The lower dollar is due to put extra money in wool growers pockets. PAGE 20
Versatile tractors back in the paddock. PAGE 36
NEWS Chief science advisor concerned the primary sector is failing the R&D test.
TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS
AUGUST 4, 2015: ISSUE 589
Low dollar beefs returns PETER BURKE firstname.lastname@example.org
THE WEAK NZ dollar is providing an unexpected windfall for the country’s sheep and beef farmers. Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Scott Champion says the weak dollar benefits the farmgate price significantly, a 10% depreciation of the NZ$ equating to a theoretical 14-18% increase in price. But Champion warns there are downsides to the weaker dollar – imported machinery, fuel and fertiliser costs farmers more. Meanwhile, the latest BLNZ statistics show that the weak NZ$, high NZ
beef production and strong demand for beef have resulted in a 37% rise in beef and veal export revenue in the first nine months of the current season vs the previous season. BLNZ says dry conditions early in the summer and low milk prices led to an earlier and extended dairy cow cull than in previous years. From October 2014 to June 2015, NZ beef and veal exports reached 340,430 tonnes shipped weight – up 8.8% on the same
period last season. The strongest demand for NZ beef and veal in 2014-15 came from the US, which took 57% of total shipments, and China which took 12%. Export tonnages to the US and China increased by 23% and 38% respectively. For the first time, beef and veal exports to China overtook mutton exports in volume. Despite more lambs being processed, NZ lamb exports decreased 4%
LONG SERVICE RECOGNISED The top award for a contribution to horticulture in New Zealand has gone to John Wilton (pictured) of AgFirst in Hastings. Wilton was presented with the Bledisloe Cup at the HortNZ’s annual conference in Rotorua last week by the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy. Wilton is one of NZ’s longest serving and most respected horticultural advisors. Also at the conference Ian Greaves was awarded the president’s cup for his support services to kiwifruit growers during the Psa crisis. And Tony Ivecivich and Brian Garguilo were awarded life memberships of HortNZ for their contribution to the sector. More from the HortNZ conference pages 11-13
to 237,780t in the nine months to June 2015 vs the same period in the previous season. This was led by a fall in demand from China where lamb exports fell 12% in the first nine months of the current season vs the previous season. Lamb exports to the European Union were up 4.7%. This reflected higher tonnages to Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, offset by lower exports to Britain – still the largest market for NZ lamb.
HORT IS HOT HORTICULTURE NZ chairman Julian Raine believes horticulture can, as predicted, overtake dairying as NZ’s main export industry. Raine told Rural News, at the recent HortNZ conference, he believes dairy is reaching its peak in this country and the tolerance for dairy and sustainability of the sector is being called into question. Raine says horticulture will get past dairy as an industry because it is seen as sustainable, moving with the times and as delivering innovative, safe and reliable food to many overseas customers. “Horticulture’s day has come; there are now a lot of success stories in horticulture. We’ve been quietly working our way up while the limelight has been on dairy. “Horticulture is getting win after win after win. We have been concentrating on new markets, in particular in Asia – not just China, but right across Asia from Japan around through to India.” Raine says horticulture has ridden well on the back of free trade agreements and reduced tariffs that make a huge difference to the industry. A focus on telling the horticulture story is paying off. “Our story resonates in the market with consumers: we are seen as safe and producing the high quality food consumers are looking for.” – Peter Burke @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
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HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print CONTACTS Editorial: email@example.com Advertising material: firstname.lastname@example.org Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: email@example.com ABC audited circulation 81,188 as at 31.03.2015
Meat focus hurts wool there has been a lot of crossing with Finns and Texels which are meat derivative, high progeny based sires. But the wool produced is a spongier fine more mixed length and doesn’t quite grow as long as the traditional NZ breeds such as the Romneys and Perrendales.
“The bigger impact is lighter fleece weights due to the composite effect, where instead of an animal producing 4.5kg in a 12 month period it is producing 4kg,” he told Rural News. “This is mainly coming out of the North Island due to the big move to meat production from sheep. “They have gone for more lambs and
PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
LIGHTER FLEECE weights due to a big North Island move to meat production from sheep is an influence on wool supply, says Malcolm Ching, Purelana manager, Wool Services International. Wool supply is dropping from sheep numbers but it is nothing people haven’t anticipated, he says. NZ’s sheep numbers have gone from 30.3m sheep to 29.8m, which Ching says it is not hugely impacting overall supply.
“We have had only a slight drop in stock numbers but we have had a wool weight drop as well. But in our current market we still have a bit of a drift off in wool demand as well.” • More on wool market page 6
STILL NO CE FOR HORTNZ EXPECTATIONS THAT a new chief executive for HortNZ would be announced at the annual conference, last week, have been dashed. Instead HortNZ chair Julian Raine says they intend to readvertise, which could take several months. However, he doubts a new permanent chief executive will be in place before the end of the year. It’s now a month since the previous chief, Peter Silcock, left the job and recruitment was underway before he left. But it appears an appointment has fallen through so the process will resume. Raine says an acting chief executive will be appointed within a week. – Peter Burke
Learning the ropes “A BRILLIANT initiative” is how Massey University professor Peter Kemp described the recent visit by journalism students to Terry Olsen’s dairy farm at Shannon and Massey’s research facilities at Palmerston North. The field trip was organised by Massey journalism lecturer Dr Cathy Strong and Rural News senior reporter Peter Burke, with funding from Westpac. Pictured attending the field day are Cathy Strong and Westpac agribusiness manager Dave Hutchison. Full story page 16.
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Farm lobbies welcome bill changes PAM TIPA email@example.com
KEY INDUSTRY organisations are happy with some changes to the Health and Safety Reform Bill, but Federated Farmers still has concerns about clarity on who is responsible for what. The bill has passed the select committee stage and will come back to Parliament soon. Feds health and safety spokesperson Katie Milne says the bill has gone some way to recognising that farms are different from urban industry workplaces. “Farms are not construction sites, but have lots of grass and ani-
mals. They are also where people live and [enjoy] recreation. “We are pleased the Government has signalled a supplementary order paper to acknowledge this. It will make clear that a farmer’s home is not a workplace. Ideally, it should include other farm accommodation as well. “We also didn’t want to have a risk imposed on us for people who come onto our properties without our knowledge and have an accident. The parliamentarians have listened to us and the bill puts the responsibility on recreational users – back to those people where it should be.”
“The changes also recognise that the family home is excluded as part of the workplace. These changes recognise the unique features of farms as workplaces and homes for rural families.” Milne says Federated Farmers will study the bill’s fine print, but she’s already identified ambiguity and problems with responsibilities and liabilities for a ‘person controlling a business or undertaking’ (PCBU). “The bill still hasn’t sorted the overlaps of more than one PCBU on a farm where, for instance, a farmer and a contractor
are both working.” Beef + Lamb NZ says key changes to the Health and Safety Reform Bill as it relates to the rural sector go a long way to clarifying the responsibilities of farmers towards employees and visitors to their farms. BLNZ chairman James Parsons says the organisation, jointly with Federated Farmers and
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DairyNZ, had spoken up on behalf of farmers in advocating sensible rules. He says it was good to see the transport and industrial relations select committee process working and acknowledging farmer concerns. “While farmers are generally welcoming to visitors to their farms, the proposed health and safety regime was threatening to expose them to significant liability for events outside their control. It is now clear that recreational users coming onto farm land are responsible for their own safety. This includes duck shooters, hunters, mountain bikers, anglers and so on.
Fed Farmers Katie Milne.
“The changes also recognise that the family home is excluded as part of the workplace. These changes recognise the unique features of farms as workplaces and homes for rural families, and apply good common sense to the issue of improving safety onfarm.” Parsons said the members of the select committee deserve congratulation for taking time
to understand the issues and make a pragmatic response. “There are still issues that need resolving to further clarify responsibilities and to improve onfarm safety while taking into account the practicalities of modern farming. We will keep working with government and officials to seek a workable outcome,” Parsons said.
Tawian J.V success PETER BURKE firstname.lastname@example.org
BEEF+LAMB NZ chief executive Scott Champion is hailing the success of a joint venture with a restaurant chain in Taiwan to showcase NZ grass-fed beef on the menus of its restaurants. Royal Host has restaurants in 14 locations in Taiwan and is using social media to promote the beef. The menus have pictures of NZ beef grazing on pastures and the product is marketed as low in fat and cholesterol. Champion says Royal Host is really
interested in the NZ grass fed story. “The interesting element is the social media aspect, especially in a market that is very social media savvy,” he told Rural News. “We’ve been using that to drive consumer interest in competitions and events to get consumer and customer engagement, and to highlight the inherent benefits of NZ beef.” Champion says the model used in Taiwan could be transportable to Japan, Korea and China. It’s important to promote the nutritional benefits of beef and the excellent story behind the product including our grass based production.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
Not just farmers who are responsible for H&S PAM TIPA email@example.com
IF YOUR workers do things outside the rules of your business and you’ve told them not to, then they will be held ultimately responsible for any incident, says Al McCone, programme manager agriculture, WorkSafe New Zealand. But if a workplace has a culture of posting rules but ignoring them it becomes the responsibility of the farmer or employing contractor, he told a practical session on health at safety at the recent HortNZ conference. “If you have a set of rules there for the paperwork and not the practice you could be held liable.” But he says workers must take reasonable care to ensure their own safety. “So [the onus] is not all on the owner of the company or the employer, it’s also on the person doing the job. The classic one in farming at the moment is ‘I tell them to wear their helmets and
they don’t.’ So if you’re the guy who doesn’t wear the helmet – you put it on and as soon as you get around the corner you take it off, and you kill or hurt yourself – the farmer will not be held responsible, only you,” McCone says. “If you have a rule that you never go up a track in the wet and everyone obeys it except one day someone takes a shortcut and possibly pays with his or her life, it cannot be blamed on the farmer. So there is [an onus of] reasonable care on everyone.” McCone says under the new Health and Safety Reform Bill, if you are in business you have responsibility. “Under the… bill, those defined as ‘persons conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU) will have health and safety duties. Those with overlapping duties such as a farmer and a contractor working on a farm must discuss who is responsible for what.” McCone, who formerly worked for
WorkSafe’s Al McCone says workers must take care to ensure their own safety.
Landcorp, remembers that five years ago at a forestry site everyone was dressed in green bush shirts and guys had to duck as equipment got caught in trees. “Go there now and there are orange cones everywhere, every morning there is a meeting on who is responsible for what, who is doing what, how far will we
be away from the site and everyone is in hi-vis gear. It’s a complete turnaround that wasn’t pushed by us. The forestry industry stood up and said ‘we’ve got to do something about this’.” McCone says in the last 16 months the industry has had one death, vs 13 in 2013, and serious injuries have dropped by 65%. Forestry was, after dairy, the
most dangerous sector in New Zealand. It is an example of how everyone has worked together to make the industry safer. “It [shows that] if you involve everyone it works. It is pretty simple stuff.” McCone says if an inspector comes onto a farm he is more likely to be looking to see if a farmer has himself thought through the risks on his farm and come up with a plan, rather than trying to see if a document prepared by a consultant is sitting on a shelf. He told Rural News the new legislation will be reported back to Parliament after completing the select committee stage and is likely to be passed into law soon. There will be a period when all regulations must be worked through to be brought into line with the new law. But his advice to farmers is “if you are doing things well under the current legislation you will be doing things well under new legislation”.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
6 RED MEAT SECTOR CONFERENCE FLOCK DOWN, PRODUCTION UP! SHEEP PRODUCTIVITY has improved against a background of a massive drop in stock numbers since 1990, says Beef + Lamb NZ chief economist Andrew Burtt. Speaking at the Red Meat Sector Conference in Nelson last week Burtt noted that ewe lambing performance had jumped from 100% to 123% and lamb weight had climbed 27% from 14.35kg/head in 1990 to 18kg/head in 2014-15. Lamb sold in 1990-91 was 9.76kg/ewe; this has jumped 90% to 18.53kg/ewe last season. At the same time, sheep numbers had dropped almost 50%, from 60 million to 30m. Beef cattle numbers fell 20%, from about 44m to 40m; dairy cow numbers jumped 95% to nearly 7m. Burtt told Rural News sheep industry productivity has done very well, “especially when one considers sheep and beef farming has been squeezed from ‘below’ (best land going to dairying, housing/lifestyle, viticulture, horticulture, etc) and from ‘above’ (conservation estate, forestry in hard country) therefore pushing it more into the hills.” He attributes the productivity improvements to farmers adopting a wide range of “technologies” -- breeding animals, better pasture species and better management of livestock feed/feed conversion. Also helping productivity is farmers’ focus on delivering lambs at the right times in response to customer (processing and exporting companies) price signals that reward good specification and desired weights. – Sudesh Kissun
Out with dairy, in with beef SUDESH KISSUN firstname.lastname@example.org
ONE DAIRY industry stalwart has had enough and is switching to beef farming. Putaruru farmer and former company executive Gray Baldwin sold a dairy farm last month; on another farm he is rearing 400 bull calves. Baldwin told Rural News beef is showing great potential and he wants more exposure to beef and less to milk. “I see this as a sensible thing to do,” he says. Baldwin, an LIC and Ballance director, is also keen to take his governance skills to the red meat sector. He will stand in the Alliance director elections later this year; as a supplier of boner cows to Alliance he holds shares in the co-op and is eligible to stand. Baldwin has started his campaign, last month visiting farmers in Southland and attending the Red Meat Sector Conference in Nelson. This has given him “a firming view” of issues facing Alliance,
which he says is a great company with a great future; he’s keen to use his governance skills to help the co-op grow. But he is steering clear of farmer lobby Meat Industry Excellence (MIE), which is pushing for a merger of Alliance and the other major farmerowned co-op Silver Fern Farms. While he understands MIE’s objectives, he believes board members should be accountable to the company, not to farmer
lobby groups. “I do not support the idea that as a director you are accountable to some other organisation outside the boardroom,” he says. “That might work in parliamentary politics – you are Labour or a Green or a National – but it does not work in corporate governance.” Baldwin says he hasn’t seen any proposal about the merger of the two meat co-ops and doesn’t have a view on it yet.
But he says if the boards and management make a great case for the short- and long term benefits of a merger he could support it. “If I were elected to the Alliance board I would be happy to consider any proposal that added to the wealth and wellbeing of its shareholders. Directors are required under company law to act in the best interests of the company they govern. When considering proposals in a board meeting I’m willing to consider the long term, not just the short term benefits.” With Fonterra struggling to pay a decent milk price to its shareholders he remains cautious about a mega meat co-op. “Fonterra has chased scale, efficiency, big co-op and mergers and look where they are now. It’s disconcerting as a dairy farmer to see the problems of Fonterra; it makes me cautious about a merger just for the sake of it.” Two Alliance directors retire by rotation; nominations are expected to open in October. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
RED MEAT SECTOR CONFERENCE 7
Don’t put all eggs in Chinese basket SUDESH KISSUN email@example.com
MEAT EXPORTERS are being urged to maintain a diversified portfolio of overseas trading partners. Beef + Lamb NZ chairman James Parsons says while the Chinese market offers great opportunities for NZ exports it should be treated with caution and our traditional markets must keep being nurtured. Speaking to Rural News last week at the red meat sector conference in Nelson, Parsons noted that demand for NZ sheepmeat in China had dropped off. “There is a still a big China theme but I think we should treat it with more caution,” he says.
He says NZ exporters should not put all their eggs in one basket, and should look at increasing the value of exports to China. “It’s important we have a diversified portfolio; long-standing relationships need to be maintained and at the same time we can’t ignore opportunities in China.” China is by far NZ’s biggest market for sheepmeat, taking about 30% of lamb and 70% of mutton exports. However, its export receipts are behind the UK. In 2008-09 China was the sixth-largest market for NZ sheepmeat in revenue; in the last two years it has leapfrogged into second place. Parsons says it’s important to boost
exports receipts from China. “We should have a balanced portfolio. While sending higher volumes into China we must look at moving into higher price brackets rather than lower priced commodities.” MIA chairman Bill Falconer told attendees of a new reality meat processors must address – a
radical shift in NZ meat exports away from Europe and North America and into China and Asia. “China will need as much attention from our industry as we have given our traditional markets in the past,” he says. “China is half our sales and needs half our marketing attention.” Falconer says dealing with the radical shift in demand from consumers in Asia is also a key. NZ’s grass-fed products, food safety and animal welfare credentials help sales. He says exporters must ensure their supply chains are bolted to the online promotion, selling and distribution systems in Asian markets. @rural_news
LEVY CONFIDENCE SUDESH KISSUN firstname.lastname@example.org
BEEF + Lamb NZ chairman James Parsons is confident farmers will vote to keep paying the levy that funds the organisation. BLNZ launched its referendum this week in Wellington; voting will continue to mid-September. Parsons says voting by farmers over the years has shown at least 90% of them support paying the levy. “So, we are confident farmers will support our levy referendum,” he told Rural News. Parsons confirmed there will be no change to levy rates – 60c/head for sheepmeat and $4.40/head for beef. Market development funding will remain $5.5 million for 2015-16. Parsons says BLNZ would have asked farmers for more money if a joint marketing initiative with the industry had gone ahead. But NZ meat processors last month rejected a proposal by BLNZ to set up a 50/50 funded market development entity for country-of-origin promotion. BLNZ had spent two years trying to gather support for the idea. He says the proposal could have built
“a really significant programme around the NZ story, but that did not eventuate so we are seeking no change to the levies”. BLNZ will review its market development programme after the referendum. “We will go out to farmers and have a good look under the hood to see where we go with market development,” he says. “We are doing some work; management is looking at options. After the referendum we will have a good discussion with farmers about those options.” Parsons says there is no ill-feeling about the failure to get the joint marketing proposal off the ground. “Clearly the meat industry has said they would rather invest their funds individually in their own brands; we respect that. There has been good discussion; we have flushed out a bunch of things that would not have been flushed out.” Together with the market development review, BLNZ will also review its constitution after the referendum. Parsons says the review findings will be tabled at its annual meeting in March next year before farmers make a final decision.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
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AN ECONOMIST who heads the ‘think tank’ New Zealand Initiative says despite dairy price problems the country’s economy is doing remarkably well. Dr Oliver Hartwich told delegates at the recent AGCARM conference that the NZ economy was certainly no Greece and although it probably wasn’t the ‘rock star’ referred to previously it is still performing well. Hartwich says NZ is growing faster than Australia, the UK, the Eurozone and Japan. He says despite the problems with dairying, in reality our dependence on China is not such a bad thing. “While dairy is not doing too well at the moment it’s important to remember a couple of things. Dairy is important, but it is not the entire economy and typically when dairy goes down we see a weaker NZ dollar and
that’s a good news story for all the other sectors of the economy – especially other exporters. So it’s not all bad news,” he told conference-goers. “Also, the dairy industry has a very positive long term forecast based on other economies especially in Asia.” Hartwich says as incomes rise for Asia’s growing middle class they will develop a taste for dairy products and other food exports
NZ produces. He says we can expect a normalisation of dairy prices and probably an end to the downward price cycle seen in the last few months. While there has been much talk about the risk of NZ becoming too dependent on China, Hartwich flippantly says at least we are not dependent on Greece! “In a world that used to be American and European dominated, the Americans are at least
in recovery now and doing quite well,” he explains. “But the Europeans are struggling and they will be for a bit longer. At least China is still growing at 7%.” Hartwich says another phenomenon that will benefit NZ is the move of the hypothetical centre of economic gravity from west to east. In the 1980’s most of the world’s economic transactions took place somewhere between the USA and the UK. But by 2010 it had moved to Israel and it is forecast to reach Tibet by 2050. “What this basically means is that more transactions are happening in Asia. More wealth is being created in Asia and for NZ that means the centre of the economic world is moving towards us and we don’t have to do anything. For the first time in our history there is no tyranny of distance.” Hartwich says while NZ can’t change global dairy prices it can
2015 SHEEPMEAT AND BEEF LEVY REFERENDUM Beef + Lamb New Zealand works on farmers’ behalf to increase productivity and reduce costs through a range of activities. Look out for voting documents in your letterbox from August 8. If you haven’t enrolled or don’t receive your voting documents, please call 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352). Postal votes need to be mailed by September 5 and all voting ends September 10 at 5pm. Find out more information at www.beeflambnz.com or call 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352).
work on changing other economic inhibiting factors such as making housing affordable and improving education to ensure young people are equipped to get good jobs in a highly competitive global market. And we need to reform local government and reduce welfare dependency. “And when a new regulation is introduced we should routinely do a cost-benefit analysis to make sure it is worth it,” he says. Hartwich has a simple message for farmers. “You are fortunate to be here even though times are tough. Times will get better and where else would you want to be? “You wouldn’t want to be in Australia because they have problems of their own; you wouldn’t want to be in Europe; so NZ is still as good as it gets in the current global economy.” @rural_news
LONGTIME ELDERS New Zealand managing director Stu Chapman will later this month leave the business he started. Following the Carr Group’s acquisition last August of Elders New Zealand – recently rebranded as Carrfields – Chapman, once a shareholder in the Elders agribusiness, agreed to continue in the MD role during the sale and management handover. He will finish at Elders on August 14 but remain a director of Elders Primary Wool, comprising NZ Yarn, Wool Exports NZ and Wool Marketing Enterprises (Just Shorn). He will also remain a director of Elders International NZ Live Export, a joint venture with Elders Australia. Chapman has spent 21 years with Elders NZ, growing the business into a market leader particularly in livestock and wool.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Oliver Hartwich: “At least we are not dependent on Greece!”
CHAPMAN BOWS OUT
RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
More mature debate needed on GE PETER BURKE firstname.lastname@example.org
A MASSEY University scientist says it’s important any debate on GE is conducted on the knowledge that now exists about the contentious subject. Professor Peter Kemp, who heads Massey’s Institute of Agriculture and Environment, says the emotional debate on GE in the early 2000’s was based on the understanding of it at the time. “It was an important debate, but 10-15 years later the technology has moved on. Yet I don’t think our wider public understanding and debate on that has moved on at all,” he told Rural News. “We are still debating as if it were 2000, rather than 2015 where we are a lot more sophisticated in our understanding of GM. We now understand
better where it would and wouldn’t work. There was some over-excited optimism 10-15 years ago, but a lot of that has gone away and it’s more realistic.” He is not sure if everyone has kept up with these changes in the science. According to Kemp, it’s hard to predict what the impact on New Zealand will be if it continues effectively GE-free, because the effort to get approval for field trials is so difficult and time consuming. Possibly at some point in the future NZ will suddenly think it’s on the wrong bus, he says. “Other countries have a whole generation of young people who have gone through school, done the hard yards on the genetic biochemistry and they got to use it,” he adds. But Kemp says in NZ
talented scientists get to the point where they realise their career opportunities in the field of GE are limited and they seek and get good jobs overseas. He’s seen this happen many times. “Ultimately you have to test [GE] in the field and while it’s fun doing the fundamental work, if
you are more of an applied person you want to see it actually being done. Currently none of our scientists in the CRI’s or the universities ever get to see it used [in the field],” Kemp explains. “It’s not the end of the world, but it limits our capability in a way that might not be obvious
today. But at some point we will realise that there is more to this genetic modification than we realised. It’s cleverer than we realised, we could have used some of it, but we won’t really have the capability, but worse still we won’t have the patents or the access to the material,” he adds.
Massey’s Peter Kemp says the emotional debate on GE around the early 2000s is outdated.
A LOT OF IT IS IN THE JEANS WHILE HE says he doesn’t want to overplay the issue, Kemp says there is a ‘green’ side to GE. Cotton crops today use a lot less insecticide than 15 years ago because cotton has transgenic genes which give it resistance to insects. “So there are fewer insecticides used in cotton production than there were. The insecticides, by and large, are nastier chemicals than, say, herbicides, and if you have a more reliable crop with a more reliable yield you don’t need as much land to produce your cotton, canola or soya beans,” Kemp explains. “So in a sense you are protecting more forest land from being cleared so there is some green, positive side to GE, which probably gets overlooked in the rush to condemn it.” Kemp says another interesting to side to GE, well known in science and agricultural circles, relates to the jeans people frequently wear. “Most of the cheap jeans are made in China from fabric almost certain to be made of transgenic cotton,” he told Rural News. “It could be argued that people who are wearing such jeans and protesting about GE are a little two-faced.”
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HORT NZ CONFERENCE 11
30 tonnes of cabbage vs 2kg of beef PETER BURKE email@example.com
AN INTERNATIONAL agricultural journalist and science writer believes horticulture will, long term, gradually replace dairying as NZ’s leading farming and food production industry. Julian Cribb, from Australia, keynote speaker at Horticulture NZ’s recent annual conference, made predictions on changes starting to gain traction in agricultural systems worldwide. He says the change from dairy to horticulture will occur in 2030-2050, as Asian markets begin to demand more vegetables than dairy products. “They will still want
dairy products for sure, but they will want vegetables even more. There
DON’T TRASH IT; EAT IT! THE SOLUTION to the problem of rising world population is ‘agritecture’, says Julian Cribb – meaning essentially ‘architects becoming aware of agriculture’. The plantings of beautiful plants around architectdesigned buildings will in future give way to vegetables, he says. Cities of the future must recycle all the nutrients and water they use, “and the best way is to recycle it through the food system back into intensive horticulture, protected cropping, aquaponics and hydroponics”. “We will take the nutrients we
Food fashion and changes in cultural demand and health will be in play, Cribb says, pointing out that four of every five consumers in New Zealand die from diet related diseases. “These diseases cannot be cured by medicine: there are no cures for cancer and heart diseases. The diseases can be stabilised, but they can’t be stopped. To stop them we will have to put our kids Notice of onto healthy diets and Election that means horticulture. - 2015 DairyNZ Board of Directors We will have to reduce the - Directors Remuneration Committee members intake of meat, grains and sugar that underlies the Invitation for candidate nominations – six positions available Cribbplace for DairyNZ Incorporated In October, two elections Julian will take worldwide pandemic of – an election for three farmer-elected Directors for the Board of obesity and diabetes.” DairyNZ Inc. and a second election for three positions on the Cribb says for civilisabeef and sheep to dairy, it will be a transition from Directors Remuneration Committee. tion to survive this cenwill now go further to this the old style: just as there The Board invites registered levy-paying farmers to nominate tury it must change its has been a transition from new diet.” candidates to fill these six vacancies.
All farmers paying a levy on milksolids to DairyNZ are eligible to stand for election. An information pack outlining desired criteria and nomination requirements for the positions can be obtained from the Returning Officer.
currently discard in the garbage,Nominations tion, he says. CribbOfficer has visited Norwemust be received by the Returning by 12a noon all the water we now flush out toon Friday, The28world is now at the foot gian farm where they grow August, 2015. sea, and put them back into foodElections of a very steep curve that will 3000t of tomatoes and peppers production. transform we grow food 7ha indoors, recycling all If more than thehow required nominations areon received, elections will be by postal, fax and internet voting using the STV (single “This will be integrated with carried andout where. nutrients. transferable voting method. weighted by annual the buildings. These could “Yourvote) office canteen will Votes will Abesensor on each plant milksolids production. Voter packs will be posted on 14 September 2015 harvest stormwater for growing harvest vegetables grown on the helps determine its exact daily to all registered DairyNZ levy payers, with voting closing at 12 noon on vegetables on the roofs of build-Monday, roof 12 of your office, watered by nutrient need, ensuring it gets October, 2015. ings so we can have beautiful waste water. Hospitals will grow it. So no nutrients are wasted The DairyNZ Annual General Meeting will be held in the Waikato on cities, instead of these sterile Tuesday, their own vegetables, so will and no enters the 13 October, 2015. Election results willpollution be announced at local concrete wastelands we have the meeting. restaurants and supermarkets. river. today.” Shipping vegetables “Such agricultural system For further details contactaround the Returning Officer as an below. Cribb sees these changes the world at great expense and recycles all its waste, which we Anthony Morton as ‘futuristic’, including a move Returning massive carbon emission will are now not doing. We allow Officer – DairyNZ Inc to synthetic meat. But the idea 0800disappear. wastes to drain through the soil 666 030 We will see much of growing food in cities will greater diversity of vegetables firstname.lastname@example.org into rivers, allowing the waste to suddenly bring consumers in and fruit grown indoors in city exit a city sewer pipe or run from touch with agricultural producbuildings.” supermarket to urban landfill.”
Dairy Exporter 14x3
diet from being broadly European – meat and grains – to being broadly Asian – vegetables and fish. People will keep eating meat and grains, but less of them. “Vegetables are massively more efficient in land and water use. You can grow 30 tonnes of
cabbage with the same amount of water needed to produce 2kg of beef. It’s a much more efficient use of resources which will get dramatically scarce, e.g. farmers’ water being taken by the mega-cities and big energy companies.” @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews
Notice of Election - 2015 DairyNZ Board of Directors - Directors Remuneration Committee members Invitation for candidate nominations – six positions available In October, two elections will take place for DairyNZ Incorporated – an election for three farmer-elected Directors for the Board of DairyNZ Inc. and a second election for three positions on the Directors Remuneration Committee. The Board invites registered levy-paying farmers to nominate candidates to fill these six vacancies. All farmers paying a levy on milksolids to DairyNZ are eligible to stand for election. An information pack outlining desired criteria and nomination requirements for the positions can be obtained from the Returning Officer. Nominations must be received by the Returning Officer by 12 noon on Friday, 28 August, 2015.
Elections If more than the required nominations are received, elections will be carried out by postal, fax and internet voting using the STV (single transferable vote) voting method. Votes will be weighted by annual milksolids production. Voter packs will be posted on 14 September 2015 to all registered DairyNZ levy payers, with voting closing at 12 noon on Monday, 12 October, 2015. The DairyNZ Annual General Meeting will be held in the Waikato on Tuesday, 13 October, 2015. Election results will be announced at the meeting. For further details contact the Returning Officer as below. Anthony Morton Returning Officer – DairyNZ Inc 0800 666 030 email@example.com
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12 HORT NZ CONFERENCE
Are Kiwi jobless actually employable? PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH AUCKLAND unemployed people have been bused to Hawkes Bay to work in orchards as part of a pilot RSE (recognised seasonal employer) scheme for New Zealanders. Other regions also
entered the scheme last season, 250 workers taking part. Jerf van Beek, national coordinator seasonal labour, HortNZ says the scheme so far has had mixed results. “We are looking at partnering with the Ministry for Social Development and Work and Income to look at oppor-
bringing in people during the peak last season. They didn’t prepare themselves well and we will do it better this season,” van Beek explains. “Pacific Island people who come in through the migrant schemes live in communities – either church communities or a village community.
tunities,” he told Rural News. “We do it really well with migrant workers; they are transported in teams and are housed and work in teams. Work and Income seems to think that model that can work in NZ. “Certain regions have made variations to it,
Whereas the New Zealanders we bring in generally don’t live in communities and come as individuals. “They struggle to live and work together for long periods. But it can be done; we’ve seen it done. I’m not saying the industry is sceptical; we want to make it work.”
Hort NZ’s Jerf van Beek says the sector’s pilot scheme for unemployed NZer’s has had mixed results.
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The recruitment and selection is done by Work and Income and then a group usually comes to the worksite. Even if it’s Auckland to Hawkes Bay they will come to Hawkes Bay for a day. “The recruits can see what they will be in for – where they’ll be living, what they’ll be doing, and meeting the employer and staff. They go back home again and a final selection will be done because it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea,” he adds. “Then they will come to the region when the work starts and begin working with the employer. Generally there is [7-10 days] training involved. There will topups to make sure minimum wages are achieved. If they work in a packhouse they get minimum wage plus. If they work in the field, where we are desperately short of workers, particularly in Hawkes Bay and Central Otago, they struggle somewhat because that is hard-graft work. “The migrant workers work on piecemeal so they get paid for what they do and they generally earn well above minimum wages,” van Beek told Rural News. “New Zealanders, unfortunately, are generally not productive enough to actually make the minimum wage. So the grower has to top them up because by law we have to pay the minimum wage. So it’s a real issue. Generally in situations where the work is done hourly, the scheme can work. “However there are
some issues with continuity, attendance and general life skills. We as an industry would like to see more work done in the life skill area so that before these [NZ] workers come to work in our industry they are drug- and alcohol-free, have a good understanding of the work programme and patterns – six days work a week – and have all their affairs in place. NZers have issues in that area and we try to help them. Generally by giving them regular work and income some of those issues will disappear.” So far, van Beek says, about 250 people have been involved, with some good results and some very poor results. “It’s a pilot so it’s a chance learn what works and what doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, why doesn’t it work? Then we fix it or move on and do something else.” He says the industry is also talking about opportunities presented by the Auckland housing situation. Perhaps whole families could move from Auckland to Hawkes Bay where husband and wife can both work for the employer. Housing is a quarter of the price and schooling is freely available. “There’s a whole lot pluses. That’s a way of attracting people to the industry and there are lots of benefits if they come.” The New Zealand RSE scheme started in January and the industry was told by the Ministry for Social Development that if they wanted more migrant workers they had to do the scheme for NZers also.
RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
HORT NZ CONFERENCE 13 Growers out to Giving locals a chance ditch ‘mud and gumboots’ image PAM TIPA email@example.com
HORTICULTURE NEEDS to get rid of its image as being all “mud and gumboots,” says Sue Pickering, senior business manager, HortNZ. “Horticulture is sitting on $7 billion/ annum and we are global leaders; we’re doing alright so why should be focus on our future workforce? The fact is horticulture is doing more than alright.” The industry sectors have ambitious growth goals: $10b by 2020. Kiwifruit is talking about $3b by 2025, pipfruit $2b by 2022, NZ avocados quadruple sales and triple productivity by 2023. In the 2014 ‘People Power’ report the Ministry for Primary Industries strongly indicated that the industry does not have the people capability to meet horticulture’s export targets. A net increase of 7800 people will be needed in the next nine years and 15,000 more workers with qualifications by 2025. “Traditionally our industry has had a high focus on technical excellence, production mechanisms, leading edge production mechanisms, the market place – but less on its people,” she says. Investment in people has been relatively low. For example, in 2006, through a project HortNZ worked on with Berl, 49% of the workforce had qualification of level 2 and above – significantly lower than the national average of 66.6%. “We have a history of a negative profile; negative public perception is a huge issue we have to turn around – 20 years of cabbage class mentality in our schools. “One of the worst things that happened was 20 years ago agriculture and horticulture did go into schools, but
the problem was they targeted, for our industry, those students with either discipline problems or [those who] weren’t particularly academic and liked the practical side. So we have built 20 years of negative image in our schools.” The seasonal nature of the industry has brought about a public perception that we are “all mud and gumboots”. “We need top talent for the roles we have now and the future roles. The industry has an opportunity in the next five years to change things around. The public is looking for more grassroots, back to the land, back to the intrinsic values we can offer and it is coming through with the teachers.” Horticulture is looking towards strategies and the success of the migrant RSE has had a huge impact on that. “The solutions to supplying a seasonal workforce through RSE have now allowed a place for the business, the HR managers, the people on the ground to start working towards their permanent workforce or transitioning seasonal into permanent and I have seen quite a change in focus.” A number of career events are promoting things, including field days in Hawkes Bay led by the Hawkes Bay Fruitgrowers Association. And NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc has a new scheme called ‘Cultivate Your Career’ in which 160 students and teachers work on modules. Pickering says coordination is needed with so much going on. So a group called the Horticulture Capability Group – HortNZ, Pipfuit NZ, NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc and a vegetable sector – is coordinating the efforts. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews
THE HORTICULTURE industry has an obligation to involve New Zealanders because they are the seedbed for workers for the industry, Jerf van Beek told a HortNZ conference session. HortNZ was told by government agencies that the industry could employ seasonal workers from the Pacific and Asia, but had to involve NZers also. At roadshows growers did not want to consider NZers because they presented a “broken picture. The growers have had very poor experiences with them. “But we owe it to our industry and
“If we can attract NZers – attract them for longer, if we spend time with them and have our education providers assist, then we can attract and develop them.”
communities to try.” Van Beek says some of the social issues of Hawkes Bay and other horticulture regions is related to the seasonality of the labour. “If we can attract NZers – attract them for longer, if we spend time with them and have our education providers assist, then we can attract and develop them.” He says politically it is very difficult for
the Government to allow large numbers of migrants to enter NZ, hence it wants industry to measure what it is doing in this areas. Van Beek says the industry is unique in the migrant seasonal workers it is allowed to bring in. “Politically it is very difficult for governments to bring people through the border while you have unemployed people sitting in the regions or
even in the bigger cities.” Under the NZ RSE scheme they are trying to bring people in from areas of high unemployment. “The scheme has been very successful in Bay of Plenty, but in Hawkes Bay not so much. It is much more difficult to pick an apple than a kiwifruit. “Packhouses are very short of staff and it has proved better to put NZers into packhouses than the fields. We will find out over the next two or three seasons how we can go forward with the scheme. I believe it is here to stay and we need to make it work,” van Beek adds.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
Primary sector failing the R&D test PETER BURKE firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PRIMARY sector has been chided by the Prime Minister’s chief science advisor for its failure to invest in R&D. Sir Peter Gluckman last month told the AGCARM conference in Wellington there are huge upsides for the primary sector in investing in R&D. He noted the sector was still living off some science done at Ruakura 30 years ago. Gluckman claims the sector has become wedded to the idea that research is the Government’s responsibility. He says pastoral agriculture has been built on
decades of R&D, disproportionately funded from the public purse. It’s disappointing to see how little the private sector has helped co-fund the proposed food safety research centre. Gluckman believes the sector appears to find it difficult to think more than a few years ahead. “It needs to think long term. Quite clearly the agricultural systems of the world are changing and we have climate change and changing consumer preferences; so we have to move up the value chain,” he told the conference goers. “All that has to be based on science and that science has a long life
cycle – seven-ten years, at least, for much of this stuff. There is an enormous upside for New Zealand if we invest properly in R&D in the primary sector, but we must get beyond commodities and think strategically about what we could do to lift the sector.” Gluckman says while the primary sector appears to have some difficult years ahead, he believes this is not the time to hunker down, but rather to invest strategically in research and innovation and look out up to two decades ahead. He says the thinking in R&D has to be beyond the consumer. “Consumers have dif-
Sir Peter Gluckman
ferent fashions and that’s part of it. But beyond commodities you have consumer driven demand for high quality cuts of meat, for better cheeses, wine and kiwifruit,” he
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explained. “But there is one more layer of value beyond that – health. Especially in Asia there is growing understanding that nutrition, health and food are all linked. We need to do the science that better links those things and get the evidence base.” Gluckman says the NZ private sector’s investment in the primary sector is so small that you’d need “a very big microscope” to see it. “We have one of the lowest private sector investments in R&D.
It’s understandable at one level – the company structure is different. In most countries the private sector spend comes from large companies – in fact 75% comes from companies employing over 250 people and they are the multinationals.” But while Gluckman concedes it’s hard for companies to engage in R&D, it must be done. He says R&D is not cutting meat differently or necessarily developing new fruit and vegetables – it’s about getting serious added value.
SIR PETER Gluckman says NZ will have to move faster into precision agriculture if the primary sector is to remain a major part of the economy. The Prime Minister’s chief science advisor says there are enormous opportunities in such systems for the farmer, for the agritech sector, the biotech sector, and for the manufacturing and ICT sectors. Gluckman says the country has yet to see real clusters of investment and activity emerge. “If production is to increase without unacceptable environmental burdens then a move to precision agriculture will be needed. Livestock genetics and epigenetics, soil microbiology, environmental monitoring, forage assessment and plant genomics will all become part of an advanced agricultural system.” Notwithstanding lots of talk about GE, the scientific world is moving beyond that with new technologies that may or may not be acceptable to society. “I think NZ is competing in a biological sector with one hand tied behind our back – but that’s a societal not a scientific question,” he adds.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
Demand for staff in kiwifruit sector PETER BURKE email@example.com
DEMAND IS huge for good qualified staff in the kiwifruit industry, says a tutor in horticulture at Bay of Plenty Polytech. Lesley Mochan says late last year she was getting three or four calls a week from kiwifruit growers wanting to employ people. Demand is high for people who show potential and want good job, she says. The polytech offers training for people either
in the horticultural sector or wanting to join. “We get a lot of people coming into our fulltime programme who are coming out of school and don’t know what they want to do, but they know they want to work with their hands,” Mochan tells Rural News. “By doing our course, they can see all the sectors of horticulture – nursery production, fruit production or growing flowers. So they can get a taste of each of those areas and decide which
TRENDS KEEP WOOL PRICES UP PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT’S “HOT to trot” in fashion and trends can have a big impact on our wool prices, says Malcolm Ching, Purelana manager with Wool Services International. A drift down in our wool volumes has been matched by the drift down in wool demand, he says. “In the end it all sort-of balances out and keeps us at a similar level for supply/demand and then it comes down to what is fashion, what is ‘hot to trot’ at the moment for consumers,” Ching explains. “Is the American economy doing well? Is there a cold winter in Northern Europe or somewhere else where wool again is seen as being a desirable product to have in carpeting, clothing, upholstery or blankets instead of synthetic? “It doesn’t take much, a very small percentage shift toward wool again and it can impact greatly here. That is probably what has been pushing our prices around a bit more lately. “Wool has been a bit on the increase as a desirable textile in the past couple of years so hopefully that will continue and minimise any downside.” Palle Petersen, general manager, Bloch & Behrens Wool, the wool export arm of PGG Wrightson, says anything with a finer micron seems to be selling pretty well. “A lot of these short wools, if they were a bit finer crossbred, would have gone into carpet wool but now that seems to be going into other products – cloth for coats and that sort of thing. “That is taking the volume out of what goes to the carpet industry and it has also helped to keep prices at pretty good levels. There is a broader range of end products that New Zealand wool seems to be getting into these days, so we are not as reliant on the carpet sector, which is healthy. But it still is a big factor.” Ching says a factor which drove higher prices this year was when people put a percentage of NZ into their product mix they probably put too much relative to what was available to our market with the high dollar. “Because of that some of them, where they can, will be reducing the amount of NZ wool in their product and substituting. But they still will need a percentage of it. “Then there are those whose products are made out of 100% NZ wool and they can’t afford to go anywhere else so they have to pay the price. “But it squeezes their margins and long term it makes them think about what would they do long term in the future,” he says. “We walk a very fine tightrope on what we can really do for the bulk of NZ wool.”
sector they want to get into.” Mochan says many people already in the industry are taking parttime courses to upskill and apply for more senior roles in the industry. “In our classes, especially the part time ones, we have lots of discussions because
people do things in different ways. We get them to talk about the different ways they work and discuss the merits of doing it and when they go back to their workplace they discuss this further. A lot of good networking goes on as well.” Mochan says the sector still suffers from
a misconception that working in agriculture or horticulture is for dummies; changing this is a challenge. Staging events for young people to see the many options is important, as is taking students on site visits to talk to industry people about career options.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
Students get a taste of real ag world PETER BURKE & MEGAN GATTEY
“A BRILLIANT initiative” was the reaction of Massey University professor Peter Kemp to a recent visit by journalism students from Massey’s Wellington campus. Kemp described as unprecedented the students’ experience of the ‘real world’ of agriculture reporting. The trip to Terry Olsen’s dairy farm at Shannon and some Massey research facilities at the Palmerston North campus was organised by the students’ lecturer, Dr Cathy Strong, and Rural News reporter Peter Burke, with financial support from Westpac. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy was a surprise visitor for the day, holding a news conference for the students to gain an overview of the primary sector; he also gave one-one-one interviews. Guy told the students it was important they visited farms to understand the primary sector; and he praised the staging of the trip. “We need to get more students like you onto farms to understand this big part of the New Zealand economy.” Kemp, head of the Institute of Agri-
culture and Environment at Massey, says it was a brilliant idea to get the Massey journalism students to see another Massey campus where science is done. “It’s a brilliant way to use the strengths of both places and we are interested in the wider society seeing what we are doing here. The visit brought home to me how important it is that journalists don’t get scared about approaching scientists, covering science and seeing it is an everyday activity.” Kemp acknowledges the challenge to journalists, who effectively have to learn a topic a day. Scientists don’t expect journalists to have in-depth knowledge of science, but it’s important they have reasonable understanding of issues. “Journalists are part of the value chain of science, getting information out, and it works the other way. Journalists often raise issues which make us scientists think about what we are doing and how we are communicating issues. “Scientists don’t have a problem with journalists just reporting an issue, but they get worried when a journalist
Nathan Guy faces student journalists questions.
is working hard – a bit like a lawyer – to get you to say something you don’t want to say.” During the day communications managers from Federated Farmers, Horticulture NZ and DairyNZ, and
Rural News reporter Peter Burke, spoke to the students, giving them background information. Dairy farmer Paul Olsen, Terry’s nephew, says journalism plays a big role in boosting public awareness of
NZ’s agriculture sector. “It’s good to get a feel for the primary industry and see what sort of constraints and regulation we’re farming under,” he says. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews
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DR CATHY Strong says all journalists need to know a lot more about agriculture in New Zealand. “It’s such a major part of our industry and our economics. This trip enabled students to see a typical dairy farm and talk to a farmer about the issues they face on a daily basis,” she explained. “Having a Westpac agribusiness manager and Nathan Guy along enabled the students to get a much wider perspective on the scope and scale of the agri sector. And at Massey the students were able to meet top world-class researchers and see the great science stories there for journalists to cover.” For the students it was a busy day. Strong assigned them news stories and video clips on aspects of the day, requiring interviews and filming all to a tight deadline. The students were positive about
the day. Jack Fletcher found it an invaluable experience, unprecedented in the opportunity to experience the real world of agriculture reporting. Tommy Livingston says the field trip made him nostalgic for his family farm. “It’s good to be out here in the backbones of New Zealand again, getting our feet dirty and learning about the ins and outs of farming. “It’s a valuable exercise to get out here, rub shoulders with some of New Zealand’s finest people, and chew the fat on where our agricultural business is going.” Emma Taylor agreed, saying she now feels better equipped to report on the agriculture industry. “Personally, I didn’t know anything about farming before this,” she says As a result of the trip, one student, Amber-Leigh Woolf, says she’s considering a career in agricultural journalism.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
18 MARKETS & TRENDS MARKET SNAPSHOT
BEEF MARKET TRENDS
BEEF PRICES BEEFc/kgCWT PRICES NI
P2 -Cow - 230kg P2 Steer 300kg Cow - 200kg M2 M Bull - 300kg
5.20 5.70 4.10 5.60
4.00 5.20 5.65 4.10
4.00 4.88 4.00 4.75
5.20 5.65 4.10 5.50
4.10 4.85 3.02 4.55
4.00 5.20 5.55 4.10
3.00 4.10 4.75 3.02
2 Wks Ago
+9 2.56 Change +23 Last Week 8.56
- 22.0kg n/cn/c PMPH - 16.0kg MX1 21kg PX -- 19.0kg n/cn/c
PH - 22.0kg
5.25 5.21 5.26 5.23
3 Wks Last Year 5yr Ave Ago
-1% 67.8% 69.0% 68.00% 75.8% 3 Wks Ago Year 5yr 69.9% Ave % Returned SI Change -0% 2Wks60.7% 61.2% Last 59.1% Ago -1%
5.18 3.20 5.18 5.18
5.18 3.20 5.18 5.18
5.88 3.70 5.90 5.86
3.20 5.25 5.18 5.26
Beef & venison prices are reported as gross (before normal levies & charges are deducted). Lamb & mutton prices are reported nett (after levies & charges are deducted).
3.70 6.02 5.86 6.03
5.18 5.18 2.88 5.18
5.91 5.88 3.30 5.90
Export Market Demand
UK Leg £/lb
UK Leg £/lb
2 Wks Ago
Last Year 5yr Ave
1.58 1.58 2.18 1.93 Last 2 Wks 8.17 Ago 8.24 Last Year 8.08 5yr Ave 8.28 Week 1.58
Export Market Demand
Indicator Procurement Change
Procurement Indicator +2% % Returned SI Change +1% % Returned NI
% Returned NI % Returned SI
3 Wks Ago
Last Year 5yr Ave
65.5% 63.7% 75.7% 73.3% 2Wks 3 Wks Year 5yr 68.4% Ave 63.6% Ago 63.1%Last 74.3% Ago 65.5%
6.02 5.98 6.03 6.00
Last 6.00 Year
5.30 5.26 5.31 5.28
5.18 5.18 2.88 5.18
MX1 - 21kg
3.20 5.30 5.18 5.31
YM PH- -13.5kg 22.0kg +5 n/c - 16.0kg n/cn/c MX1 - PM 21kg PX - 19.0kg n/cn/c YM - 13.5kg
2.47 2.70 2.06 2 Wks 8.33 Last Year 6.94 5yr Ave 5.61 Ago
% Returned NI
PX - 19.0kg +5 +5 YM - 13.5kg - 22.0kg +5 +5 PMPH - 16.0kg Mutton MX1 21kg PX -- 19.0kg +5 n/c
2 Wks Ago
Last 2 Wks 5.28 Ago 5.23 Week
Change PM - 16.0kg +5
% Returned SI
YM - 13.5kg
Market Demand Export
% Returned NI
c/kgCWT LAMB PRICES
4.85 4.00 4.55 4.00
5.65 5.10 5.50 5.00
5.10 5.75 5.00 5.80
LAMB PRICES LAMB MARKET TRENDS
5.70 5.10 5.60 5.00
5.10 5.80 5.00 5.85
95CL US$/lb NZ$/kg
Last 4.75 Year
Export Market Demand
2 Wks 5.80 Ago
P2 Cow - 230kg +10n/c P2 Steer - 300kg Cow - 200kg n/cn/c M2 M Bull - 300kg Local Trade - 230kg n/c+10 P2 Cow - 230kg
Local Trade - 230kg
+5 n/c +5 n/c
M Cow - 200kg Slaughter
2 Wks Ago
Last 5.85 Week
Local Trade - 230kg n/c +5 P2 Cow - 230kg P2 Steer- -200kg 300kg M Cow n/c+10 M2 Bull - 300kg +5 n/c Local Trade - 230kg
P2 Steer - 300kg
Change +5 c/kgCWT M2 Bull - 300kg
+5 SI Stag - 60kg Change+2 NI Stag - 60kg
NI Stag - 60kg SI Stag - 60kg
2 Wks Ago
Last Year 5yr Ave
7.00 6.95 6.15 7.06 Last 2 Wks 6.80 Ago 6.78 Last Year 6.20 5yr Ave 7.26 Week 7.00
Beef & venison prices are reported as gross (before normal levies & charges are deducted). Lamb & mutton prices are reported nett (after levies & charges are deducted).
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
MARKETS & TRENDS 19 NEWS
BEEF:. Cattle operating prices in the North Island continued to firm last week. While increasing returns continue to drive the manufacturing beef price, prime prices are still largely unsupported by market returns. Limited numbers of bulls are being killed at present however dairy cows are keeping plants fuller than expectations. Typically in July the cows are all but over. More dairy farmers are having to reduce stocking rates as the cost structure of high input feed systems are not sustainable anymore, and high kill prices are an attractive option for cash-poor farmers. In the South Island slaughter numbers are at winter lows. This is underpinning increasing schedules for both local trade cattle and export steers, but numbers of cows and bulls are so low, these schedules remain steady. It is expected that the rate of increase in schedules may slow in the South Island as no amount of money is able to bring out cattle that are just not there.
INTERNATIONAL BEEF: The US imported beef market continues to firm, and it appears it may be moving more rapidly, as concern mounts about supply later in the year. The market is concerned about the
growing likelihood of Australian meeting their US quota allocation later in the year. With domestic demand still expected to be tight, ground beef supply will be low, which will be positive for NZ farmgate prices through the last quarter of 2015. While the record low prices of pork and poultry are posing a large threat to beef sales in the US, reports suggest that if Australian quota issues become reality, then supply will be tight enough to overcome this threat.
SHEEP: Lamb slaughter prices in the North Island showed the first signs of opening up last week. Numbers are starting to ease back, and although most plants are full for the amount of capacity they have on, reports suggest that there are some stirrings of competition. It is a different story in the South Island where processor demand is minimal as maintenance closures are still in place, and there are limited numbers of lambs being slaughtered. Reports suggest there is unlikely to much movement in this range in the coming weeks.
BOBBY CALVES: Dairy farmers look set to make less from their bobby calves this season as schedules are picked to be lower than last year. The value of a bobby calf comes from the
Overseas Wool Price Indicators
WOOL PRICE WATCH Indicators in NZ$
Indicators in US$/kg Coarse Xbred Fine Xbred Lamb Mid Micron
meat, the skins and the blood. The meat is largely consumed in the EU, and looks the more promising of the three components. The skin and new born blood markets are both reliant on China and both experiencing their own problems. The new born blood market is effectively closed due to quality issues, and skin prices remain
depressed to a clamp down on pollution from Chinese tanneries seeing unprocessed stocks build to burdensome levels. As a result some reports suggest that bobby calves may be worth up to $10 less than last year. This may result in dairy farmers opting to rear a few more calves through to 100kgs.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
Lower dollar puts more in growers’ pockets PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LOWER dollar will put extra money in wool growers’ pockets but volatility in demand from China can be expected, say wool market experts. “What is bad for the
dairy industry is certainly helping other sectors,” says Palle Petersen, general manager, Bloch & Behrens Wool, the wool export arm of PGG Wrightson. “Longer term there is some uncertainty on demand in China which
could affect the market,” he told Rural News. “As with milk powder they sometimes seem to get themselves in a big stock position with wool, and they pull out. Whether they do that deliberately to get the prices down or not…
we will get continued volatility, but the amount of wool available is limited these days. I don’t think we will see a collapse of prices. “We will see a fluctuation, but it will remain at healthy levels for the next nine months
Wool prices are benefitting from a lower NZ dollar.
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unless something unforeseen happens.” Demand from Europe seems steady. “There is a bit of uncertainty on China’s economy and the situation in Europe with Greece, but that is already factored in. “We can expect some ups and downs because China now takes more than half our clip; they tend to run hot and cold so we will see some fluctuation, but in the last five years the prices have been a lot better on average than in the previous 20 years so that is a good sign. “I don’t see much chance of the New Zealand dollar recovering much in the short term; dairy seems to dictate what the NZ dollar does. For where the dollar is now for the next six months it is looking good.” Malcolm Ching, Purelana manager with Wool Services International, says lambswool was pushed up to very high prices at the end of the season with interest mainly from China. For most of the season lambs wool was about $6.50/kg, but with a half dozen sales it climbed over $7/kg to a high of $7.39/kg. “We haven’t seen lamb up at that price for many years,” he says. At the beginning of the season prices stayed high even though the currency had lifted significantly, he told Rural News. Things got out of kilter at the end of the season, he says, with the dollar dropping from about 88c vs the US dollar down to about 69c. “However with wool prices normally you would expect a significant jump, but price values continued to drift off and didn’t capture that currency lift,” he says. Either overseas clients are fully stocked
or their sales of woollen products have not been as buoyant as expected so they’ve gone cautious. “The demand seems to have slipped a little. In their terms the price has still gone up. Although we haven’t captured all the currency drop, the prices in offshore terms to their clients have still gone up. They were already saying NZ wool prices were dear relative to other fibres and other product use. So there has been resistance offshore at what has happened recently.” Prices today are still relatively good historically. “Farmers always say they want more but you have to put things into perspective with competing fibres in the marketplace. Our wool price is still a reasonable price given the worldwide textile scene.” Everyone is picking a further slide in the dollar says Ching, but we will not capture all the currency shift. “There is still continuing resistance to the price our customers have to pay in their currency terms.” Overall he says it is a “murky odd picture” at the moment. “The rules that would normally apply, struggle to apply at the moment. Our prices were high when we had a high dollar. When we have a weak dollar it should be in our clients’ favour but that doesn’t seem to be happening. “They get cautious about when they buy and how they buy. They turn to other textiles which may be cheaper. “There is still always an underlying demand for NZ wool. The market moves up when it is really pressured; that pressure will not be as big as in the last couple of seasons.” He does not believe there are stockpiles of NZ wool.
RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
New plant business model from US partnership PAM TIPA email@example.com
A RASPBERRY partnership between Plant & Food Research (PFR) and a plant nursery business in Washington state has had positive spinoffs, according to the Crown Research Insititute. It shows how New Zealand’s scientific research and innovation can be taken to the world in a financially sustainable and mutually beneficial way, says Andrew MacKenzie, business development manager, plant varieties. PFR won the PwC Commercial Deal Award this year in the Kiwinet Research Commercialisation Awards for business innovation in commercialising the Wakefield raspberry. The deal involved working with Northwest Plant Co (NWPCO), in Washington, to revolutionise the traditional plant variety commercialisation model from plant sales-based royalties to a participation in the commercial success of a new raspberry cultivar. The judges were impressed how PFR put a “very clever business model around some clever science which maximises return to New Zealand”. In accepting the award, Mackenzie said the plant varieties team had “made a habit of commercialising things in different ways” and he said the team believes “innovation in our science should be matched by innovation in our business dealings”. There was “nothing sadder than having a wonderful science innovation put on a pedestrian path to market,” he said.
Mackenzie told Rural News that because of the small scale of its own raspberry trial plots, PFR researchers in NZ had challenges in meshing their product development process with large-scale mechanised production systems used commercially. Meanwhile Northwest Plant Co had a large industry keen for more sustainable solutions to a significant plant disease problem. The Pacific Northwest region of North America is home to possibly the world’s highest value process raspberry industry, representing about 10% of total world raspberry production. The region has large-scale plantings, is highly mechanised, and has integrated production, processing and marketing capability. Pacific Northwest growers regularly need to renew their raspberry production fields, because of Rubus Bushy Dwarf Virus (RBDV), plus other viruses
and fungal root rot diseases that limit the productive life of growers’ plantings. The six year plant renewal cycle creates ongoing sales opportunities. However the high cost of replanting depresses plant sales prices. A couple of traditional varieties have been the mainstay of the industry in the Pacific Northwest for many years. They are readily propagated and available to growers at reasonable cost. NZ raspberry production is small relative to world production and does not have the market profile to launch value added products. In its raspberry genetic improvement research, PFR was driven by pragmatism in wanting to realise the investment made to date, and advance a sound body of science. It was a “use it or lose it” approach. PFR’s collaboration started with Northwest Pacific in 1999, chiefly to
NO BLOWING RASPBERRIES A SUCCESSFUL raspberry breeding programme can provide Plant & Food Research with licensing revenue, career and capability development for the research team, plus links and leverage into new science and commercial opportunities. “Operating such a programme offshore has different challenges from operating within New Zealand. It also provides new opportunities and different research and commercial perspectives, which are invaluable in driving further science innovation and collaboration,” Mackenzie says. Northwest Pacific is well respected in the raspberry industry in the Pacific Northwest. The relationship provides PFR with a credible entrée to this territory, direct access to personnel and infrastructure supporting the research effort, and a ready market for innovations in raspberry genetics, Mackenzie says.
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develop new process raspberry cultivars. Although PFR had figured out machine handling attributes this could only be validated by machine harvesting – and this is how the relationship between PFR, NWPCO and Enfield Farms developed. One selection, Wakefield, bred in NZ and sent to the US for evaluation, has now been commercialised there. So PFR is now working with the US partners in new variety creation, evaluation, product development, intellectual property protections, licensing, commercialisation and after sales product support. A joint venture company, Pacific Berries LLC, has been incorporated in Washington state to own the intellectual property rights in the varieties to be commercialised from the joint programme. Northwest Pacific and PFR recognised that royalties based on plant sales would not generate sufficient revenues to justify even starting, let alone sustaining, a plant breeding programme, even if the resultant varieties were hugely successful. “PFR of course had significant experience with structuring licence arrangements and revenue shares based on fruit sales volumes and market returns, such as for Zespri Gold Kiwifruit (‘Hort16A’), and Jazz/‘Scifresh’ apples,” Mackenzie says. “In the case of raspberries, the crop is not always differentiated by variety at consumer or even wholesale level.” NWPCO and PFR decided the most accessible reference point for the use
The Wakefield raspberry, bred in NZ, has now been commercialised in the US.
of particular raspberry varieties was the planted area in growers’ fields. So plants are supplied to growers by NWPCO under a contract that provides for the mapping and monitoring of fields, and requires an annual licence fee by the grower for their use of the varieties over the life of the planting. To determine the appropriate licence fee payable, the parties worked from the principle of calculating this as a “proper share” of the benefit that the intellectual property delivered to the end users. “As a result of consistently good performance by Wakefield, Northwest Pacific had sold out of plants through to 2014, with orders of more than 1 million plants for 2015. This bodes well for the commercial future of ‘Wakefield’,” he says. About 15% of today’s planted area of process raspberries in the region are now Wakefield. From performance to date it appears Wakefield’s productive life will extend beyond the usual six year cycle for raspberry plantings in the region. The next goal for the partnership is to release a second process raspberry variety commercially from among the 15 currently in advanced trials. “Beyond this the aims of the programme are the incorporation of new quality and disease resistance traits into the next generation of raspberry varieties.”
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
22 OPINION EDITORIAL
Common sense prevails IT APPEARS much of the angst and anger percolating through the farming sector over proposed changes to health and safety regulations may now have eased. The parliamentary transport and industrial relations select committee – charged with reviewing the Health and Safety Reform Bill – has recently reported back and proposed changes, many of which the farming sector has been calling for. As Fed Farmers health and safety spokesperson Katie Milne says, the changes to the bill go some way to recognising that farms are different from urban industrial workplaces. She applauds changes that mean farmers would not be held liable for the safety of people who – without the farmer’s knowledge -- enter their properties and suffer an accident. It is now made clear that recreational users coming onto farmland would be responsible for their own safety – duck shooters, hunters, mountain bikers, anglers and so on. It’s good that parliamentarians have listened to farmer concerns and put the responsibility back on recreational users where it always should have been. As Beef + Lamb NZ chairman James Parsons says, it is good to see the select committee process working and acknowledging farmer concerns. BLNZ say key changes to the Health and Safety Reform Bill go a long way to clarifying the responsibilities of farmers towards employees and visitors to their farms. Other changes recognise that a farm’s family home is excluded as part of the workplace. This acknowledges the unique features of farms as workplaces and homes for rural families and applies good common sense to the issue of improving safety onfarm. Fed Farmers and BLNZ concede there are still issues that need changing to improve onfarm safety, while taking into account the practicalities of modern farming. Both say they will keep working with the Government and officials to seek a practical outcome. This pragmatic attitude is far different from the reaction by unions and Opposition politicians who claim the changes ‘gut the bill’ and disregard workplace safety. That is rubbish! As WorkSafe NZ’s Al McCone encouraging advice to farmers is, “if you are doing things well under the current legislation, you will be doing things well under new legislation”. We hear the collective sigh of relief in the rural sector as common sense prevails.
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“The bank says we can’t afford a holiday this year so I’ll throw another log on the fire and give Edna these brochures to look at.”
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Bad to worse
THE HOUND sees that MPI has spent the thick end of $500,000 upgrading a building on The Terrace, Wellington, to accommodate its biosecurity team; its cost estimates were $100,000$250,000. The building blow-out included nearly $20,000 for a raised floor area on level 11. MPI says as part of the refurbishment a small area was built to create a “defined space” for senior managers and other staff to meet daily for briefings. But your old mate agrees with Labour’s primary industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor who describes the blow-out as ridiculous. Meanwhile, a mate of yours reckons MPI now truly stands for Ministry for Profligate Investments.
A NEW website has pop-up called waterqualitynz, which purports to provide “independent honesty in freshwater environmental reporting in NZ”. However, when your old mate went to look at who is behind the website his heart sank as it turns out to be the baby of Massey University’s ardent dairy industry critics Mike Joy and Kyleisha Foote. But if the Hound thought Joy and Foote were antidairying his eyes almost popped out of his head when he read the long list of collaborators and supporters of the site, included Anne Salmond, Brian Turner, Cath Wallace, Emily Bailey, Hamish Carnachan, Nandor Tanczos, Nicky Hager, Peter Fraser, Sam Mahon and Simon Terry, to name but a few. Google any name on this list and see just how ‘independent’ they are in their criticism of dairying.
THIS OLD mutt reckons you are never as good as your obituaries make you out to be, and the recent untimely death of former Fonterra chief and agribusinessman Craig Norgate reminded your old mate of this. Sure there is little doubt Norgate did a lot of good in his 50 years on this planet; but he also had a lot of misses, which appear to have been brushed over in the haste to eulogise him. The formation of Fonterra and amalgamation of PGG Wrightson were good achievements, but the failure of the investment company he headed – RPI, and the failed attempt to merge PGG with SFF, were huge misses. Meanwhile, if Norgate was such a ‘visionary’ and a ‘great leader’ why did Fonterra not renew his chief executive contract after only two years in the role?
THE HOUND reckons if you needed any more proof of how much the Greens loathe farming, look at the recent reshuffling of its portfolio responsibilities. With the recent change in the party’s ‘co-leadership’ (how very Green) from Aussie communist Russel Norman to supposed ‘businessfriendly’ wunderkid James Shaw, the party has decided on a portfolio reshuffle. But the change that truly caught your canine crusader’s attention was the move to shift the hapless and ineffective anti-GE campaigner Stefan Browning out of the primary industries role and replace him with former Forest & Bird tree-hugger and fervent anti-farming critic Eugenie Sage. Watch out for an all-out attack on the farming sector by the Green’s hypothetical primary industries spokesperson.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
OPINION 23 NYLON CARPET PROMOTION DISAPPOINTING AS A retired wool buyer and exporter for one of the largest international companies who supplied hundreds of thousands of bales of wool to Europe, UK, China, Iran, Greece, Russia, Japan, Australia, USA, India and so on for most of my life, I am saddened to see television advertisements for nylon carpets in New Zealand.
Kevin Milne, for Carpet Mill, is promoting the sales of synthetic or artificial nylon carpets, which are exactly what eroded sales and the market for pure virgin wool carpets worldwide. We saw the Wool Board valiantly try to uphold the market, but synthetics eventually won the day and major strong wool users disappeared.
In the wool trade we always promoted farmers’ wool through the IWTO (International Wool Textile Organisation) with huge sums of money given by the wool industry – including farmers, brokers, buyers, exporters and end users – against artificial fibres. It was a big war, worldwide, and now I see our farmers struggling
to survive, along with the wider strong-wool carpet industry, especially in NZ. I am personally saddened that Kevin Milne, who has spent many years promoting farming, now promotes nylon carpets whose every sale undermines strong crossbred wool. Alain Jorion Gisborne (Abridged. Ed.)
LUCKY MEXICANS! ISN’T IT amazing that an impoverished country like Mexico can afford to hand out US$360 sheep to drought-stressed peasants, when here in New Zealand sheep farmers are struggling and can’t afford to pay more than US$100 for top ewe lambs. Perhaps our Government might like to be similarly generous and hand out some new breeding stock to drought stricken North Canterbury
farmers. Obviously maths isn’t a strong point of the folks who calculated death rates on the voyage: 0.3 % in 15 days is a yearly death rate of 7% which in top young breeding stock would be a source of serious concern to any farmer and not one you would want to repeat. Paul Carrol Claremont, RD4 Timaru
ag twits Rural News’ irreverent and hypothetical look at what’s happening in the farming world Top Bleats view all ibrownshc@dcoullshc: Duncan I seem to have bailed out of leading the council at a good time with the payout plummeting towards $3 and Fonterra’s shedding suppliers faster than the Labour Party’s support. Try blaming the Chinese, it might just work! #desperatetimesdesperatemeasures @littleandrewlabour@dcoullshc: Duncan congrats on your new role, but we are just running your name through our algorithm to ensure you are not a Chinese plant trying to takeover Fonterra. #areyoukiwienough winstonfirstandlast@littleandrewlabour: Hey Little; don’t you Johnny-come-latelys go stealing NZ First’s policies. We’ve been running the anti-Chinese line since the time of the Magna Carta and I know because I was there when it was signed! #oldandobsolete johnkeypm: Now that Fonterra’s payout is tanking I wonder if Serco is interested in running the co-op? From my understanding they are experts in ‘dropping’ – especially prisoners bodies. #cannotbeanyworse jwilsonfonterra@johnkeypm: Thanks for the stellar idea PM. We’ve already sacked 523 people and we’re looking at cutting another 500. Perhaps we could take a leaf out of Serco’s book and drop them off the top floor of Fonterra HQ? #highfliers
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Strong economy is good for environment WILLIAM ROLLESTON
IF AGRICULTURE is to keep contributing to New Zealand’s economy we must address the issues of productivity and environmental impact. We must continue to enhance our economic benefit by increasing productivity, adding value to current products and developing new high value products. We must address the risks which exist in the market, in our social licence to operate, in biosecurity (including pests) and in our climate. It is not axiomatic that economic progress means environmental deterioration. As a farming leader I have looked for solutions which enable economic progress while supporting a healthy environment. In this way the incentives line up and the need for punitive resource
rentals, taxes and similar instruments is obviated. Let me give you some examples: Nitrogen, whether in chemical fertiliser, organic fertiliser or fixed by legumes, is a significant expense on many farms. It always shocks me just how little is actually utilised in product which moves off-farm and how much is lost to the atmosphere and beyond the root zone. These losses contribute to adverse water quality and greenhouse gases. Interventions which increase the utilisation of nitrogen will result in better environmental outcomes and reduce expenses for farmers. It is a myth that water is free. Farmers pay big dollars to have water reticulated to their farms via their own or other schemes. The proposed
Ruataniwha dam is a good example. In Canterbury we have seen significant increases in water efficiency through spray irrigation and now precision irrigation. Research is continuing to improve drought tolerance and water efficiency in the very plants themselves. Soil erosion is a loss of capital from the farming system. It is not new and it occupied the minds of my farming grandparents on our property for as long as I could remember. New techniques such as no-till agriculture, where paddocks are sprayed with herbicide and direct drilled, not only increases productivity but retains soil structure, helping to preserve this valuable resource from wind and water erosion that ploughing would leave it vulnerable to. Even without put-
ting biological emissions into the Emissions Trading Scheme, farmers have improved their carbon efficiency by 1.2% per year for the past decade through improved productivity. Not only that though, New Zealand farmers are amongst the most carbon efficient animal protein producers in the world. In the
absence of mitigation tools and any charges on our competitors, penalising farmers to the extent it would reduce biological emissions would mean a movement of production to less efficient producers offshore and an increase in global biological emissions. We live in a global world whose population continues to expand. The FAO predicts we will need to increase world food production by 60% by 2050 to meet demand. New Zealand cannot feed the world, but we must play our part. It would be irresponsible of us to squander or underutilise our resources. Three potential answers lie in resource expansion, science to increase efficient use, and collaboration. Water storage is a good example of resource expansion and remains at the top of Federated Farmers’ agenda. Water storage builds resilience – the trifecta of economic resilience, community resilience and environmental resilience. It also creates headroom to dissipate the issue of constraint. The rationale
however is still governed by cost. Farmers are willing to pay for the benefit they receive from water storage. But as I have mentioned, water storage also provides the opportunity to improve habitat, increase environmental flows and provide recreation. Both local and central government should also consider their financial contribution to reflect the public good. If we are to truly make economic gain while supporting a healthy environment, decision makers need to ensure they get the science right. So our challenge is to ensure regulators, politicians and the judiciary make decisions in line with the science, and reflect the uncertainty of the time but are not paralysed by it. The use of caution in the decision making process is essential, but the standpoint taken by activists, i.e. the ‘Precautionary Principle’ which in essence says ‘do nothing until all risk is eliminated’, is an example of the paralysis which we should avoid. Decision makers need to distinguish between
disagreement between parties and scientific uncertainty. They need to understand what drives the certainty of any one party and put the uncertainty of experts in context. We have some evidence that councils and other decision makers are starting to get it right. In the discourse on fluoridation, immunisation and 1080 we are seeing the public and decision makers starting to back science and reject the worn out and unsupported rhetoric of the anti-campaigners. It is my experience that farmers are environmentalists; why else would they dedicate their life to the land and spend over $1 billion on the environment in five years? They are also problem solvers. But they need to understand the problem before buying in. A growing economy can support a healthy environment but a shrinking one doesn’t stand much chance. The best way to achieve a growing economy while supporting a healthy environment requires sound judgements by councils, with the appropriate use of science, engaging not enraging farmers, providing them with the tools of modern technology and seeking solutions which align economic and environmental outcomes. These are all requirements to grow sustainably. • This is an edited speech by Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers president to the recent Local Government New Zealand Conference.
RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
Farming faces challenges and opportunities NATHAN GUY
FARMING IN New Zealand in 2015 can be summarised in two words: challenge and opportunity; it is through resilience that the former turns into the later. Whether it’s fluctuations in commodity prices or the weather, 2015 has already thrown many examples of farmers being presented with challenges and responding with resilience. There remain many challenges ahead. MPI’s recent ‘Situation Outlook for Primary
tions are very dry in North Canterbury. Hence the Government’s focus on water storage projects and the $25m allocated to the Irrigation Acceleration Fund to help kickstart these important regional projects. Making an opportunity out of a challenge is called innovating, and innovating is something Kiwis do well. One great untold stories in NZ innovation is the Global Research Alliance. I recently announced that Doug
Making an opportunity out of a challenge is called innovating, and innovating is something Kiwis do well. Industries’ shows total primary industries export revenue for the year to June 2015 estimated at $35.2 billion – 8% down on the previous year, due to falling dairy and forestry prices. But this is slightly offset by increases in meat and wool prices, expected to increase by 8.2% to $8.8b. Horticulture, in a record year, has seen total earnings top $7.5b for the first time. Kiwifruit, in particular, has bounced back strongly from Psa with at least $1b in exports, and wine is enjoying huge growth. A tight year looms for the dairy sector with reduced commodity prices. While the global dairy markets look to be volatile for most of 2015, MPI expects dairy export revenue to recover by June 2016 and rise to $18.4b by June 2019. Importantly, remember that the medium-long term outlook for all primary sectors is positive: 17% growth to at least $41b by 2019. Notably, as the nearby Asian countries grow in wealth they demand more of our protein and products. Droughts are challenging our farmers and growers and most of the East Coast of the South Island has suffered a tough drought. Even now condi-
Avery and Zach Mounsey have won the 2015 Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) - World Farmer Organisation Study Tour in Argentina later this year. The purpose of this study tour is to increase global understanding and engagement on agricultural greenhouse gas research. These two winners will represent NZ in sharing environmental management practices that support sustainable productivity. The primary sector gets a lot of criticism over environmental performance and climate change, and we are often accused of sitting on our hands. This is untrue. The reality is often lost on our detractors that NZ is the source of only 0.15% of global emissions, and the challenges of climate change are greater than any one country can address. NZ prompted the setting up of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions to support collaborative research to enhance productivity and reduce emissions intensity. We need to work with other farming countries to develop practical responses to the challenges that help, not
hinder, agriculture. Research and innovation is critical; it takes many different forms depending on context, but at its heart always lies coupling the insights of farmers and land manag-
ers at the frontiers of science. The early breakthrough of our top scientists to potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions from sheep and cattle without reducing pro-
duction is cutting edge research. • This is an edited version of a speech given by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy to the Federated Farmers national conference last month.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
More than trophies up for grabs PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BALLANCE Farm Environment Awards open farmers to new networks they may not know about says national judg-
ing coordinator Andrea Hanna. “We try to encourage all farmers to enter, whatever stage they are at. We like to promote them getting involved and starting a journey,” she says.
Entries for the 2016 Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened on August 1. Entry can mean farmers getting involved at a more informative level and understanding the resources available –
for instance with regional councils, Hanna told Rural News. The farmers get feedback reports at the end of each time; they keep these reports, refer back to them and build on the rec-
John and Catherine Ford with Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, winners of the 2015 Gordon Stephenson trophy.
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sentations on rural issues to select committees in Parliament. The winner of the Gordon Stephenson trophy, the national award, takes an overseas tour, picking a topic and researching it overseas and bringing back a paper to showcase their study. “It’s all about promoting NZ Agriculture Inc.” Hanna says every farmer, including orchardists, vegetable growers and viticulturists, should give it a go. “Most people enter because they want high quality feedback on how their farming operation stacks up in environmental and economic sustainability,” she says. Entering the free competition is as easy as filling out a form, available online, or via the mail if preferred. The judging process is relaxed and friendly, and judges always take climatic factors into account. Hanna says past entrants have described their participation as a highly worthwhile experience.
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ommendations and comments from the judges. The reports cover the whole farm picture. Often the farmers who have reentered over the years have ended up winning an award. Although dairy farmers are facing tough times this year, she still encourages them to enter. “They have to keep interacting… they will get support. We can always put them in touch with different organisations to give them a hand or advice and it doesn’t always cost money.” The farm environment awards raise awareness locally and overseas of good farming practices in New Zealand, she says. “The rural urban gap is increasing because so many kids in the cities now don’t have the access to farms they used to have when an uncle or grandparent had a farm. You could always get out and have holidays on farms but that’s changing. Urban and rural are not interacting and that’s something we promote as well.” Leading farmers from the competition are also encouraged to make pre-
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NATIONAL TITLE winners from Bay of Plenty, John and Catherine Ford, urge all farmers to enter the 2016 competition. “We need to promote our industry by providing examples of the things farmers are doing to care for the environment,” says John. He and Catherine and their staff found the judging process educational and inspirational. “Our whole team bought into it, and it was a fantastic team-building exercise. We think every farmer will get something out of being involved in the awards. It gives you a huge confidence boost when the judges say you are doing a good job. And if you are not on the right track, the judges will direct you on how to get there.” The awards prove sound environmental practises and good business management go hand in hand, the organisers say. Farmers who take part are also encouraged to share ideas and innovations with the wider farming community. www.bfea.org.nz
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Big dairy conversion aims for economic a A major dairy conversion, transforming 2500ha of forestry into five farms near Taupo, is on track to start milking on August 1. SUDESH KISSUN email@example.com
ATA RANGI Pastoral Ltd aims to produce 3 million kgMS from the five farms by 2020. Owned by two Kiwis -- farmer Gerard Donald and financier Brent Cook – Ata Rangi last year bought 5732ha of forestry in Whakamaru. The farms will stretch from Tokoroa to Whakamaru. About 2400ha will remain in forestry, 500ha will be cropped and grazed and
233ha riparian planted. Contractors are busy clearing land, removing stumps, cultivating grass, building milking platforms and lining effluent ponds. Ata Rangi general manager Stephen Veitch says contractors were working six days a week to ensure the Atiamuri farm started production on August 1. About 1600 cows now grazing off site will moved to the farm on August 1. Each farm will
Milk shed and feed pad nearing completion.
have 1500 cows – three cows/ha. Cows will be moved between farms as each farm comes on line, Veitch says. Milk will be supplied to Fonterra on sixand 10-year contracts, allowing the company to stagger the purchase of Fonterra shares over this time. Sustainability is a major focus for Ata Rangi; main contractor J Swap has used a GPS-guided digger to outline the farm according to three rules:
CONFIDENT IN THE FUTURE THE DEVELOPERS of the Ata Rangi Pastoral project near Taupo are taking a long term view, says general manager Stephen Veitch. This is that their Kiwi-owned family asset will pay dividends long term. The low payout is on their minds but they are confident prices will bounce back by the time the five farms are in full production, he says. “One of the owners is a dairy farmer and the other a financier; they have researched the industry at length and have looked at supply/
demand demographics. “They are taking the long term view; while we’re developing in a low payout environment we believe in the payout coming up as we get into production.” However, Veitch says the owners are reviewing the farm systems and discretionary spending. “We are forecasting 3 million kgMS with a system 3 and 4; we are reviewing the cost of additional feed going in and whether we pull it back to a system one or two.”
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
c and environmental sustainability no disturbance of slopes greater than 25 degrees, no discharge of soil or sediment into waterways (a 10m boundary has been set around waterway sites) and there is a setback of 25m from the Waikato River and lakes. Veitch says Ata Rangi is building a business that is economically and environmentally sustainable. Transparent communications with local councils and iwi is part of its strategy. “The project was finalised quickly and we kind-of popped out of the blue; so there were
a lot of questions from the community, some of whom don’t support forestry conversions. “We’ve had several meetings with the local iwi -- Raukawa Charitable Trust -and the local regional councils to set the record straight. We strongly believe economic and environmental sustainability go hand-inhand; you have to be in the black to be green.” Ata Rangi is transparent about its water use; telemetry will be used to measure surface and groundwater
takes. “By shutting off valves we can only take 30 cumecs (m3/sec) out of the the river and 15 cumecs out of the bore holes; this information will be in the cloud for everyone to see and is part of our transparency policy.” Each farm will have
weeping wall effluent management; solids will be separated from the liquid before the pond and irrigation on the land. Gibson Construction is the dairy shed builder and Waikato Milking Systems is providing the milking gear. About 54 machines and 70 people
is our first point of contact. They have experienced operators and good machinery with few breakdowns.” This is important because time is tight.
are involved in the conversion. Veitch says co-owner Gerard Donald has worked with the companies below on projects. He says J Swap is providing two out of the six crews. “We find J Swap very helpful; they have a site foreman who
❱❱ J Swap Ltd ❱❱ Waikato Milking Systems ❱❱ Gibson Construction ❱❱ Cubic
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LONG TERM VIEW FOR ENVIRONMENT ATA RANGI Pastoral Ltd was founded this year by Brent Cook and Gerard Donald. The company was set up in response to growing demand for quality protein worldwide, particularly in Asia, and the changing tastes of wealthy consumers. “This has created increased demand for the high quality, safe food New Zealand farming systems are known for. ARPL is a long term project to produce [such] food in a sustainable, innovative and economic manner for the benefit of NZ.” Ata Rangi says its farms signify a new beginning, or ‘dawn sky’, reflecting the transformative nature of land conversion: land in forests since the 1920s will be livestock pastoral farms. ARPL’s environmental plans are: ■■ Fencing all waterways with a minimum 10m set back ■■ At least 0.5m perimeter earth bund to prevent sediment and nutrient runoff ■■ All nutrient application mapped by GPS ■■ All water usage monitored ■■ Water efficient cowshed design, with green water recycling ■■ Effluent spread from not more than eight cows/ha, greater than the minimum required.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
Beef up calf health – expert
FARM SUCCESSION BEST DONE IN COMPANY PETER OWENS
IF MY recent experience of bidding at local calf sales is anything to go by, calf rearing is enjoying a long-awaited resurgence. Prices are high, four-day-old Friesian bull calves reaching around $180-200 and white--faced calves at least $250, a trend mirrored in many regions. Unfortunately the $250 calves can get as sick as the $15 ones. While the potential for historically high beef prices and benefits from quality dairy replacement stock is great later in the season, there’s no doubt the profitability and success of calf rearing depends on many factors – initial purchase price, cost of calf milk replacer and feed, deaths or health setbacks, vet fees, and animal health and nutrition. Get the latter wrong and you’re in for a costly, stressful season. Given calves’ high value, it’s more important than ever to start them well in nutrition, and prevent problems where possible. Young calves are extremely vulnerable, their undeveloped immune systems and immature digestive systems making them prone to upsets. Having been taken off their mothers and exposed to sources of infection in their new homes and feed sources, health issues are an unwelcome reality. Scouring remains a big health issue in calf rearing, able to make even the most seasoned calf rearer want to discard their calfateria for good. Good, routine hygiene practices are crucial in minimising patho-
gen-caused scours. With nutritional scours, early intervention is equally important, especially because they can leave calves more susceptible to harmful pathogens. Regardless of the cause, the effect on the calf is the same – dehydration, loss of electrolytes, dramatic weight loss and loss of energy due to lack of vital nutrients from milk. Dehydration is the major cause of calf death. It’s vital to replace lost fluids and salts promptly with a good quality oral electrolyte; feed it during the sickness period and into recovery. The challenge can be to get enough into them and at the right time, which makes prevention even more of a focus. As the demand from consumers for ‘naturally produced’ meat and milk grows, there’s greater emphasis on the use of non-medical treatments during rearing. In Europe a new breed of prebiotic fibre prod-
ucts are helping prevent nutritional scours and the associated complications. These prebiotics support calf health, growth and nutrition, and reduce medical intervention. Prebiotics, well recognised in human health, are becoming available for calves and other livestock. Our company’s product Opticell Plus Ultra Fine, for example, is formulated for inclusion in calf milk replacer or whole milk, supporting a healthy gut by nurturing and promoting a good balance of microbes within the digestive tract. They also help in the transition onto new feeding regimes, which in turn, helps to minimise nutritional scours. The benefits include less and more solid faeces, contented calves, early meal uptake and lower incidence of nutritional scours. www.becfeedsolutions.co.nz • Trina Parker is country manager for BEC Feed Solutions.
A COMPANY model tackles the farm succession problems common to all New Zealand farmers, says a Rotorua lawyer. Ian Blackman told a recent Beef + Lamb NZ seminar on farm succession, in Gore, there is growing interest in the topic with the marked recent change in rural society. The seminar attracted 150 rural people from Southland and Otago. Blackman says a company structure is the best way to ensure a good succession plan. This provides flexibility not possible in family trusts. Trusts have been popular as a vehicle for succession but Blackman warned of pitfalls. “Farms are often transferred to a trust for tax reasons, but succession is not about money only. Any small saving in taxation cannot compare with the emotional wellbeing from knowing you have a succession plan in place. It’s not about money.” Failing to implement a plan is the biggest mistake farming families can make, he added. Blackman says a company structure would see the company entity owning the farm assets, and the farm owner holding 100% of the shares. These would then be deposited in a trust and the farm owner could then create another trust for the succeeding child. For succession planning purposes this created the opportunity over time to sell to the successor’s trust and shares in the farm company. A farm owner’s preparation for a succession plan, based on a company
model, need not start with a lawyer, but may be done at home “with a sheet of paper, a pencil and an eraser”. “You set out the things you want, in your own words. The eraser is needed because the farmer would not get the plan right the first time.” Blackman says the plan should be reviewed annually to keep up with changing circumstances. The company model is working all over New Zealand. “Production goes up and profitability goes up because every time 10% of the shares are sold to the son or daughter, the parents get 10% of the net equity of the farm.” Such a system benefits everyone, particularly the farming parents. “They want the joy of going into retirement, gradually selling the farm to the son and getting the capital off that to lend it to the other children. It’s meeting the needs of everyone.” @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
ANIMAL HEALTH 31
Tube feeding – good or bad? Calf rearing expert and veterinary consultant Dr Bas Schouten responds to comments published by Dr Lucy Waldron about tube feeding of newborn calves. drinking from its mother include mastitis, swollen or blocked teats, low udders or downer cows. And, lastly, the timing of the intake of this colostrum is critical: the earlier
be gone from the rumen within three hours. At this stage, the rumen is very small (about the size of a cup) and is sterile. Most importantly you are only doing this once.
The best part is that a calf with a good initial feed of colostrum will be strong and will easily want to suckle from a teat at the next feed 6-8 hours later. Yes, tube feeding should
the better. How long does it take to suck up 2L (how long would it take you to suck 2L of milk through a straw)? So let’s give nature and the calf a hand and be assured that the right amount of colostrum is fed and on time. It would be nice, as Dr Waldron suggests, to spend “10-15 minutes per calf” teaching them how to suck. Try telling that to a farmer with 20-30 new arrivals per day! Large, commercial farms with many staff know how valuable it is to tube feed every calf in the paddock or on arrival at the calf barn. Valuable pedigree calves are routinely tube fed the first feed of colostrums. It is fair to say that 80-90% of farmers worldwide are routinely not leaving it to nature; the tube feed at least 1-4L in that early period. The good news is that the issues Dr Waldron writes about are rare and can be avoided. Here are some facts on esophageal tube feeding. Firstly the tube gets nowhere near the rumen (it only goes halfway down the esophagus) so by itself cannot damage the rumen. Yes it does interfere with the closure of the esophageal groove so milk will flow into the rumen. Research by Chapman and Butler (Can J Vet 1986) showed by x-ray that colostrum via a tube feeder will transfer from the rumen to the abomasum within a short time and all will
be done with care and with some simple rules: have more than one feeder; make sure it has no sharp edges; lubricate it well with spit, Vaseline, cooking oil or other lubricant;
clean often but do not soak in irritant detergents like Dettol (rinse well before use); take your time, it is not a race; monitor staff to ensure it is done well. Tube feeding is the
greatest and simplest management tool available to improve the health, welfare and survival of this valuable member of the herd. Have faith; it works, is safe and saves a lot of calves.
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IN A number of articles published recently, Lucy Waldron claims that “tube feeding should be avoided if at all possible as it can easily damage the young underdeveloped rumen and may impact the development and function” of this organ. She goes on to claim “at post mortem the calves’ tube feed at birth are easily identified” and she illustrates that with a picture showing “a brown, foul smelling milk sludge in the rumen”. Is this really true? I have done thousands of post mortems on newborn calves and have never seen this as a consistent sign. Sure, I have seen rumens full of brown muddy water – but that is what it is, ingestion of dirty water. So what is real and what is fiction? The bottom line is that newborn calves need to drink a minimum of 4L of good quality colostrum within 6-8 hours after birth in order to get a good energy and immunoglobulin intake for protection from environmental challenges and for disease protection. The research is clear: the higher the colostrum intake in this critical period the better this calf will thrive. A volume less then 4L during this critical window will impact greatly on the health and welfare of the young calf. In fact, a calf with poor colostrum intake is nine times more likely to get sick, get scours or die. In nature this failure of good colostrum intake is very real: only about 45% of newborns will consume enough colostrum in this critical period leaving some 55% vulnerable to disease or death. Why does nature get it so wrong? Let’s look at some reasons why a good colostrum intake is not achieved. These are: Calf factors including hypothermia, slow birth, difficult birth, swollen face and tongue (try sucking with that), slow to stand up or separated from its mother. Cow factors that would prevent a calf from
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
32 ANIMAL HEALTH VETS COMFY WITH SHEEP SHIPMENTS NEW ZEALAND has an excellent reputation for animal welfare, which is further strengthened by the passage of the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, according to the NZ Veterinary Association (NZVA) “This landmark legislation now includes the legal recognition of animal sentience and the veterinary profession has had significant input in shaping this
legislation.” The recent shipment of 50,000 sheep and 3000 cattle as breeding stock to Mexico aboard the ship MV Nada was widely reported in the media and has sparked public debate about animal welfare in relation to livestock exports. “Transportation of animals is inherently stressful and appropriate safeguards to protect animal welfare are paramount,
particularly on long voyages such as these. The veterinary profession believes livestock for export must be managed in accordance with requirements under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 at all times to protect the welfare of animals. “In our talks with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), including those directly involved in this shipment, we have been
reassured that strict protocols were in place for the selection of the animals, the transitioning and conditioning of the animals undertaken prior to shipment, and the supervision and management of their health and welfare while on board.” NZVA says it will continue to be in contact with MPI on this matter and to monitor the situation.
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How to stop a bolter? THERE IS nothing worse than a dog ‘bolting’ after stock and once it has managed to give you the slip a couple of times it will look for more opportunities. What can you do? Avoid it happening in the first place; anticipate it. You can take precautions by putting pups on a lead to keep them under control, and it is vital they understand and obey their ‘call back’ and ‘walk at heel’ commands. I find clipping a 5-6m thin cord to the collar and allowing a pup to drag it is invaluable if it does run amuck; often it is hard to get close enough to catch him but you can grab the end of the rope. Give it a hard jerk – ‘Mate, behind!’ If there’s no cord to grab and you manage to catch him, don’t punish him then let him go. Get into the habit of keeping a short light lead in your pocket or around your waist; clip it on as soon as you get him and reprimand him as you harshly say ‘Mate, behind’. It is important to keep him on the lead, at your side, for a minute or two afterwards – this keeps contact and control, instilling authority, and he learns respect without fear. The principle is the same as with children; both need to know you are to be respected, that you are fair but there are consequences for disobedience. With dogs you can’t say ‘no TV for you tonight’; they need to learn obedience, but there is a big difference between chastisement and cruelty. Some people are totally against electric dog collars; if you are you will either have to put up with dogs doing as they please, or use methods similar to those described above. I doubt clicker training and treats will do the trick for a dog that chases stock. However, bolting is easily and quickly remedied with the aid of an electric collar. I will say until the day I die: if they are used correctly, they are a wonderful tool. The beauty of them is you can correct at the exact moment the dog misbehaves, making it easy for the dog to understand; ten minutes later is too late. Timing is critical when training dogs; I can’t stress this enough. I’m no longer shepherding but I often take enthusiastic dogs out when I go riding my horse and they wouldn’t dream of bolting; it just doesn’t happen. I never take pups out any younger than 9-10 months and they have been well and truly taught prior, that ‘behind’ means to be beside or behind me. They have already worn the collar so they are accustomed to its feel. For the first ride and every ride thereafter for the next few months they will wear the collar, turned on and ready for use. I will insist the young dog stays in ‘behind’; if I allow it to explore, that is asking for trouble. One day temptation may get the better of it and it will take off after stock. Trust me, I’m quick and it will immediately get a zap as I shout ‘Princess, behind’. Time it right, do it correctly; they don’t get far and they’ll probably learn immediately if not the second or third time. You must react immediately and always be consistent; if you do the dog will never be a bolter. • Anna Holland is teaching people dog training. For more information www.annaholland.co.nz or Ph 06) 212 4848 or email@example.com
RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
ANIMAL HEALTH 33
Top award for prof Research to find out if lepto vaccines working SCIENTISTS AT Massey University have been awarded $480,000 to find out whether vaccinating dairy cattle against the bacterial disease leptospirosis has been fully effective. Preliminary research suggests perhaps not. So the independent not-for-profit Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (Agmardt) and the Sustainable Farming Fund of the Ministry for Primary Industries, are funding three years of further research to verify this and determine what can be done better in future. The funding is going to scientists from the Farmer Leptospirosis Action Group, who will quantify vaccine programme efficiency in dairy herds across New Zealand by collecting blood and urine samples from animals and questioning farmers about Professor Cord Heuer their vaccination practices. They will then develop best practice guidelines for the industry. Group member professor Cord Heuer, from Massey’s Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, says vaccination programmes were probably compromised by timing and incorrect on-farm management of vaccination. “By interviewing farms, collecting samples and other information we can find out exactly why [it was not effective],” Heuer says. A key activity will be making the guidelines and recommendations from the research readily available to farmers,
veterinarians and industry stakeholders through the Know Lepto website, a DVD and professional meetings. Heuer says people right across the dairy industry will benefit from the research. “We expect people to respond well to the research. There’s already high awareness and use of vaccines and ongoing marketing campaigns. “This research is a major contribution to the improvement of vaccination prac-
tices of dairy cattle. It will have implications for animal health and welfare as well as occupational safety and health of farmers, farm workers and professionals working in the dairy and allied industry.” The Leptospirosis Research Group includes world leaders in leptospirosis disease and diagnosis research Dr Jackie Benschop, Dr Julie-Collins-Emerson, professor Peter Wilson and professor Heuer – all from Massey. The programme is also supported by Rural Women New Zealand, the New Zealand Veterinary Association, Dairy New Zealand and Federated Farmers.
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MASSEY UNIVERSITY professor Velmurugu (Ravi) Ravindran has been awarded the New Zealand Society of Animal Production’s McMeekan Memorial Award, the country’s highest honour for a production animal scientist. The award is given only to an outstanding individual or group worthy of the honour; it was last awarded in 2013. Ravindran, from Massey’s Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, specialises in poultry nutrition, with emphasis on nutrient metabolism, feed enzymes, feed evaluation, amino acid availability, gut flora management and early nutrition in poultry. Senior lecturer Dr Nicola Schreurs, who nominated professor Ravindran for the award, says his strong ties with
Professor Ravi Ravindran speaking at the New Zealand Society of Animal Production conference.
the industry have allowed for rapid advances in technology. “The progressiveness of the poultry industry is attributable to the work that Ravi has done. “He is also widely acknowledged as a researcher who laid the foundations for much of the current understand-
ing of feed enzyme technology. This is becoming more critical in the current context of sustainability – maximising the utilisation of available feed resources and lowering the environmental impact from animal production.” The McMeekan Memorial Award honours
Dr Harold McMeeken, a distinguished leader in animal production research and administration in NZ and worldwide. He influenced NZ agricultural research and the development of Ruakura as a world renowned research centre.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
34 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
Rotary harvester on the charge in Southland MARK DANIEL email@example.com
IT’S SAFE to say that sales of combine harvesters in Southland are relatively few, so it’s interesting to hear of a new Massey Ferguson hitting the paddocks in February and making a big impact during the recent harvest for owners Mark and Sonia Dillon, Riversdale. The Dillons purchase of the MF 9560 has seen a move up from an elderly MF865 and brother James’s equally elderly MF 750 to help complete the harvest. With the home cropping farm and a contracting business, the machine did a mixed workload of barley, wheat and oats – amounting to around 600ha and dealing with the vagaries of Southland weather. The heart of the machine is a 3.5m rotor mounted longitudinally in the chassis where it separates the grain
from the straw with helical paddles, through a 12 section spring-loaded concave, to reduce chance of blockages. The rotor is fed by a feed drum accelerator that splits the crop flow into three streams to ensure the rotor is filled to capacity and the load is balanced. Once separated, the grain passes to a 6.1m2 cleaning area with a dual outlet fan. Powers comes from the latest Agco Power/Sisu engine with a capacity of 9.8L and an output of around 460hp that boosts to 502hp for unloading on the move. The driveline consists of a four speed constant mesh unit coupled to a two stage hydrostatic ground drive unit, so effectively the operator has a choice of eight speeds to suit different field conditions, but more importantly the ability to shift from high to low in difficult conditions. Grain goes into a 12,300L/9.5 tonne holding tank that unloads at 158L/sec. Dillon says they were impressed
Mark Dillon and his new MF 9560 harvester in action earlier this year.
with the machine’s output in the season just gone: it surpassed that of the two older machines by a long way. “In one afternoon we cleared 30ha and 350 tonnes. In wheats we saw some big crops which were laid and the machine handled them well even though some samples were about 23% moisture. In barley we also saw some crops at 9-10t/ha that we thrashed with
impression of the machine is that of a rugged build, plenty of power, ease of maintenance with only nine belts and three chains on the whole machine. “And it has a large comfortable cab, with fingertip controls for all functions and monitoring done through one touch screen that also incorporated the guidance system.”
a rotor speed of 480rpm, but it still was gentle on the straw required for baling.” Dillon says one big change was the move from a 16 foot header front to a 30 foot unit on the new machine, causing some trepidation about the undulating Southland terrain. This proved to be unfounded and was handled easily by the machine’s flex-front header. “Harvest was a breeze and the
FAREWELL DESY! WELL-KNOWN SOUTHLAND engineering identity Des James recently died after a long illness. Des started James Engineering Ltd over 25 years ago, producing subsoilers and mole ploughs. The company, which he sold a few years ago though it retains his name, has gone on to become a leader in soil aeration equipment in New Zealand, producing a range of well-engineered, high quality machines. Des was a stalwart of the field days circuit for many years, travelling to each
show to display his latest engineering feat. Located near Gore, James Engineering products are now sold throughout NZ. The company’s equipment is also exported to a number of countries, testimony to the quality of the machinery and to Des James’ visionary thinking. An extensive profile of Des James, and his contribution to NZ agriculture, will appear soon in Rural News.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 35 MOUNTED SPRAYERS HANDY ON SLOPES
JCB goes ‘All Black’
FEW NEW Zealand farmers don’t use a sprayer, so spray specialist Croplands’ new three point linkage mounted machines in 300, 600 and 800L capacities should find a ready market. Central to the range is a newly designed tank with a deep sump with a central suction point that allows use on sidling land, even when liquid levels are low, without drawing air; this has the abil-
The new 5 series tractors from Deutz-Fahr deliver unparalleled on-farm productivity with industry leading features like cab suspension, Stop & Go, 4-wheel braking, an ultra-clean tier 4 engine and a super quiet, ergonomically designed cabin. The 5 series provides the benefits of a big tractor in a compact, muscular 100-130Hp tractor ideally suited to New Zealand farming. Call your local Deutz-Fahr dealer for a demonstration today, and prepare to be impressed.
looked after by a 15L clean water tank for hand washing and cleanup. All units are supplied with a Croplands AR80 LFR (liquid fertiliser ready) pump with 80L/min output and a maximum pressure of 20 bar. A UCM regulator with four manual section taps and a master on/off switch takes care of control. A tank mounted agitation
A N E W A P P R OAC H TO PRODUCTIVIT Y
IT’S FITTING in a Rugby World Cup year – and with a draw that looks like New Zealand will be somewhere near the end of the tournament – that JCB distributor Landpower has introduced a special version of the 435S-Agri wheeled loader. With an all-black livery, silver fern motifs and a signature by JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford, the 435 will cut a dash in any contractors’ machinery lineup The machine has a number of features that make it a popular choice for many of NZ silage makers, not least the 6.7L Cummins QSB engine that develops 230hp and 945Nm of torque at 1500rpm. It meets Tier4i emission regulations by using diesel particulate filter (DPF) and diesel oxidisation catalyst (DOC) and removes the need to use Ad-Blue. Interestingly, with fuel being a major input after wages, added functions include an automatic idle function that returns the engine to 700 rpm after 30 seconds of inactivity, and an eco mode that restricts maximum speed to 1800rpm; these play their part in keeping fuel consumption as low as possible. And the cooling system has a variable rate fan that looks at ambient and vehicle temperatures and adjusts its speed accordingly. Engine power is transmitted to a six-speed, ZF torque convertor transmission with close ratios, again to improve fuel consumption; it has a 100% torque lock function to transmit all useable power to the driveline to maximise pushing power. The output of the loader is also aided by electronic control of the ‘clutch-out’ function, allowing progressive take up and control of tractive effort via the transmission, while pushing maximum power to the hydraulic circuits. The driveline is completed with the inclusion of HD axles from ZF that have a service interval of 1500 hours. Hydraulic function is by twin closed-centre, variable displacement pumps with a combined capacity of 264L/ min that cycle rapidly, and the machine’s 14t operating weight should ensure traction is not a problem. Operator comfort is assured in the large panoramic cab, sited high up on the machine: its three-piece windscreen gives excellent forward visibility and a sloping engine hood gives the best view rearward at all times. Other features helping daily output include air conditioning and climate control, and additional loader functions to set detents for maximum lift height and ‘return to dig’. The loader boom also has the ‘Smoothride’ suspension system that reduces spillage and shock loads on the machine and improves driver comfort. “The special edition 435S celebrates our distribution agreement with JCB covering 25 years,” says JCB product manager for Landpower, Dave Knowles. “Notwithstanding the special livery, these machines are purpose built for high performance and easy operation. With high output foragers producing huge tonnages for ensiling it’s important to have a machine at the clamp that can deal with the loads, and accurately place and consolidate at the same time.”
ity to drain out completely when required. The sump also acts as a baffle and stops liquid surging too much in transport. A side fill lid of 355mm diameter gives good access for filling and cleaning, while the 80L flush tank allows wash-out before the sprayer leaves the field. An optional contained flushing and rinsing system can be specified if required. The operator is also
system is included – a must for keeping solids in suspension for liquid fertiliser application. The tank, pump and control systems are carried in a fully galvanised frame with an eye to the future with mounting points for optional accessories like hose reels, controllers or parking legs. All units are compatible with current GPS systems. www.croplands.com.au
RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
36 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
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Versatile back in the paddock MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
VERSATILE HAS a good pedigree when it comes to building tractors. Having built the first equal wheel 4WD, the D100, in 1966, the company has gone on to build machines for broadacre farmers in North America and Canada, with a reputation for big, strong and simple. More importantly they have always fulfilled that main requirement of a heavy tractor – getting the power to the ground. After being a casualty of the CNH merger of the late 1990s they changed hands a few times and the name disappeared, but re-emerged in 2008 after being acquired by Rostelmash. Recently making a resurgence in New Zealand, the new 320hp FWA series of row-crop tractors certainly seem to knock out some very good stats. Among engines from industry powerhouse Cummins, the 6-cyl QSC 8.6 unit packs a punch at 322hp maximum power and 1383 Nm torque, and maintains emission regulations at Tier 3 levels. Mated to a Caterpillar-sourced full power-
Hawke’s Bay contractor Stu Mawley with his two 250hp Versatile tractors.
shift transmission with 16 forward and 9 reverse speeds, the tractor is easy to get moving and up to operating speed. The heavy duty back end offers specs that allow the machine to be taken to a 15 tonne operating weight, with 3-point linkage capacities of 9000kg and hydraulic flow from the closed centre/load sensing system up to 205L/min. The operator is well looked after in the HQ cab with 35% more forward visibility, 7m2 of glass and a semi-active air ride seat with swivel; that should add up to a comfortable day night for the operator. Down in Hawkes Bay,
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contractor Stu Mawley, Te Mata Contractors, is one such person. Having run two 250hp Versatiles for the last four and a half years, clocking up an impressive 8500 hours on each, he knew his two new 320s would be up to the task. Te Mata Contractors specialises in row crop work, planting and general cultivation. Many times of the year the company operates 24/7 so reliability and economy are key points in tractor choice. These were uppermost when the 250s came up for replacement. “The simplicity of the Versatile and, in partic-
ular, the easy servicing that can be largely done in house was a clincher,” Mawley says. “The 320s will be our front line tractors doing specialised work pulling disc harrows, deep rippers, rotary hoes and power harrows. They are used by several drivers, and run non-stop during a lot of the season, so servicing is paramount. Versatile has put a lot of thought into the new models with daily checks all done at ground level using easy to read sight glasses, and a one-piece hood for access.” Commenting on the latest models, Brett
Maber, tractor sales manager Power Farming, says Versatile has spent many millions on R&D on these new models, addressing issues that largely revolved around styling. “They have always had a reputation for hard work and a long life with over-engineered components; that doesn’t change because it is based on a 50 year history in tough conditions. What we see now, however, is a great deal more sophistication and style that I am sure will appeal to NZ farmers and result in a lot more interest and ultimately sales.” www.powerfarming. co.nz
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 37 NZ tractor sales down WITH TRACTOR sales for the first half of 2015 down 17% on the same period in 2014, the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) sees strong prospects for a recovery long term. “After exceptional sales in 2014 we expected a small decline in 2015,” says TAMA president Mark HamiltonManns. “Though the dip is greater than anticipated, we expect sales to recover
50% more apprentices -- 150 new jobs in the industry. “The continuing demand for new tractors and machinery demonstrates the desire by New Zealand farmers to upgrade ageing equipment with new technology,” says Hamilton–Manns. “In doing so they will maximise output while reducing annual repair and maintenance costs.”
during the second half of the year.” Tractor sales fell from last year’s 1770 to 1465. There were declines in the high volume areas of Waikato and Southland, while Auckland, East Cape and South Canterbury bucked the trend with gains. Hamilton-Manns says the industry is in good heart, a survey of members showing a perceived need to recruit
US MACHINERY EXPORTS SLUMP MARK DANIEL email@example.com
Tedder upgrades make for fewer snags POTTINGER HAS introduced upgrades from the large trailed HIT tedder series to smaller 8-rotor models with working widths of up to 8.86m. The headstock is a sturdy three-point pivoting unit with absorber struts as standard and the best tracking performance prevents the tedder from jolting during operation, working well on slopes. The horizontal headstock guidance provides high clearance at headland turns and prevents under-running on slopes. A newly designed DynaTech rotor unit and tine arm has been introduced, using smaller rotor diameters and either five or six curved tine arms. And a new tine design ensures optimum tedding quality and ground tracking for a superior spread pattern, giving faster and more uniform wilting of forage. This rotor geometry ensures forage cannot snag or wrap around the tine arms, and a gentle uptake by the trailing, sweeping arms ensures the crop is sub-
jected to less damage between the tine arms, reducing crop losses. Spreading angles can be adjusted on each rotor in three steps without tools. All rotors have 16 x 6.5-8 tyres, better protected from contamination by a newly designed axle. An optional front jockey wheel system is available which ensures optimum ground tracking for protection of the sward and forage. The new HIT 8.91 T trailed version has transport wheels that fold up hydraulically over the rotors during operation, achieving an optimal centre of gravity and preventing oscillation during work. These make it ideal for use with smaller tractors. Operation is straightforward, activated using a double-acting connection with sequential control. Fence line tedding systems are available for all models to clear the crop from fence lines. – Mark Daniel
The top 10 countries for US made farm machinery for the first quarter 2015 (by monetary value) were:
WE KNOW it’s tough on the global stage and reports from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) -- the US farm machinery body -- show that exports to Europe are down 35% for the first quarter of 2015 vs compared to 2014. AEM shows a 17% decline in overall exports; $1.82 billion of farm equipment was shipped to global markets. AEM noted that all world regions declined.
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
38 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS / RURAL TRADER
Bigger, faster, stronger! AS FARMERS and contractors seek more efficiencies, we see average horsepower climbing while implements get wider, longer or heavier. The biggest change in the last decade is the increase in tractor speeds. It used to be the norm for the ‘old faithful’ Ford 4000 to rattle along at 30km/h; now everything off the shelf now runs at 40km/h, contractors favour 50km/h for road work and some manufacturers in the last three years have introduced, subject to local regulations, 60km/h rocketships. So, it was always going to be inevitable that some regulatory body was going to take a long, hard look at the other side of the equa-
tion and decide if regulation was needed to bring these machines back to a safe controlled standstill: step forward the good old E.U. New EU braking regulations will come into force in 2016 and include a number of new and higher requirements in tractor braking performance, compatibility, safety standards and stability. Of course, because most New Zealand tractors are sourced from
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Europe, these systems are likely to be part and parcel of the vehicles the importers bring to our shores. Requirements of compatibility between tractor and towed vehicle have been included to ensure braking distances are shortened and the systems are optimised for towing and towed vehicles. As of 2016, antilock braking systems (ABS) will be mandatory on all tractors capable of 60km/h or more. There is also a move to make this regulation applicable to tractors with a capability of 40-60km/h by 2020. So in the run-up to 2016, and the implementation of the new regulations, manufacturers are making big investments
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and engineering changes to their machines to bring them into line with these tougher requirements. A major challenge lies in the fitting of ABS to the hydraulic braking systems fitted to most tractors currently available, since ABS is, at the moment, only suitable for pneumatic systems.
Where will this leave NZ? Especially when there seems to be a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to anything that looks like it will cost a few dollars? The uprated tractors for the Euro market are likely to find their way to our shores with this technology already on board. NZ tractor and machinery
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importers and dealers will need to embrace the technology and sell their benefits to the customers. Already, over the past few years, we are seeing more European style tipping trailers being sold, from a humble five tonnes to large tandem axle units weighing 12 tonnes and more. The same applies
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to feed wagons: as dairy operations get larger, so do feed wagons, as evidenced by a number of 16m3 units on the field days circuit. These shouldn’t be on the road behind tractors weighing five to seven tonnes without proper braking systems, as the ‘tail wagging the dog’ syndrome is likely to occur. And let’s not forget the Kiwi favourite, the quick hitch – a lump of folded angle iron with a central pin, carried 1m behind the recommended towing point of the tractor (the axle) to move heavy trailers. Get real; it’s time we embraced proper manufacturer-rated pickup hitches to do the job. Then she’ll be right!
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FLY OR LICE PROBLEM?
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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 4, 2015
RURAL TRADER 39
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Shoof Speedy Feeder Complete 2.5 L Normally $29.99
McKee Plastics 3m Culvert Trough on Legs
Iodine Tincture Spray 2.5% 750 ml
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Terms and Conditions: All offers and prices are valid 1/7/2015 - 30/9/2015 unless stated otherwise, or while stocks last. Prices include GST and are subject to change. Some products may not be available in all stores but may be ordered on request. Prices do not include delivery, delivery costs are additional. Images are for illustrative purposes only.
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Rural News 4 August 2015