Page 1

FERTILISER Reactive phosphate rock blends a cause for concern? PAGE 21-22

MACHINERY UN report encourages machinery makers to think small. PAGE 29

RURALNEWS

MIND THAT CHILD RWNZ president Wendy McGowan reminds motorists about road safety.

PAGE 10

TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS

FEBRUARY 4, 2014: ISSUE 554 

www.ruralnews.co.nz

MIE man pulls out of contest P E TE R BU R K E peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

FONTERRA DIRECTOR John Monaghan is out of the running for an independent directorship of meat co-op Alliance Group. Alliance chairman Murray Taggart told Rural News Monaghan has withdrawn from the selection process for appointing a new independent director so he won’t be considered. “As a board we have mapped out the strengths and weaknesses around the board table and also the skill set we’re

looking for. We have asked the consultant we are using for a list of names based on a well-known set of criteria,” he says. “Following the AGM we told the consultant they needed to get hold of John Monaghan and put him through the process.” Taggart says the consultant was told that if John Monaghan met the criteria he should be put on the shortlist. But subsequently Monaghan has withdrawn from that process.

Taggart says the board is not going to appoint anyone who is not prepared to go through the board process. “We have a legal responsibility as directors to act in the best interests of the company and part of that involves getting the best person for the job,” Taggart explained.“If you look at it, over the years, Alliance has outperformed the rest of the industry… by getting the best people and we don’t intend to stray from that.” Support for Monaghan has come

from the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) organisation with its chairman John McCarthy telling the Alliance board to “listen to its shareholders and do the right thing”. “I know John McCarthy will argue an overwhelming mandate, but actually we don’t see it like that,” Taggart adds. “The vote was only 53% in favour in terms of the actual resolution, but you have to remember that 85% of the shareholders either didn’t vote for the resolution or voted against it – so it’s

John Monaghan – no longer a contender for the Alliance Group board.

CASE CLEARS KALE HARVEST CONTINUED apace in the South Island last week with headers into herbage seeds, barley, oilseeds and even early wheats. Alan Newton’s Case 7010 axial flow header was reeling in seed kale off irrigated light land late last week. “It seems to be running really well,” he told Rural News. Seed rape also pleased, grass seed so far has been “normal to quite good” but autumn-sown barley “reasonably average.” The kale yield was a pleasant surprise given it was hit by a late frost at flowering, but the light land was probably an advantage following the end-of-June deluge which left many Canterbury and Otago soils saturated all winter. More harvest reports p4.

not overwhelming.” He says the [shareholders] had only one candidate to vote for and didn’t know the other people on the list. “It’s been a North Korean election the way it’s run; while it looks simple from John’s point of view it’s not actually that simple when you look at the bigger picture,” Taggart says. “[Monaghan’s] ruled himself out of the current process. I don’t know where he sits otherwise. “He can stand as a farmer director next year if he buys some stock and some shares.” Taggart says the one directorship vacancy is being filled by the board via its selection process, but Monaghan’s withdrawal from this process means he will not get the seat. “The board hasn’t made any decisions yet. But let’s be realistic, if you pull out of the selection process you are not going to be considered.”

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

NEWS 3 ISSUE 554 Big funding boost for www.ruralnews.co.nz sheep and beef genetics PETER BU RKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

NEWS������������������������������ 1-11 MARKETS��������������������� 12-13 AGRIBUSINESS������������ 14-15 HOUND, EDNA������������������� 16 CONTACTS������������������������� 16 OPINION������������������������ 16-19 WORLD������������������������������ 20 MANAGEMENT������������ 21-24 ANIMAL HEALTH�������� 25-27 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS������������������ 28-30

GREATER INNOVATION is needed to meet the higher demands and standards in New Zealand’s emerging markets, says Science and innovation Minister Steven Joyce. He was commenting on news that $44 million dollars will be spent over the next five years to improve the genetics in New Zealand’s sheep and beef sector. The Government is putting up $15 million, and the red meat sector, especially Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the rest. A new group – AgResearch, Abacus Bio and Massey, Lincoln and Otago universities – will developing genetic traits in sheep and beef so they can cope better in hill country. This is due to the dairy industry pushing into what had been sheep and beef country. This is an important part of the proj-

Steven Joyce

ect, Joyce says. “The additional funding will help turbo-charge the plan that has seen some good gains in productivity from beef and lamb over the last 20 years. If we can accelerate that then… in 10 years farmers will get $5.50 extra profit per lamb.” The increased activity seen in the red meat sector in recent years has to continue, Joyce says. “There are signposts as to what has to happen; it just takes a

Rates on the rise!

bit of time, but the work is being done.” Challenges facing the meat industry are similar to those faced by other industries, he says. “You have to constantly innovate, freshen the production and increase efficiency to be able to compete in today’s world. The world is getting more, not less, competitive and you must provide a better product.” Beef + Lamb NZ chair Mike Petersen has praised the Government’s funding of the project saying it will boost farmer profitability and that of the New Zealand economy. “This investment supports a range of research, identifying new breeding traits that will produce more efficient animals and those that meet consumer preferences in our export markets.” Speeding up genetic gain and finding desirable genetic traits will keep the New Zealand sheep and beef industry ahead of the game and its competitors, Petersen says.

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Primary wool’s profit leaps HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622

A N DREW SWA LLOW

GROWING MARKET share helped Primary Wool Cooperative (PWC) reach a record audited profit of $1.96m for the year ending September 30. “We’ve had a very good year,” chairman Bay de Lautour told Rural News. “In fact, a couple of very good years: we’ve increased market share and as we’ve increased market share the marginal profit has increased, going straight to the bottom line.” The co-operative gained an average of two new members per week in the year to September and, if anything, that’s increased since then, about 12 per month now joining the $1/share operation, he says. Minimum shareholding is 1000. The attraction is return on investment, de Lautour says. Based on the

Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print CONTACTS Editorial: editor@ruralnews.co.nz Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: subsrndn@ruralnews.co.nz ABC audited circulation 81,232 as at 30.06.2013

saving on new wool packs ($4 instead of $6) available through the cooperative, plus a 3c/kg sold rebate and 10c/share dividend, being paid for 2013, a $1000 shareholding would pay for itself in one year for a farmer selling a little over 100 bales through the cooperative, he calculates. The cooperative’s profit comes from its 50% in joint venture Elders Primary Wool which markets members’ wool. Most of that is on a fixed brokerage fee and sold through auction. While it’s hard to beat auction returns at present, de Lautour says EPW is committed to developing branded sales too, such as its Just Shorn carpet wools in the US. “We believe we’ve got to do something better and that’s where Just Shorn comes in.” Co-operative membership is about

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1100 today, up from 920 three years ago. Based on about 12,000 commercialscale wool producers in New Zealand, that’s a 9% market share. De Latour says PWC’s geographical and micron spread is roughly representative of the industry. “Our vision is to see at least half of all wool-producing farms belonging to the cooperative. That would give members far more marginal profit and if we had half the wool clip we’d have about $1m to put into industry-good initiatives.” Meanwhile Wools of New Zealand, which had been struggling to get grower commitment to contracts, last week said it was pleased to report a significant lift in interest and uptake in its “important Camira and Grentex contracts”. Both have had prices increased, with increases passed on to those already committed, as well as new signings.

LAST WEEK’S Reserve Bank decision to keep the official cash rate pleased farmers – but their joy may Graeme Wheeler be short-lived. Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler has kept the OCR at 2.5% but signaled an increase is imminent. “The scale and speed of the rise in the OCR will depend on future economic indicators,” he says. Westpac economist Imre Speizer says last week’s review was “slightly less hawkish” than expected. “However, the March signal is there.” Federated Farmers supports holding any OCR rise until March. Feds president Bruce Wills says farmers know the OCR will rise sooner rather than later this year. “But we would like to see it held until March’s monetary policy statement (MPS) at the very least. There are some worrying undercurrents internationally and a surging dollar will directly impact farmgate returns. “There’s a feeling of déjà vu given the way emerging markets in 1997 tipped New Zealand into recession, bookended by some sub-optimal growing conditions.  If anything, our exports today are far more exposed to emerging markets so what happens in them matters to our economy.” Wheeler noted that New Zealand’s economic expansion has considerable momentum fuelled largely by rising dairy prices.

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

4 NEWS

Good progress, average yields A N D REW SWA LLOW andrews@ruralnews.co.nz

HARVEST IS off to a good start progress-wise around the country but yields for most are only average so far, say growers’

representatives. “Some ryegrass has been done, a few peas, autumn barley and the odd bit of wheat here and there but it’s very early days,” Federated Farmers’ Mid Canterbury grain and seed

chairman David Clark told Rural News. The barleys are “only average at best” from what he’s heard. “I don’t grow it anymore: it’s a bad habit!” He has done some ryegrass which yielded a bit

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behind last year but that, and the year before, were exceptional seasons for the crop. “It’s becoming plain to see we’re not going to get three [exceptional seasons] in a row. The extremely wet winter, wind in spring and then very dry December has clearly taken their toll.” The wet winter is also likely to blame for “a hell of a lot” of fusarium in wheats. “The wheat yields aren’t going to be anything exceptional at all.” Clark incorporates his cereal straw; but he urges those who will be burning to be extra careful given the growing public and regulatory scrutiny of the practice. “Check with the local council what the burning code requirements are for your area and don’t take the local fire brigade for granted. There’s a need for extra vigilance if you’re burning near a road because several councils have made it clear that if there’s an accident due to smoke the farmer could be held legally liable. “The key message is that burning is a privilege, not a right, so be a good neighbour. Burn-

Straw alert STOCK FARMERS looking to buy ryegrass straw for winter feed would do well to buy now, says Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury grain and seed chairman, David Clark. “The straw yields are less than we expected and we’ve gone into harvest with the cupboard bareof straw for the first time in four years. There’ll be no appetite among [cropping] farmers to stack it up for the winter because they’re all finding a market for it off the combine. My advice would be: if you need straw for the winter, buy it now.”

ing is in the spotlight and public opinion is not on our side.” In the lower North Island, Clark’s fellow vicepresident of Feds Grain & Seed nationally, Hew Dalrymple, says wheat yeilds are “average to bad so far” while combining peas are “average to slightly above and I’ve heard oats are going quite well.” Barley, which is mostly spring sown in his area,

has just started coming in and is looking good. “But in the east I’m told it’s back a bit.” Wheat yields have been in the 6-9t/ha bracket which, for a crop that’s autumn sown and in the ground close on a year just isn’t enough, he adds. “The winter was very warm so that possibly has had a bearing on the yields. It wasn’t ideal for vernalisation.” With very few cereals

other than maize grown in the northern half of the North Island, Colin Mackinnon says it will be late February or early March before growers get into harvest there. “The [maize] crops are looking excellent and once we get to this time of year they’ve pretty well made it. If it gets dry now it won’t make much difference. The only thing could be an early frost or a severe cyclone.”

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

NEWS 5

Concerns about over-reliance on China PA M TI PA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

A WARNING on heavy reliance on the one market of China has been sounded by Beef + Lamb NZ chief economist Andrew Burtt. China’s continued growth as a market for New Zealand meat is one of the main trends show-

ing in Beef + Lamb’s export figures for the 201314 first quarter, Burtt told Rural News. Mutton exports to China doubled in the first three months compared to the same quarter last year. But the continuing growth of China as a market comes with the qualification “about extrapolating

US takes less beef, others clamour for more BEEF EXPORTS to US dropped in the first quarter of the meat export season – down 13% to North America – but this is from elevated levels in the previous season because of the drought, says Beef + Lamb economist Andrew Burtt. “Broadly that drought heading into the end of 2012 probably pushed up volumes… This year is coming back from those elevated levels,” he told Rural News. This was partly offset by rises in exports to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and China. Volumes exported to Indonesia quadrupled in the first quarter due to a change in import regulations. Exports to Indonesia are now back to levels seen in late 2011. “Indonesia is tied into changes in its policies. They went through clamping down heading towards self-sufficiency, wanting to buy a lot of cattle from Northern Territories and Queensland. Then they found that wasn’t leading to the nirvana of self-sufficiency in beef production that they might have liked, with animal welfare issues and so on, so there’s been some changes to the policies.” That has provided some opportunities but Indonesia will not necessarily be as reliable as other markets. Although more beef went to Saudi Arabia in the first quarter, opportunities are limited there also, he says. Australia, at least from a lamb perspective, has put a lot of effort into the Middle East. “But they don’t have anywhere near our level of access for lamb and sheepmeat to the EU, and we have that for very good and historical reasons.”

that will go forever,” Burtt says. The other message is “that New Zealand’s traditional markets are still important to us. Politically stable, economically stable, and they are wealthy and remain important”. Burtt says he supposes meat export companies are conscious of diversification risk. “Personally I would be wondering about the question of them giving up heavy reliance on one market to have heavy reliance on another. But they’ve got to make all their own individual decisions.” His warning follows similar comments by agribusiness expert Jacqueline Rowarth on the

Waikato University’s Jacqueline Rowarth has also expressed concerns about NZ’s growing reliance on China for its agricultural exports.

dairy industry. She told Dairy News last month that China was starting to become New Zealand’s “supermarket” for dairy produce. The danger lay in that, as with supermarket monopolies, it could then start to dictate prices. She said the issue was not that it was China – it was

the one market, whichever that might be. Burtt says there is strong global demand for protein, including meat and dairy, as countries become a richer. China is slowing down, but that is at a macro level. Other factors there need considering, because in terms of

its overall meat imports, our volumes are relatively small. That can be both positive and negative, he indicates. “The growth rates in China are spectacular. While we can look at a very macro level and say Europe is languishing and US is growing slowly and China is growing spectacularly – New Zealand’s business is much more refined than solely at the macro level,” says Burtt. Just because there are one billion-plus people, it does not necessarily make our business straightforward because of our small volumes. “Macro levels can indicate something is happening but it is micro levels we are dealing with; the trend

could be at a different level as we bed-in relationships in China, for example into one city.” Overall lamb and mutton exports to China have been steadily growing over the last few years particularly since the FTA came into effect, he says. In the long term New Zealand companies will have to look at how it fits with their portfolios. But from a beef perspective the US is still by far the biggest market. “EU and UK remain the most important markets for us for lamb and the US for beef. They haven’t been growing strongly; demand has been a bit patchy, but particularly in Europe things are starting to improve again.”

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

6 NEWS

Top German chefs light fire under NZ lamb promotion VIVIE NN E H A L DA N E

WHEN FARMERS raced Michelin fourstar chefs to create the best barbecue lamb dish, the results were mouthwatering. The New Zealand Lamb BBQ Masterchef contest was held at Rob Buddo’s farm, Poukawa, Hawke’s Bay on January 29. Judges were Black Barn Bistro chef Terry Lowe, Progressive Meats managing director Craig Hickson, Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Scott Champion and gourmet BBQ chef Raymond van Rijk. The winning team was Angus Irvine and Sam Morrah, of Central Hawke’s Bay, guided by chef Markus Philippi prompting diners’ satisfaction. That’s the response B+LNZ hopes to see among diners in Germany, promoted by the tour they organized for

the four Michelin-recognised German chefs. Their tour included a visit to a large Maori farm, a processing plant and farm that supplies the German market and a meeting with other top chefs in New Zealand. B+LNZ emerging markets manager Nick Beeby said, “It’s to create a story behind NZ Lamb, so when these guys go home they can talk about their experiences to other top chefs in Germany and explain to their customers why our product is so special; they can relate the passion we have as farmers.” B+LNZ wanted to impart ‘pride in our produce’, ‘care of the land’ and ‘understanding the people who work and are part of the land’. Chef Martin Scharff said, “You have an excellent product but I didn’t realise what natural conditions your lambs

are grown in. It is important we see it directly so we can pass it on. What you have is inspiring. “It has been great to see the culture and the people and learn more about the food that comes from New Zealand.” Chef Christian Mittermeier, also an hotelier, (Villa Mittermeier) and a writer for national weekly newspaper Die Zeit, was familiar with NZ lamb and praised it for its consistency, “It always has an excellent taste and texture.” However, he said, people in his country ate lamb mostly from Germany and France. “The consumer likes to know where their food comes from and wants to be able to trust the producer.” He was impressed at how big New Zealand farms were compared to those in Germany and the level of cooperation

B+LNZ Extension Manager, Mark Harris and Hawke’s Bay farmer, Rob Buddo gear up for a Master Chef lamb treat at the Buddo’s Poukawa property.

between farmers. “This system is better because it leads to success.” B+LNZ hopes the chefs will be impressed and inspired by conditions NZ lamb is grown in and promote this message at home. While the promotion of NZ lamb in Germany is progressing well, increased competition from Welsh, Irish and English producers is a continuing challenge. On-going promotion is needed to maintain New Zealand’s dominant market position and preferred-supplier status

in Germany, BL+NZ says. It is boosting promotion of NZ lamb in German stores by shopper tastings, and via social media and public relations. The initiatives are timely in premium markets, says Mark Harris, B+LNZ extension manager, eastern North Island. “Now that more of our lamb is going into Asia, especially China, the competitiveness for NZ lamb is getting higher. This is good for us as farmers and should push the price up.”


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

NEWS 7

Farmers must look beyond farm on sustainability SUD ES H K I SSU N sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

THE DAIRY industry’s contribution to sustainability shouldn’t be confined within the farmgate, says Hauraki Plains farmer Conall Buchanan. Apart from keeping their farms environmentally sound, involvement in local schools and community projects allows interaction and helps improve public perception of dairy farming and farmers. Buchanan notes in Hauraki Plains a natural link between the farming sector and the community, high levels of interaction allowing community concerns to be passed to farmers. “Farmers become aware of where action must be taken, and when people’s perception might not fit with reality they become aware of that too. “So it makes sense to work with the community, not just environmentally,” he told Rural News. “Work with

your community and you can end up in a better place.” Last December, Buchanan and 54 other farming leaders from around the country attended the Dairy Environment Leaders’ Forum in Wellington. Funded by DairyNZ, the annual farmer-led forum supports dairy farmers in environmental leadership, utilising their skills and standing in the community. Buchanan, who with his wife, Rowena, milks 700 cows on 230ha near Paeroa, 70km northeast of Hamilton, has fenced all waterways on his farm. Most farms on the Hauraki Plains have drains 1-2m wide. These connect to the main drains, bringing water into the canals. “Fenced waterways keep cows out, dung and urine out, and means the drains need cleaning less often” he says. Buchanan believes that people on the Hauraki Plains need to look after existing trees and plant more. He has

Dairy farmer Conall Buchanan says the sector’s contribution to sustainability shouldn’t be confined to on-farm.

fenced kahikatea forest remnants on the farm and under planted native canopy bush, boosting natural habitats for birds and wildlife.

“The results have been amazing. We have seen birdlife return to these areas.” Buchanan’s passion for the environment has drawn him outside his farmgate. He chairs the Netherton School board of trustees and is a member of the stakeholders working group involved with Sea Change, a marine plan for the Hauraki Gulf. The Netherton School won the ‘green gold’ award in the Enviroschools project through which children plan, design and implement sustainability projects and become catalysts for change in their families and the wider community. Sea Change will produce a comprehensive plan for the Hauraki Gulf looking out 50 years. “I see myself as the voice for agriculture and dairy farmers in the working group. The catchment reaches up to Putaruru, so farmers need to be one of the groups who are a part of the process. We are equally concerned about

preserving Hauraki Gulf as a national treasure and are putting our shoulder to the wheel.” Buchanan’s message to farmers is not to let costs come in the way of planting a few trees most years. “Cost is an issue for all businesses but in the scheme of repairs and maintenance it’s not much. Do a bit every year. Several metres of wire fence, some posts and trees, you’re looking at hundreds rather than thousands of dollars. Plenty of farmers are doing it already.” “This is one part of environmental sustainability. Being profitable is vital to economic sustainability; no business can afford to ignore that. However, public perception is important and will get more important in the future. Doing sensible stuff on farm not only benefits the operation, but improves that public perception. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

8 NEWS

Chinese reforms hit Synlait’s infant formula plans SUD ES H K I SSU N sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

INDEPENDENT DAIRY processor Synlait may fall short of its forecast target of infant formula sales due to regulatory disruptions in the Chinese market. However, the company is confident of delivering on its infant formula and nutritional products strategy, says managing director John Penno. Challenges associated with Chinese government regulatory reform are hampering the country’s lucrative infant formula trade. China is determined to restore its reputation for food safety, damaged in 2008 when its dairy industry was almost paralysed by the melamine scandal. Last June China’s State Council issued a formal notice, making it clear all formula manufacturers in the country have to use a quality control system as strict as the one used in drug manufacturing. It also banned repackaging. More importantly, it requires formula man-

ufacturers to set up their own farms to secure milk sources to help consolidate China’s dairy industry, which has at least 120 dairy companies nationwide. Penno says in the short term these regulatory changes will continue disrupting the Chinese market and Synlait may not achieve its target of 10,000 metric tonnes of infant formula and nutritional sales this financial year. “However, we remain confident these changes will validate the strategy of our business over time and will underpin our ability to meet our long term targets through expected volume growth from our key customers in this market.” Meanwhile Synlait continues developing key markets outside China. “We expect to commence production of milk powders as infant formula ingredients for two new tier-one multinational companies in the second half of this financial year,” says Penno. Synlait Milk also expects to commission its lactoferrin plant late February

and start producing commercially in early March. This somewhat lags the planned commissioning date but the company expects to exceed its forecast two tonnes of lactoferrin sales this financial year. Synlait last month increased its forecast milk price for the 2013-14 season from $8/kgMS to a range of $8.30 to $8.40/kgMS.

It also lifted its advance rates for the season effective from January, to be paid February, from $5/kgMS to $6.40/kgMS. Fonterra is maintaining a forecast price of at $8.30/kgMS despite the theoretical price calculated under the milk price manual of $9/kgMS. Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink expects all processors to offer competitive farmgate prices.

“For farmers, this level of farmgate competition is positive with other processors getting closer to joining the market. Importantly, we are getting advance rates that will help cashflow following the train wreck drought hit season that was 2012-13.” Synlait Milk chairman Graeme Milne says it is the company’s policy to pay its contract milk suppliers a competitive market price and the increase reflects the sustained high commodity prices. “Our forecast FY2014 financial performance continues to improve and we expect the company will benefit from both earnings growth in our value added categories and a favourable product mix for the remainder of this financial year.” Assuming current market conditions prevail, Synlait expects its 2013-14 net profit after tax will be well ahead of the prospectus forecast of $19.8 million, and is forecast to be $30 m to $35 m. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

NEWS 9 Extra funding for Maori agriculture NGAI TAHU has welcomed Government funding for Maori agricultural training. A leader of the South Island iwi, Mark Solomon, says the money will help grow a strong Maori agricultural workforce, especially via Whenua Kura, a partnership seeking to grow Maori leadership in the agricultural sector. It is led by Ngai Tahu Property, Lincoln University and Te Tapuae o Rehua.

Solomon says more money will increase opportunities for Maori keen on practicing sustainable agriculture and applying knowledge to land use and management. “Whenua Kura is preparing a new generation of agricultural students who will farm in a way that is best practice and fosters a healthy environment for future generations to enjoy. The more money that goes into this programme,

the better.” The first intake of Whenua Kura students will be in June. The training will blend cultural values with agricultural leadership and skills training. “Reconciling values in stewardship of the land with primary production is key to the teaching at Lincoln University. Food production is going to be a major driver globally and the potential impact

Forestry review

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AN INDEPENDENT review will study fatalities and serious injuries in the forestry sector. Funded by forest owners and forestry contractors, the review will be by businessman George Adams, employment health and safety lawyer Hazel Armstrong and safety specialist Mike Cosman. In January two forestry workers were killed; and ten workers died in forestry accidents in 2013. The review, expected to take up to six months, is supported by WorkSafe NZ. Forest Owners past-president Bill McCallum says no aspect of the industry’s operations is out of bounds. “Panel members can talk to anyone and seek whatever expert advice and analysis they need. We are asking all employers and workers in the industry to give their full co-operation. Individuals who want to have input are encouraged to do so.  “They will be looking at our workplace cultures, our existing safety programmes and training, the activities of Worksafe NZ and ACC, worker involvement and engagement, and the structure of the industry, with its reliance on contractors to do most harvesting.” The panel will meet first on February 14 in Wellington. The appointments and terms of reference are endorsed by forest industry organisations, ACC, government agencies, the NZ Council of Trade Unions and the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum. The latest fatality was William (Bill) Bryant of Renwick, killed when a tree fell on him in Wairau Valley. The 53-yearold was killed while leading a crew of four felling pine trees on a vineyard property. Labour’s labour spokesman Andrew Little wants WorkSafe New Zealand to investigate whether the forest owner in the latest case has fulfilled its responsibilities under the Health and Safety Employment Act. “The owner must be asked about its management system for health and safety, how many managers it had on site to ensure the work was carried out safely and what incentives, if any, it provided to speed up work at the risk of safety. “It is the forest owners who select the contractor and who are best positioned to ensure their contractors are properly equipped to do the job and have adequate management and supervision to protect frontline workers” McCallum says the forest industry makes an important contribution to New Zealand, providing jobs and export earnings and helping lift economic growth.  “But the current rate of serious injury and death is not acceptable or sustainable. We are committed to creating an industry where all our people go home safely at the end of each day, and we hope the independent panel will shine a light on practical solutions to help us achieve this.” He says it has taken time to find the right panellists, gain stakeholder support and agree on terms of reference, but this is now done. 

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on our natural resources will only increase,” says Lincoln University vice-chancellor Dr Andrew West. “This partnership is an expansion of the university’s relationship with Ngai Tahu Property and represents growth for the university and the agricultural sector in New Zealand. The government’s support… is welcomed.” @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

10 NEWS

Mind that child! PA M TI PA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

ONE CHILD a year on average is killed outside a school gate. So the school year start is a timely reminder that motorists must slow to 20km/h when passing school buses if children

are boarding or alighting, says Rural Women president Wendy McGowan. The 20km/h speed limit – applying to vehicles travelling in both directions – is among the most flouted rules in the road code, says McGowan. Rural Women hopes flashing 20km/h signs on school buses are

approved for legal use this year. The flashing signs, extensively trialled in Ashburton by roading research company TERNZ Ltd and New Zealand Transport Association (NZTA), alert drivers that they’re about to pass a school bus and must slow

down. The signs carry the message ‘Either way it’s 20K’. A key part of the trial was installing bright, 20K signs on the front and rear of the buses that lit up when the doors opened, and included flashing wig-wag lights to attract drivers’ attention well in

advance. The three-phase trial began with an intense awareness campaign, followed by targeted police enforcement. Rural Women was also involved and McGowan says, “The trial shows there’s still a way to go. Ashburton drivers are still passing school buses at

RWNZ president Wendy McGowan is reminding motorists to slow down near school buses.

twice the legal speed limit on average, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.” Before the campaign began, the average speed of drivers passing a stationary school bus was 80km/h. Now drivers are slowing to an average of 40km/h, slowing noticeably on main roads and open rural highways. “You should slow down to your 20km/h because children are quite unpredictable and some just fly across the road in front of you,” McGowan told Rural News.

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approval to use them. They have temporary approval until June for the trials. “We are still analysing the results – still collecting speed data with a radar detector on a bus and that comes on whenever the bus is stopped and the doors open.” That work is still being done in Ashburton with some earlier work in Matamata. Ternz will make recommendations to NZTA in June and it will be up the authority and the Minister of Transport whether they are approved on all school

“It would be nice if motorists could see the lights flashing, and know the bus door is going to open and that they should stop. In other parts of the world, if the light is there they know to stop and everyone does. It is a matter of making our roads safer because we have lost too many children.”

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Many rural schools are in 100km/h areas. “It would be nice if motorists could see the lights flashing, and know the bus door is going to open and that they should stop. In other parts of the world, if the light is there they know to stop and everyone does. “It is a matter of making our roads safer because we have lost too many children.” Peter Baas, managing director, Ternz Ltd, told Rural News on average about one child a year has been killed outside schools in the last 22 years. The 20km/h illuminated school bus signs are legal speed limit signs that can be enforced, so they have to apply to the NZTA for formal legal

buses. Whether they are made compulsory will be another consideration, but they will then have to be paid for by the Ministry of Education. “The project is being funded by the Road Safety Trust which is now taken over by NZTA who are heavily involved as is the Ministry of Education,” says Baas. McGowan says rural communities are right behind this campaign, and some have started fundraising for signs on their local school buses. “We are just waiting for them to become an approved sign.  In the long term we’d like to see 20K signs installed on all school buses throughout the country.”


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

NEWS 11

Northland getting dry, other parts ok ing, a herd test before will help reduce the risk of SCC grading. Although we all hope it will rain soon, planning for a dry alternative and taking positive action cannot be overstated, says Manjala. “Make good use of the resources at your disposal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, attend DairyNZ discussion groups and discuss you plan with your farm team which includes your banker and

SUD ES H K I SSU N sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

PASTURE COVERS are falling in Northland and the message for farmers is simple: avoid over-grazing and maintain cow body condition. DairyNZ regional leader for Northland Tafi Manjala says Northland has had little rain this year and soil moisture levels are lower than this time last season in all areas. “We will need at least 50mm of rainfall plus follow-up rain to allow for good pasture growth,” says Manjala. According to NZ Met Service, Whangarei had 17mm of rain last month; the heaviest fall of 10mm was recorded on January 20. Manjala is urging farmers to have a summer dry management plan and review it weekly. Early decisions can reduce the need for drastic measures later. “Because of the lack of moisture, pasture covers are falling as well as growth rates and farmers are advised to make management decisions based on current (not expected) pasture covers and growth rates to avoid problems if the dry period continues,” he says.

Other regions blooming “It’s important to manage pasture condition and not over-graze, so that when it does rain pastures are in good shape to respond.” With a reasonably positive payout year, farmers can probably spend a bit more on supplements but they still have to make sure they are making profitable decisions. But Manjala urges farmers to use feed wisely, feeding out only those supplements surplus to autumn and winter requirements and saving enough supplement to feed for three weeks after the autumn rains. If buying in supplementary feed such as PKE, make sure it’s suitable and profitable, says Manjala.

“Profitability will depend on how long it stays dry. The immediate milk response is unlikely to fully cover the cost, but if feeding allows you to maintain more milking cows, when it does rain the returns will be significant.” If conditions remain dry into early February then farmers need to act to protect next season’s production. “Drying-off low producers, younger animals and thin cows, immediately culling empty low producers, grazingoff all non-milking cattle, switching to an alternative milking strategy such as once-a-day (OAD) are all actions that should be considered,” he says. If switching to OAD or 16-hour milk-

WEATHER-WISE THE rest of the country looks good, says Craig McBeth, DairyNZ. “Soil moisture levels are average or above average which is quite different from this time last year when we had a North Island dry looming in front of us,” he says. And the rivers in the South Island are flowing well, helping irrigation in Canterbury. Most irrigators damaged in the September storm have now been fixed or are operating in some way. The amount of land not able to be irrigated now is not as much as earlier

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consultants. Taking control of things now will cost you a lot less than trying to catch up once the rains come.” Kaiwaka farmer Matt Smith says the main focus on his farm is regular monitoring of pasture growth by measuring growth rates and maintaining quality feed by regular nitrogen application when there’s any rain. The Rural Support Trust can help farmers. Call them on 0800 787 254

in the season. “In Southland the issue was the winter feed situation because it was dry there in the autumn and the winter crops weren’t growing. But like the rest of the country Southland had a good growing winter so they were able to close the gap and production is going well there.” In Bay of Plenty soil moisture levels are up and production is up 5-6% and rising daily and on a season-to-date basis. This also applies to Taranaki, Central Plateau and lower North Island.


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

BEEF MARKET TRENDS

MARKET SNAPSHOT Meat

North Island Change c/kg

c/kgCWT

South Island

Last Week

Change c/kg

Last Week

Lamb - PM 16.0kg

+5

5.55

+5

5.50

Steer - P2 300kg

n/c

4.50

n/c

4.30

Bull - M2 300kg

n/c

4.43

n/c

4.15

Venison - AP 60kg

-5

6.25

-10

6.20

Last Year

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

4.50

4.12

5.53

5.48

4.66

4.43

4.25

PM - 16.0kg

+5

5.55

5.50

4.68

P2 Cow - 230kg

n/c

3.50

3.50

3.45

PX - 19.0kg

+5

5.57

5.52

4.70

M Cow - 200kg

n/c

3.30

3.30

3.30

PH - 22.0kg

+5

5.58

5.53

4.71

Local Trade - 230kg

-5

4.40

4.45

4.10

Mutton

MX1 - 21kg

n/c

3.50

3.50

2.73

P2 Steer - 300kg

n/c

4.30

4.30

4.02

SI Lamb

YM - 13.5kg

+5

5.50

5.45

4.61

M2 Bull - 300kg

n/c

4.15

4.15

4.02

PM - 16.0kg

+5

5.50

5.45

4.63

P2 Cow - 230kg

n/c

3.05

3.05

3.17

PX - 19.0kg

+5

5.50

5.45

4.65

M Cow - 200kg

n/c

2.85

2.85

2.97

PH - 22.0kg

+5

5.50

5.45

4.66

Local Trade - 230kg

n/c

4.30

4.30

4.07

n/c

3.26

3.26

2.53

Dec

NI 2yr Store Steer $/kg

Last Year

Mar

Apr

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

SI 2yr Store Steer $/kg

2.1

1.7

North Island 300kg Bull Price 5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$4.2

1.5 Nov

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

SI Male Lamb (32kg) $/kg Last Year This Year

Dec

This Year

Dec

Jan

Feb

Last Week

Change Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Mar

Apr

2 Wks Ago

Last Year 5yr Ave

UK Leg £/lb

n/c

2.10

2.10

1.36

1.80

NZ$/kg

+20

9.29

9.09

5.65

8.39

Export Market Demand

Demand Indicator - UK Leg Price

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

£2.50 £2.00

95CL US$/lb

n/c

2.04

2.04

2.18

1.84

NZ$/kg

+2

5.43

5.41

5.74

5.52

South Island 300kg Steer Price

$4.5

This Year

Export Market Demand

Last Year

Change $3.7

Last Year

3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 Nov

Apr

1.9 $4.7

NI Male Lamb (32kg) $/kg

This Year

2.3 Feb

MX1 - 21kg

4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 Nov

2.1

2.5

Jan

Mutton

Store Market

2.3

1.5 Nov

$3.5

Last Year

4.43

1.7

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

+5

YM - 13.5kg

2 Wks Ago

4.50

SI

NI Lamb

Last Week

n/c

1.9

$5.5

Change

c/kgCWT

n/c

P2 Steer - 300kg

2.5

South Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price

Nov

2 Wks Ago

M2 Bull - 300kg

NI

2.7

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$6.5

$4.5

Last Week

Store Market

$5.5

$3.5 Nov

Change

c/kgCWT

North Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price

$4.5

LAMB PRICES

BEEF PRICES

$6.5

LAMB MARKET TRENDS

Demand Indicator - US 95CL Beef

Last Year This Year

£1.50 £1.00 Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

$2.20

$4.0

$2.00

Last Year

5yr Ave

$1.80 Nov

This Year

$3.5 Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Dec

Jan

Feb

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

% Returned NI

-1%

60.2%

60.8%

63.0%

64.5%

% Returned SI

+1%

58.6%

58.1%

62.3%

67.8%

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

2Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

-1%

81.6%

82.3%

75.73%

71.1%

% Returned SI

-0%

76.4%

76.7%

70.5%

67.1%

90%

$7.0

Procurement Indicator - North I. Last Year

80%

$6.5

90%

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

60% 50% Nov

This Year

$7.5

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Procurement Indicator - South I. Jan

75%

Mar

65%

5yr Ave Last Year

Dec

85% 60% Nov

$8.0

This Year

70%

This Year

Apr

South Island 60kg Stag Price

$8.5

Last Year

80%

70%

$6.0

Last Year 5yr Ave

Procurement Indicator - North I.

% Returned NI

Change

$7.5

Apr

3 Wks Ago

North Island 60kg Stag Price

$8.0

Mar

Apr

Procurement Indicator $8.5

Change

This Year

Last Year

Nov

Procurement Indicator

80%

Procurement Indicator - South I. Last Year This Year

$7.0

Last Year

55% 45% Nov

This Year

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

70% $6.5

Venison Prices

$6.0 Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

60% Nov

Jan

Change

Mar

Beef & venison prices are reported as gross (before normal levies & charges are deducted). Lamb & mutton prices are reported nett (after levies & charges are deducted).

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year 5yr Ave

NI Stag - 60kg

-5

6.25

6.30

6.45

7.09

SI Stag - 60kg

-10

6.20

6.30

6.65

7.34

Received cattle from a sale yard lately? You must confirm with NAIT that the animals arrived at your property. www.nait.co.nz | info@nait.co.nz | 0800 624 843


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

NEWS BEEF

PRICE WATCH WOOL PRICE WATCH Change

23-Jan

16-Jan

Coarse Xbred Indic.

+4

5.09

5.05

3.90

Fine Xbred Indicator

+3

5.28

5.25

4.80

Lamb Indicator

+6

5.50

5.44

5.26

Mid Micron Indic.

+4

7.30

7.26

8.80

Export cattle prices hold again

Indicators in NZ$

Meat companies are trying their best to pull cattle schedules back but competition for limited numbers is making it slow going. Processor margins are tight or non-existent, especially on bull. But there is good cattle tucker across both islands and many farmers are choosing to delay offloads. Don't be surprised to see some more limited downwards movements in schedules in the coming weeks as companies try to get margins back in line.

Outlook for imported 95CL subdued US domestic cow slaughter is projected to fall 900,000 hd this season and this could open up opportunities for imported lean beef. Exporters will be looking to see whether imported 90CL prices respond to the tighter supplies, particularly around March/April, when the NZ cow kill comes on stream. But imported 95CL returns remain under pressure. 50CL prices are high and are expected to rise further on the back of an expected 1.35 million fall in US steer and heifer slaughter. 50CL, domestic 90CL and 95CL meat are all ingredients used in a meat patty formulation. Big increases in the price for one ingredient usually leads to a decrease in demand for the others as end-users turn away from making patties.

LAMB Lamb prices move to keep flow going Export lamb prices showed a lift last week which was reflective of the Easter chilled premium that some processors were prepared to provide. Other companies seemed happy with their contracted numbers and stuck fast on pricing but with kill numbers below normal levels, some movement was necessary to keep the overall flow going for Easter orders. In the NI a 16kg cwt lamb was averaging 5.55/kg net last week, with the SI $5.50/kg net.

Store lamb demand pressured by the dry Store lamb prices have come under pressure in recent weeks. Drier conditions are becoming more apparent in parts of both islands and this is limiting quality lamb feed and thus demand for lambs. In the North Island $2.55-$2.65/kg is where the market is at for 28-30kg types, and in the South $2.35-$2.40/kg for similar weights. Ewe fairs are in full swing in the North Island. But with plenty of people holding over last year’s ewe lambs to sale this year, 2th prices have been below their earlier expectations. Most have been making $115-135/hd although the best have managed up to $155/hd. 5yr olds are generally claiming around $100-125/hd.

CXI

FXI

Indicators in NZ$/T Butter Skim Milk Powder Whole Milk Powder

Prev. 2 Wks

Last Year

+47

5288

5241

4007

+136

5889

5753

4157

-15

6175

6190

4007

-14

5889

5904

4785

Cheddar

Dairy Prices Trends

7,000

LI

Last 2 Wks

Change

6,000 5,000 SMP But.

4,000 Jan

Mar

May

Jul

Sep

3,000 Feb

Nov

Coarse Xbred Indicator

600

Apr

Jun

WMP Ched.

Aug

Oct

Dec

Whole Milk Powder Price (NZ$)

7,000 Last Year This Year

500

6,000 5,000

400

4,000

300 Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Overseas Price Indicators Indicators in US$/kg Coarse Xbred Indicator Lamb Indicator Mid Micron Indicator

23-Jan

Last Year

16-Jan

+2

4.23

4.21

3.27

+1

4.39

4.37

4.03

+4

4.57

4.53

4.42

+2

6.06

6.05

7.38

Feb

Mar

Apr

Indicators in US$/T

Change

Last 2 Wks

Prev. 2 Wks

Last Year

Butter Skim Milk Powder

3350

Whole Milk Powder

+50

4400

4350

+125

4900

4775

3475

n/c

5138

5138

3350

n/c

4900

4900

4000

Cheddar

4,500

400 350

3,500

300

CXI

FXI

Jan

Mar

May

Jul

Sep

2,500 Feb

Nov

Coarse Xbred Indictor in US$ 550

Last Year This Year

500 400 300 250 Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

6,000 5,500 5,000 4,500 4,000 3,500 3,000 2,500 Nov

CURRENCY WATCH vs. NZ Dollar

Last Week 2 Wks Ago 4 Wks Ago Last Year

0.90

0.828

0.832

0.821

0.837

Euro

0.605

0.611

0.599

0.626

UK pound

0.498

0.509

0.502

0.530

0.75

Aus dollar

0.945

0.943

0.919

0.801

Japan yen

85.77

86.76

85.37

75.66

0.70 Nov

Euro

0.64 Last Year

0.60

This Year

Dec

Jan

You can confirm animal movements: • online in the NAIT system • through your NAIT accredited information provider • by replying to the email from NAIT about the movement, or • by calling NAIT on 0800 624 843.

Feb

Mar

Apr

Apr

Jun

Aug

WMP .Ched

Oct

Dec

Whole Milk Powder Price in US$/T

Last Year This Year

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

US Dollar

0.85

US dollar

0.56 Nov

SMP .But

LI

250

0.68

Jan

Dairy Prices in US$/Tonne

450

Powder the focus for dairy manufacturer

Dec

5,500

500

350

3,000 Nov

Wool Indicator in US$

550

The latest medium-term outlook from the European Commission forecasts an economic recovery over the next 10 years, which should lead to a lift in meat demand and subsequently meat prices. EU per capita meat consumption hit 11 year lows in 2013 at 64.7kg retail weight. This is expected to lift in 2014 and reach 66.1kg by 2023. Pork is the preferred meat of the EU, but is expected to make a slow recovery over the next decade. Poultry is picked to be the fastest growing meat category with prices strengthening over the period. Sheep and beef production are both expected to decline out to 2023, leading to higher demand for imported product and firmer prices; a positive sign for NZ product. The EU is however, picking that the level of imports will remain below quota levels for the next 10 years.

Last Year This Year

Overseas Price Indicators

Change

Fine Xbred Indicator

450

NZ is heading for a 6% increase in milk production over last year's drought shortened season which will easily be absorbed by strong global demand. Powder is the main focus for manufacturers at present with some attempting to build inventories to cover the winter period. WMP continues to be the preferred option however there is now very active demand for SMP as the recent spotlight on WMP production has lowered supplies of SMP. This has seen SMP prices firm with some manufacturers noting the combination of margins from butter and SMP are now above the levels of WMP.

Wool Indicator Trends

650 600 550 500 450 400 350 300

Outlook for recovering EU economy

DAIRY

DAIRY PRICE WATCH Last Year

0.80 Last Year This Year

Dec

UK Pound 0.58 0.56 0.54 0.52 0.50 0.48 0.46 Nov Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Last Year This Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

14 AGRIBUSINESS

Wool man believes fibre is on bounce-back PA M TI PA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

WOOL WAS on a downward spiral four or five years ago but that has

been reversed, says a visiting UK head of two major wool organisations, Peter Ackroyd. The general economic outlook is much better in

the Northern Hemisphere, particularly the wool consuming nations. And wool is all the rage in UK fashion trends, says Ackroyd, visiting New Zealand

wearing two wool ‘hats’ – president of the International Wool and Textile Organisation (IWTO) and chief operating officer of the Campaign for Wool,

working under the Prince of Wales. “Prices are better in all the wool growing countries and it’s a far more viable option now to be a

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Peter Ackroyd says wool prospects are looking good in the Northern Hemisphere.

wool grower than it was four-five years ago,” Ackroyd told Rural News. “Things are better in the northern hemisphere, particularly in the UK where I think the Government is taking some credit for having stirred the economy properly. Things are also better in Angela Merkel’s Germany as well. “The two major wool consuming nations are Germany, number one, and UK, number two, and things are improving quite definitely. Retail sales are better, wool is dominant everywhere.” The demand for crossbred wools for everyday garments is on the up with the casualisation of fashion, Ackroyd says. ”But again on the Merino side there is a return to more formal dressing at the top end of the market. So there is something for everyone in 2014. “I have just come from some of the big fashion events in London, which are for retail 2014-15 for the northern hemisphere and it is very wool indeed. I don’t want to be overoptimistic, but I think it is a lot better than it was four years ago.” Ackroyd believes the global financial crisis and near meltdown, “or Lehman crisis as we’ll call it”, has had an upside for wool in the long term. “Wool has survived particularly well in times of crisis; when people are pushed they look for something more important in the message. “People look behind the message and they find that wool is sustainable, that wool lasts longer, it’s more durable and we’ve found throughout the crisis there’s been a slow move back towards natural fibres in fashion and interiors.

“That, to a certain extent, has helped stabilise the price of wool. Five years ago it was in a downward spiral which was very discouraging for growers and growers were checking out of wool. They said there’s no point in growing it. Particularly in the UK but also in Australia and here in New Zealand there was a downward price spiral and that’s been reversed.” Ackroyd was scheduled to speak at two open wool industry presentations, at Christchurch and Napier, in January. He says he would be talking about the work the IWTO was doing to promote the environmental credentials of wool. It was working with government and non-government organisations globally to make sure the message is understood by those who make the rules. “We will also talk about the Campaign for Wool and how the campaign is about the environmental credentials of wool. It is a promotion campaign and how we are ramping it up in various markets in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in those markets where carpet is important – the United States, UK, Germany and Scandinavia.” Ackroyd says he will ask New Zealand to support the Campaign for Wool. “It has been the best fillip wool could ever have in times of crisis – to have the Prince of Wales, who I believe to be the world’s leading environmentalist, supporting the campaign. “The campaign is very strong in New Zealand’s higher-end markets such as the United States and Northern Europe which are of prime importance to growers in the North and South Island.”


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

AGRIBUSINESS 15

Ag sector needs to lift its profile SUD ES H K I SSU N sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

AGRICULTURE needs to do more internationally to ensure the public is better informed on what’s involved, says Northland DairyNZ regional manager and Nuffield Scholar Tafi Manjala. He discovered that the numbers of people in direct contact with agriculture, on average in developed countries,

had fallen to only 1% of population – these likely to be either farmers or have contact with a farm. In New Zealand the figure is 15% and falling. The implications of this are huge, says Manjala, as it means less voice with legislators, and poorer global understanding of the agricultural experience. “There is less and less of a farming voice influencing policy, and that’s not good.” “Globally there is a challenge in

public perception. Activists speak with one voice globally, so should farming.” While a strong financial lobby for legislators had been successful in the US, Manjala didn’t see this as being the best solution for New Zealand, suggesting the industry should try to connect with media and the general public instead of by self-promotion and actions. In the UK, Manjala says there is a movement called Open Farm Sundays,

where selected farms regularly open their gates to let city people get some idea of what is involved in farming. In the US, Fair Oaks farm in Indiana runs Mon-Sat farm tours educating the public about modern farming efforts. The Canadian industry had organised farm tours for journalists at crucial times of the year and on different types of farms, during calving or lambing.

Manjala says similar measures need to be upscaled in New Zealand to ensure journalists and the public are more informed of the reality and value of farming. “As an industry we need to be proactive… for better understanding that will lead to a better future.” “You’re upskilling them so they can write a balanced informed article on agriculture. It gives them a wider audience.”

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SOCIAL MEDIA often get a bad rap in the news, with Facebook bullying, suspicious Snapchats and trivial Twitter tweets. But is it all that bad? Should you disconnect your phone and ban it from your workplace or home? So, what do you need to know to avoid making a twit of yourself on twitter, or get mud in your face on Facebook? One of the most important things to be aware of is privacy settings, ie, who can see your comments and pictures and who can share them with others? On Facebook, if you want to limit who can see your information then limit this just to friends you have approved. (See the privacy settings options.) Where it gets tricky is friends that share or tag your photos. A good way to think about this is as you would a school photo: you have little control over who passes the photo on. You can control who pins this to your profile to avoid all your friends seeing the photo. (To do this review the timeline and tagging settings.) Most social media are similar: you can control whom you are friends with and how they share information. Sometimes real life is not so simple. Social media does have some positive uses beyond sharing selfies and cat videos. There are some great discussion group options in Facebook. For employers and business owners LinkedIn is a great tool to review potential candidates or network. The groups are strong; think of it as a global discussion group on just about any topic in the world. Here is your chance to share grain growing experiences with farmers in Australia, America and Europe. SnapChat appears to be the tool of choice for tweens and teenagers now Facebook is becoming uncool with all us oldies joining it. Our 9-year-old has been able to connect with her friends across Canterbury which is really cool. It is important that they understand the privacy settings and have an awareness of internet bullying. www.netsafe.org.nz is a great resource. Twitter is also a great way to quickly get information out and shared with others; MPI used it to communicate the recent fruit fly scare. Even if you are not ready to post your life on the internet, having a profile on any of the sites above allows you to follow the news for the day when you are ready to send your first tweet. Good sites to start with include. Twitter @ruralnews, @rippedorange Facebook FaceBook.com/ruralnews FaceBook.com/rippedorange • David Jackson, of Canterbury, studied at Lincoln University and has worked in agribusiness. Ripped Orange is a technology training company www.rippedorange.co.nz

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

16 OPINION EDITORIAL

EDNA

Farming needs more promotion NUFFIELD SCHOLAR Tafi Manjala (page 15) is correct in saying the agriculture sector needs to do more to inform the public about what’s involved and happening in our industry. Farming’s critics have the industry constantly ‘under the pump’, often using misleading information and ill-informed assertions. Many claims are made about farmers deliberately damaging the environmental, over-charging locals for produce, making huge tax-free profits and inflicting undue pain on animals, to name but a few. Where such events are happening the sector needs to move quickly to publicly punish those besmirching and risking its reputation; and such actions must be rectified. Already in 2014 we’ve heard assertions that dairy farmers are profiting while destroying the nation’s waterways at taxpayers’ expense, and that most New Zealand meat exports are shipped in carcase form. Both claims are demonstrably false, but they attracted wide, uncritical news coverage. As Churchill said, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has even got its pants on. The rural urban divide is a growing problem in New Zealand. More accounts of the benefits of farming to our economy and society are essential. Manjala points out that only 15% of New Zealanders are farming or have any contact with farming – and that number is falling, though it’s much lower (1%) in other countries. This carries huge implications: less influence with legislators and poorer global understanding of the agricultural experience. “Less and less is the farming voice influencing policy, and that’s not good,” Manjala says. “Globally there is a challenge in public perception. Activists speak with one voice globally, so should farming.” Manjala urges that the best solution for New Zealand is for the industry to connect more with media and the general public by self-promotion and actions. Rural media, though effective in this sphere, are preaching to the converted – our audience is mostly rural and/or industry people. It is time for the general media to pick up more stories about farming and less meaningless drivel about Justin Bieber’s latest tweet! Industry and lobby groups such as Fed Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and Fonterra all do good work, eg farm open days and Milk in Schools, but more is needed. Government also has a role in ensuring the wider public better understand and appreciate the importance of our agriculture sector.

RURAL NEWS HEAD OFFICE POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 PUBLISHER: Brian Hight .............................................. Ph 09 307 0399 GENERAL MANAGER: Adam Fricker ........................................... Ph 09 913 9632 CONSULTING EDITOR: David Anderson .......................................Ph 09 307 0399 davida@ruralnews.co.nz

THE HOUND

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

Royal Favour

Bullet dodged

Strewth mate Not just cats

Power games

YOUR OLD mate is well aware of the struggles the ag sector has in attracting young people. However, news that Prince William attended his first day of classes at Cambridge University’s St John’s College in early January may just bring the ‘sexy’ back to agricultural careers. The royal hunk – as he is labelled in all the womens’ rags – is reportedly studying agricultural management in an effort to understand the issues facing the UK’s rural communities and the farming industry. Let’s hope our future king’s interest in farming also encourages more young Kiwis to look at the primary sector.

THE HOUND – like many – was rightly critical of Fonterra chairman John Wilson’s invisible-man act and unwillingness to front during last year’s not-botulism scare. However, the prize for the most ridiculous call during the recent cream recall issue has to go to former Hamilton mayor and twice-failed Fonterra director candidate Russ Rimmington, who called for Wilson’s head. Really? Your old mate reckons Fonterra shareholders dodged a bullet by not electing Rimmington to the board. If he was so overthe-top and reactionary over a minor issue like the recall of a few bottles of cream happens; imagine what he would’ve been like in a real crisis?

THIS OLD mutt has always been suspicious about our cousins from across the ditch. Not only do they bowl underarm, claim our actors and musicians as their own and talk funny, but their biggest sin is the quality of their pies. A recent newspaper investigation revealed Aussie ‘meat’ pies are less than onethird meat (and chicken nuggets contain only 50% chicken meat). Pies sold by the big supermarket chains barely exceed the minimum government standard of 25% meat. The Australian government standard for meat pies is 25 % fat-free flesh. Yum!

YOUR CANINE crusader thinks it’s great that Transpower has finally seen sense and, at the eleventh hour, withdrawn its Environment Court appeal over Waimate District Council and local farmer opposition to wider buffer zones under power lines. But the Hound reckons Federated Farmers would do well to take the grid operator’s assurances – that the deal sets a precedent – with a large pinch of salt. Your old mate hears Transpower made a hash of compulsory pre-court mediation meetings. That failure would no doubt have weighed against it had the hearing gone ahead.

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THE HOUND reckons well-known cat hater and self-appointed expert on everything Gareth Morgan harbours a dislike of animals that now stretches beyond domestic moggies to include dairy cows. Morgan and offsider Geoff Simmons recently penned a couple of articles in the New Zealand Herald further promoting the strong anti-dairy farming sentiment prevalent in urban NZ. Your old mate wonders if Morgan is standing for the Green Party at this year’s election; his anti-dairy, tax-the‘rich’ policy means he’d fit right in.

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ABC audited circulation 81,232 as at 30.06.2013

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


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

OPINION 17

Aussie dairy battle won, but the war is not over THE GREAT Dairy War for the hearts -- and milk supply – of western Victoria’s farmers has been waged and won, with the Canadian giant Saputo claiming the prize of local processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter. In Murray Goulburn’s case it was a war of words as Government regulations stopped it from even leaving the starting blocks. It could do nothing but watch as Saputo grew its stockpile of WCBF shares by the day, while it was forced to take its case to the Australian Competition Tribunal and hope for approval to buy a competitor in its bid to grow its milk supply and future prospects. Victoria produces about two-thirds of the country’s raw milk and the state’s farm lobby group, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV), had been vocal in its support of Murray Goulburn buying WCB.

The ‘impossibly handsome’ Lino Saputo Jnr.

UDV believes the local processing industry is too fragmented with over a dozen processors in the country, and too many focussed on the domestic market. It looks longingly at Fonterra with its production efficiencies. It stated the case for co-operatives returning all profits to the farmers. It saw this as a chance for rationalisation in the industry by the country’s largest co-op. That ship has sailed as the majority of WCB shareholders decided to throw their lot in with Saputo. Many farmers bought their shares for less than a dollar each and sold them for $9.40. They

with an unknown quantity in Saputo. This company’s chief executive, Lino Saputo Jnr, is impossibly handsome, that’s beyond doubt, but how will he

held them through the lean times when selling shares for $2.50 to buy fodder would have been sorely tempting. Among the biggest financial winners in this sense were Bega Cheese (which started the bidding frenzy with its initial offer of cash and shares in September) and Murray Goulburn. Once withdrawing from the race, Bega sold its 18.8% shareholding, which triggered a rush of sales by others. Once Saputo had achieved its initial goal of a 50% stake in WCBF, Murray Goulburn realised the race had been won and sold its 17.7% stake in the company. Both Bega and MG will now reap about $90 million, which leads to the question, where to from here for the Australian industry? MG managing director Gary Helou fired the first salvo by saying Saputo may have been successful in buying “stainless steel”, but that MG would target its farmer-suppliers. MG had planned to borrow the $500 million it would have taken to buy WCB. Now it need borrow nothing, and has reaped $90m cash. The co-op also revealed plans last year to implement a trading amongst farmers (TAF) scheme to raise $500m to grow the business. Helou set the ambitious target of having this scheme running by July 1 – even though it took five years in New Zealand. Farmers are nervous about this change, and may ask why not instead raise money, as previously planned, to buy WCB? For many and varied reasons, WCB suppliers chose to throw their lot in

treat Australian farmers? And having paid over their planned initial price for WCB, will Sapauto have the funds to launch its proposed push into

Asia? That was the main reason they pursued the company with such vigour. Essentially, they have paid half a billion dollars for some

tied up and is aggressively searching for more. Saputo may have won the battle, but, to quote an often-heard analogy, the war is far from over.

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

18 OPINION

Looking back to look forward 2013 WAS a great year – if you were into dairying. The rest of us peasants didn’t have a lot to get excited about, financially. While the dairy industry kept on growing, we sheep and beef farmers managed to retain the downward trend. But there were heaps of side issues to keep 2013 interesting, from quad bike safety to attempting resuscitation of the red meat industry. Those of us with long memories remember

resuscitation attempts of the past. All started with noble intentions and all have, sadly, failed. Somewhere in past attempts there seemed a breakdown when it came to bringing farmers, processors and exporters together. The latest meat sector reform exercise goes under the title of Meat Industry Excellence (MIE). It attracted a lot interest – especially in its initial stages. Huge numbers were said to have

The staunchest supporters of MIE farmed in West Otago. 2013 was shaping up to be an exciting year. MIE’s message focused on the logical, which included sorting out the over-capacity problems of recent years. The answer

attended meetings nationwide. The message wasn’t new, but obviously it still appealed to a large part of the rural community, especially in the south.

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Attend any of the MIE meetings and the most noticeable feature is youth. It is reassuring to know that when the present crop of leaders move on there will be some talented young souls preparing to take over. was readily available. This clear-cut option was as simple as ending the livestock coming through the works. However, the flowon effects would inevitably be emotional and expensive. The word from the companies was a likely cost of $600 million per works. This would have to be paid by shareholder-suppliers. It would take a strong personality and an equally strong board to push through such unforgiving programme But as MIE spreads its wings its greatest asset has almost been ignored. Attend any of the MIE meetings and the most noticeable feature is youth. It is reassuring to know that when the present crop of leaders move

Silver Fern Farms. My mate who knows all about the corporate/capitalist world tells me that to make changes, a handful of seats on a board are unlikely to achieve much. Being passionate about the industry and a top-notch farmer are seldom more than good starting points. It’s all about the numbers supporting you. Bruce Woollen Mill Last year was decisive for Bruce Woollen Mill as it set out to restore a once large wool processing operation that once employed 400 (staff now number 25) and is now struggling to avoid the scrapheap. The question is how long can the mill keep going? The answer is positive. Survival through 2013

was crucial and this was achieved. But maintenance costs had been much higher than expected and had soaked up much of the income. Bruce Woollen has to be a classic example of what can be done with minimal money and the right management. There was also the opportunity factor, which someone had to recognise.

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fortable with Owen and Eoin at the helm of their respective cooperatives. As one mate summed them up, Eoin on the road always sounded as if he was preaching a sermon while Owen sounded as though he wished he was on a stage playing Gilbert and Sullivan. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

OPINION 19 HYBRID VIGOUR MUST BE A SECONDARY OBJECTIVE IT WAS encouraging to see Prof Jacqueline Rowarth (Rural News 21 January) put the spotlight on the potential value of genetic gain in venison, as this has for a long time represented a huge lost opportunity for the deer industry. Rowarth also highlights the value of hybrid vigour, but makes the common mistake of over-estimating the value relative to true genetic gain.

There will indeed be useful hybrid vigour from the long established practice of terminal mating by Wapiti over traditional red hinds. The problem is that there is little demonstrable genetic improvement in either the sire or dam lines, and the fact remains that if any system is not being improved, it is losing ground to alternatives. In dairy, the ‘KiwiCross’

delivers valuable hybrid vigour, but this is additional to the underlying additive genetic merit as measured by the breeding worth (BW) which has hybrid vigour stripped out. The combination of additive genetic merit and a bonus of hybrid vigour have made the crossbred by far the most popular breed in NZ dairying. Plenty of hybrid vigour could be attained from

crossing Brown Swiss with the Guernsey, but there is little ‘breeding worth’ to build upon (BW is the dairy industry’s economic index and the national breeding objective). Likewise in sheep, there have been enormous gains made by driving improvement in maternal and terminal lines. But both must deliver additive genetic merit in order to provide a genuine

advantage from progeny whose performance exceeds parent average through hybrid vigour. In short, exceeding parent average is of limited value if parent average is poor and not being improved yearon-year. There are at least two alternatives for venison producers using the traditional terminal system. The farmer can switch to high BV

red-over-red, in which case you can keep any female that suits your environment. And if some are bigger than your ideal replacement they can go to slaughter with the males for spring premium prices. With this approach, sires and dams are on a rapid trajectory of permanent and cumulative genetic gain. Alternatively, for those

who like their Wapiti terminals, simply inject high BV red genetics into the maternal line. At least half of the genetic equation will be continuously improving, you’ll have hybrid vigour on top and you’ll keep your Wapiti breeder happy. Peter Gatley General manager, genetics LIC

ag twits Rural News’ irreverent and hypothetical look at what’s happening in the farming world Top Bleats view all jwilsonfonterra: What the hell is going on? I thought we had our food scare last year? Now I find out we’ve started the new year by producing some dodgy cream. #thisgivesmethesh*ts fonterrapr@jwilsonfonterra: No problems, we’ve managed to put a positive spin on ‘creamgate’ by claiming it’s an excellent way for consumers to shed all that excess weight gained over the Christmas holidays! #silverlining johnmcarthymie: Can you feel the positive changes sweeping through the meat industry already following the election of MIE people on both SFF’s and Alliance’s boards? #dreaming mikepetersen: Gee I am really going to miss being chair of Beef + Lamb NZ – such a positive and vibrant industry – when I step down from the role next month. #cannotwait bwillsfedfarmers@mikepetersen: I too am stepping down this year and was looking forward to scoring a nice government trade junket, but I see you’ve already nailed that! #jealous johnkeypm: Ok it’s election year; here are the potential coalition partners I can work with: Act, the Maori Party, Peter Dunne, Colin Craig, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Mumammar Gaddafi, Bashar al Assad and if things get really desperate Winston Peters. #godihopenot

thatguynathan: A new year and a new beginning for 2014 and yet again our biosecurity measures are proving imperishable. #whatfruitfly damienoconnormp: There is no doubt the recent fruit fly incident is because we don’t have enough government departments and public servants in Wellington who all just happen to vote Labour. #morewalkshortssocksandsandals garethmorganknowall: All the problemzth in New Thzeland are becauthz we have too many putthy cathz and too many bloody dairy cowzth thitting in our riverthz. Letz kill them all! #cullallcatsandcows

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

20 WORLD

Saputo bags WCB SUD ES H K I SSU N sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

CANADIAN DAIRY processor Saputo has finally won control of Australia’s oldest dairy processor, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter. Two rival bidders – Bega Cheese and Murray Goulburn – have offloaded their 19% and 18% respective stakes to Saputo after several months of bids and counter bids. This means Saputo now holds at least 75% of the Victorian dairy company’s stock, meaning its offer price will increase to $A9.40 per share. Saputo had offered an unconditional $A9.00 per WCB share, with the offer price rising if certain share thresholds were met. The offer price rose to $A9.20 when Saputo’s stake passed 50.1%, to $A9.40 at more than 75%, and will go up to $A9.60 when it passes 90%. Murray Goulburn, Australia’s largest dairy processor, will receive at least $A92.9 million in cash proceeds after selling its 17.7% stake in WCB, with a $A51 million gain on investment before tax and costs. Bega will

make a profit of $A68m on its sale of WCB shares. Murray Goulburn has also withdrawn its application to the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) to have its bid for WCB authorised on the grounds that a takeover of WCB by Murray Goulburn would be of benefit to the public. MG’s managing director Gary Helou says it is disappointed at missing out on WCB. “(But) we are pleased our involvement in the bidding process drove a genuine auction and that all WCB shareholders have benefited as a result, including MG’s 17.7% stake,” says Helou. The sale of our WCB shareholding represents an excellent financial outcome for the cooperative, he says. “These cash proceeds will support our plans to reinvest in our business and to grow market share in Australia and expand internationally, further assisting us to deliver our goal of increasing the underlying farmgate returns. “Throughout this process MG

remained committed to acquiring WCB and we were confident we had a compelling case to obtain authorisation from the ACT. However in light of Saputo acquiring a controlling interest in WCB we have an obligation to our cooperative shareholders to maximise the financial outcome and focus management time on growing a strong and globally competitive cooperative.” One of the top ten dairy processors in the world, Saputo is the largest in Canada, the third-largest in Argentina and among the top three cheese producers in the US. Its products are sold in 40 countries. Saputo shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Australian listed processor Warrnambool produces dairy products for domestic and export markets. Its products include cheese, butter and butter blends, milk, cream and dairy ingredients. Warrnambool operates two factories and has 420 employees. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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US dairyman takes aim at rivals including NZ THE NEW head of US dairy farmers’ lobby group wants reforms of New Zealand’s dairy policies as part of a final Trade-Pacific Partnership deal. In his first monthly commentary to farmers, National Milk Producers Federation chief executive Jim Mulhern says a priority for the organisation is to maximise the value of the pending TPP trade deal to US dairy farmers. Negotiations of this pact will likely determine this year whether the TPP final agreement represents a net positive opportunity for the US dairy sector, Mulhern says. “We need greater disciplines on non-tariff barriers, as well as greater access into Canada and Japan, in order for a TPP agreement to be useful to America’s dairy farmers. We also need reforms of New Zealand’s dairy policies as part of the deal.” Mulhern replaced Jerry Kozak, who stepped down on January 1 after 22 years with the US dairy industry. The NMPF represents 35,000 dairy farmers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal under negotiation by 12 countries: New Zealand, US, Singapore, Chile, Brunei, Australia, Vietnam, Peru, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico and Japan. Japanese dairy farmers oppose the TPP, fearing the accord will wipe them out by triggering an influx of cheaper imports. Some Japanese media reports suggest the Government is seeking to exempt agriculture from the pact. However, TPP is not the top item on Mulhern’s list. He says establishing a new and better safety net for dairy farmers is his top priority. What should have been achieved by Congress in 2012, and what had a chance of getting done last year, was passage of a new farm bill containing the Dairy Security Act, he says. NMPF and its members have been working hard with Congress since 2009 to devise and pass a new dairy programme. The good news is that it appears we’re on the cusp of getting a farm bill done as 2014 begins, he says. “Members

of the House and Senate are returning to Capitol Hill this month, and finalising the farm bill is also at the top of the list of New Year’s resolutions for them. “I am cautiously optimistic that the farm bill negotiations between members of the House and Senate agriculture committees will produce an economically and politically viable bill.

Jim Mulhorn

It’s been bedeviled by controversies ranging from the marketing of catfish and eggs, to the level of spending on food stamps and crop insurance; but differences over these items can and will be resolved. “We still need to thread the needle by ensuring that the resulting bill will pass both chambers, and be signed by the president, but I believe we’re just about there.” Mulhern says another item that’s a holdover from the past, but that is also critical to the success of the dairy industry, is immigration reform. That effort has moved in fits and starts for more than a decade, he says. “The passage of last year’s comprehensive reform bill in the Senate was a crucial and welcome step. The House needs to follow suit and pass similar legislation, in whole or in part, so that we can work with leaders in both chambers to get something done.”

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Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd

H e l p i ng d a i r y, b e e f a n d s h e e p f a r m e rs p ro f i t f ro m f o rage

‘Oscar’ win for high sugar grass in leading role A glittering science awards night in London, where the equivalent of an ‘Oscar’ was awarded to the grass breeding team behind Aber High Sugar Grass, simply confirms what NZ farmers already know – it’s a champion grass. At the recent Times Higher Education Award ceremony, the Aberystwyth University team that bred and developed Aber High Sugar Grass (AberHSG) won the category for most advanced technology and innovation. In the Wairarapa hills north-east of Masterton, sheep and beef farmer Andy Renton is also giving AberHSG top marks after growing it for eight years - a ryegrass miles ahead for stock performance and proving its persistence in dry conditions. “Aber has raised the bar for us to the next level,” says Andy, a Ballance Farm Environment Award winner in 2007. “The stock’s grass intake is a lot higher on the Aber, which gives them a higher growth rate. It’s given us an extra 10 percent on our farm surplus.” The ‘Oscar’ judges’ view, after considering independent test results, was that AberHSG is a grass offering

the potential to transform pastoral based livestock agriculture. Independent tests have demonstrated that AberHSG can increase the production of meat and milk by up to 24% and reduce methane emissions and nitrogenous pollutants by up to 20%. British supermarkets ASDA and Sainsbury’s promote the use of AberHSG on their farms, estimating a reduction of 186,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year while raising farm profit by more than NZ$20m per annum.

TV presenter Sandy Toksvig (far left) and England’s Science Minister David Willetts (far right) present the Times award to AberHSG plant breeders (left to right) Dr Athole Marshall, Mr Alan Lovatt, and Dr Pete Wilkins. The same AberHSG perennial ryegrass has proven well suited to the task Andy set himself in changing his ‘Te Roto’ hill farm of 936 hectare (780ha effective), purchased 13 years ago, from a store farm that rears young stock to a finishing (fattening) system.

It may not be an ‘Oscar’ but Wairarapa farmer Andy Renton values highly the AberMagic that is helping him increase farm profit.

“The lambs thrive on the Aber. There’s no staggers and they stay clean,” says Andy. “In spring and early summer our lambs have been achieving liveweight gains of 350 grams a day and that allows us to finish 70 percent of them whereas in the past we would finish only 20-to-30 percent.” It’s the same story for two-year-old bulls consistently exceeding a target of 2kg a day and instead growing by 2.5 to 3kg a day and all sold by Christmas, well ahead of the coming dry months. Leading Aberystwyth plant breeder and ‘Oscar’ winner Dr Peter Wilkins has visited Te Roto and was impressed by the liveweight gains on Aber pasture and the bulls being so quiet and content. He said AberHSG perennials are bred to last for at least 10 years their persistency, a trait easiest to lose when developing a plant variety, has never

been compromised for the sake of enhancing palatability or other quality traits. “Palatability is a debatable topic but it’s really about the animal and if animals like the grass then they eat a lot more of it and can produce more.” During his tour of NZ, farmers attributed the AberHSGs’ persistence to the plant’s deep roots, which is paramount on North Island farms where, for many, the summer and autumn period has been exceptionally dry for the past four out of five years. Andy, who won the 2007 Ballance supreme award for the Wellington region for his management of a productive farm environment and high performance stock, said the AberHSG paddocks “definitely hang on longer”. His plan going forward is to plant more AberMagic and continue building a bank of top quality pasture.

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High weight gains prove hugely profitable

Mt Linton Station team members (from left) manager Ceri Lewis, sheep genetics manager Hamish Bielski and farm technician David Bielski.

“It’s an awesome ryegrass. It seems to be the silver bullet for us as far as finishing lambs.” David Bielski

grams liveweight gain per lamb per day

*

Liveweight gain as consistently reported by New Zealand farmers for lambs grazing AberDart and AberMagic.

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*

www.highsugargrass.co.nz

CT scans (of carcases) and the Aber sugar grasses are enabling us to capture that potential.” An extra $1.1 million of revenue is calculated on the basis of stronger weight gains for lambs and Angus steers, earlier finishing, stronger pre-mating condition and consequently the estimate of a 10 percent increase in lambing when the entire finishing platform of 3,800ha is in AberHSG. Large scale re-sowing of paddocks with AberHSGs began in 2008 after a grazing trial at Mt Linton showed a wide variation in weight gains for lambs on different varieties of ryegrass. Lambs on AberDart and AberMagic were clearly performing better and averaged 411 grams a day while lambs on three other modern ryegrass varieties averaged 172, 270 and 320g a day. After the trial farm technician David Bielski, who looks after pasture management, said he wished they had already planted more AberHSG. “It’s an awesome ryegrass. It seems to be the silver bullet for us as far as finishing lambs.” They have sown up to 400ha a year and so far about 10 percent of the property has been regrassed into AberHSG that’s proven easy to manage, is grazed evenly and grows strongly from late September and into February “which no other grass is doing up here”. “At the start nothing could finish our lambs. It all comes down to quality of pasture and lamb growth,” said David, who observed the high density of tillers carrying lambs better and that they stayed cleaner on the highly digestible sugar grass. A further gain is expected from regrassing higher slopes where a trial paddock shows AberDart and AberMagic can carry 10 ewes per hectare compared to three ewes previously.

Aber sugar grass ‘hung on’ through flood and drought

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The quicker weight gain of lambs grazing Aber High Sugar Grass (AberHSG) pasture has led to hugely profitable changes at Mt Linton Station in Southland. An extra $1 million could potentially be added to Mt Linton’s annual revenue from 95,000 stock units on more than 12,000 hectares – one of the largest privately owned sheep and beef stations in the country. “We have gone from no lamb finishing to everything being finished here and AberDart and AberMagic (AberHSG perennial ryegrass varieties) play a big part in that change,” says Mt Linton general manager Ceri Lewis. The ability to finish all lambs and bulls has led to the owners selling off four finishing farms because they are no longer needed for Mt Linton. “They were not making the same weights as they do on the Aber,” said Ceri. Suftex lambs are now growing to a carcase weight of 18kg, which is 2kg heavier than achieved on the former finishing farms, and Angus steers are averaging almost 300kg a carcase compared to 270kg previously. “The sugar grasses have fast tracked the whole finishing programme,” he said. A significant commercial benefit is being able to move forward by two months the mean (average) kill date for lambs, from April to February, and give breeding stock much earlier access to priority feeding. “The key is to get a good flow of lambs finished and put more feed into the hoggets, our next priority. We need to make sure all the hoggets hit the liveweight target at mating (43kg minimum), not just 50 percent of them.” The gains are attributable to the flocks’ superior genetics being fully expressed on better quality pasture, says Hamish Bielski, manager of Mt Linton’s development of Texel and terminal Suftex sheep genetics. “We have invested strongly in genetic breeding and regular measurement with

Richard Weld is a lot more confident about pasture persistence with more AberMagic planted on his 600-cow dairy farm near Te Puke. “The AberMagic and AberDart were the green paddocks on our farm during the last drought,” says Richard, whose 174 hectares beside the lower Kaituna River has 18ha of Aber High Sugar Grass (AberHSG) and more being planted each autumn. The farm’s oldest AberHSG, AberDart, was sown in autumn 2009 and is still looking dense and growing well on low-lying land that dries out fast but can be under water in winter. “There’s always a good feed in the Aber,” says Richard, whose cows are regularly put into an AberHSG paddock a day or two ahead of their allotted date in the grazing round. “We are seeing extra litres and the cows do pick up but there’s not enough Aber yet to quantify what’s happening to our production.” “What we do know is that the cows love it. They chew it out and are as happy as hell in the Aber,” says Richard, who cleared willows, flax and rush crowns that were bigger than a car when he bought the land in 1985 when 23 years old. “The bank manager looked across the swamp and said if I was mad enough to want to develop it then I could have the money.” Richard had trialled different ryegrass varieties to handle the wet winters and dry summers before discovering AberHSGs can recover fully from both flood and drought and provide reliable pasture cover. “In a previous drought the Aber blew me away because those paddocks looked like they had been irrigated or had nitrogen put on.”

Taking a closer look at AberDart are Te Puke dairy farmer Richard Weld (centre) with his daughter Kelsey, a university student who drives machinery on the farm, and farm manager Kerry Gibson. A hill block bought by Richard for dairy support tends to dry out at a quicker rate but the AberMagic again has proven its persistence. “I was surprised at how well it had hung on,” says Richard, who attributes the AberHSGs’ staying power to the plant’s denser root mass. “The roots go deep. That’s why it recuperates and there’s more grass cover. You see it when you drive around the farm … it’s always ready to be grazed”.


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Pasture quality trials measure D-value of ryegrasses

The term ‘pasture quality’ is taking on a new meaning for ryegrass varieties being tested in plot and grazing trials this year. Drymatter yield has been the traditional measure of one grass over another but three separate trials are currently testing ryegrass varieties for their digestibility value or D-value. In Canterbury a combined DairyNZ and seed industry plot trial is assessing the “nutritive value” of ryegrass varieties listed in DairyNZ’s Forage Value Index, which currently offers a value for total drymatter yield only. Another Canterbury trial being run by Plant Research NZ Ltd for Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd is comparing the D-values of Aber High Sugar Grass (AberHSG) varieties with normal ryegrasses. The third trial, in Southland, is being run by AbacusBio for Alliance Group and Germinal Seeds and in its second year (2014) will include pasture growth rates, botanical compositions and water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) measurements. Unlike the other trials, the Alliance trial is being run on actual farms where

lamb liveweight gains are recorded. Early results show that lambs do indeed grow quicker on the more digestible high sugar grass mix of AberMagic and AberDart, which is not surprising when considering Plant Research trial results that show, from near-infrared plant imaging done by Hill Laboratories, that the Aber diploid perennial, tetraploid perennial and festulolium varieties have more digestible organic matter than the control varieties Alto (perennial diploid), Bealey (tetraploid) and Tabu (Italian). AberHSG wholesaler Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd general manager David Kerr says most farmers will be interested in the trial outcomes because the digestibility value of ryegrass directly impacts on animal productivity. “For farmers, the bottom line is that a forage crop that’s more digestible will provide more energy to the animal because its intake is not being restricted by the material that can’t be digested.” Digestibility is measured in terms of a plant’s “dry organic matter digestibility” or DOMD, which is given

as a percentage of the plant’s total dry matter. “It’s been a standard measure in forage evaluations in other countries for quite a few years and now it’s happening here, which is good news for New Zealand farmers,” said Mr Kerr. Independent tests in England have worked out that a single unit gain in D-value equates to an increase of 0.26 litres of extra milk per dairy cow per day, 40g per day of extra beef liveweight gain or 26g per day of extra lamb liveweight gain. When those gains are applied to the Plant Research trial where the diploid perennial AberGreen is 6.6 DOMD percentage points above Alto in February and March then the daily potential gain is an extra 1.7L of milk per cow, 264g of beef liveweight or an extra 170g of lamb liveweight. Mr Kerr said those results align with the statistically significant (highly repeatable) results of an AgResearch trial where cows grazing AberDart gave 10 percent more milk in autumn than cows grazing a standard ryegrass.

Plant Research NZ Ltd trial plots in Canterbury are growing unlabelled ryegrass varieties for seasonal comparisons of their digestibility value.

3

Growing tomorrow’s grasses today A step change in greenhouse technology is up and running at Aberystwyth University in Wales – the place of origin of Aber forage varieties. It took 30 years to naturally breed AberDart, the world’s first commercially successful diploid perennial high sugar ryegrass, but now the development of ‘next generation’ plants is at a quicker pace. The new greenhouse, as big as three tennis courts and the most advanced in the UK, gives scientists precise control, treatment and analysis of plants individually potted and transported on a conveyor through various imaging chambers. It’s the core facility for a National Plant Phenomics Centre that was opened at the same time as new bioinformatics and spatial modelling laboratories at the university – the whole development costing NZ$28 million. The modelling facility allows scientists to make sense of the increasing amount of data being recorded about plant varieties. The phenomics centre is to give them a composite picture of the physical and biochemical traits of whole breeding populations of plants under different treatments. The high-tech greenhouse has up to 3,400 electronically tagged plants that are individually weighed, fed and watered before being photographed in infrared light to show hot (dry) zones, under fluorescence to show photosynthetic activity and in 3-D to record each plant’s growth rate. Near-infrared imaging is to record the rate of water absorption in different plant zones, as well as root structure, and a laser scanner is for small plants such as grasses.

10% MORE

MILKSOLIDS IN AUTUMN

*

*AgResearch trial 2007, compared to production from cows grazing a standard perennial ryegrass.

Harvests

Oct 2011

Nov 2011

Dec 2011

Feb 2012

March 2012

Mean DOMD%

DOMD% (% Alto)

Aber Magic

77.1

71.9

72.9

68.6

70.5

72.2

104

Aber Green

78.3

72.0

72.1

72.1

70.6

73.0

105

Alto

75.5

71.5

69.6

65.5

64.0

69.2

100

Mean

77.4

72.1

72.0

69.8

68.4

Samples analysed with Near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) at Hill Laboratories.

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Dry Organic Matter Digestibility (as a Percentage of Dry Matter)


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Some new grasses are ‘like farming on eggshells’ The lack of persistence seen in some new ryegrass cultivars is the result of an over emphasis on drymatter yield in their breeding, says the wholesaler of Aber High Sugar Grass. Farmers’ increasing protest at the lack of persistence in new pasture cultivars is justified when a ryegrass sold as a perennial begins to die away in its third year, says Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd general manager David Kerr. “Farmers are saying the new grasses don’t last like the old varieties and I agree that it appears some seed companies have tried to further increase drymatter yield for a marketing edge but have not managed to retain those persistency traits,” said Mr Kerr. “Now farmers are being advised on how to better manage the more fragile pastures but really they don’t want to be farming on eggshells; they want a grass that will last a good ten years.” Mr Kerr said Germinal’s high sugar

David Kerr of Germinal Seeds and Nimrod Downs owner Robert Hobson walk through AberDart and clover pasture that’s fully feeding beef cattle to finished weights at an altitude of 750 metres.

Dargaville farm and a similar story has been relayed by farmers the length of the country. “I saw eight year old AberDart growing on Awaroa Farm at Waikaretu (south of Pukekohe) and it continues to recover strongly from intensive grazing while another perennial ryegrass sown at the same time had large dead areas attributed to black beetle after just three years.” South Island farmers also report their older AberHSG pasture, up to 11 years old, still growing a dense sward under varying conditions, from the dry summers of Braemar Station in the McKenzie Country to the cold mists frequently covering Nimrod Downs near Mt Nessing in South Canterbury. Mr Kerr said the AberHSGs’ dense roots and tillers were the product of breeding for persistency against frost, heat, drought, UV light, numerous fungal, viral and bacterial pathogens, a wide range of invertebrate pests and hard grazing. Ryegrass persistency was “not an easy quality” because it relates to the adequate growth of new tillers and roots as well as the production of proteins and other metabolites to naturally protect against damage. “If selection was for yield alone there would be a tendency to divert plant assimilates produced by photosynthesis away from the many different metabolic pathways required to maintain persistency.”

AberHSG holds quality at Rangiatea

Aber White Clover ®

Aber® White Clover provides a dense and persistent ground cover, improves soil structure and forage intake, and enhances nutrient supply.

AberAce Small Leaf Variety AberAce has the smallest leaf size of any clover on the recommended lists and was bred specifically for continuous sheep grazing in all conditions. It also has an exceptionally dense network of stolons, allowing it to persist well under the most rigorous of sheep grazing systems. It has out yielded larger leaved varieties in IBERS grazing trials. AberAce can also be used in blends with other varieties of differing leaf sizes and will provide a very dense base to any clover blend. Small leaf clovers are mainly used in permanent pasture.

AberDance Medium Leaf Variety AberDance has a leaf size that places it around the midpoint of the medium leaved varieties. It was bred from winter hardy material with good cool season activity, surviving from a wide range of genetic resources, to provide flexibility in response to various grazing managements. It gives high yields and shows good survival in systems ranging from continuous sheep grazing through to rotational sheep and dairy/cattle grazing. In a long term experiment at IBERS, AberDance showed consistently high yields over a period of 8 years. AberDance is best suited to sheep or dairy grazing. It is very winter hardy and therefore very suitable to many parts of New Zealand. AberDance could be used where the ability to be flexible is key, and can be used in either medium or long-term pasture.

AberNormous Large Leaf Variety AberNormous is a new generation large leaf white clover with similar to slightly larger leaf size than ARAN white clover, with higher stolon density.

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Suitable for rotational dairy/cattle grazing and high production silage pastures. When combined with AberDance medium white clover, provides high yielding pasture also suitable for high-fertility lamb fattening systems.

FREEPHONE 0800 17 1825 www.highsugargrass.co.nz

grasses are proven to be reliable and are the result of a 30 year programme of recurrent selection within two restricted breeding populations where the focus is on herbage quality, drymatter yield and high levels of persistency. He said 10 year old AberDart (an AberHSG perennial) has resisted kikuyu, record droughts and insect challenges at a

Aber High Sugar Grass is proving its persistence and high feed quality at the 720 hectare Rangiatea sheep and beef farm nestled below Mt Somers in Canterbury. Owners Blair and Sara Gallagher have developed one of the country’s finest Perendale sheep stud flocks and are rearing and finishing Angus cattle for prime beef export. “We needed persistence and at the same time grow quality feed,” said Blair, whose farm offers alpine views from a highcountry garden and a jewellery gallery where Sara creates her agate, pearl and shell designs for jewellers throughout the country. Blair first planted AberDart into five hectares as a trial in 2007 and has since sown a mix of AberDart and AberMagic HSG into 60ha, including 20ha last year that was in tussock. “It will be interesting to see how the Aber persists up there (600 metres above sea level) but so far it’s looking good,” said Blair, who set-stocked those high slopes this spring with 11 twin-bearing ewes to the hectare compared to the previous five ewes per hectare. Meanwhile Rangiatea’s prime paddocks of AberHSG on the flatter country are finishing lambs and preparing stud ewes and rams for an on-farm sale in December and then the Gore Sale – last year’s 200 rams fetched between $650 and $1000 a head.

Blair Gallagher “There’s no doubt that the ewes on Aber are always in very good condition and the lambs are sappy (full of spring),” said Blair. “It’s grazed cleaner and the sheep stay cleaner. The Aber is not left clumpy like other paddocks because it’s probably more palatable. There’s no trouble holding quality on it.” An executive member of the Meat Industry Excellence Group of farmers encouraging better co-ordination in the red meat industry, Blair farms 10,000 stock units with 80 percent sheep, including 800 Perendale ewes recorded by Sheep Improvement Limited, and 20 percent Angus cattle grown to terminal weights in 18-20 months. “On the flats we will keep going with AberDart and ‘Magic. It could be quicker in winter but certainly it comes away quickly in spring and offers pasture that holds it quality and seems to persist.” Blair has recently started a Cheviot stud flock to birth smaller lambs having the vigour and ability to grow quickly to prime carcase weights and is about to trial cocksfoot in pasture.


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5

Grass offering environmental benefit is “a no-brainer” - scientist High sugar grasses should be part of pro-active strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient flows into waterways, says well known agricultural scientist and agribusiness consultant Dr Jock Allison. A further bonus is a lift to animal productivity, said the former director of AgResearch Invermay. “The use of high sugar ryegrasses from Germinal Seeds seems to be a no brainer to me,” said Dr Allison, who references research in the UK and New Zealand to validate his view. AgResearch trials show AberDart high sugar grass (HSG) to be higher yielding than NZ standard varieties at Gore and similar at

better utilisation of protein in the rumen. There was also a 10-to-16 percent increase in milksolids per cow per day during autumn in comparison to cows grazing NZ control cultivars – a result that AgResearch has evidently not been keen to share with farmers while involved in trying to develop its own genetically modified high sugar grass. AgResearch has a joint venture with PGG Wrightson in developing proprietary seed technologies through Grasslands Innovation Limited, which is 70 percent owned by PGG Wrightson and 30 percent owned by AgResearch subsidiary Grasslanz Technology Ltd. However the AgResearch trial results are

Are you fed up re-sowing pastures that don’t persist or perform?

Palmerston North and there were benefits from having more sugar in the plant. “The research shows higher sugar levels and slightly lower protein levels together with a more efficient utilisation of the protein in the rumen result in the excretion of urinary nitrogen being substantially reduced.” “Further, the improvements in animal productivity are often recorded following an increase in intake,” said Dr Allison. He said the higher forage quality of HSGs results in higher silage quality and offers the opportunity for silage to become an extra ration for production rather than the “filler” it tends to be on New Zealand farms. He said HSG ryegrass had been bred over the past 30 years at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), based at Aberystwyth University in Wales, and the impact on stock performance had been well tested. “In New Zealand these IBERS bred ryegrasses have undergone growth and composition measurements at Gore and Palmerston North and have been shown to grow as well or better than the control NZ ryegrass cultivars with which they were compared and have consistently higher water soluble sugar levels than the NZ control cultivars.” He said AgResearch conducted AberHSG grazing trials with dairy cows at Palmerston North from 2004 to 2007 and showed from rumen measurements a

in close agreement with more comprehensive work in the UK, said Dr Allison. “The results show lower protein levels in the AberHSGs but higher levels of water soluble carbohydrates (sugar) which result in a more efficient utilisation of protein in the rumen.” The UK research also shows a reduction in N excretion in urine in the range 20-to-35 percent. Another AgResearch paper, from Tavendale et al (2006), showed sugar levels in AberDart in the spring to be about 24 percent higher than in the NZ control ryegrass (Impact) while Crude Protein levels were about 14 percent lower and protein utilisation in the rumen was more efficient in HSG fed cows. The lower protein content of HSGs was not low enough to affect animal production but does mean there will be a reduction in the N excreted via faeces and urine. Dr Allison said an investment in HSG pastures, in terms of the environmental benefit alone, is a modest cost when compared to the cost to farmers of applying nitrification inhibitors to pasture two or three times a year. “It is clear however that the perennial (permanent pasture) ryegrass market is very confused in the farmer’s eyes with about 30 different cultivars on the market and all or most claimed to be superior in some way.”

CERI lEwIS Mt linton Station, Southland “We have gone from no lamb finishing to everything being finished here and AberDart and AberMagic are a big part of that change. A major consequence is that Mt Linton’s four finishing farms have been sold as they are no longer needed. With lambs finished earlier, the ewes can start flushing earlier on the better pasture. On the hills AberDart is stocked at 10 ewes per hectare compared with three previously.”

ANdREw ARgylE Tokomaru “I can see the difference here and can certainly advise that we grow bulls quicker and consequently we have more of a platform in spring for growing the silage, balage and hay that we sell. On the Aber most of our bulls reach finished weights of 290-to-320 kilos carcase weight six months earlier and yield better. We don’t have to carry bulls through an extra winter.”

ANdREw yOuNg Tapanui, west Otago “AberDart is a grass you can rely on. It’s taking the pressure off knowing we can finish lambs earlier. They just go for it. I had the drafter in every week last summer to take out the tops. They put on 430-450 grams a day on AberDart and AberMagic. They stay clean, whether its fresh grass or not.”

Aber, persisting and performing after 10 years.

BRENT PATERSON Napier “The Aber definitely held on better in the drought for us – no question. Since 2007 we’ve planted 15 hectares a year after summer crops. We run sheep, beef and dairy grazers and rotation graze everything. Our dairy heifers grazing the Aber consistently make the top weight quartiles for the Patoka area.”

Aber, persisting and performing after 6 years.

FREEPHONE 0800 17 1825 www.highsugargrass.co.nz GSL 0634-b2

Dr Allison explains at a Tapanui field day why a big jump in pasture quality, as offered by AberHSG, is much needed on NZ farms.

you don’t have to be.


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FORAGER

Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd

Heavier lambs in Alliance trial with Aber high sugar grass Lambs raised on high sugar ryegrass are growing faster and bigger than those grazing on the standard variety, early results from research by the Alliance Group show. Alliance and Germinal Seeds are running the trial on three southern farms, in partnership with the British supermarket group Sainsbury’s. Alliance livestock manager Murray Behrent said it was part of efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of lamb production by, in this case, growing them more quickly. “So in terms of lamb performance, we looked at lambs grazing on high sugar grasses which grew faster and (had) heavier carcass weights than lambs grazing on the standard ryegrass,” Mr Behrent said. “That was on two out of the three properties, and one property also showed that the lambs grazing on high sugar grasses reached slaughter earlier than lambs grazing on the standard ryegrass.” The preliminary results were compelling but the trials with the Aber high-sugar grass would continue to verify the initial findings and find out more about the reasons for them, he said. According to the results, lambs grazing on the Aber high sugar ryegrass (HSG) on two farms grew 30-40 grams faster a day than lambs grazing on standard ryegrass (SRG). The AberHSG lambs on one farm also reached slaughter weights on

average three days earlier than the SRG lambs, while on two farms, the AberHSG lambs had 0.6-0.9kg heavier carcase weights. Mr Behrent said there was substantial farmer interest in high sugar ryegrasses with many believing the HSG varieties offer good dry matter yield, high palatability and improved livestock growth rates. “There is very little HSG research looking at lamb performance in New Zealand farming systems. Finding efficiencies that can enhance economic returns behind the farm gate is a top priority for Alliance Group and this type of study can have an immediate benefit. “Alliance Group is always proactively seeking ways to improve farm productivity and its financial returns to suppliers.” British supermarkets have encouraged New Zealand farmers to use Aber high sugar ryegrass to speed up lamb finishing and improve their carbon footprint, said Mr Behrent. Hadyn Craig, research consultant with AbacusBio, which led the research, said: “Increased growth rates can produce significant benefits for farmers by bringing their average kill date forward. “This means lambs are gone earlier and feed can be utilised for other purposes, including improved feeding of capital stock or finishing store animals.”

13-15 March, Feilding

12-14 Feb, Waimumu, Gore

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Southern Field Days

Although a third farm showed no weight differences, technical difficulties experienced during the establishment of the study are believed to be a contributing factor, he said. The second year of the trial will measure pasture variables to understand what could be driving the differences. This will include a full year of dry matter yield, botanical composition, water soluble carbohydrate (sugar) and metabolisable energy.

Animal performance assessment will include regular and multiple weighing, faecal egg counts and detailed record keeping of farmer interactions. A return on investment for both grass options will also be considered. Three properties were chosen for participation in the study. These were located at Hedgehope (Southland), Dunrobin (West Otago) and Ohai (Southland). All three properties were chosen due to the rolling topography and

were considered a good representation of land classes in the southern region. Soil testing was undertaken after pasture was established to understand if there were any fertility differences between paddocks that could potentially affect pasture growth, with results showing that all properties had good soil fertility with pH, Nitrogen and Phosphorous levels within the optimal range.

Aber offers easy care, persistent pasture

SEE US AT THE SHOW! Central District Field Days

Lambs in the Alliance trial grazed AberMagic and AberDart at Hedgehope.

Aber High Sugar Grass (AberHSG) is making life easier for dairy farmer Stuart Neill on 200 effective hectares at Culverden where his 660-cow herd averages a commendable 450kg milksolids per cow per year. The perennials AberDart, first sown in autumn 2006, and AberMagic have proven not only more persistent than other ryegrass varieties on Stuart’s farm but their high density of tillers and root mass enable the Aber paddocks to resist pugging damage. “We are on heavy clay so that’s the challenge every spring and autumn. But the Abers can take a hammering without opening up. They are easy to manage and they’re persistent – that’s what I like about them.” “I wouldn’t keep using Aber if it wasn’t working,” said Stuart, who now has 152ha, 75% of the total grazing area, growing AberDart or AberMagic. The farm is walked every week with a platemeter and new software that records the cumulative growth of each paddock and has indicated that AberMagic offers more grass. “The early signs are that there is a difference between paddocks and we are seeing the newest AberMagic paddocks outperforming anything else for the tonnage of drymatter grazed.” An early experiment sowing AberHSGs with hybrids and other ryegrass varieties was dropped and only straight AberHSG with a clover blend is sown. The AberHSGs’ high density and yield has contributed to a 15% increase in milk production from 1,300kgms/ha to

Stuart Neill hosting an AberHSG field day on his Culverden farm. 1,500kgms/ha, before pivot irrigation was recently installed, but Stuart says other factors will have an impact too, such as the ongoing genetic gain of the KiwiCross herd. Efficient use of pasture remains paramount – as demonstrated by the use of a hand-held GPS receiver to position break fencing for the correct area of grass for number of cows – and within the demands of a high production all-grass system the AberHSG has persisted through all conditions. “With the cost of pasture renewal climbing towards $600 a hectare, there’s money to be made from a grass lasting ten years rather than four years.”


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Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd

7

Answers to real questions from farmers and retailers Aber High Sugar Grass (AberHSG) varieties combine reliable persistency with high herbage quality. AberHSG varieties have a higher soluble carbohydrate (sugar) content and lower fibre content which improves production from grazing livestock.

2. How do Aber grasses perform in NZ when bred in the UK? AberHSG pasture is growing successfully and reliably in 18 countries in total, including Australia, North America and South Africa where growing conditions are more extreme than in New Zealand.

3. What is the process for new varieties entering the NZ market? New AberHSG varieties go through the normal NZ registration process to establish plant variety rights. All AberHSG seed sold here is grown in Canterbury by contract seed crop growers - and most of the NZ seed crop grown is exported.

4. What NZ trials have been completed with Aber varieties? Germinal Seeds NZ is known for its willingness to contract outside science providers to test AberHSG varieties in the NZ farm environment. AgResearch was contracted by Germinal Seeds NZ between 2000 and 2006 to conduct two three-year trials to compare dry matter production and sugar content with NZ varieties. Taken together the results show that the latest HSG cultivars grow well in New Zealand and that the higher sugar trait is expressed. A three year AgResearch dairy grazing trial (2004-2007) showed a 10% increase in autumn milksolids production from cows grazing AberHSG compared to cows on a standard ryegrass. AberHSGs globally have been under more scientific scrutiny than any other pasture variety because they offer pastoral agriculture a very attractive concept - to increase animal production while reducing the environmental impact by way of more efficient digestion and therefore less waste from animals.

5. Are there any other HSGs marketed in NZ? There are no other HSGs that can seriously contend with the performance of AberHSG varieties bred by a

world leading plant breeding team at Aberystwyth University in Wales (hence the name ‘Aber’) where there’s a new $23 million plant phenomics centre used to precisely measure the physical and biochemical traits of plants under varied conditions. There are two or three HSG pretenders in the NZ market but they lack the peer reviewed and published trial results for AberHSGs and don’t have the ongoing endorsement of NZ farmers who have tried the grass and made their own judgement.

6. Aber grasses are bred using recurrent principles. What is this and how is this different? Recurrent selection is a process similar to the line breeding of elite animals. Only a small selection of plant progeny expressing all the desired traits - such as high sugar, growth vigour and persistency - is carried through to the next generation of breed development. Recurrent selection enables AberHSGs to be progressively improved from one four-year generation to the next as opposed to the traditional method of crossing a multitude of plants in the hope of finding a winner. The AberHSG breeding process had run 20 years until the first blockbuster variety AberDart was released into world markets in 2000 (NZ 2004) as a more digestible and more persistent ryegrass.

7. There was a rumour that AberHSG requires a cold winter to perform. Is this correct? This is not correct and there is no special cold trigger required to make AberHSGs grow or to express their higher sugar content. This idea was derived from an AgResearch paper in 2004 based on a limited climate chamber study - later expanded to discover that sugar expression is more complicated and could be related to growth tissue. The on-farm evidence from Northland to Southland is that AberHSG varieties perform well in various climates and land types and, according to an AgResearch trial, express more sugar content in a warmer region (Palmerston North compared to Gore). The same AberHSG varieties are grown in 18 countries and have proven valuable to farmers in South Australia, west and east Victoria and at Boyanup in West Australia.

8. I need AR37 endophyte in the Waikato and AberHSG doesn’t come with AR37. Should I plant AberHSG in areas that have a bad black beetle history? Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd is not convinced that AR37 or any endophyte is offering adequate ‘insurance’ for pasture persistency. Strong, dense and deep root growth more than compensates for the pest deterrent effect of an endophyte fungus in shallow roots. The endophyte AR37 was found by a DairyNZ trial to lower dairy cows’ summer and autumn milk production by an average of 9.5 percent compared to cows fed AR1 ryegrass - so why go there?

For longer lasting pasture. Densely tillered and resilient...

9. What is D-value and what does this mean to a farmer? D-value relates to the amount of digestible organic matter in a plant as a percentage of total drymatter. A higher D-value also means there is more metabolisable energy in the grass and animals will more likely eat more of it. The D-value of AberHSGs is consistently ahead of the D-value of standard ryegrasses and significantly ahead In the later summer and autumn months - further confirmed by a Canterbury, NZ, trial with plant composition measured independently.

10. When a grass is more digestible, does this have an effect on persistency? No. The AberHSGs offer both traits high digestibility and strong persistency.

with excellent ground cover...

and deep roots for persistence.

11. I have seen pictures of the AberHSG root system being superior to other grasses. Is this part of the breeding process? AberHSG perennials are bred to last 10 years or more and their long persistency appears related to these plants being deeply rooted. From Northland to Southland, farmers who have dug up AberHSG have seen roots reaching to the end of the spade spit, or beyond.

12. Is AberHSG more suitable for sheep, cattle, dairy or deer and for rotational grazing or set stocking? The AberHSGs’ high digestibility will benefit any ruminant animal (cattle, sheep and deer). Tiller density and vigorous root growth enable AberHSGs to recover quickly from close grazing and therefore they are well suited to either rotational or set grazing.

AberHSGs are persistent, high performing and proven throughout New Zealand. David Jones, Hinds Dairy Farm 7 year old AberDart HSG with 32 cm root depth.

FREEPHONE 0800 17 1825 www.highsugargrass.co.nz

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1. What is AberHSG and how is it different to other grasses in the NZ market?


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FORAGER

Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd

Grass yield trial casts doubt over persistence of AR37

At a field day near Hinds, Canterbury on SH1, sharemilker Vaughan Jones (left), science consultant Dr Jock Allison and farm owner David Jones (right) walked through a 10-year-old paddock of AberDart with nil endophyte that was offering a pre-grazing cover of four tonne of drymatter per hectare.

Endophyte type is presented to farmers as the essential criterion for selecting ryegrass seed but the results of a DairyNZ research trial add to the uncertainty of claims being made. Farmers are seeing pastures fail within three or four years, regardless of endophyte type, and the results of a three year trial ending May 2011 at DairyNZ’s Scott Farm near Ruakura casts further doubt on the effectiveness of AR37. In fact the DairyNZ results show that AberDart with the AR1 endophyte grew more drymatter per hectare during the third and final year of the trial than any other grass. The difference between AberDart’s yield and the trial’s bottom yielding variety, which was embedded with the AR37 fungus to repel pests, was 1,910 kg drymatter per hectare for the third and final year of the trial. Other varieties with AR1 took second and third place for the most yield in year three and in fourth place was a variety having AR37. The “four replicate pure dairy sward trial” was mown to simulate intensive dairy grazing in the Waikato and 12 ryegrass varieties were sourced from

Cartref Jerseys produce more milk on sugar grass

show AR1 varieties, in fact, were ranked first (AberDart), second, third, fifth (AberMagic) and sixth - the AR1 varieties taking all but one of the six top places. Among the four AR37 varieties in the trial, two were one up from last and the next best was in seventh place, while an NEA2 endophyte variety was ranked eighth out of the 12 varieties. Germinal Seeds NZ Ltd puts AberDart and AberMagic, both diploid perennials, into the market with the AR1 endophyte but has no plans to offer AR37 as a further option. The reasons are uncertainty about the actual protection afforded plants in the field, the viability of AR37 endophyte in seed that cannot be stored in accordance with recommended cool storage conditions and the extra cost being passed on to farmers. A fourth reason is that the type of endophyte selected has nothing to do with vigorous root growth, which is a common trait to all Aber High Sugar Grass varieties. It’s due to root depth and density, not an endophyte, that AberDart with nil endophyte planted 10 years ago on NZ farms is still growing strong today.

Proven persistence Proven performance

Cartref Jerseys farm manager Scott Nicholson (left) and farm owner Paul Frecklington hold a sample of the Aber High Sugar Grass pasture that has lifted milk production. and is now in 50ha with more being sown each year, usually after a crop of chicory and then an annual ryegrass, although a trial is soon to begin with AberHSG being direct drilled in year-two chicory instead of an annual grass. Cartref Jerseys owners Paul and Christine Frecklington have two other Jersey dairy farms and it’s been decided that all perennial pasture re-sowing will be with a 50-50 mix of AberDart and AberMagic. Paul told the field day that breeding is 10 percent of a cow’s productive ability and feeding is 90 percent - a formula evidently well applied to the home herd that averages 560kg milksolids per cow per season (70 percent higher than the all breeds average for Manawatu). He observed at the end of the field day that despite gates being left open the cows were content to stay in AberDart when usually they would be heading to the dairy feedpad prior to milking. Other AberHSG field days have been held on farms at Tokoroa, Edgecumbe, Hawera, Culverden, Methven, Hinds, Tapanui and Mt Linton Station in Southland.

Just like high performance athletes, your stock require the best diet to produce top results. High sugar grasses work just like a high energy sports drink, providing explosive production performance with up to 6% more milk per cow per year.

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A top jersey herd already producing milk at a high rate produced even more milk when grazing Aber High Sugar Grass, a field day audience was told. Tangimoana dairy farmer Scott Nicholls, who manages the home farm of Cartref Jerseys, said milk production data shows their 228-cow Jersey herd produced an extra litre of milk per cow when grazing AberDart and AberMagic. “The data tells me that there is definitely a lift in milk production straight away. You can’t not see it,” said Scott, who spoke at the AberHSG field day hosted by Cartref Jerseys in the Manawatu. For two days prior to the field day the Cartref herd was grazed in AberDart paddocks to test for any gain in milk production. The result was a lift of 261 litres or five percent for the first day, compared to previous milkings on standard ryegrass, and a further lift of three percent or 176 litres after a second day grazing the next fresh break of AberDart. The milk increase equated to an extra 1.14 litres and 0.77 litres of milk per cow for each day, or a daily average of 0.96 litres per cow over the two days. Over the two days the total worth of the herd’s extra 52.8kg of milksolids was $438 at the current farm-gate payout of $8.30/ kg milksolids. “They are mostly on a 12 day round and only eat what they want to eat but on the AberDart they eat out a lot more than they do in other paddocks. It’s because they like it,” said Scott. “We see the cows happier to clean out a 2.5 tonne paddock of Aber than being in other paddocks with more grass but the quality not being as good.” He has relied on the quicker post-grazing growth of AberHSG paddocks to keep the herd on a seven-day round while waiting for balage paddocks to recover - the balage mostly cut from Aber paddocks because they offered more bulk. “We also need a grass that grows through very wet winters and dry summers here. The Abers are doing that and grow dense enough to stop the native grasses coming back.” AberHSG was first sown on Cartref’s 80ha home farm in 2006

five seed companies. DairyNZ conducted the trial for the National Forage Variety Trials that are run by the seed companies subscribing to the NZ Plant Breeders Research Association (NZPBRA). The trials provide results for use in sales pamphlets, to validate the claims made, but it’s unlikely the results of the Scott Farm trial, codenamed P208WAI, will be used to sell AR37 varieties. AR37 is the latest endophyte to be commercially offered as the answer to “pasture theft” by black beetle and other pests and at least one seed company, PGG Wrightson, continues to claim trial results show a substantially better yield. The company’s AR37 website reports Waikato and Bay of Plenty trial results that show a “substantial improvement with a 15 percent increase in drymatter production using ryegrass with AR37 compared to the same cultivar with standard endophyte”. A further claim is that there’s an even bigger margin, of 22 percent, when comparing AR37 to AR1, according to the company’s summary of three-year trial results. At Scott Farm the third year yields


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

MANAGEMENT 21

RPR blends a cause for concern ROB IN BO O M

IN RECENT years both Ballance and Ravensdown having been selling RPR (Reactive Phosphate Rock) blends containing high cadmium Sechura RPR from Peru, with various low cadmium rocks from the Mediterranean region so that the total cadmium content falls below the industry limit of 280 ppm cadmium per kilogram of phosphorous. To be classified as a RPR under Fertmark guidelines it must have a citric soluble P content of at least 30% which means at least 30% of the total P must dissolve in a 2% citric acid solution which is a laboratory test used to assess its reactivity as a RPR. The Sechura that both Ravensdown and Ballance import has around 42% citric solubility which has excellent agronomic quality and farmers could expect it to react over a 3-4 year period if the soil pH is below 6 with over 800mm/year of rain. What’s controversial is the particular Mediterranean rocks that are often blended with the Sechura which I believe leaves farmers short-changed. BG4 from Morocco has been used by both companies. It’s about 30% citric soluble P which is likely to take 10-12

years to fully work. In my view that’s too slow. The blend itself can look good on paper as a 60:40 Sechura/BG4 mix has an average citric soluble P of 38%. If it was all 38% that would work over four years, but the reality is that 40% of this mix will take over a decade to work. Gafsa RPR from Tunisia would be my rock of choice to blend in with Sechura. Gafsa RPR has a citric soluble P content of about 33%. You can expect this to work over a more respectable 4-6 year period. Ballance recently imported 4000tof Gafsa and were doing Sechura/ Gafsa mixes until last month when they ran out of Sechura. Now they’re doing BG4/Gafsa mixes until more Sechura comes in. With BG4 being the greater portion of the mix the average citric soluble P is 31% which still meets the minimum Fertmark requirement, but the blend is likely to be too slow reacting to meet pasture P demands in many situations and farmers are being shortchanged. Ravensdown have sunk to even lower depths and for the past year have been blending Buccra rock with their Sechura. Buccra is a manufacturing rock containing 15% total P, but of this, only 20% is citric soluble. By blending this

The reactivity of some of the rock being used in RPR is too low, says Waikato-based consultant Robin Boom (inset).

with Sechura (12.5% P), it averages out at an impressive 14% total P on paper, and the blend meets the Fertmark standard of over 30% Citric solubility, but the portion which is Buccra has little or no agronomic value due to its lack of reactivity. Some of it will still be sitting there unreacted in 50 years. For a farmer owned co-operative this is not

acceptable, and farmers believing their co-operative will not be putting one over them, and who are wanting to use a natural P source rather than manufactured P are not getting good value. For those who are happy to use a manufactured soluble P fertiliser such as superphosphate or DAP, these will work out to be better value until this problem

is sorted out. Historically RPR fertiliser was a considerably cheaper source of phosphorous, but with good RPRs their cost has climbed so compared to superphosphate today their real appeal is more the ‘feel-good’ philosophical appeal one of being natural rather than price per unit P. TO PAGE 22

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

22 MANAGEMENT

Fert firms and FQC on RPR RESPONDING TO Robin Boom’s concerns about RPR (see opposite) Ravensdown told RuralNews the original decision to include Boucraa rock in an RPR blend was taken in September 2011 to ensure cadmium levels of a particular shipment Sechura rock which had been “non-

selectively mined” were kept under the voluntary limit. “RPR is a niche product used in relatively small quantities. While RPR is a slow release product, there is scientific debate about the exact timeframe of when the P from various rocks is actually released,”

says communications manager Gareth Richards. “We take our commitments and product assurances very seriously. We will assess our RPR options and product information so that customers can continue to access products to meet their agronomic needs.”

Richards says Ravensdown is one of only two companies who supply RPR to a standard that is independently audited, and the product Ravensdown supplies meets Fertmark definitions and its registration. Meanwhile Ballance responded to Boom’s

points by saying its customers can be confident its RPR and superphosphate products deliver agronomic performance with minimal environmental impacts. “Our priority when sourcing rock is to ensure we can meet our voluntary cadmium limits, while at

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the same time providing a product which performs well for farmers and supports the economic contribution of the primary sector,” says general manager sales, Andrew Reid. Other key factors in rock sourcing and supply are reactivity or solubility, then phosphate level, he adds. “We stand by our products, and actively soil and herbage test farms to measure the outcome of all of our recommendations. The advice we give when recommending a phosphate product is equally as important as the physical product qualities. We have a team of highly skilled and trained experts who are out there working with farmers to advise them on the best approach to farm nutrients for their individual businesses. “In most circumstances RPR is recommended for use on soils which already have good background levels of phosphate. For soils which require a faster boost of phosphate we would more likely recommend that a superphosphate, serpen-

Andrew Reid

tine super, DAP or blend of products is used.” Reid says Ballance’s blends of rock for use as RPR or to make superphosphate are constantly changing as they’re sourced from a range of suppliers to offset political and economic uncertainty among major phosphate producers such as Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt. Using a range of supplies provides price stability, quality and security of supply. Fertiliser Quality Council chairman Neil Barton says the council, which administers the Fertmark tick quality assurance scheme, will look into Boom’s concerns if they are raised directly with the council.

Fertmark tick questioned FROM PAGE 21

Other RPR importers such as Asura, Fertiliser NZ, Mainland Minerals, Marphos International, Viafos and Fertco generally have good citric soluble P products around 40% or higher, but their overall P content is lower and they work out to be more expensive per unit of P. Personally I think that Fertmark needs to raise its standards with RPR fertilisers, so that unless a rock has a citric soluble P content of at least 33%, it should not be sold as RPR. The current blends sold by both Ravensdown and Ballance should not get the Fertmark tick and while they do, the assurance the tick offers is of little value. • Robin Boom runs Waikato-based Agronomic Advisory Services and is a Member of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists.

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

MANAGEMENT 23

Plantain adds lamb growth, yield A HAWKE’S Bay on-farm trial shows lambs fatten faster on plantain and yield better than lambs grazed on pasture. Awapai Station, a ram breeder for Focus Genetics, has planted 80ha of mixed clover and Tonic plantain over the past four years. Farm manger manager, Shane Tilson says they’re seeing outstanding results.

“We did a research experiment this season where we grazed half our Highlander ewe hoggets with their Primera lambs on plantain and half on grass for the last month of lactation in December. The lambs that were weaned off the plantain were a kilo heavier in carcass weight than the lambs that were grazed on pasture. And the ewe

Ewes and lambs on plantain in November.

hoggets weaned 1.2kgs heavier than those on pasture.” Lambs off plantain also graded better than off grass. “It was clear the plantain lambs graded better, yielded better and put on weight faster.” Tilson says lambs on plantain averaged 350g/ day liveweight gain to weaning, a far better lactational growth rate than expected. The plantain also appears very palatable and seems to digest well. “I find the lambs graze the whole paddock very evenly.” Having plantain meant that during last year’s drought Awapai was able to grow all Primera rams out to meet contractual demands from farmers. “Without plantain we would have been very challenged,” notes Tilson.

The plantain also enables them to get replacement highlander ewe lambs to a mature body weight earlier. “We can mate our hoggets earlier so we can get the genetic gains earlier without compromising growth rates.” Hogget replacements were weaned last month, coming off plantain at 66.5kg. “They had put on 4.5kg while also rearing a lamb, so we were thrilled.” Tilson says to reap the benefits of plantain it must be managed well. “You really have to keep on top of it. We graze it when the height of the plantain is the height of a stubby beer bottle and we take the stock out when it’s the height of a stubby beer bottle lying on it’s side. You can’t just stick your stock in there and

Shane Tilson with some of the Awapai flock on plantain.

forget about them.” Awapai Station held a field day in December to showcase stock on plantain. Focus Genetics’ chief executive, Gavin Foulsham, says he was pleased with the turnout. “Shane had told us of his outstanding results,

and it was important for us to share these with other farmers. “I think Awapai’s results demonstrate the value of matching your investment in forage, with an appropriate investment in genetics or vice versa. “It’s makes sense that

if you are going to invest in quality genetics, you need to ensure that you are providing them with the forage that allows the animals to express their genetic potential. Awapai’s results with plantain have really hammered home that message!”

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Similar success inland Opepe Trust farm manager Ryan Mason has planted over 300ha of plantain on the Central Plateau farm and says it’s one of the best decisions he ever made. “We have light soil and poor fertility as well as challenging climatic conditions so we need a crop that can handle our harsh environment. We need something that can give us growth all year around and plantain provides the answer.” Dairy heifers, calves, and finishing lambs are grazed on the plantain. The farm produces 10,500 Primera/Highlander and Primera/

Romney lambs, some going prime, some store. “Plantain has enabled us to lamb earlier and get better results. We drafted 50% of our lambs off mum fat this year which is a record for Opepe Trust, given we farm in such a tough climate.” Once all browntop, 10% of the property is now in plantain and Mason says he is looking to grow more. “Plantain is a good year round plant that is low cost and is easy to establish in a low fertile environment. We have piece of mind knowing we have the feed available

going into the winter and during droughts. It enables us to focus on good genetics and management.” Agricom eastern North Island sales manager, Hamish Best, says Tonic plantain sales are climbing as farmers see it as a cheap year-round cropping option. “Tonic plantain is the next big step forward for hill country breeding units. Farmers are now able to put their ewes having multiples onto a feed source that puts weight on the ewe and her lambs, improving the percentage of lambs weaned direct to slaughter.”

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

24 MANAGEMENT

Best dairy pastures picked GOOD GRAZING management, careful pre-sowing preparation and a correct choice of endophyte were the keys to success of two pastures named Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s best last week. Taupiri farmer John Assen won the Best firstyear pasture award, while Gareth Beynon from Edgecumbe won the Best pasture sown before 2010 prize, in Tom Fraser the Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition run by the DairyNZ-led Pasture Renewal Leadership Group. Judge Tom Fraser, a senior scientist at AgResearch, says he and fellow judge Te Awamutu dairy farmer Geoffrey Peake, were impressed with the high levels of white clover and low weed content in both

of the winning paddocks, despite the impact of the 2013 drought. “Both farmers took care to avoid overgrazing when pastures came under stress and paid attention to weed control in both the preand post-sowing period. This ensured a high survival of sown species,” says Fraser. Beynon’s paddock was Bealey NEA2 tetraploid perennial ryegrass, sown with Weka and Kotare white clover and Choice chicory. The paddock is irrigated which provided some advantages during the 2013 drought. Assen’s re-grass was with One50 AR37, a diploid perennial ryegrass with a high ranking on the Forage Value Index for the northern North Island. The paddock was power har-

WHOPPING WEED CONTROL COSTS

Top pasture: last year’s winning pasture near Morrinsville.

rowed after a chicory crop, seed broadcast with a motorbike spreader and rolled. “John keeps high quality records relating to paddock history and grazing management which has helped him fine-tune his winning system,” notes Fraser. Each winner receives $1000 of pasture renewal products, including seed from Agriseeds and Agricom. Field days at each winners’

IN BRIEF AUSTRALIA’S CROPPING farmers are spending tens of thousands of dollars on extra weed controls at harvest to try to combat the rise of herbicide resistant weeds. The Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) has calculated the cost of measures being deployed across the ditch as follows: Narrow windrow burning: burning windrows without burning whole paddocks, minimises nutrient removal, costs about $17/ ha regardless of area it’s deployed across. Chaff cart: costs $19/ha when used across 1000ha, falling to $10/ha across 4000ha, including nutrient removal costs. Baling: an option where there is a reliable market for straw. Costs $49/ha across 1000ha or $32/ha across 4000ha. Harrington Seed Destructor: best suited to larger areas in medium to high rain zones, costs $41/ha across 1000ha falling to $16/ha across 4000ha. For more see www.weedsmart.org.au.

site next week will include an overview of the winning paddocks, discussion about endophyte, Forage Value Index and cultivar selection, and grazing management techniques for high performance and persistence. At Beynon’s, February 12, Massey University Professor of Dairy Production l be Danny Donaghy will be a guest speaker. Assen’s field day is February 14.

EWE HOGGET COMP OPENS ENTRIES FOR the New Zealand Ewe Hogget Competition are open with a closing date of March 21. “I urge all farmers with sound management skills to seriously consider involvement in this year’s competition,” says national convenor Stephen Rabbidge. The National Sheep Breeders Association-organised competition is in its 18th year and is an opportunity to benchmark flocks at local and national level. Local judging is followed by a national judging round of finalists starting April 28. Winners announced at a presentation dinner in Queenstown, May 23. See www.nzsheep.co.nz

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

ANIMAL HEALTH 25

Lepto cases and employer duties andrews@ruralnews.co.nz

HAVE YOU briefed your staff about the risks of leptospirosis? If not, you could be in breach of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. And it’s not just briefing that’s required: all practicable steps to prevent infection from such a disease must have been taken. That means provision of protective clothing and vaccination of the herd. Equally, just because you’ve vaccinated your herd, that doesn’t mean the risk is eradicated, as a paper in the January 24 issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal shows. It discusses the cases of three staff on a Wairarapa dairy farm who contracted the disease, two of whom required hospital treatment. Report lead author Margot McLean, Medical Officer of Health, Regional Public Health, Hutt Valley DHB says people should be in no doubt

about the seriousness of the disease, which can cause kidney failure, haemorrhaging, heart arrhythmia, meningitis and jaundice. “It can be fatal but there haven’t been many deaths in New Zealand from it because it gets treated fairly vigorously.” But even a mild attack causes flu-like symptoms with headaches, fever, coughing, aching calves and lumbar region, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and photophobia. Symptoms can persist several weeks. The flu-like nature of mild cases, and because the disease may not be on some GPs’ radar, especially those in urban practices, means it’s likely many cases go unreported, despite the disease being notifiable. McLean says some studies have suggested incidence may be 20 to 40 times higher than reported. “GPs in rural areas are more aware of it but it’s still not a very common disease… If you think there’s a risk you might

LEPTOSPIROSIS REMINDERS

❱❱ Caused by various strains of Leptospira bacteria. ❱❱ Spread in urine; ❱❱ Whole herd annual vaccination required. ❱❱ Assume incoming animals unvaccinated – give antibiotic and vaccine. ❱❱ Legal responsibility to protect staff. ❱❱ Develop protection programme with vet. ❱❱ See www.leptosure.co.nz for more.

have leptospirosis, you should mention that to your GP.” Personal protective equipment for those working in risk environments, such as the milking shed, should include gloves, aprons, and, the NZMJ article argues, face protection. McLean suggests a visor similar to those meatworkers wear “could be useful.” “It depends on the risk on a particular farm: what the milking shed is like and what the likelihood of getting splashed with urine is, and how confident you can be about the vaccination status of the herd.” In the cases detailed in the NZMJ, the herd had been vaccinated but some cows broughtin at the last minute had slipped through the net. Covering cuts and grazes when milking, and thorough washing of hands before eating or smoking is also advised. Co-author of the NZMJ article, Wairarapa vet Caleb King says provide disposable towels, rather than a conventional one, at the dairy shed. “A reusable towel in the dairy shed to my mind is a no-no. One person might use it to wipe urine and faeces off their arm, then the next person might use it to wipe their face.” Another all too frequent gap in the defence is failure to treat animals

Protecting staff and stock from leptospirosis needs to be part of a plan, says Wairarapa vet Caleb King (inset).

introduced to the herd with antibiotic as well as vaccine. “If all you do is vaccinate, it doesn’t stop an already infected animal from shedding bacteria. If you’re serious about protecting your people from leptospirosis then you have to treat brought in cows with antibiotic.” The problem with that is the cost: it’s about $30/ cow on top of the $1.40/ cow cost of the vaccine, and milk has to be withheld. However, compared to the cost of labour lost if a staff member contracts the disease, and subsequent treatment of the whole herd with antibiotic and vaccine as would be necessary in the wake

of an outbreak, it’s a small price to pay, he suggests. Vaccination has to be annual to keep the disease at bay, with two jabs four weeks apart the first time an animal is vaccinated. However, advice about when to start vaccinating young stock has changed, notes King. “For calves in a high challenge situation start at six weeks, give a booster at 10 weeks and a third booster at six months of age. For all other farms start vaccinating calves

Lepto since the 1970s Introduction of a cattle vaccine for leptospirosis in New Zealand in 1979 saw human cases of the disease drop from 677 in 1979 to 179 in 1982, says the NZMJ article. Incidence continued to ease into the 1990s, attributed to a decrease in the main strains affecting humans within the livestock population. However, since 1997 there has been no decline in cases, with around 100/year notified – 113 in 2012, 68 in 2011. Of the 113 cases in 2012, 80 were in people with an occupation considered high risk for leptospirosis. Of these, 58 or 72.5% were farmers or farm-workers, in contrast to a 2002 review of the disease which found incidence highest among meat processing plant workers, livestock farm workers being the second most frequent.

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

26 ANIMAL HEALTH

Kennel craft – cools spots RECENTLY I saw an effective, simple to make, summer shelter for dogs that only costs a few dollars and takes but moments to whip up. All you need is a length of shade cloth, two fence battens, less than a dozen short flat head nails

and a hammer. The shade cloth needs to be long enough to go across the top of the runs and hang over the sides. I’d go completely down the sides to give wind protection as well. Roll each end the shade cloth around a batten a couple

of times before nailing at intervals – this will give strength and stop ripping and fraying of the shade cloth. Then place it over the kennels as shown in the photograph. There’s no need to tie it down as the weight of the battens holds it tight even

in the worst wind. This is so cheap and easy to make there really is no need for dogs to go without a cool spot to lie in. Many motel kennel arrangements are totally inadequate in this respect, regardless of the hefty price you pay for them. If

they are facing the sun it streams in the doorway and there is nowhere that dogs can shelter from the searing rays. So have a heart, gather up your loose change for shade cloth, rummage around for two fence battens and spend a few moments of your time making your hard-working dogs’ lives a bit more comfortable. I spotted this wonderful idea on Trademe and the kind owner emailed me their photo so that you can see how it works. While on the subject

of kennels, below are two methods to protect timber kennels and runs from being devoured by bored youngsters, or even some older dogs who have acquired the habit, much like us chewing our nails. Over the decades I have doused the gnawed wood with diesel or pastes of chilli and curry mixed with water, but to little avail; they helped to a degree with some dogs but nothing really worked 100%. A few years ago I had a brainwave that works a treat and it’s easy to

Lepto cases and employer duties FROM PAGE 25

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at 3-4 months of age and boost them 4 weeks later. Remember to vaccinate heifers approximately a year after the last calf vaccination.” For cows, most people leave vaccination until autumn, once pregnancy testing is complete, to avoid vaccination of likely culls. The vaccine is administered subcutaneously in the front half of the neck and can be done by the farmer or farm staff but getting it done by a vet is preferable, says King, as it means the treatment can be certified as having been done, and done right. “Otherwise you need to serum test to show it’s been done.” King estimates at least 80% of herds are vaccinated routinely, but even those doing so as part of a Leptosure accredited programme may be slipping up on the point about treating incoming animals with antibiotic, as well as vaccinating. Of those herds that aren’t vaccinated, for some it will be because of a cognisant decision by the manager or owner not to protect the herd and staff, while for others it will simply be because they are too disorganised. King believes one reason some farmers feel they can risk not vaccinating for leptospirosis these days is because the most widespread strain of the disease, L. Hardjo, has almost no clinical impact on the cow. In contrast L.Pomona causes abortion and fever. Even for those farms which are vaccinating, it should be part of a wider plan which is reviewed annually, he stresses. “Although vaccine is a big part of prevention, a risk management plan is not just a list of vaccination dates…. The best simple plan available is Leptosure, but a plan with some veterinary involvement is better than no plan at all.” King says expect to pay for several hours of veterinary time to create the plan, and review it annually. “It should look at the risk of animals bringing infection onto the farm, the risk of spread from effluent, the risk of spread via water and even the risk that human behaviour has e.g., smoking, eating, drinking, wiping your face, in the cowshed. It’s just a good way of ensuring we minimise the risk to people.”


RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

ANIMAL HEALTH 27

and bad habits do, though somewhat unpleasant. Arm yourself with a small container, a wee spade, a short stick and a brush (paintbrushes work well). Place a couple of fresh soft dog faeces into the container – I prefer to use the ones from the offender – and using the stick and enough water, mix to a runny paste – one that is neither too liquid nor too solid. Paint the smelly brew everywhere that is chewed and also on anywhere that looks like it could be targeted. I’m careful where and how I paint, I don’t want to turn the whole kennel and run into something unbearable for the dog to live in; I just want it to stop chewing any protruding wood. Keep an eye on all the woodwork over the

Motels rarely come with adequate shade, so why not make some.

next few days as you may need to reapply the paste in some spots or paint somewhere that you have missed, but usually the habit is broken quite quickly. Recently I bought some Stockholm Tar, an ingredient in a dressing for horses’ hooves. The tar is hideous stuff, foul smelling and almost

impossible to get off your fingers. About that time a young dog started chewing the edges of the run grating. It gave me another brainwave. I carefully smeared a small amount of tar where the dog was chewing: it stopped immediately. The tar is waterproof so when I hosed the run it remained

protected. The principle here, as with all dog problems, is to deal with them immediately so undesirable habits aren’t formed. I keep a particularly close eye on young dogs as they are the most prone to mischief! • Anna Holland is teaching people dog training. For more information www. annaholland.co.nz or Ph 07) 217 0101 or annaholland@xtra.co.nz

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

28 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Wireless monitor keeps an eye on water supply MAINTAINING A reliable supply of stock drinking water will be easier for farmers using a new wireless water monitoring system, according to its manufacturer Gallagher’s. The innovative product, which is available now, accurately measures water levels in tanks or ponds and wirelessly transmits this information to a touchscreen display unit mounted in a convenient location – such as at a house, farm dairy or implement shed. Easy to operate and install, the system helps farmers keep track of water storage and provides peace of mind by highlighting potential water issues before they become a major problem. “It’s a crisis averter,”

says Gallagher Group marketing manager Mark Harris. “As well as constantly measuring water levels in storage tanks and ponds around the farm, it can also alert farmers to abnormal water loss caused by problems like broken water pipes or overflowing troughs. If the level in one or more tanks begins to decrease quickly then farmers know they have a problem.” The system uses a high quality sensor to measure water pressure in the tank. Information from this sensor is transmitted via a solarpowered wireless com-

The new wireless water monitoring system.

munication unit, mounted on top of the tank, to a wall-mounted or desktop touchscreen display unit located up to 4km away. “Water is a crucial resource on any farm

and the wireless water monitoring system is a great tool for helping farmers catch water problems before they seriously impact on the well-being of livestock,” Harris says. “It’s also a big time saver because you don’t have to physically visit the tank or pond.” Up to nine tanks can be monitored by one display unit. The display features a 2.8inch colour touchscreen and can store water level information to give the user a clear picture of historical tank levels over

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No more nasty chemicals needed for clean-up AUSTRALIAN PUMP says it has developed a dairyspecific steam cleaner that cleans and sanitises without chemicals. The Aussie Super Indy Mk III steam cleaner operates at temperatures up to 120°C. This is said to prevent a film of bacteria forming on steel, rubber and plastic surfaces within the milking plant. High temperature steam cleaning reduces the presence of spoilage enzymes and prolongs the life of dairy products, the company says. A reduction in microbial contamination, by using steam, helps control mastitis. The cleaner can also be used to wash down concrete surfaces in parlours, sheds and yards to reduce cross contamination. Tanks and tankers can also be cleaned and sanitised. High pressure steam can also be used to clean grease and muck from tractors and other machinery for ease of servicing and to reduce fire risk. It can also be used to minimise cross contamination between paddocks on machinery. Temperature control is stepless from cold to 120°C steam. A stainless steel cover, hygienic and impact resistant, is mounted on a four wheel, steel chassis with bumper. The pumps are a heavy-duty Italian triplex design running at 1450 rpm. The range includes a 2.2kW single phase machine and 5.5kW three phase machine. Tel. 0061 2 8865 3500 www.aussiepumps.com.au

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 29

Think small plea to machinery makers A N D REW SWA LLOW andrews@ruralnews.co.nz

MACHINERY MAKERS should focus more on the smallholder, says the lead editor of a new UN Food and Agriculture Organisation book. Mechanisation for rural development, a review of patterns and progress from around the world contains in-depth studies of mechanisation from Africa, Asia, the Near East, South America and Eastern Europe, and covers topics such as development needs, manufacturing and information exchange. “The book delves into many aspects of farm mechanisation, not only

engines: 25% is animalpowered and 60% peoplepowered – mostly women, the elderly and children. The book says design of agricultural machinery must evolve in parallel with sustainable intensification of crop production, meaning fewer chemicals, more efficient use of water and more efficient use of machines. Machinery needs to be ‘intelligent’, lean, precise and efficient to minimise impact on soil and landscape. It needs to be adapted to conservation agriculture, an approach that reduces or eliminates soil tillage and pesticide use, retaining mulches of crop residue to control weeds and conserve soil moisture and

“Without this change in the machinery sector, the needs of developing countries for food security, poverty alleviation, economic growth and environmental protection cannot be achieved.” how machines will contribute to an environmentally sustainable future, but also what policies will put machines at the service of family farms so that they too can profit,” says Ren Wang, assistant director-general of FAO’s agriculture and consumer protection department. It details how Bangladesh went from using human muscle and ox power in the early 1970s to being one of the most mechanised agricultural economies in South Asia, with 300,000 lowpower 2-wheel tractors, one million diesel powered irrigation pumps and widespread mechanised crop threshing. Meanwhile Africa, which also has lots of land, still has less than 10% of its mechanisation driven by

structure. The book argues special, low-draught machinery is needed to plant seeds and apply fertiliser through mulches so lower powered and therefore cheaper tractors can be used. Lighter machines have the added advantage of reducing soil compaction. Where pesticides are used, greater precision is needed as about 50% of those applied with current technology do not reach their target. Irrigation technologies such as micro sprinklers or drip irrigation that save water and consume less power are the way of the future. Book lead editor Josef Kienzle says the global agricultural machinery industry needs to provide more support to small-

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY4, 2014

30 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Contractor gets serious about maize a demand for and we can bale conventional bales,” Granich adds. They run a JCB and GETTING STARTED at Caterpillar diggers for Morrinsville, then qualifystacking and rolling grass ing as an aircraft engineer, and maize silage. a five-year stint shareJohn milking at WahaDeere tracroa, then working tor owners for Hare Contract“With the increasing are often said ing eventually led to areas of maize grown for to bleed green Neven Granich 10 when cut and years ago starting supplements for dairy Granich is his own contracting cows we had to get a one of these. business. bigger capacity machine “At present, I Neven Granich have 17 John Ltd has now worked as the harvesting window Deere tractors out of Hinuera, near from 150hp Matamata, for eight is not that large.” to 300hp plus years, now employother impleing 20 permanent ments with their name The business runs a staff and 15 casuals at the on it.” Krone loader wagon, two peak of the season. Granich also bought Krone round balers and The firm works two truck-and-trailers two self-propelled harbetween the Kaimais in vesters that can bale round with stock crates for each the east and the Waikato and from this has grown River in the west and from and square silage and a stock cartage business. hay bales with or without Te Aroha in the north to He now has four trucks wrapping. “We also have south of Putaruru. TO N Y H O P K I NSO N

“We do a full range of cultivation and have seeders and planters for all crops including John Deere 8 and 12 row maize planters,” Granich told Rural News.

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RURAL NEWS // FEBRUARY 4, 2014

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RURALNEWS TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS

FEBRUARY 4, 2014: ISSUE 554 

Southern Field Days Feb 12-14 Waimumu

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Ready for record crowds and buzz In a quiet valley in the centre of Southland a temporary town is taking shape as exhibitors and organisers set up for the South Island’s largest field day – Southern Field Days, Waimumu. Andrew Swallow reports. EXPECT MORE exhibits, more machinery demonstrations and more visitors at this year’s Southern Field Days. The biennial three-day event opens next Wednesday on the usual site at Waimumu, south of Gore, with a bigger footprint, more car parking and a host of new exhibitors among a record-breaking tally of well over 700. “We had 135 exhibitors more than two years ago when [site] booking closed and we have a waiting list of 30 to 50 and they’re still rolling in,” event chairman Mark Dillon told Rural News

late last month. A fence has been taken down and new lanes added to the site to try to accommodate the latecomers. “The main site was fully booked before mid October and they’ve been coming in steadily ever since.” Many of the new exhibitors have products and services for the dairy industry reflecting the sector’s boom in the region. “There’s more and more dairy every year as the balance of farming shifts

Expect more exhibits, more machinery demonstrations and more visitors, say Southern Field Days organisers.

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

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2 SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS

Run by locals for the nation HUGE COMMUNITY effort distin- ety now owns 38ha where the 2012 guishes the Southern Field Days, the field days hosted 600 exhibitors major farming event held every two from New Zealand and Australia and years at Waimumu, 12km from Gore 33,000 visitors. This year 700 exhibitors are booked. in Southland. Many New Zealand companies On show from February 12-14 will be the latest in rural technology, recognise the Southern Field Days equipment and specialist knowledge as a great way to market their prodfrom many countries. The Southern Field Days is a non-profit incorporated society run by former and current members of the Eastern Southland Young Farmers Club. All are volunteers, apart from the secretary, and work in Southern Field Days chairman Mark Dillion. agriculture. Chairman Mark Dillon farms at Riversdale and is in his third term ucts, the society says. This year the society will open as president. Wherever possible other local an event centre on the site – a huge non-profit groups such as clubs, asset to the field days, the local comschools and PTAs help set up and munity and the Southland region. run the event which is an important Construction started last November. The 5000m2 clearspan buildfundraiser for them. The field days were first held in ing, booked to capacity for this year’s 1982 on Ken Bowmar’s property at event, holds 180 3.6 x 2.4m sites. Waimumu with some 60 exhibitors. After the field days it will be availThe main focus was working demon- able for hire. strations. A popular feature returning to The Southern Field Days Soci- the show again this year is the trac-

tor pull competition – being run by the NZ Tractor Pull Association. Once again, Southland Tractors have come on board as the major sponsor. The Southern Fieldays team believe working demonstrations are a great way for visitors to view tractors and implements in a proper working environment. On display this year will be a wide variety of machinery and farm equipment on display – ranging from ploughs; drills; balers and everything in between. Organisers say anyone wishing to demonstrate any equipment should contact the secretary or visit the Southern Field Days website for more information. Meanwhile, the Invention Awards have been a part of the Southern Field Days for a number of years and are a great opportunity for budding inventors to show off their creations. There are two categories: Market prototype and Kiwi ingenuity – with great prize money up for grabs. Entry forms and guidelines for the awards are also on the website. www.southernfielddays.co.nz .

Big crowds and buzz expected FROM PAGE 1

from sheep and beef to dairy. It used to be quite a small part of the event but this year one exhibitor’s even milking on site.” But with so many exhibitors there will something for everyone in farming, says Dillon. What there won’t be is space wasted with exhibits that aren’t agricultural. “We screen them [exhibitors] a bit as the bookings come in. We’re an agricultural field days. We’re sticking to our core business.” This year’s event will see a renewed emphasis on the machinery demonstrations, a feature of the Waimumu event from the outset. “We’re giving them a push and we’ve had great support from the exhibitors so we hope there’ll be a buzz in the paddocks.” There will also be the usual line-up of fencing competitions, tractor pulling, farm inventions and many other crowd pleasers. This will be Dillon’s last show as chairman after three ‘terms’ (ie, three shows over six years) leading the team of volunteers that put together the event, and 15 years as a member of the committee. In 2012 the field days attracted 33,000 visitors, in 2010 26,000. This year he and the committee are hoping to hit 40,000. Extra parking’s been arranged and the traffic management plan cleared by council. “It’s the largest agricultural event in the South Island and the second biggest in New Zealand. If you’re a farmer, it’s the place to be.” Gates open 9-5pm daily Feb 12-14.

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS 3

Southern dairy leads way DESPITE SOUTHLAND having 5.7 dairy cattle for every man, woman and child, according to Fed Farmers, the region now boasts some of most environmentally compliant farmers in New Zealand. “The compliance monitoring results from Environment Southland, which came out before Christmas, was a real boost for our guys,” says Russell MacPherson, Feds’ Southland provincial president. “It is not just us in the far south; this is a trend throughout New Zealand.  By listening to talkback radio recently, I find the shame is that some people have been suckered in by a clever but increasingly redundant slogan.  “I mean the Ministry for the Environment’s’ must be the most under-reported study of 2013.  “A 10-year review of water quality found, ‘of the parameters [the MfE] monitors, all are either stable or improving at most monitored sites. Four of our parameters show stable

or improving trends in 90% of sites’. “Take the Mataura River, which won the regional award

for the most improved river at the first New Zealand River Awards. There are physical results proving it is working and it goes to show how Southland’s farmers are hitting their straps environmentally. “Most of Southland’s 887 farming effluent discharge consent holders inspected by Envi-

ronment Southland were fully compliant with their consent conditions. “While we farm in what feels

like a glasshouse, the fact is we are doing better each year environmentally and economically. And in ground and surface water, [most] of our farms are doing pretty well here too.” MacPherson says the federation believes a new attitude shown by Environment Southland, to actively work alongside

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farmers as in Taranaki, is starting to pay off. He says farmers who previously felt like they’d be belted for anything are now seeing a partnership and greater understanding from council. “The way town and country are coming together is also evidenced by the way the New River Estuary has galvanised Invercargill residents on storm and wastewater.  It will upset those who have made a career out of grievance, but truth eventually cuts through spin. “Perhaps that’s the nub of the issue we face as it’s all about perception, much like that Lincoln University survey from last year.  There’s what some people think we do and what we actually do.” He says trying to connect the two is going to take time. “That could start by having the same scrutiny our farms are under extended to our local councils.  “If town and country had the same level of scrutiny then the national conversation, I feel, would be much better,” MacPherson said.

Origin expands subsoiler range GA R ET H G I L L AT T

TWO hydraulic folding Alpego Mega Cracker subsoilers will be launched at Southern Field Days by Origin Agroup. Sub-soilers have gained popularity for aerating compacted and damaged soils, where pans stop water from being absorbed into the ground in winter and cause pastures to dry quickly in summer. Notably, the KX Megacracker 4.1-5.4m hydraulic folding unit is reckoned ideal for contractors and largescale farmers. Co-op principal Dave Donnelly points to several features that make for best flexibility and control. With specially designed legs and rear counter-rotating double spiked rollers and curved tillers, these Ital-

ian sub-soilers are said to be cheap to run while producing well prepared seed beds with good moisture retention and nutrient access. Removable shank supports and quick-release plow tips enable the unit to be quickly modified to suit a wide range of conditions, regardless of soil type and level of debris. Operators will also be able to do more without leaving the cab thanks to a patented working depth adjuster and mechanically locked hydraulic folding circuit. With a double support stand and 2.48m transport width it can be transported from job to job without a pilot vehicle and is easy to get through narrow gateways and spaces. Typical power requirement is 280-500hp. Tel. 07 823 7562 www.originagroup.co.nz

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

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ORIGIN AGROUP will show off rakes and mowers at the Southern Field Days – implements it says offer users levels of in-cab hydraulic controls never seen before. The machinery seller co-op will launch additions to the twin rotor rake and Novacat mower ranges fresh from European shows, with a new level of control and features. The 2.62 – 3.02m Novacat 262 and 302 rear mowers, available for the first time in New Zealand this month, can be raised and lowered from the unit rather than the tractor’s 3PL system. With 50cm of extra movement independent of the tractor’s linkage,

operators will be able to mount implements without manually adjusting the swing arm length, often a time consuming and dirty task. This also helps during road transport, allowing adjustment of the rig’s centre of gravity on the fly. The unit’s centre-pivot point is controlled hydraulically as well. The mower allows the operator 22 degrees of movement in either direction on the central pivot point, ensuring cuts are even regardless of land contours. The new models also have an automatic safety function where the mower lifts 15 degrees if blades come in contact with a hard object. Also on the Origin site will be three new 5.9-7.6m twin rotor top

rakes. Co-op principal Dave Donnelly says the addition of more tine arms, new rotor drives and up to 6 wheels per rotor will allow operators better results when dealing with the increasingly widening range of crops being cut for hay and silage. The 5.9m Top 612C, 6.45-7m Top 702 C model and 6.9-7.6 Top 762 C model will also make raking awkwardly shaped paddocks easier, says Donnelly. The maker has also added a 73 degree turning arc to rear rake wheels and shortened the chassis by 200mm than previous models for manoeuvrability. Tel. 07 823 7562 www.originagroup.co.nz

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS 5

Half-hectare events centre ready in time SOME SOUTHERN Field Days’ exhibitors can be confident that whatever the weather throws at the three-day event, they’ll be in the dry without lifting a mallet or tent-peg. And if it gets hot they’ll have the benefit of a ventilation system sucking the warm air away from above them.

contractors and working to a tight timeline.” The centre is a 100 x 50m Clearspan allsteel construction with no internal poles. “Its main purpose, from the field days point of view, is to have somewhere weatherproof and secure for our smaller stall holders instead of

“There will be 180 individual exhibitor booths inside, each with power, and wide laneways in between for people to congregate and yarn with the exhibitors.” It’s all thanks to a new, $1.6m, 0.5ha events centre built on-site. Organising committee member Stan MacGibbon, a sheep and beef farmer from McNab, near Gore, has overseen the construction. “The foundations went in on November 5 and the contractors have all worked long hours, working together to get it up in good time.” The project was managed by Chris Broadhead Construction, Timaru. “They’ve done an excellent job of coordinating all the

Stan MacGibbon

lots of marquees,” says MacGibbon. “There will be 180 individual exhibitor booths inside, each with power, and wide laneways in between for people to congregate and yarn with the exhibitors.” With “quite a lot” of perspex in the roof the atmosphere will benefit from natural light as well as a good internal lighting system. “There’s a ventilation system too so if it gets too hot we’ll just turn the big fans on and suck out the hot air.” Flooring is gravel, which MacGibbon says is in keeping with the agricultural field day use, and hopefully any bookings for things such as machinery launches or live-

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stock events. The centre’s capacity is 6000 people and MacGibbon says they expect 4000-5000 at the peaks

during the event. Event chairman Mark Dillon jokes the weather will determine how many people the centre really

holds. “We’ll find out on the day if it rains. If you’re in there it won’t matter what the weather does.” Fire regulations meant

a 1000m3 reservoir had to be built alongside. So if the sun comes out, could a field days visitor use it for a quick skinny dip to cool

off, Rural News asked? “That would be good, but no,” MacGibbon says. “There are pool fences top and bottom.”


RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

6 SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS

Duncan releases new air-seeder combo GA RE T H G I L LAT T

MAINTAINING PASTURE performance in wet and difficult conditions and being able to broadcast seed such as swedes and oats, is a key

feature of a cultivator– air seeder combo being launched at Southern Field Days. Duncan Ag will launch its hydraulic folding 5m S-Tyne Maxitill cultivator combination air seeder.

General manager Craig McIsaac says the implement is intended for sowing grass seed directly into pastures to rejuvenate them without having to take them out of the grazing rotation. This is ideal

to patch up a damaged paddock or quickly sow a crop. This popular technique is particularly suited to conditions in Westland and Waikato where prolonged rainfall and wet

DuncanAg will launch its hydraulic folding maxitill air-seeder combine at Waimumu.

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soil with a heavy pan make pastures susceptible to pugging and compaction. The Maxitill can be used as a primary or secondary drill, able to sow annual rye grass, swedes and even oats. Best results from air seeders are normally achieved by preparing the pasture with a cultivator, mulching immediately before or during seeding. McIsaac says that the 5m span of the new S-Tine Maxitill will make contractors’ and farmers’ work easier and faster. The company began working on the product after high levels of demand for Duncan Custom products from Westland, McIsaac says. He expects a lot of interest in the machine’s Waimumu launch. “There’s quite a call for it on the West Coast where ground conditions can be challenging.” S- Tine cultivators can be used on their own as a straight cultivator or to

broadcast seed via an APV 300L air seeder. The redeveloped S-Tine points enable the cultivator to scratch out damaged and dying pasture while minimising damage to healthy pasture, giving better results with new grass. Depending on conditions and tractor speed, the cultivator-air seeder can ideally cover 4ha/hour, via a 300L plastic seed bin that has a hydraulically powered fan delivering rates down to 1kg/ha. The machine is mounted on a 3 point linkage and folds to a transport width of 2.43m. This and its ‘dry’ weight of 2200kg are said to make it highly portable. In working mode the wings float on the hydraulic rams, helped by small wheels fitted to the wings. This makes for good contour following. Minimum tractor power is 80hp. tel. 03 688 2029 www.duncanag.com

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS 7

Gadgets rewrite animal recording history GALLAGHER SAYS its new HR5 handheld EID tag reader and data collector is an extremely powerful animal management tool that gives users the ability to record, edit and customise livestock data on the spot. “The HR5 is big brother to the award-winning HR4 EID tag reader and data collector,” says Gallagher marketing manager Mark Harris. “Just like the HR4, the HR5 can record and display detailed information on an animal, including breed, sex, condition score and pregnancy status. “But, uniquely, the HR5 also features an alphanumeric keypad that enables the user to immediately enter or edit data without having to return to a PC or weigh scale.” Harris believes this feature makes the HR5 a remarkably powerful data collection device. “There

is nothing close to it on the market. It’s a massive leap forward for EIDbased technology because it enables farmers to easily collect and record virtually limitless amounts of information on their animals.” He says the ability to enter or edit data on-thespot saves a lot of time and hassle. The user doesn’t even have to be within tag-scanning range of an animal to record and display data. “If you can read the visual tag number you can enter it straight into the HR5 and all the information previously recorded on that animal will become immediately available to you.” Harris anticipates huge interest in the product, in New Zealand and worldwide. “It’s a great tool for assisting farmers to make quick and well-informed animal management deci-

sions, and also for helping them to meet NAIT requirements. “For example, if you have lots of animal movements on and off the farm, this device makes it easy to record the NAIT information and buyer/seller’s details when the stock are sold or purchased.” In the case of a lost EID tag, the user can simply type the visual ID number straight into the HR5, insert the new eartag and scan the new EID number. The animal’s history will then be transferred to the new EID number. Harris believes the user-friendliness of the HR5 is another key point of difference. “Our designers have simple icons for the menu system smartphone-style which makes the HR5 straightforward to operate, even for people who aren’t computer savvy.” The HR5 also shares

Gallagher marketing manager Mark Harris.

the HR4’s 2.8-inch backlit colour screen – a popular feature with users because it is easy to read in all conditions, inside and out. Both models utilise animal

performance software (APS standard) to interface with all Gallagher readers and weigh scales. Harris says this software makes it easy to

transfer data between devices and to analyse all animal information in one place. Valued at $199 (plus GST) this software is included free with HR4 and HR5 readers. The HR5 also enables the user to add and edit session names to make it easy to identify sessions once they are uploaded into the APS software. Predefined colour-coded lists allow the quick and simple sorting of animals on-thego, again without the need to be at the weigh site. And mothers can be linked to their offspring

as soon as their EID tag is entered. Birthing details can also be added to these records. Numeric text, date and pick-list type traits enable the user to record observations on individual animals, and animal notes can be set to appear automatically when the animal is next scanned. Bluetooth-enabled, the HR5 and HR4 are supplied with a standard USB cable for direct, simple and easy connection to a PC. They can also be charged via a car charger which comes in a convenient carry-case.

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

8 SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS

New tractor enters midrange market A NEW Deutz Fahr due for launching at Southern Field Days will add performance, technology and affordability to the mid-range tractor market, says distributor Power Farming. The Deutz Fahr 5-Series comes in three models: the 5110 (110hp), 5120 (120hp) and 5130 TTV (130hp). Power Farming’s training manager for New Zealand and Australia, Mark Daniel, says the 5-Series represents a new generation of powerful ecofriendly engines, innovative powershift transmissions, intelligent hydraulic systems, impressive PTO performance and other features unusual on mediumpower tractors. “It’s a brilliant mid-range tractor, with an excellent balance between weight and power. “The 5100 and the 5120 are ideal for livestock operations, dairy farmers or cropping, while the 5130 is a specialised tractor with variable transmission and other high-spec features – ideal for

higher-end operators or for contractors chasing more power and function.” Power comes from a new DeutzFahr TCD 3.6 LO4, 4-cyl, 3.6L engine with the maker’s electronically controlled common rail injection, a turbocharger with intercooler and wastegate valve, and a proportional speed viscostatic fan. Maximum torque is from 1200-1900rpm. The engines use maintenance-free DOC catalytic converters and do not need AdBlue or Go Clear, Power Farming says. Daniel says the 5-Series’ ‘stop-andgo’ transmission allows the tractors to be driven like an automatic car, ideal for a lot of forward-reverse operations, eg, “for livestock farmers feeding out and others who can do a huge number of forward/reserve operations every day…. They’re not having to use a clutch pedal all day to change from forward to reverse and vice versa, and that becomes important when you’re spend-

ing all day behind the wheel.” Also, a fast-steer option virtually halves the number the turns of the steering wheel needed to make a complete turn on the headlands thanks to a secondary pump on the power steering which doubles the volume of oil going through the system when it’s engaged. A 6.6 tonne lift capacity on the 3-point linkage is good for heavy implements, and if it’s weighted properly, it’ll pull those implements as well. “A lot of tractors in the mid-range are built too light,” Daniel says. “They might boast impressive power, but they can’t actually get that power to the ground. The 5-Series has a nice compromise between weight and ability. In its standard setup it weighs about 4.5t, but it can also be weighted up to a maximum of 9.5t, giving it the weight it needs for good grip for cultivation work when you need it.” The hydraulic system, with push/pull connectors, will power balers, power

The new Deutz Fahr 5-Series range will be launched at Waimumu.

harrows and seed drills. The base configuration has mechanical control and a single 60L/min pump with six rear distributors, which can be increased up to eight and complemented with an oil flow regulator. The system delivers maximum oil flow at 1600 rpm. The 5-Series is the first to feature the new “E Class” cab, developed by DeutzFahr engineers the Italian design house Giugiaro Design, known for its work on Ferrari and Lamborghini cars. All levers and switches are colour coordinated and laid out in a logical

pattern in a single operating console according to function and frequency of use. The main controls are integrated into the right hand armrest, which can be adjusted longitudinally to suit the individual need of the operator. A two year, 2000 hour warranty applies. The tractor is currently available under Power Farming’s ‘try-before-youbuy’ hire option under which the hire cost, less a setup fee, is credited towards the price if the machine is bought. Tel. 07 902 2200

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS 9

Hooper to unveil new 4.8m discs FAIRBROTHER WILL release another revamped Hooper Machinery product – a 4.8m set of offset discs. Hooper Machinery sales manager Matt Fairbrother says the company has been working hard and plans to release also its 3800 HD folding tandem discs – their second, larger set of discs at the upcoming regional field days. The units are based on a 250 x 150 x 9mm boxsection frame. Hooper is also developing a new seal system for its taper roller bearings, which Fairbrother says does such a good job at keeping out grit, sand or soil that “we can now offer a five-year warranty”. Computer modeling software was used to forestall any bugs, the com-

pany says. “We put this frame through as many tests as we could on the computer to make sure everything was up to scratch for a contractor.” Once proven on paper, it was put out for field work with several contractors, drawing good feedback. Te Puke contractor Darryl Isaac said “I’m confident I have cut my discing time in half.” North Otago contractor Slim Slee said the discs were so strong “I’ve done land I couldn’t do before.” Fairbrother says the company first canvased contractors’ opinions on what the new machinery should “look like”, because of New Zealand’s harsh conditions. “The contractors using the new equipment have provided

Fix or float? HAY DE N D I LLO N

SINCE THE global financial crisis in 2008 floating interest rates have been at historic lows. But with talk of New Zealand’s ‘rock star” economy, limited capacity within our economy to increase output, and an improving global outlook, many are asking, “should I fix and if so for how long?” Let’s first look at the market. The NZ curve is already pricing in a rise in the official cash rate (OCR) of about 2% over the next two years.  The current fiveyear swap is about 4.6%, almost in line with forecasters’ expectations of the OCR peaking at 5.25% in the second half of 2017. This is creating a steep rate curve that does not look attractive when compared with the floating rate. But remember our current OCR is at an historic low of 2.5% and neutral is seen as being about 4.2%.  Inflation has been benign, but data during the last few weeks showed an unexpected jump of 0.1% over the last three months. The current ‘high side’ inflation scenarios are: a continuation of a broad economic expansion in the New Zealand economy, limited spare capacity to absorb that, house price appreciation continuing with little abatement, the Christchurch rebuild spilling over into inflation pressure, and a potential NZD/USD decline greater  than that expected. Success demands that you understand the impact any changes will have on your business. A change in the pay-out/sheep-beef schedule, changes in production driven by climactic issues, and changes in interest rates are the usual areas of focus. Because few businesses remain stagnant and, importantly, the market never remains stagnant, having a strategy for what you are trying to achieve is the first and most important step – no matter what your personal position is. You should be creating this strategy with an independent advisor – ie not your banker. • Haydon Dillon represents Crowe Horwath New Zealand, a provider of accounting, audit, tax and business advice with 20 New Zealand offices.

excellent feedback, and are part of the continuous improvement process. “New machine designs have been developed to function in hilly terrain, and on soils not ideally suited to being worked.”

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

10 SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS

Spectrum of sentiments across sectors A N D REW SWA LLOW andrews@ruralnews.co.nz

THE MOOD in farming

depending on which sector you are in, says Southern Field Days committee member, farmer

in the far south is generally positive this season, but within that there’s a spectrum of sentiment

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and local banker Richard Copland. “Obviously at the moment the dairy guys and everybody supplying them are going pretty well and the cash is starting to hit about now,” he told Rural News late last month. “The outlook for the season, in feed supply and price terms is very good at the moment.” Cropping farmers, notably feed grain suppliers, are spending on the back of dairy growth, a number having upgraded headers for this season. “They might not be new machines but they are combines with a lot more capacity…. Those are the two sectors [dairy and crop] that are really charging along at the moment.” In quite a few cases the expansion of crop is on mixed farms that are reducing livestock interests, typically sheep. “Unfortunately the sheep prices are a wee bit off where they need to be though they are better than last year,” notes Copland. He reckons $100 for a 17kg lamb is the minimum

The mood in farming in the south is generally positive.

price most sheep farmers need for their businesses to be profitable. “There are some fantastic sheep guys out there making very good returns but it’s as an industry average that we lag behind.” With several thousand sheep of his own, 600 deer and 200 cattle, not to mention his insight as a senior rural manager with Rabobank, Copland is well placed to comment. “Production-wise the season’s not been too bad: the weather at lambing was fantastic, then it got a bit dry before Christmas

. . . c a v i r Va another winner !

and we’re struggling with a lack of sunshine right now but the lambs are still there and they’ll come. It’s looking like a much better year than last year but it still doesn’t come close to dairying.” But an increasing number of sheep farms are managing to tap into at least a little of the dairy income through support services such as rearing young stock or wintering cows, he adds. As for deer, that sector is “more in the sheep camp than dairy at the moment” in terms of returns, particularly for those focussed on venison. “The schedule never really hit the heights this year. It was over a dollar below the year before. I’d like to think it’s closer to the bottom, but deer

on the flats are definitely under pressure from change of land use. “However, saying that, the stag sales went very well. It’s the run-of-themill venison producers who are struggling.” Summing up, overall the mood in the industry and the region is “pretty positive” and Copland predicts that will be reflected in the level of enquiry at the event. “Two years ago we had fantastic results and you have to say where the industry is sitting today is probably better than it was two years ago. With large capital purchases people often will hold off until the field days because they know they’ll get a sharp deal. It’s always pretty competitive out there.”

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS 11

Wastewater treatment system even greener has several environmental advantages. It produces very high quality effluent, 10 times better than that required by the NZ standards. This minimises the risk of groundwater contamination. The treatment process requires no external energy input. “There are no controllers, pumps, compressors to fail, no alarms going off and no regular servicing is required,” Lamb explains. He says AES system components are made using a lot of recycled plastic. The recycled, crushed glass can be “This gives it one of the lowest carbon used as system sand around pipes. footprints in the wastewater treatment industry.” The Australian distributor is said to be envious. “We would love to be able to use crushed glass if it was available because sand at $70 per cubic metre is prohibitively expensive due to the Environmental Protection Agency shutting down many sand pits,” says Randall Crisp of Chankar International the AES distributor in Australia. “The AES system is much cheaper Advert for Southland Fieldays to buy and maintain than convenTo run in Rural News (Southern Fieldays Feature) tional electro mechanical systems,” Also use for Southland Times (Fieldays Feature) says Lamb. “Installations use mostly Also use for Newslink (Fieldays Feature) locally sourced, low-embodied energy materials with minimal transport 20 x 3 (20cm deep x 11cm wide)

THE LOCAL distributor of the wastewater treatment system made by Advanced Enviro-Septic (AES) says it is now “even greener” than before. It has launched a recycled glass, crushed within specifications, that can be used as ‘system sand’ around its pipes. “This is great news for the environmental impact of the AES system and also means drainlayers and installers have another option when looking for

a suitable aggregate,” says Dick Lamb of Environment Technology, the AES distributor. Lamb says AES is new to New Zealand and purifies wastewater using a natural bacterial process within specially designed, aerated pipes installed in a sand bed, treating effluent to advanced secondary quality before passively dispersing it into the soil.   “The AES on-site treatment system

Why dairy farmers are switching to

Dick Lamb and Sara Clement of AES distributor, Environment Technology.

requirements, and the lightweight AES components are easy to handle and transport. It requires only a locally sourced standard septic tank and sand or recycled crushed glass materials. The components last indefinitely and come with a 20 year guarantee against manufacturing defects.” AES system pipes are flexible to allow adaptation to any site shape – straight or curved – and can incorporate multi-level configurations.  The wastewater treatment system performs with high capacity in areas of limited space and facilitates quick start-up after periods of non-use.  AES pipes provide a

large surface area for aerobic bacterial activity within the pipes which allows for protection of the outer pipe layers and receiving surfaces so they remain permeable. An average 3 bedroom household produces about 1000L of wastewater per day. AES systems are easily adapted to small or larger wastewater flows. The first AES systems have been installed in the Tasman district and other installations are in the process of consent or awaiting installer’s attention in other NZ council jurisdictions. www.et.kiwi.nz

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

12 SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS

Going under be the answer GARE TH GIL L ATT

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STAND-OFF AND covered stand-off structures might be the answer for farmers trying to balance higher stocking numbers and more stringent environmental demands, says Hamish McMillan, of HerdHomes. Research done by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, showed nearly 300,000ha of traditional sheep and beef land was converted into dairy farms between 1996 and 2008 - with

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most conversions in Canterbury, Otago and Southland. Using results from a simplified version of Overseer, Wright’s report revealed rivers saw nitrogen increases of between 20-30% in Canterbury, 10-20% in Otago and 15-20% in Southland during that time. McMillan says regional councils have taken notice of river quality and conversations he has had with staff and policy makers on the Canterbury and Otago

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regional councils suggest government restrictions could be introduced on how many conversions can take place.

With on-off systems, stock spend 2-3 hours of their day on standoff pads, only going onto pastures to graze.

“It’s not just shelter; it’s a management system on how we can enhance pastoral grazing system with shelter.” “We’ve got examples of dairy farmers of meeting proposed standards and doing everything the councils want. “Councils just want to see more acknowledgment being made of the environmental impacts dairying has made and more steps being made to mitigate that.” McMillan believes an on-off grazing system supported by a covered or uncovered stand-off pad could be the best way forward, especially on properties with higher stocking rates. “The rest of the world pretty much focuses on all year round housing while New Zealand focuses on all year round outdoor grazing. “On-off grazing is a new way that people are trying to get their heads around.”

By doing this, McMillan says the majority of effluent and urine, the main factors behind nitrogen leaching, is contained and stocks are kept off pasture when it is at its most sensitive. “It’s not just shelter; it’s a management system on how we can enhance pastoral grazing system with shelter.” McMillan says effluent from stand-off pads and structures can be applied strategically, eliminating chances of runoff. Studies carried out by Massey University back this theory up, showing that on-off systems produced 60% less nitrogen leaching than operations under a 24 hour grazing system. Covered feed pads, like those offered by HerdHomes, also provide extra shelter for animals

HOW? Replacement of the traditional (and old technology) Thermostatic Expansion Valves (TEV’s) with Carel Electronic Expansion Valves (EEV’s) provides outstanding superheat control of your refrigeration plant. This in turn maximises the cooling in the milk vat. By also installing Carel FCP Condenser Fan Speed Controls you can further maximise the plant potential.

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS 13

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Stand-off and covered stand-off structures could be the answer in balancing higher cow numbers with more stringent environmental demands.

while cutting down on the effluent storage space requirements, says McMillan.

Steven Holland, says placing a roof over his 105m x 10m feed pad cut effluent storage

Effluent from stand-off pads and structures can be applied strategically, eliminating chances of runoff. Studies carried out by Massey University back this theory up. As effluent doesn’t come in contact with rainwater, it can be stored as a solid in bunkers. This does not come with the same resource consent requirements and is easier to spread on pastures. Northland farmer,

requirements from 20,000 m3 to 5000m3. “The runoff completely vanished. Not one ounce of water comes off the feed pad even in the pouring rain.” McMillan says the company has further expanded storage

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capabilities with the release of three bunker systems, which increase effluent storage capacity on HerdHomes structures by 50%. HerdHomes account manager Zoe Pow says some form of stand-off structure makes sense

for anybody with a higher than average stocking rate. “If your stocking rate is above the district average then you should be looking into some form of stand-off facility.”

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RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

14 SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS

New hope for back pain INVERSION THERAPY can help long-term sufferers of back pain, claims its local promoter. Inversion New Zealand was started seven years ago by Dave and Nancy Hare. Dave Hare says he’d suffered over 20 years of back pain from degenerated discs and had basically given up and decided

to just “live with it”. “To me surgery was never an option, as long as I still could walk, there was hope,” he says. Hare tried everything and says every time he was overseas he would search for anything that could possibly help. However, during one of these trips seven years ago he discov-

ered Teeter Hang-Ups. “The first time I tried it, the pain disappeared and I was pain-free for about 30 minutes; nothing had done that before,” he explains. Hare says he never believed it would fix him. “Too many specialists had told me it was irreversible, but I knew I now had

a place to go every time I wanted some relief.” To his surprise the more he used the table the longer the pain stayed away, until after nearly three months he was painfree. “I couldn’t believe it. I had spent a lot of money on every form of treatment available and here

was something I had never heard of sorting me out quickly.” It was then Hare decided to introduce Teeter into New Zealand and Inversion NZ was born. He realises that had he not tried the Teeter for himself, he would still be suffering. “I would still be a mis-

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erable grumpy bugger, living with pain. That is why we do the shows; people need to try it for themselves. We let the tables do the talking,” he adds. Over the years, INZ have helped thousands of people get some serious relief. Hare says they have seen results in not only

backs, but hips, knees, necks, posture, circulation, increased height, blood pressure and lots more. “We have testimonials from people with over 50 years of back problems and even have them in a number of schools in New Zealand for their special needs children,” he adds.

Boosts herd energy levels Aids digestion of dry summer feeds Encourages higher intakes of silage and wholecrop Stimulates rumen microbes to digest available nutrients

INDEPENDENT IMPORTER We source our molasses direct from the sugar mills of Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, and import direct into 8 ports around NZ. NZ WIDE DISTRIBUTION We have most of NZ covered, we deliver direct to farm from 8 depots nationwide.

Tyre for all seasons

This innovative unit allows user to create a custom blend of minerals in molasses for delivery alongside the existing in shed feed system. Conedose is unique in that it can deliver non soluble minerals like Mag Oxide, Limeflour or Dolomite suspended in Molasses. Conedose is more accurate than dusting and water dosing, saves time and wastage, more cost effective than mineral feed pellets and more palatable.

Supreme Winner 2013

Lincoln Field Days Agriculture Innovation Award

Conedose was the supreme winner at Lincoln Field Days in 2013, and is available to lease NZ wide. Coming 2014/15 season: Semi automation, built in feed control for improved accuracy, compatible with in shed automation software.

www.wintonstockfeed.co.nz

Waikato - Nelson

Jamie Stephens 021 838 261

Taranaki - Manawatu

Jamie Stephens 021 838 261

North Otago - Canterbury Staz Roberts

021 863 345

Southland - South Otago

029 201 7361

Jo Scharvi

TO ORDER: phone 0800 MOLASSES (0800 6652 7737) or phone our Winton Office 03 236 6089

MANUFACTURER OF TYRES since 1967, Maxxis says it is constantly investing in research and development to deliver even better products. Tyre design and development doesn’t stop once a range is launched – products are continuously researched and evaluated during their entire life cycle, the company says. Its investment in research and development is reflected in every detail of the finished product. Their special tread compounds and nylon cap gives them extended life and great resistance to damage. The company claims its tyres’ tread life is legendary, no matter where you take them – which adds up to great value for money. The tyres have exceptional offroad grip, while on-road handling is clean and assured. In addition, their tread patterns are designed with special sipes (slots) in the tread blocks for confident handling on wet roads. Maxxis has a wide range of tyres for 4WDs and caters for everything from highway use, to the hardworking farm ute, through to weekend off-roading or extreme competition. The recently-introduced AT980 high traction All Terrain is perfect for those who are looking for an allterrain tyre with just a bit more traction, but don’t want to go to a full mud traction. It’s a true all-rounder, and is already gathering rave reviews from ecstatic users. Maxxis stands behind every product it produces, and in line with its ‘100% Quality, 100% Service, 100% Trust’ guarantee, Maxxis offers a full manufacturer’s warranty on every passenger, performance and 4WD tyre, for the life of the tyre. See their stand at Waimumu – site 440.


RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS 15

Grain feeder helps farmer cut waste GA RE T H G I LLAT T

ADVANTAGE FEEDERS’ flagship NGF grain feeders help keep ewes and hoggets in top condition and stop grain wastage, says high country farmer, Richie McNeish. McNeish farms 11,000 stock units on 6500ha high country farm 21km east of Roxburg with two sons, Angus and Cameron. The 11,000 stock units includes 200 composite cows, 6000 breeding and replacement Romney cross and merino ewes, 3500 merino lambs and the remainder in Romney cross lambs. McNeish uses turnips, rape, hay and grains as a strategic tool to help manage ewe and lamb flocks. While the farm’s income stream comes from wool, beef and the marketing of autumn lambs from Romney-cross mothers, a large portion of income is derived from 3500 merino lambs being sold to processors as 20kg one-year-old hoggets. As the property is steep, with altitude ranging from 220m to 1000m above sea level, maintaining the flock’s body weight is sometimes an issue says McNeish and climate and

available pasture can be extremely variable. “It’s either a feast or a famine.” As a result McNeish finishes merino lambs on a 65ha turnip crop, further supplementing their diet with hay and barley. Ini-

immediately apparent” in more consistent lamb condition and better ewe lambing percentages. “Previously the grain was trampled into the ground, birds ended up consuming a lot of it and young stock took quite

“Previously the grain was trampled into the ground, birds ended up consuming a lot of it and young stock took quite some time to use the grain. The feeders cut those losses right back.” tially, he fed barley from the ground but became increasingly concerned by the levels of feed wasted and the time it took for animals to adapt to the supplementary feed and started investigating alternative feed delivery systems. “With the advent of dairying the price of barley has gone up. I wouldn’t be able to feed barley in the turnip paddock without a certain amount of it being trampled into the ground.” McNeish decided to invest in two NGF 1800 feeders two years ago and increased that number to five not long after “because benefits in reduced wastage were

some time to use the grain. The feeders cut those losses right back.” The feeder’s adjustable supply settings has also been useful says McNeish as it has enabled him to dial up or down grain availability for better usage. “I’m able to change the amount of grain they get depending on how much other feed they have.” Depending on demand the feeders only need to be refilled once a week on average, which McNeish does using one of two custom-made one ton bags that are carried around with the property’s 190hp Fendt tractor. The bags are loaded up from a gravity

When you’re serious about

SHELTER

fed pipe at the centrallylocated silos before being transported to feeders. The feeders hold 1.21.3 tons of barley and McNeish says the longest part of the process is transporting the grain from the silo to the feeders which requires three trips. “It does take little while to get feed to where they are, but we chose to live here so that is to be expected.” The tractor is also used to shift feeders, which is required when animals are shifted between breaks every two weeks with rock salt and other mineral supplements moved at the same time. McNeish says keeping all supplementary feed in the same part of breaks has made his life easier. While the farm’s size does make some moves time consuming, McNeish

says it has been made easier by the range of components provided by Advantage Feeders with the feeder. The company sends out feeders in flat packed boxes and in most instances customers need to put together the feeders themselves. McNeish says this task

is easier the second time around and the inclusion of a range of parts to ensure the unit would be suitable for a range of circumstances. “There were a range of fittings for fork guides which made them convenient for hay forks. This has made them easy

Call in and see us at

to shift around.” McNeish will be available on the Wednesday and Thursday afternoons of the Southern Field Days to discuss using the feeders on turnip crops and answer questions. Visit: Advantagefeeders. co.nz or Tel 09 431 7276

SE E US AT WAI M UM U SITE 129

73 Preston Street, Invercargill Ph: 03 215 8558 | Email: hecton@xtra.co.nz Visit our website www.hecton.co.nz for a full list of products

SHEEP HANDLING SYSTEMS & TRAILERS

See us at Southern Field Days site 399 WEIGH CRATE

✓ 100% clearspan, up to 35m wide ✓ Excellent natural light conditions ✓ Even temperatures ✓ Engineer certified, high wind and snow ratings ✓ Robust TuffSpan covers for maximum lifespan ✓ Heavy grade galvanised steel framing Contact us NOW for your free information pack: E: info@simpleshelter.co.nz Free: 0508 SHELTER (743 583)

simpleshelter.co.nz

SHEEP HANDLER

WELL SIDE TRAILER

FLAT DECK TRAILER

LOADING RAMP

SINGLE & TANDEM AXLE ATV TRAILERS


RURAL NEWS // JANUARY 21, 2014

16 SOUTHERN FIELD DAYS

New products on show from Gallaghers GALLAGHER SAYS it will showcase an impressive line-up of new EID and fencing products at upcoming regional field days. Darrell Jones, key account manager for Gallagher Animal Management, says the company will again have a strong presence at 2014 regional events, including the Central Districts Field Days, Northern Agricultural Field Days and the South Island Agricultural Field Days. “Our main focus will be on highlighting the benefits of the exciting products we’ve launched in recent months. These products are aimed at making life easier for farmers and specifically designed to solve everyday farming challenges.” Displays at regional events will again have a strong emphasis on animal EID (electronic identification) and weighing products, including the new HR5 handheld EID tag reader and data collector. Launched late 2013, Jones says

the HR5 has already proved a hit with farmers. It features an alpha numeric keypad that gives the user the ability to immediately enter or edit data without having to return to a PC or weighscale. This makes the HR5 an incredibly powerful data collection device that enables farmers to easily collect and record virtually limitless amounts of information on their animals. Gallagher will also showcase the new Wireless Water Level Monitoring System – a “crisis averting” monitoring device that accurately measures water levels in tanks or ponds and wirelessly transmits this information to a touch screen display unit mounted in a convenient location. Also on show will be the new Ring Top Post – a cleverly designed portable fencing standard that overcomes the age-old frustration of tangled pigtail posts and makes it easier for farmers to store, transport and erect temporary

electric fences. Other new additions to the Gallagher fencing range include the Geared Reel Transport Lock and the Irrigator Fence Crossing System. “As always, Gallagher will offer some outstanding product deals

at regional field days, including big specials on selected energizers,” Jones says. “Local territory managers from the Gallagher OnFarm team will be available to offer expert advice on fencing, farm monitoring and animal management systems.”

Serious tyres VREDESTEIN IS the tyre of choice for busy contractors and serious farmers. If you’ve planned to maximise your farm or contracting output and invested in quality machinery that can do the job; now it’s time to protect and maximise your investment with tyres designed to deliver optimal results from high performance equipment. Vredestein tyres are manufactured in the Netherlands. The company first made tyres in 1934 and its years of experience show through in innovative solutions to the challenges of working with the soil. The signature curved lug of the Traxion range achieves great forward and sideways traction, while also increasing operator comfort and ensuring effective self-cleaning for improved traction. The flexible sidewalls of the Traxion range are great for ride quality and they also good for machinery by minimising vibration. Meanwhile, the large tread contact area cares for your soil, minimising rutting and compaction to ensure optimal crop yields. The large tread contact area also helps to ensure Vredestein’s very long tread life. Vredestein’s agricultural range also extends to several types of implement tyre. They offer great load capacity and stability, while also protecting the soil structure. Their self-cleaning capability means they just keep on rolling, whatever the conditions. Vredestein will be at Waimumu so check them out – site 440.

SEE US AT SITE 6B

Visit us at Southern Fieldays! RX Plastics are New Zealand’s leading manufacturer of K-Line irrigation products. Specialising in plastic products for water transport and storage, we employ cuttingedge extrusion, injection moulding and rotomoulding techniques to produce a wide range of water storage tanks, pipes and effluent dispersal systems designed specifically to meet the needs of New Zealand’s rural sector.

K-Line Effluent TM

For efficient effluent dispersal

s

• Efficiently replaces natural moisture loss • Cost effective, with no labour required

• Provides permanent, lowmaintenance irrigation solutions • Irrigate areas of pasture that can’t be reached by conventional pivot irrigators

0800 288 558 • www.rxplastics.co.nz

7

• Works on all terrains where pipe can be laid

198

Solid Set Irrigation for pasture

ce

TM

in

K-Line G-Set Irrigation

JFM

• Meets all regional council requirements

• Cost effective

e ge n

• No ponding

u

Th

• Large nozzle to eliminate blockages

e weed

er -

• No leaching or run-off

in

ip

• Low maintenance

w

• Low rate of application

Rural News 4 Feb 2014  

Rural News 4 Feb 2014

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