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Meat and dairy prices are tipped to skyrocket according to a report. page 19
Advances in mowers from European manufacturer Vicon. page 50
a century of excellence Turihaua Station sets the benchmark for the Angus breed.
to all farmers, for all farmers
october 2, 2012: Issue 524
Contest heats up sud es h k i ssu n & a n d rew swa llow
THINGS ARE hotting up in the contest for positions on the Fonterra board, with outgoing chair Henry van der Heyden deciding to stay on and scientist, academic and industry commentator Jacqueline Rowarth raising her hand as a candidate. Three board positions are up for election this spring and Colin Armer’s
retirement means at least one new face will feature when results are announced at the annual meeting. John Wilson and Nicola Shadbolt are seeking re-election. Rowarth’s pitch is that she would enhance board understanding and direction on science, particularly on environmental and sustainability issues. “Science and communication are my skill,” she told Rural News. Her background is a first class honours degree in agricultural science
at Massey, followed by a doctorate in soil science. She’s since worked at AgResearch, Lincoln University, Unitec, the University of Melbourne, and Massey, and is currently Professor of Agribusiness at University of Waikato. She has a string of awards to her name, including an CNZOM for services to agricultural science, and has held several board positions, including a current one on the board of AGMARDT. Rowarth says she’s seen a desire
Pat King is 73 and still going strong as a driver of stock trucks on the East Coast of the North Island. Older drivers like Pat are very much valued and are being kept on by transport companies because they are experienced and have the knowhow that a lot of young newer drivers lack. See p14 for need to revamp driver training.
from Fonterra shareholders for better communication, both within the company, and externally to government, media, and society in general. “These are my skills, based on considerable experience. Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly concerned about the distance between farmers and urban dwellers. We are losing the support from an increasing number of people from government through to the general public. This jeopardises Fonterra’s future business and farmers’ future prosperity.” Rowarth qualifies as a candidate through a farm partnership shareholding. Meanwhile, outgoing chairman Henry van der Heyden will stay on as a director after handing over the reins to John Wilson in December. The board has asked him and appointed director Ralph Waters to stay on for a time to ensure continuity after the launch of TAF (trading among farmers) in November, says van der Heyden. Waters is expected to stay on for six months. Van der Heyden, whose mandate to serve on the board expires at the end of next year, says no time has been set for his departure. “Incoming chairman John Wilson and I will decide the time for me to go,” he told Rural News. “The board wants to keep continuity as we launch TAF and have asked us to stay on.” Nominations for board seats closed September 28 and a list of candidates will be released October 15 on completion of the candidate assessment process.
Court glitch for One Plan p et er bur k e
A SIMPLE technical hitch — the failure of a tape recorder – could have a significant impact on appeals just lodged in the High Court against decisions of the Environment Court on the Horizons Regional Council’s One Plan. Rural News has been told that when the initial appeals were heard earlier this year by the Environment Court, the court’s recording system failed during the hearing on the highly contentious water-quality chapter of the plan. This means there is no official record of any cross-examination of witnesses to this part of the One Plan. The only record is notes by the judge and his associates hearing the appeal. It so happens that the appeals lodged last week in the High Court by Horticulture New Zealand and Federated Farmers relate specifically to the water-quality chapter. When hearing appeals, such as those lodged by HortNZ and Fed Farmers, the High Court would normally have access to such a transcript in determining the merit of such an appeal and to see whether the court has given due consideration to certain arguments. It’s understood that both HortNZ and Feds are concerned that the Environment Court did not give sufficient weight to economic issues. The High Court has the power to request the notes of the judge and his associates, but sources told Rural
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Vetrazin® Spray-On offers ease of use and peace of mind Independent research highlights blowflies, Lucilia sericata, or the European green blowfly, are developing resistance to some flystrike protection products. Hawke’s Bay farm manager Phil Bennett talks about the success he is having with Vetrazin Spray-On. With 1,100 acres of medium to steep hill country about 30 minutes inland of Hastings, Phil Bennett describes the sheep and beef operation he manages as straight breeding and finishing. Faraway Station, owned by Janet Freeth, was established in 1955, and in those days was 1,200 acres comprising only 6 paddocks and has certainly changed with the times. In talking with Janet, the farm has a rich and successful history having twice won the Peren Cup. For the seven years Phil has been managing Faraway, it has always been in close partnership with Janet, who is now 84. “Janet takes an active and keen interest in the running of the farm and we meet regularly to review the accounts and cover off the requirements and plans for the season.” “We run 4,500 stock units comprising 2,400 Perendale ewes, 132 breeding cows and heifers and replacement cattle. We aim to do all the finishing here and in most cases we achieve this,” Phil says. “We also have a successful Angus breeding operation and use some of the best quality breeding bulls from the Hawke’s Bay and also this year, from the Williams family on the East Coast.” During our visit, Phil was well into the thick of docking lambs. “This year’s lambing went well and we had a very good survival rate, especially of the singles.” Hastings is well known for being dry through summer and this is one of the key challenges Phil has to deal with. “The property can have a lot of wind so when it drys out occasionally, we have to reduce stock.” Running the Perendales also presents its challenges. “Perendales are very vigorous foragers and often there is not a lot of spare feed if they’ve been run through a paddock.” To supplement the pasture grazing, Phil has a structured and well thought through summer and winter cropping plan. The farm is planted out in both summer and winter crops of anywhere between 12 - 18 hectares. “We will have a summer crop of Titan Rape. This will be grazed out and then the paddock will go back into new grass in March. Our winter crop consists of Regal Kale and we’ll look to plant that in November. We
make the most of summer forage crops and being the manager, fly protection is another big issue for me.” “You need products that are easy to use and give you peace of mind. We’ve been here for seven years and have always used Vetrazin. It’s easy to use and it is doing the job. We apply at tailing and it gives us protection right through until shearing in December,” says Phil. Phil works with his PGG Wrightson representative, Garry Jones. Garry has a vast knowledge of animal health products and has worked for PGG Wrightson for 7 years. “Vetrazin Spray-On is a good product. The main active being cyromazine, with a red dye to help indicate coverage. The beauty about Vetrazin SprayOn is it is a ready to use product with no mixing or dilution required. Vetrazin Spray-On provides shorter term protection (up to 6 weeks),” says Garry. Phil says he appreciates the technical advice provided by Garry. “He provides a lot of advice particularly regarding cropping and pasture renewal and recent discussions about fly resistance research have also been useful.” When Phil is not working on the farm he and his wife Korine spend time with their daughters Lucy 8, Georgia 5, Zara 1 and son William 6. “Yeah it’s pretty busy!” Phil laughs, but as Janet says, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Helping grow the country
Rural News // october 2, 2012
news 3 issue 524
Ditch extremist views on water – Minister Government wants more say
su des h kissu n
News������������������������������ 1-21 World������������������������������ 23 Agribusiness����������� 24-25 Markets�������������������� 26-27 Hound, Edna������������������� 28 Contacts������������������������� 29 Opinion����������������������� 28-32 Management����������� 34-42 Animal Health�������� 44-49 Machinery and Products������������������ 50-57 Rural Trader���������� 58-59
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising material: email@example.com Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: firstname.lastname@example.org ABC audited circulation 80,767 as at 30.06.2012
ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Amy Adams has called for sector groups to ditch their extremist views on freshwater management. She told the Water NZ conference in Rotorua last week that all parties to the water debate must seek win-win solutions. Adams says the debate on environmental issues, such as water management, ignore the values and outcomes most of us would share. “The legacy of water management has increasingly been one of contentious, divisive and litigious approaches where there must be a winner and a loser,” she says. “Sector groups – industial and environmental – have often tended to take extreme positions in the hope this will move the balance their way and perhaps out of concern that if they start in a moderate position and their opponents do not then they will miss out.” This cannot continue as a way forward for New Zealand, Adams told 300 people at the conference. “We must recognise both the economic potential
THE GOVERNMENT wants a greater say in water management issues at regional council level. Amy Adams says regional councils currently make almost all technically and politically difficult decisions on water. “We are now starting to see how various councils are approaching the issue of setting such quantity and quality limits and I’m aware that it is generating significant levels of concern and debate. “My own view is that more central guidance on that process would be beneficial and a significant Amy Adams piece of work is underway on that now.”
of water use and agricultural production and the rare and valuable asset our abundant clean waterways are, and find solutions that protect both.” She points out managing water more efficiently through irrigation has the potential to increase agricultural exports by as much as $4 billion per year by 2026. There is also significant potential for further irrigation area, with major schemes in development. If all of these proceed, it would deliver new irrigation to nearly 400,000ha, adding
to the existing 620,000 ha. But water use cannot be considered in isolation from water quality, she insists. While New Zealand’s water quality is amongst the best internationally, there is increasing evidence of deterioration. Lowland streams and lakes are increasingly polluted, and taxpayers are having to fund substantial clean-ups. Adams says at least $450 million has been committed to Lake Taupo, Rotorua Lakes and the Waikato River
ANZ euthanises its black horse brand RURAL BANKING will be business as usual when the ANZ National Bank rebranding takes place, says chief executive David Hisco. The rural management team across the two banks had been in place for about two years in the build-up to the two brands being brought together as ANZ, he says. Some rural communities may even find they are better served with a branch closer to their locality when the $100 million changeover of branches is completed, he says. “Over the next two years, we’ll increase our branch
presence from 75% of where New Zealanders live to almost 90%, so 15 new communities will get branches.” ANZ and National Bank branches located very close to each other will either co-locate to the larger branch or relocate to an area nearby where there is customer demand. All sponsorship and community involvement commitments will continue including Calf Club Day, national and local field days and The Young Farmer of the Year competition. Hisco says The National Bank brand would progressively be phased out over
about two years from about the end of October. The company’s legal name would become ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd. “ANZ bought The National Bank in 2003 and after almost 10 years of reducing duplication, the next logical step is to combine them into one,” Hisco says. “The black horse and green colour branding of The National Bank are licensed from British bank Lloyds TSB, and that licence expires in 2014. So it makes sense to change to ANZ, the brand used in 32 markets around the world.” – Pam Tipa
over the next two decades. “The underlying issue is that we are hitting resource limits,” she says. “And in some parts of New Zealand we are already exceeding the amount of water that can be taken from our rivers, lakes and groundwater. “To deal with these challenges, we need to make difficult balancing decisions between environment and economic potential. This is going to involve considering and balancing the many values we hold on water.” The Land and Water Forum, appointed by the Government to find solutions for water management, will deliver its third report to the Government this month.
Tape glitch from page 1
News such notes may not be deemed sufficiently accurate and reliable if it comes to challenging the reasons for some of the Environment Court’s decisions on One Plan. They say it’s possible all the evidence may have to be heard again by the High Court to satisfy its high legal standards, or the High Court could order the Environment Court to re-hear these initial appeals again. Whatever option is taken it seems likely the legal action could drag on into next year. Initially it had been hoped that both the HortNZ and Feds appeals could be heard this side of Christmas. Horizons Regional Council had been asked by the Environment Court to report by the end of October details arising from the court’s decisions, but with the appeals being lodged, it is possible this date may be extended until the appeals are heard.
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
4 news Record production can’t stop the drop in payout sud es h k i ssu n
DESPITE PRODUCING record milk last season, Fonterra farmers have had to settle for a lower payout. The high New Zealand dollar and lower dairy prices wiped almost $2 billion from the payout. Farmers got $6.40/kgMS last season- a milk price of $6.08/kgMS and dividend payout of 32c/share. In the previous year, Fonterra paid out a record $8.25/kgMS – comprising milk payout of $7.60/kgMS and 65c/share dividend. Fonterra has retained 10c/share, less than the previous year, to minimise cash flow issues for shareholders. Releasing the co-op’s annual results last week, Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden says while a $6.08 payout is manageable he is concerned about farmers this season. With a revised forecast payout of $5.25/kgMS, many farmers are feeling the pain now. This season Fonterra expects milk production to be slightly lower than last season’s record 1.5 billion kgMS. “We’ve had a very good start to the season,” van der Heyden says.
Dollar debate rages on
Henry van der Heyden and Theo Spierings at Fonterra’s result announcement.
benefits the “downtown paper shufflers in Queen St and the foreign money traders, EXPORTERS CAN’T wait until the Gov- the Swiss dentist and the Belgian and Japernment gets its books in order before they anese housewife”. Wills says there’s no question the curget currency relief, says New Zealand First rency is high and the people he repreleader Winston Peters. Peters’ private members bill, which sents would be much happier with a lower would change Reserve Bank rules on mon- dollar. “But the big question everyone is etary policy, is due back in Parliament on perplexed over is, how might we achieve October 17. He knows it won’t get passed that? I haven’t been convinced we should but wants to promote debate on the cur- influence that or have some involvement around the edges. rency. “The key to this is the very low finanPeters has lashed out at Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills’ view that cial reserves we hold as a country. Singapore or Switzerland slashing governhave a far higher ment debt is the “Should we stand capability to hold right path rather than interfering around when everyone is off manipulation by foreign traders. But with monetary saying the dollar is overwe are a nation of policy. spenders and bor“Should we valued and somehow rowers not a nation stand around get other aspects of the of savers, we don’t when everygovernment books in have big reserves one is saying to back some of the the dollar is order?” – Winston Peters methods I am hearover-valued and ing talked about.” somehow get The Reserve Bank Act has worked reaother aspects of the government books in order?” Peters says. “My question to sonably well and provides a buffer when [Wills] is, which decade are you talking the currency goes down. However, he recognises it is “useful to have a discussion at about? We need relief now.” Wills says everyone wants a lower dollar the moment” because of the unusual situand welcomes debate. But he says he has ation where commodity prices have come yet to be convinced that interfering in the off strongly in the last 12 months but the New Zealand currency hasn’t come back as currency would work. Peters admits more realistic govern- would be expected. “That’s because we’ve got quantative ment spending is needed, but it was “outdated thinking” to do nothing else, he says. easing in the US and our trading partners “In a global financial crisis every other are largely in worse shape than we are,” he economy has moved on except we’ve got says. Changing monetary policy involves these idealogues who want to remain still many risks, he adds, citing the George doing nothing. “One in five farmers is in serious trou- Soros—British Crown situation. You might ble; they are paying interest rates that are achieve short term softening in rates helptoo high, they are earning dramatically ing exporters, but end up costing taxpayers much less than if the dollar was at a realis- enormous amounts of money. “What the currency is saying to me is, tic rate and it’s billions the farming com‘New Zealand is in an ok state, not brilmunity is losing.” Peters says the International Monetary liant – in the last few days we are suffering Fund says our dollar is 15-20% over-valued financial strains like everyone else – but we and every other commentator says it is are suffering less than the people we trade over-valued. He says he is concerned about with’.” Engineering a currency reduction also inflation “but it is a very crude method to use just one instrument and forget about means a massive pay cut for urban New Zealand because imports will be a lot more all the rest”. He claims our current monetary policy expensive including fuel. pam tipa
“Grass is growing well and cows are in great condition after calving. Our forecast is milk production will be slightly lower than last year.” However, much will depend on the weather. Van der Heyden says it is also good to see global dairy prices rising but the high dollar remains a worry. Half of the payout drop last season was caused by the high dollar, the other half by lower dairy prices. Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Ian Brown acknowledges the volatile market conditions in
which Fonterra was forced to work over the past 12 months were largely responsible for the fall in payout. “The council considers that given the downturn in global markets the board has delivered a reasonable return for farmers. The overall decline in milk powder prices on the GlobalDairy Trade platform and the strength of the New Zealand dollar have served to soften farmer returns and the drop in the farmgate milk price is consistent with this. These factors are largely out of Fonterra’s control.”
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
HortNZ and Feds appeal One Plan p e te r bu r k e
HORTICULTURE NEW Zealand (HortNZ) and Federated Farmers have lodged appeals to the High Court on the Horizons Regional Council One Plan. Their appeals are on points of law or where they believe the Environment Court has failed to place sufficient weight on evidence put before it. Two areas common to both appeals are that the Environment Court failed to take sufficient account of economic issues and that some of the decisions are impractical to implement on-farm. Peter Silcock, chief executive of HortNZ, says the Horizons region is important for vegetable production in New Zealand, with product being shipped to many parts of the country including Auckland. The region has about 200 growers, all concerned about the effects of the One Plan on their businesses. “We’ve looked at the decisions of the Environment Court carefully and
Commercial growers and farmers could be badly hit by the One Plan as set out by the Environment Court and that is why Hort NZ and Fed Farmers are appealing it.
While it will be bad for dairy farmers and probably force some out of business and make it hard for others, the majority might just be able to get on with it. But it will be much
harder on the other sectors.” Hoggard says there was overwhelming support from farmers for Feds to appeal. He says there probably would have been
a backlash if they hadn’t appealed. But there is some unhappiness at Fonterra failing to take legal action. Some farmers have told Rural News they think Fonterra has ‘gone soft’.
we’ve also talked to growers about the impact the decisions will have on their businesses. Our lawyers have identified some critical points of law that we believe can be challenged. “We are particularly concerned about the impact the decisions would have on the rotation growers do with their businesses and have done for many years.” Growers lease land, sometimes just a paddock or even half a paddock to grow crops. Under the new One Plan they would need to get resource consent every time they
leased a paddock. This is seen as silly and unnecessary and would be costly to growers. “The rotations are critical. If growers are not able to do these in a flexible way then that will affect businesses hugely. It’s not going to be good for the environment either because those rotations maintain soil quality. As it sits the plan doesn’t say you can’t do it,– it just seems to make it more difficult. We see the decisions as being detrimental to people growing vegetables the in the region,” he says. Federated Farmers
Andrew Hoggard says, in a nutshell, there are too many things in the new plan that are not practical on-farm. “There is too much gold plating which none of us liked and we are not happy with it. Other farmers around the country are scared by it because it is seen as precedent setting.” Hoggard says most of the news media and social media seem fixated on the plan’s effect on ‘nasty dairying’. “Well it’s not just ‘nasty’ dairy farmers who are affected. It will also affect sheep and beef, arable and horticulture.
THE MINISTER for Primary Industries, David Carter, says a report from his department on One Plan says it could badly affect the economy in the region covered by Horizons Regional Council. Other primary sector organisations are also voicing concerns about the economic and social impacts of the One Plan. Carter says he’s concerned that “the One Plan decisions could become a precedent for other regional councils and therefore conflict with the Government’s intention to free up the availability of water for irrigation around New Zealand.” “Since becoming minister I have put water at the top of my agenda and it would concern me if the water work was impeded by decisions of regional coun-
cils anywhere in the country that start to limit potential to use that water.” Carter says he and Environment Minister Amy Adams have been doing a lot of work on water related issues. “These include RMA reform and the report from the Land and Water Forum. All that information and the impact of the One Plan will be included in final reports.” Carter has no immediate plans to intervene and wants the legal action to take its course. He wouldn’t be drawn on taking action in the future. Carter and the chairman and chief executive of Horizons were planning to meet last week. The meeting was requested by Horizons to explain its interpretation of the Environment Court’s decisions.
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What anniversary is the Canterbury A&P Show celebrating in 2012? confirming the $8.2m payout noted in the financial results was made to Ferrier. “I have already received a few phone calls (from journalists) about this.” Last September Ferrier completed eight years as Fonterra chief executive. During the financial year ending July 2012, Ferrier was the chief executive for two months so the “wash-up” payment is mostly made up of accrued incentive payments. Van der Heyden says the payment is made up of long term and short term incentives accrued over Ferrier’s stint with the co-op. “It is related to performance,” he says.
Fonterra farmers in August took a 30c/kgMS cut to their milk payout in the face of a strong New Zealand dollar. But Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Willie Leferink says though the final payout to Ferrier will generate much comment, farmers are not resentful of this if the recipient delivers. “And I think Andrew Ferrier did. It is a shame we don’t have ten more executives like him as it would mean we’d have ten more companies like Fonterra.” Van der Heyden says the issue will come up during this week’s farmer meetings. “I’m sure we will get some questions.” – Sudesh Kissun
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FONTERRA FARMERS will this week get the chance to grill the board on an $8.2 million ‘golden handshake’ to former chief executive Andrew Ferrier. Fonterra’s outgoing chairman Henry van der Heyden, chairmanelect John Wilson and chief executive Theo Spierings will front up to farmers with the co-op’s annual results. Van der Heyden is sure some farmers will question the payout. Presenting Fonterra’s 2011-12 annual results last week for the final time as chairman, van der Heyden kicked off the question-and-answer session of the media conference by
Rural News // October 2, 2012
NZ consumers turning back to beef p e te r bu r k e
NEW ZEALAND consumers are turning their backs on chicken in favour of beef, says BLNZ’s Rod Slater. He told Rural News the
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latest ‘home scan survey’ by the research company Neilson shows this trend. The survey analyses data from 2500 people who scan their purchases at supermarkets every week. “The latest scan results
show beef heading chicken in dollars spent and kilos consumed, not by much but it is an interesting trend. Beef is still a popular choice with consumers and they like the taste, its health qualities and
the fact it’s ‘free range’. Rightly or wrongly there is a negative public perception about chicken on these matters. Of course chicken beats beef on price, so for beef to be heading chicken when it’s
Manawatu butcher Paul Douglas pictured with beef and chicken.
considerably cheaper than beef is very interesting,” says Slater. Beef and chicken are the two most-eaten proteins in New Zealand, but lamb is in resurgence, Slater says. “This has happened in the last six months and is mainly because of cheap lamb legs out on the New Zealand market. Normally these legs would have been sold offshore, but because of the economic crisis in Europe consumer demand there has fallen and this product is now being sold on the New Zealand market.” Lamb consumption fell in New Zealand over the past two years – again due to high prices. But with the price now falling retailers here say their lamb sales are extremely strong. “New Zealand consumers certainly haven’t lost their taste for lamb,” he says. The McDonalds lamb burger launch has raised
the awareness of lamb in New Zealand and Slater says McDonalds is pleased with public reaction to it. While it isn’t a ‘silver bullet’ it helps. And it offers a fast-food option to people who for religious reasons can’t eat beef. “A classic example of that is my own GP who I went to see a couple of weeks ago. He commented on the fact that BLNZ had been involved in the development of the lamburger and he said thank heavens for you. I can now go to McDonalds and buy myself a hamburger. I’d never thought about this but what it illustrates is that there is a huge market out there… in Asia. Fast food is spreading like wild fire with McDonalds opening 1000 new restaurants a year in China alone.” Slater says the potential for New Zealand lamb is huge in markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia on our doorstep.
Prices blow out PRICES FOR store cattle and sheep sold at the Feilding sale have been exceptionally high over the past few weeks. According to PGG Wrightson’s Manawatu livestock manager Maurice Stewart, store lambs have fetched $100-110 a head. This is very high and probably reflects the fact lamb finishers are having to buy stock to meet contracts, he says. It also reflects an overall shortage of stock on offer. “Even lambs destined for the works are fetching about $5.80/kg for a 20kg lamb which means farmers are getting up to $112 a head for their lambs.” Cattle prices are also high at Feilding, a couple of pens of one-year-old Angus steers selling recently for $1000 a head. Stewart says others have fetched $850-900 a head – still very good. Stewart says the market is about a month ahead of itself and he’s not too surprised at the good prices. Again there is a shortage of good stock coming through. “There is also a lot of confidence in the beef industry with the reports of herds being liquidated in the United States. The cattle being sold now will be ready in about a years time when the market should have picked up,” he says. There are reports that the high cattle prices are also due to strong demand on the domestic market and this is confirmed by BLNZ’s Rod Slater. He says at this time of the year there tends to be a shortage of good prime beef and that pushes up the price.
Rural News // october 2, 2012
Sound familiar? SUDESH KISSUN
A POLITICAL row is brewing in Australia over the impending partial sale of the country’s largest dairy farm, owned by a New Zealand city council. Following closely the sale of Australia’s largest cotton grower to a Chinese company, the potential sale of the Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDLC) to a Chinese sovereign fund is again dividing the opposition coalition. The Nationals, a close ally of the opposition Liberal Party, opposes any sale of agriculture land to foreigners, particularly Chinese investors. But the Liberals and the Labour Government say Australia needs foreign investment. VDLC operates 23 farms in northwest Tasmania, producing at least 5.7million kgMS annually. Tasman Farms, a fullyowned subsidiary of the New Plymouth District Council, holds 98% stake in VDLC. Australian media reports say the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation is close to investing A$180 million into VDLC, in return for a stake. VDLC chief executive Michael Guerin has refused to comment on the Chinese bid. But he told Rural News
Dairy brings results THE Van Diemen’s Land Company started in 1824 as a wool exporter and moved into beef 60 years later. In 1992, it turned to dairying which chief executive Michel Guerin says has turned out to be “one of its best agricultural activities.” Guerin told Rural News demand for dairy will continue to outstrip supply and grass-based systems will remain the cheapest in the world. Northwestern Tasmania has a
he says. Tasmanian Liberal senator David Bushby, chairman of the freemarket Society of
a shortlist has been drawn up for the shareholders to make the final decision. Guerin says it began raising capital 12 months ago to expand dairy operations. The company received responses from investments funds in Australia,
New Zealand and overseas, a typical response to an equity raising scheme, he says. “Australia and New Zealand represent relatively modest part of the global capital pool so our best chance to raise equity to create more jobs is to go
Council has no say NEW PLYMOUTH Mayor Harry Duynhoven says the council has no say in the management of its commercial arm. He says Taranaki Investment Management Limited (TIML) operates at “arm’s length” from the New Plymouth District Council. “It is in effect totally independent in its decision making,” Duynhoven told Rural News. “Their task is to invest the funds and provide a reliable return to council. The politics around Australian land ownership are, I guess, not too dissimilar to here.” TIML manages the council-owned Tasman Farms, which owns 98% in the Van Diemen’s Land in Tasmania.
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tropical climate and the ability to grow grass is better than in other parts of Australia. He says VDLC has enough land to add more dairy farms. It currently runs 25,000 cows. Depending on the amount of equity raised, VDLC hopes to double milk production. The company supplies milk to Fonterra which has two plants in the territory.
Modest Members group of Coalition MPs, says obviously such investment would have to meet the national-interest
criteria under the Foreign Investment Review Board, but subject to that, it would be ‘’good for Tasmania and Australia’’.
further than Australia and New Zealand.” Potential investors have presented various proposals, including acquiring a stake in the company. “We will have to choose what makes the best sense for shareholders,” Guerin says. The Australian Federal Government says it will consider the national interest before approving any Chinese investment in VDLC. Treasurer Wayne Swan says foreign investment – whether from the US, the UK, or Europe or China – is welcome because it supports Australian jobs. “If there were any proposal about investment in dairy or anywhere else, what the Government does is apply our national interest test,”
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
Imported carbon credits kill forestry p e te r bu r k e
MORE DAIRY conversions and fewer pine trees planted. That’s the outcome of the recent dramatic fall in the price of carbon, caused by the New Zealand market being flooded with cheap carbon credits mainly from central Europe. Carbon credits have dropped from a high of $25 a tonne to as low as $3, prompting protests from the Forest Owners Association. Executive member Hamish Levack told Rural News his organisation is disappointed with the Government’s approach on the Emissions Trading
Scheme (ETS). He says at present it’s uneconomic to replant forests and it was hoped a carbon price of about $15 a tonne would provide an incentive for people to invest in forestry. About 500,000ha of forests were planted in the 1990s, due for harvesting in 2020. But Levack says there is need for ongoing plantings to ensure the sustainability of the industry and this won’t happen under the current ETS arrangements. “With the global economic crisis there are a large number of carbon units which have been
Carbon prices prompt Landcorp move
generated in central Europe in particular that are flooding the market. The demand is so low and supply so high that the value of a carbon unit in New Zealand is now down
No to imported credits A WELL-KNOWN forestry consultant, Roger Dickie, says the Government’s proposed amendments to the ETS Bill will result in New Zealand having a sham ETS that does nothing to encourage emissions reduction or improve environmental standards. Dickie, who also represents the Kyoto Forestry Association, says the cheap imported carbon credits will do nothing to reduce emissions in New Zealand. “No other country in the world allows 100% of low quality carbon units into their emissions trading scheme. Australia, China, USA, the European
Union, Japan and Korea either ban these low quality units or permit them in very low numbers. “Because of this [in New Zealand] there has been a total loss of confidence in new forest planting. This is completely contrary to the intentions of the ETS.” Dickie says it’s widely recognised that about 20,000ha of new tree planting is required each year to meet New Zealand’s emissions targets and to counter the harvest of mature trees. He says right now there is zero interest from foresters in new planting given the low carbon prices.
to about three dollars. As the ETS Bill stands any emitters of carbon in New Zealand can buy these foreign credits.” Levack says this means that the ETS is not working as it should which is to sequester carbon on the one hand and to stop emitters emitting. He says the way things are looking the offsetting provisions of the ETS Bill will not operate and forest
plantings will not take place because it won’t be economic. “There are already examples of people in the central North Island converting forests to dairy farms again because they can, but with overseas credits.” Levack says the way the ETS is working shows a short-sighted approach by the Government which, he says, doesn’t want high
WHILE FOREST owners criticise cheap carbon credits, Wairakei Pastoral, one of Landcorp’s joint venture partners, is snapping them up as part of a move to convert forest land to dairy farms. The land near Taupo had long been earmarked for dairy conversion, but dependent on the outcome of the ETS. Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly says initially they were going to head down the off-setting route, but he says the move to convert the land has been hastened by the ability of the landowners to buy the cheap foreign carbon units. “There is about 1000ha laying fellow with the stumps in the ground and doing nothing. Provided you have enough credits per hectare you can clear the land and use the credits to pay for the carbon loss rather than having to use off-setting.” Landcorp already has dairy farms in the area and Kelly says initially land adjacent to those farms will be developed so no extra dairy sheds will need to be built. It will take 9-12 months to de-stump and oversow the land and build fences.
carbon prices. With industries laying off workers, it would make financial sense for the Government
to subsidise forestry, creating jobs and strengthening the rural economy, Levack says.
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A Real Kiwi Story It was the 1950’s and Kiwi’s Bert and Dawn Hansen were building their house. Bert couldn’t find a reliable toilet valve, being an entrepreneur he invented one. This then lead Bert into developing a range of high performance Brass Foot and Check Valves. The design was patented and fast became the bench mark for industry standards and today the original design Bert created is used in a multitude of valves in hundreds of markets all around the world. With the initial success of the Brass Foot and Check Valves, Bert and Dawn worked many long hours to keep up with supply. Their garage was the hub of their business with all the machining, assembling and packaging carried out there. In those early days Dawn remembers having to pack up the car and take all the fittings down to the railway station for distribution. In the 1960’s the range was expanded further with Bert designing and manufacturing a range of Brass Quick Couplings. However by the early 70’s Bert and Dawn realised that plastic was the way of the future and redeveloped the existing range of Brass Quick Couplings and Brass Foot and Check Valves in plastic. By the end of the 70’s Bert and Dawn saw an opportunity to add to their range and designed An Original Hansen and manufactured a Advertisment range of Nylon easy 1979 to use “Cold Fit Pipe Fittings”. Back then this completely changed the way Bert’s Kiwi Farmers joined Alkathene Original pipe, “We had a few teething Toilet Valve 1952 problems with the original cold fit range, mainly around the single barb being difficult to get past the hard pipe when it was cold and a 130kg farmer trying to tighten up a 25mm fitting with a 24” stillson on a -5 degree Southland winters day. Those were some fun learning times but we got those problems sorted, we should have labelled the fittings “Kiwi Proof”.
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In the mid 1980’s some more enthusiasm and ideas were injected into the business when Carl Hansen (Bert and Dawn’s Son)arrived from completing his engineering trades. Within a short period of time, Carl’s experience
Hansen Easy Fit Pipe Fitting 2009
in engineering and his desire to use the “right” technologies in manufacturing and materials added even more strength to the Hansen company. Bert and the team didn’t sit still for long and in the late 1980’s it was decided Hansen would design and manufacture a range of True Fit Threaded Fittings. With the Hansen range of products growing rapidly, it was time to move out of the garage and into its own manufacturing plant to start injection moulding their products. This move was a huge investment and there were many sleepless nights in the Hansen households. The move proved to be the right decision and it wasn’t long before Hansen products were being demanded from all over the world. The 1990’s saw the products develop a stronger following in New Zealand and Australia, with many of the original products having upgrades to high performance materials and the core ranges growing every year. “At one point it felt like we were adding fitting configurations every month” recalls Carl Hansen. In 1999 it was time for Hansen Products to move into even bigger premises. A building in Union East Street, Whangarei was found and the building underwent huge changes to house the manufacturing plant. The turn of the millennium saw Hansen Products continue on the path of constant improvement; a sister company in Canada was established, Irripod was purchased, the Easy Fit range was updated and after much encouragement from the market our Full Flow Ball Valve was released. 2012 and Hansen Products is far from slowing down. Our in-house Research and Design team has developed several new products for release, Level Alert Heavy Duty Tank Level Indicator, the Leveller Tank/Reservoir Valve, Superflo Piston Valve and the Maxflo Diaphragm Valve. All of these products have been designed for high performance whilst still staying true to Bert’s original philosophy of “Keep it Simple”. At Hansen we believe the Superflo and Maxflo valves will quickly become the next industry standard of High Performance Float Valves. After 60 years in business, Hansen Products is extremely proud to be a New Zealand owned and operated business. We are continuing to design, manufacture and distribute Pipe Fittings and Valves of the highest quality around the world. Hansen has built a reputation for providing high performance, easy to use, simple products that deliver our customers “Best Installed Value”. The winning formula that has been applied to the product range since the 1950’s has ensured a loyal customer following through the generations. With a range of over 1000 different products, loyal customers and a dedicated team, Hansen is poised for the new challenges ahead.
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
12 news Maori group aim to chase indigenous exports PA M TI PA
EXPORT ORDERS were scored when the Indigenous New Zealand Cuisine Cluster hosted a Hong Kong trade delegation at Awataha Marae on Auckland’s North Shore.
The newly established cluster is 22 of New Zealand’s top Maori-owned food and beverage producers who collectively market and sell their products in New Zealand and offshore under the Indigenous NZ banner.
It includes an organic dairy business, BioFarms and Mesa Meats, producers of alpaca meat, plus honey, seafood and other primary product businesses. The Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples
launched the cluster on July 30 and welcomed the Hong Kong group to last week’s function, which included a carefully planned buffet to showcase the Maori kai. Sharples joked the earlier Maori challenge in the
Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples with leader of the Hong Kong delegation Margaret Fong.
courtyard had been to see “if you come as friends or to take New Zealand over and make it part of Hong Kong”. “We regard ourselves as the food basket for the east because we specialise in producing food of all kinds whether it is mainstream food or delicacies,” he said.
utive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The group included 15 business leaders from the food, wine and logistics sectors. Lucy Cruickshank, project manager for the Indigenous NZ Cuisine Cluster, says feedback after the night was encour-
Interest in the cuisine collective is strong amongst producers. Delegation leader Margaret Fong joked: “In Hong Kong we also have our meeting places, but they are not as special as you have here – we call ours shopping malls.” “We meet up with friends, we drink, we eat and of course we shop. And that’s why we are here – we heard of the great Maori food and wine tradition and we believe you have a lot to offer and we feel that Hong Kong will be a great place for all your quality products,” said Fong, who is deputy exec-
aging with some of the delegates placing orders. Manuka based products promoted the most interest. The delegation was to be hosted for five days in New Zealand by the Poutama Trust, a charitable trust established in 1988 to provide business enabling services to Maori. Interest in the cuisine collective is strong amongst producers with new suppliers making contact on a weekly basis, she says.
Food deals worth millions DEALS DONE in China in June by a Maori trade mission will be worth millions of dollars, Pita Sharples says. He lead the mission which met with agricultural, forestry, fishery and business representatives. “We went there last year and set up some business propositions and got some memorandums of understanding and this time we closed some of the deals,” he told Rural News. “It will mean millions for Maori primary produce – honey, wine, different kinds of foods… There will be some educational and cultural exchanges.” The trade has already started with a honey shipment, he says. The agricultural exchange programme was announced in June between the Guizhou Province and New Zealand’s Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Māori Development). The exchange will focus on building the capacity of young farm managers and animal husbandry technicians from ethnic minority communities in Guizhou. Meanwhile Maori farm managers from New Zealand will have the opportunity to gain experience and provide practical support to agricultural development projects in Guizhou such as the Dushan Pastoral Seed Demonstration Farm.
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Trade talks for NZ PAM TIPA
MARKET ACCESS, including eliminating tariffs, will be high on the agenda when New Zealand hosts the 15th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Auckland from December 3-12. In New Zealand’s beef industry alone, tariffs take $115 from every beast slaughtered (excluding bobby calves), according to Beef + Lamb NZ data, costing that sector alone $100 million per annum. At an APEC meeting last year in Honolulu TPP leaders agreed the defining features of the TPP agreement would be market access, specifically, to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade. “This includes tariffs on primary products,” a spokesman for the Minister of Trade told Rural News. Canada and Mexico have since joined the TPP and have also “accepted this benchmark for the
quality of the agreement and will join the on-going negotiations to eliminate tariffs within the TPP region”. Groser says New Zealand will play a central role in welcoming Canada and Mexico to the TPP and says their participation marks “a significant turning point in the negotiation and aligns with the vision to create a high quality 21st century trade and investment agreement”. Canada is New Zealand’s 17th-largest goods trading partner overall, with total trade worth NZ$1.2 billion in the year to March 2012. Mexico is New Zealand’s largest goods trading partner and 27th-largest trading partner overall, with total trade worth NZ$636m in the year to December 2011. Primary exporters will get to have their say when New Zealand hosts the TPP round as a stakeholder programme is
being organised. Interested groups, including primary exporters, can share their perspectives on TPP with negotiators and other stakeholders. Details for the stakeholder programme, and the venue for the TPP
round, are being finalised. New Zealand previously hosted a TPP round in December 2010. To follow developments see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ‘TPP Talk’ webpage, www. mfat.govt.nz/tpptalk
What is TPP? THE TRANS-PACIFIC Partnership was last week described as a “pathfinder agreement” at a World Trade Organisation public forum. The comments were made in a panel discussion at the launch of a book on the TPP called The TransPacific Partnership: A Quest for a 21st Century Trade Agreement. The panel included some authors and two of the editors. The moderator and one of the three editors, Dr
Deborah Elms, explained that “21st century, highquality” means going beyond bilateral arrangements and addressing the “noodle-bowl problems” of overlapping preferential trade agreements. Stuart Harbinson, a former ambassador and WTO senior official, said no conclusions had been reached on what the TPP can produce with respect to trade in services, but he saw it as a “pathfinder agreement”.
Retraining young drivers THE MANAGER of a big stock trucking company is calling for a return to apprenticeships for training young truck drivers. The Minister of Transport should organize a ‘think tank’ to sort out some of the problems, he says. Alaister Gray, branch manager of Farmers Transport, Gisborne, believes driver training by polytechnics is not catering for real work situations, and that graduates don’t have adequate ability or experience. “The reason for that is they go through polytech driving one particular truck and get a class five license. When they come to us they have to go back to square one before we can put them out on the road.” Gray says his company has a trainer who takes the recruit from class two though to class five and on to the 55 tonne rigs they must drive. “Driving a truck now is so different from 40 years ago. There is a real skill in it. You are dealing with
Alaister Gray, branch manager Farmers Transport, Gisborne.
a $700,000 investment in the rig and up to $70,000 worth of product or more on board. You have to be a professional person now to drive in the rural industry and that includes having a degree of education.” Gray says this is why they hold on to their older drivers because of their experience and knowledge. He also believes the speed limit for large trucks and rigs should be lifted
from 90km/h to100km/h. “The large vehicles are capable of driving safely at this speed and being allowed to travel at 100km/h would actually improve road safety.” He constantly sees cars trying to overtake rigs and to do so they often reach speeds of 130km/h because they have to get past a 19m rig. “This is dangerous with wind flows adding to the problems of length.”
Rural News // october 2, 2012
European gloom to hit NZ farmers’ incomes THE GLOBAL financial crisis is about to hit New Zealand sheep and beef farmers this season with farm profits set to fall by 34% on last year’s record $146,000 windfall. The director of BLNZ’s economic service, Rob Davison, says farm profit this year will be about $96,500 which, while disappointing, is not unexpected due to the global recession. “There are huge headwinds in Europe caused by the global financial crisis. There’s a lot of political inertia. The northern parts of Europe have ‘bail out fatigue’ and the southern parts ‘austerity fatigue’ and nobody’s happy. We’ve almost got recession in the UK and a lot of Europe is not firing very well. Across the Atlantic the US has a $1.2 trillion deficit which is huge even for the American economy.” Davison says even Asia is slowing with growth down from doubt digits to about 6% and he says the implications of this still have to play out. Rob Davison says the UK, where New Zealand sends about a quarter of its lamb shipments, has “gone off the boil”. “Lamb is the highest priced protein in the super-
markets. A lot of our lamb goes into the hotel and restaurant trade and this is declining as people spend less on eating out.” This is happening in a year when nearly a million more lambs will be produced in New Zealand due to an exceptionally good growing season. While Davison says the bigger lamb crop will buffer some of the problems in Europe, it won’t be enough to stop the decline in farm profit. But despite all the bad news, lamb prices are still holding up well and Rob Davison is predicting an average 18.2kg lamb will fetch close to $100 but mutton prices are expected to drop on last year’s very high prices. Wool remains a big problem, mainly because about 80% of our wool is used for interior textiles and the building industry in Europe is stagnant. “We expect wool prices coming back by 25% so the wool cheque is going to come right back too. We thought we were getting a reprieve, but looking at Europe there are virtually no new building starts and renovations are being put on hold. That’s pulling that demand right off.” While the Asian economies are
not as badly hit as Europe, they only provide limited growth opportunities. “What you have to look at is that the meat industry is a defabrication industry because they sell different parts of the carcass to different markets. China has taken a lot of flaps and shanks; whereas racks and legs and high value cuts are going into Europe and North America. The Chinese market takes the ‘value’ cuts off the carcass and they are, by and large, going into ‘hot pot ‘cooking which is like a stew. You don’t really want to biff a lamb rack in there and they are not going to pay the price to put a lamb rack into that meal.” One positive sign for farmers is the beef market. Davison says prices for store cattle are very high at present, reflecting long term confidence in the
market. He says cattle weights are “fabulously high” due to the good growing season, but in the coming season they may drop back a bit. Overall Rob Davison is optimistic about the outlook for beef.
Feds put screws on local government spending Federated Farmers has used its submission on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill, to call for local government to be refocused on local government. “Since local government was given four “well-beings” in 2002, the sector has surged spending by 119%, increased the rates take by 95% and quadrupled its debt,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers local government spokesperson. “The four ‘well-beings’ introduced in 2002
have encouraged councils to become involved in activities far removed from their ‘core business’. “The four well-beings have made it harder for councils to say ‘no’ to demands for increased spending. It is far too easy for interest groups to advocate for new and expanded council activities and facilities, when they bear little of the cost. “Frankly, the entire economy is being compromised by run-away government spending,
both local and central. “A handful of councils are making tough calls and scaling back. “That isn’t the case overall because local government spending will increase by 49%, rates by 57% and debt by 95%. “Rates will become a serious affordability issue for all New Zealanders.” Milne said Federated Farmers is in a small minority of submitters who generally don’t ask councils to spend more.
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
Fonterra boss earns a tick after year one FONTERRA CHIEF executive Theo Spierings has completed one year at the co-op’s helm. While many farmers have not yet reached conclusions about his performance, the Dutchman has received a tick from the Fonterra Shareholders Council and a South Canterbury farmer, Eddie Glass, a fierce critic of TAF (trading among farmers). Glass, who spearheaded a campaign to reject TAF, believes Spierings has performed “very well”. “He will go on to do big things for the co-op,” he told Rural News. Spierings took over as chief executive in the midst of divisive debate by shareholders of the proposed share trading scheme. In his first few months at the co-op Spierings expressed surprise at shareholders debating TAF in public rather than “keeping it within the family”. Glass believes Spierings played a key role in the second TAF vote, where 34% of votes were cast again the scheme. “I believe his job had become untenable; he was spending so much time in the politics of TAF.” Glass says Spierings has won his support and he looks forward to “great things from him”. Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Ian Brown says while the council has not rated Spierings’ performance, he
believes he is on the right track. Spierings earlier this year outlined his strategy refresh for the co-op, focussing on three Vs: volume, value and velocity. Brown says the strategy refresh will take time but early indications are pointing to a positive outcome. “There is a real positive feeling in the air when you enter the Fonterra offices,” he says. But not everyone is quick to give Spierings the tick. Farmers probably haven’t seen enough of Theo Speirings, or the results of his work, to make a call on his performance to date, says Feds Dairy chair Willy Leferink. “He’s been busy restructuring the business and as yet we don’t know if that’s for better or worse.” However, there are high hopes it will deliver despite commodity market fluctuations, economic difficulties – notably in the US and Europe – and the high New Zealand dollar. “He’s trying to row a boat in a very difficult economic environment,” acknowledges Leferink. The fact Fonterra will this week probably announce an annual turnover not less than $20 billion will be quite an achievement, but the big question will be what profit will drop out of that? “I’ve no idea,” Leferink says. “Commodities are
cheaper now which usually means profit increases and the half-year forecast looked good. I’ve not got super-big expectations but certainly some hope of a good result.” Leferink says over the
year he’s had two faceto-face meetings with the new chief executive, both of them about the TAF issue, which were “quite contentious”. Other than that he hasn’t had a great deal to do with him.
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
‘Agflation’ may stem rural prosperity pam tipa
WORLD FOOD prices are tipped to skyrocket to record highs, up by 15% by mid next year, with meat and dairy the main contributors, an international Rabobank report forecasts. But a downside of another global period of ‘agflation’ could be a slowing of the shift to animal proteins in developing countries, say the report’s authors Nick Higgins and Luke Chandler. “Agricultural commodity production has plunged as droughts in the US, South America and Russia have diminished crop prospects and tightened already low inventory levels.” The report says crop shortages this time will be more related to stock feed, rather than in 2008 when core (human) food staples such as wheat and rice were affected. “Food security remains a highly sensitive issue in many regions, and we expect to see a return of government interventions, which could exacerbate food and commodity price volatility. “The rally in grain and oilseed prices will have a significant knock-on effect to animal protein industries and other processing supply chains, raising prices for meat consumers and challenging processor margins around the globe.” Food price inflation has been triggered by the worst drought the US has seen in nearly a century and exacerbated by droughts in South Amer-
ica and Russia, the report says. “The impact of higher grain and oilseed prices will be significant for the animal protein and dairy sectors as they are likely to be squeezed by higher feed costs.” The long production cycles of the animal protein and dairy industries will have lingering effects on global food prices as herds, especially cattle, take longer to rebuild, maintaining upward pressure on food prices. The full effect of this commodity price rally and the subsequent lower meat and milk output, will be a multiyear rebuilding of herds, which will sustain high price levels of these products. Meat and dairy prices, which comprise 52% of the FAO Food Price Index, are the primary drivers of Rabobank’s forecast for food price increases. The price of pork is expected to rally 31% from spot prices by June 30, 2013. Cattle ready for slaughter are expected to increase 6%, initially creating a supply glut, with higher prices following as supplies drop. Dairy prices are expected to respond more quickly as herd reductions translate into higher milk prices on a shorter scale, although rebuilding dairy herds also has a long cycle, prolonging any shortage created. Consumers in developing countries are expected to switch consumption from animal protein back towards staple grains, an option not available in 2007-08 due to severe shortages of
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wheat and rice. “Higher prices will stall the long-term trend towards higher animal protein diets in developing economies. Rabobank expects the developing world – with its high
demand elasticity, especially to meat – to ration import demand of grains, oilseeds and meat most heavily, causing consumption growth to slow and even recede for a period as prices rise.”
Rabobank says ‘agflation’ could see a slowdown of the shift to animal proteins in developing markets.
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
The varroa of kiwifruit? PA M TI PA
PSA-V COULD be the ‘varroa mite’ of the kiwifruit industry because of a strong likelihood it will spread throughout New Zealand. And orchardists in the Psa-V-free zones who are growing the highly sus-
ceptible Gold crop Hort 16a now have a unique window of opportunity, says Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) chief executive Barry O’Neill. If they act soon, they can establish more resistant varieties in a diseasefree environment, use an easier, less costly method
of introduction and lose only one production season rather than two or three. “Hort 16A has no ability genetically to resist Psa-V and we have nothing at all that will combat infection in Hort 16a once Psa gets in there,” says O’Neill. “With other varieties
such as Hayward (Green), G3, G14 or even G 9, where growers are proactive and good with their orchard hygiene stopping things coming in and putting in a good crop protection programme, they can minimise the impacts of Psa and stop it spreading. “We can’t rule out that
Psa-V will get to these other areas, while we’re doing everything we can to help growers to keep it out. “Growers in these regions need to consider whether in advance of Psa-V coming they change over to a more tolerant variety. There’s a number
KVH chief executive Barry O’Neill.
of benefits of doing that. More tolerant varieties are still susceptible to Psa when they are young, so if Psa does arrive and they haven’t put a new variety onto their block, it will be more difficult to get their new variety established.” A number of growers in Psa-V free zones are already doing notch grafting where they keep the Hort 16a crop going for one year, says O’Neill. But over the course of that year, they graft onto the bottom of the trunk a new variety which
becomes established as a main leader. They can then cut out 16A, use the main leader from the new variety and only lose production for one year. In Te Puke, where Psa-V has a hold, KVH recommends against the quicker notch grafting method because it is more difficult for it to take hold in an infected environment. O’Neill says those without Psa now have a “window of opportunity” to establish new varieties.
Legal powers to fight pest KVH MET with Minister for Primary Industries David Carter on the proposed national Psa-V pest management plan earlier this month. O’Neill says Carter and Bay of Plenty MP Tony Ryall were presented with the outcome of a poll which gave strong grower support to the planned strategy. Under the plan KVH would gain legal powers of enforcement in the fight against Psa-V. For instance O’Neill says KVH is working with regional councils to remove abandoned orchards which present a high risk of spreading the disease. But it’s a long process to get them removed. “We are proposing under the national pest management plan that we will be able to more rapidly address abandoned orchards.” KVH is now finalising the plan and will present it to the minister early next month for approval. “The quickest it could be approved would be a three month process – a month for officials to ensure it complies with the requirements of the act, and then two months to go through the cabinet committee process.” Meanwhile O’Neill says early indications of a study into how Psa-V reached the Waikato show it had probably been there for six to 12 months. Movement of plant material into the area was the likely cause, because of the isolated nature of the infection.
Rural News // october 2, 2012
Kiwifruit killer threaten more areas PA M TI PA
WILD VINES and abandoned orchards pose a big threat to Northland’s $36 million kiwifruit crop and the other Psa-V-free kiwifruit regions of New Zealand. These unmonitored vines hide the disease and are a large potential source of the bacteria if infected,” says Northland biosecurity senior programme manager Don McKenzie. The battle to remain free of Psa-V takes on a special urgency over the next few weeks as vines enter the stage of their life cycle that makes them
vulnerable. McKenzie says the new buds are emerging and vines are putting on fresh leaves. Any evidence of Psa-V will show itself and crops are particularly vulnerable at this time to the disease, which has now struck 51% of New Zealand’s kiwifruit orchards. Northland’s steps to keep free of the virulent bacterial disease will be duplicated in other Psa-Vfree areas across New Zealand as vines come into bud. Auckland, Poverty Bay, Hawkes Bay, Wanganui/Horowhenua and Nelson are also pro-active, says Kiwifruit Vine Health
chief executive Barry O’Neill. “But there’s also large parts of Waikato, Coromandel and Franklin still disease-free, so even in regions where Psa-V does already exist in pockets, it needs to be isolated at least in these initial few years; so the more we can do to keep it isolated, the better.” Meanwhile McKenzie says in Northland’s kiwifruit growing areas of Kerikeri and Whangarei local growers have made a special plea for people to be extra vigilant and aware of the serious risks it poses to a local industry worth
New Zealand kiwifruit growing regions Psa affected areas
$36 million annually and which employs at least 800 seasonal workers. Local Psa-V committee representative Alan Worsfold says they are asking everyone not to transport cuttings, root stock, soil and the like into Northland. Contractors are being asked to keep their machinery clean and free of all contaminants. Growers need to know who and what are entering their properties. McKenzie says owners of abandoned Northland kiwifruit orchards and reports of wild kiwifruit have been coming forward in response to calls for
Don McKenzie, biosecurity senior programme manager at the Northland Regional Council, checks new growth amid a tangle of wild vines at an abandoned kiwifruit orchard in the Whangarei area.
Tauranga East & West Te Puke Whakatane Opotiki
The kiwifruit growing areas of New Zealand with Psa-V-free areas in green and infected areas in pink. In Waikato, Franklin and Coromandel the disease is not yet widespread.
help from the industry and the regional council, who will remove the unmonitored vines for free. He says the number of abandoned vines, and plants in domestic gardens, would run to thousands. Once overgrown they are a maze of hidden posts and wires making
machinery access impossible. Killing vines requires using hand tools and crawling to the stump, which is cut and treated with herbicide. “Often owners haven’t the capability to remove the crop if it hasn’t been pruned for several years and council staff and
industry volunteers are working with orchard owners to evaluate risks and help remove abandoned orchards.” See www.kvh.org.nz or in Northland phone Northland Regional Council on 0800 002 004 and ask to speak with biosecurity staff.
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
Aussie livestock exports in limbo land SUD ES H K I SSU N
AUSTRALIAN LIVESTOCK exports are in limbo following the rejection last month of 20,000 sheep by Baharaini authorities. The animals were unloaded in the Pakistan port city Karachi and a court battle is underway to prevent a Government-ordered cull. The Australian Government has stopped issuing export permits as a result. While confusion surrounds the fate of the animals, Australian politicians and animal activists are calling for an end to livestock exports. Australian cattle and sheep exports have been under increasing pressure following reports of animal cruelty. Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White describes the case as “an absolute debacle”. “Pakistan was a fasttracked ‘solution’ for an exporter desperate to avoid a PR disaster when this shipment of sheep was rejected by Bahrain. Not only are we hearing reports of sheep being sold outside of the approved supply chain, but there is a
mass cull underway. This is an absolute disaster in animal welfare terms and the Australian community will rightfully be outraged again.” Bahraini authorities rejected the animals because of scabby mouth. After two weeks at sea, exporter Wellard was able to sell them to a Pakistani importer. But despite the sheep being cleared by quarantine, local authorities ordered their destruction after a second disease test at a poultry centre found the animals sick and unfit for human consumption. However, Pakistan industry and Australian officials disagree with the disease finding – which was at odds with an earlier test result from Pakistan’s national laboratory – saying the animals are healthy. The sheep remain in Pakistani feedlots after local importers won an injunction against a Government order to cull the animals because they were diseased. Australian Department of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry says there are conflicting reports on the issue. The sheep remain
Rural exports top A$39 billion AUSTRALIA’S RURAL exports this year will top $39 billion, and though down 1% on the previous year’s revenues, earnings will be 21% higher on average then during the five years to 2010-11. In its quarterly report on agricultural commodities, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) says the global economic slowdown should not pose a major problem in 2012-13. ABARES executive director Paul Morris says Australia’s rural exports are expected to remain strong, “largely reflected by continued demand growth in the Asian region and markedly higher export prices for grains and oilseeds.” The value of farm exports is forecast to be about A$35.2 billion in 2012-13, slightly lower than the recent high of A$35.9 billion in 2011-12. At this forecast level, the value of farm exports in 2012– 13 will be about 24% higher than the partly drought-affected average of A$28.4 billion in the five years ending 2010-11, he adds.
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healthy and pose no risk for human consumption, it says. “There have been suggestions some have scabby mouth. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) regards this as a common and minor disease in all sheep across the world, and they do not regard it as needing noti-
fication. There is no risk to human health from eating animals with scabby mouth. “In relation to other reported concerns, bacteria such as actinomyces, salmonella and E. Coli are part of normal gut flora and are present in livestock throughout the world. They also pose no
threat to human consumption.” While the impasse continues, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has warned if live sheep exports to the Middle East do not resume soon, nations with lower animal welfare standards could fill the gap. About 75% of Australia’s live sheep trade is
from WA. “If Australia was to exit the market, you would see it replaced by sheep and cattle exports from other countries that do not have the higher standards Australia has,” Barnett says. Key independent MP Andrew Wilkie says Australia’s live animal export system is fundamentally
broken. He is urging politicians to back his bill which would put in place mandatory stunning and ensure Australian livestock exported for slaughter could only be transported, yarded and slaughtered to Australian standards. Some Labor backbenchers are supporting his call.
Rural News // October 2, 2012
24 agribusiness Back biotech P E TER BU R K E
LANDCORP BOSS Chris Kelly questions whether New Zealand can continue to ignore the benefits of biotechnology. Speaking to Rural News after his address to a recent international biotechnology conference at Rotorua, Kelly said he believes New Zealand should be reinvesting in technology such as genetic modification to maintain its low cost of production. “In the past there’s been a major reluctance to go down this path. But we may need to consider having the debate again. “Our so-called low cost of production, which we enjoyed for many years in dairying, has slipped…. Can we afford to let that slip aside? I’m not sure we can.” New Zealand has developed genetic technology which can produce drought tolerant ryegrass that would give a 20% lift to our production, Kelly says. “It’s relatively harmless, and the gain for New Zealand could be extraordinary. That technology now needs to undergo extensive field trials, but guess where the field trials are being done – Australia and North America. That’s because we can’t do them in that extensive situation in New Zealand.” Kelly says there is a public perception that New Zealand is better off being so-called clean and green by not entering into GE. “My view is that most countries are using GE anyway and our increasingly important markets in Asia, including China and India, are less concerned about this than our European markets.”
Demand could see a doubling of NZ’s primary exports PAM TIPA
WORLD DEMAND for agricultural products could double, pushing New Zealand’s primary exports to $1.3 trillion by 2050, says ANZ’s chief executive officer Mike Smith, visiting from Australia. Smith last week told the Trans Tasman Business Circle in Auckland that ANZ will next month report on research into how New Zealand can maximise agricultural export opportunities. “To give you a sense of the scale of the opportunity, the forthcoming ANZ research report suggests the new-found wealth of the developing world, rising incomes and population growth will see the world demand at least 60% more agricultural output by 2050 compared to 2005-07,” he said. “In fact, if bio-fuel uptake and the economic growth of developing countries accelerate, demand
for agricultural products could more than double over this period. “Already demand for many agricultural products has begun to outstrip supply resulting in periods of high global food prices in recent years. This is in contrast to the experience of the latter part of the 20th century where commodity surpluses dominated global trade discussions.” He said New Zealand has the land, the water, the skills and the geographic proximity to benefit from the huge middle class populations emerging in Asia with sophisticated tastes and rising incomes. New Zealand could at least double the real value of annual agricultural exports by 2050 resulting in an extra $550 billion revenues over the next four decades. “Moreover, the size of the opportunity could increase to $1.3 trillion if global demand for agri-
cultural products grows faster and New Zealand can boost production volumes and continue to shift to higher value products.” He said New Zealand has demonstrated with its worldclass dairy industry and the success of Fonterra that international competitiveness in agriculture is about more than just having access to good land and rainfall. But economic and industry reform is needed. In agriculture, this Mike Smith includes • Sourcing capital to fund growth including foreign capital. • Attracting skilled labour by boosting the image of agriculture and enhancing education. • Focusing research and development to drive long-term growth. • Closing performance gaps
between individual farms. • Targeting key markets by better understanding consumers in Asia. Smith said the task of realising the Asian Century is the job of many: politicians, business leaders, farmers, educators, news media and community leaders.
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The US printing money may benefit NZ THE US Federal Reserve, the equivalent of our Reserve Bank, has announced plans for what is known as ‘QE3’, which has pushed global sharemarkets and the New Zealand dollar higher. So what exactly is QE3? QE stands for quantitative easing – a fancy term for printing new money. The cashflow of the US economy is tight therefore the purpose of the money printing is to ease these tight conditions, hence the term easing. It also allows US banks to lend money to each other and mediumto-small business so as to maintain a healthy overall cashflow that will allow companies to venture into new development and create new jobs. The three stands for a long-term plan to inject more money into the US economy to kickstart economic growth which has been sluggish due to the global financial crises of 2008. Keep in mind that quantitative easing is used only as a last resort to jolt economic growth; it is not ideal. The first step towards jolting economic growth is to lower a country’s interest rate and get business and consumers borrowing boosting growth throughout the economy. But since the financial crises of 2008, the US Federal Reserve has reduced its interest rates down to near zero to try to jolt growth. But now it has no further to go, thus prompting quantitative easing. It is no small injection either – US $40 billion per month through to mid2015. How does this affect New Zealand and, more importantly, farmers? It has multiple effects, positive and negative. The most direct effect is on the already high-flying New Zealand dollar (NZD). QE3 is going to create more US dollars
(USD). The impact will be exactly the same as would happen at your local sale yard. Excess stock, stock values drop, which has happened to the USD. There are more US dollars in the system therefore the value of USD drops. Currency is traded and valued in what is known as currency pairs, i.e. the value of one currency unit against the unit of another currency. Therefore the US dollar, New Zealand dollar (USD/ NZD) pair will be affected by a decrease in the value of the USD corresponding to an increase in the value of NZD. This, we all know, makes it harder for our exports in international markets, putting pressure on the demand for our export prices hitting farmers’ bottom line. The reason the USD/ NZD pair is so important to us is because US dollars make up a large percentage of all the currency traded in the world. So regardless of where we sell our goods, there is a big chance we will be paid in US dollars which then, of course, has to be converted to New Zealand dollars. It’s not just the currency markets that are affected and there are benefits to this extra money floating around in the world’s largest economy. The US is a large trading partner of New Zealand and the extra money will create consumer demand in the US for our exports. Ag commodity prices in the US have had a boost, but remain volatile due to the servere drought there. The US is one of China’s largest trading partners and more money going into the US economy increases demand for Chinese goods and imports. This represents the flow-on effect of QE3 and anything helping the Chinese economy indi-
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rectly helps our exporters since China is now our second-largest trading partner. These impacts on our exports won’t be noticed straight away in day-today prices. There will also be factors influencing the prices for individual export products but this creates demand momen-
tum, all good news for our agricultural exports. So we have clear pros and cons
here in the short term. The most noticeable con is the increase in the Kiwi dollar, but the boost to overseas export demand will bring longer term benefits to our economy. Injecting the extra money will have repercussions for the US economy, the flip side (and there always is) of money print-
ing is inflation, which is why it’s a resort of last measure. Inflation devalues a country’s base assets in the longer term and it is something Ben Bernanke, the US Federal Reserve chairman (equivalent to our Alan Bollard), will have to contend with. But for us in New Zealand, it is an all-care-and-
no-responsibility scenario, because we will get the benefits of the overseas activity the extra money creates, with no direct risk to inflation in New Zealand. • Francis Wolfgram is an independent financial analyst. Email franciswolfgram@gmail. com
Rural News // October 2, 2012
Lamb Market Trends
Beef Market Trends
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
Beef Cows help plants tick over Farmgate beef prices in the North Island remained steady last week on $4.40/kg on average for both 300kg cwt steer and bull. With the help of a lift in boner cows, plants have been full albeit on low capacity. When the bobby calf kill comes to an end and more plants begin to re-open, there will likely be some upside in prices if the total kill doesn’t pick up also. A few farmers have been holding onto killable cattle because they’re reluctant to replace just yet, but there are indications that the high NZ dollar and tighter feed conditions in the North Island have spurred farmers to begin killing. In the South Island, 300kg cwt steer and bull prices were steady on $4.30/kg and $4.00/kg respectively. South Island farmers are also struggling to come to grips with the replacement cost of cattle and are tending to wait for the spring growth so more weight can be piled on. US imported beef prices come off the boil US imported bull beef prices have come of the boil, following historical trends post US Labour Day. However trading from NZ remains limited as NZ supplies are yet to come on stream. NZ exporters had hoped prices would resist this seasonal downward trend, but Australian exporters are tending to accept lowered US bids due to an increase in supplies from cattle regions that are in desperate need of rain. US end users are also hesitant in committing as they anticipate prices to come under pressure in October and November from a lift in US domestic cow slaughter.
Lamb $6.00/kg on the cards for October A few early chilled lamb contracts have been filtering out and farmers will no doubt be disappointed to see a $5 in front of figures instead of a $6 or $7 from November onwards. Processors must be having a tough time making their decisions this year with iffy overseas market signals and the NZ dollar doing somersaults. With an October contract of $6.00/kg (gross), there is a bit more certainty in the market in the short term. Export lamb prices held on $5.65/kg (gross) last week in the North Island. In the South Island, there are reports that other meat processors that have not released contracts will match the $6.00/kg in October. Last week, prices were $5.70/kg on average (gross), which suggests there is a lot of ground to be made in the next few weeks.
Meeting the Christmas chilled lamb market Looking at historical trends of farmgate lamb prices, they tend to peak at the end of October, beginning of November, which corresponds to when the last boats leave our shores with chilled lamb to meet the UK/EU Christmas chilled lamb market. Last year, North Island prices peaked exceptionally high at $8.25/kg (gross) on average but this was largely procurement driven. Meat processors are unlikely to make the same mistake again by fighting head over heels for limited supply, especially seeing overseas prices have been slashed since then. The five year average had prices peaking at the start of November at around $6.00/kg. This is on par with recently released contracts, which have reportedly been well received. Venison prices stop start Venison prices are slowly climbing their way North to where they traditionally peak at the end of October, which represents the end of the chilled venison trade. However, the rate has been very slow and it’s debateable how much more fat is left in the system. Venison prices in the North Island have been stop start, with AP 60kg stag ranging between $7.50/kg and $7.60/kg last week. In the South Island, prices are $7.908.05/kg although freight will likely have to be paid for the upper range.
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
28 opinion editorial
Blowing in the wind A MAJOR factor in the fortunes of farming in this country is the fluctuation of the Kiwi dollar. Currently we have various parties – including those of the political persuasion – calling for a change to New Zealand’s monetary policy and intervening in the value of our dollar. However this kind political posturing is at best simplistic and at worst dangerous. Their ‘answer’ invariably involves changing our monetary policy or worse taking on the world by intervening in the dollar. As Federated Farmers’ Bruce Wills has pointed out: “… we cannot take on the world and pumping out five dollar notes, just like the United States or the Bank of England, it’s a race to the bottom. … people are dreaming if they believe our Reserve Bank can set and defend an exchange rate against all comers.” Rural News’ own financial analyst Francis Wolfgram explained in his column in the last issue (September 18) that this kind of action this was futile due to how heavily traded the NZ dollar is in the international market. “The Kiwi dollar is in the top ten traded currencies in the world. This has its pros and cons. One of the cons is our inability to significantly control our currency onshore. The Reserve Bank can try to sell Kiwi dollars to drive the currency down, but this is temporary and largely futile when combating market forces.” Therefore printing money or falsely devaluing our currency will indeed cause the value of our dollar to go down, but it will also cause the price of all goods and services to go up – especially major farm inputs like fuel, fertiliser and machinery. There is no advantage to increasing the amount of money in the economy, if it’s buying power diminishes at an equal rate. That is called inflation and we saw what impact inflation had on the farming sector – and the wider New Zealand economy – back in the 1980s! In the meantime, if having a low currency is such a panacea to economic woe – as claimed by proponents of monetary policy intervention – then how come countries like Somalia, Belarus, Laos, North Korea, Zambia and Guinea, to name some of the world’s lowest-valued currencies (Zimbabwe is not included because its dollar was indefinitely suspended from trading in April 2009 because it was so low) are not flourishing economies? All the hot air and talk about devaluing the dollar is in reality about as useful as blowing in the wind.
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YOUR OLD mate geed-up a couple of his sheepstealing cousins from across the Tasman with his comments last issue about the Green Partysponsored anti-GM tour of New Zealand. No sooner had the paper hit farmers’ mailboxes in Godzone than the email box was pinging with whining letters of complaint from these aforementioned Aussies – Julie Newman and Bob Mackley (see letters page 32). The Hound suggests his Aussie mates learn quick smart, if you lie with dogs long enough you are going to catch fleas!
THE HOUND has been around the rural media scene for a few years now and has seen a fair bit of non-news in his time. But the dog biscuit for saying nothing about nothing would have to go to Fed Farmers’ Dairy chairman Willy Leferink for his recent media release after trying unsuccessfully to mediate the argy-bargee between LIC and farmers over the hairy mutant calf issue. “I guess the best summary is that we spoke and they spoke,” Leferink said in a handout. Wow, thanks for that Willy. Not sure if that pearl of wisdom will make the front page, but God loves a trier!
HOW MANY media releases does it take to bury a bad news story? A mate of the Hound reckons LIC is trying to find out, in recent weeks firing out missives on calf clubs, ProTrack, science awards and even a trip to the UK. But on the issue everyone really wants to hear about – Matrix and his mutant daughters – the farmer cooperative has gone to ground. This headin-the-sand approach had your canine crusader’s mate facetiously asking if LIC’s taken a leaf out of the comms guidebook referred to by that other wellknown dairy co-operative – Fonterra – when dealing with a problem.
farmers look at a 30% ‘correction’ (read drop) in their incomes and dairy farmers face a possible $1/kgMS fall in milk payout in the coming year, the top brass at rural services company PGG Wrightson is not suffering. According to its annual report, managing director George Gould scraped by on a paltry $1.5 million for 2011-12, his first year in charge of PGW. Further, those in the company earning $100K or more a year jumped from 217 to 264. As a mate of the Hound opined, at least someone in the rural sector is doing well.
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THE HOUND hears that the imminent departure of Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden may coincide with another change at the dairy co-operative. Van der Heyden has had a long association – going back to his Dairy Group days – with the dairy giant’s current public relations provider Baldwin Boyle Group (BBG). However, with van der Heyden heading into the sunset, the co-op – after a less-than-stellar job of selling its TAF proposal to farmer shareholders – is now looking to pare back BBG’s influence and employ its own PR people directly.
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
One Plan changes defended bryce johnson
IT WAS disappointing that Rural News’ (September 18) coverage of the Environment Court ruling on the One Plan didn’t challenge what the Horizons chairman – and farmer – Bruce Gordon rightly refers to as “misinformation” from Federated Farmers. Indeed, the Feds, along with Fonterra and DairyNZ, have been widely lambasted for their scaremongering about the consequences of the ruling. What’s most telling though is the criticism from industry insiders – those longstanding and respected supporters of farmers and agriculture – such as respected Dominion Post farming editor Jon Morgan who calls the reaction “unseemly footstamping petulance”. I suggest their response is akin to flying a kite with not much wind. Both are an apt summation when you consider Morgan’s compelling argument that there are many positives in the One Plan for dairy farmers, chiefly because voluntary measures have failed and regulation means “they now
know what the boundaries are and they can get on with life”. Morgan explains that the many farmers who are doing the right thing to reduce their impact on waterways and the environment have nothing to fear; rather, it’s the poor performers who will be most affected by the new requirements. So we now have the bones of what could easily become a convenient form of environmental accreditation. And this is what makes the “petulant” reaction by Federated Farmers, Fonterra and DairyNZ all the more curious. Why are they so eager to defend polluting by their own laggards when constantly saying the opposite in public? Has all this talk about the industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability been nothing more than hot air? As for the claims about financial ruin resulting from the imposition of One Plan rules, the Environment Court flatly rejected such industry- and Federated Farmers-inspired nonsense, upholding farm economists’ evidence to the contrary. Further, the court
noted that for those who need to lift their game the average cost of no more than 5% of annual expenses “does not appear to be excessive”. The entire ruling is unequivocal in necessitating a rebalancing of the framework which has for too long favoured environmentally unsustainable farming practices. We now have a judgement that Horizons cannot ignore lest the Environment Court steps in and forces the regional council to implement rules it deems appropriate. In effect, it creates a standard that other regions would be wise to follow – a ‘social licence to operate’, complete with a warrant of fitness. Finally the country is on track to ensure agriculture is moved onto an environmentally sustainable footing. This will benefit both the economy and the environment by putting much-needed integrity behind the ‘100% Pure, clean green’ brand that is such a vital point of difference from our leading industries – farming and tourism – in the international market. And it could signal the
beginning of the end of the long-running standoff between urban and rural New Zealand over water quality – provided agriculture doesn’t fumble the opportunity it has been given. We’ve all got a workable win-win here; let’s embrace the One Plan outcome rather than try to be divisive about it.
Editors reply Mr Johnson and his lobby group may well quote a single journalist who agrees with their view of the world. However, Rural News and the majority of its readers clearly do not. As evidenced by the appeal to the Environment Court ruling on One Plan by HortNZ, Federated Farmers and others.
Bryce Johnson Chief executive, Fish & Game NZ
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Town & Country need to clean up water YOUR EDITORIAL ‘One plan from hell’ (Sept. 18) cannot go unchallenged. There is an urgent need to address the state of water ways, particularly in Manawatu , where the Manawatu River has been shamefully rated one of the worst-polluted rivers. Farmers need to repair the damage and, to be fair, many do by fencing creeks and streams and bridging waterways for cows to cross. Unfortunately others do not and sometimes are exposed in court cases. The implications of Horizons Regional
Council’s One Plan have been reported in terms of farming, but that is only half of the story. Undeniably farming fertiliser malpractices are a contributing factor, but so too are urban based councils pouring sewage and stormwater into rivers, for example, the Manawatu and Tukituki. The implications are only just becoming apparent. In a few words, there is a need for a clean-up but it is the responsibility of all, town and country. Ken Sims (Abridged) NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
Stop wars – feed the world FOOD SECURITY has become as important as world peace. A new report from Monash University suggests, “Securing a sustainable supply of nutritious food to feed the world’s fast-growing population is as big an issue as fighting wars, preventing disease and saving the environment.” Those of us who work in agriculture would undoubtedly agree. We might also point out: (1) Julian Cribbs, author and science communicator, has shown that since the 1990s two-thirds of the conflicts around the world have had as one of their drivers a shortage of land, water or food, and (2) Achieving food security would protect the environment from being brought into food production. Achieving a sustainable supply of nutritious food is therefore an everywhich-way win. But few, if any, countries are gearing up to meet the challenge. Last month, the UK Government stated: “We do not currently have the basic science base to deliver more sustainable food production practices.” It went on to admit that it needs more research into the interactions between the impacts of food production practices and the environment, and more research into the impacts of agriculture
on climate change. It also needs more skilled people who understand the innovation value chain from the soil to the mouth. The UK Government made these admissions in acknowledgement that there is a global issue driven by a number of factors: population growth, changes in diets in developing countries, and pressure on natural resources worldwide. It didn’t comment on war. These factors are not new, but Britain, as many countries, appears to have only just woken up to the fact that it doesn’t have the workforce to deal with the problems. Britain is expanding its agri-apprentice scheme by £1.4 billion, and another £12 million is being provided for postgraduate education in sustainable efficient food production; advancement of the UK agri-food industry; food quality and health; and livestock health in production. Targeted research investment is also inferred. Similar programmes are needed around the world as the cry for sustainable food production
increases and agriculturally related degree graduates are in hot demand. The world and New Zealand needs long term strategies established by people who understand the risks and uncertainties that surround the global challenges. It is logical that the demand for people
who understand how the world works in terms of science, will continue. It is also imperative that globally we endeavour to make the world a better place; this will take science, sustainable food production, engineering and design. The food security research was focussed
on Asia, but has implications for the whole world. “As populations increase and the full impacts of climate change are felt, competition for the scarce resources of food and water has the potential to destabilise the region and undermine the many development
gains achieved in recent years. Thus the design of resilient and sustainable food systems is not just a matter of welfare and equity but could have major implications for the stability and peace of this key region.” New Zealand’s best hope of showing value, and
helping keep the peace, is to achieve the sustainable production systems the world wants and can emulate. More agri-food people and more research funding will be required. The UK is on to it already. • Jacqueline Rowarth is Professor of Agribusiness, The University of Waikato.
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Only half the problem solved WITH REFERENCE to the editorial entitled ‘One plan from hell’ (September 18), Horizons Regional Council’s One Plan has been hailed by some but it only addresses half the problem. In essence it was half of a big step towards cleaning up the degraded waterways. It has dealt with farming but the other half step still needed, vitally, is recognition that a major cause of degraded water is the discharging of waste into rivers by regional and district councils For a country of only 4.3 million people – less than the size of greater Melbourne – the state of our waterways is a national disgrace. Successive governments must be held to account. While they have boasted of 100% pure clean and green images, they have shown disregard for and disinterest in the environment and run the danger of being accused by export markets of lies and hypocrisy. Prime Minister John Key was taken to task last year by BBC’s Straight Talk and the mask of his smile quickly vanished. The matter is an urgent responsibility of government, farmers, and local body councils, in fact all New Zealanders W Benfield, co-chairman, NZ Council of Outdoor Recreation Assns of NZ (CORANZ)
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
32 opinion Patriotic not phobic concern THERE WERE two contrasting views in your issue of September 18. Luke Malpass, of NZ Initiative, as expected favours foreign investment and ownership – the line pushed by chamber of commerce around the country. They brand anyone opposing foreign ownership as xenophobic. Name-calling! Then came K. Neal’s excellent letter ‘don’t call me xenophobic, just a concerned New Zealander.’ I would like to back up K. Neal. I am a concerned New Zealander too with pride in New Zealand, in other words patriotic. The pro-foreign ownership advocates indulge in name calling and branding. Frankly to me, it suggests a lack of a sound case, so they call the opposition names. In farms, forestry, vineyards and wineries, foreign buy-ups are taking place. King Salmon’s Marlborough Sounds fish farm expansion via a National government
fast-track EPA system involves foreign ownership. King Salmon is 53% owned by the powerful Malaysian Tiong family who have milled Indonesian rain forests, and Siberian and South African forests to name a few. They have other companies here too. And Ernslaw One is a major exotic forestry company in New Zealand owning at least 100,000ha. They are buying high country stations to ‘farm’ carbon credits – in itself a rip-off of New Zealand. And what of Rio Tinto? That was a financial loss to New Zealanders subsidising cheap, below-cost power to a transnational. Come on Luke Malpass and others, wake up! Your grandchildren won’t thank you. Rex McDonald Queenstown
Get your facts right, mate! ‘FACT NOT fiction’ (The Hound, Sept 18) is factually incorrect. I joined a tour of New Zealand at a personal cost of thousands of dollars for airfare, accommodation, food, etc, not at taxpayers’ expense. I am not an organic farmer but a conventional farmer on 5000ha and we had a contract crop-spraying business for almost 20 years and did not mention organics. I am not a member of the Greens or “a wooden bike-riding cohort”. This misleading
propaganda is the same corporate PR strategy used in Australia and is designed to ignore the issues and discredit anyone daring to suggest how to implement risk management strategies. The GM debate is about the sustainability of farmers being compromised by the greed of the research sector who want to form alliances with the corporate sector, not about organics. Julie Newman West Australia
Down mutt Hey Hound, sit ... stay… and stop chewing my boot. We Aussies were just giving you Kiwis a few clues about what GE did here (Rural News Sept 18) – not much good, lots of unresolved bads. I had a dog like this a few years back, once the eyes connected with a rabbit the ears stopped working. Didn’t keep him long. Bob Mackley Victoria
ag twits Rural News’ irreverent and hypothetical look at what’s happening in the farming world Top Bleats view all willyfedfarmersdairy: Feds dairy section recently met with @LIC to try to secure a solution that works for farmers affected by calf mutation; to summarise: we spoke and they spoke. #wasteofbloodytimeandeffort murraykinglic: LIC met recently with @ willyfedfarmersdairy to try to secure a solution for farmers affected by calf-mutation; to summarise: we will not talk publicly about this anymore. #buryheadinthesand damienoconnormp: I don’t mean to be alarmist, but @Fonterra’s decision to go ahead with TAF is clearly to blame for the hairymutant calf outbreak, the growing insurgence in Afghanistan and the ever-rising Kiwi dollar. #chickenlittle
bgordanhorizonsregionalcouncil: We’ve had such a fantastic response to our popular One Plan that we’ve set up a freephone number for farmers to ring the council with their compliments. #0800noreply hdalrymplefarmer: Bloody @horizonsregionalcouncil I keep trying to ring them to complain about One Plan but just get put on hold listening to muzak such as Al Green’s: ‘Take me to the River’. #frustrating sbrowninggreenmp: I’m outraged the Government spent $100K on hosting an international agricultural biotechnology conference in Rotorua when it should be wasting taxpayer money on hosting anti-GE and pro-organic hui around the country as I have done. #greenmeansstop henryfonterra: How come the GDT auction goes up three months in a row and we are still dropping the forecast payout for next season? #voodooeconomics fonterrapr: We can just keep on blaming the high NZ$ @henryfonterra because it gives us all the excuses we need to keep on creaming it and not upping the payout. #thisistooeasy rdavisoneconomicservice: The outlook for the coming year for beef and lamb producers is good news and bad news. The bad news is that they’re looking at a 30% ‘correction’ in income—the good news is it’s not 50%! #cloudssilverlinings
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
Turihaua, a century of Turihaua Station, a few kilometres north of Gisborne, is the oldest Angus stud in Australasia. It’s a station steeped in history that has set benchmarks for the breed in New Zealand. Peter Burke reports. The name Williams is synonymous with the East Coast of the North Island, a place of rugged beauty and some highly productive farm land. Hamish and Angela Williams are the present owners of Turihaua, an historic station and stud just north of Gisborne. They’re direct descendents of William Williams, an early 19th century East Coast and Hawkes Bay Church of England missionary and brother of the famous Henry Williams. William Williams’ son James acquired Turihaua Station as we know
it today when, in 1889, the property was put up for mortgagee sale by the then Bank of New South Wales, now Westpac. James and the Williams family, who had other farming interests further up the East Coast at Waipiro Bay and Tologa Bay, were advised to look at the property. James leased it in 1892 and bought it in August 1897, the thinking being it Gisborne would provide better markets than those further up the East Coast. The family’s long association with Angus cattle started with that lease and breeding records go back
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to before the stud officially came into being in 1906. “He actually started off with Shorthorns, but they didn’t handle the country as well as he’d like and his losses were horrific – up to 35% a year,” notes Hamish. “It was recommended that he try some Angus and the losses with those weren’t as high: they dropped back to about 12% initially.” Through that, Angus became “a kind of family thing” and Turihaua the breeding centre for all the properties. “Bulls were bred on the property and steers were driven down from blocks further up the coast to be finished on Turihaua.” Two generations of Williams’ farmed Turihaua between James and Hamish, who took it on in 1986. His grandfather was
Hamish Williams is the fourth generation to run the station.
hands on but his father was forced to focus on the wider business interests of the family in the region, with a manager employed to run Turihaua. “I was running a property up the road which I bought when I was 23. It
was 2000 acres of reverted farmland I was breaking in. This was, and still is, a passion of mine. Every time I go past a scrubby farm I think I’d like to get my teeth into that: it really drives me.” In 1986 Hamish’s father
persuaded him to come back to Turihaua as two other brothers didn’t want to farm. He adopted the farming strategy of his grandfather, but taking advantage of modern science and technology to enhance the
Angus herd along the way. “My grandfather’s philosophy was the environment dictated what you could breed and we haven’t changed that. By that I mean we don’t put crops in: if the cattle can’t survive on what we can
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The station is about 2000ha and winters 18,000 stock units: 400 stud cows; 250 commercial cows; bulls; 40005000 Romney ewes. All ewes are put to Poll Dorset terminal sires and lambing varies between 110% and 120%. The homestead and grounds are stunning. The house has been modernised over the years but has retained its historic charm, set in beautifully laid out grounds with the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean at the bottom of the driveway. It’s one of New Zealand’s iconic cattle stations and its amazing story was published in a book in 2006 to commemorate the centenary of the stud and its links to so many famous people and events in New Zealand.
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
excellence High steaks competition Hamish Williams knows Turihaua stock not only perform in the paddock: they’re great on the plate too, judging by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Steak of Origin competition. “I just wanted to know how good we were because you hear whispers saying your steaks are outstanding. We entered when the competition started ten years and apart from two years when there was a mess up with our entries we’ve always been in the semi-
provide within the environment of the place, we don’t want them. That philosophy hasn’t changed. “He was totally against showing and so was my father. In fact, I’m the only one in my family who’s ever shown anything. I had one go one year at the Gisborne show. That was primarily to promote a genetic line that I bought in from America.” Renewing pasture was tried but, after tough summer droughts in 1989 and 91, when new pastures “disappeared overnight”, was dropped. Fertiliser history is strong, with a recent switch to limebased products rather than acidic. Results are “exciting”, he says, and animal health improving. The family faith in Angus is based on sound logic. “It comes from the fern country in Scotland and is a great forager and is a very strong breed here on the East Coast,” explains Hamish. “It’s put a lot of pres-
finals.” This year, competing among 460 entries, Turihaua had four steaks in the semis and two which won their finals. Beef and lamb supplied to a local deli proves popular. Steers finished near the abattoir at Ruakura, Waikato, provide the beef and lambs come direct from the property. He’d love to develop his own brand of meat, but says Gisborne’s distance to market is a potential problem.
sure on the exotic breeds and the Hereford guys have tended to drift into the dairy market. The beef cows have been pushed into the hill and the cows are asked to work a lot harder. Like all beef cows their role these days is groom the pastures for the ewes.” When he took over in 1986, the cows were “butch”: strong and functional but fertility wasn’t as high as it could be. While his father “bit his tongue”, Hamish did some research and went overseas to find a bull to bring out the “femininity” in the cows. Introducing American bull P.S ‘High Pockets’ provided a big leap, the P.S standing for Pennsylvania State where the bull originated. Today calving is in the 89-92% range. “I bought this bull back and used him pretty heavily – 60 to 70 cows AI’d in the first year and about the same in the second year – and I was ruthless on the cows I had here… I started
off with about 450 and dropped that to just over 200. Then these feminine cattle started to come through. They probably had too much frame score for us but their maternal strengths were outstanding and now nearly every cow in the herd has a little of High Pockets in them. That just gave us a whole new genetic strength. “High Pockets’ has done much to enhance the Angus breed and to boost Turihaua as a premier stud.” Estimated Breeding Values and other scientific and technological tools are used, and Hamish says he’s always willing to find out and to try new things. “My philosophy is that if you don’t understand it, find out. Don’t accept what has been done in the past as the gospel. “I’ve always struggled to understand a lot of things I inherited in farming. I didn’t go to university, so I wasn’t brainwashed and have learned by observation.”
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
One tag does it for deer AS OF October 1 deer farmers have the option of using a NAIT tag instead of AHB barcoded primary tags, in the run-up to NAIT becoming mandatory in March. Tony Pearse, Deer Industry New Zealand, says it’s a sensible move and mirrors the dispensation made in advance of
the NAIT cattle scheme becoming mandatory in July. “Deer differ slightly in movement patterns in that the majority of young animals move as a single trip from the property of birth directly to slaughter within the first 15 months of life,” points out Pearse. “Those that are utilis-
ing the management and recording advantages of RFID with NAIT tags now need not add any cost with the acceptance of NAIT tags alone.” AHB operational policy manager Nick Hancox says deer farmers can rest assured that the change will not jeopardise gains made in managing TB.
“The AHB will maintain its ability to trace and identify infected animals. For this to happen, deer farmers need to become compliant with NAIT as soon as possible.” NAIT Limited chief executive Russell Burnard says the changes are an important example of NAIT and the AHB work-
ing together to reduce costs to farmers. “Some farmers may wish to keep tagging animals with panel tags in addition to the required NAIT tag, so they can identify them without the need for an electronic reader. What is important is that farmers have a choice.”
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THE ANIMAL Health Board (AHB) reminds all traders and receiving herdowners that there is no fee for bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing of bulls aged over 12 months entering the dairy industry. Commercial bull lessors should organise a TB test for bulls prior to marketing and leasing them to provide peace of mind to receiving herdowners, while dairy farmers should insist on TB tests before accepting them, or at least ascertain that one has been completed in the past six months, it says. Cattle moving from a Movement Control Area (MCA) are still legally required to be TB tested within 60 days of movement. Despite cattle and deer herd infections mainly being traced to possums, stock movement-related TB infections continue to occur, as Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Quintin Watts found out to his cost when his herd was infected by introduced stock. “Don’t be complacent, and don’t think that TB is not out there,” he warns. “Do your checks and you will know you have done everything you could to prevent it. It is something of which we all need to be aware.” Bulls must be accompanied by an Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form. AHB says check that the TB disease section of the form is complete, showing the TB test date of the animal(s) and the herd status. AHB can be called free on 0800 4824636 for all TB enquiries, including arranging free bull tests.
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
Measure soil carbon now SPRING IS the ideal time to measure soil carbon, and there is now an approved, practical process for tracking changes in soil carbon on NZ farms. The international Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is the method we
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working on this since we became aware of the soil carbon controversy in the mid-2000s. In 2007 we invited eminent agricultural consultant Dr Arden Anderson to address our annual farmer conference. He told members that soils are in trouble right around the world and urged action to stem the losses of soil and soil carbon so that humanity’s capacity to feed itself would be maintained and enhanced. His challenge spurred members to question and then overhaul their farming practices. Together we established a structured approach to growing soil carbon and improving the quality of soil, plants, and animal and (most importantly) people’s health. Once the methodology was approved by VCS a small band of innovative
eCOGENT farmers sampled their soils to 1000mm in the spring 2008 to establish robust baseline measurements of carbon levels. Repeated annually, the results have contributed to our understanding the effects of current and historical farming practices. These procedures have tracked soil carbon gains and losses over the past four years. The practice of measuring soil carbon down to one metre has been supported by the use of the Visual Soil Assess-
ment tools developed by soil scientist Graham Shepherd. His soil sampling protocol led to a group of farmers to build a specially designed soil coring machine, which is operated by an independent contractor. The visual soil and plant assessments also form part of the baseline data for each land management unit or sample site, as do other basic measures like stock numbers and type, production levels, annual rainfall and temperature patterns, and so on. Taken together, the data allow meaningful year-on-year comparisons and point to areas where management changes are necessary. The eCOGENT approach gained additional credibility at the Global Soil Carbon Summit in Sydney in
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Pasture persistence and cultivar work Ryegrass cultivar evaluation work is starting to shed some light on the problems of pasture persistence, though a suitable trial protocol is still wanting, as a paper to be presented at next month’s Grassland Association Conference in Gore will reveal. Andrew Swallow reports. SACRIFICE PADDOCK is common parlance in a winter wet spell, but how often is it heard in a drought? Not often enough, is the conclusion researchers are coming to after a long-running series of nationwide trials assessing cultivar performance and persistence. The work, part of which will next month be presented at the Grassland Association’s conference in Gore, spanned nearly a decade, ending last year. Ironically, the persistence aspect of it failed to produce a significant result, prompting the conclusion a better trial protocol to test persistence is needed. But that nonresult also holds a key lesson on managing pastures for persistence, says paper lead author, Graham Kerr, Agriseeds. “Pretty much everything has come through the trials unaffected, including cultivars with AR1 endophyte in the upper North Island,” he told Rural News. That was despite paddocks of the same endophyte and cultivar combinations on commercial farms suffering devastating damage during the same period, notably in Waikato’s 2007/8 drought. The trials were grazed, but the difference was they were never allowed to
be overgrazed. “The one thing I would stress to farmers is that plant survival during a dry summer with grasses like ryegrass depends on plant reserves which are above the ground. You need that stubble – 3-4cm on a dairy farm or 2-3cm on a sheep farm – left intact. Once you’ve grazed that, or driven heavy machinery on it, that’s it.” Even if stock aren’t grazing grass below those levels, trampling can break stems and with them access to reserves which the plant needs to regrow when rain returns. Consequently Kerr suggests, if at all possible, in a dry time stock are limited to one or two sacrifice paddocks or feed-out areas. For dairy farmers that will mean abandoning ‘the round’.
“A lot of farms in the Waikato drought kept a 35-40 day rotation of paddocks going and ended up damaging a large proportion of pasture.” Even today Kerr and his seed and research industry colleagues believe productivity of some paddocks in the region isn’t back to what it was. Where the trials did find significant differ-
ences, and some big ones, was in cultivar performance, and between years, seasons, regions, and endophytes. “These differences could be expected to translate to sizeable differences in profitability,” the paper notes. “For example, in autumn, the range between the lowest and highest diploid cultivars
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conference details This year’s Grassland Association Conference theme is ‘Opportunities in land use change’. Programme outline and registration forms at www. grassland.org.nz Early-bird registration closes October 5: $370 for members, $485 for non members, or $200 for student non-members. Association annual membership is $85. Single day earlybird rate: $150.
Spanish success THE STANDOUT cultivars in the trials tended to be ones with Spanish germ plasm in their breeding, notes Kerr. “Trojan did well, and Arrow, Alto and One50 are all up there.” The big differences came in winter and early spring growth, where such cultivars were up to 20% ahead on drymatter compared with standards such as Bronsyn. “This has come out of the Spanish germ plasm. They’re later flowering and have much higher winter growth. It’s really been a revolutionary leap in the
genetic potential of ryegrass.” The cultivars appear at least as persistent as standards so there appears to be no downside, he adds. Meanwhile New Zealand’s plant breeders are scouring the world for the next source of germ plasm to weave into their programmes. “Plant breeders travel through the summer and pick seedheads, though internationally it’s getting harder and harder to do as countries are starting to restrict movement of native germ plasm.”
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
Four-way tailing trial launched a n d rew swa llow
TWO RESEARCH projects on the effects of tail docking, or leaving tails on, begin this spring. The work, instigated by Alliance Group with support from the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund, UK supermarket Sainsbury’s, and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, is said to be “the first research of its kind” on docking in New Zealand. The first trial at the Riverton farm of Alliance Group client Euan Templeton, a member of the company’s Pure South Producer Group, will examine the impact of different docking practices or no docking on lamb growth, carcase weight and yield. The second trial at a couple of Canterbury farms and another in Southland, will study the effect of different tail lengths on lamb productivity, welfare and economic return. Each farm will run four mobs of 200:
short-tailed, normal tailed, UK standard tailed and full-tailed. “One of the reasons for it is because retailers overseas believe farmers here are docking tails too short…. Over there tail lengths are quite long compared to here,” Alliance’s general manager livestock, Murray Behrent, told Rural News. Behrent notes the shortest tails tend to come from farms using rubber-ring docking, rather than searing irons. “We’re not saying either is right or wrong at this stage,” he adds. The research results should enable suppliers to make informed decisions on the most appropriate tail docking strategy. “The current lack of objective information leaves New Zealand farmers vulnerable to concerns from international markets on the length of the tail. International retailers are now requesting evidence-based information which can be used to assure their customers that management practices such as tail
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Covered up: guidelines state tails should cover anus and, in females, vulva perineum.
docking are justified.” While some lambs do come in with tails shorter than current welfare guidelines, Alliance does not penalise suppliers on tail length. However Behrent says “all docking must meet minimum tail length requirements.” Only a handful of suppliers leave tails intact. “Probably no more than 10
farmers, 30 or 40,000 lambs at most.” Behrent says the trial is “to give farmers information so they can make an informed decision on tail length best suited to their farming practice.” During the trials, lambs will be weighed at docking, weaning and slaughter. Dags will be scored at weaning and slaughter, with flystrike (if any)
recorded before any crutching or spray treatment. “Welfare issues that concern consumers have the potential to become barriers in international markets so they lie at the heart of economic sustainability of sheep farming in New Zealand,” he stresses. “This project will provide suppliers with appropriate tail docking strategies by understanding current practices, determining the drivers behind docking decisions and quantifying the effects of different docking practices.” AbacusBio is collecting the data and crunching the numbers for Alliance so there’s some independence to the work, which also involves tailing and shearing contractors. A best practice booklet on tail docking will be developed and distributed to suppliers. Initial results are expected April 2013 with final results published in March 2014.
Need for sheep and beef forage index from page 41
was around 600kg DM/ha, or about $180/ha if an economic value of 30c/kgDM is assumed.” Tetraploids yielded less than diploids, but were likely disadvantaged due
Graham Kerr www.biodiesel-nz.co.nz
to preferential and consequently harder grazing, leading to lower post-grazing residuals in the trials. As for endophyte responses, it wasn’t possible under the trial design to determine if better growth, improved insect resistance, reduced animal preference, or a combination of these, was the driver. The work has helped determine what testing is needed to develop the recently launched Dairy NZ Forage Value Index. Kerr hopes a similar evalu-
ation and ranking system for cultivar performance on sheep and beef farms might be funded soon. “I honestly don’t think providing much better cultivar information for sheep and beef farmers is going to cost too much money. It’s important this sector understands that while they can look at the data in the Dairy Forage Value Index, what it won’t give them is the persistence of cultivars set stocked under sheep in a summer dry. “It’s not so much about
the money, as the coordination of the seed industry,” he adds. “The brilliant thing with the Dairy Forage Value Index is Dairy NZ has corralled everybody so we’re all on the same page, which is not easy with a group of competing commercial organisations…. It’s lead to changes in the way New Zealand pasture testing is done which is giving a better result for farmers and a better result for New Zealand Inc, which is what we’re all trying to achieve.”
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
44 animal health
Supplement for energy boost? WINTER IS supposedly over and we are heading into the busiest time of year – docking, shearing weaning etc. Your dogs will be jumping out of their skins after the winter break, but energy will be short lived due to unfitness. When the work load really kicks in, dogs are expected to be tireless – they are heavily relied upon. Years ago when we fed fatty raw meat our dogs
had more energy and it was easier to keep them in optimum condition, however in order to protect valuable lamb and mutton carcasses from sheepmeasles, freezing or cooking of all sheepmeat fed to dogs is required by law; problem is, certain vitamins and minerals are damaged as a result, and our dogs are not getting the nutrients they require. Their health and stamina is suffering.
I can remember when a big cull ewe was worth $4, but with the price she fetches now, farmers are reluctant to cut her throat for the dogs, and she is off to put money in the bank. Our dog’s diets have changed as a result. Sometimes they get meat, but often they are fed prepared commercial dog food and a lot of these are cereal based. Dogs are basically carnivores – raw meat
eaters – yet we are changing their natural diet to suit us, which in my opinion isn’t for the benefit of the dog, particularly when it is a hard working farm dog. I’m not saying that all the products we feed our dogs are inadequate, but it’s the manufacturers and retailers that are growing fat. Our dogs have to be fed and most of us do
the best we can, but if our dogs are lacking energy is there anything we can do? I’m hoping so. I am trying a product called ‘Exceed’ which is a vitamin and mineral supplement available at most stock firms. I put my old retired Huntaway Maude on it. She lives at the back door, in a warm kennel and has a coat on during winter, but she was still a bit stiff and slow. Within a week the change was amazing. Her good coat bloomed, her condition was very good but got even better, and there was a big improvement in her joint stiffness – when we go for walks she now canters ahead, which she hadn’t done prior. It is
very obvious – she feels as fit as a fiddle. I have started giving it to my three working dogs from two weeks before docking so they can be in peek condition as the workload will be heavy. I’m really looking forward to seeing the results, because if the product is as good as they proclaim, it has to be a Godsend for New Zealand working dogs. Not many people know about it, even though it has been around for years, and working dog health is overlooked by many. If this product provides your dogs with more energy and stamina and a quicker recovery period from hard work, then surely it is well worth investing in. It may
at first glance appear to be expensive, however when you break it down to a ‘per feed basis’ it is very affordable. I am suggesting that you conduct an experiment like I am doing. Start feeding it to your team a fortnight before the real work begins, and then feed it every day throughout the busy period. You know how your dogs usually perform at this time of the year, so you will notice if there is an improvement. I want to know what you think. Please phone or email. • Anna Holland is teaching people dog training. For more information www. annaholland.co.nz or Ph (06) 388 1318 or email@example.com
When the workload comes on, how will they hold up, asks columnist Anna Holland.
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
animal health 45
Don’t cut corners at tailing a n d rew swa llow
MASSEY UNIVERSITY professor of animal welfare science David Mellor is unequivocal about the need to ensure tails are docked to guidelines. “Anything we do to livestock that is going to
There’s good evidence of negative consequences of docking tails too short, he adds. Muscle insertion points are lost affecting carcase conformation and in replacement stock, increasing the risk of vaginal prolapse in pregnancy. And while the risk of flystrike is a welfare
from a particular place. “It would be a really good idea if people here recognise we need to get our house in order.”
view, not acceptable. “We have an obligation to do it with the methods that cause the least pain and distress.”
Searing irons or rubber rings are about equal in terms of pain caused at tailing, but a knife is much worse and in Mellor’s
For when the going gets tougher
“Anything we do to livestock that is going to cause pain needs to be done consciously and with great care. The tail is there for a good reason.” – David Mellor cause pain needs to be done consciously and with great care. The tail is there for a good reason,” he told Rural News in response to Alliance’s tailing trial launch (see p42). Male lambs tails should at least cover the anus, and females’ the anus, perineum and vulva. Mellor slates those who are slack in their docking practice and cut or place rings on tails too high. “It is irresponsible and lazy. If farmers or contractors are in the habit of doing it they need to read the code of welfare and get out of the habit.”
reason for docking, in some of New Zealand’s markets people believe that cutting off any part of an animal is wrong, he points out. “What’s happening now internationally, especially in welfare sensitive markets and countries, is that the public are given a much greater say in what they’re prepared to accept in the standards their food suppliers – be they supermarkets or restaurants – adhere to. They say they want welfare assured so they know they are not contributing to cruelty to animals when they buy
Animal testing numbers up The National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) issued its 2011 annual report last week, revealing a leap in the number of animals used in research, testing and teaching (RTT). Total animals used in RTT for 2011 was 327,674, a 35.3% cent increase over the previous year but NAEAC chair Virginia Williams points out the number of animals categorised as experiencing a high impact to their welfare as a result of RTT dropped. Cattle and sheep make up a high proportion of the animals used in RTT in New Zealand, whereas in the UK they’re mostly mice. Williams says the committee’s focus during the year was on liaison. “Visiting our research institutions is something that members do each year to help facilitate discussion between NAEAC and those who are responsible for conducting - and providing ethical oversight to – the use of live animals in research, testing and teaching (RTT).” The report is at http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/ animal-welfare/naeac/annual-reports
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
46 animal health
Pasture: limit or opportunity Following the exchange of views on the limits or otherwise of dairy production from pasture in Rural News’ September 4 issue, consultant nutritionist Pip Gale and Lincoln University’s Jim Gibbs (see opposite page) engage in round two. Dairy nutrition consultant Pip Gale.
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LINCOLN UNIVERSITY’S Jim Gibbs is absolutely right to say that pastures alone can meet cow requirements – if a farmer is satisfied with a production of say 450kg milk solids per cow, says Tasmania-based animal nutritionist Pip Gale. Such production figures would be high on pasture alone, though they are achievable on some of the high performing, irrigated paddocks in Canterbury. “But, if farmers are looking for increased production, taking into account the limitations of many pastures around New Zealand, then they’re going to have to look at alternatives,” Gales maintains. “Cereral-based supplements provide the best form of available nutrients to power the first engine, the rumen and its bugs, and in turn the mammary gland and the cow itself.” Gale, who is also a consultant to Ingham Feeds & Nutrition, says New Zealand dairy farmers have achieved world-best milk production on pastures alone, but that limits are being reached on how much more is possible without supplements. High quality irrigated pasture in Canterbury is some of the highest producing in New Zealand, but this can’t necessarily be replicated in other parts of New Zealand –
for example Northland with its kikuyu dominant swards. But even Canterbury farmers, looking to put more milk in the vat, are exploring other options, says Gale, who says he’s often asked to consult in Canterbury. “Of course, there’s a cost when adding extra inputs such as compound feed, but as long as that cost is less than the increased revenue from more milk, then farmers owe it to themselves to explore the option. “At its core, the cow rumen is a complex 100 litre fermentation vat, and as we’ve developed increased understanding of its function, we’re realising how to optimise bugs’ output from the chemical and physical interactions.” Gale says there is a type of emotional and psychological hurdle to be overcome by dairy farmers looking to add more fermentable carbohydrates and total nutrient balance to their cows’ pasture based ration. “When the dominant philosophy has been that pasture alone can deliver everything that’s required, all the time, then it can sound like heresy to suggest alternatives. “But part of what farmers need to understand is that for high production cows (450kgMS plus), there are
many times throughout a lactation when pasture does not provide the right balance of nutrient to meet requirements, for example glucose precursors, so they want a total nutrition answer to the challenge.” Gale says Gibbs is correct in that there are a large number of profitable, high production farmers feeding solely grass. “Equally, there are increasing numbers of
even more profitable, higher producing farmers feeding a mix of pasture and cereal-grain supplements. “The point I’m making is a modern cow’s rumen is like a high performance engine. The higher the octane of her inputs, the more able she is to respond with milk in the vat. It’s not about taking grass out, but building on a well established foundation.”
ME the key says DairyNZ METABOLISABLE ENERGY, or “ME”, is the best descriptor of a supplement, says DairyNZ. “When I hear people telling farmers that ‘all energy is not equal’ and they should ‘focus on non-fibre carbohydrate instead of ME’ when feeding their cows, I get quite frustrated,” says DairyNZ principal scientist, Dr John Roche. “It shows me that a little knowledge out of context can be a dangerous thing.” Roche says the non-fibre carbohydrate argument is wrong for New Zealand farmers because pasturebased cows are rarely short of protein. “Management to produce more microbial protein, without providing additional energy when cows are not deficient in protein, will not increase milksolids production. “Fibre can produce the same amount of microbial protein as non-fibre carbohydrate, provided it is digestible in the rumen.” For example, a cow eating the same amount of energy from pasture, or pasture plus a 60% drymatter non-fibre carbohydrate supplement, or another nonfibre carbohydrate supplement with 30% drymatter, produces the same amount of microbial protein. “That cow also has the same amount of metabolisable protein reaching the small intestine and as a result of the similar metabolisable intake and metabolisable protein, produces the same amount of milksolids.”
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
animal health 47
Grass: just feed more of it J IM G IB BS
HIGH QUALITY grass is the primary reason the Kiwi dairy industry is an international powerhouse while almost all OECD national industries, including Australia, struggle to return investments to farmers. It is a cheap, nutrient dense product that suits the NZ climate and grazing system, and delivers energy, protein and most minerals to cows in a form that is safe and effective, with simple supplementary additions of select elements easily achieved. Despite this, NZ farmers regularly get told by the international commentariat that their profitable grass based systems just aren’t good enough. Typically, this advice is couched in terms of improving cow welfare: “look at these skinny cows”; or improved cow health and production: “grass causes rumen acidosis and feed inefficiency”; or the green tinge: “pasture feeding negatively impacts the environment”. Almost inevitably, those advisors will offer no primary research in high production grass systems, but draw together a collage of findings from confinement dairy systems overseas, or feedlots, or high supplement systems that have some pasture involved. And just as inevitably, the solutions offered are higher supplement inputs – the same systems that have gone
broke all over the world. Let’s take a look at some of their regular criticisms. “The cows of 2012 are just too high producing to do well on grass alone.” Au contraire, NZ genetic selection has been largely from performance on grass based systems, and almost exclusively internationally has produced elite performers that suit such systems: that is, fed grass on controlled intakes, seasonal calving, walking long distances, wintered outside, lower body weights and excellent performance at comparatively lower BCS. “Grass causes rumen acidosis” No! The rumen environment with high quality pastures is typically a healthy mix of high concentrations of acids, notably propionic formed from glucose, plenty of available N, high motility, excellent fibre digestion, active epitheliums, remarkably stable microbe communities and a perfectly satisfactory lower pH. The signs of acidosis – lowered intakes, reduced motility, rising lactic acid, epithelial damage and unstable microbial communities – are just not seen on these grass diets, and we’ve the research to prove it. They are, however, seen with high cereal grain diets. “Grass has too much N and too much sugar – cows need starch to balance the diet”. This argument is a mix of two older narratives, both inappropriate and
unjustified for high quality pasture feeding: the ‘synchrony’ idea of matching in real-time rumen available N with rumen available energy to ‘capture’
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
48 animal health
Neonicotinoids unlikely CCD cause alan harman
The impact of crop pesticides on honeybee colonies is unlikely to cause colony collapse, UK scientists from the University of Exeter and Food and Environment Agency say. In a paper in the journal Science they say more research is needed to predict the impact of widelyused neonicotinoids on honeybee populations. The UK researchers highlight flaws in previous research that predicted that neonicotinoids could cause honeybee
colony collapse, including work which likely lead to France’s banning thiamethoxam. The Science paper argues previous calculations failed to reflect the rate at which honeybee colonies recover from losing individuals. Work led by French scientist Mikaël Henry, showed the death rate of bees increased when they drank nectar laced with a neonicotinoid pesticide, thiamethoxam. It calculated that this would cause their colony to collapse. The UK research
explains how the calculation may have used an inappropriately low birth rate. “We know that neonicotinoids affect honeybees, but there is no evidence that they could cause colony collapse,” lead author Dr James Cresswell of the University of Exeter says. “When we repeated the previous calculation with a realistic birth rate, the risk of colony collapse under pesticide exposure disappeared. “I am definitely not saying that pesticides are
harmless to honeybees, but I think everyone wants to make decisions based on sound evidence – and our research shows that the effects of thiamethoxam are not as severe as first thought.” Cresswell says as yet there is no definitive evidence of the impact of these insecticides on honeybees and decisions should not be made on changes to policy on their use. “It is vital that more research is conducted so that we can understand the real impact of neonic-
Healthy hive: bee reproductive rates were understated, UK work found.
otinoids on honeybees, so governments can put
together a proper plan to protect them from any
dangers that the chemicals pose,” he says.
NZ use of neonicotinoids Graeme Peters, chief executive of Agcarm, the industry association for crop protection and animal health, describes neonicotinoids as being similar to the natural insecticide nicotine. They were introduced to New Zealand in 1992. Today about two dozen products containing one of four active ingredients
(imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin) are available for use on cereals, forage brassicas, pasture, maize and sweetcorn, potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash, mostly as seed treatments. As such, they are absorbed by seed and protect early plant growth.
Gains from grain argument flawed from page 47
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About 20 years of research internationally, often in feeding systems of far lower N content, has led to the good ship ‘Synchrony’ taking on a lot of water. It has not been shown to reliably increase N efficiency, or production, and simple rumen maths here in NZ shows that no amount of rumen fermentable energy – sugar, starch or magic potion – could ever chemically hold the N available. Is that an issue for the Kiwi cow, as she must use some energy to process and excrete that N? No, it is a derisory energy cost to the cow, some 50g of MS a day in extreme cases. Is it an issue for N leaching that could be improved by low N cereal grain dietary supplements? No. The replacement of very low DM grass with high DM grains reduces water loading and urine volume, so concentration of N in urine trends towards that of a grass diet, and concentration of N is what’s important in leaching.
Do pasture-based cows need supplementary starch to produce adequate glucose for milk production? No. There may be an argument for dietary starch limiting milk yields in high output Total Mixed Ration systems, but strict glucose production in high producing (400kgMS/year) Kiwi cows on grass has never been shown to limit milk yields. “Adding cereal grains will lift profit in high quality pasture systems.” Supplements can make you money, and supplements can lose you money. Do grain supplements substantially increase milk yields for fully fed, pasture based cows? At high levels, sometimes. Does that make you more money? Typically, no. A raft of NZ research has shown the likely response to supplements is 60-80g MS per kg DM fed here. The higher quality the pasture, the less likely a profitable return for investment. “Farmers should educate them-
selves off the idea that pasture is a total diet.” NZ dairy farmers have an energetic, particularly well supported industry. They have access to an enviable body of research that is highly focused and specific to NZ systems. It is hard to see internationally where there is a better platform of high quality advice for local systems, and I speak as an independent. New Zealand’s focus on grass based production has grown from research and extension. More importantly, the rise and durable success of the Kiwi dairy industry is a compelling testimony to the competitive advantage of relatively low production but high profit grass based systems. Grass is not the problem, it is the solution. Just feed more of it. • Jim Gibbs is a senior lecturer and veterinarian in Lincoln University’s Department of Animal Science
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
animal health 49
Toxo factor in suicide rates? a n d rew swa llow
COULD SHEEP and cat disease toxoplasmosis play a role in the higher-thanaverage suicide rate in New Zealand’s rural population? Recently published US research found people carrying the causative parasite Toxoplasma gondii much more likely to try to kill themselves than those not exposed to the bug. “In our study we found that if you are positive for the parasite, you are seven times more likely
to attempt suicide,” Lena Brundin of Michigan State University told Science Daily. Brundin was a lead researcher on a team that scored groups of infected and uninfected people on a suicide risk assessment scale. The work, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found those infected with T. gondii scored significantly higher. In the Science Daily article Brundin stresses the majority of those infected with the parasite will not attempt suicide. Consid-
ering in the 1990s it was estimated 70% of New Zealand adults had been exposed to the parasite at some point, that’s good news. That compares to 10-20% in the US. “Some individuals may for some reason be more susceptible to developing symptoms,” says Brundin. “It is estimated 90%
of people who attempt suicide have a diagnosed psychiatric disorder. If we could identify those people infected with this parasite, it could help us predict who is at a higher risk.” New Zealand’s Ministry of Health data shows a significantly higher rate of suicide in rural areas
than in urban: 15.9 deaths per 100,000 population in rural areas, compared to 10.8 in urban communities. The highest rates of rural suicide are among adults aged 25−44. Brundin says it was thought the toxo parasite lay dormant in most people but it appears it can cause inflammation
and production of harmful metabolites that damage brain cells. Previous research has found signs of inflammation in suicide victims’ brains and people battling depression, she notes. “There also are previous reports linking Toxoplasma gondii to suicide attempts.” Recently released New
Zealand Ministry of Health figures show 522 people died by suicide – 380 male, 142 female – in 2010, equating to 11.5 deaths per 100,000 population. The 2010 suicide rate was 23.6% below the peak rate in 1998. A spokesperson told Rural News they do not have a breakdown of the figures by occupation.
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THANKS TO good weather, this year’s aerial 1080 operations aimed at possum control on the West Coast are complete, says the Animal Health Board. “Our contractors have done an excellent job of timing these operations to make the most of the fine weather,” says AHB Northern South Island community relations advisor Imogen Squires. The drops are to protect cattle and deer herds from bovine tuberculosis (TB) and support an extensive programme of ground-based control work using hand-laid toxins and traps. Squires says ground-based control accounts for the majority of West Coast work and throughout the country. “However, given the difficult terrain in some parts of the West Coast, the speed and accuracy of aerial control makes it essential in lowering possum numbers efficiently and cost-effectively.” Warning signs are at each major public access point to the operational areas and it is an owner’s responsibility to keep dogs well away from operational areas until all warning signs are officially removed. Unlawful removal of signs places pets at risk, with potentially devastating consequences, points out AHB. “Public co-operation is essential to the TBfree New Zealand programme.” Besides protecting the West Coast’s $850 million/year pastoral industry from TB, baiting operations have major spin-off benefits for native birds and forests, says AHB.
9/12/12 4:30 PM
Rural News // October 2, 2012
50 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
Vicon mowers make the cut... Floats like a butterfly... ga re t h g i llat t
A LIGHTER butterfly mower from Vicon lets hay contractors cut a wider swathe with a lighter tractor, says distributor Power Farming. The 8.56m Vicon Extra 390 butterfly mower is one of few butterfly mowers sold here equipped with mechanical suspension and no conditioner, says Power Farming grass machinery product manager Nigel Pratley. This allows it to be powered by lower-powered tractors, he says. “An 8-9m butterfly mower conditioner would need a 200hp tractor to operate while a butterfly mower only requires a 130hp tractor.” The rear butterfly mower weighs 1600kg compared to 1800-2000kg for triple mower/conditioner models. Thus many contractors could select several tractors from their fleet to cut hay rather than relying on one, says Pratley. “A lot of contractors I have talked to have just one 200hp tractor but several 130hp tractors. With this mower they will probably be able to cut hay with five
machines. They also won’t need the capital outlay required to run a bigger tractor, including the extra fuel costs.” The mower has centre suspended mowing units to better follow the contours of the paddock with the suspension arms having two mounting options to allow for a wider overlap when working on hilly conditions. This is also the only 8-9m butterfly mower on the market with Vicon’s three blade system. “You’ve also got a Vicon cutter bar that comes with a 2 year warranty.” www.powerfarming.co.nz
More for less... A NEW 3.6m Vicon hay mower will effectively cut wider areas while needing less power, says product distributor Power Farming. The Vicon 336 disc mower with mechanical suspension has appeared in New Zealand for the first time says the company’s grass machinery prod-
uct manager Nigel Pratley. It presents as an affordable centre-pivot option for operators with smaller tractors, he says. “Farmers looking for a 3.6m disc mower haven’t had too many options up to now.” The Vicon mower weighs only 775kg and suits tractors with power
ratings 100hp and higher. The centre pivot lets the mower ‘travel’ in four directions says Pratley, providing a constant even cut. The mower has a two speed gearbox and can be operated at 540 and 1000rpm. www.powerfarming.co.nz
Express blade charge possible VICON MOWERS will have bladechange times as low as the best on the market thanks to the release of a new bolt-on quick-change set-up, says distributor Power Farming. Though quick-change systems have been available on hay mowers with twin-blade discs for several years, grass machinery product manager Nigel Pratley says the maker had to spend a little longer finding a system that worked with Vicon’s three-blade disc. “We had to develop a tool that worked with the triangular blade.” The system makes changing blades about 20 times faster, says Pratley, though the blades remain securely held in place. “We tested them in mowers in the South Island on flats and gentle rolling hills. We topped with them and cut paddocks you wouldn’t normally cut hay on. We cut through bullrushes and the odd bit of gorse and there were no problems.” www.powerfarming.co.nz
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 51
High power, low weight, versatile MASSEY FERGUSON’S new MF7600 tractor series embodies high power, low weight and versatility, the company reports. Its technology – award-winning and proven – includes the latest fuelefficient engines, plus extra operator comfort and control. The design is lowweight and versatile, suiting tasks ranging from cultivation and crop establishment to top work and haulage. The MF7600 series can be specified with either the Dyna-6 Eco semi-powershift transmission or the Dyna-VT continuously variable transmission. All models are powered by the company’s newest AGCO Sisu Power e3 engines with secondgeneration selective catalytic reduction (185-235hp) as well as power management which, on Dyna-6 models, boosts engine power by up to 25hp for field and road work – for higher output as conditions dictate, taking account of PTO operation, travel speed and load. Massey Ferguson pioneered the use of SCR systems in agriculture, AGCO says, a technology “already proven to significantly reduce fuel consumption.” As seen on MF8600 series tractors, the Gen-
eration 2 SCR system uses an advanced diesel oxidation catalyser (DOC), which includes the AdBlue dosing injector nozzle. Buyers can choose between Agco’s Dyna-6 Eco semipowershift or the Dyna-VT continuously variable transmissions – the latter making for precise control of the forward speed at lowestpossible engine revs, so that the tractor always runs at optimum economy and efficiency. Meanwhile the ‘dynamic tractor management’ automatically adjusts the engine speed according to load. The Dyna-6 Eco transmission is clutch-less via a left-hand ‘power control’ or right-hand ‘command control’ levers in the armrest. It has 24 speeds with six Dynashift (powershift) steps in four gears. The Eco feature allows top speed at lower revs, reducing engine noise and fuel consumption. A further refinement – AutoDrive – is standard, automating more gear changes to increase work rates and cut fuel consumption. A completely redesigned cab for the MF7600 gives the operator better visibility and interior space and higher levels of comfort. Users can choose from three specification
Silage monitor BEEF PRODUCERS will from next year be able to determine maize silage nutrient quality using the John Deere HarvestLab. The company says its HarvestLab has proven reliable for six years in measuring dry-matter content. From 2013 the HarvestLab’s expanded constituent sensing capabilities will enable it to predict crude protein, starch and fibre (ADF/NDF). The device uses near-infrared technology to determine the constituent characteristics of corn silage. It is used on John Deere self propelled forage harvesters (SPFH) to monitor corn silage at harvest and can be disconnected for use as a stationary unit to evaluate silage nutrient quality at the time of feeding. The HarvestLab constituent sensing enhancement also enables more precise application of silage inoculants at harvest because rates can be adjusted according to crop and dry matter readings. The result is higher quality silage with greater feed value and less spoilage. John Deere won a silver medal for the HarvestLab technology at the 2011 Agritechnica, Hanover, Germany, in November. www.johndeere.com.au
levels and new control options. Controls in the armrest and on the joystick are further refined. New cab suspension choices are between mechanical (coil springs and dampers) and
the maker’s hydraulic ‘OptiRide Plus’ which enables the operator to adjust the ride comfort level. Tel. 027 2708027 www.masseyferguson. co.nz
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The quality won’t surprise you – but the price will. Our 3E Series tractors are built with the notion that, if you excel in the areas that matter the most, you’ll exceed expectations as well. That’s why the 3032E has an extremely efﬁcient 23.1 kW (31.4-hp†) diesel engine featuring impressive torque reserves that allow you to take on punishing loads. You’ll also be surprised to ﬁnd a hydrostatic transmission with Twin Touch™ pedals instead of a gear version. Power steering also comes standard, which makes manoeuvring a breeze. Standard differential lock and 4WD give you the traction you need over rugged terrain. That’s why the 3032E is a no-nonsense workhorse that exceeds expectations at every turn, and with a price tag that deserves a second look. So if you’re thinking about a new tractor, we have an easy answer. Find out more about the 3E Series from your John Deere dealer or visit us online.
* Interest rate based on a 36 month term, current as at 1st May 2012 and subject to change without notice. Conditions apply. Finance available through John Deere Financial to approved applicants only. Repayments based on a cash price of $21,746.50 for a 3032E tractor calculated on an annual interest rate of 1.99% with 30% deposit, GST back and 36 monthly instalments. Dealer pre-delivery, set-up, installation and freight charges are additional. Loaders, implements and attachments shown above are sold separately. †The engine horsepower information is provided by the engine manufacturer to be used for comparison purposes only. Actual operating horsepower may be less.
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
52 machinery & products Hand-held stick opens door for more EID New hand-held stick reader opens the door to more farmers using EID THE NEW stick reader from Tru-Test is now on sale. It was unveiled at
National Fieldays. The SRS EID stick reader, designed to work with EID weigh scales, offers an option for farmers who want to read tags
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but not necessarily capture and hold data on the stick reader itself. The SRS is an entrylevel version of Tru-Test’s XRS reader, the winner of New Zealand’s supreme award for innovation in agriculture at the 2012 Agritech Product Innovation Awards. The company says it enables farmers to put large numbers of stock through yards thanks to the fastest read-rate in the market, and superior battery life (allowing 19 hours use between charges). Tru-Test Group sales and marketing manager Verne Atmore says EID recording is growing rapidly, but not all farmers are at the same stage or have the same requirements when it comes to capturing and using the data. “For farmers who don’t need the advanced features of the XRS, the SRS offers a simplified option for scanning tags, with the data wirelessly transferred to an EID capable indicator for capture. The user can then set the paired indicator to record just the EID tag data or other additional information such as animal weights or traits.” To help keep costs down, the SRS can be linked to any major brand EID-capable indicator, averting the need to buy extra equipment.
Feed mixes guaranteed Ingham plant.
A NEW blend mill commissioned at Hamilton by Ingham Feeds & Nutrition enables this animal feed maker to guarantee the specifications of its mixes – “with its hand on its heart, pledging that what it says on the label matches its contents”. The $2.5 million plant makes five ‘Acu’ feeds. Ingham’s TopCow mixes such as Maxum generally required these pelletised compound feeds to be dispensed in individual bowls to cows in the milking shed. But feed mill manager Oscar Stevens says blends such as Thrifty, Energy and Summer can be fed in a paddock with silage or while the cows are on a feed pad. He describes the range is a “value-for-money option… providing dairy cow nutrition to match their genetic potential.” “Pastures alone simply can’t
provide the quality and quantity of feed required to put more milk in the vat. These new blends will help… produce more milk solids and improve cows’ overall health.” Stevens notes product consistency and quality of blend. The new blend mill is beside Ingham’s compound feed plant. Self-loading ingredient bins, computerised weighing scales (accurate to 0.4%) and computer-controlled systems are purpose-designed around a relatively standard mixing bowl and paddles. The blending plant can mix a one tonne batch every two minutes, or 30 tonnes an hour. If required, the plant is also capable of 24/7 operation; then it could make 5000 t blended mixes a week. Thorough mixing precludes hot spots or cold spots in the mix, Ste-
vens says, unlike, for example, the technique of front-loader filling a 5-10 t mixer, risking uneven combination of ingredients such as grain meal, palm kernel extract, Rumensin and zinc. “Such mixes – often cheap and perhaps nasty – can cause an individual cow to receive none of a particular ingredient. Conversely, another cow might [get much] more of a component than it should.” Consistency of inputs is part of Inghams’ philosophy: raw ingredients are measured by SGS (international verification company) and Ingham’s Waitoa laboratory before blending begins, as well as when the final mix has been created. The blends are formulated by Tasmanian animal nutrition consultant Pip Gale.
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
machinery & products 53
Tractor’s grand tour set to begin KUBOTA WILL in October begin showing its new Grand X tractor to farmers at Kubota Drive Days nationwide. The promotion will mix drive-day and evening events for maximum exposure to “what the world is raving about,” the distributor says. “Inspired by Kubota’s 50-year pedigree… the MGX series has… class-leading levels of power, reliability and performance.”
“unparalleled operator comfort”. And the cab has been raised to give a higher vantage point. A new roof panel allows better loader visibility and admits more light into the cab. This panel adjusts to allow fresh air flow. An updated and more comfortable instructor’s seat does not cramp cab space, folded or in use. An updated dash and side digital LCD panel centrally displays all data.
utor says. Control technology on the tractor, relatively new from this maker, includes electronic management system (K-EMS) and the 24/24 Intelli-shift trans-
mission with three ranges of eight powershift gears, coupled with Kubota’s Work Mode, Auto Mode and Work Kruise. Tel. 0800 KUBOTA www.kubota.co.nz
LESS TIME. LESS WASTE.
The MGX series has classleading levels of power, reliability and performance. The machine is said to have the largest cab in this horsepower bracket. The B pillar has been removed to allow better access to the cab with boasts 4.2m3 of space; “the nearest opposition cab is 3.93m3.” Cab redesign has also better positioned the controls, ergonomically, for
The new Kubota Grand X tractor is said to have the largest cab in this horsepower bracket.
V660 BELT WRAPPER
Grand X series tractors are interim Tier 4 compliant. Fuel economy benefits from a common rail system, exhaust gas recirculation and a diesel particulate filter. These also helop minimise engine noise and emissions without compromising power and efficiency, the distrib-
Better handling KUBOTA’S PATENTED Bi-Speed turn and bevel-gear front axle are said to optimise manoeuvrability and handling in many conditions. The MGX series has among the highest crop clearances in its class and optional factory front suspension on the M135GX assures operators of “an even smoother ride for both front end loader work and work on rough terrain”.
• • • • • •
• Patented damper system: eliminates stress to the chassis by gently lowering bales to the ground • Twin film dispensers • Transport width of 2.45m and 1900kg weight — a compact unit with minimal power requirements • Full road lighting kit
• Capable of producing a bale between 0.7–1.68m in diameter with a soft or hard core • With a drop floor, heavy duty drive line, 2m wide galvanised pickup and 15 knife chopping unit as standard, the V660 is built for the heaviest of crops • The operator has full control of the bale size, bale density, core density, revolutions of net being applied, knife function and drop floor operation
High output bale wrapping Capability to operate behind a baler Load sensing hydraulics Twin satellite dispensers Reliable cut and holds Film break sensors
Kubota drive days will showcase the new machine.
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
54 machinery & products
One thousand farmers can’t be wrong AUTOMATED DRAFTING is reported to be allowing a Taranaki farmer and his staff to concentrate on getting the best out of their cows, not chasing them up races. Chris Amon recently installed an LIC Protrack Vector farm automation system at his Waverley farm, to maximise production and make life a bit easier. The system provides automatic animal identification and drafting with a three-way gate and a touch screen in the shed to access his herd information in MINDA. “Drafting is so labour intensive and generally requires an extra person in the shed. It can be really stressful at the busy times of year but this will make it much easier and quicker. We can concentrate on milking the cows and let the drafting system do its thing rather than chasing cows up and down races or around the paddock.” Amon had the system retrofitted to his 38-aside herringbone shed, and was involved in the installation process to ensure it was exactly how he wanted. “When I do something, I like to do it properly, and I’m satisfied we did the best we could with an old shed.
“I chose the Vector system because it puts all my Minda records in the shed too. I can set up all my groups to be drafted from home, whether it’s cows over 1.4 milk solids, high cell count, aged cows for drying off, or even ones scheduled to go to the works. “We can keep milking them right up until the last day and then Protrack will draft them out. “Before we had to physically look at each cow, and their eartags to find the ones we wanted and then try to get them out of the mob – easier said than done in a herringbone when you have 38 cows bent on getting back to their paddock with the rest of their herd mates.” Amon says the investment is as much for his staff as for him and the herd’s productivity. Chris and Karley Amon with sons Max and “There’s no denying that Jack (on bike). the better the farm setup, cial mating and calving times. the better the people you “Drafting is a job we probably tended attract and the longer they stay.” He expects they will be drafting more to shy away from at times, and say ‘oh animals and more regularly with the well, we’ll get her next time,’ but that all Protrack system, especially in the cru- impacts on production, and if she’s on
heat then that’s a huge missed opportunity. “Now, it’ll be so easy, there’ll be no reason not to draft, and we won’t need the extra person to draft at milking
during AB. We’ll just punch into the system the numbers of the cows we see bulling, and they’ll be there in the pen waiting after milking or I can set up a group at home in Minda and they’ll get drafted out no worries. “Protrack will make a huge improvement because we won’t miss anything. “It’ll streamline everything and speed it up because they don’t make milk standing in the shed so we need to get them back onto the pasture, to feed, as quickly as possible.” The Amons’ Protrack installation is the 1000th since the launching in 2003. Garth Anderson, LIC’s farm automation manager, says the system has proven particularly popular over the last year, as farmers seek more stability in a volatile industry. “They’re at the mercy of a number of factors they cannot control, but Protrack provides them with an extra pair of hands that they can rely on, day after day, no matter what the weather or the payout are.”
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25/09/12 6:23 PM
Rural News // october 2, 2012
machinery & products 55
Mats add a touch of style MOTOR ACCESSORY seller Griffiths Equipment now offers Momo car seat covers and floor mats to complement the Momo steering wheel and gear knob. The famous Italian auto brand adds a touch of style and they’re affordable, the company says. “Momo quality and style, and thanks to the favourable exchange rate, we have these car seat covers at unheard-of prices,” says Bruce
PPP Industries disc mill.
Dust-free disc mills better feed ga re t h g i l latt
set, in washable black rubber, is for SUVs and utes, with Momo logo and yellow piping around the edges. The mats in carpet cost $46 for a set of four, and the rubber set $78.20. Momo was established in Italy in the 1960s, its fortunes growing with the success of the Ferrari racing team, to which it supplied products, starting with its famous steering wheels.
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Momo floor mats (three styles) come in sets of four – two for the front footwells and two for the rear passengers. Two are in hard-wearing black carpet trimmed with the yellow Momo logo in differing formats, depending on the style chosen. The third
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A PPP Industries disc mill is proving an economical way to supply more livestock feed with less waste, say the owners, Matt and Sarah Bolton, of Wairarapa. Boltons run 1050 dairy cows, 150 beef cattle and 800 ewes on their 580ha property at Pahiatua. With 1000 cows being milked on a 280ha platform, a lot of grain and other supplements are a key component to the farm system to maintain high production. “I feed out to the milking cows for up to eight months of the year.” Boltons until two seasons ago ran a paddock grass/ maize silage/PKE feeding regime. Then came an opportunity to buy barley directly from the grower. “Grass management is crucial on the farm and we focus on getting that right; supplements are added at times of grass deficits. We’ve been going here for 10 years without putting grain in so when the opportunity came we wanted to be sure costs didn’t go too high.” While farm working expenses have grown a little since adding barley into the system they currently sit at $3.50– $3.60kgMS, well below the district average of $3.90kgMS according to DairyNZ. Bolton attributes this to the ability to store and process the grain himself. “If I didn’t have a mill I would have to get someone else to store and crush the feed which would cost close to an extra $80 a tonne.” He buys about 400 t of barley in bulk, stores it 100 ton at a time in a silo then mills it and puts it into a smaller silo for when extra feed is needed, then feeds it to the cows during milking via an in-shed feeder. The extra supplement has enabled the farm to generate at least 1500kgMS a hectare – 200kgMS/ha more than at the same time during the previous seasons, Bolton says. They first used a hammer mill but at PPP Industries’ suggestion switched to a disc mill because the hammer mill generated a lot of dust and didn’t process grain to a uniform size. “There was dust all through and around the farm dairy sheds.” Now Boltons have no dust problem and feed is much more palatable for stock. “The disc mill is brilliant because every single grain that goes through it is cut to a uniform size, excellent for our cows and very digestible. If you’re going to use a higher cost input such as grains you might as well make it work for you.” Processing costs are down: the disc mill uses 11kw/h to process 7 t of barley an hour compared to 20kw/h for the hammer mill.
Walker, sales manager. They come in two styles at $60 a pair – acrylic foam-backed material with the Momo logo in yellow stitching. The seat covers fit the bucket seats found in most car models, including the headrests.
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
56 machinery & products
Alternative power source lets work continue TO N Y H O P K I NSO N
DURING LONG electric power outages due to storms, snow damage and fallen trees, dairy farmers can suffer. Cows need milking regularly even if milk has to be tipped out because tankers cannot gain access. Corkill Systems Ltd can now supply three sizes
of portable electric generators (three point linkage mounted) for pressing quickly into service. They can run a whole dairy shed – milking plant, rotary platforms, lights, vat chillers, wash-down pumps and effluent disposal systems. “All models need a tractor with a 1000rpm PTO to give a more even and
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steady supply of electricity,” says the sales manager for Corkill Systems Ltd, Vern Coxhead. He notes the generators have no gearboxes or belts, minimising power needs and helping to keep prices down. They have cast-iron flywheels that absorb any sudden changes when demand suddenly increases or drops. Coxhead stresses the generators are cast iron, not aluminium, to better dissipate heat when operating. They are mounted on steel frames built in New Zealand and are rated to run at full load for extended hours. Three sizes are available: 37.5kva for up to 40 sets of cups, 62.5kva for up to 60 sets of cups, and 93.5kva for big sheds. All come with supply cables and power outlets made to order. The farmer arranges the power inlet and switching at the switchboard. Easily read dials and gauges at the front of the generator help the operator start and run the machine. Says Coxhead, “These generators are better constructed and are built to last and will handle all the electronics in today’s modern dairies.” Recent buyers of a 62.5kva model are Cameron and Johno Arden, lower order sharemilkers for their parents Shane
and Cathy Arden at Te Kiri, near Opunake. They shared a generator with an uncle who farmed nearby but when he bought another farm they decided to buy their own. “Last season we had an outage for two days due to snow – unusual for this area – and we had 400 cows milking,” said Cameron. The Arden farm is 216ha flat to rolling and “grows rocks like nowhere else in NZ”. Rainfall is 1525mm and is well spread. The farm is well raced and they milk 600 cross-bred cows through a 40-bail rotary with a Waikato milking plant. They rear 130 replacements each year and later 80 are grazed off and 50 are kept on the property. When using the generator the inlet port is switched off until it is at the correct output and then switched on. This prevents damage to motors when not enough power is being delivered. At the end of use power is switched off before the generator is slowed down and stopped. The Ardens had a single phase power outlet installed to operate a small welder, angle grinder and the like. The have a 100hp New Holland tractor with a 1000rpm PTO. Tel. 0800 10 7006 www.corkillsystems. co.nz
IMPROVED... Knotter Performance
INCREASED... Stuffer Speed
Wider needle rollers to guide twine better through the knotter
Improved feeding in the pre-compression chamber improving ‘Top Fill’
Lower twine tension giving more reliable knot tying
Better bale shape in the toughest conditions
Double knotters for outstanding reliability and strength
Contact your New Holland dealer for full details. *Offer valid until 31st October 2012
NEW... Larger Diameter Rotor
455mm diameter rotor cutter and feeder gives between 15% - 30% increase in baling capacity (over the old 422mm rotor)
NEW... 2 Metre Pick-up Option
Greater durability and performance on undulating ground along with easier access through narrow gateways
CRAIG PEARSON, marketing manager Apex Valves (right), congratulates Tristan James on winning the Apex quad promotion. Winning a Suzuki KingQuad couldn’t have happened at a better time for James; he was in the market for a new quad. After buying a number of Apex Xcess trough valves from Farmlands Paeroa, he entered the competition running at the time. “The new Xcess Valve with the integrated camlock outlet and high flow rate is brilliant,” James adds. With a pressure range of 0-1200 kPa, the Xcess Trough Valve has the highest flow rate on the market and comes with a 25/20 mm adaptor and a cord and nipple so it can fit a wider range of water systems.
Rural News // october 2, 2012
machinery & products 57
More capacity from multipurpose bucket GREATER CAPACITY and versatility are claimed for a new MX multipurpose bucket sold by CB Norwood. The MX BMS comes in six new widths: 1.40m, 1.60m, 1.80m, 2.00m, 2.25m and 2.45m. Capacity has “leapt” from 800L to 1450L depending on width – a 20% increase on the previous model. Norwood says it has a wide grab opening enabling it to grip all types of materials including round bales. “The grab’s linkage means material can be gripped against a wall without its
tines touching the wall. Its width is always less than the bucket’s, practical when scraping near a wall. The flat base of the bucket bottom guarantees tool stability during digging or levelling work.” Red tines make for better visibility at work: users can see exactly where they spike. The linkage rams are thoughtfully placed in relation to the centre of the bucket, axially aligned with the loader arms, providing the driver with a clear operating view, Norwood says. “And the bucket’s rectangular shape is a simple, effective visual
indicator to ensure a horizontal level during operation.” The fully reinforced bottom of the MX BMS gives a long service life.
Pads under the bucket, and large hitch connectors correctly positioned along the width, give the body optimum rigidity. And the bucket’s upper profile,
With its red tines and rams axially aligned with the loader’s arms, the BMS unit offers optimum visibility.
with a heavy section, prevents twisting. Large V guides make for fast hitching. Absence
of internal supports makes cleaning easier and faster. The MX BMS unit is available in a welded MX
Tel. 06 356 4920 www.norwood.co.nz
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Rural News // October 2, 2012
58 rural trader Happy Birthday
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Rural News // october 2, 2012
rural trader 59 Rubber Safety Matting
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All of these questions about The National Bank and ANZ coming together have the same answer. Will I still deal with the same Agri Manager? Yes. Will I be able to use my accounts like usual? Yes. Will I still have access to agri specialists in my area? Yes. Will I be able to go to the same branch like Iâ€™ve always done? Yes. Will my account fees remain the same? Yes. Will I still be able to use my existing EFTPOS, credit and debit cards and cheque books? Yes. Will my PIN numbers, login details and passwords remain the same? Yes. Will ANZ continue its support of community events like Calf Club Day, local and National Fieldays, Young Farmer Contest and much more? Yes. Can I expect more? Yes. To find out more about the new ANZ, visit anz.co.nz/more
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