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Dairy awards debacle continues PAGE 8

New tractor fills the gap PAGE 27

$3 billion meat export trade at risk PAGE 5



New rules muddy waters PETER BURKE

Federated Farmers Southland vice president Bernadette Hunt says farmers are angry and frustrated at the new rules.


MORE REVELATIONS about the impracticality of the Governments’ new fresh water regulations debacle have emerged. Federated Farmers Southland vice president Bernadette Hunt says farmers are angry and frustrated at the new rules, which were enacted despite the Environment Minister David Parker and his officials being told a year ago that some were impractical and unworkable on farms and will produce perverse outcomes. Hunt told Rural News that farmers suggested numerous options, which would have produced the same environmental outcomes, but these were ignored. She says farmers are particularly angry because the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is on record as saying that the country is relying on the primary sector to bail the country out of the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 by increasing production and profitability. “Yet farmers have been given a whole lot of legislation that completely hamstrings them and subjects them to huge amounts of bureaucracy which is money down the gurgler. It makes no sense.” Hunt says a big issue, which is causing grief for farmers, is around the rules relating to stock exclusion. She says the people who drew up the rules used data sets to identify low slopes on farms with the view to making it compulsory to fence off water ways

on this land. Low slope was defined as being less than ten degrees. However, Hunt says the problem was that when they identified a parcel of land they averaged out the slope – instead of separating out flat land and steep hill country. This has created some bizarre anomalies. “I have heard someone who has got a property where two thirds of their farm is flat and that should be considered low slope. But the

other third is steep hill country and you can’t walk on or take machinery on it. However, by applying the averaging principle, the whole farm is designated above low slope and therefore it has to have cattle and deer fenced out of all waterways,” she told Rural News. “The reality is that you can’t even walk on some of this land yet farmers are expected to fence off the waterways. Farmers would have to

hire a helicopter to fly in the fencing materials.” Hunt says the craziness of the rules don’t end there. Under the rules a ‘wide river’ is defined as being any waterway that is more than one metre wide at any point on the property – even if it flows for just some of the year. Hunt says this means that if you get just one rain event and the stream becomes a metre wide, a farmer has to fence that stream on the entire farm. “That is just ludicrous when you think about these 6000 hectare properties that start off as low flats and then go way up into hill country,” she explains. “If the stream is one metre wide at the bottom and is barely a trickle further up – you still have cattle and deer fenced out of it for its entire length on that property. This is just nuts.” She says as a result of some of the new rules, farmers who run breeding cows on the hill country will stop doing this depriving the country of quality beef for export.

MEANINGLESS CONSULTATION BERNADETTE HUNT says what makes farmers angry is that when the new rules were out for consultation about a year ago it was terrible timing for them. She told Rural News it was the busiest time of the year with calving and lambing in full swing. Hunt says, despite this, farmers sat down and wrote submissions – explaining the personal impacts the rules would have on them and why the prescriptive rules were impractical and unworkable on farm. She says not only were the farmers’ views ignored, the

officials – or whoever – took it upon themselves to tighten the rules and make these even worse. “Some of the winter grazing rules – such as those around pugging and re-sowing dates – are totally impractical,” Hunt told Rural News. “So farmers feel absolutely slapped in the face that they gave up their time last year to engage properly and look what’s happened. No wonder there is real anger and frustration,” she says.

HEAD IN THE MUD? WHILE THERE have been ongoing discussions about the situation in Southland – and other parts of NZ about winter grazing, Hunt says there seems to be a blockage at the top – meaning Environment Minister David Parker. “I don’t believe we are getting through to Parker on winter grazing,” she told Rural News. “I think he is hearing something about the other things – like the low slope maps which relate to stock exclusion. “But on winter grazing he is absolutely unapologetic and seems to regard winter grazing as the most significant contributor to waterway degradation and is determined to regulate it,” Hunt adds. “I think he believes that every winter grazing operation should be consented and heavily regulated and he sees prescriptive rules as the way to achieving improved waterways.” But Hunt believes that this prescriptive approach will not work, whereas an outcomes based system would work. She says farmers are really innovative people and as quickly as government officials are writing these prescriptive rules, farmers are figuring out how to get around them. “That’s what I mean about perverse outcomes - so instead of focusing on doing the really good things, they are now looking at to see if there are loopholes, and there always will be.”

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Live exports all at sea PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

NEWS��������������������������������������1-15 MARKETS��������������������������� 16-17 AGRIBUSINESS���������������������� 18 HOUND, EDNA���������������������� 20 CONTACTS����������������������������� 20 OPINION���������������������������� 20-21 MANAGEMENT���������������23-24 ANIMAL HEALTH����������� 25-26 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS�����������������������27-30 RURAL TRADER�������������� 30-31

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WHETHER 28,000 dairy cattle destined for China, and currently held in quarantine, actually get to their destination is up in the air. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has hired Queen’s Council Mike Heron, assisted by retired Rear Admiral Tony Parr, to do a review of the live animal trade to all destinations. This follows the recent sinking of the Chinabound Gulf Livestock 1 with 43 crew, including two New Zealanders, and 6000 animals aboard. In a carefully worded response to questions by Rural News, MPI’s deputy director general Karen Adair noted that as the agency that issues Animal Welfare Export Certificates (AWEC’s) for live shipments, MPI needs to do “all it can to ensure people and animals on livestock export boats are safe”. Adair says the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 was an absolute tragedy and it is the right thing to do to have an independent review of the assurances MPI receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. She says the review by Heron covers all livestock shipments –

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz


FORMER PRIMARY Industries Minister and Fonterra board aspirant Nathan Guy believes his relationships with bureaucrats in Wellington will help the co-op’s farmers immensely. With the agriculture sector facing more legislation around sustainable farming practices, Guy says his knowledge of “how Wellington works” will be helpful.

Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: subsrndn@ruralnews.co.nz ABC audited circulation 79,553 as at 31.03.2019

not just those to China. The Heron review will focus on the documentation lodged by exporters, including the loading of the vessel and the voyage to its final destination. It will also look at voyage reports of ships over the past two years, the conventions, laws and rules relating to shipping safety, risk management profiles of specific vessels and the history of their flag states, owners, operators and the exporters that

should put a further, or permanent, halt to live animal exports. What has not been talked about publicly is what might happen to these animal should that scenario eventuate. When asked about the issue of compensation to farmers or exporters, MPI was quick to point out that the Animal Welfare Act, which it administers, does not contain any provision for compensation. MPI point out that “shipments of livestock are subject to commercial contracts between farmers, exporters and shipping firms,” – which seems to suggest that this will be an insurance matter. MPI says, apart from the 28,000 cattle destined for China, they are aware of other shipments that were being planned but has received no formal applications for these. Heron’s inquiry is about the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1, it is quite separate from a wider review of live animal export shipments, which has already been completed and is due to go to cabinet after the election. However, it’s understood that Heron’s work may help inform final advice to government regarding the larger review.


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Editorial: editor@ruralnews.co.nz

The fate of live export shipments to China – and other parts of the world – remains on hold.

use them. Adair says the reviewers will also speak to exporters and other relevant parties. While the outcome of Heron’s review won’t be known for at least a month, the fate of other shipments to China – and other parts of the world – remains on hold. At present, 28,000 head of cattle are on quarantine farms around the country. Adair told Rural News MPI is having regular meetings with the exporters and says they will continue to work constructively to ensure all animal welfare requirements are met. “The exporters are monitoring the condition of the stock and are in frequent contact with MPI. There are legal requirements and obligations under the Animal Welfare Act that ensure animals’ needs are met by the person in charge of animals,” she says. “The exporters advise that there is enough feed in these facilities and the environmental conditions are good and the animals’ needs are well managed.” While the animals are fine now, what’s not quite so clear is what happens if the review finds that MPI

“I have long term relationships across the whole Parliament and also with senior officials and let’s face it, they are ones who write policy,” he told Rural News. Guy, who retires from Parliament at next month’s general election, served as a National MP for 15 years and as Minister for Primary Industries for five years. He wants to be part of NZ’s largest company. Last week, Guy and three others – sitting director Brent Goldsack, lawyer

Cathy Quinn and corporate farmer Mike O’Connor were named as the four candidates by an independent Candidate Assessment Panel. Quinn, who has 30 years’ experience as a commercial and corporate lawyer, narrowly missed out on a board seat last year. O’Connor is the majority shareholder of Spectrum Group, comprising eight farms, milking 8200 cows and producing 3.1 million kgMS. Goldsack, a former tax and financial

advisor, joined Fonterra’s board in 2017 and chairs the board co-op relations committee. Fonterra shareholders can also selfnominate as candidates – provided they have the backing of 35 shareholders, who must sign their nomination form. Waikato farmer Annabel Cotton has been confirmed as a candidate in the media. Rural News understands at least one prominent Fonterra shareholder will confirm their candidacy this week.

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Farmers try to rectify mistakes The man who organised a meeting between farmer representatives and the Ministers for the Environment and Agriculture says he did so because he was worried about what he was hearing about some of the consequences of the Government’s new fresh water regulations. Peter Burke reports… SOUTHLAND DAIRY farmer and chairman of rural insurer FMG, Tony Cleland, told Rural News he first found out about the nature of the problems when talking with DairyNZ. Cleland says, once he went through the changes, he was very worried about the implications and about whether the industry was doing enough to explain what the problems are, talking to the right people and trying to get some sensible solutions. “I talked with the chairmen of DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb NZ and suggested it would be useful if a group of farmers could talk to the government ministers involved to voice their concerns to them directly,” Cleland explains. “The ministers were contacted and agreed to come and Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell agreed to host the meeting.” A list of invitees to the meeting was then drawn up. There are rumours that Federated Farmers was not on the original list, but was added in much later than the others. Rural News has been told that the Feds are unhappy about this situation and feel that they are being left on the outer. However, it seems that during the meeting the contribution of Feds Southland vice president, Bernadette

Tony Cleland says farm environment plans – driven by the farmers, properly audited and with consequences if not adhered to – is a better way to improve waterways.

Hunt was well received by all parties. Cleland says that at the meeting there was agreement among the farmer representatives that there were problems with the new rules

and that it was going to be challenging for farmers to implement them, and for Environment Southland to administer. “Our main thing was that the

rules were not necessarily going drive better outcomes and weren’t a good way of trying to improve the waterways,” he says. “We all agreed we wanted to improve waterways, but we

saw the idea of a farm environment plan – driven by the farmers, properly audited and with consequences if not adhered to – was a better way to improve the waterways.” Cleland says Environment Minister David Parker stated that he would not back down on having a consenting process for winter grazing, but was prepared to look at the merits of a strong environment plan as a potential option in certain circumstances. Cleland says such a move would avoid the council having to build up a large consenting team and instead focus on monitoring the performance of farmers. Cleland says farmers are concerned about the regulations, but also want to get sensible and workable outcomes. “That’s why they took time out from our diaries, at the busiest time of the year, to have the discussion to get out points across,” he says. Cleland says regardless of what farmers might think of the rules, they are now in place and have to be met. However, he hopes that a pathway to meeting these new regulations will now be less onerous and more practical to meet on farm. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

COUNCIL TASKED WITH MAKING UNWORKABLE WORK ENVIRONMENT SOUTHLAND (ES) chairman Nicol Horrell says, as a result of the meeting, a local advisory group will be set up to feed information into another group charged with implementing the new rules. Before the main meeting, Horrell and staff from ES met with David Parker to talk through the

council’s role, which is to implement the new rules. Horrell agrees with Federated Farmers that some of the new rules are simply unworkable in Southland, but believes that the Government will not take the Feds’ advice to completely re-write the legislation. “The political reality

is that it’s not going to be possible because it would be politically embarrassing,” he told Rural News. “So the best option will be for us to get tweaks made to the rules. In some cases a few word changes could make all the difference.” Horrell says he’s never seen such prescriptive

legislation before. “Normally you get some high level objectives and then there is room for a bit of local flavour, but with this legislation there is little wriggle room.” Horrell believe one solution is quality farm environment plans that are audited and become something that farmers use as

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$3 billion of meat exports in jeopardy as bureaucrats bumble New Zealand’s $3 billion worth of Halal meat exports are in jeopardy because of delays by government bureaucrats in allowing migrant workers to come to this country. Peter Burke reports… MEAT INDUSTRY Association (MIA) chief executive Sirma Karapeeva says having sufficient Halal slaughter men in NZ’s processing plants is critical to the industry. About 43% of the country’s meat exports are certified for Muslim consumers. Karapeeva says for the trade to continue, about 140 migrant workers – who are qualified in this area – are needed now. However, with the borders closed and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Immigration NZ staff still working through the process of allowing these people into NZ, there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether there will be sufficient Halal butchers in the country for the main processing season. “This is an immediate issue for us. We are working as hard as we can to advocate with government and have had meetings with ministers and officials,” she told Rural News. “I think they understand the issue, it just seems that their

“The fossil fuel emitters are looking to buy up land and plant it in forestry to offset their emissions, while not necessarily changing behaviours and actively reducing their emissions,” processes are grinding through rather slowly.” Karapeeva says while there is a shortage of Halal butchers, there is also a wider issue of a general shortage of workers in the sector. She says they are short of 2000 workers across the country and it’s proving very hard to attract people. The industry is putting in place a development plan that will better position the sector and show the attractive options that it offers. “We feel strongly that our industry offers stable careers that provide for growth and development for workers and provides competitive wages,” she says. In its annual report, the MIA gives an update on the state of the sector and the threats and opportunities that

lie ahead. For example, it says the industry is deeply concerned at the Government’s overall climate change framework and, in particular, its apparent dependence on large scale permanent land conversion from productive sheep and beef pastures to carbon storage on land by planting pine forests. Karapeeva questions why the agricultural sector should be penalised for its biological emissions, while the fossil fuel emitters seem to be getting off scot free and not taking any responsibility for their own emissions. “The fossil fuel emitters are looking to buy up land and plant it in forestry to offset their emissions, while not necessarily changing behaviours and actively

reducing their emissions,” she explains. “Whereas the ag sector is being asked to reduce its emissions and actually change behaviours.” MIA also has concerns about the plethora of new regulations that are being thrust on the sector. Karapeeva says while no one is questioning the objectives of the rules, many of these are very prescriptive and are being introduced quickly. She says these should be based on good science and risk management

outcomes. “The point is that companies need flexibility in order to be innovative and grow,” she told Rural News. “We don’t want regulations to be stifling innovation. “For example, in food safety we want rules that ensure that we retain our credentials and reputation for food safety. What we don’t want is a whole new level of compliance that has unnecessary costs and doesn’t achieve the initial objective.”

Sirma Karapeeva says having sufficient Halal slaughter men in NZ’s processing plants is critical to the industry.


TRADE ISSUES DOMINATE TRADE ISSUES are also well traversed in the MIA’s annual report. It looks at the changes and challenges that the industry faces in the Covid environment, where face-to-face trade missions are less likely to happen in the immediate future. The report singles out China, noting that the advent of African Swine Fever in that country has dominated and shaped the global meat trade over the past 12 months. It states that, in the past year, exports to China rose by 24% on the previous year. In the year to June 2020, China became our biggest market for meat exports worth $3.68 billion. The report also talks about an industry led ‘China engagement strategy’ to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. It notes that the MIA is looking to continue to build this relationship despite the travel

constraints of Covid. Another major trade issue facing the meat industry is FTA negotiations between the EU and NZ, as well as Britain and NZ. Currently, political ructions in Europe and the UK are seeing our negotiations pushed back. Karapeeva says the MIA is supportive of the Government’s stance on trade liberalisation and its FTA negotiations. But she says it wants to more than just words and points to the disappointing offer the EU put to NZ earlier this year. “For a credible trade partner to come to the table with such a low offer it really does raise questions about where this might end up,” she told Rural News. “My personal opinion is it will take some time to untangle that mess. I am not holding my breath that there will be an FTA between NZ and the EU this year – and possibly not even next year.”


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Beef+Lamb pushing for changes PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

FARMER-GOOD ORGANISATION Beef+Lamb NZ (BLNZ) says it will continue to advocate for changes to the new fresh water regulations. Chief executive Sam McIvor says as well as advocating for change, the organisation will focus on helping farmers to understand how the rules apply on their farms. BLNZ is also working on providing resources to help farmers do this. “This will continue to be a priority for our organisation over the coming months,” he says. McIvor claims that, in respect of winter grazing, there is some good news in the short term as changes are made to the new laws. He says while the proposed winter grazing rules technically come into effect on 31 May 2021, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has advised all regional councils that farmers do not have to apply for a

consent until 31 October 2021 – as long as farmers do not make any changes to how they have been winter grazing in the past. This is due to an “existing rights” rule protected under the RMA. But McIvor says if farmers are changing

“The Government has acknowledged there are problems with the low slope map for stock exclusion and acknowledged this needs to be fixed,” he adds. “At this stage, we understand MfE is intending to ‘improve the map’ and make it more accurate.” something with respect to their winter grazing in 2021, then they will need to get in contact with their regional council. “The Government has acknowledged there are problems with the low slope map for stock

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exclusion and acknowledged this needs to be fixed,” he adds. “At this stage, we understand MfE is intending to ‘improve the map’ and make it more accurate.” However, McIvor concedes that this will be complicated and take a long

time, as there are significant issues right across the entire country. BLNZ is also pushing for swift progress on developing a certified farm plan that is outcomes based and based on industry approaches. McIvor says they are encouraging

Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the new regulations are complicated and there are significant issues right across the country.

the Government to make progress as quickly as possible on defining what a certified farm plan is, and how these will be rolled out, so that farmers won’t have to seek a consent. “We are strongly advocating for an industry-led approach to farm plans that are practical and outcomes based,” he adds. “BLNZ will shortly be rolling out a new farm plan process, which we

believe would meet the Government’s requirements for a certified farm plan.” McIvor says BLNZ will be holding events around the country with farmers to explain the new rules, what it is doing to improve the rules, and the tools BLNZ is developing to assist farmers in meeting these. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews



Dairy awards debacle refuses to die SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

DETHRONED NZ Share Farmer of the Year Nick Bertram is refusing to accept the findings of a review into the national dairy awards saga. The Tararua farmer claims some NZ Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) trustees and executives knew about the tweets he posted back in 2017 and provided evidence of this to Susan Hughes QC who carried out the review. Bertram believes he won the award fair and square after meeting all conditions of entry. “We won because we where the best farmers… we are proud of that. We will always be the first people in NZ to have held two national titles,” he told Rural News. The tweets, including his suggested methods for introducing the animals

to milking and the use of a steel pipe, were highlighted by animal rights group SAFE after Nick and wife Rosie won the national title in July. The Bertrams were stripped of the title; it’s been awarded to runners-up Sarah and Aidan Stevenson of Waikato. NZDIA says the review concluded that Nick Bertram was contacted by “people associated with NZDIA” to express concern and to request him to remove the tweets. The contact was made in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the trust and those who made contact “all believed they were doing so out of a sense of responsibility as alumni of the NZDIA and concern regarding the illadvisability of the tweets in question”. But Bertram says he

spoke to two NZDIA Trustees about the tweets in 2017. “I have a recorded phone call from Natasha

Tere (NZDIA Trust chair) informing me that both these trustees offered their resignation. She has since informed me

THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA RECOGNISE THE dangers of social media, says Susan Hughes QC, who carried out the review into the 2020 NZ Dairy Awards twitter saga. Hughes says everyone involved in the NZ Dairy Awards must be reminded of the perils of social media along the application trajectory, “so as to avoid a repetition of these events.” “It is clear that all [who] I have interviewed are passionate about the dairy industry. All want the New Zealand dairy industry to be seen as world leading, all strive for excellence. “All of those interviewed expressed sadness that such an event could have been avoided if the tweet was declared as part of the declaration or if the matter had been raised.” NZDIA Trust chair Natasha Tere says the mission of the NZDIA is to provide a platform to reward excellence and showcase best practice within the farming sector. “This includes rewarding leaders and building respect and pride for the industry. A title holder is an ambassador for NZDIA and the farming community as a whole.”

in a recorded meeting that their resignations have not been accepted following the QC’s report.” He is also accusing NZDIA of withholding the full report of the review. “NZDIA have had the results of that investigation for over a month. “In a meeting, where we had permission to record, they said that they will be not sending the original report to anyone including the sponsors. They are only releasing a few quotes from the QC, and a bit of altered information following their own review on that report. “We are concerned about the honesty of the original report. If they had nothing to hide they would share it. Under the existing entry criteria, we were eligible to have

Not going quietly: Nick Bertram is refusing to accept the findings of a review into the national dairy awards saga.

entered.” Bertram has acknowledged the tweets were wrong. “I hope young farmers will learn from the mistakes I have made on social media,” he says. A NZDIA spokeswoman says some within the NZDIA family were aware of the tweets and this was reviewed by Susan Hughes as part of the terms of reference. She says it released the “findings and recommendations” from the review out of respect of those involved. She says it’s critical that the dairy industry

moves on from this event as the industry is just too significant to New Zealand. NZDIA organisers will ensure the 2021 Awards programme has more focus on social media in declaration and interviews. “We will showcase best practice and allow entrants to benchmark and improve their own farming practices,” the spokeswoman told Rural News. Entries for 2021 competition open October 1. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

The great gumboot challenge RUNNING A marathon is tough enough, but doing it in gumboots is next level challenging! However, that’s what Jack Keeys intends to do when he competes in this year’s Auckland Marathon in October. A Paeroa local, he is currently running the 26km from Paeroa to Thames training for the Auckland Marathon. The aim of Keeys’s ‘gumboot marathon’ is to raise funds and

awareness for two causes – NZ’s Rural Support Trust network and Melanoma New Zealand. Last year, at the age of 24, Keeys was diagnosed with melanoma. It’s a disease that took his father Kevin when he was just 12 years old, so he got a dodgy spot checked and caught it early. Two surgeries later he’s cancer free. Keeys works as an agri-food research and insights analyst at

KPMG as well as with helping his mum back on her dairy farm after she recently lost her partner. “Working in the agri-food industry, I’m acutely aware of the challenges faced by rural communities,” he says. “Farmers are facing ongoing challenges with weather and climate, debt and financing, as well as regulation and perception.” So he decided to run the Auckland Marathon in gumboots to

raise awareness and funds for the organisations dear to his heart. Rural Support Trust national council Chair Neil Bateup is stoked to see that Keeys’s enthusiasm has brought more people along with him to run in gumboots. “It’s really cool when these young guys get in and do something for our trusts,” he says. “It helps get the word out that we have Rural Support Trusts around the country here to help look

after all our rural people.” Chief executive of Melanoma New Zealand, Andrea Newland, says her organisation is also grateful for Keeys’s support. Follow the story or join the gumboot marathon here: https:// www.facebook.com/The-GumbootMarathon-100748871692419 @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews



Prices expected to wax and wane SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

EXPECT MORE of the same as dairy prices on Global Dairy Trade (GDT) broke a twomonth drought and posted an increase last week. The GDT price index rose 3.6% while whole milk powder (WMP) prices rose 3.2% to US$2,985/metric tonne. WMP prices now sit 8.5% below their recent peak in July. Westpac senior agri analyst Nathan Penny says prices continue “to wax and wane as expected”. “The pattern of price falls followed by prices rises is in line with what we have been expecting,” he told Rural News. Covid outbreaks over August and early September put pressure on market confidence and in turn on prices. But as Covid case numbers settle, confidence has returned to dairy markets and prices have stabilised once again. Penny expects this pattern to continue. “By and large most key dairy markets (notably

China) continue to manage Covid well, but outbreaks are likely to occur from time to time,” he says. “On the flipside, if the virus surges in key markets, then prices are likely to fall below recent ranges. Stepping back, global dairy demand, particularly from China, continues to underpin dairy prices. We do note though that milk fat prices are softer given their exposure to restaurant and café demand more than other products. On the supply side, global supply growth is relatively contained.” RaboResearch dairy analyst Thomas Bailey says the price rise signals continued volatility. But he notes that farmers will be happy with last week’s results. “The results should support broader increases in prices around the world, boosting profitability for dairy farmers, and eventually resulting in a bump in milk supplies,” he says. One factor playing on buyers’ minds would be security of supply from New Zealand. A weather calamity in NZ would

drive prices higher. However, ASB senior analyst Chris-Tennent Brown says with good spring weather, data shows production is up on last year. “We don’t think buyers

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Migrant worker impasse continues SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

FARMERS AND rural contractors want more information on border exemptions for the ‘other critical worker’ category announced recently by the Government. Rural Contractors NZ chief executive Roger Parton told Rural News that he’s still trying to find out whether machinery operators fall under the new category. Parton says the RCNZ’s application to get border exemptions for

206 specialist machine operators was rejected by the Government earlier this month. “My application for bringing in overseas workers was rejected on the basis that each individual employer has to make their own application,” he says. “We are working closely with NZ Airline Pilots Association in matching skills to vacancies. My view at this stage is that while it may fill some slots, it is unlikely to resolve the issue and

that there will still be a need for overseas skilled agricultural machinery operators.” Federated Farmers vice president Chris Lewis says it is “eagerly awaiting” more details from Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi’s office. Lewis says the critical list for agriculture sector is no longer just about migrant workers who were holidaying overseas when the lockdowns started in March this year. “The critical list

now includes shearers, machine operators and veterinarians,” he says. Lewis says Federated Farmers is grateful to Faafoi for making some key decisions. “However, we want to know whether this is a government decision or if the decision will only be implemented if Labour gets back into government after the election.” Faafoi recently announced adjustments to immigration instructions to provide more clarity to the




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Federated Farmers vice president Chris Lewis says the critical list for agriculture sector is no longer just about migrant workers who were holidaying overseas during the lockdown and now includes shearers, machine operators and veterinarians.

assessment criteria for employers wanting to request a border exception for their workers under the ‘other critical worker’ category. “As New Zealand continues on the path to recovery from Covid-19, it is important that we strike the right balance between protecting New Zealand from Covid-19 and ensuring businesses have the critical workers they need to help in our recovery,” Faafoi said.  “In order to help ensure key critical workers are able to come to New Zealand, we have made some small changes to immigration instructions around the assessment criteria for ‘other critical workers’.”

Faafoi says currently an individual must have unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are “not obtainable” in New Zealand. This criterion will change to technical or specialist skills that are not “readily obtainable” in New Zealand. “That wording change reflects that, in some fields, there is a very limited pool of experts and significant training would have to be undertaken before the skills were obtainable in New Zealand.” Meanwhile, about 50 migrant dairy workers could potentially benefit from the Government’s border exception for work visa holders.

However, Federated Farmers says some farmers who hired locals to replace the migrant workers trapped overseas could be facing a tricky situation. Lewis is urging famers to carefully read the wording on contracts. “Before you start thinking about getting Johnny from overseas to replace Paul who is already employed on your farm, read the wordings on the contracts,” he told Rural News. “This could become a complex employment issue for some farmers. So, take advice before you run off to the immigration consultant.” @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


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THE GOVERNMENT is being urged elevate veterinarians to critical worker status to help ease an acute shortage. In a scathing media release this month, the NZ Vet Association (NZVA) accused the Government of double standards while granting emergency work visas. “We’re led to the conclusion that veterinarians are just not viewed as important, or as sexy as other parts of the economy such as film making, which have seen wholesale exemptions created,” says NZVA chief executive Kevin Bryant. “This is surprising given veterinarians’ essential worker status during lockdown. “We also understand that exemptions

have been granted to build golf courses, build or repair racetracks, and for shearers. Surely veterinarians are at least as important in supporting the economic functioning of the country.” Bryant says if animal welfare, food safety and biosecurity are compromised because there are insufficient vets to support the primary sector, the economic impact on New Zealand would be catastrophic. A survey of NZVA members found that out of 124 practices there was a shortfall of 224 veterinarians. Most respondents were seeking veterinarians on a full-time, permanent basis.



Look out for rural communities - RWNZ RURAL WOMEN NZ is calling for a commitment to improving the health and well-being of rural families and enhancing rural communities’ reliance from all candidates at this year’s general election. These demands were made in the lobby group’s recently launched election manifesto. “The general election season is a perfect time for us to share the challenges we see and what actions we recommend any government should take in order to empower

rural communities,” RWNZ president Fiona Gower says. She believes that the social, cultural, environmental and economic success of New Zealand should be reflected in rural communities. “All candidates need to show a commitment to ensuring that rural communities have equal access to technology, education and health services,” Gower adds. “It is vital that all rural communities feel safe and secure on the roads, in their homes

FIVE AREAS OF ACTION RWNZ wants the new government to commit to five areas of action: HEALTH AND WELLBEING ●● Invest in and maintain access to excellent healthcare for rural communities. ●● Establish and maintain network connectivity in rural areas to provide greater digital access to health and wellbeing services. ●● Provide increased resources to improve access for rural New Zealanders to education on, treatment of and support for mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and wellbeing services. ●● Ensure rural mothers and their babies receive the best maternity care possible. ●● Improve accessibility to localised treatment options (such as screening and diagnostics) in rural New Zealand. RURAL CONNECTIVITY ●● Provision of nationwide access to affordable, quality connectivity. ●● Share information on ways to increase rural connectivity and regular, progress reports on the rural connectivity roll-out. ●● Support research into ways to provide quality, affordable connectivity to rural and remote areas. ENVIRONMENT ●● Ensure that economic, environmental and sustainable land use decisions are made in partnership with landowners, land users and rural communities. ●● Support the research and development of more sustainable primary industry practices and products. ●● Improve domestic, national and international biosecurity protocols. ●● Develop strategies for effective water storage and supply systems. ●● Develop funding programmes to support rural communities to make any changes needed to mitigate climate change. EDUCATION ●● Ensuring that adequate rural consultation is undertaken during the development of education policies, procedures and legislation. ●● Formulate strategies to develop and retain a skilled and multidiscipline rural education workforce. ●● Secure adequate resources to ensure that rural communities have effective access to all education. ●● Support rural schools access to services. SAFETY AND SECURITY ●● Improve the quality, maintenance and safety of rural roads. ●● Enforce slower speed limits in rural school zones. ●● Fully resource agencies and communities to reduce violence against women and children in rural communities. ●● Increase policing in rural areas. ●● Develop and improve workplace safety and awareness.

and around their properties and RWNZ would like to see clear action on this.” Gower says RWNZ has always actively worked with decisionmakers in advocating for rural communities.

“We are asking that this year’s candidates consider our strategy for building resilient rural communities and assessing policy impacts, as part of their work in Parliament, should they be elected.”

RWNZ is calling on a newly-elected government to establish and maintain network connectivity in rural areas.





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Keeping the supply chain ticking SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

IT’S NO secret that the agriculture sector has continued to be the engine room for New Zealand’s economy during the past six months of turmoil. Our farmers, farm staff, processors and exporters worked during the lockdowns to keep milk, meat, vegetables and fruit flowing to consumers both here and overseas. One Waikato company played a key role helping businesses move their essential goods around NZ and the world. Timpack is one of New Zealand’s largest wooden pallet and container manufacturers, operating in Hamilton since 1984 and expanding capacity to seven sites throughout New Zealand. The company, employing 200 staff, makes a million items of wooden packaging annually. Dairy processors and kiwifruit packers are two of their biggest clients. Its team of 200 staff quite literally takes business places with production of more than a million items of wooden packaging annually.

Alan Walters says more than 500 businesses around the country rely on Timpack to supply them with pallets.

Timpack managing director Alan Walters notes that the humble wooden pallet is used to transport goods and touches nearly every product we consume at some point in its life. From dairy to horticulture to meat and metal and packaging, more than 500 businesses around the country count on Timpack. Around three quarters of Timpack’s customers are essential businesses, primarily in the food industry but including other products

such as hospital beds. Lockdown hit during the busy picking and packing season for kiwifruit and apples, requiring a large amount of pallets and bins in a very short time period. “Preparation for lockdown included checking our supply chain, which includes nails from China, as well as adapting business practices with changes to shifts, break times and working practices to ensure the health and safety of our staff and to meet social distancing requirements. “The only real issue was timber supply from domestic sawmills, which

land Wooden Pallet & Container Association and said other members faced a similar predicament, with the pallet industry in New Zealand requiring an estimated 15,000m3 of timber every month. That roughly equates to 375 truck and trailer loads every month. During lockdown Walters made a plea on behalf of the industry for the Government to allow sawmills and their supply chains to operate during Level 4 lockdown. This was partially met with the reopening of some sawmills to process sawn logs but not the fresh cutting of logs. On behalf of the industry he is calling on the Government to proactively address the issue so that sawmills and their supply chains can operate should New Zealand be placed into Level 4 again. “Pallets are a vital but often overlooked part of the supply chain. It’s time to put them in the spotlight. “Allowing sawmills and their supply chains to operate in any future lockdown would enable an uninterrupted flow of pallets which are critical to the nation’s essential industries.”

surprisingly were not considered essential business and were forced to shut,” says Walters. “With some juggling, prioritising and outsourcing, we did everything in our means to meet demand through lockdown, but without ongoing timber supply some of our customers felt the effects of the shortages.” Walters points out that the situation could have become much more serious had lockdown continued, with major disruptions to our primary industries. Walters is president of the New Zea-

ESSENTIAL SERVICE ALAN WALTERS says Timpack is proud to be associated with the agriculture sector. Fonterra and Zespri are two of its biggest clients. He says the agriculture sector has been crucial to NZ’s economy during Covid. “We were happy to play our part in supplying wooden packaging to the industry,” he says.

“Unlike some other sectors, agriculture cannot defer milking cows or picking fruit. There will be animal welfare issues for cows and fruit will rot on trees.” During the first lockdown, kiwifruit harvest was at its peak and wooden pallet demand was at its highest among packhouses. @rural_news 

HORTNEWS Introducing Hort News, a national publication serving the needs of our booming horticulture sector. Distributed with the leading national farming publication Rural News, Hort News will be delivered to all key horticulture regions nationwide. It is the complete solution for readers and advertisers, covering every aspect of the wider horticulture industry – news, agribusiness, management, markets, machinery and technology.



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has URE industry THE HORTICULT wn Covid-19 lockdo come out of the with better people more resilient and management skills. ble NZ Vegeta of That’s the view kumara ville Darga chairman and Bruin. grower Andre de way growers and He describes the lace to new workp workers adapted lockdown as “fanrules during the heradapted a “toget tastic”. Growers with apart” approach ness while being ce social dispracti to workers asked rs farms. The worke on while g tancin rose the occasion. a farm, harvestOn de Bruin’s kumar d to ed, screens erecte ers were modifi the and s , sorter separate the driver on number of people bin person. The to reduced from eight a harvester was


six. ter is normally “Being on the harves the Andre thing…but during kumara grower quite the social and an and Dargaville workers adapted were barriers s and Vegetable NZ chairm lockdown there es the way grower ” he de Bruin describ ’t see each other, wn as “fantastic”. workers couldn during the lockdo told Hort News. sibility respon their d n’t “They realise normally would doing this for their Growers who each and that we were nging ideas with and food safety. talk were excha seasafety, our safety change was that fantastic.” other. One huge “The team was ng and the hired for planti for him this is sonal workers, De Bruin says become had how – bles, sector ble harvesting vegeta story of the vegeta e. “When there rs. to understand requir essential worke grown vegetables growers worked and attitude of workchange or close for that to be ue their businesses De Bruin says the is any potential businesses open, ed. ments to contin d willing navigating dramatically chang believes sfully implemente ted, people are ers to their job for good. It’s about ANDRE DE BRUIN how they succes of a mile business disrup but it before the lockdriving to one to ensure your in a queue half is far from over, “On the last day way -19 stand g to your Covid changes. He recalls ng meeting and greetin supered the way we ional next week on the first morni down they were long to get it from the remains funct has already chang his kumara farms were told that’s wn. each other and they markets.” and next year.” do business. of the Level 4 lockdo I NZ’s life, buy e that. my lines thing do of peopl day can one est last time they He says this under De Bruin says He says the way “It was the strang challenge and of top everythat the cer and is to ed. d up road produ a chang the prove rose as on “They credential Covid-19 has their food has work, was the only car they brought to wants safe, adapting to a d at home. I have the dedication “Growers are food. New Zealanders one had cars parke says. fantastic. it’s changing y New Zealanding like that,” he day-after-day, was er fresh and qualit new normal and never seen anyth all in this togeth g through an as other “They knew were on a weekly basis “It was like drivin growgood.” phone between and there was heavy and that was really talking” on the wn. abandoned town got lockdo e.” into have ing the diseas country went sibility…that I - tors for spread feeling of respon lot of ers as the sit“a operat was but people food there for all these De Bruin recalls only to supply people were not vecto do this right s. er that we ting in their house not ing in a mann responsibility, “We had a big




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Bringing the cacophony back to the bush Automated gun turrets in the bush shooting predators with poison paintballs could rid the country of introduced pests. That’s the idea behind the Cacophony Project – so named because it aims to restore the “cacophony” of native bird song to New Zealand’s bush. Nigel Malthus reports CHRISTCHURCH ENTREPRENEUR and inventor Grant Ryan believes conventional trapping systems fail to get all the pests in an area, while conventional monitoring systems greatly underestimate pest numbers. He told Rural News this is because current systems rely on the predators actively responding to food or other lures to enter traps or monitoring devices, but in practise they soon learn to ignore them. Instead, Ryan’s Cacophony Project has developed technology using thermal cameras to image animals by their own body heat, and artificial intelligence pattern-matching to reliably identify the various species and distinguish between friend and foe. The next step will be to develop trap and kill methods that target the pests. But Ryan admits progress is slow partly because of the need for

Cacophony Project founder Grant Ryan in the project’s Christchurch office. Photo Nigel Malthus

backers. “Most people don’t think you need anything as complicated as what we’re working on.” He says he will use his own money to develop the paintball gun idea. Ryan says the traps he calls “food whackers” – traps which whack predators after luring them in with food - are fine for suppression but won’t achieve full eradication. They do well initially in a fresh area, until the pests learn to ignore them. Using its thermal cameras, the project has video of rats and other

predators wandering around traps and monitoring tunnels without going in. “Whenever we show something like that we get a lot of pushback. ‘You have set the trap up wrong; you haven’t got the right bait’. But we see it consistently over and over so we’re convinced that it’s actually happening.” He says they looked at trap density and catch rates from the 60 bestmonitored projects in New Zealand and worked out that the only way for the numbers to match was that predators were ignoring the traps. “Once you acknowledge that, then if you look at what people are trying to do to improve it - which is to automate traps or put automatic feeders or slight improvements to cost - none of them actually make much difference because they still walk past. “It is actually a fascinating problem because almost everyone

assumes if you put a device out there, predators will come along and seek it out and stick their head in it. “It’s very clear that doesn’t happen, more often than not. But we’ve really struggled to convince people that’s actually the case.” Ryan says the project is now working on a couple of ideas. “We’ve got a groundbased live capture trap that’s about a metre square that looks more open than any of the other devices. We’re just starting to test and play with that,” he told Rural News. “But the ultimate one that we think will be really effective is a paintball gun with a toxin in it. All of the predators we’re looking at are groomers and there are other projects that have worked out if you can put toxin on their fur they’ll lick it off and die.” Ryan says most of those require them to crawl into a box that they don’t want to.

“We think we can target them with our artificial intelligence and thermal camera.” The method would minimise poison input into the environment and also reduce by-kill, he claims. “At the moment, the reason all traps have physical enclosures is so the birds don’t get in and get caught. But when you use a digital trigger instead of a mechanical thing, you can be a lot more accurate and have a much more open trap architecture. We can have birds wander into our trap and it just doesn’t go off.” Ryan says people are sceptical of his hightech solutions because of an unwritten rule that traps can’t kill everything, therefore have to be cheap, plentiful and kept in place long-term. But he believes his paintball guns would ultimately be more cost-effective because relatively few would be needed, in a line progressively moved

through an area to sweep it completely clear of predators.

“We don’t think there’s any way to get to zero with food whackers.”

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Covid continues to push p after proving resilient through the majority of this year’s Covid-19 disruptions. The average export value of NZ beef for July was down 2% YOY – the first month this year in which average returns have been down YOY. Ongoing foodservice restrictions in


THE SECOND month of the new season has seen another solid rise in milk flows. New Zealand milk production for the 2020/21 season boosted 5.3% higher than the previous July on a milksolids basis. Total milk flows are ahead of last season by 3.8% on a milksolids basis. The relatively mild weather over the middle of winter for much of the major milk-producing regions has supported early season milk production. Rabobank is anticipating another small lift in milk volumes for the full 2020/21 season. Looking across the other key regions, milk production is also rising, albeit at rates below the long-term average. Commodity markets continue to feel some of the downward pressure. The dairy commodity complex was weaker through August. Underlying fundamentals in the market will keep the price pressure on over the coming months and Rabobank remains cautious about the health of the global dairy market. Volatility and uncertainty remain front and centre in the outlook for dairy market

BEEF RABORESEARCH EXPECTS farmgate prices to hold through September, but unlike last season, anticipates minimal pricing upside for the remainder of the year as demand for higher-value cuts remains weak due to Covid-19 restrictions. Procurement pressure resulting from seasonal tightening of cattle supplies saw

farmgate prices continue to lift during August. This price lift was most pronounced in the South Island, helping to close the large pricing gap that had developed between the two islands. As of the end of August, the North Island bull price was NZ$5.55/kg cwt, up 2% MOM, with the South Island bull price sitting at NZ$5.00/kg cwt, up 6% MOM. NZ export returns are starting to show signs of weakening,

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key markets continue to negatively impact demand for prime cuts. High volumes of South American beef exports into China have also con-

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prices down value of imports overall for horticulture produce in recent years. Kiwifruit and apple exports continue to push ahead of 2019 by value. We expect that demand for New Zealand fresh produce remains robust over 2020 and into 2021 but delivering supply to meet this may be difficult if border issues remain unresolved.

HORTICULTURE NEW ZEALAND horticulture exports have pushed through another ceiling for total receipts for the year end June 2020. All of the growth in value has occurred in the first two quarters of 2020, despite the disruption caused by Covid-19. Collectively, greater China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) remains our largest market,

representing 26% of total exports (by value) for the year ending June 2020. The value of exports to this market has more than doubled since 2010, when the EU (incl. UK) was 29% of export receipts (now 23%). Across all key markets, absolute export values have risen since 2010. Sales growth to Australia was flat in the five years to June 2020 – but Australia showed a slight decline in the

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NZ$/US$ rate through August can be explained by a weakening US$. The US$ fell another 1.2% against a broad index of currencies in August (and only 1.7% against the NZ$). NZ’s economic prospects seemed to have been buoyed by strong commodity prices, Chinese economic recovery and an earlier reduction in infection rates in NZ compared with many other countries. Looking ahead, we remain keenly aware of the potential for currency markets to shift direction and drive the NZ$/US$ down again. The global economy will likely disappoint and the China/US cold war will worsen. We still look for the NZ$ to soften to USc 62 cents by the end of February.

EXCHANGE RATE THE NZ$ rose for the fifth consecutive month in August, with the currency gaining another cent against the dollar. At USc 67.4, it was 1.4% above pre-crisis levels and just shy of its five-year average. In rough terms, most of the movement in the

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generally hold farmgate prices at current levels over the next month. However, dropping export returns will prevent the seasonal pricing lifts that would normally be expected at this point. Farmgate prices were uncharacteristically flat through August, with processors unwilling to use pricing to chase supplies due to the tight margins they are operating under. This should be a warning sign of where pricing is likely to go once new season lambs come online in large numbers towards the end of the year. As of the end of August, the North Island price averaged NZ$7.25/kg cwt (+1% MOM), while South Island lamb averaged NZ$7.00/kg cwt (+1% MOM). Unless there is a meaningful improvement in market conditions before export volumes lift again in late November/ December, export returns will come under further downward pressure. Falling export prices have prompted China to step up its purchasing activity of NZ lamb, further increasing NZ’s market concentration in China. In July, export volumes of NZ lamb to China were up 28% YOY, which represented 47% of total exports for the month.



Wool firms look to combine TWO WOOL companies, under one umbrella been doing that but we have never had the and building a stronger that handle around one entity to represent those scale to turn the dial. third of NZ’s strong Combining with PWC, farmer interests will wool clip between them, representing its 1400 offer the combined scale are looking to merge in farmer shareholders and vision required to an effort to rejuvenate and its 50% the country’s ownership struggling wool of Carrfields sector. Primary Wool Primary Wool “By working together, we (CPW), will Co-Operative are far better positioned mean we can (PWC) and to deliver for our grower achieve scale.” Wools of shareholders, the sector Hamish New Zealand de Lautour, (WONZ) have and the country.” chairman begun formal of PWC, discussions believes the about combining collaboration will help make a difference for operations. Collectively, position wool where it New Zealand’s sheep the shareholders of belongs. industry,” says WONZ WONZ and Primary “Both PWC through chairman James Parsons. Wool Co-Operative, Carrfields Primary Wool He adds that the along with other farmers and its subsidiaries, two companies’ goal supplying the Primary and WONZ have been is to capture more Wool Co-Operative’s developing similar value for growers by joint venture CPW, strategies and doing building stronger, more produce over a third of that jointly makes real direct relationships New Zealand’s entire sense.” with customers and strong wool clip. He says PWC, via consumers. “Having over 2000 its joint venture with “WONZ has already passionate sheep farmers

PWC chair Hamish de Lautour believes the collaboration will help position wool where it belongs.

Carrfields, has invested significantly in the Just Shorn programme and the NZ Yarn spinning

mill. “WONZ agree this is an excellent model,” de Lautour says. “Our

view is WONZ has wide global connections and developed loyal direct contract supply to the likes of fabric manufacturer Camira and bedding manufacturer Enkev.” He says both WONZ and PWC shareholders have all got ‘skin in the game’ and have invested cash to build their respective businesses. “By working together, we are far better positioned to deliver for our grower shareholders, the sector and the country.” Parsons says both WONZ and PWC envisage a lean simple commercial structure. “Due to the nature of the company structures, combining operations will take time but there is a strong commitment from WONZ and PWC that this is a prize worth

pursuing,” he adds. “Combining operations will give us the critical mass to deliver on our vision, provides functional benefits, and importantly, the scale to pick up strategic commercial projects that we hope will emanate from the Action Group.” Carrfields Primary Wool chairman Craig Carr says the company is excited by the prospect of grower unity and supports consolidation and growers speaking with one voice. “Carrfields has a long-established relationship with PWC and look forward to the export and marketing function WONZ will bring as we implement some necessary changes in the sector.” @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

Massey adds animal science degree PAUL KENYON

MASSEY UNIVERSITY introduced its new Bachelor of Animal Science (BAnSc) in 2020. Enrolments in semester two exceeded 90 students, after students completed their science subjects in semester one. Programme director Dr Dave Thomas is extremely pleased with the level of uptake by students. He says the numbers exceeded the interest indicated when Massey was building the business case for the new degree. When developing this new BAnSc degree, Massey received support from more than 50 industry organ-

isations and stakeholders. It is New Zealand’s only Bachelor of Animal Science degree. It is aimed at students interested in domestic animals, agriculture and the natural world. The degree requires three years of full-time study. Students learn how to manage and look after a range of animals from farm production animals and horses, to cats and dogs, and how animals interact with their environment. Animal science includes production animals (including sheep, cattle, pigs and poultry), companion (cats and dogs) animals and sport (horses) animals. Students will learn about, and

develop skills in, optimal animal care and management. The main subjects covered include nutrition, metabolism, reproduction, lactation, growth, welfare, behaviour, biosecurity and genetics. The degree allows specialisation and requires students to select one of four majors for their second and third years of study: Animal Genetics and Breeding, Animal Nutrition and Growth, Animal Welfare, or Equine Science. The aim of the degree is to produce graduates with skills to improve the performance of production, working and sports animals but to do so in a sustainable and animal welfarefriendly manner.

Animal Science students are taught by staff from New Zealand’s number one ranked university in agriculture and the country’s only veterinary school. Students have access to specialised animal facilities close to the campus. These include dairy, beef, sheep, equine, pig and poultry farms, specialist cat and dog facilities. As well as quality-assured feed analysis laboratories, an animal nutrition and feed-processing unit, metabolism and exercise physiology facilities and are taught at a purpose-built large animal teaching and handling unit. There is also opportunity for students select courses from other Massey degrees as electives during

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their programme of study to allow them to obtain a wider knowledge base. BAnSc degrees are well established internationally providing excellent opportunities for students interested in study abroad programmes during and after their degree. Interested students can obtain more information about the BAnSc degree via the University’s webpage: www.massey.ac.nz/bansci. Professor Paul Kenyon is the Head of the School of Agriculture & Environment and a professor in sheep husbandry at Massey University. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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Don’t throw cows out with bathwater THE DECISION by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to impose an immediate halt to live animal exports in the wake the sinking of the Gulf Livestock 1 off the coast of Japan is a sensible move. One would hope this is properly used as a pragmatic opportunity to review what exactly happened in this tragic case. It should not be used as some covert move to end this valuable export trade to appease overly excited animal activists and get this issue off the political agenda. The ship left Napier on August with 43 crew including two New Zealanders and 6000 cattle bound for China. As Rural News went to press, still only two survivors and one dead crew member from the ship had been found. Let’s not forget, 40 people are still missing. MPI says it wants to be assured that before there are any decisions about another shipment that it knows what took place on the Gulf Livestock 1 in more detail. That is not only sensible, but the right thing to. The sinking of the ship and the loss of the crew is tragic. But this shouldn’t be used as some underhand tactic to end the trade of live animals for export. It is a lucrative, safe and important market for NZ. Claims about high death rates and terrible conditions on board made by animal activists are not borne out by the facts. The cattle on these ships are well looked after on their voyage, fed high-quality feed and given veterinary supervision. The mortality rate is around 0.1%, which is no higher than the death rate if they stayed in NZ. These cattle are sent for breeding purposes, not slaughter and would most likely have been killed as bobby calves in NZ if they had not been sent for export. This year alone, some 40,000 cattle have been exported with another 28,000 planned to go in the months ahead. The price of $1,400 a heifer is almost double what the same beast would make in NZ. Yes, we need to ensure that any live exports from NZ meet the highest animal welfare and human safety conditions. However, we must not allow the emotion of this tragic event or political activism over-rule a lawful, ethical, safe and financially viable option for the NZ livestock sector.


HEAD OFFICE POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 PUBLISHER: Brian Hight ......................................... Ph 09 307 0399 GENERAL MANAGER: Adam Fricker ....................................... Ph 021-842 226 CONSULTING EDITOR: David Anderson .................................. Ph 09 307 0399 davida@ruralnews.co.nz

“Do your best with Edna’s shopping list – she started it in Maori language week!”

Want to share your opinion or gossip with the Hound? Send your emails to: hound@ruralnews.co.nz

THE HOUND Be afraid!

Not so bad


Bully boys?

THE HOUND – like most in the rural sector would have – shuddered when the Green Party revealed it would like to hold the agriculture portfolio if it gets into government after the election. The idea of a Green MP as agriculture minister got even scarier when the party unveiled its ‘agriculture policies’ earlier this month. On top of the usual Green airy-fairy ideas such as NZ farmers being totally organic or regenerative, it also wants levies on N and S fertiliser, higher DIN levels, a ban on PKE imports, and promotion of ‘urban gardens’ and ‘community farms’! It was no surprise to see well known farming advocates (not!) such as Greenpeace and Forest & Bird back the Green’s policies. It reminds your old mate of that wellworn saying about politicians and elections: “Don’t vote for them as it only encourages them!”

YOUR OLD mate notes that Conservation Minister and Green MP Eugene Sage was waxing lyrically about the recent legal protection of 11,800 hectares of new conservation land in the Mackenzie Basin. Sage dubbed it a collaborative initiative between the Crown, iwi and landholders. However, your canine crusader notes that one of the two landowners who agreed to transfer around 5000 ha of his land to the public conservation estate is Simon’s Pass Station owner Murray Valentine. This is the same Murray Valentine who the Greens – and other environmental fundamentalists – have lambasted, castigated and abused for converting some of his land to a dairy farm. One wonders if Valentine did not now have his successful dairy operation, would he have been able to afford to make such a generous contribution to the national conservation estate?

YOUR CANINE crusader, like many in the rural sector, was deeply distressed to hear the tragic news that a livestock ship carrying cattle from NZ to China had sunk off the coast of Japan after hitting a typhoon. While most rational and reasonable people were concerned about the safety of the 43 people onboard – including two New Zealanders – the nut jobs at anti-farming group SAFE decided to cash in the tragedy to promote their opposition to live exports. All they could go on about was the loss of the 6000 cattle aboard the ship, which was terrible, but pales into insignificance compared to the loss of human lives. Meanwhile, not content with this total insensitivity, SAFE even went as far as to make up total lies about the cattle – claiming they were all pregnant. However, this claim was instantly dismissed by MPI, which confirmed none of the cows on board were pregnant.

THIS OLD mutt hears that there is some discontent in the wool sector at the tactics being used by the meat industry to rejuvenate wool’s prospects. This comes on the back of news that a meat industry dominated group has been formed to implement the recommendations of the Government-backed Wool Industry Project Action Group. The Hound hears that the new group, led by Silver Fern Farms chair Rob Hewett and funded by four meat companies and MPI, has ruffled a few feathers in the wool sector by the “arrogant and bully-boy” way it has forced its way to front any wool sector reform. As one wool man told the Hound: “It’s not as if the meat industry has a long and proud history in revolutionising itself. So, it’s a bit rich them now shouting the odds at how the wool industry should be run.” A fair point, you old mate thinks.

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Rural News is published by Rural News Group Ltd. All editorial copy and photographs are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher. Opinions or comments expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of staff, management or directors of Rural News Group Ltd.



Consider your vote carefully much at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to who the public really trust. Some would tell me I am being unrealistic, others may suggest I’m just too idealistic. After all, this is politics. From my own leadership journey and studies over more than four decades, the leader’s greatest challenge, or test, will always be in leading themselves. If you regularly lie to yourself and those closest to you, it’ll be easy to lie to the voters. If I cannot trust you to lead yourself, then why

moment, that question is easy for me to answer. Hey, just relax, I’m not about to tell you here in this public setting! The reason that question is easy to answer? I simply have yet to decide. I have not seen the names on the list of who is standing in our electorate yet. I guess, like many others, I am undecided as I write. I’m not finding it easy though, I must admit. Ever the optimist, I’d like to think I can find someone to vote for who won’t lie to me. I know, I know, with today’s politics I probably have more chance of finding moa bones! The decades’ old politician’s joke comes to mind: Q: How can you tell when a politician is lying? A: When their lips are moving! Sadly, this old joke in my opinion has all too often actually been the truth. Survey after survey tells us, and has done for years, politicians are pretty

should I trust you to lead me and my family? Also, I’d like to think that just possibly I might find someone to vote for who actually really loves our country and its people. For me, that person would put our country’s good ahead of their own selfinterest. Wouldn’t that be refreshing! Someone who can’t be bribed and is prepared to truly be accountable to the people of New Zealand. Back in March, when the lockdown was first announced, I commented that our MPs should take the lead and all take a 50% pay cut. Feel the pain yourself personally first, before all the job losses hit the folks out here. In my opinion, that would have been good leadership. Again, I’m dreaming, some will think – wake-up Colin and join the 21st Century! Outside of NZ, one of my favourite politicians from yesteryear was former US president, the

Colin Miller

the government and I’m here to help.” “As government expands, liberty contracts.” I’m approaching the election prayerfully, as I mentioned in an earlier column. I should have it figured out by voting day.

Keep well and God Bless. To contact the Farmer’s Chaplain Colin Miller email: farmerschaplain@ ruralnews.co.nz

The Good Shepherd has always helped me unravel what I cannot and put together what I can’t. I especially like the fact he has never lied to me. Get out and vote, and vote for what is important to you.

@rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews



Outside of NZ, one of my favourite politicians from yesteryear was former US president, the late Ronald Reagan. I liked the fact he was not a career politician and I liked his forthrightness and his wit.


late Ronald Reagan. I liked the fact he was not a career politician and I liked his forthrightness and his wit. A couple of timely quotes for you from Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from


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MANY TIMES over the years I have been asked who I will be voting for. This has happened to me with both local and national elections. Obviously, my answer to that question has been tempered by who is asking the question, what their motives may be and the company we are in. Of course, I would be much more forthcoming and open with family. Or people genuinely seeking help and understanding than I would be with potential mischief makers. For the upcoming election, right at this



Balance needed between regulation and innovation WARWICK CATTO

Warwick Catto says nitrogen is the fuel that drives large parts of NZ’s export economy.

IN RECENT years, New Zealand’s farmers have found themselves subject to increasingly strict rules and regulations. These are mainly in terms of how they operate, enforced as a key part

of our nation’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contamination in our waterways. A quick review of the environmental policies announced so far by some of our key political parties, ahead of the election on October 17, suggests

that further, harsher restrictions are likely. There’s no doubt that our agricultural sector has a vitally important part to play in New Zealand’s response to these key environmental challenges, and overwhelmingly, farmers are more than willing

NAIT checklist for bulls Help build lifetime animal traceability and support disease management

Selling or leasing service bulls? All my bulls are correctly tagged and NAIT registered at my NAIT location I’ve completed a pre-movement TB test* * If you’re not sure, check with OSPRI if you need a pre-movement TB test.

I’ve filled out an Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form and a Declaration to Livestock Transporter (DLT) form When the bulls leave: I’ve recorded a sending movement in NAIT – within 48 hours of them leaving When the leased bulls return: I’ve recorded (or confirmed) a receiving movement in NAIT – within 48 hours of them arriving

Buying or leasing service bulls? I’ve confirmed with the bull provider that the bulls are tagged and NAIT registered I received an Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form from the bull provider When the bulls arrive: I’ve recorded (or confirmed) a receiving movement in NAIT for the bulls I bought/leased – within 48 hours of them arriving When the leased bulls leave my farm: I’ve recorded a sending movement in NAIT – within 48 hours of them leaving* * If you’re sending to the works, they will record the movement for you. Make sure you record your NAIT location number on the ASD form. Failure to comply with NAIT obligations may result in fines or prosecution issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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to adapt to meet the standards required of them. There can be shortfalls, however, when regulations are too prescriptive or input-focused (i.e. measuring what goes in rather than the environmental impact) – and fail to allow for adaption and innovation from within the farming community. A key example is the ongoing debate (and recent regulations) around the use of nitrogen fertiliser. Why do we need nitrogen fertiliser? Nitrogen is a critical building block for protein in our food – not just meat and dairy, but vegetables, too. As our population grows and food production expands to match that growth, so too does demand for protein. It’s the fuel which drives large parts of our export economy, converted into high value, popular products like avocados, wine, dairy and meat. In fact, over 90% of the food that’s produced in New Zealand is shipped overseas, and so we need a way to replace those nutrients that were exported within the food and beverage to our environment. While there are many possible sources of nitrogen, including feed, compost and manure, fertiliser is one of the most efficient ways to restore nitrogen levels, and ensure land productivity isn’t lost. The nitrogen fertiliser cap In May, the Government introduced its Essential Freshwater Package, which included a per hectare cap on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use as part of a broader set of guidelines designed to reduce levels of nutrient leaching into our waterways. Although nitrogen fertiliser can contribute to leaching, research has clearly shown that it takes roughly 400kg of nitrogen per hectare to reach the limit where leaching takes place. Most Kiwi dairy farms operate at roughly half or lower than those levels. In fact, our biggest cause of nitrogen leaching in New Zealand is animal urine, with a single urine patch usually containing

the equivalent of between 600 – 1000kg/ha of nitrogen. The growing consumer demand for free-range and grass-fed products has played a part in this. Obviously, a natural consequence of animals being outside is that they will urinate in their own environment. With that in mind, NZ farmers have developed many techniques to capture and limit the environmental impact of that urine as far as possible. These include the use of sacrifice areas, feed pads and moving animals into barns for parts of the day. Fertiliser has also been widely criticised for its contribution to greenhouse gases, specifically methane, as the one of the major nutrients used in the production of food supply for cattle. But fertiliser is just one of many possible sources of nitrogen, and as long as there is consumer demand for meat and dairy products, methane will be the end result, regardless of the source of nitrogen used to grow that feed. The best way forward The new regulations have introduced some challenges for farmers. For example, roughly 10% of urea nitrogen is lost as ammonia, and for every kilogram lost (which impacts on the productivity of the land) that now can’t be replaced. This is why, rather than focusing on strict input-based measures – which are only half of the equation – it’s important we give farmers the ability to innovate and adapt in order to meet output-based objectives, within their own farm environment. Many farmers around New Zealand are already effectively deploying innovative farm management tools, strategies and measures to reduce their environmental footprint as far as possible, including the way they use nutrients such as fertiliser. We share the same environmental goal; it’s simply about finding balanced and collaborative ways to achieve it. • Warwick Catto is the science strategy manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients



New Feds man keen to build Federated Farmers new board member, William Beetham, wants the organisation to be seen not just as an advocacy organisation, but also one that is recognised for the significant contributions it’s made to NZ farming and society as a whole. Peter Burke reports WILLIAM BEETHAM – a sixth generation Wairarapa farmer – runs a major farming business, Beetham Pastural. He says Federated Farmers has a long and proud legacy and has been involved in setting up a number of organisations – such as the insurance company FMG and the Golden Shears competition. “We need to remember that we are not just an advocacy organisation and we need to tell the complete story about the inspiring contribution our farmers have and are making. We need to talk about the positive legacy of NZ

farming and NZ Feds,” Beetham told Rural News. “Farmers had a tough year last year and people need to know just how committed and passionate farmers are about their businesses and providing for all New Zealanders and for our overseas markets. They want to achieve the best possible outcomes for NZ and we need to tell that story.” One of the major criticisms of Federated Farmers is that they are often seen as complaining. Beetham says that in some situations that may be the case, but he points out that farmers often

Sixth generation Wairarapa farmer William Beetham wants his time at Feds to reflect on the legacies of the past and establish new legacies for future generations.

feel that, despite their efforts, they are being unfairly criticised and feel the need to jump up and down and vent their

anger. “I think the leadership of Feds needs to take this on board and frame their concerns in a positive

way to gain more public traction,” he says. Forty four year-old Beetham was born on the family farm in the Wainuioru Valley, east of Masterton. He later moved to Gisborne with his mother and was educated there. After leaving school he went back and worked as a shepherd on the family farm. A major turning point in his life was going to Lincoln University where he gained a diploma in farm management. This he says set him up for his agribusiness career, providing him with valuable contacts and networks.

After Lincoln, he worked briefly for a farm consultancy in Gisborne before heading off overseas for nearly ten years, first to Australia and then England. “In England I worked for the Ministry of Defence managing army defence training estates in rural areas in the south west of the country. It was a fantastic role which involved developing integrated land management plans with a strong focus on protecting heritage and environmental sites on the defence land,” he says. But according to Beetham, his then

girlfriend Emily, who he later married, was not fond of the cold English weather, so they came back to Australia. There he worked in Sydney, again in the environmental and business space, before returning to NZ to work for Fulton Hogan in Gisborne, then later back to the farm. It was back in Wainuioru that he started thinking about his future aspirations and went on a Federated Farmers Leadership programme. He met the then president of Feds, Bruce Wills, and found him inspiring. He was able TO PAGE 24



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24 MANAGEMENT RACE ON TO FIX DAMAGED PASTURES SPRING’S ARRIVAL will bring with it a sea of broadleaf weeds to many farms if pastures damaged by wet weather are not fixed soon, warns pasture system specialist Blair Cotching. Cotching, who works for seed firm Barenbrug, adds that there is a way to win the race – but only if farmers act fast. “As soon as soil temperatures warm up, weeds will start germinating faster than you can

say: ‘where’s my grass?’.” Cotching says the first step is to assess pasture condition. “Ideally, mark all bare, pugged or trodden areas on a farm map. That will make it easier for a contractor to see what needs to be done,” he says. “Undersowing is the most common way to repair winter damage. Fast-growing Italian ryegrasses like Tabu+ will give quick, high ME feed for spring

and can be sown as soon as soil temperatures are 6°C.” Cotching says Tabu+ is an ideal option if farmers are planning to fully renovate the paddock within the next 6-18 months. “If you want the pasture to last longer (e.g. 3-4 years), they should undersow with perennial ryegrass seed once soil temperatures are 8°C, using the same cultivar as the one

originally sown in the paddock if possible.” Cotching advises sowing seed at 10-15 kg/ha for thin pastures, and 15-20 kg/ha for severe damage. For tetraploid ryegrass use 30% higher rates. “If pugging is severe and the ground uneven, full pasture renewal is best,” he says. “Either through a summer or winter crop, or, in irrigated areas, via grass to grass in spring.”

TO ALL FARMERS. FOR ALL FARMERS. www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz

Family’s farming legacy continues FROM PAGE 23

to talk to him about his future plans and started to build up an understanding of the organisation. From there Beetham found himself elected as the local meat and wool representative and later the national executive of meat and wool, and finally this year as that group’s representative on

the Feds’ board. “I saw the benefit of being able to contribute to the future of the organisation and that was very important to me,” he says. For his part, Beetham wants to ensure that while Feds work positively in the future, they reflect on the legacies of the past and start establishing new legacies for future generations.

Beetham Pastoral farms 1700ha in the Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast running sheep and beef.




IT IS not surprising to hear William Beetham talk about legacy and farming’s contribution to society – it is something that is in his DNA and dates back to his ancestors who first farmed the land he manages today. He and wife Emily have built up a significant farm business (Beetham Pastural) with lease farms in the Wairarapa and on the Kapiti Coast. He leases the 900ha family farm block from a trust and also leases two further 500ha blocks, which together equate to about 1700ha effective. “We currently run 5200 ewes, 1600 hoggets, finish 20,000 lambs and 670 cattle and we also trade a lot of cattle,” he told Rural News. “We have six staff plus Emily and me. It’s a community-based sheep and beef business based on our legacy and joint venture partnerships. This is the way that our forefathers built the business and we have followed that tradition.” In 1856, William Beetham and his family arrived in NZ. They had originally planned to settle in Christchurch but decided to get off the ship in Wellington. William Beetham was a famous portrait painter and before coming to NZ his works had been exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. He’d also travel to Germany, Sweden and Russia to paint and when in NZ he continued his work painting portraits of many famous early settlers and Maori chiefs. In 1856, Beetham secured the lease of Wainuioru for his sons and they established one of the largest farming operations in partnership with the Williams family who also had large tracts of land in the Wairarapa. “At one stage, it consisted of 34,000ha of land, ran 100,000 sheep and they had 300 people working for them,” says Beetham.



Footrot breakthrough could be a boost to wool cheques breeding value.” Wilding says typical STRONG WOOL growers values for a footrotresistant ram might be wanting to introduce minus 0.2 or minus 0.8 merino genetics, to on a scale, where zero take advantage of more is the current industry lucrative fine wool prices, average, and the more can now do so with negative the better. confidence. NZ Merino chief This claim comes executive John on the back off an Brakenridge says it’s not announcement of a a silver bullet against commercialised breeding the disease, but resistant value for footrot flocks will be resistance. “These elite fine wool less susceptible The New Zealand Merino sheep are a pivot point for to production losses, while Company (NZM) the industry, opening the farmers will believes this is a massive step door for fine wool flocks save money in treatment costs forward for to thrive on farms that and chemical ensuring animal inputs. health in the New traditionally have been He says Zealand sheep used for crossbred and growers have flock. It says strong wool production.” been at the breeding from animals with centre of known resistance this success, farmed fine wool sheep will mean sheep will driving wool industry are moving to pick these contract the disease less collaboration in ways footrot resistant sheep often, have less severe New Zealand has not because they are after footrot and will heal seen before. the fine wool animal but faster. “It’s great to see don’t want to have to NZM project manager New Zealand breeders worry about the disease. Emma Wilding says leading the world in fine Wilding told the breeding value is a wool sheep production Rural News footrot figure that allows buyers and recognising this is susceptibility is a to compare and choose a huge opportunity for multigenic trait and animals on their likely the expansion of fine performance in producing there’s no one gene that wool sheep production,” can just be switched on resistant progeny. Brackenridge adds. Footrot is a contagious or off. “These elite fine wool “You can look at some bacterial disease, which sheep are a pivot point genomics information but for the industry, opening has historically been we incorporate it with an issue in the merino the door for fine wool parentage information – industry but not in crossflocks to thrive on farms who the sire and dam is breeds. that traditionally have – and raw data collected Wilding says the been used for crossbred from the sheep.” disease is known to be and strong wool For traits like wool about 25% inheritable, production.” quality farmers have which means its The commercialisation traditionally improved incidence is about 25% of the breeding value their flocks simply by due to genetics. She has come out of the inspecting the wool to says this is enough to New Zealand Sheep select their sheep. make improvements Transformation Project “With susceptibility to (NZSTX), set up in 2010 in a flock over time by footrot it’s a bit harder choosing stock with the as a Primary Growth to see,” she explains. “So, appropriate breeding Partnership programme that’s why we incorporate co-funded by NZM and value. the different data that “There are about 15 MPI, with a contribution we do, to generate this different stud breeders from Merino Inc. NIGEL MALTHUS

involved in this work at the moment, so they’re actively getting footrot breeding values and using them in their flocks,” Wilding explains. “That flows on to all of the commercial breeders who are purchasing rams off these stud breeders, so they are certainly out there in the industry.” She says growers who traditionally haven’t

NZ Merino project manager Emma Wilding inspects merino sheep for footrot. SUPPLIED

Glenview Romneys Bred for high performance and ‘cast iron’ constitution

We deliberately challenge our Romneys by farming them on unfertilised native hill country in order to provide the maximum selection pressure and expose ‘soft’ sheep.


Over the last 5 years ewes (including 2ths) have scanned between 190% and 216% despite droughts.

GROWTH RATE Over the same period weaning weights (adj. 100 days) have exceeded 36kg from a lambing % consistently above 150%. & SURVIVAL COMMENTS: • All sheep DNA and SIL recorded. • No crops are grown and no supplements are fed. • Ram hoggets have been eye muscle scanned since 1996. • All ewe hoggets are mated. • Breeding programme places a heavy emphasis on worm resilience – lambs drenched only once prior to autumn. • Scored for dags and feet shape. DNA rated for footrot and cold tolerance. • We take an uncompromising approach – sheep must constantly measure up.

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The growing cost of drench resistance Data collected from sheep farms across New Zealand over the past 15 years, by parasite diagnostic company Techion suggests that undetected drench resistance is costing the NZ sheep sector an estimated $48 million a year and that the problem is getting worse. DRENCH RESISTANCE to triple combination drenches could rapidly increase to 40% if farm practices do not change. This warning comes from analysis of 15 years of data – drawn from test results collected from 2005 to the end of July 2020 – that shows the speed of drench resistance is increasing. Techion founder and chief executive Greg Mirams says his company has seen the incidence of drench resistance

increase substantially. DrenchSmart is a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) that reports to farmers which drench actives are working effectively on their farms and which are not. “In 2005 the resistance to combination drenches was low to nonexistent. However, now it is becoming far more common, even to triple combination drenches,” Mirams explains. He says that these results show double

combination drenches are failing on between 20% and 43% of New Zealand farms, while triple combination drenches are currently failing on 15% of properties they have tested. “We’re not trying to be alarmist. We’re simply drawing upon a significant body of data collected over a decade-and-a-half which proves, without a doubt, drench resistance in New Zealand is increasing rapidly,” Mirams adds.



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Studies have shown that undetected drench resistance can reduce carcase value by 14%.

“If farmers continue to use drenches the way they have for the past four decades, drench resistance will continue to develop. The problem is impacting animal welfare and performance, farm productivity and hurting New Zealand meat exports.” Beef + Lamb NZ statistics show that New Zealand farmers sent 18 million lambs to slaughter in the 2019-2020 financial year. Studies have shown that undetected drench resistance can reduce carcase value by 14%. Mirams believes this translates to undetected drench resistance costing NZ’s sheep sector in the region of $48 million per year in 2020. He says this means – at an individual farm level, for a property producing 4000 lambs per year – undetected drench resistance could cut income by $71,169 per year. “Undetected drench resistance is a significant issue as few farmers have tested drenches on their properties.”

If this trend continues, Techion predicts around 40% of NZ farms being impacted by combination drench failure in ten

completed, farmers can choose the appropriate drench and immediately see the benefits in growth rates, as well as

“Once the test is completed, farmers can choose the appropriate drench and immediately see the benefits in growth rates.”

years, which would equate to a $128 million productivity loss a year. According to a veterinary parasitologist Dr Matt Playford from Dawbuts – a diagnostic company in Australia – who presented on worm diagnostics at the New Zealand Society for Parasitology annual conference last year, a simple test can detect drench resistance and estimate exactly how bad it is. “Once the test is

in wool production and lactation. Choosing the right drench program also helps prevent pasture larval contamination and ensures that drenches last longer,” Mirams explains. “It’s critical farmers test the efficacy of the drenches they use and utilise alternative measures to control parasites and protect the drenches which are still working effectively.” He also cites international scientific

research about slowing drench resistance in a paper published by Dr Ray Kaplan earlier this year, which recommends proven practices farmers can use to slow drench resistance. Kaplan recommends farmers conduct drench resistance testing every 2-3 years so that they know which drenches work best. New animals should be quarantined and treated with the most effective drench available. Farmers should also undertake a faecal egg count test (FEC) before and after drenching and only let animals join the farm if the FEC is negative after 14 days. Mirams leaves the last word to a Central Otago farmer – a farming veteran of 20 years – who described the toll prolonged stock deaths due to drench takes. “I urge people to get in and get a test if they have any doubt. Leaving it isn’t pretty.” @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 27 The new new 8280 TTV is aimed at filling the gap between its current Deutz Fahr 7 and 9 Series models.


New tractor fills the gap MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

DEUTZ FAHR has introduced the new 8280 TTV, which is aimed at filling the gap between its current 7 and 9 Series models. Built at Deutz Fahr Land in Lauingen Germany, the tractor uses a 6.1-litre twin-turbo Deutz six-cylinder Stage V (SCR/DPF) engine to deliver maximum power and torque of 287hp and 1226Nm, respectively. The powertrain includes the new SDF T7780 continuously variable transmission. This comprises a multistage, epicyclic gearbox – mated with a clutch unit and two hydrostatic units – to create a new composite transmission. This is said to offer industry-beating performance in terms of power flow management, efficiency and traction force. Where local regulations allow, maximum speed is 60km/h, with

an engine speed of 1830rpm, while 40km/h comes up at a very frugal 1220rpm. The standard spec includes dry front disc brakes, two-speed (1000/1000Eco) front PTO, threespeed (540Eco/1000/1000Eco) rear PTO, 210lit/min hydraulic system with up to 90 litres take-out. The tractor also comes with a rear lift capacity of up to 11.1 tonnes and a maximum permissible weight of 16 tonnes. Up front, an intelligent front axle suspension system provides three settings (auto, normal and soft). The tractor also comes with air sprung cab suspension and automatic air conditioning. The company says separating the Maxivision 2 cab from the newly designed engine cowl reduces heat, vibration and noise levels. The 8280 also comes with 50,000 lumen LED work lights. With connectivity becoming a

prerequisite for modern tractors, the new 8280 TTV incorporates ISOBUS. This comes with up to 200 Sections Control, Variable Rate Control and Universal Terminal, ‘TIM’ (Tractor Implement Management). This means equipment can communicate with the tractor and manage operations and SDF Guidance, including an Auto-Turn function. Additionally, the system includes SDF Fleet Management, with all the main data received in real time, Agrirouter for data upload and download via cloud or USB port and XTend. This allows the tractor’s control screen to be used remotely via a tablet or smartphone. Service intervals are 1,000 hours for the engine oil and 1,500 hours for the hydraulic oil, easily inspected via a sight-glass, while access to the cooling pack is via a single lever.





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IRISH AGTECH company MagGrow has won the International Innovation Award at the 2020 Fieldays Innovations Competition, for technology that significantly reduces waste associated with conventional pesticide spray applications. The company suggests a major issue with most conventional spraying methods for crop production is wastage, with up to 70% of conventional pesticides sprays not hitting or staying on the target crop. MagGrow has addressed this issue with a simple, two-component spraying technology that can be installed on new equipment or retrofitted on to existing sprayers. The patented, proprietary technology passes pesticides through magnetic fields under appropriate flow conditions and changes the physical properties of the fluid to optimise the spray droplets. This delivers both superior spray drift control and crop coverage. Increased spray coverage performance can range from 36% to 100% compared to conventional spraying. Added benefits include a reduction

in water usage by up to 50%, alongside an extended spraying window. Users will typically see a return on their investment in less than a year on chemical savings alone, as well as healthier and less diseased crops due to the improved crop coverage. Meanwhile, the increased coverage supports a reduction in labour requirements. Another key consideration for farmers is the fact there is little or no maintenance, with no moving parts, cables, or electrical wires. Gary Wickham, co-founder and chief executive of MagGrow, says the new technology has been created and commercialised to help farmers meet their individual profitability and sustainability goals. “New Zealand has always been on our radar as a major supplier in the agricultural food supply chain and critically, an early adopter of innovation and new technology,” he told Rural News. “We are hoping to soon install our systems onto key customer farms where we will demonstrate our awardwinning technology.” MagGrow is currently working with Trimble Ag, and other leading dealers throughout New Zealand, and is supported locally by Enterprise Ireland.


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Disco mowers have all the right moves MARK DANIEL markdaniel@ruralnews.co.nz

explains. “With the cutting disc positioned further forward on the cutterbar, ensuring the largest possible overlap between each disc for optimal cutting quality under all conditions.” The MAX CUT mower bed is equipped with the Safety Link safety module as

CLAAS WILL soon release six new sidemounted rear mowers. These will add to its current mower range that offers more than 30 front-mounted, rearmounted and trailed models – with operating widths from 2.2 to 10.7 metres. These new models come with The MAX CUT mower working widths bed is equipped with from 2.2 to 3.4 the Safety Link safety metres and are pitched at farmers module as standard and owneroperators. They also incorporate standard. So, in the CLAAS’s award-winning event of a collision, the MAX CUT cutter module shears at a prebar, which has been determined breaking progressively introduced across the entire range of point but the cutting disc is held in the module by DISCO mowers over the an axial bolt and cannot past five years. fly off. CLAAS Harvest Design details see the Centre product specialist use of special shaped Blair McAlwee says the skids with a large MAX CUT cutterbar channel between them features a wave-shaped mower bed press-formed creating a dirt-repelling tunnel effect for clean from a single piece of harvesting. Meanwhile, material. the bolted design and “This unique design permanent lubrication has become synonymous of all drive components with cutting quality, simplifies maintenance operational efficiency and guarantees and reliability,” he


dimensional stability and longevity. The new sidemounted models incorporate a centre-ofgravity hitching feature. This ensures the mower bed has a uniform contact pressure over the entire working width, with the line of force of the suspension spring running exactly through the centre of gravity of the mower unit. The units can angle up to 45 degrees upwards and 20 degrees downwards. The entrylevel DISCO 10 Series – 24, 28 and 32 models – offer working widths from 2.2m to 3.0m in a sturdy, yet lightweight design. As with previous models, power is directed into the inner mowing disc from above, which means that no inner shoe is required. The PTO shaft speed can be reduced from 540 to 480 rpm in light crops or when topping. This significantly reduces fuel consumption, while a narrow transport position is achieved by folding to 95 degrees. Three further 100 Series models, with




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NATIONWIDE ON-FARM recycler Plasback has more than doubled the volume of waste plastic it collected this year. Some 3916 tonnes of bale wrap, silage sheet, polypropylene bags and other waste plastic made up its latest annual collection cycle. “That’s enough plastic to go around the world five times, even though 2019-2020 was a bad season in terms of weather,” says Plasback manager Chris Hartshorne. “The farming community should be applauded for its efforts to look after its plastic waste responsibly, with the base of farmers we collect from growing and enquiries from other rural businesses who want us to recycle products such as irrigation pipe and plastic packaging.” Despite this good news, the high volume that the company is col-

lecting is putting stress on its network of contractors, who collect the plastic from farms throughout the country. Silage wrap importer Grevillia Ag recently joined the Plasback scheme, which Hartshorne says sets an example that other distributors should follow. “Most New Zealand importers do not support Plasback, so they are getting a free ride on the backs of the companies that do,” he says. The plastic Plasback collects, is recycled and repurposed into products such as builders’ film and Tuffboard, a plastic alternative to plywood. “We are also working with a Kiwi company that is using Tuffboard to make a new generation of traps to control rats and other pests in conservation areas,” Hartshorne adds. The introduction of two new plastic wraps that contain a significant percentage of recycled plastic, with Cycled Wrap from Aspla and

Silotite Sustane from Berry BPI, is a significant step for the industry. These products have the same stretch characteristics and UV resistance as products made entirely from virgin plastic. Although Plasback is an accredited product stewardship scheme under the Waste Minimisation Act, it is not funded by government, so the collection fees that farmers pay to have their waste plastic picked up only covers some of the cost of collection and processing. “It’s up to agricultural plastic distributors to be responsible and join an accredited product stewardship scheme,” Hartshorne says. “If they don’t, they are essentially freeloading on those who are paying their share.” He says farmers should contact their rural supply store or contractor to make sure they are using products supplied by companies that support Plasback. “It’s only fair.”



St Paul’s pupils pull in the prizes MARK DANIEL markdaniel@ruralnews.co.nz

ST PAULS Collegiate School in Hamilton has come up trumps again at the recent Fieldays Online Innovation Awards. Both the lads and lasses had entries in the Young Inventor of the Year Award, with the boys coming out on top with their Flash Flow device that gives a visual check of water flow or identification of possible leaks. The team of Curtly Harper, Thomas Glenn, William Cowan and James Barker are all farmers’ sons, so are familiar with ensuring a consistent flow of water to livestock. The Flash Flow unit consists of a heavy-duty plastic housing that is installed in a water line. Internally, an impellor is spun by the flow of water, which in turn generates an electric current that powers a light that is

mounted on a standard or fence line. Housed underground, the $40 unit is protected from livestock, and is made from highdensity plastics, making it durable and maintenance-free. The unit is assembled in New Zealand and is currently undergoing final testing, although eventual production has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the female camp of Molly Nelson, Ellis Watson, Libby Deadman and Lucy Fullerton-Smith took out the runner-up prize in the same competition, with their Ewe-nique animal recognition system. Based on the use of an app on a smart device or a connected camera, sheep are identified as they pass along a race or over a weighing scale. Using technology that has been developed by Iris Data Systems, the App allows

users to see real-time information. This means a sheep’s identity, and other key information, can be collected in a centralised location, without relying on the need to scan an

ear tag that – in some cases – might be missing. Expected to cost around $140 per animal per annum, the unit is currently undergoing final verifying before its release.

Winners are grinners: Students from St Paul’s Collegiate, Hamilton, took out both the winning and runner-up prizes at this year’s Fieldays Online Young Inventers of the Year Award.

TELEHANDLER TECHNOLOGY New best-in-class cab design.

AGRIBUSINESS AT ST PAUL’S COMMITTED TO taking the lead to meet primary industry needs, St Paul’s Collegiate developed a two-year agribusiness programme in 2014. The aim was to champion a subject that stimulates careers in agricultural science and business – as well as encouraging young people to proactively select career pathways in the sector – by exposing students to the wide range of skills required and opportunities available. Currently 107 students across levels 2 and 3 at St Paul’s are completing the agribusiness programme. Working alongside the Ministry of Education, the school developed the new subject and wrote seven Achievement Standards for the NCEA Framework. The programme is designed to deliver a curriculum that meets the agricultural industry’s long-term needs to develop highly skilled and motivated young people, which are necessary for the agriculture sector’s sustainability. Additionally, the programme also highlights to urban students the potential for well-paid, stimulating careers in the primary sector, while also helping to improve the public’s perception of primary industry careers. St Paul’s programme has been so successful it has now been rolled out to around 20% of New Zealand’s secondary schools. This saw some 2239 students study agribusiness at levels 2 or 3 around the country in 2019.  Funding for the programme was provided by the primary industries as a public-private partnership. DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb NZ were key funders, alongside a number of other businesses from across the sector’s supply chains, including: AGMARDT, AGrowQuip, BNZ, Campbell Tyson, Gallagher, Greenlea Meats, New Zealand Meat Industry Association, National Fieldays Society, Tetra Pak, Waikato Milking Systems, Waitomo Petroleum, Fairview and Zoetis.

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CP LIME SOLUTIONS Made in New Zealand is a feature that looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in New Zealand, producing productive and costeffective products for the agricultural sector. This week Mark Daniel takes a closer look at CP Lime Solutions, catching up with Scott Pascoe. Q - When was the company founded, by whom and why (was it to solve a problem or market a product)? Twenty years ago, LASER FF95


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based fertilisers on farm. Using some Kiwi ingenuity, we designed and manufactured our own ultra-fine, pelletised lime-based fertiliser that we called Optimise. Q - Where are you located? Is it single or multiple sites and how many people are employed? We have an office in Christchurch and our manufacturing plant at Scargill in North Canterbury. A small team of 12 staff, including field representatives located across the South Island, support our customers. Q - What are your key products and which markets do they serve?

Optimise is our base product – an ultrafine, pelletised lime and lime-based fertiliser used in all pastoral, arable, horticultural and viticulture operations throughout New Zealand. Optimise-KickStart combines the benefits of lime, elemental sulphur, magnesium and humates. It is pressed into a pellet and then blended with high analysis fertilisers like SOA or urea to provide a one-pass solution for autumn or spring use. Equi-lise offers pelletised lime, with the addition of magnesium, phosphate, sulphur and selenium. This is mainly for horse paddocks but is also ideal for small lifestyle blocks. Vitalise is a pelletised lime-based supplement for dairy cows, providing an effective way to deliver calcium, magnesium and trace elements at just 100g/cow/day.

Q - Are your products unique? If so, what are the four key benefits? If not unique, what are the four unique selling points? Optimise pelletised fertilisers provide a rapid response from application, raising soil pH, improving soil structure and stimulating biology. It also offers ease of transportation and application. Likewise, Vitalise pelletised mineral supplements are easy to use in a concentrated, palatable form that can be delivered directly to the cows during milking time. Q - Looking at an everevolving market, what changes have you made over the last few years, or what will you have to do moving forward?

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We have always liked to challenge traditional thinking, so after 20 years of pelletising lime based fertilisers, on-farm soil testing, trials and farmer feedback, we are confident that we are on the right track. Our biggest barrier is getting people to look at alternative solutions to get a different result. Q - What has been the company’s greatest success since its formation? Producing lime-based pelletised products is what we do best. It is rewarding to provide an excellent product that is fit for purpose and recognised by the New Zealand agricultural sector. Q - In contrast, what has been the biggest “Oh Bugger” moment or the steepest learning curve? We see challenges as an opportunity to learn. As demand has increased over the last few years, we have had to change some

aspects of production to deal with peaks. Q - If you were approached by someone looking to start a business, what would be your three key pieces of advice? Get good advisors and a great team around you, have a good plan with an achievable goal and be patient as you head there. Q - Where do you see the company in the next three, five and ten years? What changes do you foresee to keep relevant and grow your business? CP Lime Solutions prides itself in working with all types of farming and growing models, taking environmental and soil biology aspects into consideration to achieve the best for our clients, their animals and the land. Heading into the future, it will be much the same, with our mission being: “A Kiwi business helping to grow a healthier world from the ground up!”


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SAVE LIVES! Invest in your safety NEW

The QuadGuard








SEE IN ACTION Google ‘ATV QuadGuard’


Leaders in Quad Bike Safety 0800 782 3763 • info@atvlifeguard.co.nz




+GST and Freight

Helping Farmers Boost Production Made in New Zealand


Call for delivery options



+GST delivered

Proven beyo nd do ubt! “I have no doubt that if I did not have a Quadbar fitted, my accident would have been fatal!” – Rozel Farms “The Quadbar saved our employee from significant injuries.” – Colin van der Geest

Recommended by Worksafe. ACC subsidy available

For a Quadbar, call me, Stuart Davidson, owner of Quadbar NZ, on 021-182 8115. Email sales@quadbar.co.nz or for more info go to www.quadbar.co.nz


600 500 400 300 200 100 0







DEVAN • PROMAX • CALPEDA • •PURETEC • OASIS CLEARWATER P: 326 8888 www.thetankguy.co.nz P:0508 0508 326 8888 • www.thetankguy.co.nz A: A: 30 30 Turners RoadRoad – Feilding Turners – Feilding

P: 0508 326 8888 • www.thetankguy.co.nz A: 30 Turners Road – Feilding

ONE STOP WATER SHOP 300mm x 6 metre .......................... $410 400mm x 6 metre .......................... $515 500mm x 6 metre .......................... $690 600mm x 6 metre .......................... $925 800mm x 6 metre ........................ $1399 1000mm x 6 metre ...................... $2175 1200mm x 6 metre ...................... $3475 ALL PRICES INCLUDE G.S.T.


New Zealand’s CHEAPEST Culvert Pipes! FREE joiners supplied on request. • Lightweight, easy to install • Made from polyethylene

Check out our NEW website www.mckeeplastics.co.nz


06 323 4181


0800 625 826 for your nearest stockist

Joiners supplied FREE with culvert pipes



Profile for Rural News Group

Rural News 22 September 2020  

Rural News 22 September 2020

Rural News 22 September 2020  

Rural News 22 September 2020