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abandoning fec Should the focus be on worm treatment by animal performance? page 30

puma set to purr Simplicity, productivity, economy and comfort. page 33

Rural NEWS

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page 18

to all farmers, for all farmers

august 1, 2012: Issue 520

Agri’s $60b call to arms p e t e r bu r k e

AN AGRI-FOOD board drawing together sector leaders could pave the way for boosting New Zealand’s food exports to $60 billion by 2025. This is a key recommendation in a report by the Riddet Institute – a national ‘centre of research excellence’ which specialises in coordinating research in many fields including developing innovative foods and providing leadership in this area. The report, ‘A Call to Arms’, was prepared by a “thought leadership group” headed by Dr Kevin Marshall

who has extensive experience in the dairy industry and the wider food sector. Launched last week at a special function in Wellington, the report is seen as a “high level agri-food strategy” with particular focus on food research and the development and education support needed to achieve the $60 billion dollar target. Marshall admitted to Rural News there has been an ‘avalanche’ of other reports on this subject, but this one is different, he says. “The big difference is that we’ve absolutely quantified up front what

the target is ($60 billion) and secondly we’ve laid it at the feet of the leaders of the commercial companies to do something about it and not to wait for government to do it.” The report identifies weaknesses to be overcome to achieve the goal. These include lack of focus on the ability to grow wealth, government structures ‘siloed’ and not conducive to coordination, and lack of leadership in the agrifood sector. “The captains of industry haven’t stepped up to the plate. They haven’t taken a leadership role and too much of what’s happened in the past has been

left for government to do. In this report a lot of the recommendations are not things the government can deal with.” Marshall says the proposed agrifood board would be filled by company executives – not people from the likes of HortNZ, DairyNZ and BLNZ. It should be a relatively small ‘coalition of the willing’ with a strong commercial focus by people “in the market”. “I’d expect the likes of large companies such as Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms to be there. Also some of the smaller, innovative ones such as Synlait and FirstLight Foods.” The $60 billion challenge presents many obstacles including the problems of science and engineering graduates not staying in New Zealand and that of technology transfer. Marshall insists that unless industry runs with the recommendations in the report the future will not be rosey. “If we carry on with business as usual we won’t achieve this target.”

biosecurity gets bite

Primary Industries Minister David Carter pictured with MPI dog handler Courtney Moore and a new detector dog at Auckland airport late last month. The new biosecurity hound on duty was not the only one bearing his teeth on this controversial subject, with Carter giving attendees at Horticulture NZ’s annual conference in Auckland last week a dressing down over their continuing criticism of New Zealand’s biosecurity standards. More articles on the new detector dogs and reaction to the Minister’s Hort NZ speech are in this issue of Rural News.

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NPSFM clear as mud a n d r ew swa l low

THE RUBBER of the Government’s National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management (NPSFM) is starting to hit roads in the regions and it will force wholesale changes on some farms. Otago is in the vanguard, with a suite of “discharge limits” and rules already set in its Plan Change 6A which must be met by November 2017, but every region must have a process set by 2014 and implemented at the latest by 2030. Federated Farmers national board member responsible for water matters is Ian Mackenzie, an irrigated cropping farmer from Mid Canterbury. He believes regional implementation of the policy statement is appropriate, but that’s not to say every region is implementing the policy in an appropriate way. In some regions, particularly in the north, overly bureaucratic plans are emerging that threaten to impose systems on farmers which won’t necessarily deliver the desired outcomes, he warns. “Farmers are being told how to farm to meet rule requirements and it may not make a blind bit of difference to water quality.” Otago’s approach seems pragmatic: leave all farming as a permitted activity (i.e. not requiring a consent) but set farm water discharge quality targets and measure to page 7

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

news 3

issue 520

News������������������������������ 1-15 World������������������������� 16-17 Agribusiness������������ 18-19 Markets�������������������� 20-21 Hound, Edna������������������� 22 Contacts������������������������� 22 Opinion������������������������22-24 Management����������� 25-27 Animal Health�������� 28-32 Machinery and Products������������������ 33-37 Rural Trader���������� 38-39

Battle lines drawn on local govt reforms peter burke

PROPOSED REFORMS to local government will shortly be in the spotlight of the local government and environment select committee, but already the battle lines over the reforms are being drawn up. Changes to local government were unveiled in March in a document called Better Local Government issued by then Minister of Local Government Nick Smith. David Carter has since taken over this role. The reforms are set to change the focus of local government from ‘social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing’ to ‘providing good quality local infrastructure, public services and

regulatory functions at the least possible cost’. The changes are proposed to force local government to focus on ‘core business’ – such as infrastructure – and less on local social issues. Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) wants the present descriptors enshrined in the legislation, while a group called the Local Government Forum (LGF) wants the government to go ahead with the changes. The forum’s membership includes Business New Zealand, Chambers of Commerce and Federated Farmers. The president of LGNZ, Lawrence Yule, claims it is not the four ‘wellbeings’ that are imposing cost pressures on councils, but instead the fast-rising price of bitumen for roading. He says

Fertile year for Ballance SUDESH KISSUN

Head Office Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 Postal Address PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print Contacts Editorial: Advertising material: Rural News online: Subscriptions: ABC audited circulation 80,879 as at 31.12.2011

many of the things local government is doing result from central government and the private sector failing to do them. Says Yule, “If the ‘wellbeings’ are removed, councils will be open to politically motivated legal challenges to their activities which will cost millions of dollars.” But LGF chairman Michael Barnett disagrees, saying the four ‘wellbeings’ have pushed explosive growth in council spending, rates and debt for a decade, and it makes sense to address the purpose of local government. “I find it hard to understand how anyone could take exception to this purpose. “We believe these reforms will actually help by giving councils more clar-

SHAREHOLDERS IN Ballance Agri-Nutrients will get $44.29/t back this year after the fertiliser cooperative last week announced a $77.3m trading result and $47m rebate and dividend. “It’s a really good result. We’re delighted with it,” chief executive Larry Bilodeau told Rural News. The result is despite a fire at its Kapuni urea plant last August which severely hit production. A $33m provision for the ensuing insurance claim is provided for in the accounts. Ballance chairman David Graham says without the fire and an extended maintenance turnaround later in the year the result could have been $20m higher. Sales volume increased 3% to 1.44mt, about 45% of which was superphosphate, a slight increase as sheep and beef farms used better returns to raise nutrient levels. Urea was the next biggest seller. Where that leaves Ballance’s market share is hard to know, says Bilodeau, pointing out Ravendown’s exports to Australia make such calculations more difficult than in the past. “Hopefully it’s flat or slightly improved. Last year we had about 54% of the New Zealand market so it will

ity about their purpose and giving them greater ability to say ‘no’.” Meanwhile Feds president Bruce Wills says while he largely supports the Government’s reforms, he’s aware of concerns about the ability of councils – especially regional councils – to cope with all the change that’s taking place. He says he wouldn’t like to see some of the good initiatives taking place at a local level to be compromised by the reforms. It was also revealed last week that in the year ended June 2011, local authorities’ spending exceeded income by $0.6 billion, up $0.2 billion on the previous year. Statistics New Zealand, releasing the figures, said local authorities have had an operating deficit since 2008.

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be in that neighbourhood.” Despite expansion in its feeds businesses, notably through the Seales Winslow joint venture, Bilodeau says fertiliser remains “our core business” contributing “95 to 97%” of group revenue, which was up 20% at $915m in the year to May 31. Group debt leapt 151% from $38.4m to $96.4m, largely due to investment in capital assets and Seales Winslow, but with an equity ratio of 64.2% the cooperative is financially strong, says Graham. Bilodeau says $62m was invested over the year, including scheduled maintenance and improvements at Kapuni, new and upgraded service centres, and information technology designed to improve interaction with customers. “We go into a new financial year with a very sound balance sheet and good growth prospects... We’re delivering on our strategy to expand our complete nutrient management business and have a growing portfolio of resources, products and people to support growth in our economically crucial agricultural sector.” There are no plans “whatsoever” to follow Ravensdown into animal health or agrichemical supply, he told Rural News.

TE AWAMUTU farmer John Wilson has been appointed chairman elect of Fonterra, effective December when the present chair, Henry van der Heyden, steps down at the annual meeting. Van der Heyden says John Wilson Wilson brings lengthy experience in the dairy industry and has been on the board since 2003. Wilson is a previous chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders Council. His lives on his family dairy farm near Te Awamutu and manages a dairy farming business in South Canterbury. He is the chairman of South Auckland Independent Testing Society Ltd and a director of Turner & Growers Ltd. “Over the past two years the board has been working through a considered and disciplined process to appoint a chairman elect and ensure the succession plan we have is in the best interest of the cooperative,” says van der Heyden.

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

4 news

TAF passes political hurdle but more jumps yet to come SUDES H K ISSUN

A SHARE trading scheme for Fonterra farmers has passed the parliamentary hurdle. However, some farmers are unhappy with the Government’s refusal to put a legislative cap on the co-op’s proposed shareholders fund. The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act Amendment Bill, embodying changes to legislation needed to facilitate TAF (trading among farmers), last week passed its final reading in Parliament. Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden says the enactment of DIRA changes is another milestone as the co-op moves towards TAF. The Fonterra board is still working towards a November launch, dependent on market conditions. “While the decision

to implement TAF was always one for our farmer shareholders, we appreciate the Government’s ongoing support for Fonterra and the role it has played in enabling the evolution of our capital structure,” he says. But Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Willy Leferink says the Government failing to put Fonterra’s preferred constitutional safeguards into statute leaves a sour taste. “It would have shown bipartisanship to have worked with the Opposition to place statutory limits on the size of the shareholders fund, the number of units any farmer can place in the fund and the number of dividends any one investor can hold. “Given the Government is bending over backwards over its mixedownership model for

“While the decision to implement TAF was always one for our farmer shareholders, we appreciate the Government’s ongoing support...” – Henry van der Heyden

Damian O’Connor

Henry van der Heyden

state assets, I would have thought this a wise step.” The fund, which is part of the TAF plan, would allow outside investors to buy the dividend rights of shares deposited by farmers. Fonterra itself has proposed limiting the size of that fund to 20% (from 25%) of the co-op’s share

value but the motion fell just short of the minimum 75% required at its special meeting in June. The motion will be tabled again in December at Fonterra’s annual meeting. The Labour Party tried to put the restriction on fund size to into legislation in a bid to protect farmer control of the


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co-op. Labour’s agriculture spokesman Damien O’Connor proposed a 23% cap on the fund but this was rejected by the Government. Leferink believes the Government missed an opportunity to ease the concerns of a large chunk of Fonterra’s shareholding. “As it stands, we are seemingly in a holding pattern until Fonterra’s annual meeting and con-

stitutional vote. But if farmers go to sleep now, they really risk invoking the 2010 ‘B’ constitution. This ‘B’ constitution sits there like some ghost of Christmases past and if it is ever implemented, it could open up Fonterra like a tin of sardines.” Leferink says the annual meeting vote on the fund size “needs a massive turnout to smash the 75% barrier needed”. Carter says there has

been considerable debate among Fonterra shareholders on the merits of TAF. But after the shareholder vote and DIRA amendments approved by Parliament, it’s time to move forward, he says. “Under the legislation, farmers will retain the ability to freely enter Fonterra or exit to competing dairy processors and be assured of receiving a fair value for their shares,” Carter says.

Opponents still not happy THE FONTERRA Shareholders Council is reported to be considering a written deed to try to provide the protections ‘resolution 2’ would have done in the recent TAF (trading among farmers) vote. The move has alarmed anti-TAF campaigner Lindsay Blake. She believes the council has neither the mandate nor authority to write such a document. That aside, if the council does sign off such a deed, it could mean the council signs off TAF itself, even if the promised second vote on ‘resolution 2’ at the annual meeting does not pass. “This is a work-around solution,” says Blake. The problem with such a deed is that unlike a constitutional vote it could be easily overturned by a future council or board. “A deed is not representational of shareholders and it is not an evergreen document: it can be turned over [without a shareholder vote] just like any other board rule.” Immediately after the June 25 TAF

vote the Our Co-op group, of which Blake’s a member, requested an audience with the full Shareholders Council. As of last week that request had not been met. The Shareholders Council itself met last Wednesday, July 25, and elected Ian Brown as its new chairman. A council media statement said Brown’s election provided continuity in a post-TAF [vote] environment as Brown had been acting chair for the past eight weeks. That followed the May 24 resignation of previous chairman Simon Couper over concerns about TAF, though last week’s media statement omitted that point. Brown said he appreciated the support of his fellow councillors and looked forward to leading the council “as we continue to work to represent our shareholders and monitor the performance and direction of our co-operative on their behalf.” Rural News was unable to contact Brown before going to press.




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Rural News // august 1, 2012

news 5

Carter delivers a big serve pa m ti pa

HORTICULTURE NZ says it won’t back off from raising biosecurity issues despite stinging criticism from the Minister for Primary Industries at the growers’ conference. HortNZ chairman Andrew Fenton told Rural News his message to growers is “we are working on your behalf and we are not going to take the foot of the accelerator until we are satisfied”. This followed a stark warning on credibility last week from Primary Industries Minister David Carter to the grower organisation at its conference in Auckland. “If your board continues what is now an ill-informed crusade, it runs the risk of lowering the credibility of Horticulture New Zealand to Government and Government departments,” Carter said. “That is not a risk that should be taken lightly.” Earlier Carter took aim at industry magazines, which he did not name, but they are believed to be two magazines published by HortNZ. Carter said they clearly “have an axe to grind” on biosecurity, filled pages with every nega-

tive angle and afforded little reply in response. “It is disappointing – especially when the Government and I have taken every opportunity to work with your president and chief executive on issues impacting your industry.” Carter said the Government takes biosecurity very seriously. “It is quite simply the greatest risk to our economy. It is, and always will be, my highest priority.” Fenton says Carter’s criticism was a surprise but called for unity. “I want to remind everybody that we are all working for the same outcome which is improved biosecurity,” Fenton told Rural News. “Let’s make sure we are focused on that outcome rather than bickering along the road. “We’ve been criticising in a constructive way…. from our point of view we still have grower concern. It became quite clear as the [conference] morning went on that growers are still concerned so we are not going to back down from our position. “We haven’t lost any credibility. We might have lost some credibility with the minister, but we haven’t lost any credibility with our grow-

ers. Those 6000 growers are the people we represent; they are still very concerned.” Fenton said Carter “still has got some issues he needs to deal with internally…. They are still restruc-

Andrew Fenton

turing biosecurity, they are still making improvements…” Fenton says recent positive moves include four new detector dogs and 11 more before Christmas, recruitment of 40 new frontline staff and the new customs integrated targeting and operations (ITOC) centre in Auckland. “This is continued improvement but there are still issues in plant material detection and that’s where we are anxious to continue

with 100% x-rays and we would like to see detector dogs at every arrival point. It is not an imposing thing to walk past a dog which is an excellent way of picking up any plant material or seeds.” Earlier Carter said each year about $80 billion of imports and exports and at least 10 million travellers cross our border and each day 175,000 items come across our border. Carter said 2000 containers pass through the seaports each day.”Any suggestion to individually unpack and repack each container on the wharves is totally impractical. “If we look at mail, nearly 100,000 items of mail arrive each day and despite interception being like looking for a needle in a haystack, our system intercepted more than 10,000 biosecurity risks in mail last year alone.” Carter said it cost MPI $1.5 million to deal with one dead fly. That’s the reality of a response. “Yet, ironically, Horticulture New Zealand – the industry body that stood to lose most if an outbreak was to occur – went public to complain about that spend.” More on detector dogs page 10

Getting messages to the great unwashed p e t e r bu r k e

NOT ENOUGH farmers are choosing to engage in best-practice principles of farming despite Beef + Lamb NZ’s best efforts, says chairman Mike Petersen. He told Rural News that though a couple of hundred people turned out for a recent science day at Massey University, most of them were some of the best-performing farmers. Many remain content to stay at home and do what

they’re doing. “Engaging with that group is still the biggest nut to crack. We talk to farmers about this all the time and to our farmers’ council and ask, ‘how do we change that?’ In the end we have to accept that many have no desire whatsoever to change and that’s their prerogative.” Petersen says when you analyse who are top-performing farmers, it’s interesting to note that they come from all farm classes, and all debt-servicing and age groups.

The science day gave farmers a glimpse of opportunities being developed, Petersen observed. “There was some really high-tech stuff on show at the day which is great. If I look at EID in cattle and the opportunities it can provide, then I think we’re cutting a new frontier in being able to measure, monitor and act on what’s happening on-farm. EID in cattle will be a huge game changer in terms of productivity for farmers.” The key thing to note is that

Withdraw and apologise! PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister David Carter should apologise for the insulting and gratuitous speech he delivered last week at the HortNZ conference, says the Labour spokesperson on primary industries, Damien O’Connor. Carter’s speech was an insult to growers and industry leaders having to deal with a major challenges, including the PSA fall-out and potato physllid, alongside an overvalued New Zealand dollar, O’Connor says. “He’s been roundly criticised for his comments, and rightly so. Insulting the horticultural industry because it has raised legitimate concerns about the state of New Zealand’s biosecurity is the sign of a desperate minister. Carter is fully aware of those concerns. Not only are the demands for fundamental changes to biosecurity protection becoming more urgent, the contentious and protracted negotiations over new cost sharing government-industry agreements are creating even more headaches for the sector.” More on biosecurity page 9


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none of the science would have happened without the financial backing of BLNZ and its predecessor. “There is a danger of the commodity levy being voted out every five years. That’s why I spend a huge amount of time getting greater connections with farmers in the regions through our extension programmes and our farmers’ council. These are the people who are guiding our investments and providing the linkages.”

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

6 news

Conference covers all the bases a n d r ew swa l low

PRACTICAL, POLITICAL, inspirational, controversial: the recent Red Meat Sector conference in Queenstown covered all the bases. This is the second year running that Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association have combined their annual events, a move prompted by the May 2011 release of the Red Meat Sector Strategy. Introducing the conference, MIA chair Bill Fal-

coner told delegates they should not expect the strategy to be moving at a rapid pace, but the signs are encouraging. “This is about lifting the game right across the value chain and about lifting the value for everyone.” BLNZ chair Mike Petersen put the ball in delegates’ court to do that, and achieve the strategy’s $3.4 billion added wealth goal. “It’s actually up to the participants in this room.” Chairing a later session, Silver Fern Farms’ chief

Mike Petersen

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ference in Rotorua. “We haven’t changed anything in the past year. That’s a sad indictment and a lost opportunity in my view.” Ministry for Primary Industry director-general Wayne McNee gave the opening presentation, including an announcement of the latest Primary Growth Partnership award, $11m to Brownrigg Agriculture and Firstlight Foods over seven years to develop Wagyu beef. “The PGP is starting to reach the point where it will be fully subscribed. I expect it will be by the middle of next year and for the next four-and-a-half years as these programmes work through.” McNee also touched on biosecurity, predictably defending our systems as “world class” but acknowledging “clearly we can do better. There are areas where we can improve the system but we must get the right balance with tourism and trade.”

Four sectors recently signed Government Industry Agreements (GIAs) and he urged red meat to be “part of these discussions. Kiwifruit was a good example of what happens when we don’t work well together.” Political commentator Colin James linked to McNee’s biosecurity comments in his presentation, warning greater global “interconnectedness” would make things like PSA “even more difficult to manage in the future.” Noting that the power in the Government sits with ‘super ministers’ Key, English and Joyce, James questioned whether they’ll implement the Land and Water Forum’s policy recommendations. “I know David Carter is behind this but I’m not sure Steven Joyce is. I think he finds it an irksome thing and feels it is getting in the way of development.” If the Government does over-rule the

forum, such collaborative policy making will be “dead for a generation,” he warned. If delegates thought New Zealand’s red meat industry is fragmented, European analyst Richard Brown, a director of Gira (British food-and-drink strategy consultancy and researcher), put it in perspective. “Our meat industry in Europe is absolutely, spectacularly fragmented. A very long period of consolidation has been happening, very rapidly, but we’ve still got a huge way to go. It will be very painful for a lot of people, I’m afraid.” That said, he later pointed out our meat companies are “small in the scheme of European and global companies. There is a critical mass at which you can compete.” As a sheep and beef farmer himself he didn’t like to see local firms and abattoirs taken over and closed down but the “sad reality is it has to happen.”

Beef outlook positive LONG TERM prospects for beef are positive, says the director of BLNZ’s Economic Service. Rob Davison told Rural News that while in the short run there may be problems in the US market, by the end of the year things should have settled down. At present the price for our lean beef in the US is ‘soft’ due to the ongoing droughts which have seen capital stock slaughtered and lighter stock sent to feedlots. Grain yields have also been low and this is compounding the problem. The weather is playing a major role in outcomes in this market. Back home in New Zealand, Davison is predicting more calves will be born this year. He says it was the good weather that played a hand in this situation. “In the past season 100,000 fewer cows were killed as culls. This was due to the low empty rates. These cows have been kept on and will go into milk and consequently there will be more calves.” Davison says another reason for farmers keeping on the extra cows is to have some extra milk production to compensate for the predicted lower dairy payout. – Peter Burke


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Rural News // august 1, 2012

news 7

Nutrient limits loom large from page 1

outputs to see if those targets are met. Mackenzie says it will be interesting to see how successful Otago’s approach is in achieving the environmental goals of the NPSFM compared with neighbouring ECan’s system which will require a consent application for any intensification of farming which causes a greater than 10% increase in nitrate loss, as calculated by Overseer. Farms exceeding 20kg/ ha nitrate loss will require a consent too. He’s also concerned ECan’s Land and Water Plan will hamper irrigation development, despite other areas of regional and Government policy seeking to facilitate such development. Existing schemes wouldn’t have the same incentive to make efficiency gains because extending their command area with saved water would be that much harder and uncertain. “We’re hoping we can change their mind on this during the submission process which is about to start.” Submissions on Otago’s plan closed in June and hearings are expected later this month [August]. But already workshops with farmers have begun to discuss – as one flyer put it – “the changes that need to be made... to reduce contaminant discharge.”

Federated Farmers regional policy manager in Dunedin, Matt Harcombe, says the NPSFM requires all regional councils to notify plan changes by the end of the year, detailing how water quality limits will be set and the process and timeframes to achieve them. West Coast Regional Council has a plan for the Brunner catchment, focused on phosphate, and is deliberating after submission hearings earlier this year, but isn’t thought to be planning a limit setting process across the region. In Tasman, early discussions have begun between the council and key groups about prioritising catchments and how limits will be set. “They are taking a softly softly approach to the implementation of the NPS,” notes Harcombe. Environment Southland’s approach is multipronged. Submissions have closed on a rule making all new dairy farms require a resource consent and the council is expected soon to notify a suite of plan changes targeting activities deemed to pose an immediate risk to the region’s water quality. “These include hill country development, nutrient management and winter grazing.” Harcombe says all regions’ planning approaches supposedly

have a common theme: to help farmers get a better understanding of the impact of their business on water quality. “The striking differences are in the way they think that should happen.”

Getting to grips with it: ORC’s Dylan Robinson points out possible mitigation measures on Greg Nelson’s North Otago dairy farm.

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NORTHLAND IS expected “any minute” to notify a regional policy statement on how it plans to implement the (NPSFM), says Federated Farmers North Island regional policy manager Paul Le Mière. Auckland is looking at stock access and fencing but is not thought to be considering nutrient caps. Waikato is working on a variation to its plan and is looking at nutrient output caps along similar lines to those already in place in the Taupo catchment. Eastern Bay of Plenty is also looking at nutrient caps, notably around the Rotorua Lakes. In Gisborne sediment is seen as the key issue and Le Mière says there’s been plenty of consultation but as yet no plan notified. Hawkes Bay has a strategy in place and is working catchment by catchment, rather like Canterbury, to put water management plans in place. Taranaki is reviewing its plans with regard to freshwater in contrast to Horizons where the infamous One Plan pre-dated the NPSFM and has gone all the way to the Environment Court. A judgement is awaited. Wellington is consulting stakeholders on a new regional plan.

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

news 9

‘Everyone’s an expert’ Direct exit was a poor choice of name. Plane passengers must fill out BIOSECURITY IN New Zealand has declarations and face fines if they get four million experts, says a Ministry for it wrong. A quarantine officer speaks Primary Industries key border and cus- to them. “So every person who goes through toms manager. an airport has an interaction But Roger Smith, MPI with us on a number of fronts. deputy director-general ver‘We’ve looked at you, ifications and systems, last we’ve talked to you, we have week set out to dispel ‘urban dogs, we have people profilmyths’ on biosecurity at the ing, we have data on you from Horticulture New Zealand our systems and we have proconference in Auckland. Roger Smith files built up.’ After all that, we Smith said MPI was basing decide that some people do its work on science, data and not need to have their luggage x-rayed analysing where the real risks were. Urban myth: direct exit isn’t work- and those go through direct exit. They do not sprint off a plane to be seen by ing. “This wasn’t just a whim… let’s just nobody.” System checks show a 99.2% comopen up the pathway and chuck people pliance rate. “That is higher than pasout the door,” Smith said. New Zealand and Australian pass- sengers going through full search and port holders posed nine times less risk x-ray,” Smith said. Urban myth: 100% x-ray is the than other travellers. They understood the risks and other passport holders answer. “The only trouble with a good story tended to carry more food products for is if you put in the facts it doesn’t add cultural reasons. “We are going put our people where up. X-ray is a great tool but it is not the they can search the suitcases and prod- only one we use… it does not find everyucts we need to see… people that pose thing. It doesn’t find seeds attached to things or bits of dirt on your shoes. a risk to us.” pa m ti pa

“The problem in using x-ray is people think it finds everything; even staff think that. 100% x-ray dumbs down the system because people rely on the tool to do their thinking. It means we have a lot of people x-raying the 96% of people who present no problem to New Zealand… the 4% who are high-risk get the same light touch. X-ray is a great tool but it is not the silver bullet.” Urban myth: household effects are not inspected. Smith said the examination rate had been reduced by 50% as recent headlines had said. “But we have 3.6 million consignments a year and household effects make up 30,000 of those – they make up less than 1%.” Voluntary compliance was being encouraged and was working. “We’ve dropped the rate [of inspections] but our seizure rate has gone up, so it means we are looking at the right goods.” The biggest risk to biosecurity was not what was in the container, but the container itself – with the pest that has hitchhiked on it. MPI carried out 100% checking of containers.

Farmer confidence takes a dip pe t e r bu r k e

THE LATEST drop in farmer confidence won’t see chequebooks close completely, says Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills. A survey by the Feds shows that a year ago 16% of farmers were optimistic about their future and the economy; today 38.7% believe the economic situation will get worse – a downward shift of 54% in just on twelve months. Wills told Rural News he’d expected confidence to drop but not by so much. The fall in confidence is due to a combination of factors, he says. “Certainly the sharp fall of the commodity prices, particularly wool, which has almost halved in the space of a year. “We haven’t seen the currency respond like we’d expect it to respond; traditionally when commodity prices drop, the currency softens. For the first time farmers are seeing this currency buffer disappearing. “What we worry about is that

the currency could strengthen from where it is today and remain at this level for some time.” Wills expects farmers to be more prudent in their spending but not put their chequebooks away completely. He believes they will reduce debt and spend any surplus cash on productive areas. “Fertiliser companies are saying that forword bookings are still good. We know that fencing is being done, as is some environmental work because some regional councils are telling us they have already sold out of willow poles. But things such as new farmbikes and other nice-tohave items might be off the agenda until things come right in a year or two.” Wills says farmers realise they operating in a volatile economic climate because of the issues in Europe and the USA. Farmers understand they have come out of one of the kindest climatic seasons for many years and while they are optimistic, they are realistic enough to know the chances of another bumper season are slim.






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Rural News // august 1, 2012

10 news

Airports going to the dogs SUDES H K ISSUN

MORE BIOSECURITY detector dogs will soon be in action at airports. MPI expects to have 32-40 dogs on duty from the end of this year, compared to 26 dogs now. The extra dogs will give MPI the ability to cover most flights arriving at main airports and to cover smaller airports

when needed, says Primary Industries Minister David Carter. Carter says biosecurity gets a lot of media coverage and he’s proud New Zealand has the “best biosecurity system in the world”. Detector dogs are a key part of our biosecurity surveillance and MPI wants to see more dogs at airports, he says. “Their

presence is a significant deterrent to visitors,” he said at the graduation of five labradors, the first of the breed to join the biosecurity detector dogs team, until now all beagles. Four of the five dogs – Enya, Eden, Ella and Egypt – are from a new MPI breeding programme. The fifth dog – Shyann – joined the programme from the Auckland pound.

Odour training THE TRAINING of detector dogs consist of 20 days of basic pre-training involving learning the scents of 10 base odours. This is followed by six weeks of training and worksite familiarisation with experienced handlers.


The graduating dogs will be allocated to new handlers in August and spend another 8-10 weeks training to form partnerships. At deployment they will have an odour repertoire of at least 35 base odours.

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Two dogs – Eden and Shyann – showed their skills to the media at MPI’s Auckland Airport facility. They picked pieces of dried fruit, garlic and chilli hidden in boxes and suitcases. Carter says the new dogs will play an important role in protecting New Zealand’s border. “We have already seen the success of using beagles to detect biosecurity risk items at our airports. Labradors have the advantage of being able to work in passenger and mail pathways.  However, I can reassure the public that MPI will continue to breed beagles.” Cater says detector dogs and their handlers are an important part of our biosecurity frontline.  “The dogs’ visual presence at the airport is a big factor; they are great at

Dog handler Courtney Moore with detector dog Shyann during a demonstration at MPI, Auckland Airport.

detecting seeds and plants that x-rays may miss and they screen people faster than x-rays.” MPI expects to have 11 new dogs graduate from its national training

centre this year, eight to be matched with new handlers being recruited. Between May 20 and June 24, detector dogs screened 73% of flights at Auckland Airport.

MPI admits detector dog numbers have dropped since 2008 due to retirement of ageing dogs. It expects 11 new dogs to graduate from the national training centre this year.

Rural communities cash in THIS YEAR’S PGG Wrightson / Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Cash for Communities scheme raised $152,000 for rural communities funding in New Zealand, nearly double the $80,000 generated in 2011. The four month programme, which closed at the end of May, saw PGG Wrightson and participating suppliers commit $2 per tonne of Ballance Agri-Nutrients fertiliser bought and $2 per $500 spent on

selected agri-chemical or seed products to schools and charities selected by farmer customers. At least 3000 farmers registered for the scheme, earmarking funding for 320 rural community organisations. Half the funding, about $80,000, will go to rural schools, while rescue helicopters will receive $35,000 and St John more than $31,000. Donations will also go to a number of IHC areas.

Stephen Guerin, PGG Wrightson general manager rural supplies says the success of the scheme reflects a commitment by both farmers and suppliers to support organisations that need help to survive in rural communities. “Last year we also contributed to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, so that allocation has now gone back to local support organisations and schools.”

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12 news

Aiming to make pilots’ job easier PETER BURKE

MASSEY UNIVERSITY is conducting trials aimed at easing the pilot’s task during fertiliser spreading from fixed-wing aircraft. The aim is to make greater use of electronics to automate fert spreading and simultaneously to reduce the pilot’s heavy

workload in the cockpit, says Ian Yule, professor of precision agriculture. Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters both now use GPS to ensure they drop their loads within set or agreed boundaries. But Yule wants to take this a step further. “Our system, using GPS, would reduce the

need for the pilot to operate a hopper lever. The application rate would be calibrated and set into the system. As the aircraft slowed the hopper door would close, or if the aircraft flew faster [the hopper door] would open wider. “If we can make a pilot’s life a lot easier, he

In Neil Cresswell’s Air Tractor he can operate the hopper from a switch on the control column or a lever on the left side of the cockpit. (A perspex panel in the centre of the instrument panel allows a view inside the hopper.)

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can fly the plane more accurately and give the farmer better value for money. Research work done on hill country shows that it’s responsive to rate of spread, so if spreading rates are all over the place it’s a problem.” A pilot’s perspective: Neil Cresswell Topdressing pilot Neil Cresswell sees merit in the trials by Professor Yule, but he believes a higher priority is the co-efficient or evenness of the spread of fertiliser from the aircraft: “Resolve this and the rest can come later,” he says. Neil Cresswell is the chief pilot of Rural Aerial Cooperative (RAC), based in Pahiatua, Tararua District. He has flown 10,000 hours in topdressing aircraft in the 12 years he’s been flying. His distinctive, bright yellow Air Tractor can often be seen topdressing in Wairarapa and Horowhenua. Cresswell says for 50 years people have been

trying to solve the co-efficient issue and no-one has. You can get good co-efficient with a spreader on, he says, but because of the high volumes of superphosphate you can’t use a spreader. In many ways it comes down to the type of aircraft being used as to how even [a superphosphate] spread will be. In New Zealand, the Cresco (a higher-spec derivative of the Fletcher) is the most commonly used fixed-wing topdresser. But RAC took a different track and bought an Air Tractor AT 402B and two GA 200C Fatman. Two main differences distinguish the Cresco and

the Air Tractor: the hopper is behind the pilot in the Cresco and in front in the Air Tractor; the Cresco has tricycle undercarriage and the Air Tractor is a ‘taildragger’ (no nose wheel). The absence of a nose wheel gives the Air Tractor an advantage, Cresswell says: no disruption of the airflow across the spreader opening. “There is a cleaner airflow to the hopper spreader with the Air Tractor, and while it won’t give it a totally even spread, it will be more even than under an aircraft with a nose wheel in front of the hopper.” Other issues of con-

cern to Neil Cresswell and many fellow pilots are fertiliser quality and some of the mixes they are required to apply. Cresswell says though Yule’s theory is fine, in practical terms it’s not that simple. Variability in the quality of fertiliser can have consequences for a pilot; sorting this issue out should be a priority, he says. “With modern, highperformance planes there is not a lot of variation in speed now compared with the old piston-powered machines. But having said that, anything that makes life easier in the cockpit will be welcome.”

About the Air Tractor THE AIR Tractor was designed and built in Texas, specifically for farm work. The first flew in 1973 and 600 were built. The AT 400 series first flew in the US in 1979 but AT 402B is a more modern derivative which flew in December 2001, powered by a Pratt

& Whitney PT6-34 turbo-prop engine. The AT 402B can carry 1.5 tonnes of fertilizer, marginally less than the Cresco. A total of 1500 Air Tractors of different variants have been built. About six are believed to be flying in New Zealand.

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

news 13

Co-op measures sheep suppliers’ hoof print SOFTWARE FOR measuring and monitoring greenhouse gases on sheep farms is now available to Alliance Group suppliers. The meat co-op’s Hoofprint programme produces farm performance information based on data collected to determine the carbon footprint. It includes benchmarking features for carbon and farm performance. The decision to offer the software to all suppliers follows its successful trial from December last year in Alliance Group’s Sainsbury’s producer group. Alliance Group and Hoofprint partner AbacusBio Ltd have been working with the suppliers to help them understand the best ways to reduce their carbon footprint on-farm while still improving farm production and profit. Suppliers will be invited to register their interest in Hoofprint and take a training and induction session. Alliance Group general manager of livestock Murray Behrent says Hoofprint to all Alliance suppliers is another example of the co-op’s commitment to quality. “Hoofprint was developed to help protect farmers’ access to our most valuable outlets, primarily retail and food service in

United Kingdom, Europe and the US. “Alliance Group shareholder suppliers are already encouraged to record their own emissions and productivity and Hoofprint represents a major step forward in achieving this. We are progressing a phased rollout of the programme to ensure we can meet the needs of suppliers.” Many major supermarkets in the world are working to develop programmes and associated food labelling which demonstrate to their customers that products have been produced in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Alliance Group will oversee the data and help suppliers with benchmarking of their own properties and against other properties. The company plans next year to offer Hoofprint to its partner processors in the UK. “Our customers seek assurance that the products they purchase are from sustainable resources and have been processed at facilities that are environmentally, economically and socially responsible,” says Behrent. “Alliance Group recognises that meeting these expectations is more than

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Simon Saunders, a sheep and beef farmer from Castle Rock in Northern Southland and Shona Frengley, Alliance Group Livestock Technical Officer using hoofprint.


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Rural News // august 1, 2012

14 news

Swaps for grain an option for growers PGG Wrightson Grain held its annual winter seminar in Ashburton recently. Andrew Swallow relays a sample of the headline messages. HOW DO you sell your crop when no buyers are willing to bid? In the New Zealand grain market that can be a conundrum, but BNZ senior dealer, treasury markets, Mat Ryan, put

a solution to delegates at the PGG event: swaps. “What the swap system allows you to do is separate pricing from supply,” he explained. BNZ bases its swaps on Chicago Board of Trade

prices, adjusted to an imported Lyttelton equivalent. No grain is exchanged, but because that adjustment – known as ‘basis’ – is relatively constant, when the physical grain is

sold the seller can trade out the swap, collecting or paying the difference in price from the day he took it out. If the swap market has fallen in that time, it will be a collection, compensating for the fall in

the physical market. If it’s gone up, it will be a payment, with the lift in the physical market making up for that. Ryan stressed that grains swaps – or any other commodity swap – should not be used to try to beat the market. Rather, they are a way of hedging prices. “It’s to extend the

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market available to you.” BNZ’s margin is built into the pricing, and swap customers are not subject to margin calls*, as they would be if they took out Chicago futures contracts themselves to hedge their growing crops. Ryan said he’s not aware of any growers in New Zealand using the service yet, but a lot of merchants and end-users of grain do. In Australia many growers experimented with swaps in the early 2000s but, probably because of misconceptions about their role, they quickly fell out of favour. Renewed volatility in grain markets and a better understanding of swaps as a risk management tool has seen a steady return

to them in recent years, he told Rural News. Speaking before Ryan, PGG’s South Island grain trading manager Andy Wilson asked attendees to “try to understand the leverage international buyers have in our market.” Grain demand is split roughly 70/30 North Island/South Island, but supply is the reverse, he explained, so even though New Zealand is a net importer, the South Island is a net exporter, typically of about 200,000t. That grain has to compete with very competitive bulk imports into North Island ports, be they milling wheat or feedstuffs such as palm kernel. He urged growers to “take smaller bites of the apple”, ie to sell less at a time, but more often, and to stay informed to avoid underselling. “The market gets pegged for too long.” * Margin call: a demand by a broker that an investor deposit further cash or securities to cover possible losses. Source: www.

New chemistry and cultivars



PGG WRIGHTSON agronomists Tom Sherratt and Kyle Gardyne whistled through some cultivar and agrochemical trial results, while event sponsor Bayer touched on some of the new chemistry in the pipeline. Garner spring barley “could be a possible County replacement,” suggested Gardyne. “We’ve seen it perform irrigated and dryland. It pretty much fits everywhere really.” With good resistance to most barley diseases it topped FAR’s CPT spring barley trials last year. While fungicide work on Tavern barley produced little difference in treatments, on Retriever a “straddle approach” where the second main spray was delayed from the conventional T2 awns emerging stage to full ear emergence or ‘T3’, lifted yields significantly. “These later treatments at T3 suppressed disease and kept the crop green longer resulting in extra yield.” Within that a development product from Bayer was a standout, topping the work at 12.78t/ha when applied at T1 and T3 with a 0.3 L/ha application of Proline slipped in at ‘T1.5’ – three weeks after the T1. The next nearest yield was 11.66t/ha from the same timing sequence but with a BASF development product used in place of the Bayer one. Gardyne stressed last summer’s regular rain and late harvest favoured the late season applications so whether similar results would be seen in a more normal year remains to be seen.


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Rural News // august 1, 2012

news 15

Warning over council’s water policies ALL GROWERS, in fact all farmers, should be keeping close tabs on how regional councils are implementing the national policy statement on freshwater management, Foundation of Arable Research chief executive Nick Pyke told the PGG conference. “It’s not only nutrient companies’ business.

It’s not only ECan’s business. It’s going to be your business as well. We are all going to have to carefully watch what’s going to happen in this space.” While the detail is still a moving target in Canterbury, as it is elsewhere, some things are clear, says Pyke. “All of you are going to have to have a nutrient

budget of some sort.” Broadly speaking, councils have a choice of two approaches to implementing the policy: imposing input limits, or setting and policing output limits. International experience, notably in Denmark, shows input limits to be restrictive on farming practice, without guar-

Positive about agriculture despite world outlook WHILE THE global economic outlook is uncertain, for agricultural commodities overall it’s positive and likely to stay that way, Rabobank senior analyst Hayley Moynihan told PGW’s delegates. “This time it’s different; it’s different from the normal commodity cycle.” The world has moved from a long period of surplus, to one of relative scarcity as supply struggles to keep up with demand. Grain stocks now are comparable to the early 1970s at just 20% of annual supply. That makes markets volatile and vulnerable to the slightest supply shock, as seen in the past couple of months with corn futures rising over 50% due to the US heatwave. However, in markets where stocks are not so tight, such as wheat where there’s close to 40% of annual demand in store, movements have been less extreme. Moynihan says such is the concern about food supply, some countries

and multinational companies are contracting crops five or ten years forward, even buying land. Such increased supply control is one of many strategies emerging which together are having complex effects on those at the start of the supply chain, i.e. farmers. Moynihan suggested growers’ strategies should be built on “recognising where the power is in the supply chain and what are my options around that.” Those include partnerships which shorten supply chains, differentiating product for specialist and niche markets, and trading short-term price gains for medium-term certainty. A crash in the New Zealand currency, and consequent rally in domestic grain prices, is unlikely to come to the rescue. “Rabobank’s forecast is that we don’t expect a softening from 80c (US) and in fact we expect it to go higher before it softens.”

FAR’s Nick Pyke says all farmers should be keeping close tabs on how regional councils implement the NPS on freshwater management

anteeing the desired limits on nutrient losses to the environment. “They don’t allow you, as land managers, to manage to the best of your ability or adapt to different crops.... It doesn’t allow you to be a good farmer.” Despite that, some regions, including Environment Waikato and Horizons, look like adopting such an approach, he notes. “We’ve been pushing, as have others, for them to measure on an output basis.” Pyke is hopeful ECan will take that path. The challenge is measuring the outputs. Physical measurements, such as lysimeters, are not practical other than at research level, so modelling outputs is “the only option we really have.” Agresearch’s Overseer, version 6 of which is to be launched later this week, looks like being the model of choice. Given its North Island, rain-fed pasture systems origin, there is concern about how it will cope with the diverse rotations of Canterbury crop-

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nutrient. Without it you have a whole heap of nutrient sitting there and you don’t know if you’re going to get to use it.” Cropping farmers are fortunate in that the nutri-

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

16 world

UK dairy deal close?

Aussie red meat returns going blue AUSTRALIA’S CATTLE supplies remain tight while key export markets reel from the effects of tough economic conditions. According to Meat & Livestock Australia’s 2012 mid-year cattle projections update, reduced cow slaughter and solid cattle prices have underpinned herd rebuilding activities in recent years. Demand remains the main challenge now facing the Australian industry, says MLA chief economist Tim McRae. “While exports of beef and veal in 2012 are forecast to increase 1% to 960,000 tonnes swt, returns have been subdued in many markets, accentuated by the high A$ and problems in major world economies.” McRae says the outlook for demand still centres on the economic conditions in established markets, which have been strained in recent years. Exports to Japan remain flat and exports to Korea are down 13% for the first half of 2012, as extra local and US product entered the market, at the same time as consumer demand declined. “The US market for Australian beef has rebounded in 2012, with exports up 46% for the first half of 2012 to 118,120 tonnes swt. Total shipments for the year are forecast to reach 250,000 tonnes swt.

Most of the growth has been in manufacturing beef, with the higher prices in the US attracting shipments away from markets such as Russia and Japan.” McRae says economic problems in developed markets currently outweigh the benefits to be had from increased demand from emerging markets and the tight global supply of beef. “Increasing demand from the growing middle class in developing economies across the globe remains a positive for Australian beef. This is currently being offset, however, by continued tough economic conditions and weak consumer sentiment in our developed markets – Japan and Korea. “Beef is currently at a price point in many markets that makes it difficult to compete with cheaper proteins, at a time when consumers are price conscious.” Exports to Russia for 2012 have been revised back to 55,000 tonnes swt, along with lower expectations for volumes to Indonesia. However sustained demand from Taiwan and the Middle East, and better access for Australian grainfed beef to the EU will assist shipments in the second half of 2012 and into 2013. 

UK DAIRY farmers and processors have agreed on the broad principles of a deal in their dispute over milk prices. The deal, brokered last week by Farming Minister Jim Paice, relates to a voluntary code of practice designed to give farmers more bargaining power. However, the National Farmers Union says the deal will not solve the current crisis. UK farmers are angry at cuts up to 4c/litre in their payments from the big milk processors, due August 1. This follows cuts earlier in the year. Farmers have protested outside major retail chains. NFU President Peter Kendall says while the deal gives some hope for the long term, it does not solve the dairy farming issues of today. “This agreement will give us the architecture we need to

make sure we don’t end up with the same dysfunctional markets responsible for the dairy crisis we have today.” The NFU, NFU Scotland (NFUS) and the dairy processors organisation Dairy UK agreed to heads of terms for a dairy industry code of best practice on contractual relations, including new provisions for dairy contracts between farmers and milk buyers. The code stipulates that dairy farmers must receive at least 30 days’ notice of a price change and that retrospective price adjustments are no longer acceptable. The code also puts in place conditions that must be met, where a purchaser wishes to use discretion to set farmgate milk prices. These include a commitment to engage with farmers and their repre-

UK dairy farmers claim they are taking a bath at the prices being paid by milk processors.

sentatives, a commitment to maintain prices within mutually agreed parameters and where a farmer disagrees with a price change, the right of the producer to exit the contract with three months notice. Further conditions include the ability of farmers to supply more than one processor, where their primary milk buyer seeks to cap their production, and the right to automatic contractual release for producers from insolvent purchasers.

Dairy UK says farmer frustrations are understandable. The recent price cuts are regrettable, but we have to remember that industry pricing is market driven, it says. “Forecast demand growth for milk and dairy products is very positive, so the last thing the dairy industry needs right now is any restriction in its supply base.” It says the voluntary code will go a long way towards addressing farmer concerns.

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

world 17 US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Thirst-proof crops sought AL A N HA RMA N

RESEARCHERS AT Purdue University are working to develop crops that are drought-resistant and achieve maximum water-use efficiency to combat hot, dry conditions such as those being experienced this year. The work is timely; 61% of continental US is gripped by drought. Purdue agronomy professor Mitch Tuinstra is trying to find the

Land opened up as US drought bites US AUTHORITIES are opening up protected land to help farmers hit by a crippling drought. Financial and technical help is also on offer now that disaster areas have been declared in 29 states. The US Department of Agriculture says it is opening opportunities for haying and grazing on lands enrolled in conservation programmes. To help farmers and ranchers affected by drought, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is using his discretionary authority to allow extra acres under Conservation Reserve Programme (CRP) to be used for haying or grazing under emergency conditions. CRP is a voluntary programme that provides producers annual rental payments on their land in exchange for planting resource conserving crops on cropland to help prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat and improve the environment. CRP acres can already be used for emergency haying and grazing during natural disasters to provide needed feed to livestock. Vilsack says given the widespread nature of this drought, forage for livestock is already substantially reduced. “We will allow lands not yet classified as ‘under severe drought’ but that are ‘abnormally dry’ to be used for haying and grazing. This will increase available forage for livestock.” The USDA has designated 1297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. Increasingly hot and dry conditions from California to Delaware have damaged or slowed the maturation of crops such as corn and soybeans, as well as pasture and range-land. According to the most recent US Drought Monitor report, 88% of US corn and 87% of its soybean crops are in drought-stricken areas. The resulting increase in grain prices is threatening livestock and dairy operators with high input costs. Feed costs make up 50% of total working expenditure for the average US producer, and corn is in general about 60% cent of total feed inputs. The US is the largest world exporter of corn, soybeans and wheat; prices are already rising. Economists says the knock-on effect of such soaring prices was already being felt around the world, where drought has also hit other grain exporters who are starting to cancel previous sales and leave hungry countries in the Middle East and elsewhere scrambling. However, the US corn growers claim there are “numerous inaccuracies and exaggerations, especially about the impact on food supply and retail food prices”. National Corn Growers Association president Garry Niemeyer says corn, even at its current price, is an inexpensive food ingredient. “The corn in a box of cornflakes only costs about a 10c, and there’s just over 25c worth of corn in a pound of beef,” he says. Corn is also widely used in ethanol and other biofuels production in the US. Niemeyer says corn users are responding to market signals. Ethanol production and exports are down. In addition, there is currently an ethanol surplus in the US and that will further reduce demand on the 2012 corn crop, he says.

genes in tropical varieties of corn that allow the plants to survive in hot, dry weather. The aim is to integrate those genes into American corn varieties bred to produce high yields. “There are other genes out there in tropical gene pools,” Tuinstra says. “We are looking for those genes that enhance the adaptability of temperate maize.” Associate horticulture professor Mike Mickelbart is research-

ing water-use efficiency with the goal of getting the highest yields in corn using the least amount of water. “Our ultimate goal would be to provide plant breeders with genetic markers for water-use efficiency so they can incorporate this trait into their breeding programmes.” There are genes in corn that affect transpiration – the process in which pores called stomata open and close on a leaf surface

and allow water to escape. Mickelbart’s research is aimed at finding variations in those genes that affect the ability of a plant to use water as efficiently as possible. Agronomy professor Tony Vyn is evaluating drought-tolerant corn hybrids developed in the private sector, comparing their performance against conventional hybrids in different stress situations, including high plant density.

Rural News // august 1, 2012

18 agribusiness

Private sector training providers set to merge SUDES H K ISSUN

A NEW industry training organisation covering meat, dairy and seafood sectors is being launched

this week (Jul 31). The new NZITO is a merger of Seafood ITO and meat and dairy sector training organisations. The new entity will service

at least 60,000 employees in the three key export industries. The chairman of the new NZITO, Graeme Sutton, believes the

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merged entity will benefit the workforce. “Training offered through this enlarged ITO will carry more status in the primary sector and the community as a whole. Through its increased ‘buying power’ the ITO will be able to demand high standards of delivery from its training providers. “There will also be greater emphasis on training skills transferable across the food export sector creating more opportunities for personal advancement. “Progressively, we are going to see a workforce even more motivated about learning and self-improvement which we need to boost productivity.” The new organisation also hopes to attract enterprising and capable people to these industries. With the pace of technological advancement these industries have a huge need for growing capability and joined-up training could make a real difference, says Sutton. The benefits are not just for the trainees. Government has shown the benefits of a joined-up approach with the formation of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Chair of the new NZITO, Graeme Sutton believes the newly merged training entity will benefit the primary sector workforce.

There is a real recognition in Government of the need to get behind agriculture, adds Sutton. “It has been the Government’s preference to see significant amalgamation of ITOs in this sector. We believe this is the right way to go and we have been working hard to make it happen.” The merger will also have industry benefits. There will be better coordination of the training effort and greater financial rationalisation with better use of governance and

research resources and capabilities. The move creates the potential for a strategically focused primary sectorwide ITO. Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says ITOs provide training that many people would not otherwise get as it is delivered in the workplace and allows for the seasonal pressures of farming. He says the quality of training means the benefits stretch beyond the meat industry.

As a result of the merger the NZITO board will be restructured with two representatives from each of the meat, dairy and seafood industries. SITO chair Mike McCredie becomes a NZITO board member. Many of the Seafood ITO back-office functions will move to the NZITO offices in Hamilton with a small core group operating out of the SeaFIC offices in Wellington. A small field team with a seafood industry focus will be retained.


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Rural News // august 1, 2012

agribusiness 19

Studholme decision expected by late August PA M T I PA

A COMMERCE COMMISSION decision on whether Fonterra can buy the Studholme processing plant in South Canterbury is due out by August 31. Fonterra says the plan would help the co-op rapidly expand its advanced nutrition strategy particularly for paediatrics.

the plant and small capital upgrades would make it capable of manufacturing ‘gump’ (growing up milk powders). “Paediatric products are a key focus of Fonterra’s newly refreshed advanced nutrition strategy.” The Studholme plant’s small size allows it to be used for short specialised

Fonterra has agreed if it buys the plant to pay farmers what they are owed by NZDL and says it is important that when milk processing forms fail they do not take farmers and employees down with them. The New Zealand Dairies Ltd plant is in receivership after its parent company Nutritek Group was declared bankrupt in Russia. “The Studholme plant offers Fonterra immediate opportunity to develop and expand its infant and specialty food business, especially for the growing Asian market,” Fonterra told the commission. Base powders for dryblend paediatric powders can be manufactured at

manufacturing, Fonterra says. This will free up larger dryers at other sites, minimising costs for shutdown, cleanout and changeover between product types. “To become the world’s most efficient dairy provider, Fonterra must be able to respond quickly to business opportunities – including whether to buy or build new processing capacity,” Fonterra says. Buying the Studholme

A Commerce Commission decision on whether Fonterra can buy the Studholme plant in South Canterbury is due by August 31.

plant, which opened in 2007 at a cost of $108 million, will avoid a 1-2 year delay to build a new plant. Raw milk from NZDL suppliers is only about 2% of South Island production, with Fonterra now processing about 82% of SI raw milk. Fonterra says any notional lessening of competition must be offset against substantial efficiencies gained, given that 95% of New Zealand’s milk is exported. Fonterra has agreed if it buys the plant to pay farmers what they are owed by NZDL and says it is important that when milk processing forms fail they do not take farmers and employees down with them. Among key issues the commission will consider is whether Fonterra as the buyer of over 80% of raw milk in the South Island in practice sets farmgate milk price and whether that would be the same with or without the acquisition. Whether there’s sufficient opportunity for new processors to enter or start up in the same market will also be considered.

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Rural News // august 1, 2012



Lamb Market Trends

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Beef Market Trends








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Beef  Beef farmgate prices level off Works prices for cattle in the North & South Islands have levelled off in the last two weeks. Only local trade prices moved upwards last week .It’s typical for the local market to lead the way at this time of year. US imported 95CL beef prices have shown some upward movement in recent weeks. But the NZ dollar has strengthened significantly against the greenback which has really put the brakes on works prices which are typically rising at this stage of the season. The flow of cattle into meat companies has also been above last year levels until recently. This has held back procurement competition as a lower proportion of market returns is making it back to the farmgate. However kill rates have moved below last years level now and meat companies are starting to compete more strongly again. Expect works prices to peak this spring at around $4.50/kg in the north and $4.30/kg in the south. US beef market under pressure due to drought The deteriorating pasture and crop conditions in the US have caused corn and grain prices to sky rocket internationally and US cattle prices to drift lower. Purchasers of feeder cattle are forcing prices lower to offset the anticipated higher feed costs. The US cow kill has also picked up as farmers offload due to concerns over feed supplies through the rest of the summer and the coming winter. US domestic manufacturing beef prices took a tumble this week of US8c/lb. It’s believed they could fall another 15c/lb between now and early Sept. However, imported beef may well withstand this downward pressure as there are limited imported supplies and increased demand for manufacturing beef after the fallout over lean finely textured beef.


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Cracks appear for lamb prices as pressure mounts  Lamb prices at the farmgate have finally succumbed to  the mounting pressure from falling market returns. Meat companies pulled back schedules in both islands last     week – at a time when prices are usually rising seasonally.  The NZ dollar continues to strengthen against the Euro in       particular. NZ exporters are also reporting the market conditions remain very subdued in our main UK and   European markets. Frozen stocks of lamb remain large although chilled lamb is moving more freely. Typically  farmgate prices for lamb lift by 60-70c/kg between Jun and the seasonal price peak in Nov. Based on the current   situation and outlook this is looking very unlikely.   Store lambs too dear       There is a growing sense of unease in the export lamb market but this is not having much of an effect on the store lamb market as yet. Prices for store lambs have continued to defy  the odds this season as strong demand has thrown sense out the window.        As a percentage of works prices, store lamb prices in the paddock are at     close to 50% - where-as they are usually 44-45% according to last year     and the five year average. This suggests that 35kg store lambs are about     20c/kg overvalued. Lamb finisher margins will be very tight as a result.



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Mixed prices for dairy products   Movements in dairy product prices remained mixed. Oceania milk powder   prices have continued to come under some downward pressure, while the  butter and cheddar prices remained firm. At the July 17 g/DT event   cheddar, rennet casein and whole milk powder price averages were down   while anhydrous milk fat, buttermilk powder and milk protein concentrate   all moved higher. The new milk production season has begun NZ and          Australia and milk output remains seasonally low. Winter conditions have been good on average and farmers are optimistic for another above average production season. At this point exporters are happy as order books are in balance with projected production going forward.





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Rural News // august 1, 2012

22 opinion editorial


Minister delivers rebuke ‘COURAGEOUS’ WOULD have been Sir Humphrey’s (TV’s Yes Minister) description of Primary Industry Minister David Carter’s hard-hitting speech last week to the HortNZ conference. His theme, not surprisingly, was biosecurity. HortNZ is not convinced MPI has biosecurity in hand, despite Carter remaining adamant New Zealand has the best system in the world. The relationship between the minister and HortNZ leaders has been testy over the past year, with Carter privately giving growers a piece of his mind. Minister Carter has clearly come to the end of his tether with HortNZ and his speech – ‘strategic tantrum’, public flogging… call it what you will – was a banner firmly planted. Just three sentences into the speech he ferociously attacked HortNZ’s magazine, describing its articles on biosecurity as “unbalanced reporting of the worst kind”. At the crux of this is his absolute and unconditional support for the Ministry. He has stood through thick-and-thin for MAF and now MPI and that is laudable. Sadly they let him down over Psa, as the recent Sapare Report showed. MAF’s failure not to talk to expert scientists in another government-funded institution about Psa was dopey. We hope the new director-general of MPI has made changes to prevent that ever happening again. The question arises, what was Carter hoping to achieve? Was he hoping to bludgeon the sector into accepting his word? Was it to appeal to growers outside the leadership of HortNZ to accept his word as opposed to that of their leaders? Some say his speech will only widen the rift between the two parties. The solution, it seems, is in MPI’s hands. The next time there is a biosecurity issue they will have stop the incursion or deal with it extremely well: no buts, no lame excuses – a simple 10-out-of-10 performance. Anything less than that and Carter would need to call for his BMW limo and head down to Pastoral House, Wellington, to deliver a ‘strategic tantrum’ to the bureaucrats.

“Yes Edna! – Definitely silver – maybe gold!”

the hound A strange decision

True colours

YOUR CANINE crusader’s ears pricked up recently at the news that a certain person – not dear to the hearts of many farmers right now – the chief executive of Transpower, Patrick Strange, was reported as buying a $130 shirt on his corporate credit card. The reason: he was delayed overnight in Melbourne for a meeting in Christchurch the next day and needed a clean shirt… at $130. A cheapie at The Warehouse might have cost $20. One would think that people on six-figure salaries could afford to buy their own shirt. Clothing allowances for CEOs – that’s a world away from reality on the farm.


THE HOUND reckons a certain NZX-owned weekly farming rag revealed its true colours recently in an extremely boring editorial lamenting that delaying the implementation of ETS will cause “more damage to NZ’s stuttering carbon trading market”. Never mind the implications of ETS for farmers, the editorial shone the light on the NZX’s main concern – financial markets and the large fees they generate for the marketmaker.

Big losses for agriculture YOUR OLD mate pays tribute and acknowledges the recent deaths of two major contributors to the agriculture sector – Graeme Lowe and Hugh Green. Both were large figures in the New Zealand meat industry: Lowe led Lowe Corporation from its inception in 1964 to becoming a major animal by-product processor and exporter that merged with Richmond and later Silver Fern Farm; Green played a big part in the sector, first as a major cattle trader and then in helping turn Affco around in the 1990s. Lowe and Green were both born overseas, but made their marks and fortunes in New Zealand; and both contributed generously to local communities. The farming and meat industries in New Zealand have lost two giants.

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IT SEEMS that both the PM’s and Local Government Minister’s messages of austerity and limiting councils to core business were not greeted with wild enthusiasm by attendees – mainly councillors and council officers – at the recent Local Government NZ conference. However your canine crusader reckons ratepayers – and especially hardpressed rural ratepayers – would warmly welcome the message given to council boffins by John Key and David Carter. As one wag told the Hound, people hate paying rates as much they do taxes and believe the only reason councillors were invented was to make MPs look good!

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

opinion 23

When a little knowledge is actually worthwhile IN NEW Zealand there is an increasing lack of understanding about biology, physics and chemistry. It’s a pity, because knowing something about the way things work would save a huge amount of time spent arguing. We have on-going arguments about water quality and whether a change endangers river life. We’ve had arguments about land use and whether development replacing introduced species (hieracium, rabbits and wildling pines in the Mackenzie Basin, for instance) should be allowed. Now there is misunderstanding of the Government’s delays in implementing the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The ETS is New Zealand’s way of meeting the country’s commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Not reducing them will, under the Kyoto Protocol, lead to a bill for the Government. In recent years New Zealanders have been paying a proportion of the ETS on power and fuel. The consequent increase in price might have made some people modify their behaviour when it first occurred, but most people have forgotten they are paying it – the tax has been lost in the general concern about price increases leading to expensive power and fuel. Taxes rarely change people’s behaviour. In fact, paying the tax leads to a sense of entitlement: “I’ve paid the tax so now I can turn up the

ag twits

heating and take a Sunday drive”. In New Zealand the ETS has resulted in a focus on agriculture because, in marked contrast to developed countries, biological emissions contribute half the total. Reports that farmers are escaping the ETS are, however, simply mischievous. Farmers, like other individuals and businesses, pay the ETS on power and fuel – in their homes, in their milking and shearing sheds, and in their cars, tractors and quads. The Government has announced a delay in full implementation of the ETS, and says agriculture won’t be brought into the scheme until the science exists to mitigate their emissions, or until our international trading competitors put a price of carbon on their agricultural sectors. This seems sensible given complaints about the price of food, but opposition parties have been voicing concerns that no other major emitting sector has been given concessions. This overlooks the point that agriculture involves biological systems which have developed over millions of years. Scientific research

is trying to find ways of assisting in reducing emissions, but changes will need to be evaluated over some time before they can be recommended. Efficient production systems mean New Zealand agriculture is a low emitter per unit of product in comparison with other countries; we should be applauding the farmers and encouraging others to follow their lead. Scientific literacy would help separate facts from emotion. The emotional argument is that if we aren’t environmental leaders, people overseas won’t buy New Zealand food. The facts are that all people are concentrating more and more on value and price: they buy food that meets their cost-quality requirements. New Zealand food is at a premium in some countries because it is safe; carbon is a secondary issue, but we are leaders in that as well. Minister Tim Groser is not a scientist but has taken the trouble to consider the issues. He is right when he defends a delay in bringing agriculture into the ETS. If members of other parties took the same trouble, huge amounts of time would be saved. If politicians stuck to explaining the facts, rather than arguing, everybody would have more time – for learning about biology, physics and chemistry, for instance. • Jacqueline Rowarth is Professor of Agribusiness,University of Waikato.

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

Top Bleats view all damienoconnormp: I don’t want to be alarmist but I fear @ dcarterminister’s decision to pass the DIRA regulations without my amendment will see the end of Fonterra, NZ’s dairy industry and Country Calendar ever screening on television again. #ihatebeingirrelevant dcarterminister: Hey@damienoconnormp I don’t remember during the nine long years I was in Opposition that you ever agreeed to any of my amendments to any laws you passed? # bootisnowontheotherfoot henryfonterra: How does that tosspot @damienoconnormp get away with calling me a liar in Parliament? I’ve never been in Parliament! #gutlesswonder fonterrapr: It’s called parliamentary privilege @henryfonterra and it gives MPs licence to say anything defamatory about anyone without ever being sued. #itisajoke henryfonterra: Then I can say O’Connor and his Labour Party are about as much use to the New Zealand agriculture sector as tits are on a bull! #tellitlikeitis

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waynemcneempi: Okay we had a bit of a ‘mare, letting Psa into the country and all the damage done to the kiwifruit industry, but you can trust me when I say allowing fresh pork imports into New Zealand will present no risk to local pig farmers. #ithinksoanyway icarterporknz: Sure @waynemcnee, pig farmers have complete faith in MPI protecting our industry, given the job you’ve done previously in keeping out Psa, Queensland fruit fly, Asian gypsy moth and painted apple moth. #swisscheesebordersecuirty

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

24 opinion

Biosecurity needs to tighten up J OH N LA N CAS H IRE

THE EXTREMELY critical independent report by consultants Sapere Research, on how MAF (now MPI) handled the recent incursion of Psa-V disease of kiwifruit vines, must be one of the most damaging reports ever received by a government department in New Zealand. The good news is that MPI has said it will quickly implement the six recommendations. The report’s

points include: The ministry’s response to threats to vine health was ‘sub-standard’. Import requirements were deficient. The Ministry should have consulted more widely with Industry. Quarantine testing was unreliable. The Ministry should have moved faster to stop vine imports. A series of failures at the border allowed unauthorised imports. Unfortunately, MPI

director-general Wayne McNee and the Minister David Carter still insist we have a world-class biosecurity system. Recent costly incursions do not support this claim. We have the discovery of the Australian fruit fly which threatened our $3 billion horticultural export industry. It has been claimed by MPI that the discovery of one fruit fly proves the system is working . That’s a bit late and it has already cost $ 1.4 mil-

lion to search for other associated incursions. Many experts believe it most unlikely there was only one fly and that others may have died or gone into hibernation only to emerge when the weather warms up. Hopefully monitoring will continue for some months . Other recent expensive incursions include the Psa-V disease of kiwifruit vines which could cost the industry $450 million over five years and dozens of jobs.

The tomato /potato psyllid is costing the potato industry $60 million and its destruction of tamarillo orchards has been estimated at $100 million. Then we have the destructive varroa bee mite treatable only short term by miticide applications costing $50/hive/ year. Over the long term the cost of clover root weevil is probably millions of dollars because of lower quality feed and the need to

replace clover nitrogen with artificial nitrogen fertiliser . What has gone wrong? The signs are that we have been taking a softer line on biosecurity compared with, say, Australia. Why is it they have not got Psa-V, the varroa mite or the devastating pig viruses PRRS and PMWS? We do not have the pig viruses yet, but if the pork industry loses its appeal against MPI then raw pig meat will be allowed into

the country. MPI says there is only a slight risk. This response was also offered when it was suggested Psa-V could come in on pollen. In the light of massive threats to our primary sector from incursions this attitude is not acceptable .We have to harden up or our economy will be destroyed. • John Lancashire is immediate past president, NZ Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science.

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PHOSPHOROUS ADDICTION has arisen because of strong marketing by the phosphate industry. According to global soil science the essential plant requirement for P is 0.2%; single super at 9% would constitute a gross oversupply and is the reason why a government report said there is on average 1.7 tonne/ha of phosphate locked up in farming soils. Unlike guano, which carried a full array of macro minerals and trace elements, rock phosphate lacks trace elements. Apart from phosphorus and calcium it contains the heavy metals uranium, mercury, lead, cadmium and fluorine which are enhanced within the sulphuric acid process and when applied accumulate in our soils, water and food. Some rock phosphate deposits are advertised as uranium mines! With the import of 2.2 million tonnes of rock phosphate per year, this constitutes a huge carbon footprint when considering the toxic nature of this product when blended with sulphuric acid, not to mention our nuclear free stance. A Ruakura report in the publication ‘Fertilisers and soil in New Zealand farming’, bulletin # 409, page 53, states, “We have calculated that 1% is a very generous allowance for the remaining 9-10% of phosphorus in super phosphate available to plants as nutrients left after considering the losses from immobilisation, surface run-off and leaching.” What? Less than 1% is effective? Dr Arden Andersen, US medical doctor and agronomist, describes urea as the ‘cocaine of agriculture’. Research by Dr J. Fox, at the Centre for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Oregon, found that communication links between plants and nitrogen-fixing bacteria are damaged by use of excessive synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. This leads to less nitrogen being fixed naturally and increased reliance on synthetics. This means the more you use urea, the more you will need to use. In essence, agrichemicals are cutting the lines of communication between the host plant and the symbiotic bacteria that exist in the soil. The devastation of soil biology through the use of the chemical fertilisers and sprays is also destroying the natural recycling system on farms farm – where soil biology attracts worms and together they assist in managing nature’s recycling system. If you develop a ‘biological’ system on your farm, this live, living, soil will hold its ground and its minerals, increase soil carbon, build topsoil, improve plant and animal health and will bring health and vitality to everyone and assist in the compliance issues now facing your farm. • John Morris is managing director of Agrissentials and this is his own opinion and not that of Rural News.

Rural News // august 1, 2012

management 25

Governance is the key to succession


3 7.

5 2






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ety’s attitudes to women have changed, this is not always the case with farmers. There’s still a leaning towards the eldest male sibling taking over, she notes. “Farming is still a very physical business and farmers don’t like to see their daughters doing that rough tough job. They see them as ‘destined for better things’. “At the same time not many women are entering the space that they might be seen as the successor,” she adds. Issues such as the price of land, and in the case of dairy farming purchase of cooperative shares, pose particular challenges. Part of succession planning


A keynote speaker at the summit was Mandi Mcleod, a farm business consultant specialising in succession. She says there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and one of the biggest problems is the lack of skilled facilitators helping farmers put together a succession plan. Too often farmers go to lawyers or accountants to talk about ‘structures’ and fail to recognise the psychological impact of succession planning. “In New Zealand we don’t have lot of trained family business facilitators. Succession planning is such an emotionally charged process. The worst thing we can have is


“Farming is still a very physical business and farmers don’t like to see their daughters doing that rough tough job. They see them as ‘destined for better things’.”


people going in there with the best of intentions and failing because they don’t know how to deal with the psycho-social issues.” Effective communication is key. “It’s a well known fact that 60% of family businesses fail because of poor or non existent communications,” she points out. While in general soci-


Succession has never been easy, and today’s land prices and volatile commodity prices don’t help. Profitability does. “Even with this, it requires clever team work between the consultant, the solicitor, farm accountant and the facilitator to help the family address the issues in an appropriate manner.”

them. “I can understand that because it’s certainly neutral territory, there’s little chance of a walkout, and both parties are sitting there facing each other with nothing to hide.”


THE RIGHT form of governance is critical to good succession planning, says the organiser of a recent two-day summit on the subject held at Massey University. Tom Phillips, of Massey and Lincoln joint venture OneFarm, says farmers need to separate day to day operating of the farm and take a hard look at governance issues. “Governance is important because through the life of a farmer, their roles change,” he told Rural News. “When they start as a young 20-year-old on a farm they are very much involved learning the day to day business.” They then progress through the industry, for example in dairy through roles such as herd manager and sharemilker, and hopefully on to senior management, ownership and governance roles. At such senior levels it’s very important to step back and allow young people to come into the business. That needs to happen in good time, “not on the point of retirement, but well before that,” he stresses. Phillips says governance skills are generally learned by people’s involvement in sporting clubs, church or school. But he says quite often these skills don’t make it back onto the farm.

is identifying the potential successor and deciding whether they have the requisite skills. “Not only do they have to have the skills to manage the operational aspect of the farm but also to take the business forward and grow its assets and their share in the business.” But important as the business aspect it, the family must come first, says Mcleod. “You really need to answer the questions of needs, wants, fears and expectations and gain transparency around those with an innovative, legal solution.” The issue of structure has to be worked through. Many farms are in trusts, a structure perpetuated by the legal profession. They were established to avoid tax and to deal with potential relationship issues but neither are relevant reasons for trusts these days, she says. “Unfortunately, some people today view succession planning as means of avoiding tax.” As for where to start the discussion on succession planning, the kitchen table or other home spaces where people have their ‘power seats’ is not the place. A neutral territory, possibly an outside venue, is needed to give at least a perception of equality. McLeod says she’s heard of one couple who held their business meetings in their spa pool, which worked well for


Massey University’s recent summit on farm succession brought together experts from New Zealand and further afield. Peter Burke reports.

Family must come first in succession planning, says specialist Mandi McLeod.



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Rural News // august 1, 2012

26 management

The price of procrastination NOT TALKING about succession planning is not an acceptable strategy, says business and financial consultant Joan Baker. Baker’s book, ‘Your Last Fencepost’, warns there’s a real price to pay for not dealing with this issue at an early stage. “Young people get fed up and say dad’s never

going to hand over the farm so they head off to town to be a lawyer or an accountant or whatever. Assumptions are made that are never clarified and this can blow families apart,” she says. It’s the so-called ‘soft issues’ that are so often the problem: what people want and care about; their

hopes for the future; or whatever they’re worried about. Another key issue is what will the older couple do when they give up the farm? That’s a real blockage to successful succession, says Baker. “Young people are more open, but the current succession issue is

with an older generation who hasn’t generally been used to having these conversations. Yet the conversations are fundamental.” She believes it’s never too early to start the discussion. “Start talking to your children as early as you can about the farm life and your dreams for the

future. And don’t forget to ask them about theirs. “I think that starts with little kids in the high chair around the kitchen table and progresses over the years. Everybody who’s in anyway involved in a farming business needs to understand its history, how it works, and the options for the future.

Joan Baker

“That’s not about obligating them to stay on the farm: it’s simply about saying you can’t progress this in ignorance.

The more talking that’s done all along the way, the easier it is to resolve issues and they are not being stored off as time bomb.”

Dream job? Seeing the quadcopter in action at Massey lit up the eyes of many a farmer, and journalist, but Irwin says it took a while before he dare fly the $10,000 machine for real. “I practised for ages in the simulator before I started flying at the rugby paddock. Initially, I was just getting it up 5m off the ground and landing again.” The UAV is very fast and has to be flown within sight of the operator. Irwin says a homing-type device can bring it back but it’s demanding flying and 30 minutes is about the limit before he needs a break. But UAVs have many advantages over conventional aircraft such as speed of image processing/download and ability to fly low and slow over target areas, producing better pictures. Mark Irvine with the quadcopter.

in brief Pasture pics from space Satellite imagery to monitor pasture growth and other farm activity works well in Australia but is hampered by cloud cover here, says AgResearch’s Warren King. Some Australian case studies in the ‘pastures from space’ project point to gross margin increases of $20-$60/ha/year thanks to the technology. A possible solution for New Zealand is radar imaging as cloud cover is irrelevant but image resolution, cost, and frequency of satellite passes are still issues to be resolved. In the meantime they’re looking at remote sensing from aircraft, manned or not. “There are all sorts of off-the-shelf sensors that are available.”

Rural News // august 1, 2012

management 27

Eye in sky tools promise gains PETER BURKE

A SEA change in the way New Zealand is farmed could result from data gathered by unmanned aerial vehicles, satellites or aircraft, says a leading precision agriculture academic. Ian Yule is professor of precision agriculture at Massey University and a passionate believer in the benefits that technology from the air can deliver to farmers on the ground, particularly in hill country, as visitors to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s recent science day at the University found out. “The aerial view can show us the variability of an individual farm. Some of our hill country farms are highly variable and that variability is economically important. Often you’ll have areas where there is low ME or protein and other areas where the nutrition is so much better. If you have that helicopter view, the type of question you might be asking yourself is what types of stock class should I be putting on these various areas?” With dairying taking over traditional finishing country, such information can be valuable on hill properties looking to finish more lambs. Yule says it’s harder to see some things on the ground than it is from the air, and new aerial technologies offer some ‘instant’ and more cost effective answers than ground sampling practices. “Wet chemistry as we call it is expensive and less

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effective than the [image analysis] technologies we are now developing.” Potentially huge financial rewards lie in linking pasture quality and fertiliser use more closely, he believes. “There has been a lot of scientific evidence that says we should be putting on different fertilisers in different situations but that’s been tactically too difficult to do. Now we think we’ve got the equipment on the plane that will allow us to do that.” At the science day, Massey’s Matt Irwin demonstrated a small but highly effective unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called a quadcopter. It carries a digital camera capable of recording high resolution images of pasture. It’s the sort of tool that brings

out the boy in the man but it’s no toy at $10,000 plus, and is tricky to fly. Nonetheless, it’s a specialist tool whose time is coming, says Irwin. Yule believes such UAV’s will be offered to farmers as a service much like scanning. “In the past people have tended to go for the technologies that suit the easier type of terrain. That’s why getting things up in the air is so good because we are not limited by areas that we can travel on by wheeled vehicles.” Farmers may also have handheld devices they can take around the farm to make regular, in situ, checks on pasture quality, which would be much better than making judgments by eye, or waiting weeks for lab results, he

adds. “There is certainly an appetite for the information. I think that farmers can see that they can get it easily and realise that they could use it to improve their productivity. “We have to look at ways of making the technology easy to use, and show farmers that it will give them that information easily, quickly and at reasonable cost and with a reasonable return.” Raising awareness of the possibilities is a priority. “I think it’s just one of the most promising fields of research in agriculture. It’s something I want to put a lot of time into in the next five to seven years because I believe this could really change the way that we farm.”

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28 animal health

Call for farm dog checks MY LAST article obviously struck a cord with a lot of you if the phone calls and emails were anything to go on, and it also appears that a lot of people are concerned about the welfare of farm dogs. I am compelled to write a brief account about an incident that happened recently. I was driving into Taihape the other day, and passed a dog tied beside the road; the owner was working in the yards nearby. I noticed that the dog was thin, but didn’t stop as I was pressed for time. When returning some time later, I thought if it was still there, I would stop and investigate. He was, so I did. I was horrified. Over the years I have seen many very skinny farm dogs, but this was the worst case; it surpassed all others. The dog was a living skeleton. The owner came over, and I told him that I realised it was a very old dog but it was skin and bone. He answered that it was 12, he loved it, but couldn’t bring himself to put it down. We had a calm, polite discussion about the dog and I also pointed out

that his other dogs were too thin. In a nutshell his excuses were that he had brought the old retired dog out for a change of scenery and his other dogs had been working hard for the last couple of weeks. Did he not think to feed them more? If you loved a dog it wouldn’t be in that state. Either it was being starved, or it had a serious health problem, in which case you wouldn’t leave it tied to the fence for hours on a cold Taihape day. If you couldn’t put it down yourself the local vet or dog control officer would – the dog lived fairly close to town. I flew home, grabbed my camera and went back as I need a photo of an emaciated farm dog for the odd article: pictures speak louder than words. Amazingly he had the brains to remove the dog and I didn’t get my photo. To cut a long story short, I rang the council, spoke to a dog control officer, made a formal complaint and requested that someone check that particular dog, the other dogs and the kennels. A week later I phoned back to hear

the outcome. I spoke to a different officer, who had the wrong end of the stick, thought it had all been sorted, and checked it off the ‘to do’ list. No one had done anything. I couldn’t believe it. And I wondered where all the thousands of Rangitikei dollars, from dog registration, went. I was told dog control, and when I questioned why farmers had to pay for an urban problem, he then explained that there was also a lot of unpublished, under the table, stock worrying on farms that he sorts. What shower did he think I came down in? This experience has been ‘the last straw on this camel’s back’ and I am going to try to do something. No longer am I for abolishing farm-dog registration: I would like to see a standard fee throughout New Zealand for all working dogs. It is ludicrous that each council decides what it is going to charge and that it varies so much. The figure must be fair and reasonable and proceeds would pay for

annual visits to each farm checking the welfare of the dogs concerned. There are dogs out there desperately needing help. Something must be done.

• Anna Holland is teaching people dog training. See or Ph 06 3881318 or annaholland@xtra.

Holland’s 11-year-old retired huntaway Maude, but some dogs aren’t so lucky.

Rural News // august 1, 2012

animal health 29

Yoghurt saves milk and calves a n d r ew swal low

DAIRY COOPERATIVE Westland says its do-ityourself EasiYo yoghurt kits could be a boon in the calf shed. “There are a number of web links endorsing yoghurts as a great supplement for calves, especially in the first few weeks after birth,” notes the co-operative’s farm liaison, Wayne Climo. “It helps to avoid scours and encourages weight gain.” His suggestion has the support of longtime calf rearing guru, independent vet Bas Schouten. “It’s a natural preservative provided you don’t get the wrong bacteria in there,” he told Rural News. It’s particularly handy as a method of preserving colostrum which, unless sold, is in surplus to the tune of a 100 L or more from every cow until milk is fit for tanker collection. “That colostrum has to be looked after so it is drinkable. In Europe they freeze it but here our volumes are too great to do that.” Commercial colostrum keepers work well, but are expensive compared to a sachet of yoghurt starter which is about $4 in the shops. “Mix it into 20 L of colostrum and leave it somewhere like the

kitchen overnight to get it started, and you’ll have 20 L of yoghurt by the morning.” That initial culture can then be added to a bulk colostrum tank or drum to ‘yoghurtise’. Provided the drum is kept cool, clean, and stirred twice a day to aerate the mix, it will keep for a month or more, he says. “If you use a hand stirrer do not let it touch the ground,” stresses Schouten. “You do not want any soil bacteria or dirt getting in that milk.” The yoghurt bacteria lactobacillus and acidophilus drop the pH to 5 or below, helping preserve the milk. Once in the gut they “crowd out” any harmful bacteria, preventing them multiplying on the gut wall and making the calf sick. “The other good thing about yoghurt is it contains lovely B vitamins. They’re very useful in building blood and gut functions.” Schouten does take issue with Westland’s suggestion of leaving about 10% of each day’s yoghurtised milk in the calfeteria to act as innoculant for the next batch. “Leaving milk in the calfeteria is crazy because every bug and bird can get at it.... That’s pushing the envelope too far.” To inoculate further

batches of milk or colostrum, take a scoop from an already yoghurtised batch and add it to the new lot, he advises. EasiYo is offering a starter kit at $16.50 delivered to farm, half the normal online price, until the end of August.

CMR formulations can be given the yoghurt treatment too, says vet Bas Schoutern.

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

30 animal health

Time to rethink worm tests? A NDREW SWA LLOW

SHOULD WE forget faecal egg counting and target worm treatment by animal performance instead? That’s the controversial argument Lincoln University scientists Andy

Greer and Andrew Sykes put to the New Zealand Society of Animal Production conference at Lincoln last month. Their paper, published in the society’s latest proceedings, suggests the advent of EID weighing

systems capable of rapidly recording individual animal performance means there’s a case for abandoning FEC and its often-overlooked limitations. “From time to time technological advances

provide an opportunity to rejuvenate our approach to what is considered ‘normal’ farming practice.... Such an opportunity has arisen in recent years with the widespread availability of electronic recording of livestock and automated weighing and drafting systems.” FEC has “known but often-overlooked complexities and technical limitations that can severely impact the interpretation of a result,” they warn. For

Andy Greer

example, feed intake and density of faeces is generally not taken into account as results are expressed in eggs per gram. Conse-

quently lambs with apparently identical FEC results may be pumping out four times more eggs than others. Similarly, the FEC of lambs all shedding a million eggs/day can vary fourfold (see table). Greer and Sykes cite previous work where different feeds, such as sainfoin hay or grazed lotus, reduced FEC compared to results off grass, but note the difference is largely explained by changes in drymatter intake.

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“In both these examples, reliance on FEC alone may provide a false indication of any anti-parasitic properties of the plant,” they warn. In addition, what they call “the ubiquitous reduction in voluntary feed intake” caused by worms can vary from 10% to 90%, even in subclinical infections. Greater reductions in feed intake for a given worm burden will result in higher FEC counts owing to greater concentration of eggs per gram of faeces. Then there’s the fact different worm species produce eggs at different rates, and even within species eggs shed per female worm may vary substantially. “These differences in [worm] fecundity mean that interpretation of nematode egg counts is heavily reliant on knowl-

Rural News // august 1, 2012

animal health 31

What’s inside: beware the limitations of FEC results, say scientists.

edge of species... Given the cost and specialist skills required for species differentiation, this is rarely attempted.” Immune development of the host animal also influences eggs shed. “As such, FEC is unlikely to provide a reliable indicator of the actual worm burden in animals older than four months.” Similarly, resilient animals may pump out high FECs while performing well, yet resistant stock, with low FECs, under-perform. The influence of intake and faecal density on FEC also undermines faecal egg count reduction testing (FECRT) as a tool to determine worm drenchresistance status because current protocols don’t account for the likely rapid restoration of feed intake of parasitised animals following anthelmintic treatment. “Unfortunately, there are relatively few alternatives to FECRT for the determination of anthelmintic resistance status.” It’s that lack of alternatives – to reduction tests or simply the practice of faecal egg counting itself –

that make Greg Mirams, of Dunedin-based Techion, argue FEC is still a valuable tool. “This debate is not new and the reality is we don’t have a perfect tool... but there are not a lot of alternatives,” he told Rural News. “We know the faecal egg reduction test has holes in it but we are leading the world in this. Our Drench Smart programme is seen as the benchmark in Europe.” The key point with FECRT results is not to get too hung up on precise numbers, but rather to band results into three categories, a bit like traffic lights: a green result is the drench works; the amber warning signal is the middle ground where there’s some control, but it’s incomplete; and the red is complete failure. “We know the test isn’t sensitive enough to work to individual percentage points but we are extremely confident in its level of repeatability.” With straight FEC results, they shouldn’t be used as a standalone measure of whether to drench or not, but as part of the decision process taking

New test coming Mirams says a new faecal egg testing system will be launched later this year by Techion in conjunction with Menixis Ltd. Menixis is a new technology development company part owned by Techion and the University of Otago. “Most people are using a test that’s been around 50-60 years at the moment.” The new test promises to be easier for farmers to use and will come with a higher level of decision making support around the results.

Greg Mirams

into account other factors such as stock class, feed supply, even labour. They also need to be done regularly and well to build a reliable picture of what’s happening. Mirams says individual animal performance measurement, as Greer and Sykes propose, has a place in parasite management, but like FEC it should be part of a suite of informa-

Trees as welfare tool IT’S TIME to talk trees and shelterbelts, says Waikato Regional Council sustainable agriculture coordinator, Bala Tikkisetty. Bad weather is a key cause of animal suffering and providing shelter where none naturally exists is one of the few things farmers can do to help stop it, he says. “Planting a shelterbelt of trees is clearly a good longer term option... It’s commonsense that reducing

tion for decision making, rather than a standalone determinant. In practice, few farms are able to record such details yet, he adds. Greer acknowledged to Rural News the tone of the NZSAP paper is “deliberately provocative” but doesn’t believe the “abandonment of FEC” is a dangerous message to have promulgated. “The main reason for it was to highlight some of those limitations [with FEC] but we can’t do that without offering a ‘where to from here’.... Our objective was to get people thinking about this and discussing it. “You’ve got to think about what FEC can actually tell you.”

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

32 animal health

Breed to beat barber’s pole West Virginia University assistant professor Scott Bowdridge with some St Croix sheep. Photo by Lindsay Willey

US SHEEP farmers enjoying all-time high lamb and wool prices face a devastating threat from increasingly unstoppable

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Bowdridge. “It’s a huge, huge problem.” Haemonchus contortus, also known as red stomach worm, wire worm or barber’s pole worm, is responsible for anaemia, bottle jaw, and the deaths of infected sheep. Bowdridge believes he has the answer to widespread anthelmintic

a super-charged immune response. The problem is they have little to no commercial value in the US at present, so he’s looking at cross-breeding with commercial breeds to see if the immune response is heritable, and to discover what it is in their genes that makes the immune system so robust.

“The St Croix sheep launch an immediate, very aggressive attack on any parasite that enters their system.” resistant strains: St Croix hair sheep. He’s landed a US$150,000 (NZ$189,150) US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to research the idea. “The St Croix can clear it themselves in five weeks after the infection. They throw everything they have at it.” The St Croix, also known as the Virgin Island White, is believed to have descended from the hair sheep of west Africa. Some think it is a cross of the Wiltshire Horn and the native Criollo. In 1975, 25 Virgin Island White sheep – 22 ewes and three rams – were selected in St Croix and imported into the US. US St Croix ewes today average 54kg and rams 74kg. Lambing rate varies from 150% to 200% with two lambings a year not uncommon. Bowdridge says they’re a tropical breed developed under constant exposure to parasites, resulting in

“The St Croix sheep launch an immediate, very aggressive attack on any parasite that enters their system, and you don’t see that response in commercial breeds.” Bowdridge is also looking for the chemical and protein signals that trigger the St Croix’s response, with a view to using the knowledge to develop a way to “wake up” domestic sheep’s immune response to barber’s pole. If he’s successful in that, the plan is to work with private industry to develop dietary supplements that will trigger a similar boost in commercial sheep. Barber’s pole has adapted to countries with colder winters, with scientists from Britain and Scandinavia reporting serious problems. Bowbridge says degree of anaemia can be used as an indicator for drenching, treatment being necessary when an animal’s lower eyelid goes from blood-red to very pink or pale.

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machinery & products 33

Case IH’s new Puma CVT set to purr FARM WORK rates are optimised by a raft of technical features and operating benefits in a new tractor from Case IH NZ Operations. The Puma CVT standard wheelbase (SWB) series, “highly productive and versatile, [has] everything needed to handle daily tasks – simplicity, productivity, economy and comfort,” says Case IH NZ. The SWB Puma CVT is powered by common-rail electronic-ignition diesel engines with outputs between 131 hp (96kW) and 160 hp (118kW). All have selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to comply with Tier 4a emissions rules. Not yet in force in New Zealand for new tractors,

these rules have applied since 2011 in Europe and the US. Features include: Power growth of an extra 21hp gives 10% extra performance available by throttling back to 1800/1900rpm. Engine power management gains as much as 38hp extra – up to 23% higher performance available when driving faster than 15km/h and in PTO applications. Constant engine speed allows the engine revs to be programmed to two different values for specific applications; whether powering PTO, draft or hydraulic operations the speed will be constant regardless of load. Constant power range

Available on all Case IH Puma series tractors, CVT (constantly variable transmission) continually adjusts for best balance of power and fuel efficiency.

gives the tractor the same performance at 1500rpm as at rated speed; this allows the operator to

throttle back for higher fuel efficiency without compromising productivity. Low engine revs while driving at road speed. Service intervals of 600 hours, said to be the longest in the industry. The Case IH CVX transmission series embodies the maker’s “next generation of

CVT technology, already positively reviewed in many regions of the globe,” the company says. The machine has DKT double-clutch technology for best transmission efficiency, giving “a smooth ride and best-in-class fuel and power efficiency.” Case IH NZ also claims for the SWB Puma CVT “best-in-class hydraulics with a hitch lift capacity of up to 8257kg.” Hydraulics running at 140L/min. make for responsive on-board systems and remote-controlled machinery. Up to eight remote valves (five rear, three mid-mounted) can be supplied. Case IH will later this

year launch the reat of the latest Puma series – standard wheelbase full powershift (130, 145, 160) and long wheelbase CVT (170, 185, 200, 215, 230) and

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

34 machinery & products Dealers see the best of Europe EIGHTEEN FARM machinery dealers from New Zealand recently saw the latest and best of the Lely brand at the company’s European field days. They were among 900 international visitors who attended Lely’s World Wide Field Days at Fribourg in Switzerland. The dealers saw first-hand some of the latest Lely products launched worldwide and due for release in New Zealand by the end of 2013.

The group also visited a large Lely dealer in Germany before heading to the Netherlands to visit the Tulip factory to see how the Tulip Multidisc is made, followed by field demonstrations. New products unveiled at the field days included the latest Tigo XR combi loader/silage transport wagons. These will be available in three models: the Lely Tigo XR 65 Tandem axle, Lely Tigo XR 75 Tandem axle and the Lely Tigo

XR 100 Tridem. Other Lely releases included a new line of trailed mower-conditioners, for example, the Splendimo PC330 with a working width of 3.25m. Also launched was the Lotus 1250 with a working width of 12.5m which completes their line-up of tedders from 3 to 15 m. Lely also completes its range of central-delivery rakes in addition to the latest Lely Hibiscus CD 745 and CD 915 Vario launched late last year.

The Lely Hibiscus range of central delivery rakes will then comprise of the 715, 745, 815 915, 1015, as well as a new 1515 quad rake in 2013. Concluding the Lely World Wide

Field Days, the company presented the third generation of the variable chamber baler – the Lely Welger RP 545. Tel. 07 850 4050

earlybird mower madness sale! UFO 2070W The UFO 2070W. What else can be said that hasn’t already been said. This iconic 2.1m cut Swingback mower is renowned for it’s robustness, dependability and it’s honest ability to get the job done. At this price, get in quick. UsUally $8,450 + GsT

NOW: $7,250 + GsT

Linden Forbes

Cab control for precision sprayer

UFO 2400 With it’s 2.4 m cut, 2 drum / 8 double edged blades, the UFO 2400 delivers long periods of low cost operation. The work-horse on the farm and absolutely bullet-proof. UsUally $9,450 + GsT

NOW: $7,995 + GsT

UFO 2400HL With a height adjustment from 25 to 110mm, the UFO 2400HL also has the convenience of a hydraulic lift operation for speedy work. 2.4m cut. UsUally $10,995 + GsT

NOW: $9,850 + GsT UFO 3400 The BIG BROTHER to the rest of the UFO mower range. The 3400 Trailed mower, with it’s 4 heavy duty construction rotors, makes light work under most agricultural conditions. With a 3.4m cut, this mighty mower is packed full of useful features. UsUally: $20,950 + GsT

NOW: $18,250 + GsT RD Disc mOWeRs What you see here is the best valued disc mower range on the market today. And that’s according to our RD Disc mower owners. A world renowned cutter bar and a rock solid headstock makes this one-hell-of-a-New Zealand made-mower! RD 2800 (2.8m cut): Usually: $13,995 + GsT NOW: $11,895 + GsT RD 3200 (3.2m cut): Usually: $14,995 + GsT NOW: $12,749 + GsT

Contact your nearest Reese UFO Dealer for more information. All prices are exclusive of GST and freight. Other UFO models are also available throughout this promotion. Promotion Ends 31 August 2012.

A NEW 3-point linkage sprayer from Hardi allows the operator to stay in the tractor cab during spraying, and to expect less of the downtime sometimes suffered by booms during travel. So said Hardi New Zealand and Australia operations manager Linden Forbes, launching the NK1000 12m, 1000L sprayer at National Fieldays. Faster spraying and more control is the company’s offer. More farmers are moving towards spray units controllable from the tractor cab, Forbes says. The NK1000 is a 200L expansion of the company’s1 popular NK800 model, added to the line-up on customers’ promptings about a unit with a bigger tank. The machine’s 12m individually folding hydraulic boom “gives farmers control over what they spray and what they don’t spray,” Forbes says. “If you’ve got a tree you can just fold up one side of the boom and keep on spraying. Or if you’re in a smaller paddock you can just partially fold out the booms and spray the smaller area.” While the NK1000 has been available several months in Australia, Forbes said Hardi wanted to make sure it was ready for the New Zealand market before launching it here. “We’ve just got them out of the container for Fieldays.” The New Zealand model – unlike the Australian – is designed to avert boom damage that happens typically here during road travel, Forbes says. “Most damage gets done when the spray unit gets transported from one job to another. It’s too easy for booms folded down to be damaged by the sideways rocking of the vehicle on the road.” Rubber bushes on the hydraulics hold the boom snug on the road. At 900kg the unit robust enough to handle New Zealand’s rugged conditions, Forbes says. Dimensions are 1.53m × 2.53m × 0.270m. The NK1000 sits close to the tractor and has a low center of gravity. The deep sump allows emptying on steep slopes.

Rural News // august 1, 2012

machinery & products 35

Ideally suited for NZ farm conditions MANITOU’S NEW rough-terrain telehandler, model MLT 840-137 (replacing the MLT 741-120) turns in 3.98m, carries 4000kg, and will tip 3 tonnes into a 4.5m-high trailer. Its boom allows carrying loads up to 7.55m in height with 800mm of offset. Distributor Manitou Agriculture (AB Equipment) says the MLT 840-137’s capabilities “ideally suit New Zealand farm conditions.” Power comes from a 137hp John Deere 4.5L engine (Tier 4-stage 3B) and a 180L/min. variable flow hydraulic pump. The cooling system controls fan speed automatically according to engine temperature, saving fuel and the environment. Manitou’s JSM hydraulic controls speed the hydraulic operation by diverting oil to all functions simultaneously to provide a quicker and more responsive hydraulic operation, the company says. The JSM allows forward or reverse movement while doing multiple tasks in unison – safely and efficiently. The machine’s new 5-speed M-Shift gearbox is smoothchanging in all situations. Power shift auto is standard. Cab comfort is superb, Manitou says: “a machine that not only looks good internally and externally, but is intended for maximum operator well-being. The driving area [maximizes] productivity and comes with a pneumatic cloth seat, air conditioning, rear view mirror and a

CD/ MP3 player. Other features include an easy-connect hydraulic system, a radiator auto-cleaning system, a manual accelerator, and an interactive digital dashboard. A large window area, lateral engine, low boom pivot and high seating position give 360 degrees visibility, guaranteeing safety of those inside and out. Tel. 021 653 956

Simba offers you the very best examples of minimum tillage equipment available today. Simba X-press Range • Incorporate stubble in a reduced cultivation system • Work down ploughing in a more conventional system • Pro-active suspension provides individual leg protection • Gang angle adjustment enables both primary and finishing roles

3m Mounted X-press with ST Bar

Conditons Apply

Trailed X-press 4.6m, 5.5m and 6.6m




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







The mounted X-press (1750kg) can be used in conjunction with an ST Bar to working depths up to 250mm

Croplands’ Rob Marshall pictured with the 1600l model.

LINKAGE SPRAYERS new from Croplands include Bargam (Italy) 1200L MEC and 1600L Super models. The 1200L model has “clever” integrated hydraulic boom height adjustment, high capacity pumps, electric controls, flushing tanks, clothes/tool holder, tank agitators and a range of hydraulic folding booms – priced to impress, the company says. The 1600L has a “class leading frame”, Croplands says, and will carry either forward-folding or new vertical-folding boom, up to 30m. Other standard features on the Super include electric or auto rate controllers, hydraulic height adjuster, flushing tanks, chemical induction hopper, integrated plumbing controls and an A-frame quick hitch. Options for all models include the Raven Envisio-pro GPS integrated rate controller with auto section control, 1100L front mounted tanks for additional capacity, continuous boom circulation and auto boom height.



• Available in a mounted 3m configuration or a series of trailed units

Clever linkage


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


Power Farming Manawatu Wairarapa Machinery Brian Miller Truck & Tractor Tractor Repairs & Spares Power Farming West Coast Power Farming Canterbury Power Farming Ashburton Power Farming Timaru Peter Watt Machinery Power Farming Otago Power Farming Gore Power Farming Invercargill

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Rural News // august 1, 2012

36 machinery & products

Fendt’s latest model sits in mid-range NEW FROM Fendt is a compact mid-horsepower (70-110hp) tractor with CVT (continuously variable transmission) – the first in this power segment offering such transmission.

The series is called Vario 200 and it integrates this respected manufacturer‘s high-horsepower technology into a tractor that’s manoeuvrable and compact height-wise. It suits many tasks.

Notable design features are a cooling system for extremes and good hill safety. Power comes from a newly developed, watercooled 3-cylinder engine from AGCO Sisu Power

(Finland), designed with Fendt engineers. The engine has 3.3 L capacity and is Tier 3 emissions compliant. The ‚short‘ design of the 3-cylinder engine allows for a new cooling

Manage your own fertiliser programme with

Tow and Fert

fine particle and liquid suspended

slurry mixer and applicator

- Mix and apply animal health products - Mix and apply fine particle fertiliser - Mix and apply dissolved fertiliser - Mix and apply soil conditioners - Up to 24 metre swath (with boom extensions) - Fully remote control spray and boom operation - On-board weigh scales for accurate filling/operation

Have Flexibility

The Tow and Fert offers flexibility in your busy schedule to apply products you know and want, in a timely and effective manner. Don’t wait until you have 60 hectares to spray and call in a bulk spreader - the Tow and Fert allows you to mix and apply any product at any time.

unit without sacrificing the compact design, Fendt says. It has large intakes to reduce the amount of dirt in the radiator and so give best cooling under extreme conditions. The air filter’s cyclone precleaner extends filter life and makes for less maintenance. The engine has speedindependent common-rail high-pressure injection and all-electronic engine control. Hill safety benefits from a low centre of gravity, optional front axle suspension and anti-roll control. Suiting row-cropping are the Vario 200’s low weight and large steering angle. For specialty operations or when harvesting vegetables, the transmission allows optimum ground speed adjustment to match the conditions. And for loader work there are generous glass areas, standard roof window and compact chasis, plus the maker‘s matching front loader, all good for tight spaces. Fendt says at least 120,000 of its tractors with Vario transmissions have been working since 1995. Now the transmission has been adapted

to the size and „special needs“ of the compacts. The transmission has only one driving range for working speeds from 20m/h to 40km/h, including stepless, wear-free reversing. Top speed is achieved at 1750 rpm. There are no gear steps and ground speed can be adjusted to any kind of work independent of the engine speed, allowing an increase of up to 10% in productivity with a marked drop in fuel use. Acceleration is 0-40km/h in only seven seconds. The maker’s tractor management system (TMS), used in the other Vario ranges, sharpens fuel economy. It controls the engine and transmission: ground speed is selected with the accelerator pedal, then engine speed and transmission settings are automatically adjusted for best economy. Controls are nifty: the VarioStick integrates them all in one – main gearshift lever, range lever and crawler gear lever. Any desired speed from 20m/h to 40km/h can be adjusted continuously, no changing levers.


Be In Control

Like being in control? If you like the concept behind slurry, dissolved or bio fertilisers but want to know how many kg/ha of nutrient you are getting on your pastures and want to guarantee timely applications then call to organise a no-obligation demonstration of the Tow and Fert, then you can make your own mind up!

Save Money

The Tow and Fert’s multi role ability means you will be saving money in fertiliser, application costs, timely application of animal health trace elements, application of herbicides (thistle, dock spray etc) while simultaneously applying lime, urea etc.

Call us today on 0508 747 040 Proudly manufactured by: Metalform (Dannevirke) Ltd, Easton Street, Dannevirke 4930, New Zealand Ph: 06 374 7043 | Fax: 06 374 9316 | Email: | Web:

• Unique lead up race helps loading by 15% • Power draw 3-5 amps • No belt tensioning • No belt slippage • Fully sealed electrical system • Full length foot stop/start bar on both sides • Adjustable speed • Tare weight 400kg

Ask us about our trailer options

CALL STUART ON 0274 387 528 124 Lincoln Road, Masterton Email:

Leaders in farm machinery design

Rural News // august 1, 2012

machinery & products/motoring 37

Earth mover makes short work of jobs A 5.4M Landplane made by Newman Engineering, Dargaville, has made short work of cultivation for Waitoa dairy farmer Brendon Mulgrew. Mulgrew grows 20ha of turnips each year as a supplement and says the Landplane not only allowed him to work up soil for planting but also re-contour it for better drainage. Mulgrew commissioned the 5.4m Landplane after using his brother-in-law’s 3.05m model and deciding he needed something that could work across a larger area. “The old man says bigger is better so I asked for it,” says Mulgrew. Mulgrew’s Landplane is the largest the company has made and the biggest commercially available in New Zealand says Newman Engineering managing director John Bishop. The unit has an effective width of 5.4m when fully extended but a travelling width of 3.2m. The remaining 2.2m is made up by wings either side controlled by hydraulic arms which allow the Landplane to be transported on the road without the use of flags or a pilot vehicle. Having folding wings also means the operator can choose how much of the machine he uses,

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Poland Motors Ltd

343 Rodney Street, Wellsford 09 423 7788

Blue Red McIndoe Group Motorcycles 44 Waitete Rd, Te Kuiti GReeN 07 878 5026 Can-Am, Commander 231 Manukau Rd, Pukekohe 09 237 0490

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THE VOLVO XC90 doesn’t look dated despite being a 10-year-old design. It set the benchmark for the family-friendly SUV when it launched in 2002 and was such a strong design in every respect, little has been changed over the years. Rural News drove the current model – due soon for replacement – in its sportiest form: the R-Design version. R-Design brings bigger alloys, stiffer suspension, R-Design exterior trim and sporty leather interior, and dual exhaust. The latter looks great but makes the 5-cylinder turbo-diesel too noisy for a luxury SUV and the chunky 19-inch wheels and sports suspension compromise the ride quality, so we wouldn’t tick the ‘R’ option box. Otherwise though the XC90 remains the same great luxury family wagon that created the niche since

Volvo’s XC90 remains a great luxury family wagon.

populated by the Ford Territory, Hyundai Santa Fe and many others. It boasts lots of interior space, versatile seating arrangements, cup holders and storage spaces everywhere and unassailable active and passive safety features. On-road manners are good rather than great, but it’s not a sports car and does what it was designed to do. The engine is willing and effort-

less thanks to 420Nm of torque and a 6-speed automatic, the only distraction being the loud exhaust. The sports exhaust probably better suits the 6-cylinder petrol version. The level of specification is high regardless of the model variant selected (Executive for luxury, R-Design for sport) as you’d expect for $89,990. Good value and still a great looking, functional design.



South Auckland Motors

6 Carnegie Road, Napier 06 842 0010

ada m f ricker

Tel. 09 439 5065

BRP/Can-am SSV dealer team

Bay Motorcycles

The 5.4m Landplane has made short work of cultivation for Waitoa dairy farmer Brendon Mulgrew.

says Mulgrew, making it useful in situations where a wider implement is not necessary. “The beaut part is that the wings fold up out of the road if you don’t need them so you don’t shift as much dirt.” While tractors with 200hp or greater are recommended Mulgrew says he has been able to use the Landplane behind his 195hp machine. “It can shift so much dirt that it stalls the tractor but it’s just a case of setting the hydraulics right.” The Landplane can also be used to clear and level drain tailings, repair pugged land, level silage stacks, reduce hillside cattle ruts and repair farm tracks. And Mulgrew says he is impressed with how quickly it was able to get metal spread on farm races.

Strong design endures

FROM $19,274 ex GST

New Can Am Commander BRP/Can-am SSV dealer team Poland Motors Ltd 343 Rodney Street, Wellsford (09) 423 7788

South Auckland Motors 231 Manukau Rd, Pukekohe 09 237 0490

McIndoe Group Motorcycles 44 Waitete Rd, Te Kuiti (07) 8785026

Hewitts Motorcycles

27 High Street, Dannervirke (06) 374 7701

Taranaki Motorcycles 337 Broadway, Stratford (06) 765 6942

Dwains Service Centre

7 Northumberland Street, Tapanui (03) 204 8455

Marlborough Trials Centre

53 Grove Road, Mayfield, Blenheim (03) 579 2500

Hubbards Machinery

247 Alford Forest Rd, Ashburton (03) 3083539

Taranaki Motorcycles

337 Broadway, Stratford 06 765 6942

VOTe YellOW!

Moto Shop

4 Chapel Street, Masterton 06 377 0443


Hubbards Machinery

247 Alford Forest Rd, Ashburton 03 308 3539

Blue Red Dwains Service Centre 7 Northumberland Street, Tapanui GReeN 03 204 8455 Can-Am, Commander


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from $19,274 ex GST Can-Am SSV Lineu

Rural News // august 1, 2012

38 rural trader Electric FARM 4X4

Check out our new websites

Low Maintenance Cost Demo from authorised dealers

Follow-up coming on

Rubber Safety Matting • ATV Carrier Mats • Exit/Entry Areas • Calf Trailers • Horse Floats & Trucks • Weigh Platforms • Bale Mats • Comfort Mats for Wet & Dry Areas • Utility Deck Matting

Phone: 0800 80 8570 Weatherstations, unusual gifts and science support for over 40 years...


NZ’s finest BioGro certified Mg fertiliser For a delivered price call... 0800 436 566



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Phone: 04 384 7683 • Fax: 04 384 7689 Email: 5 Swan Lane (off Cuba Street) PO Box 9254, Wellington 6141

Ph: 03-387 0794 or see our website

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FARM BOOTS KIWI MADE FOR 3 GENERATIONS Yardmate Soft Toe. This is designed for heavy duty uses and is perfect for fencers, high country farmers and hunters walking through tough, rugged, country. With an upper constructed from thick full grain leather, a leather insole and mid-sole, which is stitched and screwed to a cleated rubber repairable sole. A tough heel counter for better ankle support and a full bellows tongue for greater water tightness, this boot will handle the tough environment. Yardmate also available in Steel toe. Sizes 4-15 including half sizes. Tussock Soft Toe Triple/Single Hob Nail, Reverse Kip. This boot is designed for heavy duty use on high country farms and over alpine terrain. This boot will handle tough environments. With an upper constructed from reverse kip leather, a tough heel counter for better ankle support and a full bellows tongue for greater water tightness. A leather insole and triple bend leather runners, with a stitched and screwed construction and heel and toe plates. Triple or single Hob nails. Tricounis available with tungsten tipped teeth. Tussock made to order only. Sizes 4-15 including half sizes.

Visit or for more quality products


• Faster, easier wash up! • Non toxic, Hygenically approved • Long lasting finish • Withstands pressure hosing • Resists deterioration from daily use • Can be applied to walls and floors



Phone 06 272 8544

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Phone 07 573 8512 •

Multi-Terrain Vehicle

14 Riverbank Rd, Otaki

Contact us for more information

• The magic eye sheepjetter since 1989 NEW • Quality construction and options M ODEL • Get the contractors choice • Direct from the manufacturer • Efficient application and unequalled cost savings

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■ Range up to 70km ■ Top speed 45kmh ■ Hi/low ratio ■ Quiet motion ■ Plug-in recharge

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• Light, easy towing for your ATV • Perfect for all grains, sheep nuts, calving pallets • Make winter feeding easier today! Available from

Ph: 0800 668 534


• Pest Free puts 50Hz pulse along power cables • Rats and mice stress, dehydrate, exit • No harm to humans, pets, computers, etc. • Models to suit buildings/plant 200sq.m to 1000sq.m • NSW-made, patented, science proven • Used in ten countries • Two-year warranty • 100% 60-DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE

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Pest Free Domestic for homes, garages, etc to 200sq,m – $159.90 incl. GST + post.

Pest Free PRO for large homes, small offices & factories, etc to 400sq.m – STOP RATS with Pest Free $399.90 incl. GST Buy with confidence from authorised rural sales agent N + J Keating, and post. 70 Rimu Street, New Lynn, Auckland 0600. Tel. 09 833 1931 Pest Free Commercial (cell 021 230 1863); email for dairy TWO WAYS TO ORDER/PAY: sheds, 1) POST: cheque to N. Keating telling us the product(s) you want, grain mills, plus your name, address and telephone number. 2) INTERNET: direct credit ASB 12 3039 0893559 00 factories, (your surname as reference) PLUS telephone or email us, etc – $1800 saying which product(s) you want. incl. GST + post.

Rural News // august 1, 2012

rural trader 39 FARM BRIDGES Phone Pat NOW

0800 222 189



Morrinsville Ph: 0800 287 325 Ashburton Ph: 0800 007 766


Check out the latest news and information at


SW_RuralNews_30x34_0212.indd 1 2/02/12 5:23 PM

• Fantastic Penetration • NO ONE BEATS OUR PRICE

PPP Super Jetter Manufacturing Jetters since 1980. 1000’s sold in NZ & overseas. Advantage Plastics Rangiora call: 0800 668 534 or (03) 313 5750


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Manufacturing since 1962


Some years ago,Quad Bike manufacturers were unhappy about roll bars being fitted to their bikes. Fitting them insinuated that their quads were unsafe without them. So they produced a computer generated video featuring a dummy riding a quad with a roll bar. Being a dummy, it couldn’t hold on, lean, stand or think. Consequently, the dummy was tossed around like a rag doll, hitting everything. From this flawed test, it was reasoned that roll bars were dangerous and should be taken off! Go figure! They didn’t mention bull bars, brush bars, handle bars or the bikes bulk. Amazingly, nobody questioned them. Meanwhile, in Australia, a clever little Aussie engineer was taking a fresh look at the problem of being crushed under a quad. Many models later and exhaustive safety tests by the Queensland University and the Quadbar was born. It was small,light,fitted all quads and even in a backflip, tended to land on its side. Better still, ACC and OSH were in the loop. Since 2011, over 150 farms in NZ have begun using Quadbars and manufacturing is now done in Orewa. The best part is that lives have been saved in that time and I feel pretty good about that. I recently learnt that when you are crushed for some time, toxins build up in your blood and can cause a heart attack and possible death. Keeping that bike off you seems a good idea. Stuart Davidson. For a Quadbar, call me, Stuart Davidson, Owner of Quadbar NZ. owner of Quadbar NZ, on 021-182 8115. Email sales@quadbar. or for more info go to





$42 valued at $140


valued at $160

Size 11-14 only

Please add $10 Freight per order

(Prices include freight & GST)

1UJT0460 GS

• Make a big job quick and easy • Retire the shower and plunge dip • Quicker and much more effective then a hand wand! • Deep penetration, total body coverage, 2.5 litres/sheep • No re-cycling - always fresh clean dip prolonging residual effect of your dipping product




BUILT FOR YOU 470Nm of torque at 2000 rpm on 2.8 litre Auto model gives the all-new Holden Colorado more than its fair share of pure, unbridled grunt. But it’s not just raw power that makes Colorado a clear winner. It’s the features you might not expect too. Like the spacious, car-like interior, Bluetooth®/iPod® connectivity, Electronic Stability Control, 17” alloy wheels† and a whole lot more. To find out what all the noise is about, take a test drive and order yours at your Holden Dealer today.

*On 2.8 litre Auto model. †On LTZ model.

Colorado LTZ model shown.

Rural News 1 August 2012  

Rural News 1 August 2012