrogen, but the year’s uptake of phosphate, potassium, sulphur and magnesium in production will need replacing, unless nutrients were in surplus at the outset.

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Rural News // march 20, 2012

news 5

Westland chief disputes council’s DIRA claims SU D ES H KISSU N

SOUTH ISLAND dairy cooperative Westland Milk is rubbishing claims it received compensation when dairy giant Fonterra was formed in 2001. Speaking to Rural News in light of Fonterra Shareholders Council’s DIRA submission that Westland and Tatua received “capital payments”, therefore no further compensation is necessary (Rural News, March 6), Westland chief executive Rod Quin says Westland received a negotiated payment for New Zealand Dairy Board shares given up. No value was lost from Fonterra to either Westland or Tatua, so Fon-

terra farmers’ submission is incorrect. It highlights “the misunderstanding of what Dairy Industry Regulations Act (DIRA) milk returns to Fonterra,” he says. “In reality it adds value to Fonterra and is not cheap. “The equity attached to DIRA milk stays with Fonterra and the cost of peak processing which would have meant more capital has been deferred. “Fonterra accepted the obligations of being granted a privilege market position (96% of milk processing) in 2001 and to supply 5% of its total milk supply to independent processors. “Independent proces-

sors could opt in or out and decisions were made based on this position.” Fonterra Shareholders Council’s submission on MAF’s proposed changes to DIRA says Tatua and Westland should not be offered regulated milk beyond May 2013, noting both compete directly with Fonterra for raw milk supply and have been in existence for 98 and 75 years respectively, hence neither is a “new entrant”. MAF is proposing to remove DIRA milk from established processors

in three years. The council wants supply to Westland and Tatua stopped next year. Fonterra was formed in 2001 from the merger of the two largest cooperatives, New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Cooperative Dairies, and the New Zealand Dairy Board, which had been the marketing and export agent for all the cooperatives, including Tatua and Westland, who opted not to join Fonterra. Under DIRA, Fonterra’s raw milk available to inde-

pendent processors can be capped at 5%. Currently the co-op must supply 600 million litres, about 4% of its total milk supply, to other processors. MAF’s proposing this is increased to 5% or about 700mL. Westland agrees that limiting access to regulated milk to three seasons will be an incentive for independent processors to develop a sustainable business model. However, it says the restriction should apply to all food producers and not just those sourcing milk direct from farms.

Cool season cuts apple crop YIELD OF Royal Gala apples will be more than 15% lower this year because of the cool, cloudy summer, says Pipfruit New Zealand’s chairman, Ian Palmer. And other varieties are likely to follow suit, hitting grower returns hard, he told Rural News last week as final estimates were being worked on. “The whole summer’s weather has had a significant effect on our output.” In his home region of Nelson very wet weather at flowering in October resulted in below par pollination and now the cool summer has cut fruit size. “Hawkes Bay is experiencing the same issues with small fruit as well – again a lot of that is the cooler summer, more cloud, more rain, not as much heat units.” With smaller fruit, a carton which normally takes 100 fruit, now takes 150, and there’ are fewer cartons per hectare, so it has a compound effect, Palmer says. Like Gala, Cox volume is expected to be much lower. “I expect that trend will continue with some of the later varieties as well.”

Pipfruit NZ’s new ceo PIPFRUIT NEW Zealand has a new chief executive, Alan Pollard, a Christchurch businessman and chartered accountant with an extensive background in management of large law firms. He took on the position at the Hastings-based levy-body last week. “Although Alan has not previously been involved in horticulture, he has the acumen and communication skills to quickly become an asset to our industry,” says Alan Pollard Pipfruit NZ chairman Ian Palmer. “He is accustomed to dealing with Government politicians and officials in a highly regulated environment, and will be an excellent advocate for apple and pear growers and exporters.” Retiring chief executive Peter Beaven will assume a part time transitional role as special projects manager.

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Tow and Fert slurry fertiliser applicator ticks all boxes Designed with simplicity in mind The Tow and Fert was designed for tool-less maintenance and cleaning. Every fitting can be removed in the paddock using the robust ‘cam-lock’ hardware. This means, for whatever reason, you need to clear a blockage - you can do it down the back paddock of your farm. Nozzles that offer different application rates can be switched on-the-fly giving you full flexibility of your requirements.

The Tow and Fert is “NOT just-another-sprayer”, George Freeman of Metalform emphasises. It provides every farmer the freedom and independence they need when it comes to managing their fertiliser and animal health programme effectively. With the ability to mix and apply nearly every type of fine particle fertilisers, liquid fertilisers, bio fertilisers, humates, animal health products and weed control products - the Tow and Fert is no toy! Metalform of Dannevirke, New Zealand have been developing fertiliser application products for over 30 years from fine particle slurry applicators for helicopters to particle grinders for ground spread trucks. The newest addition after 4 years of R&D, is the versatile Tow and Fert Multi 800. Don’t be fooled by the size of the Multi 800. To put it in perspective, one load can cover up to 10 hectares with a typical 50 kg/ha of Urea - in just over half an hour. Everything about the Tow and Fert is simple - from planning and executing your desired mixture through to cleaning and maintaining the machine with no tools. It is designed so that any employee can quickly learn how to operate and utilise all the features of the Tow and Fert without any hassle. The most important thing about the Tow and Fert is the cost benefits you can achieve in your fertiliser programme, by being able to manage the exact amount of product going on your pastures and applying it when you want rather than waiting for contractors to do large areas.

Free up your tractor and use a 4WD ute! The Tow and Fert being used to apply Fine Lime. Cost benefits are immediate With great results emerging, the Tow and Fert customers are reporting paybacks on their Tow and Fert of fewer than 12 months. When this is coupled with Metalform’s easy financing option, owning the Tow and Fert and removing the cost of a 3rd party to apply fertiliser and saving on actual fertiliser amounts - can often make this a cash flow positive purchase making the decision a real no-brainer. The Tow and Fert’s multi role ability means you will be saving money in fertiliser, application costs, timely application of animal health trace elements, application of herbicides (thistle, dock spray etc) while simultaneously applying lime, urea etc.

Coupled with the specifically designed software package by Metalform, the Tow and Fert is so easy to use. The software programme lets you choose the product combination you wish to apply, rate per hectare and estimated speed of travel and the program will give you exactly the amount of product and water required. This eliminates all guess work of your mixtures.

Loading the Tow and Fert from a silo is easy!

Notice how every plant has guaranteed droplet cover across the entire 18 metre swath. The ability to quickly and easily apply zinc to treat a facial eczema out-break, gives an obvious cost saving in vet costs and lost production. Zinc is one of the many animal health products that can be applied with the Tow and Fert.

Handling urea is easy with a loading bin - 500kg is easily mixed into the Tow and Fert patented pre-mixer A versatile machine Imagine being able to apply all products related to nitrogen (urea and gibberellic products), animal health products (mag oxide, fine lime, selenium, copper, iodine and zinc), fine particle fertiliser (including phosphorus, potassium and sulphur), liquid fertilisers (seaweed and fish based products) and soil conditioning products (humates) all whenever you want to and the amount you need to. The Tow and Fert has made this possible. Now, if you need to do a light cover of mag-oxide before you bring the cows into the paddock - you can! If you require a small dose of weed spray mixed with nitrogen after the cows have been in the paddock - you can! Not only can it mix and apply products for your pasture, the potential uses are endless. “I use it for mixing up my whole milk powder to feed the calves” says Mark Warren of Oamaru who milks 1500 cows. With the ability to self fill out of a creek, David Miller of Pokeno who milks 650 cows was happy to tell us, “During this dry season up in the north, I’ve been spraying out water onto my row of trees along my drive and pumping water into my supply tank thanks to the Tow and Fert” .

After analysing your soil and herbage tests, you may find that different paddocks require different nutrients. With the Tow and Fert, it is easy to blend a custom mix for each area and change it at different times of the year - try doing this with your bulk spreader.

In summary The Tow and Fert offers flexibility in your busy schedule to apply products you know and want, in a timely and effective manner. Don’t wait until you have 60 hectares to spray and call in a Helicopter - get the Tow and Fert so you can mix and apply any product at any time. Like being in control? If you like the concept behind slurry, dissolved or bio fertilisers but want to know how many kg/ha of nutrient you are getting on your pastures and want to guarantee timely applications then call Metalform on 06 374 7043 or freephone 0508 747 040 to organise a no-obligation demonstration of the Tow and Fert. Then you can make your own mind up! Visit www.towandfarm.com to find out more or watch the video.

Apply liquid suspended Magnesium oxide with the Tow and Fert with an even 18 metre cover


Rural News // march 20, 2012

news 7

Storm claims $5m and still rising INSURANCE CLAIMS arising from the hurricane-force winds that hit Taranaki a fortnight ago reached $5 million last week and were still rising. And that’s just with one firm. FMG Insurance chief executive Chris Black told Rural News the company had already received more than 1000 claims totaling about $5million and more were still coming in. Black’s visited the area hit by winds up to 140kmh, with one gust recorded at 204kmh. He says it’s

a huge event which has caused extraordinary damage. Most claims are for farm buildings such as hay barns, but there’s been damage to houses with roofs blown off and windows broken. “We’ve also got quite a number of milk claims as well because the power has been off and milk has been lost because people haven’t been able to get access to a generator to run their dairy shed in time.” Up to 20 FMG staff from around the country have been deployed

for generations and say they’ve never seen or been aware of an event like this. Federated Farmers Dairy’s local chairman, Derek Gibson, says the biggest task for farmers now is cleaning up the mess left by the storm and in particular dealing with the number of trees that have been blown down and blocked races and damaged other infrastructure such as fences and buildings. A lot of hay barns were blown apart. “Obviously farmers want to get these back up before the autumn rains arrive. Dealing with some

to the area. “They are visiting clients and just making sure they are alright to start with, then working though the various claims they have. Some people have between 25 and 30 claims because the wind has just gone right through their property. “We’re tracking and assessing these claims and then getting immediate repairs underway so that things are watertight.” Black says it may take a few weeks to process all the claims. He talked to one family who have farmed in the region

Picking up the pieces on one South Taranaki farm.

of the trees will require some big machinery so that’s going to be an ongoing thing for a little while.” The other concern is the loss of maize crops, says Gibson. Whole paddocks have been flattened.

Valuable forest flattened

Snapped at half mast: more mature stands were hardest hit.

UP TO 3000ha of commercial forest in South Taranaki, worth millions of dollars, was wrecked by the storm. Forestry owner and consultant, Roger Dickie, Waverley, says it seems that most of the forestry lost is stands of 20 years of age or more. On some blocks as much as 80% is “on the ground”; others 50%. Most of what’s left is snapped at half mast. “On one of my farms where there are two forests along side each other, the older one has gone, and younger one has suffered some or a little damage but there is still a commercial forest there for the future.” Dickie’s flown over the region and says there’s extensive forest damage between the townships of Maxwell and Patea, as well as in coastal areas around Waverley. One owner waiting on a log price rise before harvesting, had most of his trees damaged. Most forests are uninsured, he adds. Now it’s a salvage operation for many. “Quite a few logging crews have moved into the area to harvest what’s left. Because they are not mature logs and are broken up, what they can harvest is much less than normal. Also the costs of harvesting the logs is about 50% more because of the tangled mess.”

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Rural News // march 20, 2012

news 9

Farm imagery key wool promo tool pa m ti pa

BUILDING ON New Zealand sheep farm imagery is the kind of promotion which will help the resurgence of wool, says Primary Wool Co-operative’s chairman Bay de Lautour. De Lautour is optimistic about the top-end carpet brand Just Shorn’s prospects in the US this year and says a major marketing push by exclusive US stockists, CCA, is planned. “The whole thing is building imagery around the carpet and the wool.” A website with images, videos and back stories on the New Zealand farms which produce Just Shorn wool support the initiative. “It’s leveraging off the ability to give the consumer a view of where the product is coming from and all the benefits.” Just Shorn is a joint venture between PWC and Elders Primary Wool. Elders national export manager Craig Wilson says other New Zealand wool initiatives haven’t been successful because they failed to connect with the consumers, whereas, Just Shorn was developed for the US based on insights into consumer attitudes. “The natural story is increasingly important in the US. Also the connotations between natural and health are a very, very fast emerging trend,” he told Rural News.

Primary Wool Cooperative results Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd declared a dividend of 5% earlier this month, in addition to the rebate shareholders receive per kilogram of wool sold through auction by Elders Primary Wool Ltd. “The dividend is 5%

“Just Shorn is really promoting those attributes of wool, with a very compelling and emotional back story which is connecting consumers in the US with the farms and farmers in New Zealand. So it goes beyond more than pretty pictures – it’s actually con-

on the value of all ordinary and rebate shares held, and the rebate equates to a 15% return on a shareholder’s investment in rebate shares, providing shareholders own the optimum number of shares for the wool they are trading

necting them. We do that in different ways – videos on the website of Justshorn.com… stories of New Zealand farmers talking about their lives.” Wilson says CCA is the largest flooring retailer in the US but, like PWC, is also a cooperative. It

through Elders Primary Wool Limited’s auction system,” says de Lautour. “That’s a 20% return on investment this year.” Primary Wool Co-operative has about 1000 member shareholders. Total payout distribution (dividend

formed 25 years ago, bringing together a group of small to medium business owners. It identifies strongly with the New Zealand cooperative of family-owned New Zealand sheep farms. Wool carpets dominated the US market 40 years ago, today their

and rebate) was nearly $330,000 for the year, of which $220,000 was rebate. Audited after tax profit was $954,620. “Most original co-op members have received back in dividend and rebates more than they invested.”

share’s just 2%, he adds. “So there’s a generation of consumers in the US that know nothing about attributes of wool. “It’s an opportunity (for CCA) to grow their business… with the health benefits and back stories of NZ farms.”

Wilson says there’s “cautious optimism” about recovery of both the US economy and the flooring market. De Lautour says there’s been little promotion of wool worldwide in the last

10 years. Just Shorn is one example of a new profile for wool, as is the Prince of Wales’ Wool Project which he sees as hugely beneficial. “It will make a difference – those things add up.”

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A UNIQUE book showcasing most of the great scientific developments in the agricultural sector in New Zealand has just been published by the Riddet Institute. Called Floreat Scientia (let knowledge flourish) the 256-page book should be a must read for anyone in the ag sector and compulsory for those who claim that agriculture is a “sunset industry”. It succinctly describes some of the amazing achievements of New Zealand scientists. The book is beautifully produced and covers genetics, plant breeding, food science, engineering, vaccines, new fruit varieties – the list is endless. The names are a who’s

who of great science leaders – McMeeken; Hilgendorf; Kirkpatrick; Connor; Stewart; Coop; Brougham; Charlton; one of the authors and co-director of Riddet, Professor Paul Moughan – to name a few and exclude others equally as brilliant. Moughan says he decided to produce the book because he thought it was time great stories about agrifood were told and the people celebrated. “I think they are an unsung part of New Zealand science and innovation,” Moughan says. Politically it was time the agifoods sector told its story.

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

10 news

Bank responds to grower support call PAM TIPA

ANZ NZ bank is helping the kiwifruit industry find its way through the Psa-V disease, says its managing director, commercial and agri, Graham Turley. Turley was responding to comments from New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc president Neil Trebilco (Rural News, March 6) that banks need to back grow-

ers as they’ll miss at least one production season to graft new Psa-V resistant varieties. “Our aim is to be best positioned as we go through this whole Psa issue to support the growers once there is clarity from KVH (Kiwifruit Vine Health), the Government, Zespri and other stakeholders around a recovery pathway,” says Turley.

However, he stopped short of outlining any particular financial breaks the bank might be offering growers, such as an interest holiday on loans, saying only that growers’ circumstances are individual and the bank is working through these with customers, one-to-one, daily. Turley says ANZ banks about 40-50% of the

sector and has a long history with it. It’s faced challenges before and come through them. The current situation remains fluid, he adds. “We are unable to predict how different cultivars will respond to Psa-V infection and the methods applied to control it… “ANZ NZ has invested in a working group of

experts from across the bank to ensure the bank is abreast of what is happening in the orchards and with the growers.” In response to the PSA V threat ANZ NZ has become a Gold sponsor of Zespri and KVH’s PSA Research and Development Programme. The bank’s also collected information on kiwifruit growers’ demo-

Graham Turley

graphics and reliance on Gold fruit incomes to further Lincoln University’s analysis of a business case for a government assisted recovery plan for growers with infected orchards. It has also created a specific role, director kiwifruit, to ensure it has an overview of ANZ NZ’s involvement with the kiwifruit industry across rural, commercial, retail, busi-

ness banking and institutional sectors. Turley says there may have been one or two foreclosures but they were not for Psa – the disease may have been the catalyst but they were going to happen anyway. He adds there may still be more casualties, unfortunately, because everyone reacts differently in situations.

Canterbury trials catch a good day

Nicky Thompson

IN A summer of little sun, the Canterbury Dog Trial Association struck it lucky for its regional championship, held at the Hilton-Gapes Valley club’s grounds. Entry level in all classes was good, with well over 100 in each, and competitors coming from as far afield as Blenheim and South Otago. “There are a lot of young competitors here too, with some very well

trained dogs,” Association publicity officer Sally Mallinson told Rural News. One such was Nicky Thompson, head shepherd at Mendip Hills, Cheviot, who placed fourth in the Zig-Zag Hunt with Tom. “I’ve just grown up with it,” the 27-year-old told Rural News. The Hilton Gapes valley course was “tricky” and the sheep “challenging,” she added. “They’re typical lambs.

Good to work though.” Having won at the previous weekend’s Marlborough Championship she’s already through to the South Island and National Championships, this year in Wanaka May 28 – June 2. The step up to that level of competition is “pretty big,” she says. “I’ve been on the leader board before, but fallen off before the end.” Mike Brown, president of the Can-

terbury Centre and a member of the Hilton-Gapes Valley club, said it was “a good turn out all round” for the Canterbury Championship. “There’s a lot of camaraderie, and sometimes some disappointment, but that’s the nature of the sport.” For results see www.sheepdogtrials. co.nz • Octogenarian takes out Te Puke trial: see Rural News’ next issue, April 3.

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

12 news

Food Bill concerns remain – Browning PAM TIPA

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progress through Parliament has been postponed, and some of the summer’s

lation remain, says Green Party MP Steffan Browning.

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on the select committee gives him a chance to revisit and discuss with government agency representatives aspects of concern, notably some areas which lack of clarity. This includes the possibility of excess regulation and uncertainty about how bureaucracy would be “grilled down” which could worry sellers at farmers’ markets and roadside stall. Many issues will be left to the discretion of the Minister for Food Safety (currently Kate Wilkinson) which he says creates uncertainty. Also, some aspects discourage rather than encourage small growers, he told Rural News. As he interprets it, if there is direct grower to customer contact - they can see “the white of their eyes” - then farmers’ market or roadside sellers do not have to register and

be inspected. But if they have produce leftover and sell it to an organic shop, or the corner dairy, or someone else sells it for them, they will have to register and be inspected, or apply for an exemption. As he told the meeting, inspectors can charge $140 an hour, yet some suppliers may already be being inspected for export, so there’s a risk of duplication. Browning says exemptions will be on a case by case basis – though exactly how is not clear. It may be all spuds or oranges are treated in a particular way. He says the “templates” for restaurants and cafes have been established, tested and appear to work well. But the templates for small growers and the like have not yet been established.

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Browning, a former organic grower and retailer turned Green activist and now MP, is holding a series of meetings around the country to discuss the Bill, including Orewa, north Auckland, last week. Concerns about the Bill “went viral” over summer and among the incorrect information circulated was that the legislation would shortly be passed, Browning told the Orewa audience. In fact, Parliament didn’t even sit until February 7 and the bill has been put down the order – although it could be moved up again at any time. As a new MP, he says he’s delighted to be on the Primary Production committee, which is looking at the bill. It’s already gone through the public submission process, but being

Meeting members: Green Party MP Steffan Browning.

REGISTER FOREST by March 31 if you want to qualify for and claim Emissions Trading Scheme New Zealand units accrued for the first five years of the scheme, says Waikato Regional Council. It sent a letter to owners of 600 parcels of post 1989 planted forest covering some 39,000ha of that region earlier this month reminding them of the registration deadline. “These plantings, if registered for credits, represent a significant potential income stream for forest owners under the

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

14 news

Farmers dominate inaugural LAAs BARBA RA G ILLH AM Sue Brown receives her Landcare Ambassador Award.

FOUR OF six prestigious

new awards recognising outstanding commitment to sustainable land man-

MS1331

agement and local communities have gone to farmers. The inaugural Landcare Ambassador Awards were presented at a dinner during Landcare Trust’s recent conference in Hamilton. NZ Landcare Trust chief executive Nick Edgar announced the awards which were presented by Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith, and NZ Landcare Trust chair Richard Thompson. Golden Bay dairy farmer Sue Brown, East Coast farmer Doug Avery, Waikato dairy farmer Andrew Hayes, and Maniototo sheep and beef farmer Geoff Crutchley were the farming winners. Brown farms 300 dairy cows with her partner John Nalder near Golden Bay. When nearby cockle and mussel farmers faced closure due to high E.coli levels in the coastal waters they blamed local dairy farmers, so Brown and the dairy community formed a farmer led catchment project to improve water quality, supported by the NZ Landcare Trust. She told Rural News winning the award took her completely by surprise. “I find it a little difficult to take as I am the spokesperson for a community effort, but it does commend the community in its own way. “I think to be able to go and tell a good story about farmers, especially dairy farmers is an absolute privilege and to get the award, well, it is nice to get that recognition for we have all

worked hard. I think I am really privileged to have been the one who had the free time to become the spokesperson.” Avery was recognised for seeing the need to adapt to a six year series of droughts in the 1990’s which caused serious erosion. He, along with the late John Peter and fellow farmers, introduced a grazing system using direct fed lucerne to improve ewe breeding efficiency and maximise lamb growth for premium returns. He’s subsequently shared his story with many dryland farmers, helping others take up similar strategies. Hayes’ dairy farm is north of Hamilton and completely surrounds Lake Kaituna, as well as bordering Lake Komakorau. His award recognises his work to stop the lakes drying up, and restore their quality, which started in 1999 with willow removal. He then fenced

out stock, planted along the shores, and created silt traps. He’s developed a Whole Farm Management and Environment Plan. He says he’s pleased with the award but like Brown, says it recognises work done not just by himself but by many others also. He’s also a fan of Landcare Trust for its ability to pull things together and get information to farmers, and others. “They seem to have a stronger connection with Government and people listen to them.” Maniototo Sheep and Beef farmer Geoff Crutchley received his award for his interest in irrigation and water use issues. He’s chaired a number of controlling bodies since the 1980s, most recently the Upper Taieri Water Resource Management Project, aimed at establishing a whole catchment, community based model for water allocation and use.

Other recipients DairyNZ consultant Helen Moodie was a joint Landcare Ambassador Award recipient, with Todd Hamilton, for founding the Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum. The WHLF brings together nine Landcare groups all working to protect a unique 6000ha environment containing more than 50 species of threatened plants and animals. Thanks to their work there has been a significant increase in North Island brown kiwi which today number around 400 in the area. It’s one of the few places where kiwi are increasing. Fred Lichtwark received a Landcare Ambassador Award for his work at the helm of Whaingaroa Harbour Care. Since it was formed in 1995 its planted more than one million native trees along 450km of streams and harbour edges within the Whaingaroa catchment and its work’s ongoing across the Waikato.


Rural News // march 20, 2012

news 15

Conference reverses brain drain sue edm o nds

THE CROSS-Tasman drift of clever Kiwis was briefly reversed earlier this month with 18 of those involved in Landcare activities in Australia attending the Landcare Trust conference in Hamilton. Of course, the Aussies could claim that they did it first: Landcare in Australia began in Brisbane in 1986,

and there are now over 4000 Landcare and 2000 Coastcare groups across the country. They even have Australian Landcare International. Formed in 2008, it now operates in 16 countries, “working with communities on individual problems, supporting the introduction of a Landcare approach within local communities, and connecting Australian groups

with new projects in other countries,” says ACI chief, Rob Youl. But we must be getting it right here, even though we got started 10 years later, because the conference visitors were mighty interested in our successful projects and by the close asking how we could learn from each other.

Matthew Reddy of the International River Forum and Darryl Ebenezer, facilitator for Landcare Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Rob McGowan, Nga Whenua Rahui, says they even wanted ideas and training on working harmoniously with indigenous people, because they think we do it better. The New Zealand Trust is based in Hamilton and facilitates work to protect natural landscapes, clean waterways,

cope with predators, and help indigenous fauna and flora thrive, by getting communities and local landowners, government organisations and funding agencies to work together. The Trust’s board incorporates senior members from many organisations with an interest in land management.

Our issues in world context IF WE think managing our river catchments is tricky, think what it’s like on the world’s big continents, Matthew Reddy, chief executive of the River Foundation, told the conference. “If Landcare groups in New Zealand say they are finding it difficult to deal with the variety of different local government organisations, they should try dealing with the border authorities of 14 countries,” he said, reflecting on the issues affecting Europe’s Danube. It’s one of several rivers that have won what Reddy says is the world’s most prestigious environmental award, the Thiess International River prize, worth $350,000. Other recipients include England’s Thames, declared ‘dead’ some decades ago but now seeing revived fish populations. The Foundation is based in Brisbane and works in 35 countries. Reddy says it’s becoming more aware of the work in New Zealand, and would be able to supply experience and expertise for some of our river cleanups, such as the Waikato, as they had done work on dairying catchments elsewhere.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd 2012 Director Election Result I hereby declare the official result for the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd 2012 Director Election for the Northern North Island and Northern South Island electoral districts.

Northern North Island Electoral District PARSONS, James

9,348

MACNAB, Robert

3,152

ROBINSON, Kevin

677

James PARSONS is hereby declared the Farmer Representative Director for the Northern North Island electoral district. The voting return percentage for Northern North Island was 23.81%. This represents approximately 35% of the sheep and beef industry in the district.

Northern South Island Electoral District FOX, Andrew

5,198

SMITH, Phillip

4,143

ROOKES, Jeremy

2,095

Andrew FOX is hereby declared the Farmer Representative Director for the Northern South Island electoral district. The voting return percentage for Northern South Island was 31.41%. This represents approximately 39% of the sheep and beef industry in the district.

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

16 news

Record crowd at Upper Clutha A&P MA RY WI TS EY

UPPER CLUTHA A&P Show continues to grow, riding a wave of popularity built on good old-fashioned country fun. The weekend before last a record gate, estimated at 18,000, packed the picturesque showgrounds on the shores of

Lake Wanaka to celebrate the event’s 75th year. That’s well up on last year’s 15,000 tally, and there were 50 more trade exhibitors bringing the total to 430 for the FridaySaturday show. A&P Association president Fe Howie told Rural News the 2011 event went “fantastically well.”

“It amazes me that we’re on this upward growth and people are really supporting the show.” She believes success comes down to good organisation, a great location and wonderful weather. “It’s really a celebration of all things rural.”

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crowds – “I’m really enjoying this,” he made the most of his rural encounter. Dean suggests the show is a credit to everyone involved and recognises the significance of the rural sector, not just in Central Otago but across the country. “We’re all proud of farming and what it’s achieved for our country and this is the perfect environment to acknowledge its contribution to New Zealand.”

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New Zealand.” Show coordinator Jane Stalker wants to continue to grow the show, while retaining its relaxed atmosphere, but acknowledges she’ll have her work cut out as more trade exhibitors want to climb on board. This year candy floss, a Ferris wheel, fresh straw-

Wool marshal Tom Rowley reckons the record 160 fleeces in the merino wool section related to an upturn in farming’s fortunes. “Central Otago is the biggest producer of fine merino wool in the country and what you see here is the best showing of merino wool in

Glammies winner Don Morrison, Gore, with SuperCross World Champion Sarah Walker. Morrison’s Growbulk lamb was judged the best for taste and tenderness of the 20 finalists’ lines of lambs which had previously won through on yield and quality characters determined by Carne Technologies. The contest attracted a record 150 entries. See www.beeflambnz.co.nz for full results.

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

18 world

Aussie floods cause feed shortages SU D ES H K ISSU N

FLOOD-STRUCK farmers in southeast Australia are struggling to provide feed for livestock. Farmer organisations are asking members to donate feed and Federal Government has pitched in promising to reimburse freight costs incurred by donors. Record rain in southern NSW and northern Victoria early this month followed huge falls in southeast Queensland late last month. Gippsland, east Victoria, was also hit. The National Farmers Federation estimates damage in northern Victoria and southern NSW alone could top A$1 billion. It is the third major flood to the area in 18 months. Victorian Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad says it’s using its existing network of mem-

bers and local farmers to source quality fodder. It is not currently seeking fodder donations from across the state. “If we can find locally sourced fodder of high quality, it’s much better for stressed livestock because it’s rich in nutrients and it’s what they’re used to eating. We’d also like to avoid the spread of weeds between regions,” says Broad.  The VFF has been granted limited funds by the Department of Primary Industries to reimburse donors’ freight costs. In New South Wales, the NSW Farmers Association has teamed up with Blazeaid, in an effort to provide volunteer support to struggling farmers. They’re calling on handy-men and women who are willing to remove debris from paddocks and generally volunteer to help repair damaged farms.

NSW Farmers Association president Fiona Simpsons says she’s already been inundated with calls and offers of support. “It will take a long time for farmers to recover from these floods and ongoing support will be much appreciated.” Simpson says floods are still impending in some areas, as water from affected areas continues to head downstream. “Farmers around the Hay area in Western NSW will see flooding in late March.” But the spate won’t reach Balranald until early April. The floods have affected markets, Meat and Livestock Australia saying livestock supplies will be largely dependent upon roads and access to paddocks for mustering. Markets are expected to be distorted for “a number of weeks,” it warns.

About 200ha of the Kydd’s Blighty property remained underwater a week after the torrential rain.

Ten days to drain Riverina dairy farmers Neville and Ruth Kydd received more than half their average annual rainfall of 400mm in just five days earlier this month. The Kydds, who farm at Blighty in southern NSW, copped 97mm in one two-and-a-half hour downpour, another 97mm two days later in a five-hour burst, and 38mm more two days after that. “We’ve had six inches (150mm) in a downpour before but nothing [in

27 years of farming here] like this,” says Ruth. About 200ha of their property was still underwater a week after they copped the 38mm because there are no rivers, creeks or floodways near their property. There are drains but they were never designed to take such an onslaught of water. They’ve been pumping water in attempt to drain land but that’s posed problems.

“We were pumping the water from the front half of the property into the drain but it couldn’t cope so the drain flooded into the back half.” They reckoned it would take about 10 more days to remove the water and production had already dropped because of trouble feeding cows. “Some paddocks have 4-5 feet of water at the entrance. We’re trying to graze wherever we can. It’s too wet to feed silage.”

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Rural News // march 20, 2012

world 19

Enviro subsidies often miss mark A L AN H AR MAN

DESIGNING AGRICULTURAL subsidy programmes to deliver environmental benefits is easier said than done, with new research showing targets are often not met and the money becomes just another payment to farmers. University of Tennessee researcher Paul Armsworth says while farmers in the US and EU receive billions of dollars in government subsidies each year to make changes in their operations that will improve the environment, these programmes may offer very poor value for money.

common shortcuts in the design of farm subsidies undermined their environmental performance. “Subsidy schemes of this sort are used all over the world,” Armsworth says. “However, policymakers often make shortcuts when designing these schemes to make them easier to administer. “For example, they might pay participating farmers all the same amount or allow anyone to sign up regardless of how suitable their farm is for providing wildlife benefits.” The researchers conducted economic surveys on more than 40 farms in

“Allowing payment rates to vary depending on where a farm is located is critical.” – Armsworth Armsworth, who led an international team of researchers examining the performance of farm subsidies, says the programmes see farmers paid to change their management practices to improve conditions for wildlife. This involves anything from reducing the number of livestock they keep to reducing the amount of fertiliser they use. Payments are supposed to compensate farmers for costs they incur for making the changes, but the researchers found

northern England, focussing on how bird species respond to farm management actions. The survey results were analysed using mathematical models that allowed researchers to explore different ways of designing farm subsidy programmes. The results showed between 49% and 100% of the promised increase in bird numbers are often not met. Instead, most scheme designs greatly over-compensated farmers for costs they incur and served primarily

to increase farm profits. By comparing alternatives, the researchers were able to identify which simplified policies were most problematic. “Allowing payment

rates to vary depending on where a farm is located is critical,” Armsworth says. “Get that right and prospects for conserving wildlife on farms greatly improve.”

Half to all of bird number targets in a North of England scheme weren’t met.

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

20 agribusiness

T&G takeover good news TWO MAJOR horticultural industry organisations believe the takeover of Turners and Growers by German company BayWa will be good for growers. “There’s been strong support for their investment into our sector,” says Pipfruit New Zealand chairman Ian Palmer. BayWa representatives met a number of suppliers last November and they were able to get an understanding of the company’s philosophy, says Palmer. “They are long-term investors in what they do... Everyone has seen the GPG (Guinness Peat

Group) shareholding as an opportunistic shareholding – but not necessarily a long-term investment one.” Meanwhile BayWa seem to get very involved with their investments and drive success, he notes. “I hope that’s what we see come through in the purchase of Turners and Growers.” BayWa this month gained Overseas Investment Office approval for the takeover following an agreement to take over GPG’s 63% shareholding last year. After an offer for further shares it controls about 73% of the fruitgrower and exporter

stock, although a 10% acquisition by Scales Corporation blocked a full takeover. Palmer says while BayWa is 60% owned by banks, those are cooperative banks which are used to working with a shareholding of people and are not just corporative driven. “While they are obviously a company that’s been successful in what they’ve done, they bring an understanding that without the grower there is no business.” This will be a change for the better for growers, he adds. In a statement, BayWa says it intends to build

close cooperation with New Zealand growers, and the purchase will enable it to become a global player in pipfruit. “It offers some good opportunities into the Asian market for BayWa – there’s huge potential for growth in Asia – that’s where the growing economies are,” Palmer says. “Europe is pretty flat, which is their traditional markets. I see this as being a very good partnership as we are counter-seasonal suppliers to each other.” Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock says the sale of the GPG share of Turners and Growers to BayWa is extremely significant for New Zealand horticulture. “We are extremely heartened by the comments made by BayWa, that they want to ensure good returns for growers,” he says.

Turners and Growers is New Zealand’s most integrated horticulture company and is one of the country’s largest export-

BayWa relays pipfruit plans

Pipfruit New Zealand chairman, Ian Palmer.

ers and domestic market wholesalers. “It is good to see the company in the hands of a forward-thinking global business which appears to be well connected with produce markets and to agri-business globally,” adds Silcock.

TURNERS AND Growers’ presence on five continents and its “very sustainable trade relations”, were one of the reasons for Germany based company BayWa’s takeover, a company spokeswoman says. BayWa Munich-based head of corporate communications, Marion Danneboom, told Rural News the acquisition of T&G is a very important step for BayWa’s international growth strategy and strengthens its successful fruit business unit. “Before taking over T&G, BayWa was already one of the leading suppliers of premium fresh fruit to food retailers in Germany and the largest supplier of pip fruit from organic production. “The different harvesting seasons in the various countries means that now BayWa is able to supply food retailers in Germany throughout the whole year.” to page 21

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Rural News // march 20, 2012

agribusiness 21

Second Darfield dryer fast-tracked SU D ES H K ISSU N

FONTERRA IS set to triple capacity at its new Darfield, central Canterbury, processing site within a year of it opening. The cooperative last week confirmed work on a second dryer will start next month, taking daily capacity from the 2.2 million litre/day scheduled to come on stream in August this year, to 6.6 million litres/day in 2013. “Once completed Darfield 2 will be one of the largest, if not the largest plant in the world,” Fonterra trade and operations manager Gary Romano told Rural News. THE $300 million project will be Fonterra’s single largest investment for a plant. Romano says it will be similar in size to Edendale’s dryer 4, built for $212m and commissioned in February 2010. Fonterra’s board gave the green light to the Darfield 2 project last week, including warehousing and rail access. “Since we first

announced plans for Darfield in 2009 we’ve seen even more increases [in milk production] in the region than anticipated,” adds Romano. “At this rate the first dryer will be full within a few years so we need to act now to help meet the existing demand and further growth.” Darfield is Fonterra’s first greenfield processing development for 14 years. The cooperative’s next nearest large-scale plant is just over 100km to the southwest at Clandeboye, South Canterbury. That’s been at capacity for several seasons forcing some peak milk from Canterbury to be tankered hundreds of kilometres to Edendale, Southland. “The location of Darfield means our tankers don’t have to travel as far for collections.” In its consent application to Selwyn District Council and Canterbury Regional Council, Fonterra said the second dryer would reduce tanker travel by about 10,000km/day at

peak, over and above the 20,000 km/day saved by the first dryer’s construction. There would also be substantial savings in outward goods road travel as product would be railed to Lyttelton. Romano says the second dryer will create 60 new jobs on site, in addi-

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T&G markets around the world and its sustainable trade relations will help BayWa become a global player in pip fruit (known as pome fruit in Germany). The move also opens doors into Asia as T&G already has a good market position there, says Danneboom. With T&G’s present CEO Jeff Wesley having announced his retirement, BayWa will appoint a new CEO. “The process of finding a new CEO is still ongoing,” says Danneboom. “In general BayWa intends to continue to run T&G substantially as a standalone entity and support the management to grow the business. “It is very important is to increase the returns to apple growers through improved operational efficiencies, supply chain management and marketing processes.”

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

Market Snapshot North Island c/kgCWT

Lamb Market Trends

Meat South Island

Lamb Prices

Beef Prices Last Year

Change

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

P2 Steer - 300kg

n/c

4.12

4.12

4.65

M2 Bull - 300kg

n/c

4.17

4.17

4.60

P2 Cow - 230kg

n/c

3.30

3.30

3.75

6.56

M Cow - 200kg

n/c

3.20

3.20

3.65

3.40

4.25

Local Trade - 230kg

+5

4.15

4.10

4.60

Change c/kg

Last Week

-7

6.04

6.11

6.51

-7

6.06

n/c

5.73

PM - 16.0kg

-7

6.06

6.13

6.53

PX - 19.0kg

-7

6.08

6.15

6.55

PH - 22.0kg

-7

6.09

6.16

MX1 - 21kg

-5

3.35

n/c

4.12

n/c

3.90

Bull - M2 300kg

n/c

4.17

n/c

3.85

Venison - AP 60kg

n/c

7.17

n/c

7.20

Change

c/kgCWT NI Lamb

YM - 13.5kg

Mutton SI Lamb

$7.5

5.73

5.73

6.26

P2 Steer - 300kg

n/c

3.90

3.90

4.30

n/c

5.73

5.73

6.28

M2 Bull - 300kg

n/c

3.85

3.85

4.25

PX - 19.0kg

n/c

5.73

5.73

6.30

P2 Cow - 230kg

n/c

3.20

3.20

3.35

PH - 22.0kg

n/c

5.73

5.73

6.31

M Cow - 200kg

n/c

3.10

3.10

3.30

n/c

3.28

3.28

4.10

Local Trade - 230kg

n/c

4.00

4.00

4.25

MX1 -

21kg

NZ Slaughter

$6.5

1000s

$5.5 5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$4.5

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Change

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

$6.5

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$4.5 $3.5 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

278

280

264

Cattle NI

-14%

25.4

29.7

36.3

41.8

303

406

470

Cattle SI

-6%

13.8

14.7

13.6

13.3

Lamb NZ

-18%

476

581

686

734

Cattle NZ

-12%

39.2

44.4

49.9

55.2

Mutton NZ

-16%

119

142

85

137

Bull NI

-38%

4.5

7.2

9.5

11.3

Bull SI

-17%

3.5

4.2

3.2

3.7

Str & Hfr NI

-24%

10.3

13.6

15.9

16.9

NZ Weekly Lamb Kill

600

Str & Hfr SI

+3%

6.5

6.3

6.7

6.3

450

Cows NI

+19%

10.6

8.9

10.9

13.6

Cows SI

-10%

3.8

4.2

3.7

3.3

Last Year

150

This Year

NZ Weekly Beef Kill 80

0 Dec

Jan

Feb

Change

$4.5

Mar

Apr

May

60 40

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

£/lb

n/c

1.78

1.78

2.50

1.62

NZ$/kg

+6

7.54

7.48

12.04

8.78

NZ$/kg

Feb

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$3.0 Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

% Returned NI

-2%

82.9%

84.9%

55.2%

36.2%

% Returned SI

-3%

76.3%

78.9%

53.1%

50.5%

100%

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

+3

2.24

2.21

2.06

1.55

+17

5.99

5.82

6.17

5.00

$2.20

Last Year This Year

$1.80 Dec

Jan

Change

Last Year This Year

70%

Apr

May

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

% Returned NI

-1%

69.6%

70.4%

74.50%

70.9%

-2%

64.3%

66.2%

68.8%

66.1%

Procurement Indicator - North I.

90%

Feb

Mar

% Returned SI

60% 50% Dec

Feb

Procurement Indicator

Procurement Indicator - North I.

80%

$8.0

May

Last Week

$2.00

2Wks Ago

90%

North Island 60kg Stag Price

Apr

Demand Indicator - US 95CL Beef

This Year

£1.70 Dec

Change $3.5

Mar

Last Year

Procurement Indicator

Jan

Jan

95CL US$/lb

$4.0

Dec

Dec

£2.20

South Island 300kg Steer Price

$4.5

This Year

0

Change

$3.0 Jan

Last Year

20

Export Market Demand

Demand Indicator - UK Leg Price

£2.70

Dec

5yr Ave

289

UK Leg

$3.5

Last Year

187

North Island 300kg Bull Price

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

3 Wks Ago

-5%

May

$4.0

2Wks Ago

-33%

Export Market Demand $5.0

Change

Lamb SI

300

$5.5

1000s

Estimated Weekly Kill

Lamb NI

750

$7.5

SI

NZ Slaughter

Estimated Weekly Kill

South Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price

$8.5

NI

n/c

$8.5 Mutton

c/kgCWT

PM - 16.0kg

YM - 13.5kg

North Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price

Jan

2 Wks Ago

Last Week

Steer - P2 300kg

$3.5 Dec

Last Week

Change c/kg

Lamb - PM 16.0kg

Beef Market Trends

Apr 80%

$7.0 5yr Ave Last Year This Year $6.0 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

South Island 60kg Stag Price

95%

Procurement Indicator - South I.

70%

Last Year

85%

This Year

75%

Last Year

60% Dec

This Year Feb

Apr

65% 55%

$8.5

Procurement Indicator - South I.

85%

45% Dec

Feb

Apr 75%

$7.5 5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$6.5 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Venison Prices Change

65%

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

NI Stag - 60kg

n/c

7.17

7.17

7.20

6.52

SI Stag - 60kg

n/c

7.20

7.20

7.40

6.90

Last Year This Year

55% Dec

Feb

Apr

TRACTA38922-RN

Beef & venison prices are reported as gross (before normal levies & charges are deducted). Lamb & mutton prices are reported nett (after levies & charges are deducted). Note: Freight is paid in the North Island but not by all companies in the South Island.

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Rural News // march 20, 2012

Beef Wool Price Watch Tight kill numbers hold prices There have been some decent premiums over and above base beef schedules in the North Island recently. Some companies are definitely now chasing harder, possibly to fill forward orders, while kill numbers have dwindled. Strong demand for 300kg cwt bull has propelled premiums higher than for 300kg cwt steer. In general prices held last week at between $4.10-$4.20/kg for bull and steer. But for those larger lines of bulls upwards of $4.35/kg has been around. South Island export cattle prices generally held firm last week. For some classes there have been premiums for larger lines of at least a unit load. In some cases, upwards of 10-15c/kg above schedule has been paid for steers. The bull market remains around the $3.85-$3.90/kg mark with steer prices on similar money with exception of those premiums. A lack of cows coming forward is underpinning prices across this market. Local Trade is firm on $4.00/kg. Cattle flowing in the South Island The cattle continue to flow out of South Island paddocks and into the processing plants. Since early January the weekly cattle kill in the South Island has eclipsed last year’s weekly tallies. Current slaughter statistics show the South Island kill eased slightly to just under 14,000 head which was still 2% higher than for the same week last year. Season to date in the South Island alone, the kill is running close to 20,000 head up on the same period last season. In comparison, North Island meat companies are doing it hard with the kill there back by 100,000 head on last season, as farmers respond to the recent weaker prices and shut the farm gate.

Indicators in NZ$

Dairy Price Watch 08-Mar

Change

Last Year

01-Mar

Indicators in NZ$/T

Last 2 Wks

Change

Prev. 2 Wks

Last Year

Coarse Xbred Indic.

+6

5.12

5.06

6.18

Butter

-200

4480

4681

6576

Fine Xbred Indicator

+8

5.82

5.74

6.65

Skim Milk Powder

-108

3913

4021

5424

Lamb Indicator

-1

5.63

5.64

6.71

Whole Milk Powder

-49

4211

4261

6271

Mid Micron Indic.

-

-

Cheddar

-247

4719

4966

6034

750

-

-

Wool Indicator Trends

Dairy Prices Trends

650 550

4,500

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WMP Ched.

5,500

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450 Mar

SMP But.

6,500

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CXI May

FXI Jul

LI

Sep

Nov

3,500 Mar

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Coarse Xbred Indicator

Jul

Sep

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Whole Milk Powder Price (NZ$) 6,000

600 5,000

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Last Year

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This Year 400 Dec

4,000 Jan

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Overseas Price Indicators

Jan

08-Mar

01-Mar

Last Year

Indicators in US$/T

Coarse Xbred Indicator

-5

4.17

4.22

4.58

Butter

Fine Xbred Indicator

-4

4.74

4.79

4.92

Skim Milk Powder

-12

4.59

4.70

4.97

-

-

-

-

Lamb Indicator Mid Micron Indicator

Lamb

Wool Indicator in US$

600 Lamb prices still under pressure in the North Island 550 North Island prices for export lamb are still feeling the 500 heat with prices back again last week and quickly closing 450 in on the $6/kg (nett) mark. There is a fair range in prices though as some companies chase a bit harder as kill 400 CXI FXI LI numbers fall. While lamb kill rates are now falling quickly 350 Mar May Jul Sep Nov in the North Island (back 33% week on week), meat companies still look determined to get prices back a bit Coarse Xbred Indictor in US$ further. Unlike on the beef front, there isn’t any price 550 support coming from overseas markets and its hard work 500 for exporters trying to shift product. Lamb prices in the 450 South Island finally stabilised last week after 12 weeks of 400 falls. Just like in the North Island there is a wide variation 350 opening up in what is being paid. Prices for a 16kg cwt 300 lamb have been ranging from $5.50-$5.80/kg. Upwards Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr of $6.00/kg is being offered at some companies for lambs that head across the Cook Strait. Currency Watch National lamb kill picking up the pace Last The national lamb kill has picked up the pace in recent weeks in response vs. NZ Dollar Week to falling schedules with many farmers moving quickly to offload lambs. US dollar 0.824 Season to date the lamb kill is now only trailing by 1% or 130,000 head on Euro 0.621 the same period last season. There are still plenty of lambs still on farms UK pound 0.521 which could push the remaining kill much higher for the balance of the Aus dollar 0.774 season.

Venison Venison prices withstand any further falls North and South Island venison prices are on an even keel. $7.20/kg was the average price for an AP 60kg stag across both islands last week. The venison market has been dampened by the stronger Euro in recent weeks which has affected returns in export markets. Despite recent events, farmer operating prices are still close to where they were 12 months ago. Some marketers are still noting a good level of interest for frozen venison into our main markets in the months ahead but demand is centred on the lower priced items rather than the higher value cuts.

Mar

Apr

Japan yen

67.25

Last 2 Wks

Prev. 2 Wks

Last Year

-150

3750

3900

4850

-75

3275

3350

4000

Whole Milk Powder

-25

3525

3550

4625

Cheddar

-188

3950

4138

4450

Change

Dairy Prices in US$/Tonne

5,000

SMP But.

WMP Ched.

4,000

3,000 Mar

Jan

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Whole Milk Powder Price in US$/T

5,000 4,500 4,000 Last Year

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3,500

This Year

This Year

3,000 Dec

May

2 Wks Ago

4 Wks Ago

Last Year

0.837

0.833

0.736

0.629

0.627

0.532

0.525

0.527

0.458

0.776

0.775

0.733

68.10

64.61

60.91

Euro

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

0.80 Last Year This Year

0.70 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

0.56 0.51 Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Last Year This Year

0.50

0.45 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

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UK Pound

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US Dollar

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Dec

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Indicators in US$/kg

Feb

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

24 opinion editorial

edna

Wider benefits to school milk By the time you read this Fonterra’s Milk for Schools initiative will have launched in Northland. Given the idea stemmed from concern about the perceived high price of milk in the shops, it’s ironic that the launch should come just after the cooperative has cut its payout forecast. Milk prices internationally are on the wane and our dollar is doing dairy, and sheep and beef returns come to that, no favours. But that doesn’t make this initiative any less laudable. Despite a certain TV advertising campaign bragging “big is good”, in the eyes of most New Zealanders, big is good only when it suits them. Sadly most don’t realise, or perhaps just don’t want to admit, that Fonterra’s size is actually good for them too. It gives our dairy industry the muscle and resource it needs to compete on the world market which is, after all, where 95% of the milk ends up. That strength helps improve the milk price and dividend paid to shareholders, which flows through our economy. It also makes our farmers better able to compete with overseas buyers. Bet most of the general public haven’t thought of it like that. Hopefully the school milk initiative will make people think twice before they have a dig at the dairy industry. Fonterra needs to be careful here though, because it mustn’t be seen to be trying to buy off the public, in an attempt to bury the dirty dairy bad press. Such press has to be taken on the chin when it’s justified, and soundly refuted when it’s not. There’s also the danger some will see the Milk for Schools programme as a sign Fonterra is making so much money it can afford to give milk away. Meanwhile Federated Farmers held its Farm Day on Sunday, and the Get Ahead agricultural careers day taster programme kicks off next week in Te Awamutu. Both should help open the eyes of the nation’s youth to the opportunities agriculture holds, but only to those who attend. It’s likely in many cases they’ll already be on board with what’s available in farming and its ancillary industries. One way to reach others who have little to do with farming is through schools, which is where hopefully the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme will start to deliver. Meanwhile sector bodies need to be looking to educate the educators, getting teachers out to field days, awards evenings, dinners – whatever it takes, but with activities designed with teachers in mind. It’s a profession that is traditionally somewhat left-wing, so it will be no easy task, but if agriculture wants to change the attitude of the next generation, this is a good place to start.

“Wharfies on strike, meat workers on strike – I told you to stop pining for the good old days!”

the hound Flogging off Australia

Darfield doubts

Regular readers of your old mate’s muses may remember a point made about one of the other rural rags’ real estate section being packed with farms from across the ditch. Well, they were at it again last week. Looks like half of Australia is for sale. Good luck to them. Looking at the floods they’ve been having, and it’s not hard to recall equally dramatic headlines about droughts and fires not so far back, who’d want them.

Your old mate’s first impression of Fonterra’s announcement about a second dryer at Darfield was ‘good on ’em’. But then the comment about helping the Canterbury rebuild triggered the suspicious instinct. Could there be a bit of you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, going on here with Government? After all, with DIRA in the melting pot, Fonterra will be looking to win favour in any way it can.

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National’s true enviro colour? Reading about another National Party “Blue Green” policy, your old mate had a thought. Isn’t turquoise what you call “blue green”?

River prize? No thanks The recent Landcare conference in Hamilton heard about a $350,000 award for the best river clean-up job in the world. Previous recipients include the UK’s Thames, and Europe’s Danube. Will the Manawatu, or Waikato be next? Your old mate hopes not, because to win it would mean one of our rivers had sunk to the depths of degradation these former free-flowing sewers had reached.

So MAF and MoF are now the Ministry for Primary Industries. Little surprise there seeing as David Carter’s role had morphed in the same way post election. However, your old mate’s a little suspicious of the rush to ditch the brands Biosecurity New Zealand and New Zealand Food Safety Authority. Smacks of an acknowledgement the past performance of those organisations was somewhat less than exemplary. It will be interesting to see what moniker rises from their ashes to replace them.

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WIN A LED Lenser H7 What’s in a name? ONLINE Rural News // march 20, 2012

opinion 25

News that MAF will change its name at the end of April and be known as the Ministry for Primary Industries reminds me of the talented but weird singer and musician, Prince. Back in 1993, Prince had ‘an artistic difference’ with his record label and got his revenge by changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol. Due to the symbol having no stated pronunciation, he was referred to as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” Hopefully, the soon to be Ministry for Primary Industries morphs into something more than just a quirky anecdote about the “Ministry formerly known as MAF”. It has to be a ministry that will be of benefit for the whole primary sector and not just a cunning way for the Government to meet its ever-growing target of culling swags of walk sock-wearing public bureaucrats and antagonising shrill officials at the PSA. Mind you, the latter is enough motivation for the Nats to slash the public service to the bone! The new Ministry for Primary Industries is to encompass all Government work in the agricultural, horticultural, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry and food sectors, as well as biosecurity and animal welfare. The new entity will come into effect on 30 April. Former Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson has been a longtime proponent of the move – advocating for the change as far back as 2008. In fact, in his penultimate speech as president in October last year Nicolson said: “The final area is an

impending Ministry that ought to be for Primary Industries… but we stress again the need for the word “for” to be in its title ...” Nicolson has always been adamant that it should be a Ministry ‘for’ rather than ‘of’ Primary Industries. But, isn’t this just semantics? In a word: no. Nicolson’s successor Bruce Wills – who is also happy with the rebrand – says MAF becoming the Ministry for Primary Industries is incredibly positive. “Whether it is aquaculture, dairy, forestry or

ag twits

wine, we have many issues that are common. We can get a lot more synergies from being joined up instead of silos defined by food, agriculture, forestry, horticulture and fisheries. We are all part of one big industry.” Wills is right. New Zealand’s primary industries account for more than 70% of this country’s exports, earn five times the foreign exchange earnings of tourism sector, and employ around 90,000 people. So it makes absolute sense that our economy’s most important sector is joined up and represented by one governmental organisation that is working ‘for’ it. Primary Industries Minister David Carter – the man formerly known as the Minister of Agriculture – says the name change is a logical move. “It recognises the broad role the Minis-

try has of growing and protecting the primary sector, the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy. Importantly it provides the different parts of the organisation with a single unifying identity to champion the sector.” It is hard to disagree with Carter’s sentiment. But is it not time for the rest of the primary sector get its act together as well? New Zealand’s agribusiness sector is still unable to speak as one, unified voice on industry matters as it is currently served by a wide and diverse group of organisations and lobby groups. Despite the sector’s size, resources and importance to the country’s economic well-being, it is almost impossible for a clear, united and unambiguous agribusiness sector view to be expressed – making it much easier for critics and opponents to pick on different parts of the sector.

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

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Top Bleats view all dcarterminofprimaryindustries: The imminent arrival of the new Ministry for Primary Industries is thanks to my successful merging of the Ministry of Fisheries, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and MAF. Now we can cull a whole lot of pen-pushing PSA members! #lessismore wmcneemaf@dcarterminofprimaryindustries: Minister, please do not mention PSA and MAF in the same sentence. We’ve already antagonised kiwifruit growers enough and that kind of talk only riles them. #nottoopopular donnicolsonact: The MAF rebranding was my idea! If only ACT had gained another 100,000 or so votes think of all the other great ideas I could be progressing in the parliament #missedopportunities dshearerlabour: My researchers tell me that large, green spaces in the middle of nowhere are called farms. Labour will now stop all sales of said farms to all foreign people— despite selling 666,000ha of said farmland to said foreign people when in said Government #hypocrisy gcookeunionman: All AFFCO comrades let’s join with our brothers and sisters from the Ports of Auckland and strike ourselves out of all future employment. We may lose our jobs, but we will win the war for unionism! #the1970srevisited rowanoggaffco@geoffcookeunionman: Graham you may have missed it – you were probably on strike – but the 1970s were 40 years ago! Your current industrial action is about as sensible and useful as the music, haircuts and clothing from that decade. #talleyshatecommies barryoneilkvh: Talk about a poacher turned gamekeeper! After getting the arse from the biosecurity service following the Psa infestation I end up nailing a new job combatting Psa. #jobsfortheboys

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

26 opinion

Corporatisation, regulation key issues There appear to be two key issues facing farmers presently: corporatisation of New Zealand farms, as highlighted by the recent Crafar case; and the very real prospect of greater regulation, highlighted by Henry van der Heyden’s warning of the need to stay ahead of the game in sustainability.

Are these issues interrelated? Quite possibly. In this writer’s opinion, there is nothing inherently wrong with corporate farming. However, it is a fact that part of the attraction of selling food produced in New Zealand to overseas consumers, is the perception from overseas, that the food has been

“The prospect of dairy farmers needing a licence to operate was behind the warning sign given by Sir Henry.”

grown free range and sustainably by New Zealand farmers who have farmed

the land for generations. The unfortunate Crafar saga highlights, among other things, two issues. Firstly, that New Zea-

land families can and do achieve significant scale of farming operations; secondly, that if things go wrong, or there is no suc-

cession planning during the founder’s lifetime, then bidders for these scale businesses will most likely be corporates and/or overseas interests. Is this a problem for New Zealand? I don’t know, but problem or not, it seems likely that without good planning and good leadership, many rural businesses that achieve scale, will not have a succession arrangement with the next generation, at least as one exit option when it becomes time to exit the business. On this subject, it does seem a shame there are such limited opportunities for Kiwi mums and dads to be able to invest in one of our greatest industries, although the new offering that has just entered the market, via Craig’s Investment Partners, Pastoral Dairy Investments, could be an answer. Time will tell. The prospect of dairy farmers needing a licence to operate was behind the warning given by Sir Henry. The need to lead change, rather than have legislation “force us to change”, was his message. Decoding this, it was a call for more leadership in the important (to consumers) issue of sustainability and “clean” farming”. Kerry Ryan, in “The Ryan Report” (Dairy News, June 2011), in the writer’s opinion, identifies a fundamental reason why some leadership styles work over the long term, and perhaps are more robust and able to include

the next generation, than are others. He identified the difference between “the transactional” (more functional) leader and “the transformational” (more of a mentor) leader. He also points to the reason why successful leadership is a challenge for all business owners, when he says “striking the right balance in these aspects of people management is as much an art as it is a science.” Commentators regularly suggest a number of farming businesses that have achieved scale and/ or success during the lifetimes of the current founders, could with the right planning, patience and vision, become even more successful business enterprises, by involving the next generation. It is no secret the key to this is good leadership and perhaps the key to that is cracking the formula to achieve the right balance between science and art, as suggested by Ryan. This and other similar issues are canvassed in our Special Report “The Family Business – Five Keys to Success”. For a free copy, email ocooney@ clmlaw.co.nz • Owen Cooney is a partner in law firm Cooney Lees Morgan. Based in Tauranga, he specialises in family business and commercial property investment advice. The above information is general only and cannot be relied on as specific advice. Contact your advisor for specific advice before taking any action.

ONLINE POLL Should the Reserve Bank intervene in currency markets to try to bring the New Zealand dollar down? ● Yes ● No

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Rural News // march 20, 2012

management 27

Cattle pave way to better lambs Neil Murley, Dannevirke, sees himself as just an ordinary sheep and beef farmer, but what he does is progressive and took centre stage at a recent BLNZ field day near Pahiatua, northern Wairarapa. Peter Burke reports INTEGRATING CATTLE with pasture renewal is helping Dannevirke farmer Neil Murley boost both sheep and beef returns. He’s using winter crops for the cattle to achieve two main objectives: avoiding pugging winter pasture and progressively re-grassing the farm to grow better lambs. Cattle are a ‘farm tool’, as they are on many farms, but they’re making a good few dollars as well, he says. Of his 6,400 stock units, 1,300 are cattle:

steers, cows and heifers, but no bulls. “I don’t like them,” he told the field day. He grows two winter crops – kale and oats, typically 10ha and 6ha respectively, with some swede seed mixed into the kale. “I sow my kale at the end of November. I put fertiliser down with each seed through the drill and that gives it a good boost.” Oats are sown in March. “I normally grow the oats so they grow over the top wire of the fence then

graze my cows on that.” He’s careful to test the forage for nitrates to avoid poisoning before introducing stock, which are then strip grazed. The strip grazing is quite an art, says Murley, and it starts with doing, and getting right, pasture measurements. “I work out how much crop and how many kilos of dry matter that will produce and take it from there.” Grazing is arranged so strips are narrow but long to ensure all ani-

mals get fed well and are not struggling to access crop. It also minimises waste, but accuracy in setting the break is crucial to avoid over or under feeding. Murley uses a special cutter on his quadbike to get clean, well measured breaks. Another objective, which probably accounts for his comment about bulls, is to have ‘quiet’ cattle. “My policy is not to ‘dog’ cattle; rather to try and get the cattle to be friendly and move freely.

Field day speaker, Neil Murley.

In my view not enough stock are used to human connections.” Cattle bought in as yearlings are “very toey” compared to his own stock, he notes. “They are not quiet, are rigid, and they fight in the cattle bail, whereas mine are much quieter and they just stand there. I drench mine with the hook and they just stand there and open their mouths.” The cattle policy is designed primarily to improve grazing for ewes and lambs, though some pasture is set-aside from

September for weaners. “I am using cattle to make money and as a tool to develop my native grasses and develop better grasses to have a more efficient sheep policy with the aim of lamb finishing. “I crop the paddocks twice, then it goes into chicory and clover and plantain, and then it’s oversown with ryegrass.” Chicory and plantain have proved “very good” feed and he attributes his success with them to getting and acting on good professional advice. Coming back to the

no bulls policy, he says he finds cows are less fussy, and on rough steep country they’re the best converters of kilos of dry matter to dollars you’ll get. “When you’ve got native grass, rank browntop and all that sort of stuff, the cow is the perfect animal to clean that up and get the fresh growth for the sheep to do well on. That’s what cows are for. That’s why cows are on the East Coast around Gisborne and not in the Manawatu and Hawkes Bay where they have good grass!”

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

28 management

Ready for delivery

Peeled for chipping...

Fried and flavoured...

Paddock to packet potato andrew swa llow

PADDOCK TO packet it said on the invite, and that’s what visitors got at the recent Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year field day. The venue was 2011 winners Raymond and Adrianne Bowan’s Fallgate Farm, South Canterbury, the starting point for the Heartland Potato Chip business they’ve developed over the past three years. It’s the latest in a long line of opportunities seized by the Bowans who, since buying the 340ha home farm in 1975, have added eight neighbouring properties to grow it to 1150ha, with a further 219ha about 30km away. “I always wanted to be a farmer; not a dairy farmer like Dad, but a cropping farmer,” Bowan said at the days’ start. “Picking potatoes was back breaking work, but it

was what I loved doing.” In those early days Farm Rd, Orari, was “so quiet I could leave a fertiliser truck on it while I drilled a paddock”. Today, scores of trucks thunder past every day, and night, on their way to Fonterra’s Clandeboye factory. But don’t expect to see Fallgate Farm go dairy anytime soon. Bowan’s passion for potatoes is clearly as strong as ever, and the family’s extension of the business down the value chain is what landed them the innovation themed 2011 Lincoln award. “It came about because Bluebird decided to close their chip factory in Timaru in November 2009 with little notice... that had a real impact on me as a supplier. About a third of the potatoes I grew were for this factory.” Giving up potatoes and simplifying was one option considered, but “that did not sit well” after 40 years

in the crop; pursuing a long held dream of “taking them from the paddock to the packet” did. First step was to talk to the family, who were supportive, though under no illusion about how hard it would be. Then “two key people” were quizzed: the former factory manager and a sales person “with many years’ experience in the crisp industry”. Both believed the paddock to packet concept was viable, which gave Bowan the confidence to approach the bank and the local development trust to progress the plan. An off-farm cool store was sold and the now gutted factory, was bought. “It wasn’t in a good state. It needed a new floor and internal walls. Also we needed to source new plant.” The search for that took him to Australia and Holland, and it was trucked down from Lyttelton the day before the


Rural News // march 20, 2012

management 29

Bagged...

Boxed...

story Family business Bowan’s son James had already worked on the farm, and ran a contracting business, for about nine years when the Heartland business was born. “Dad and I work really well together and I have huge respect for what he and Mum have achieved,” he told the field day. “With Dad’s increasing business off farm I’m taking a greater role.” Seven other permanent farm staff are employed, plus casuals. Bowan’s daughter Charlotte works full time for the farm and factory, while another daughter in Christchurch, Kate, is “a part-time merchandiser”. And it looks like 3-year-old grandson Archie is already planning to follow in Granddad’s footsteps. “He just loves his tractors,” his dad, James, said.

September 4 earthquake, 2010. Meanwhile the Heartland brand and packaging was developed, and supermarkets approached. “It was certainly a learning curve but we never had any negative feedback.” Sales manager Brian Kirby – one of the two “key people” Bowan had consulted on the feasibility of the plan, and later recruited – says glutenfree, no trans-fat, and “straight from the farm” have proved powerful selling points. “We under estimated the ‘straight from the farm’ element. It’s been a huge marketing tool.” Three months after launch Heartland Potato Chips were “ranged” – ie stocked in a retailer’s central distribution depot – by New World. “That’s virtually unheard of,” says Kirby. It saves Heartland making deliveries to individual stores. Today, after just 16 months on the market, they’re in all New World and Pak’nSave stores in the South Island, and moving North.

“We have a 17% market share in the South Island and are the number two brand.” However, 50% of the New Zealand market is north of Taupo, so there’s plenty of room for growth, as there is at the factory. Exports are also being considered. Bowan credits wife Adrianne for coming up with the Heartland brand which, as Kirby puts it, “is about the farm and where they come from. It’s just a great name for a potato chip grown on this farm and processed 20km away.” But the product, which is fried in a custom-made, sunflower and canolabased oil blend, also has to live up to the branding. The aim is to have the freshest crisps on the shelf by minimising stock held and almost cooking to order. “We have a state of the art plant and a [factory] manager who is hugely passionate... When the potatoes are not as good as they are now we end up throwing out a lot more. The product has to be virtually perfect to go in the bag.”

On the supermarket.

Family business: From left, grandson Archie, Adrianne and Raymond Bowan, son James.


Rural News // March 20, 2012

30 management

Wetland convenant reflects changes tony benny

The QEII Trust day at Double Tops, with Kit Pawsey convenanted wetland to the left.

WITH JUST 5% of Canterbury’s wetlands remaining, every little bit of protection for what’s left helps. It’s a far cry from just a few decades ago when drainage was seen as the way forward for such country, visitors to a QE11

National Trust event in the region heard earlier this month. “Twenty-five or 30 years ago farmers were encouraged to drain swamps,” QE11 regional representative Miles Giller told the crowd gathered at Mandy and Dugald Rutherford’s Double Tops property, Harwarden.

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Dugald Rutherford

who recently sold half the property and leased the rest to the Rutherfords, who own the neighbouring station, Melrose. Virginia Pawsey says as the economic pressure has come on to farm more intensively, the flax in turn was coming under pressure from cattle. “They really chew into it. Once they get a taste for it, they really like it. So we realised we had to protect it.” But while they could keep cattle out of the flax while they owned the property, the Pawsey’s feared what would happen further down the track. “We were worried when we were selling that someone would destroy it, so we decided to covenant the land.” The covenant protects the land in perpetuity. “It was a great relief Cattle damaged flax.

when we sold to Dugald and Mandy because they feel the same way as us.” Dugald Rutherford’s family has owned neighbouring Melrose since 1902. His grandfather spoke of weka and laughing owls, but they’re long gone. “The changes in the last 100 years have been pretty significant,” he told the field day. And there used to be far more flax on the farm. “I can remember the flax cutters working here and supplying the local mill.” But protecting the environment is nothing new in the Rutherford’s farming philosophy – they won the supreme Balance Farm Environment Award for Canterbury in 2010 – and they were happy to covenant the wetland as they planned the purchase. “For 35 years we’ve been fencing off areas of flax. We haven’t covenanted any but if I was selling the farm I would,” The wetland on Double Tops – named Kit Pawsey Wetland after the Pawsey’s son who was killed at Cave Creek – contains flaxes, cabbage trees, native sedges and herbs. Pawsey says they didn’t realise just how diverse the species were until the QE11 Trust sent experts to have a look. “I thought there might be 30 species in there but they spent an afternoon and found more than 100.”


Rural News // march 20, 2012

animal health 31

FLAG members Neville Haack, Dr Jackie Benschop, Dr Julie Collins-Emerson and Associate Professor Cord Heuer.

Looking at Lepto losses in sheep and beef THE FARMER Leptospirosis Action Group (FLAG) has contracted Massey University researchers to find out if leptospirosis affects agricultural productivity. FLAG is funded by Government’s Sustainable Farming Fund, Agmardt and industry stakeholders. It’s project team includes representatives from Rural Women New Zealand, the Deer Farmers’ Association, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Federated Farmers and the New Zealand Veterinary Association. “Infection in deer herds has been shown to lead to up to a 6.4kg lower average live weight at slaughter and up to

a 10 per cent reduction in weaning rate,” says Massey EpiCentre associate professor Cord Heuer. Disease control through vaccination has proven highly effective in eliminating such losses, he says, while dairy and pig farmers already tend to implement control methods, which are presumably behind a drastic reduction of human Leptospirosis since the 1990s, Heuer adds. “But at the moment there is no information about what benefit, if any, these measures might have for sheep and beef farmers. We know that 97% of adult sheep flocks and 97% of beef breeding herds have evidence of infection, with more than

50% of animals in New Zealand being antibody positive. “What we don’t know is if there’s a productivity decline associated with the infection.” Given the results from deer herds, Heuer expects the findings could be similar for sheep and beef, but research will determine whether that is the case. “More conclusive evidence is needed for farmers to make an informed, science-based decision about leptospirosis control programmes.” As well as research, an extension programme will engage stakeholders and disseminate scientific findings related to the disease through a series of field days and seminars.

These will target farmers and farm workers, veterinarians, other rural workers, rural medical professionals and other stakeholders. FLAG member Neville Haack says the group will hold regular farmer field days and provide updated information for farmers when applicable. “We will also enlist a number of demonstration farms that will provide information through blood testing and production monitoring.” Haack adds a Leptospirosis website is being developed with Rural Women New Zealand that will act as an information portal for the latest research and other updates from the group.

Another region’s TB regime reviewed WAIKATO AND King Country are the latest areas where the Animal Health Board has announced it is shifting TB control strategy emphasis. “The focus now is on eradicating TB from wildlife to prevent re-infection of cattle and deer, leading to even less testing for farmers in the future,” says Frank Pavitt, AHB Northern North Island Regional Co-ordinator. Over the next 15 years, the revised national TB control strategy aims to eradicate the disease from wildlife in a quarter of the 10 million hectares of New Zealand known to contain

infected wild animals. More than 1850 cattle and deer herds in the regions will benefit from reduced testing, which “will come as excellent news to Waikato and King Country herdowners’ affected by the changes,” says Pavitt. “It also shows the progress made by the TBfree New Zealand programme over the past decade.” However, while TB is still present in wildlife populations the risk of herd re-infection remains and stock movements into Waikato and King Country from high TB risk areas still pose

a genuine threat to cattle and deer herds, he warns. “The disease is known to be present in wild animals across 40% of the country, where possums are the main source of TB in livestock.” AHB’s Waikato and King Country announcement follows a similar statement for the Central North Island last month (Rural News, March 6). AHB says herdowners will be notified when their next test is due. Changes to testing regimes are on www.tbfree.org.nz/dcamap

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32 animal health

Deer sector’s Tb success story THE DEER industry has always punched above its weight, becoming a leading force in New Zealand farming. In little more than three decades it has all but wiped out Bovine Tb in deer herds. Today, there are only four infected herds remaining in NZ. Confining deer for farming brought challenging animal health issues, not least of which was Bovine Tb.

term prospects, including export opportunities. Back in the early 1980s a young Irish scientist was challenged by some farm-

Identification and removal of these high risk animals was key in reducing the Bovine Tb threat. In those early days the industry attracted all sorts, including speculators and those seeking tax breaks. But there were also the genuine entrepreneurs, in it for the adventure and belief in the long

ing mates to use his skills to help develop the fledgling industry. It was a serendipitous call for Dr JFT (Frank) Griffin, an immunologist with the Otago University’s Department

of Microbiology, and he took up the challenge. It was the beginning of a long association between deer farmers, AgResearch (Invermay) and Otago University. Many believe it saved the industry. The first project was to understand high death rates among live capture deer. Often they literally dropped dead with no obvious cause. Frank’s research showed deaths were stress related. The problem could largely be overcome with free access to good water. Delighted with that work, deer farmers pointed to a huge problem they faced with the rampant rise of Bovine Tb. Could he help? Among the reasons for its spread were strong demand for deer and no formal Tb testing programme. Farmers weren’t concerned where ani-

Tb free: only four infected deer herds remain.

mals came from; they just wanted numbers. Some sourced stock from up to a dozen origins, include the West Coast where Tb was widespread. In the South, farmers were well aware that as deer increased so did the prevalence of Bovine Tb. They were urgently searching for an answer. There was a comprehensive cattle testing programme but it wasn’t working. Deer appeared to be just as susceptible. In 1984 Frank recalled getting a call from James Innes, a well known South Canterbury deer farmer and one of the industry pioneers. There was

to be a critical meeting in Invercargill to discuss the future of the industry and Frank’s presence was important. The meeting included industry heavyweights such as Walter Somerville, Tim Wallis, Peter Ryan, and Peter Elworthy, as well as Innes himself. All agreed a more effective test for Tb was essential, and asked Frank to be involved. Money for research was put on the table. It was a turning point for the industry, as it was for Frank, who has gone on to become a Professor of Immunology at Otago University. Since that vital meet-

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ing he has developed the Deer Research Laboratory, which is now known as the Disease Research Laboratory, and more effective blood-based Tb tests. These are ancillary tests to the now formal initial screening test. Frank undertook this work while continuing University research and lectures. In the early days, when a deer was worth several thousand dollars, if the animal tested positive it was slaughtered and examined. Unlike the cattle industry there was no compensation: deer farmers wore the cost. The new test was more sensitive and specific than the skin test. Using the new test farmers were able to save valuable deer from slaughter that had a positive skin test due to exposure to Avium Tb and not Bovine Tb. Frank’s tests were also able to detect those deer so heavily infected they made the subtle skin test unreliable. These were diagnosed skin test negative but in reality were major sources of Tb infection. Identification and removal of these high risk animals was key in reduc-

Frank Griffin

ing the Bovine Tb threat. With Tb virtually beaten, the focus has shifted to Johnes, another significant animal health issue here and overseas, for all ruminants. Again, colleagues point to Frank as an inspirational leader. The Disease Research Laboratory is a small operation that has achieved some hugely successful outcomes. Its testing regimes are the model now used by many countries throughout the world. Frank Griffin and his team which included Dr Colin Mackintosh from AgResearch have operated successfully in Canada, USA, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. It is fitting that Frank has received many awards including recognition in the NZ Honours list and more recently with the NZ Royal Society ‘s Sir William Pickering Medal.

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animal health 33

Check calf history to cut losses later P E T E R BU R K E

AS WEANER calf sales get underway across the country, pay close attention to the health status of any animals you intend buying. Veterinarian and farm consultant, Trevor Cook made this the theme of his talk to a recent BLNZ field day at Pahiatua in the Northern Wairarapa. He says try to be aware of how a calf has been reared – particularly those coming out of calf rearing systems. “The early background of those calves does have an influence on their ability to grow and their susceptibility to disease. So in the first place it’s how much, if any, colostrum they’ve had.” Cook says there’s “some good evidence” that a lot of calves coming out of dairy systems have had no colostrum and that has a lasting negative effect on growth rates.

calves come from, and how and who’s reared them, is the message. There are very good rearers who consistently deliver calves which will perform, and it’s a direct result of their skills, says Cook. He also warns calves can come with mineral deficiencies which are not immediately obvious, and recommends doing blood and liver tests so any supplementation is based on a known need. Copper is one possible deficiency such tests will reveal. How to deal with it is a case of finding the most cost effective and practical system for your farm. There are suggestions copper deficiency is linked to worm problems, he notes, however from a practical point of view that’s not the issue: having an adequate copper status is, for more than just liveweight gain. “It probably makes

“We focus on feed and feed quality which are the major drivers of liveweight gain but there are other things which can have an ongoing impact and which take the icing off the cake in terms of profit.” It also increases susceptibility to disease, so the chance of a loss due to death, or bill for dealing with sick animals, is increased. “So colostrum status can set a ceiling on productive outcomes,” he stresses. Another key issue affecting calves future growth rates is rumen development, he adds. “If they come out of a calf rearing system and their rumen is well developed, they are much more able to cope with a pasture based diet and be able to grow well on it. Whereas if they come out of that calf rearing system with a poorly developed rumen, they struggle for some time to cope with good pasture.” Know where your

those animals more robust and able to cope with animal health challenges,” he says. That’s not to say worm challenges don’t need dealing with too, and he warns apparently small liveweight gain deficits caused by copper deficiency and a worm challenge, which are unlikely to be visibly noticeable, will accumulate over the year to be a significant cost. “It’s very easy to show very small live weight gain deficits that are occurring on almost a daily basis can be costing between $200 - $300 per hectare in lost in income. It’s a production loss which isn’t observed because there’s not enough monitoring going on to actually pick it up.”

It is worth looking after such things that nibble away at liveweight gain, he believes. “We focus on feed and feed quality which are the major drivers of liveweight gain but there are

Unseen liveweight losses can mount up over time, warns vet Trevor Cook (inset).

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34 animal health

Ewe condition complacency risk P E T E R BU R K E

DON’T GET complacent just because there’s plenty of grass and ewes are in good nick going to the ram, a leading vet’s warning. “We’ve got ewes in good condition out there coming into mating that

cannot afford to be losing condition,” Trevor Cook, Totally Vets, told farmers at a recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand field day at Pahiatua, Northern Wairarapa. “So we’ve got to be sure that those ewes continue to remain in good condition and don’t start drop-

ping back coming into mating. We’ve got to be aware that there’s a lot of rubbish in the pastures that are harbouring fungal toxins which can have a negative effect.” Ten days either side of mating are critical to the outcome, he stresses. With a reasonable

expectation of more multiple-carrying ewes, there also needs to be a focus on how to manage feed supply to get them through closer to lambing. Identify key dates when feeding can be constrained, or stepped up, and plan accordingly, he urges.

For a couple of months post mating, feeding to maintenance or even a little below is fine assuming ewes are in good condition, so some pasture cleanup work can be done by the flock. But he warns to set a date before lambing when multiples must be fed to

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pastures usually mean less of a worm problem, worm larvae aren’t necessarily all hiding at the bottom of the pasture, so the challenge can still be there. “They are distributed through the pasture to try and increase their chances of being consumed and so animals can certainly encounter a lot of worm larvae even if they are eating high covers.”

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maintain condition and meet their growing energy demand. Skinny ewes should be taken out of main mobs where they may be under pressure and allocated more feed. “This means that they can be genuinely eating good quality feed. And this should be complemented by a worm drenching programme.” While Cook agrees long

HEIFERS HIT by facial eczema can have notably lower liveweight gain with long-term productivity consequences, warns Tauranga and Hamilton-based firm Agrifeeds. Following high incidence in 1989, research found subsequent culling rate was 9% higher than normal in dairy cows that were heifers in that year. The reason, Agri-feeds suggests, is liver bile duct damage, noting that if 5% of the herd show FE skin lesions, typically at least 35% will be suffering liver damage. “Unfortunately, too many farmers think FE is a skin disease,” says the firm, which urges dairy farmers to check with heifer graziers to make sure adequate measures have been taken to protect their future herd. While mob average liveweight gains may not be much below the 408kg target, there is a significant tail end and it is these heifers that will have reduced lifetime performance issues, it adds. “Animals that come up short on the generally accepted DairyNZ rearing weight targets do not get in calf as well as protected animals, do not produce as much milk in their first lactation, and may fail to get back in calf. “It all adds up to a huge cost to the industry.” Treatment timing is critical for effective FE prevention and Agri-feeds says its SporeWatch is a simple system for on-farm spore-count monitoring. Used with regular weighing, ideally monthly to pick up any weight loss issues promptly, the tool is designed to aid understanding and management of the risks and production impacts associated with facial eczema. Agri-feeds says its zinc Time Capsule bolus is the best proven FE preventative treatment option for replacement dairy calves and heifers because it slowly but continuously releases zinc oxide to the rumen over four weeks, irrespective of pasture condition. In contrast, water treatments with in-line dispensers do not guarantee every animal receives adequate protection, especially when facial eczema challenge is high. “The issue with water treatment effectiveness is that some animals may not drink sufficient amounts of water... to adequately be protected. The risks are that they drink less water on rainy days [less zinc] or they get water from alternate water sources [no zinc].”


Rural News // march 20, 2012

machinery & products 35

New Mule has more kick a da m fri cker

The trick to driving a Kawasaki Mule down a near vertical slope is to hold your nerve and keep one foot tickling the brake pedal, while the other foot keeps enough throttle on to engage the CVT transmission. Actually, the 45 degree slope just felt like it was vertical from the passenger seat as Pukekohe dealer Craig Brown turned the wheel and sent us over the edge. Unlike its passenger, the Mule didn’t flinch, it just crawled calmly down to the bottom, never breaking traction or feeling like it was going to run away. Then we turned around and went straight up again, effortlessly, the torque pouring on from just above idle. In a dry paddock such as we were in, this exercise was perfectly safe, the Mule demonstrating its stability and neutral balance. On a wet day, no vehicle would tackle the same slope without drama. The 2012 Mule 610 4 x 4 XC (pictured) is the latest evolution of the well-

proven Kawasaki Mule range, which still includes the larger 4010. Rural News first drove these vehicles when they launched a few years ago and at the time was impressed with their ability to go anywhere. Our test Mule this time was the looker of range, in black with 26” Maxxis Bighorn II radial tyres and wider 12” wheels that contribute to the mountain goat ability but also enhance the sportier look of the XC. A comfortable ride is delivered by independent MacPherson strut front suspension with 78mm of travel, and a unit swing axle at the rear with 78.7mm of travel. The 610’s relatively small size, plus rack and pinion steering, make it manoeuvrable and nimble in tight spaces. The engine is a 401cc, air cooled, 4-stroke, OHV, single cylinder thumper set high enough in the chassis to provide good ground clearance and in front of the rear axle for stability. Top speed is governed to 40km/h – a great safety feature if the vehicle is to be used by

The new Kawasaki Mule handles the hills easily and provides stability and balance.

younger staff or family, and on the farm, 40km/h is plenty. This is not a racing machine, it’s a work vehicle. The transmission is a belt-driven automatic with a Hi-Lo dual-range transfer case, with a lo-range suitable for steep terrain and heavy loads. The 2WD/4WD is easy to use; you’ll only need 2WD for much of the time. Once you’re in 4WD and headed into the muck and mire, you’ll have the limited-

slip front differential aiding your progress with minimal steering effort, and still have the rear differential lock to call on if you get stuck. The tipping deck, which lifts to reveal the engine, is a useful 1044 x 900mm and has cargo bed capacity of 181kg. The overall load capacity is 420kg. Towing capacity, including trailer, is 420kg. It also has a decent storage bin under the front ‘bonnet’.

Capping it off is the roll-over protective structure, which meets all official safety standards and gives nervous passengers something to hold onto when going over 45 degree drops. We needn’t have worried; the Mule 610 XC is very stable with most of its 458kg weight kept low, and good balance side-to-side and front-to-back. You’d have to try pretty hard to tip it over. RRP is $15,575.

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36 machinery & products

Added safety from six wheels “I was forced to stop on the hill because I’d caught them up. I ran out of traction and the bike started to run backwards as the brakes wouldn’t hold. “It began to flip over backwards and I had no option but to jump.” That was in the days when quad bikes had safety frames. He looked up and saw the bike cartwheeling on its safety frame over the top of him. “I thought ‘this is going to hurt a bit’, but miraculously it missed me.

“I was pretty shook up though.” The bike crashed down the hill, landing on top of a fence. It was a write-off. About 18 months ago, Carter had another accident – one he puts down to a moment’s inattention. “It was quite a simple thing really … I was riding up a hill track carrying a sheep on the side of the quad, as you do. “I was in a bit of a hurry and going reasonably quick. “As I came to a bend I was fiddling around with

the struggling sheep, missed the corner completely, shot off a bank and was airborne. “I thought ‘well, that’s the end of me’ but through sheer luck the bike landed vertically on its nose and there was no major damage to it or me – just bad bruising, shock and a few dents.” Carter’s automatic Honda 430 has done a few miles but he reckons it’s got a few more in it. Then at last year’s National Fieldays he spotted a quad bike modifica-

tion he says has probably since “saved his bacon” – Clic Dual Wheels. “They’re not exactly cheap. I spent about $2000, but what value do you put on your life? “I fitted them myself – the Swiss precision engineered duals just click on.” Carter says he rides the quad now with total confidence in places he would have previously flagged. The duals also act like flotation devices on wet ground. “You have your inside tyres slightly tighter than

Two potentially disastrous accidents – one which wrote off his bike – gave Piopio farmer John Carter the incentive to fit Clic Duel Wheels to his quad bike. He reckons they’re lifesavers.

your outside ones so they’re barely touching the ground which allows you to turn just as easily and the bike’s still economical on fuel,” he says. “I love the duals - it’s a more comfortable ride as you don’t pitch around so much. “The main hazard out here at this time of the year is the long growth, sometimes you can’t see where you’re going. “Our Mangaotaki Rd farm is broken country, very steep in places and we run bulls so there are bull holes where you sometimes don’t expect them.” Going downhill, if there’s a hole just one wheel drops in and you carry on, whereas without the duals the whole bike could tip over. “Going up, you have the option of going across the face if you need to, and the bike climbs a lot better. “So, you’re a lot safer going up, down and around, especially if you’re carrying a load, like

a spray unit.” A minor drawback is the duals flick up a bit of mud but Carter can fix that by making wider guards. He says he’s also clipped the gatepost a couple of times, but soon learned to leave extra room. “Putting on duals is the best thing I could have done to prevent rollovers. “It won’t prevent all injuries, but neither will seatbelts or crash helmets. “If I’d had the duals before my first accident I would have had plenty of traction and it wouldn’t have happened.” Carter and his son Shaun farm 500ha at Mangaotaki and 200ha at their Te Mapara/Tikitiki Rd block, along with a bit of extra lease land. They run 4200 Romney breeding ewes, 140 Angus and Angus X cows plus their progeny, dairy grazers and buy in a few bulls. www.clicdualwheels.co.nz Ph 07 3472292. – Story and picture courtesy of the Waitomo News.

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WHILE quad bike accidents, some of them fatal, continue to make headlines, a North King Country farmer has modified his bike to keep himself out of the statistics. Piopio sheep and beef farmer John Carter (67) is no stranger to the dangers of riding a quad bike. He’s had two “close shaves” and was “damn lucky” to come out of both without major injury. The first happened about six years ago when he was driving cattle up a steep face.


Rural News // march 20, 2012

machinery & products 37

4WD trek all for a good cause B erna rd L i lburn

The Hunterville Lions Club plans to raise $50,000 for a room at the new $18m Ronald McDonald house being built in Wellington and so organised a 4WD trip over some of the iconic properties of the Inland Patea, the hinterland between Taihape and Napier.

to the Kelly Land Company then proceeding on through Springvale Station, capping off the first day. The scenery was magnificent, even through the mist and rain. It was a real eye opener, seeing the contrasts in country ranging in altitude from 450m to 1100m above sea level. What did concern

“The tour was based at Ohinewairua and Erewhon Stations where people were camped, fed and watered well.” A challenging weekend awaited the organisers as it coincided with the “weather bomb” that dealt a torrid weekend to the central North Island on March 3-4. The Lions Club in conjunction with some very obliging station managers, made sure the 84 vehicles and 317 participants got around and saw as much of these scenic large-scale operations as possible, given the wet and bitingly cold conditions. The temperature readout on my vehicle never got above 9C all weekend. The tour was based at Ohinewairua and Erewhon Stations where people were camped, fed and watered well, with great sponsorship secured for the lunches and dinner, a highlight being the superb Angus Pure steaks. Richard Rowe of the Merchiston Angus Stud who sponsored the meat said: “It was an ideal opportunity to promote the Angus Pure brand and in a great location. And the Lions cooks did a great job on the barbeques.” This reporter’s steak was superb. The trek started at Ohinewairua and, due to the weather, the route took in well formed tracks and covered some of the 2000ha of easy country of Otupae, on to Mangaohane, Black Hill and the slightly tricky climb out

many of the mainly farming types on the trip was the number of very cold looking recently shorn sheep suffering in the unseasonal polar blast. Another interesting fact was that all the visited properties were run by managers, with no owners living in the area. Otupae and Ohine are owned by descendants of H.B. Williams of Gisborne fame, Mangoahane by the Bull family of Hunterville, and Erewhon and Springvale by the Spencer family. It gives them somewhere to try out the new Blue Wing Honda gear! One hopes the extensive history and many anecdotal stories of the area are not lost. The second day saw an improvement in the weather, and the trip was able to take in the 4900ha Erewhon Station and a significant amount of the 7500ha (5500ha effective) Ohinewairua property. Running 30,000 s.u. and with nearly 1000ha in spectacular looking crop, we were led around and informed by long-time manager Mark Haines. With stunning scenery and views becoming evident as the fog and cloud lifted, it was picture perfect. Kaimanawa horses could be seen in the distance and good looking stock enjoying the abundant feed this season. The crew saved the best until last taking us to the top of a very promi-

nent rim rock at just over 1000m. With the weather cleared; everyone was absolutely taken with the amazing panorama that

unfolded in front of us all. It was a great finale to a memorable weekend. As a footnote, the organisers are planning a

Beach to Beach from Wanganui through to Waipawa in February 2013 over four days, which will take in much of this country as

The 4WD convoy heading up through the Kelly Land Company from Mangaohane.

it traverses the island in support of the rescue helicopter and others.

More: barnyard@farmside.co.nz or hillseekers@ xtra.co.nz


Rural News // March 20, 2012

38 machinery & products

Axial-Flow undergoes revamp The latest Axial-Flow combines ensure improved productivity, economy and easy operation, claims manufacturer Case IH. The new generation of Axial-Flow combines were launched at Agritechnica 2011. Divided into two ranges, the AxialFlow 130 series and 230 series machines have been updated throughout. Each range consists of three models, with each model featuring a host of innovations and improved features. Case IH says threshing performance, across all crops and operating conditions, has come under close scrutiny from its engineers. The manufacturer adds that the technical heart of the two series remains the familiar Axial-Flow rotor developed, but the technology has been updated and adapted to meet evolving harvesting conditions. A new Small Tube Rotor features optimised geometry for the 130 series, which Case IH believes the new shape means sensitivity of the standard settings has been reduced for all crops, while threshing performance in specialty crops is boosted without affecting straw quality. At the same time, the

reputation Axial-Flow combines have series is its new flagship class combine. earned for low levels of cracked grains These consist of the Axial-Flow 7230, 8230 and 9230 models, with maximum remains unlikely to be challenged. The new models also benefit from power of up to 571hp and header widths the introduction of the Case IH’s from 7.6-10.7m. The 7230 now features EfficientPower concept to the combine sector. This new advanced engine technology provides possible fuel savings of up to 10% when compared with conventional engine technology. The 130 series Grain tanks on the 230 Series are among the latest in their class – as big as 12,330 litres on the 8230. combines are equipped with engines from FPT (Fiat Power Train). A the same size cleaning area as the 8230 6.7 litre FPT engine is fitted to the 5130, combine, with self-levelling as standard. Grain tanks on the 230 series are producing virtually the same output as the power plant in the previous model, among the largest in their class – as big while the 6130 and 7130 combines use as 12,330 litres on the 8230 and 9230 – a 9.0 litre FPT engine. Nominal power courtesy of hydraulic folding extenand maximum power ratings have been sions. The result is longer emptying increased on both of these combines, intervals and greater productivity. Case IH says for those looking to the 6130 developing a maximum 387hp bale behind their combine, straw and and the 7130 a maximum 415hp. Meanwhile, Case IH says the 230 chaff management have been optimised

by fitting a new straw chute, ensuring a symmetrical and airy swath, even with a crosswind. Distribution of chopped material can be monitored using a standard rear-view video camera, and adjusted according to changing wind direction or variations in terrain. A compressed air system equipped with five connections in key areas, such as the engine compartment, battery cabinet, grain tank and on the cab, is now available for Case IH combines. A 6m self-retracting hose allows all connection points to be easily reached. The compressed air system is supplied with a 60 litre pressure vessel. Settings for the new Axial-Flow rotor are adjustable at the touch of a button for varying harvest conditions and different crops. Auto-Crop Setting (ACS) technology means rotor speed is infinitely variable from 220-1,200rpm,

while sieve clearance and threshing gap are also controlled automatically, depending on the crop type selected. Case IH believes the lightweight threshing and separation concaves, which are accessible and easy to change, mean the 30 series combines are capable in every kind of crop. It adds that one component retained in the new series of Axial-Flows is the Power-Plus transmission, which means that the rotor, conveyor and header are all driven without belts. The continuously variable CVT transmission ensures gradual acceleration without peak loading, smooth speed changes and low maintenance. Another advantage is that, in the event of a blockage, the driver can expand the rotor concaves via a button in the cab and reverse the axial rotor, with the ability to repeat the process until the blockage is cleared. The cleaning system on the 7230 combine features the same sieve area as the larger 8230 and 9230 combines. Effective width has been extended to 1.57m, and the power of the Cross-Flow blower has been increased. The self-levelling system remains standard.


Rural News // march 20, 2012

machinery & products 39 Ideal for the big jobs tony h opkinso n

Ennio Salomoni, area manager for Feraboli, pictured with the new baler at the Waimumu Field Days.

New baler makes big impression The newest piece of equipment at the South Island Field Days had to be the latest model fixed chamber baler from Feraboli, the Maxima Pro 120. “The machine only arrived by container on February 10 and was unpacked, prepared and on the site by opening time on the 15th,” said Southland branch manager of Webbline the importers, Scott Malcolm. The importance of the first public release in New Zea-

“We are proud of the fact that a fifth generation of Luigi Feraboli who founded the company in 1880 is still in charge.”

A new mobile weighing platform with three-way drafting, built for bigger farms or where properties are some distance from each other, was released by Permbrand S.I. Ltd at the South Island Field Days. “Being able to use the scales at different locations is a cost saving to farm owners,” said manager of

Permbrand S. I. Ltd, Steve Waters. Built on a tandem axle trailer, the platform is raised and locked for travelling, then lowered for use. An electro/hydraulic mechanism performs the raising and lowering. When positioned and lowered it sits on the ground and can be used at the end of a race or gateway, with railings and panels to direct the stock after weighing.

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weight is recorded and the threeway gate system changes according to the weight options already programmed. The gates are operated by air rams from a portable air compressor. All panels and floor mesh are galvanised and the mesh allows any foreign material to fall through. Visit www.permbrand.co.nz Tel; 03 347 3171

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land was emphasised by the presence from Italy of the area manager of Feraboli, Ennio Salomoni. “I look after 16 countries including of course New Zealand and Australia and also Latin America, Scandinavia and Europe.” Feraboli are the market leaders in balers in Italy, have 40% of the market in France, and are big producers of power harrows. “We are proud of the fact that a fifth generation of Luigi Feraboli who founded the company in 1880 is still in charge.” Salomoni says this model is the result of a new company project to totally revamp their fixed chamber models to make them stronger and faster with a whole range of new improvements. The pick-up and cutting now has two series of knives. Using a bank of 12 knives the cut is 7.5cm, 13 knives give a cut of 7cm and using all 25 knives give a cut of 3.2cm. These are raised and lowered hydraulically. The drive now has a double chain and the transmission to roller chain is now 37mm. The new drop floor is to ease cleaning and aid unblocking. This is also hydraulically operated. With a remote control box, pressures are set to increase or alter the density and/or the size of the bale. The baler can wrap the bales in either plastic, net or twine. The tail door now hydraulically locks instead of hooks and secures the bale kicker to stop it flapping. There is an automatic greasing and oiling system which is adjustable. There are sensors here as well as increased sensors around the baler to guard against accidents and to improve the performance of the machine to produce the best bale possible. “We are pleased with all the improvements we have made and it is a great machine and we are proud of it,” says Salomoni.

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Rural News // March 20, 2012

40 nz ploughing championships

First Kiwi world champ always gives his best to ny h o p k inso n

A name synonymous with Ploughing in New Zealand is Alan Wallace, now of Te Awamutu, who was the first New Zealander to win a World Ploughing Championship held in Eire in 1981. “When I stepped off the tractor I personally felt that I had given my best

effort and as it turned out it was enough to win the World Championship,” says Wallace. He had already won four New Zealand Championships, which entitles the winner to represent New Zealand in the next World Championships. Formerly they competed in the same year but now it is in the year following

to enable the winners to organise and make preparations. Wallace, originally from Cambridge, started competitive ploughing in 1961 in events run by the Young Farmers Clubs. At that stage he had only done a little ploughing on the family farm. He entered his first New Zealand Champion-

ships held at Invercargill in 1962 and has competed in 18 further events. He won his first New Zealand Championship in 1968 which entitled him to plough at the world championships in Yugoslavia and the second in 1971 which enabled him to plough in the UK where he was second overall. His third win was in 1976 when

he went onto plough in Sweden and his fourth win in 1980 which led to his World Championship win in Eire. He retired from competitive ploughing following that victory and was a member of the New Zealand Ploughing Association Executive for 23 years. He has also judged at four world

MS1232

Alan Wallace contributes to the sport by coaching others.

championships. While all this was happening he was dairy farming at Cambridge till 1971, and then he and wife Tricia bought a farm at Te Awamutu growing maize and grazing cattle. They retired to town in 2002. Wallace, following his retirement from competing, set himself the target of coaching another New Zealander to become a World Champion. He has coached six New Zealand champions and in 1971 coached Roger Jordan to runner up in the World Championships held in Australia. Then in 2010 he coached Bruce Redmond to win the World Championship conventional ploughing at the world event held at Methven. New Zealand has had one other world champion, Ian Miller, who won in 1982 ploughing in Australia. Wallace has always been a conventional ploughman but has developed an interest in reversible ploughing and later this year will be coaching Malcolm Taylor (Rural News 510) at the world championships to be held in Croatia. Rural News: What does a ploughing coach, coach? Wallace: “A ploughing match is a very intense event and there are a lot of

things to do and to think about and the aim is to improve every aspect so that a competitive ploughman can achieve maximum points.” Things such as advising on plough settings to soil types and conditions such as wet/dry soils which can often change from the practice days. He comments that a good coach must have the ability to stand back and perhaps see minor faults that a busy competitor cannot see. Ploughing events are judged on 10 different aspects, the most important is straightness. Others include the split opening, body work, uniformity of furrows, headlands, the ins and outs and that nothing is left under ploughed or over ploughed. Furrow depth is set by the organisers. “The aim is to get a complete burial of stubble or grass and to leave a good depth of soil to form a good seed bed.” The last factor is the overall appearance of the plot and Wallace says there are a lot of skills needed to complete a top finish. He is a member of the Waikato Ploughing Association committee organising this year’s New Zealand Championships to be held at Cambridge on April 14-15.

New venue for NZ Championships The Waikato Ploughing Association under the chairmanship of John Guy, organising this year’s New Zealand Ploughing Championship, have announced a new venue. It is now on the Cambridge town boundary at St Kilda Rd. “Having to shift at short notice has caused the committee some stress but I am pleased with the new site and I am certain all competitors, public and visitors will also be satisfied,” Guy says. There will be two days of grassland ploughing on the April 14-15. The ploughing competition will be accompanied by craft displays, trade sites, a vintage machinery expo, food court and a display of vintage and classic cars


Rural News // march 20, 2012

machinery & products 41

Jumbo wagon more accurate on yield to ny h o p k i nso n

ONE OF the bigger bits of kit at South Island Field Days was the Pottinger Jumbo 6010 self loading wagon on the Origin Agroup stand and owned by McStay Contracting of Woodlands. Gary and Wendy McStay have been at Woodlands, 15km from Invercargill, for nine years and have a full contracting service including cultivation, silage and hay. “We travel up to one hour, probably 40-50km, from our base and most of the time we are working on flat to rolling country,” says Gary. Cultivation gear includes a Kuhn and Lemken reversible ploughs, Dalbo maxidiscs, Dalbo Roller Drill with a Hatzenbichler air seeder and a direct drill. “I also do a lot of ridging of South-

lands favourite crop, swedes.” They have a James Aerator and McStay believes a lot more Southland soils would benefit from being aerated. He also uses an Alpego Cracker after winter crops to open the soil and let it dry out. With their McHale Fusion Baler last season they harvested 12000 bales of baleage which is down because of the season. Bale collection is done with a JCB Tele-Handler. They have two full-time staff plus Gary and five to six casuals when needed. “April till August is our quieter time and from August onwards its sheer hell.” Tractors are two Massey Ferguson 120 and 160hp with four Fendts 160200hp. They have just finished their first season with the Pottinger Wagon with a 60cu/m capacity using a 200hp Fendt.

Gary McStay and the Jumbo wagon.

McStays bought the Pottinger for two reasons - the suspension system and the weigh scales.

A new innovation from Pottinger is the tandem axle with hydropneumatic suspension to give maximum stability

and comfort on-and-off-road. The suspension has a built-in hydraulic sensing system to each of the wheels. If it senses that one wheel is down on the others e.g. soft ground, it can shift the weight to the other wheels. This helps stability as well as reducing compaction. The constant sensing also helps the stability of the wagon especially when full and when travelling on hilly ground, and the large axle has extra clearance for demanding tracks and poor road conditions. This system also allows for attachment to weigh scales, he says. “More and more farmers buying or selling crops by the kg/DM want an accurate figure of the yield of the crop and with the ISOBUS control each load is weighed and recorded and a printout is available.”

National Fieldays almost full plement the farming lifestyle. The popular Kiwi’s Best Marquee within this area is completely sold out with companies showcasing their quality food and beverage products. The Ag Art Wear wearable arts competition is seeking talented designers to construct creative and unique garments derived from rural products. The Innovation Competition, sponsored by the University of Waikato, is also searching for entries. The supreme Innovation award, the Golden Standard, recognises backyard agricultural inventions or improvements which have the potential to enhance farming practices. Both competitions close on Wednesday , May 16, 2012. For more information head to the Fieldays website, www.fieldays.co.nz.

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Organisers say exhibition sites are nearing full occupancy for the 44th National Agricultural Fieldays, even though the event is still months away. This year’s Fieldays will be held June 13-16, 2012, at the Mystery Creek Events Centre, near Hamilton. A total of 98% of all sites at Fieldays have been acquired by agricultural related businesses. Outdoor agricultural sites are 99% occupied and the indoor Mystery Creek Pavilion is fully subscribed. With less than 20 sites available across the entire 40ha of exhibition space, organisers expect to reach capacity well ahead of previous years. Vacant sites are mainly within the Rural Living Area of Fieldays with 13% still available for companies which com-

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42 machinery & products / rural trader

New silage cover stacks up well With bumper crops of maize silage around this year the only downside is the task of throwing old tyres onto the stack, and keeping pukekos out. The tyre job is possibly the least popular of any on the farm, and pukekos the least popular bird given the damage they can do to valuable silage stacks. Craig Lipscombe, owner of South Auckland covered feed-pad system company Dairy Diner, is now importing a silage cover promising to eliminate the need for tyres. It also ensures feed quality is locked in, and makes stack management easier. Secure Cover silage covers are a common feature in the United Kingdom and North American farming landscape and Lipscombe believes they will attract strong interest here. The polyethylene UV resistant netting is placed over standard polythene

sheet, and can be held down along any seams and edges using bags made of the same material and filled with pea metal. The dense, strong nature of the knitted cover places it close to the polythene’s surface, reducing wind lift and minimising unwanted air intrusion to damage silage quality. Craig Lipscombe says he happened upon the covers after designing two silage bunkers for a farmer, and was having to allow extra room just for tyre storage. “I thought there must be a better way and started researching online. The Secure Covers had a proven record in the United Kingdom and North America and were exactly what we needed.” Sourced from the United Kingdom company, Thomas and Fontaine, the covers have established a reputation for their ability to with-

Design Max is now providing a simple, secure and economic option for covering this season’s bumper maize silage stacks - keeping birds out of stacks with a cover strong enough for stock to stand on.

stand Force 7 storm conditions on the Orkney Islands through winter in over 150km/h winds. Here in New Zealand high UV levels as well as wind can reduce longevity of plastic based products, and farmers will welcome the seven year UV stability guarantee. While Force 7 conditions may be less common

here, Lipscombe says pukeko damage is one peculiarly New Zealand problem the covers protect valuable maize and grass silage from. “One of the first covers we supplied was for a farmer who had his whole stack devastated by pukekos picking holes in the plastic. The dense, tough polyethylene on the

Secure Covers is impossible for pukekos and pests to penetrate, keeping them and the air out.” Opotiki farmer Ian

Brown has had the covers for over seven years, protecting over 1 million tonnes of dry matter held as maize or grass silage every season on the 1500cow operation. “The beauty of it is that you can walk on the stack when sealing it up and not worry about putting a hole in the plastic, it is far tougher than the polythene you lay underneath it. Stock could walk over it and it would not be damaged.” Some farmers may prefer to continue using the tyres they have accumulated over the years, and the tough nature of the cover means tyres can be thrown onto the stack without fear of

ripping a hole in it. The Secure Gravel Bags offer a flexible alternative, being easily filled with pea metal and tied off with supplied cable ties. The bags are a particularly appealing alternative to concrete posts for holding down stack sides, and unlike tyres can be easily stored on a pallet when not used. A cover and gravel bags for a typical 12m by 30m silage stack costs around $1800. “The beauty is it will also mean you can use the polythene below again, and you will get the job covering it done quicker, and without messy tyres.” www.dairydiner.co.nz/ silage-covers

Best on show at Dargaville Hynds Whangarei branch manager Brian Harvey is pictured here on the Hynds site at the recent Northland Field Days at Dargaville. They won the Best Site Award. Featuring heavily on the site was Hynds’ environmentally friendly aerated wastewater systems. Despite the dire weather forecasts, Northland Field Days management were happy to get crowd numbers similar to last year’s, with a total of 25,278 visitors during the three day event, including 8,667 on the Saturday, for which the ‘weather bomb’ had been forecast. In the end, it didn’t rain at all.

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and safety in the field.

Profile for Rural News Group

Rural News 20 March 2012  

Rural News 20 March 2012

Rural News 20 March 2012  

Rural News 20 March 2012