Rural News 01 March 2016

Page 1



Low interest rates a thing of the past? PAGE 14

There is a growing interest in farming dairy sheep. PAGE 30


MARCH 1, 2016: ISSUE 602

MANAGEMENT Farmers need to change their attitude to fertiliser spreading on hill country.


Cows out; sheep in! PETER BURKE

IN A move that illustrates the current parlous state of the dairy industry, the country’s biggest farmer is pulling out of dairy and moving into sheep milking. As part of its shift away from dairying, Landcorp’s arrangement to develop further dairy farms in the Central North Island for a private investor, Wairakei Pastoral, is being reviewed.

The state-owned farmer’s strategy will be revealed in the coming weeks, chief executive Steven Carden told Rural News. “What this is going to show – in general terms – is to slow down the amount of dairy development we are looking to do nationally. We have finished the dairy development work in Canterbury and we may do a small amount of dairy development work in a couple of discreet areas – only where the economic

and environmental hurdles can be overcome,” he says. Carden hints that the four Wairakei Pastoral dairy farms coming on line may not go ahead in quite the way originally envisaged. The move away from dairying – a strategy which Carden says is supported by the Government – is aimed at improving cash flow and reducing exposure to the very highs and very lows of the global milk price. He says

this exposure puts real pressure on Landcorp’s bottom line and is not conducive to long term investment. “We want to get away from that.” Sheep milking is one of several new initiatives and Landcorp wants to position itself as a producer of high-earning, value-added products. Its new sheep milking operation, near Taupo, has attracted both local and international attention. TO PAGE 5

BANKS ON THE BRINK? IT DEPENDS how bad it gets before banks take drastic action against deeply indebted dairy farmers. That’s the view of Dr David Tripe – senior lecturer in banking studies at Massey University – who says banks are probably developing a set of scenarios to set a policy for what actions they may take in the future as debt in the dairy industry continues to rise. Tripe believes if somebody is in negative equity and negative debt servicing the banks might have some procedure for selling up – depending on how much cash they could recover by doing this. He says if a bank sells someone up; the chances TO PAGE 3

IN THEY GO! Gordon Lucas, with mate Peter, in action during the Class 2, short head competition at the Waiau Collie Club dog trails, last month. Lucas was one of more than 120 competitors and dogs – from all over Canterbury – who battled it out in the four classes – long head, short head, straight hunt and zigzag hunt – over two days near Waiau, in North Canterbury, during February. The Waiau Collie Club was holding its 88th annual sheep dog trials and also hosting the Farmlands Canterbury Centre Championship for the first time in a number of years. - PHOTO RICHARD COSGROVE. More photos and a report on the event pages 12-13.

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1080 blackmailer’s motive disputed



NEWS ������������������������������������ 1-17 WORLD ������������������������������������� 20 MARKETS ������������������������� 18-19 AGRIBUSINESS ��������������������� 21 HOUND, EDNA ����������������������� 22 CONTACTS ������������������������������ 22 OPINION �����������������������������22-24 MANAGEMENT �������������� 26-29 ANIMAL HEALTH ���������� 30-32 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS ���������������������� 33-38 RURAL TRADER ������������ 38-39

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THE MAN who threatened to put 1080 into infant formula has been named as Jeremy Hamish Kerr, 60, of Auckland. He was creator of a pest-control product and 1080 alternative Feratox. He pleaded guilty in December to two counts of blackmail. Threats were sent to Federated Farmers and Fonterra in November 2014 threatening to poison infant formula if New Zealand did not stop using 1080 by the end of March 2015. The Crown asserts he was motivated by financial gain, which he denied at a disputed facts hearing started last week in the High Court at Auckland to give the judge greater clarity around his motives. The hearing was the first time

his identity was made public. Kerr claimed he was suffering from poor mental health and “cracked”. He said he was triggered by media reports on 1080 and comments by Environment Minister Nick Smith. Kerr told police royalties totalled $100,000 a year on Feratox and the Crown asserts he stood to gain financially if 1080 was banned. The hearing was adjourned until next month. Kerr could face 14 years behind bars. Two companies dealing in pest control products, Connovation Ltd and Connovation Research Ltd, issued statements emphasising their companies are not connected to those companies operated by Jeremy Kerr. Infant Nutrition Council chief executive Jan Carey says it was a highly despicable thing to do.

However, she believes that any smaller infant formula businesses going out of business would be more to do with the Chinese changing to regulations to make it more difficult for contract manufacturing than the 1080 scare. “The Chinese want supply integrity, they want an integrated system. With the small companies that have gone out of business it is much more likely to be because of the changes in Chinese regulations… than the 1080 threat.” She can’t say speak for individual businesses that may have been affected by the 1080 threat, but she does know that brand companies without manufacturing facilities are having trouble surviving. @rural_news

Good morning sunflower!

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: Advertising material: Rural News online: Subscriptions: ABC audited circulation 81,004 as at 30.06.2015

THIS STUNNING crop of sunflowers flowering near Methven, Mid-Canterbury is part of small but growing crop in New Zealand. “Only around 500 hectares of sunflowers are grown commercially each year,” says North Otago Peter Mitchell Sunflower grower. Most is grown in North Otago, some in Canterbury and a few small crops elsewhere. The main market for these towering giants of the plant world is in bird or stock feed. A little known fact of sunflowers is that they are heliotropic, which means that they will follow the path of the sun across the sky from east to west each day. However they are very tempting to birds with losses to pest birds being very high if not protected, many farmers consider not attempting to grow sunflowers because of the high risk of predation. – PHOTO RICHARD COSGROVE

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it will suffer a loss and if it’s done sooner rather than later the lower the loss. Tripe says while the banks will weigh up any negative public opinion from foreclosing – in the end and in certain cases – they may still go ahead. “If someone is in a hopeless position and they would be better off moving off the land, it doesn’t mean they (the banks) will be put off doing that,” he told Rural News. “I think they will say it’s better to get these people off the land and if there is to be a shortfall we’ll worry about that when we sell the property. So they would sell it now and the shortfall might be $50,000, but if they muck around that might increase to $200,000.” Tripe says by getting a new operator on the farm quickly, banks will get some money back as opposed to losing more. However, Tripe says banks don’t want to own dairy farms and they won’t go in with guns blazing to remove people from the land. He says one of the issues that banks face in dealing with the present downturn is a lack of institutional memory. He says most of the people who have dealt with such crisis in the past have retired from the banks. “The further you get from a crunch, the fewer people will remember it,” he adds. Tripe says the present dairy crisis reminds him of the problems the kiwifruit industry went through about 30 years ago when prices fell dramatically. He says, in the present situation, farmers need to keep in close contact with their bank and other rural professionals. – Peter Burke

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MIE ‘noise’ won’t bring change – BLNZ PAM TIPA

NO AMOUNT of noise from farmer ginger groups will bring change in the meat industry if the company boards choose not to adopt the measures they are calling for, says Beef+Lamb NZ chairman James Parson. That’s one reason Beef+Lamb NZ does not support further funding of Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) initiatives. “That doesn’t for a second say that Beef+Lamb has no desire for a better structure and

better returns for farmers. We just can’t see how funding MIE is going to achieve any of the stated goals that they have,” Parsons told Rural News. “At the end of the day it needs to be driven by the people that have the levers around these commercial companies. The boards of the companies need to be getting together. “If they have no appetite, no matter how much lobbying and noise that farmer ginger groups make, if the board chooses not to adopt some of those measures it is just not going to happen.

“That is despite MIE having endorsed candidates being elected onto the boards of some of those co-ops.” Regarding further funding to MIE, Parsons says “we felt these guys had done a lot of work with considerable effort – they are very passionate farmers that want structural reform and there is nothing wrong with that. “However, they’ve already done a significant amount of work – the Pathways report which is farmer funded through B+LNZ levy investment – and despite all their

efforts they haven’t been successful to date in terms of achieving that structural reform. “If anything it is further away with the Silver Fern Farms shareholder vote, which was strongly in support of the deal with Shanghai Maling. “MIE has also had no support from the boards of the two cooperatives. So for B+LNZ to further fund MIE to push their agenda – when clearly there is no appetite for change from the board or the shareholders of one of the cooperatives – would

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Beef + Lamb chair James Parsons.

not be wise investment.” MIE have also proposed in a remit to the B=LNZ annual meeting, on March 23, that the two positions of processor representatives on the B+LNZ board be removed and replaced initially with directors of MIE. Parsons says a review of the B+LNZ constitution is also underway – which it committed to mid last year. They will discuss the review at this year’s winter meetings with farmers. “We already started the process of looking at the constitution. We already had some board papers on it when their (MIE) remit came through. “We also didn’t think it would be appropriate for MIE to then put up directors. They are a small group of enthusiastic farmers.

eventual foreign monopoly of our supply chain. “What’s increasingly obvious as we lose a million plus sheep every year, year on year that the best efforts of B+LNZ are not working,” he says. “It is time our farmer organisation had a makeover.” There has been no attempt to come to grips with the issues and solutions identified in the Pathways Report, McGaveston says. “The Red Meat Strategy report identified that over 50% of farmers lack the wherewithal to adequately reinvest in their business. “There is no doubt the red meat sector is on a knife edge and there is no doubt the problems are both imminent and urgent.”

“There is a process we would need to run if we were to have independents on the board - we changed the governance structure to not have processor nominated directors there. “It wouldn’t be appropriate for MIE to then have the right to put those directors up.” In a newsletter to farmers, MIE chairman Dave McGaveston says B+LNZ has done a good job behind the farmgate, but needs to step outside its comfort zone and swing support behind MIE’s approach to resolve the issues beyond the farmgate. He says if the Silver Fern Farm deal with Shanghai Maling goes through, most pundits are predicting the procurement war will end with an



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Lower dairy prices land Landcorp in the red PETER BURKE

LANDCORP FARMING is heading for a significant loss this year – on the back of low prices for dairy and other commodities. The forecasted loss of between $8 million and $10 million comes as chief executive Steven Carden continues to take steps to reduce the state owned farmer’s exposure to the dairy industry. He told Rural News that despite adjusting costs within the company it was impossible to avoid being caught up in a year when returns from all commodity products were low. Carden has a strategy in place which will see the state-owned farmer reduce its exposure to the volatility of the dairy sector in particular. Recently, it announced that Landcorp’s contract to sharemilk the Shanghai Pengxin

Steven Carden

farms would end next May when it officially expires. “As a company we are trying to make a bit of shift away from our focus on dairying. The Shanghai Pengxin relationship has been successful over the last years and we have accomplished all we set

out to achieve and what we were required to and wanted to do under the agreement,” Carden says. “We considered this the right time to reinvest our capital into other areas of the business more in line with our strategy in such things such as sheep milking.” When the farms are fully back in Shanghai Pengxin’s hands, staff working on them will have the option of remaining there or switching back to Landcorp. Carden says their employment is secure. While Landcorp is parting company with Shanghai Pengxin it is not ruling out managing other farms. Carden says it has successful partnerships with Iwi and is looking to grow these – assuming they link in with the new Landcorp strategy. “We like those partnerships where we have some say in where

the milk goes. With Shanghai Pengxin they directed where the milk should go and that just doesn’t align with Landcorp’s view as we want to be more involved with our product post farm gate,” Carden explains. “They sold milk to the Maori dairy company Miraka. (Landcorp is a Fonterra supplier) The milk was turned to WMP and UHT and it had a very specific strategy about sending product through Miraka to China. That is a strategy that Landcorp wasn’t involved in or particularly wants to be involved in.” Carden says in the past the company has been a bit guilty of one track; with a focus on developing a large footprint on dairy. He says while some great dairy farms have been built it has put a bit of pressure environmentally on areas which they don’t think is appropriate going forward.

“We like the environmental footprint for sheep milking,” Carden told Rural News. “What we particularly like is that we are developing a product which

first of all tastes great. “It’s got some pretty amazing nutritional characteristics and it’s being really carefully developed and marketed in a way that’s going to position it as a true,

premium brand,” he says. “Secondly, what we like about it is there is a lot of IP that is being developed in building the farm systems – particularly driving the

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Cows out; sheep in FROM PAGE 1


yields that are required and to produce at the scale that we need to meet the demand.” Carden says if he could build businesses that had those two characteristics each time

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Water problems not all farming’s fault – Smith PETER BURKE

THE COUNTRY needs to be very careful about not allowing the debate over fresh water quality to be solely about the dairy industry. That’s the view of Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith who, along with Primary Industry Minister Nathan Guy, recently released a consultation document on fresh water entitled ‘Next Steps’. This sets out a series of initiatives to improve water quality in lakes, rivers and waterways. One of the main proposals centres on having dairy cows and pigs excluded from waterways by next July and beef and deer being phased in by 2030. A fine of $100 per animal up to a maximum of $2000 is also proposed. Smith told Rural News that improving water quality is not just an issue for rural NZ, but for urban NZ as well.

“We need to be honest with city folk and tell them that their water ways are the most polluted. Having said that, we need farmers to appreciate that our biggest water quality problem by scale is in those areas where there is intensive farming,” he adds. “The Government wants to see that everybody does their share of the heavy lifting. There is no question that dairy farmers are under substantial financial pressure and the Government does need to take that into account. “With that in mind, our view is that the direction around water quality needs to be constant, but the pace needs to be adjusted to take account of the level of financial pressure the dairy industry is under at the moment.” Smith says, in actual fact, the requirement to fence cows out of water ways is not a major one for the dairy industry. He says about 98% of dairy farmers already comply and there are just a few stragglers that need to be dealt with.

Nick Smith says we need to be careful that debate over water quality is not all about dairy.



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NEWS 7 Public expectations on water need to be realistic NICK SMITH concedes that understanding water issues are complex, but believes many people do not appreciate some of

the basic elements of water science. He says people need to understand that all our water bodies have different issues – be they nutrients, bacteria or sediment. Smith says overall water quality in NZ is very good. “When I hear people saying that every water body must be swimmable those are slogans rather than substance and slogans will not improve water quality,” he told Rural News. “Not every water body in NZ was swimmable before people arrived in NZ. “The reality is that every water body in a flood will have faecal coliforms counts that make them unsafe to swim.” Smith says the science around water quality is challenging because each of our water bodies ■■ have different issues and that ■■ there is no single, magic bullet fix ■■ for a complex problem. He says ■■ another issue – which is hard to ■■ communicate – is the hydrolog■■ ical cycle. ■■ This refers to the time it takes for deep ground water to flow ■■ from point A to B. In some cases, ■■ it can take between 20 to 80 years


for the effects of pollution to show up. He says in Nelson ground water polluted by a pig farm resulted in a local council having to spend $13 million on a new treatment plant. The proposal to take the issue of managing stock exclusions away from regional councils may surprise some. However, Smith says councils have been struggling with the complexity and politics of fresh water management. “But I also think that central governments needs to put its hand up and say we have not provided sufficiently clear national direction,” he says.


Nick Smith

THE 45 page document goes over in detail the state of NZ water ways. It states the obvious – such as the fact that water quality has been declining; is over allocated in some areas; is not used very efficiently with border dyke-type irrigation schemes and the process of decision making around water related issues can litigious. It also notes that there has been a lack of robust information on the impacts and outcomes of management decisions and that Iwi values are not always adequately considered in decision making. The report raises the issue of irrigation systems and stresses

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the value of new technologies in making the best use of water. It also notes that the issue is more complex than just requiring all water bodies to be swimmable at all times. In regards to stock exclusion standards, the Government is proposing to take this role away from regional councils as part of an attempt to get a simpler and consistent set of rules. The report also proposes a series of changes to the National Policy Statement on Fresh Water Management to define such things as what it actually means to ‘maintain and improve water quality’ and to set up a regime to protect native fish species in water bodies. It also has proposals around the management of sensitive lakes and lagoons. It wants better engagement with Iwi and is planning to set up a $100 million fund to clean-up polluted lakes, aquifers and water bodies. A series of public meetings to discuss the proposals will be held around the country and consultation on the document closes on the 22nd of April


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Beef+Lamb may shift its focus PAM TIPA

BEEF+LAMB NZ say it is looking at changes to its market development investment strategy – if it stays in market development at all. Chairman James Parsons says the industry good body proposes more focus on establishing new markets rather than maintaining existing ones. He says Germany is an example a non-traditional market where lamb has been successfully promoted – with good returns there now offsetting declines in other markets. Parsons said in a recent B+LNZ lamb market analysis report that the declining demand for lamb could not be ignored. “As a multi-billion dollar sector we collectively invest a pitiful amount into telling our story,” he said. Parsons explained to Rural News B+LNZ been running a review process on market development investment.

“It has thrown up some options and good insights on what we would do differently if B+LNZ are to stay in market development,” he says. “We want to drill down on those a bit more and then come out to farmers with some options. We are talking to meat companies about where they operate and where we could operate. “We run meetings through winter and we will test the options with farmers at those.” Parsons says these options are only if B+LNZ continue in the market development space – the other option is to exit completely. “We can carry on doing promotion, but there are other things we can do with that farmer levy investment as well and that could be behind the farmgate. So it is really important that farmers have ownership of where they go,” he says. But if B+LNZ continue in market development, it proposes to move more focus on establishing new markets – rather than just trying to maintain the existing ones.

Solid half year

“There’s a need to tell our story particularly in developing markets - building a greater demand for our products. This is not just lamb, it would be beef as well,” he says. “There’s increasing market access opportunities with new trade agreements.” Parsons says an example of where promotions have helped develop consumption is Germany. “That has helped keep returns up,” he says. “We have done a significant number of indoor tasting sessions for New Zealand lamb in retail stores throughout Germany in partnership with importers. “Volumes of lamb going into Germany have been quite strong. That has help offset the softer returns and demand for lamb in the UK and other parts of the globe. Parson says they will also discuss with farmers whether B+LNZ has a role in issues management for instance where food safety or an animal welfare problem could affect the reputation of the red meat sector.

DESPITE PGG Wrightson’s (PGW) half- umes were lower. “The net effect was neutral, with earnyear earnings being down on last year’s record – the rural services company still ings from domestic livestock overall in line posted is second-best result in nearly a with the prior period.” PGW says a wet spring in South Amerdecade. Operating earnings were $30.93 mil- ica had hurt its seed and grain earnings where earnings fell to $11.7m lion for the six months ended from $13.5m. However, the December 31 2015, down New Zealand seed busifrom $33.64m a year earlier. ness was strong with farmer After-tax profit was $16.06m, demand for forage and crop compared to $19.7m for 2014. seeds – notably brassica and PGW managing director Mark Dewdney says it’s fodder beet for winter feed. a very strong result in chalDemand for summer feed lenging trading conditions. such as chicory was also Dewdney says low dairy growing. prices and the threat of an The company has stuck El Nino drought had led to Mark Dwedney with its earlier guidance of more conservative spending full-year profit in the $61m by the farmer customers. to $67m range, but Dewdney warns that Total revenues fell by 5% to $623m. market conditions may push the final Gains in some divisions were offset by figure to the lower end of this range. weaker trading in others. The retail busiHe says the sheep and dairy sector ness lifted Ebitda to $24.8m from $24.3m sentiment has deteriorated over the last on slightly lower revenues. Horticulture three months, but confidence remained and the performance of the Fruitfed busi- strong in horticulture. The second half of ness were particularly strong in the first the year was typically the biggest for livehalf, Dewdney added stock trade. Livestock Ebitda was $2.6m, comHowever, Dewdney says higher propared to $3.35m a year earlier – with the cessing figures in the first half – because company blaming the decrease on no live of hot, dry conditions in many areas and cattle exports during the period. Domesti- the expectations for an El Nino weather cally, cattle and sheep tallies were higher, pattern – are likely to produce lower tradbut sheep prices were lower and dairy vol- ing volumes this financial year.

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Different approach needed in hill country PETER BURKE

Nathan Heath

THERE’S A call for a different approach to dealing with natural resource management issues in the hill country.

Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s land management team acting manager Nathan Heath says it needs to be much more in tune and adaptive to the needs of communities that depend on the hill country

for their livelihoods and wellbeing. He believes the process driving change in terms of freshwater management and intensive land use has been largely adversarial, which he claims often leads to a dis-


low, their drawings are high. He suspects some of this goes to educating their children at schools outside the district. “We need to start thinking about these actions on small communities such as Wairoa on the East Coast of the North Island and what the implications are for

“Besides talking about the environment and the economy, we need to start thinking about social issues as well.”

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policy people dominate the conversation using their models, their science, their politics and their policies. They tell people in the hill country what to do, but they have never taken time out and tried to do it themselves,” he told Rural News. “They have never embedded themselves in the reality of the true challenges of the hill country.” While Heath says policy makers need to be better informed about the hill country, he often notices a stubbornness that exists in rural communities. He says they want to be left alone and don’t see the need to change. He believes there is a need for some real conversations to take place. He says things like profitability are an issue for hill country farmers and notes that while their profits are

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connect between what is desired through plans and what can be practically implemented. Heath says changes are taking place in the hill country and what’s there and what’s done in nearby rural communities have economic and social effects on each other. “The scientists and the

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schools there,” Heaths adds. “Besides talking about the environment and the economy, we need to start thinking about social issues as well.” He says another example of farmer behaviour that can affect a community is where farmers don’t kill their stock at the local works and take them out of the district. “They may get a few cents more for their stock, but have they considered the social implications of what they doing?” Heath says before new rules and regulations are introduced, those in charge of this process need to look at new ways of talking to people. He says people should be talking about possibilities and not challenges. • More page 26

AUSSIE DAIRY FARMS SALE APPROVED NEW PLYMOUTH District Council’s multi-million dollar deal to sell Australia’s largest dairy operation to a Chinese company has been approved by the Australian government. The New Plymouth District Council accepted the A$280m binding offer from Moon Lake in November last year, subject only to the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Council can now finalise the A$280 million ($307 million) sale of the Van Diemen’s Land Company’s Tasmanian farms to Moon Lake Investments in the coming months. Australian treasurer Scott Morrison approved Moon Lake’s application to buy the dairy assets held by Tasmanian Land Company Ltd, which includes Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL). Taranaki Investment Management Limited (TIML) chairman Keith Sutton said they would now promptly proceed with the sale of VDL to Moon Lake.

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Get in behind... it’s a dog’s life! RICHARD COSGROVE

AS THE hot sun beats down on a sharp rocky Canterbury hillside, three sheep tentatively step forward out of the safety of the yards; they look suspiciously at the steep hill in front of them and the three humans flanking them. They haven’t noticed

the dog and handler standing further back as they creep cautiously forward uphill trying to keep away from the humans. Then with the shout of “time” it all changes, the dog comes flying at them like a missile; the silence is broken as the dog finds its voice with a cacophony of barks and the handler yells instructions and

whistles fervently as he manoeuvres the dog with skill to force the recalcitrant sheep up the hill. The scene above was repeated hundreds of times over as over 120 competitors and dogs from all over Canterbury battled it out in the four classes of long head, short head, straight hunt and zigzag hunt over two



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2 days, near Waiau, in North Canterbury. The Waiau Collie Club was holding its 88th annual Sheep Dog Trials and also was hosting the Farmlands Canterbury Centre Championship for the first time in a number of years. The Short and Long Head courses were close

to the road and fourwheel drive utes festooned with dog crates straddled the road trying for a good view of the action. But the access to the Zigzag and Straight Hunts was a bit more challenging, with four river crossings, that due to the welcome rain had a bit more water in them than

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normal for this time of year. Competitors, spectators and dogs alike sought shelter from the heat anywhere they could find, in riverbeds, under or up trees but all were vocal in their applause as the trialists locked in a battle of wits with the sheep. Several times the sheep had their way, with

their stubborn streak having no respect for skill or experience and in doing so destroyed the hopes of many a competitor during the weekend. A check of the brilliantly shined trophies and honours board at the results shed revealed a competition steeped in history and tradition. With all of the big names of Canterbury dog




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trials having had competed here, names like Dick Carmichael, Neil Manson, the late Ted Phipps and Peter Kidd were represented frequently at a competition that has continued right through the Second World War. Kidd, Manson and Carmichael were all competing over the weekend, with Manson and Kidd engaged in a tight battle for the straight hunt title. Manson won the Collie Clubs competition and readied himself for another run as the top five got to face off for the Canterbury title.

However, it wasn’t to be as Manson’s son Sam and dog Jack showed that next generation is ready to takeover, when he beat his father in the final, but just lost out to Peter Kidd. In winning the Straight Hunt with his dog Punch, the Tai Tapu-based Kidd was able to complete a three-peat of titles. The other championship titles went to Neil Evans and Rose from Omihi taking out the Long Head, Andy Clark and Jan taking out the Short Head title and Mark Mallinson and Yeti from Geraldine taking out Zigzag Hunt.

Grow to your full potential this year.

If you’re looking to develop your business skills and reach your potential, start by reading about someone who’s been there, done that. Alex Thompson runs a 50/50 sharemilking business in Canterbury. Juan Theron is a high country sheep farm manager. Their backgrounds are very different, but what they have in common – along with a strong work ethic - is a Diploma in Agribusiness Management gained through Primary ITO. Go to to watch their stories. Then prepare for your own inspirational next chapter.

1. Peter Binnie and Moss get to the business end of the Class 2 Short Head and will they or won’t they go in?

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2. Garry Woods’ dog Winnie holds the sheep back during her run in the Class 2 Short Head competition.

3. Waiting their turn – a bunch of eager dogs rearing to go.

Working in partnership:

Carmichael and Neil Manson head over to the final of the Class 4 Straight Hunt.

5. One of the great benefits of dog trialling is farmers get the chance to catch up with mates.


4. Doyens of the dog trialling game, Dick



Interest rates on the move PETER BURKE

FARMERS ARE being warned that low interest rates are going to be a thing of the past. Westpac’s head of agribusiness Mark Steed says this is already starting to happen right

across the banking sector and is caused by global volatility and the cost of banks securing finance from offshore. Steed says while the housing sector is different, the cost of borrowing for the commercial and agri sector is increasing and

will continue to do so – irrespective of what happens to the official cash rate (OCR). “This is not a future look, it’s the current look,” he says. With successive low pay outs in the dairy sector, Steed says the bank is noticing that

many of its clients are going through their budgets line by line and seeing what expenses are necessary and what are discretionary. He says farmers are making sure their decisions aren’t going to impact on their medium-term business. “I would make the

point that at an $8.60 payout, the average cost was between $5 and $5.50/kgMS,” he told Rural News. “What we are seeing with our customer base is people reducing those costs to the mid $3s; so they have pegged their expenses back by

Mark Steed

up to 40%. We are also seeing farm owners and managers doing the work in the shed themselves, whereas in the past they may have outsourced this to a contract milker.” Steed says while some farmers are good, there is a lot of disorganisation and financial illiteracy in the dairy sector and says the lower down you go the worse this tends to get. He adds there are some excellent, outstanding sharemilkers and contract milkers,

Rural News. “They are already being proactively worked on – in so far as developing strategies that are available to them to de-gear and sell non-core assets or land that are surplus to requirements.” What is not clear, Steed says, is the impact of the present downturn on land prices. He says there are a lot of farms for sale in Northland and Southland, but there have been insufficient sales to draw any major conclusions as yet.

“There is undoubtedly a number of some high-profile, highly-leveraged customers we know of that are going to be quite challenged.” – Mark Steed

but there are some who are not on top of their finances and get caught out with things such as bills from IRD. He warns they are going to have to lift their game. Steed says that ‘informal’ sales are taking place in the industry as farmers with high cost structures and eroding equity struggle to survive. But he doesn’t predict a wholesale up of farms and says his organisation is committed to supporting farmers through the present challenging times. “There is undoubtedly a number of some highprofile, highly-leveraged customers we know of that are going to be quite challenged,” Steed told 0025 OPS Disease_Alastair-Dairy (280x187)_FAmm.indd 1

30/09/15 2:27 pm

Overall, Steed says the mood of farmers is better than many might have imagined. He says El Nino hasn’t been as bad as predicted. “Dairy farmers are trying to manage what is within their control. They recognise somethings are outside their control and have made cuts to their businesses,” he explains. “They realise it is unsustainable to have an operating cost that at the $5 level and that it needs to be down at the mid $3s. In the medium and long term, they need to be able to farm for that and also have a debt level that is consistent around those levels.” @rural_news



Uncertainty of when dairy price will bounce back PAM TIPA

FONTERRA AND its global peers believe future prices will show that the dairy market is not as imbalanced as the current prices indicate, John Wilson says. The Fonterra chairman – in referring to the global situation – said there was, frankly, no certainty. World milk production is responding to the price signal everywhere, but Europe, he told about 160 dairy farmers at the Northland Dairy Development Trust annual general meeting in Whangarei, in February. “Virtually all farmers in Europe are not making money on a cash basis but they have invested significantly in facilities and are using them.” The view is that European production will decline “We are not just sure when and frankly I think it will require a weather event to give a sharp signal to the market.”

Fonterra does see strong demand globally, but is concerned about the world economies. The current low milk prices have been created by an excess amount of supply in the market, the customers are aware of that and therefore, the price point is dropping. “We don’t believe, and neither do our peers globally, that the market is as imbalanced as the price is indicating right now. The prices are also an indication of global financial fragility generally… also reflected John Wilson in oil.” An influence on the market is New Zealand milk supply. Fonterra had previously forecast 5-6% down earlier in the season based on cow cull and weather predictions. “What we have seen is farmers producing a lot of milk even with a lower stocking rate which is good because it

has been relatively low cost milk and reasonable weather conditions,” he said. “There have been pockets of dryness around the country but general speaking we’ve seen relatively favourable conditions over the last 3-4 months. “My personal view is that we will see quite different autumn production this year. There is clearly lower stocking rates, there will most likely be a lot less supplement fed so I think it is likely we will see an autumn that will drop down lower than it has historically. But so much will depend on the weather.” Currently Fonterra is forecasting 4-6% down; now tracking at 4% down. Commenting on the latest Global-

DairyTrade event – which saw the price index drop 2.8% and whole milkpowder down about 3.7% -- Wilson said: “It is clearly near a floor or at a floor because of where intervention pricing is in Europe. “However, we can’t be 100% sure as to when the market is going to get the very clear understanding and signal that over the coming six months it will be demand driven rather than supply driven.” Wilson conceded that global dairy prices prices are unlikely to start lifting until last this year. “The general view is that while we had thought that prices would be moving north over the next three or four months as you heard us talk in January, unfortunately we think that will be later in 2016.” “It is impossible to put a day on it, let alone a month so the reality is, we will continue to update you,” he told the farmers. @rural_news


NIKKI JOHNSON will move from the citrus industry to kiwifruit when she takes over as chief executive New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) in April. She succeeds Mike Chapman, who stepped down to take on the role of Horticulture NZ chief executive. Johnson has managed the NZ Citrus Growers Inc for more than 10 years transitioning the industry from a voluntary grower organisation to a professional organisation with sustainable, compulsory levy funding and a strategic approach to investment of grower funds. Johnson is also a founding director of Market Access Solutionz, a specialist biosecurity, regulatory systems, market access, international trade issues management and strategic industry management advisory company which has been operating for over 13 years.

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16 NEWS Eddie Dench has been competing in the vintage ploughing section for 40 years.

Ploughing stalwarts keep ploughing on and on TONY HOPKINSON

TWO OF New Zealand’s ploughing identities are involved with the organising committee for the 61st New Zealand Ploughing Championships – to be held at Rongotea on

April 16 and 17. Elvery Hunt has lived at Glen Orua, south of Sanson, all of his life and has a long history in the sport. He started ploughing in 1964 in local YFC events and in 1967 competed in his first New Zea-

land final at Lincoln. “I have only ever competed with conventional ploughs and have used Reid and Gray, Ransome and Clough ploughs with either Ford or IH tractors,” Hunt told Rural News. Over the years, Hunt

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has achieved a first and three seconds at New Zealand final level and represented New Zealand four times in Finland, Northern Ireland, Australia and Spain at world ploughing events. He also coached the NZ team in 1993. Hunt is still competing in the vintage ploughing division and – to keep it in the family – his son Bryce also competes with a conventional plough and has represented NZ three times. Eddie Dench is a former dairy farmer and sales rep and has lived in the Manawatu all of his 70 years. He has been ploughing for 40 years, but only ever competing in the vintage section. “I have always had a

Reid and Gray plough and when I started I used an Oliver 77 tractor. In more recent years, I have used a McCormack Deering W4 built in 1945.” Dench competed in his first NZ Championship back in 1994. Since then has gone on to collect two third placings, one second placing and twice winning the vintage division in 2004 at Reporoa and Blenheim in 2014. Asked why he ploughed, Dench told Rural News that his father had ploughed before him and that he still enjoyed it with a passion. “I love the attention to detail and looking at the finished plots and realising the effort you have put into it.”


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SHARING KNOWLEDGE on New Zealand farming systems needs to be on a win-win basis, says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. Mackle told farmers at the Northland Dairy Development Trust annual general meeting that New Zealand was no longer the lowest cost country in terms of production. One member of the audience commented that with the countries now beating us on cost, because Kiwis had gone out and shown them how to farm New Zealand style. Visitors also came here and were hosted by DairyNZ and others. “We show them how to improve their cost of production – so where are we headed with this?” she asked. “We show people how to set up farms and how to farm better. Do we have to think about how open we are?” Mackle said it was a difficult question with many different arguments. “On one side, why should we make it easy? We (DairyNZ) do have visitors but they are 99% of the time collaborative partners – which we can learn from,” he said. Mackle says he is really tight on granting visits which are signed off at a very high level at DairyNZ. “It is not so much about giving things away, it’s we need our people to be working … it’s their time, it’s precious, we don’t have that many scientists, we don’t have that many people – they’ve got to spend their time working on stuff for New Zealand levy payers. “We have tightened up. At the same time, there are situations from a market perspective where you do have to show a bit of good faith and good will because we are trading as well.” Mackle said the first priority is focussing on doing as much as they can for levy payers. “When you do buddy up and partner with others; you do know it’s got to be a win-win.”

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No rth Is lan d C h an g e c /kg

c /kgCWT

S o u th Is lan d

L as t We e k

C h an g e c /kg

L as t We e k

L amb - PM 16.0kg





S te e r - P2 300kg





B u ll - M2 300kg





Ve n is o n - AP 60kg








P 2 Steer - 300kg


M 2 B ull - 300kg

P 2 Co w - 230kg


M Co w - 200kg


No rth Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price $7.0

4.30 4.20

5.30 5.20 4.70






Lo cal Trade - 230kg




M Co w - 200kg





P 2 Co w - 230kg




M 2 B ull - 300kg

Last Year



P 2 Steer - 300kg

2 Wks A go



Lo cal Trade - 230kg

Last Week 5.30







4.95 4.60 4.60

$4.0 Nov





YM - 13.5kg

P M - 16.0kg P X - 19.0kg


M utto n

P H - 22.0kg

M X1- 21kg

n/c n/c

n/c n/c

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n/c n/c n/c n/c

4.73 4.73 4.73 2.13







N o rth Island Weekly Lamb Kill

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5yr Ave Last Year This Year







5yr Ave



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S o uth Island Weekly Lamb Kill

S o uth Island Weekly Cattle Kill


400k 300k


20k 5yr Ave


SI Lamb

M X1 - 21kg





M utto n

P H - 22.0kg



So uth Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price $6.5

P X - 19.0kg


$5.0 This Year

P M - 16.0kg


N o rth Island Weekly Cattle Kill

60k Last Year

c/kgCWT NI Lamb YM - 13.5kg




5yr Ave




Last Year



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5yr Ave

k Dec

Last Year






This Year

k Dec

No rth Island 300kg Bull Price







Export Market Demand





5yr Ave Last Year

$4.3 $3.8

This Year






So uth Island 300kg Steer Price


95CL US$ /lb


Last Week

2 Wks A go

Last Year

5yr A ve






+4 4

NZ$ /kg




2 Wks A go

Last Year

5yr A ve









D e m and Indicator - UK Leg Price

£2.00 Last Year



Last Year


This Year






This Year


5yr Ave


Last Year This Year






$1.70 Dec


% Returned NI

No rth Island 60kg Stag Price


5yr Ave


% Returned SI

Last Year This Year




-4% - 1%



2Wks A go

73.9% 65.6%

3 Wks A go

78.0% 66.1%

Last Year

76.90% 68.1%

5yr A ve 70.0%

This Year




So uth Island 60kg Stag Price $8.5

Mar 5yr Ave This Year






50% Dec Dec





Last Year

5yr A ve









P r o curement Indicator - North I. 80%

Last Year This Year



P r o curement Indicator - South I.






P r o curement Indicator - South I.

65% Last Year






3 Wks A go

75% Last Year


60% Dec

% Returned SI

50% Dec

70% Nov


2Wks A go

70% Last Year


% Returned NI


P r o curement Indicator - North I.



Procurement Indicator Change

Procurement Indicator Change



NZ$ /kg




UK Leg £/lb

Last Week






D e m and Indicator - US 95CL Beef


Export Market Demand

This Year

45% Dec





Change NI Stag - 60kg SI Stag - 60kg

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This Year


Venison Prices


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

Last Year


+10 +10





Last Week

2 Wks A go

Last Year

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Cattle slaughter prices have firmed over the past fortnight across the country off the back of an improving US beef market, coupled with a relatively tight slaughter. North Island schedules are not expected to lift by any significant amount over the next few weeks, as processors look to recover some profit margins which were not present earlier in the season. Many dairy farmers in the North Island are beginning to cull cows, as a result of early pregnancy testing, drier conditions, and the poor dairy forecasts for this season. This slaughter will also ease some procurement competition within the North Island. A weak cattle slaughter in the South Island has driven competition between processors, elevating schedules. The anticipated dairy cow cull should ease some of the price competition in the coming weeks.

STORE BEEF: Store cattle markets

remain very much a seller’s market, as low numbers and strong demand keep prices buoyant. Many across both the North Island and South Island are finding themselves with more feed than they originally anticipated, and are attempting to secure store stock to keep paddocks under control. While some are reluctant to buy at current prices, most seller’s are having little difficulty finding homes for their stock at

the current market price. Few cattle are being traded in the paddock, with most opting to send stock to the saleyards.


beef market has continued to trend upwards lately, though this has been driven by a tighter supply rather than improving demand. Imported 90CL cow and imported 95CL bull were most recently trading for US$2.04/lb and US$2.15/lb respectively. Prices have therefore risen 18-22% since the New Year. Limited offerings out of both Australia and New Zealand have lead to increased demand from importers to secure stock for the short-term. However demand for beef at the retail level is not as positive as the current prices may imply, as cheaper meats such as chicken and pork continue to restrict consumer interest in beef and beef products.

SHEEP: Chilled premiums for lamb are well and truly gone, leading to schedules falling over the past fortnight. Kill numbers for lambs have come back, but a backlog of mutton in the North Island are keeping processors busy. Lamb slaughter prices in the South Island vary heavily depending on the processor, as some are keeping some premiums in place to secure more lambs in the shortterm. The general consensus from processors is that current schedules


Overseas Wool Price Indicators




Last Year

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Fine Xbred














Indicators in NZ$

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500 400 Nov



Coarse Xbred Indictor in US$

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will not fall much further for the remainder of this season. Expected improvements in overseas lamb markets and limited late season slaughter numbers should support prices in the coming months. The volumes of store lambs being traded in both Islands is low, as many opt to hold on


This autumn, you want a pasture renewal plan that delivers value this year – and beyond. That’s where our partnership with you and our trusted experts makes sense. Together, we can tailor the best solutions for your requirements. Talk to us today.


Indicators in US$/kg


Last Year This Year







to their stock for the time being. When combined with strong demand, this is acting to keep current store lamb prices up. Activity is gradually improving however, as current prices are proving too enticing for some to pass up on.



Opposition grows to Aussie backpackers’ tax OPPOSITION TO the Australian Federal Government’s proposed ‘backpacker tax’ is garnering support. An online petition against the proposed tax – which farmers say will create severe labour shortages in the agriculture sector and stifle regional growth – has attracted more than 10,500 signatories. Launched in the first sitting week of Parliament, a fortnight ago, by the NFF and its member organisations, the petition has gone on to attract signatories from all levels of Australian agriculture, the tourism industry and international travellers who say they will not visit

Australia if the tax comes into effect. The campaign has also been supported by the #backpackertax social media campaign across Facebook and Twitter. The ‘Backpacker Tax’ was announced in the 2015 budget and deems that from 1 July 2016 all working holiday makers are to be taxed as nonresidents at a rate of 32.5% on all income. The NFF agrees backpackers should pay tax, but considers the rate of 32.5% too high. Instead, the NFF proposes a rate of 19%, achieved through deactivation of the tax-free threshold, which it says would be fairer to both backpackers themselves

and the industries which rely on them for seasonal work. The proposed tax is a huge change from the current system where people on working holidays in Australia can be treated as local residents for tax purposes if they are in the country for more than six months; they pay no tax on income received up to about A$20,000 and then pay a tax rate of 19% for income up to A$37,000, as well as receiving benefits through the low-income tax offset. Each year, backpackers contribute around A$3.5 billion to the Australian economy and around 40,000 find employment on Australian farms.

The Australian horticulture industry is concerned the proposed backpacker tax will impact on attracting fruit pickers.

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Tim Reid, owner of Reid Fruits, one of Australia’s largest cherry producing operations, 45 minutes from Hobart, says the tax would severely limit his ability to secure an adequate workforce and had no doubt there would be negative implications for his business. “We export to more than 20 countries in addition to supplying the Australian market and employ a permanent workforce of 20 which swells to 600 from December to February during cherry harvest season,” Reid says. “Despite having a policy of employing locals first, approximately 70%

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of harvest and packing labour is provided by international backpackers who cater for the surge in staff requirements during peak periods and which can be unpredictable due to climatic and market influences. “Without them, we will simply not have a major export business of international standard and would have to retract to a smaller, less sustainable, domestic operation which is not a win for us and not a win for our community. “Without backpackers our crops would simply fall to the ground.” National Farmers’ Federation President, Brent

Finlay, says farmers from a range of commodities across Australia had expressed similar views and the concern surrounding the ‘Backpacker Tax’ had been well demonstrated by the strong response to the online petition. “Let’s make no mistake, this tax poses a serious threat to thousands of Australian agricultural businesses,” Finlay says. “We urge Government to reconsider and to make what we see as a simple and common sense decision to help build, grow and strengthen agriculture and regional economies.”



Technology offers beacon of hope – report ment regulation and the impact this may have on their businesses. On a positive note, the sector is optimistic about the continuing advance of new technology both in terms of production and business management with 73.02% of respondents believing that this will have a positive impact on New Zealand agribusiness in the next 12 months. Going hand in hand with technological improvement is the increasing level of rural connectivity being driven by large investments in rural broadband and mobile coverage from both government and the private sector. Farm management practices were also identified as being a key factor in the success of the sector. This sentiment was backed up by experienced farm advisor, Chris Crossley of AgFirst. “The opportunity is there now for farmers to reassess the basics and focus on building a more resilient farm system by correctly structuring their farm system fundamentals. In particular, aspects such as stocking rate, calving date, pasture production and the like,” he says. According to Crossley, efficient and effective farm systems go hand in hand with using the best technology. “There is good farm system decision-support technology available now, which farmers can make use of in this process, as well as working with a good farm advisor who knows how to best utilise this technology.” While current favourable interest rates scored highly as a positive influence, Dillon had a word of caution on this front. “While there was a possibility of a drop in the OCR that would see the underlying interest rate fall, there are a number of factors placing upwards pressure on credit margins, those being the banks seeing an increase in the liquidity costs of their funding, an increase in the risk premium for agribusiness debt, where banks were looking at funding a third year of losses for some dairy clients, and the dairy farmers own risk rating deteriorat-

ing in light of continued cash deficits, and downward pressure on security values. “But farmers can take ownership of this by ensuring they are running the best farm operation they can, getting access to the best quality financial information and proving themselves to banks as quality farmer that are not

high risk.” Along with Crossley, Dillon encouraged farmers to focus on things they can control. “Unfortunately there is nothing we can do about commodity prices except hold on; however, the adoption of new technology and adaptation of farm management practices are things that farm-

ers can influence. But it is important that farmers act early, to review and manage their systems, the longer a farmer leaves it the less options they tend to have. The big positive is that the farmers have backed a sense control, and become pro-active rather than reactive”

New technology uses such as drones – are a bright spot on the farming horizon.



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THE AGRI sector is concerned about falling commodity prices, but new technology is providing hope. Business advisory firm Crowe Horwath surveyed farmers, rural professionals and other industry stakeholders at the recent South District Field Days. Technology, farm management practices, favourable interest rates, improved rural connectivity and continued education and training were identified as the factors most likely to have a positive influence on the industry over the next 12 months. Respondents were most concerned about the negative impact of low commodity prices, regulation (both at a local and central government level), succession issues, climatic conditions and human resources. “The results are not overly surprising and have reaffirmed what our clients have been telling us around what concerns them,” said Hayden Dillon, Crowe Horwath’s head of corporate agribusiness and capital advisory. On the negative side, commodity prices created the greatest level of concern with nearly 65% of respondents identifying this as highly likely to have a negative impact on the sector during the next 12 months. Succession, which seems to continually crop up as a major issue for New Zealand farmers, scored highly as a negative influence with 60.82% agreeing it was highly likely to impact negatively on agribusiness in the next 12 months. Dillon agreed that given the current state of the industry, succession was a pivotal issue. He advised, “The challenge around bringing the next generation into farming is nothing new and with the state of the some parts of the industry at the moment, it is no surprise it might not be seen as the most attractive career path.” Given the recent press coverage around environmental and health and safety law reform, survey respondents were also concerned around both central and local govern-

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Austerity needed AS DAIRY and other farmers dramatically cut back their expenses to the bare bones – and in some cases borrow money from the bank to buy the groceries and educate the kids – in Wellington the country’s public servants live the life of Riley. While no one disputes that our public servants, like any workers, should be paid fairly; it’s the culture of extravagance that irks and annoys rural New Zealand. MBIE – the outfit that’s supposed to decide what science for farming should be funded – continues to show an exceptional lack of judgement and a culture of extravagance. It hired plastic sheep to do whatever at its Christmas party – the mind boggles! It also has a history of spending up on its public relations and image – as many government departments do. The silly unreadable sign outside the building in Wellington is another example of poor judgement; yet this wasteful spend has drawn no real sanction. If the standard of judgement in the PR area is anything to go by; farmers should be worried at the decision-making process around science funding. Are they that stupid? The CEO is still there and Steven Joyce the Minister responsible for MBIE has done nothing to change that. Why? Stupid spending in other government agencies, and let’s be fair in some primary sector organisations, has been the same. NZTE giving gifts to staff for merely doing their job again highlights how out-of-touch some mandarins are. Fonterra are no better heaping money on a CEO that some argue is underperforming. The banks also pay their CEO’s zillions for what? One wonders how many MBIE or NZTE staff have been outside their sheltered workshops in the capital; where people aspire to mediocracy. Have they ever been on a farm? What do they know about the real world in heartland NZ? It beggars belief that the Government has not clamped down on this sort of behaviour and sacked a few CEO’s to get the message out there. There are no perks in farming at present; so why should there be any in the agencies and businesses that serve them. It’s an unacceptable double standard. One wonders what would happen if the public service – and some primary sector businesses – had their staff cut by half. Maybe efficiency would break out?

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“The coach forgot to move his stock out of the paddock before practice – again!!”


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So what?

That explains it!

Tres bien

Good sh$t!

Your old mate notes that meat ginger group Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) – which has about as much life left in it as the impotent NZ cricket team’s bowling attack – has decided to ‘unendorse’ two of the directors it formerly backed on to the Silver Fern Farms board. MIE says it unendorsed Dan JexBlake and Richard Young because: “they stood on a certain set of principles and farmers supported them accordingly. These principles did not include ceding control to foreign interests.” All well and good, however, the Hound notes that since both Jex-Blake and Young are not up for re-election for a couple of years they probably have a better chance of surviving than MIE has!

The Hound reckons it’s no wonder this country is going to hell in a hand cart. According to a recent survey, more than one in 10 Kiwis now say they are vegetarian – up 2% from 2011. The poll by Roy Morgan Research, also found a much higher rate of vegetarianism in the North Island than the South Island. It surveyed people aged 14 or older and found 10.38% of Kiwis described themselves as mostly or always vegetarian. That figure was up from 8.1% in 2011. In the North Island, the figure was 11.1%, up from 8.4%, while in the South Island it was 7.8%, up from 6.9%. Your old mate reckons it will take more than God to defend New Zealand when an agricultural-based nation like ours has around 10% of its population associating themselves as white, pasty, lentil munchers!

Meanwhile, this old mutt has learned that in Paris the first meat-dispensing vending machine has been installed in the city, offering a range of products including faux-filet of beef and Bayonne ham. The machine, which is located outside the L’Ami Txulette butchery, sells products at market prices and accepts credit and debit cards. L’Ami Txulette owner, Florence Pouzol says the butchery prepares and vacuum-packs the products, allowing customers to buy when the shop is closed. The Hound wonders what is going on in the world when he finds new respect for the Frogs and despair for his own country when it comes to public treatment of red meat!

Your canine crusader is quick to put the boot into tourists and travelling New Zealanders who get pinged at our borders trying to bring in a foreign object that risks our biosecurity. So it is only fair he praises a recent traveller, arriving from Malaysia, who declared he had dry packaged cattle dung to MPI staff at Auckland Airport last month. It had been brought into New Zealand for burning at a Hindu temple, according to Dave Sims, MPI Auckland airport manager. He says it’s very rare for MPI to intercept cow pats, but they may become more common in the future. “The great thing in this case is the passenger declared the pat. They did everything we ask to safeguard New Zealand’s biosecurity.” The Hound says this Malaysian visitor deserves a ‘pat’ on the back for his honesty!

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ag twits Rural News’ irreverent and hypothetical look at what’s happening in the farming world Top Bleats view all @mtaggartalliancegroup: To all those Alliance Group suppliers who thought lamb prices couldn’t get any worse; we are now docking you 50 cents a sheep and $2 a beast to remain loyal supporters of the only true NZ meat coop. #loyaltycosts @robhewettsff: Ni how, SFF comrades. So I guess selling out to the Chinese doesn’t sound so bad when it is costing you an extra 50 cents a lamb and $2 a cattle beast more to have your stock killed by a fully-owned NZ co-op? #dollarsandsense @jmccarthymie: MIE has unendorsed SFF directors Richard Young and Dan Jex-Blake. Our principles do not include ceding control to foreign interests – so we are now backing a candidate who actually supports these principles. We’re endorsing Donald Trump as the next president of the USA. #whocares @fionahancoxsff: Hey @jmccarthymie any chance of getting MIE to unendorse me? I’d quite like this director gig and the kiss of death from MIE will not help my re-election chances. #thanksbutnothanks @winstonfirstandlast: I see that Cyclone Winston did to Fiji as yours truly has to done NZ politics over the past 30 years. Made a big noise, blew hard, caused major damage, wreaked havoc and then buggered of out to sea and petered out! #wellnamed

JUDAS? POACHER? Both titles were imposed upon John Gregan in Rural News Feb 16 in what can only be described as an inspired piece of editorial impartiality against the “Wright” candidate for the upcoming Beef and Lamb NZ elections. It seems that as a levy paying dairy farmer who would be a good representation of the other 10,000 plus dairy farmers in NZ who also pay a full BLNZ levy on every animal they send to slaughter – only to receive a ½ vote and none of the value of the research and extension work which is aimed specifically at sheep and beef farmers – he was somehow the wrong choice in running for the vacant seat. As a levy payer I thought his message of

co-operation and mutual benefit combined with the industry leadership he has shown in both industries would have made him the “Right choice”. James Bourke RD 1 Culverden Editor’s comment: James Bourke is seeing things that aren’t there. The articles on both candidates standing for the vacant seat in the Central South Island ward for the Beef + Lamb NZ board featured in the Feb 16 issue were impartial, fair and balanced reports. The ‘Judas’ comment was made in the Hound column – which is a satirical piece – and was not anything to do with the candidate profiles

DON’T JUST BLAME COWS! TOURISTS WANT good, clean water, says Marnie Pricket. So does all of us in New Zealand! Farmers have done a lot to improve waterways over the past 10-15 years. Marnie; how did didymo and Giardia get into NZ’s water? Not from cows! One only has to look around all the rest stops and walkways in a DoC camp or tourist site and you will find plenty of used toilet paper and human waste. Are tourist organisations doing anything to prevent this? Other than just blame farmers? Ian McLellar – via email


@drbillfeds: Dairy’s down; lamb is terrible; arable’s struggling; drought in some parts; floods in others; the public blame farmers for everything from polluting our waterways to torturing animals. It’s got me buggered why we can’t attract young people into the farming sector. #betterworkstories #whatalife @jwilsonfonterra: Good to see our ‘discussion’ booklet on governance is out and about with our farmer shareholders. It will give them something to keep them warm this winter when the power is cut due to low milk prices. #letshavetheconversation #moretalk



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@dcoullshc: Hi @jwilsonfonterra can I just say Mr Chairman what a wonderful job you and your board are doing on behalf of Fonterra shareholders. When you talk about changing the culture at the co-op, does that mean we are looking at making more yoghurt? #loveyourwork #whatisgovernance @stevecardenlandcorp: Our partnership with Shanghai Pengxin to run the former Crafar Farms has been an outstanding success. In fact, it has been so successful that we don’t want to carry on working with them anymore. I just think it’s time we started seeing other people. #itisnotyouitisme


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Sector needs to shout its own praises ity. The rural sector has heaps of it. The modern world of selfies and sexting has THE RURAL sector doesn’t deserve very little. In the modern world feelings matter admiration and respect. It must more than fact. Being offended is demand it by telling its story. I was recently shown research in offered greater speaking rights. Trivial which New Zealanders were asked to incidents become epic tragedies. Modesty does not win the battle name traits they admired about New for respect, policy, or Zealand culture. People money. Those who hide said things like hardy, their light under a bushel innovative, friendly and have it extinguished by easy-going. They were lack of oxygen. also asked to name traits Late last year we witassociated with the rural nessed what should be sector. The two sets were the future for a rural almost a perfect match. sector cultural resurThe things New Zeagence. landers love most about The campaign by our culture are the things Mark Blackham SAFE to criticise treatthat the rural sector has in spades. So why isn’t the sector loved? ment of bobby calves created a real risk Why does it seem like the work of the that vegan idealogs and animal rights rural sector is being slowly asphyxiated activists would give regulators the impression that calf mistreatment was by the pillow of urban feelings? It’s relatively simple; most New Zea- widespread and that the public couldn’t landers don’t see or know what rural tolerate realities of farming. It finally sparked the dairy sector people and industries are like and the rural sector doesn’t have the boldness into action. Hundreds of farmers and supporters took to social media in to tell them. You see, there’s one factor that has their own version of an impromptu changed about modern culture; humil- ‘Arab spring’. MARK BLACKHAM

g n i v i Arr

Farmers need to stand out from the herd and not be shy about letting people know what really happens down on the farm.

They flooded comment sections of news sites, they set up Facebook pages, set up online petitions, and they posted photos and video from their farms that showed vastly different scenes from those used by SAFE. The result was a wave of honest, ordinary expression that was powerfully persuasive. Farmers and families posted videos and photos that proved the affection and appreciation farmers have for their stock. Comments, and

some video, were so raw in anger at SAFE that the public could not mistake the extent to which farmers believed the SAFE campaign differed from the reality. A recent issue of New Scientist carried a feature about the psychology behind how we are affected by real-life stories. The more palpable the reality – with personal detail that we can relate to – the more we believe it. That’s why New Zealanders were

taken with the real stories of dairy farmers working alongside their animals. It was also the passion with which these stories were told. A key factor in how each of us assesses social norms is the volume of their expression. Even one person, shouting loudly and often, can give an impression that their opinion is commonly shared. That’s why activists appear to make headway. With bobby calves it was different. Farmers told their stories passionately, and in numbers. That emboldened New Zealanders to keep hold of their common sense on the matter. They realised farmers were decent and respected their animals, but that there was also a job to do to get food on our table and exported. That research showed New Zealanders can and do admire the rural sector. But we can’t rely on them to think or say so automatically anymore. You’ll have to take a selfie to remind them. • Mark Blackham is a director at BlacklandPR is a Wellington-based public relations consultancy with primary sector expertise and interest.

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Fert spreading change needed on hills PETER BURKE

FARMERS NEED to change their thinking about the value of spreading of fertiliser on the hill country, an expert in the field claims. Ian Yule – professor of precision agriculture at Massey University— doesn’t think farmers realise there is a huge difference between a good and bad spreading job. He says as long as they don’t realise there is a difference – we are in a race to the bottom. He says pilots have got million-dollar aircraft to maintain, but the ag aircraft fleet is getting older and operators are being forced to accept cheaper and cheaper prices for spreading fertiliser – making it harder for them survive.

He believes farmers need to change their mindset and focus on quality rather than cheap jobs. According to Yule, the gains made in productivity in other areas of the primary sector haven’t been made on the hill county. He believes this leaves the hill country more vulnerable and being locked into a low-income economic position “Over the last 20 years a large number of farmers haven’t been putting on enough fertiliser to get optimum productivity to just maintain productivity of their land,” Yule explains. “The true picture is that we’ve reduced the stocking density on the hill. “If you index the price over a period of say 20 or 40 years, then the prices we are getting for

Ian Yule

products are going down. So things are getting tougher and tougher for hill country farming.” Yule says there is no short-term fix for the hill country and people need to think in terms of generations – rather than the next two or three years. He says things such as the scrutiny on nutrients and other environmental issues are additional pressures being faced by hill country

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farmers. “I think there are various things we can do to improve the hill country and improving the spreading of fertiliser is one of them,” he adds. “It’s about being more accurate, avoiding areas that are more sensitive environmentally and paying greater attention to fertiliser loss. “The whole topdressing industry got going 60 or 70 years

ago because our hill country was slipping down the valley basically. We were getting a lot of soil erosion because soil fertility was dropping and they were desperate to do something about it; so there is certainly a base we need to reach in terms of protecting the land against erosion.” Yule says there are ways we can produce more from the hill country if fertiliser is applied more accurately. For example, on a typical dairy farm the best paddock may produce twice as much the worst paddock, but on the hill country the difference could be four or five times greater and reducing this gap is what needs to be done. He says low incomes, high land prices, an increasing level of indebtedness and an emphasis on cash flows are some of the reasons why hill country farmers spend less money of fertiliser application. But Yule says with technology there is now ability to get greater efficiencies with topdressing. “By incorporating technology we can avoid areas that are sensitive and improve the evenness of spread, because we have got control systems

in the plane. One of the big things is than many people don’t realise is that how variable the speed of the aircraft is,” he explains. “So we can to counter this electronically and adjust the opening of the hopper to achieve a more even application rate over a run. Currently, as a pilot does a run and his speed changes, very few have the capability to adjust the rate – that’s not a criticism – it’s just the fact that you are flying a low level aircraft in a pretty challenging environment; so there is limit as to what you can do.” Yule says with this technology it’s possible to halve the coefficient variation or improve the accuracy of spreading. He says this particularly so on rolling country. Yule believes on this type of country a fixedwing aircraft is the most competitive option – as opposed to the ground spreader. “What tends to happen with using trucks over sloping land is that we’ve got bigger trucks that have got four-wheel-drive, twin axles and can go up gradients of between 10 and 20% -- so there is a risk of accidents because it is more dangerous. But

also the spread path of the ground spreaders on those sorts of slope is actually far worse than an aircraft.” Yule says with auto GPS it’s possible to calculate the speed of the aircraft and when this happens the settings on the hopper door can be changed instantaneously to get the right application rate. He says the type of fertiliser is also important and with pelletised fertiliser it is possible to model its spread, but with finer fertiliser that is much more difficult. “With the pelletised fertiliser for example if you have a boundary and you know you have got a little bit of wind say across that boundary you can adjust where you are going to fly your aircraft,” Yule explains. “So you can get it in the right position and pretty-much predict where it should land from where it’s released.” Most of the trials on the hill country have been done using fixed-wing aircraft and Yule says for larger jobs the aeroplane is probably the best option. But he’d like to do some tests to see how a helicopter would perform. @rural_news

See our top Ma¯ori dairy farmers in operation Field days

Everyone is welcome to attend Field Days on the dairy farms of the three finalists in the 2016 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Ma ¯ori Excellence in Farming Award

Nga¯ i Tahu Farming Limited

Tuesday 8th March 9:30am – 2:00pm 654 Carleton Road, Supply No. 37782, Oxford

Tewi Trust

Friday 11th March 9:30am – 2:00pm 674 Okoroire Road, Tirau

The Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporation

Wednesday 16th March 9:30am – 2:00pm 1290 Kyle Road, Ashburton More information at: Maps detailing the farm location are available at



Hello... this is your irrigator calling future,” Brown says. “The only way for our primary sector to survive is to innovate and embrace technology to save time and money and increase the bottom line,” claims O’Kane.

“Most people struggle with the concept that our farmers are no longer just ‘farmers’ – they are business people running in most cases multi-million dollar businesses.” The East Coast Farm-

ing with Technology Expo is being hosted at the Wairoa A & P Society Showgrounds on April 13 and 14, 2016. @rural_news




The evolution is complete


IF SOMEONE had told Matt O’Kane 15 years ago that his irrigator would one day ring to say it had finished its run he would have “walked off laughing”. But that is where the irrigation and soil monitoring sector is headed and Water Right Ltd’s managing director could not be more excited. O’Kane and his Hastings team are looking forward to showcasing the recent innovations in their field at the East Coast Farming with Technology Expo in Wairoa in April. He says it’s a must that farmers and landowners learn about and use quality, up-to-date systems as part of their sheep and beef operations on the North Island’s East Coast. “As weather patterns are changing it seems we are having far more extreme and changeable seasons and they all have a common factor – water,” O’Kane explains. “It is either too much or nothing and the way to combat these changing seasons is by drainage and irrigation. More farmers are learning that irrigation equipment is a tool similar to a drench gun or sprayer; if it is dry you can mitigate your risk by investing in irrigation, similarly, if it is wet you get rid of the risk with drainage. Using up-to-date technologies means you have the ability to put the water in a targeted area ‘just in time’ rather than ‘just in case’.” Accurately monitoring and mapping different soil types is a key piece of the puzzle, says field hydrologist and director of Hydro Logic NZ Ltd, Matt Brown, who will also be exhibiting at the expo. “Measure, monitor, manage – you need to measure and monitor soil moisture and temperature below a crop to ensure a good crop yield through efficient irrigation practice,” he says. “If you are irrigating efficiently, you’re also saving in other areas of input – including power and fertiliser, not to men-

tion using your allowance of irrigation water smarter.” Both agree their sector has come a long way in 10-15 years. “There has been a big push into cellular telemetry over the last decade and, with this, a focus on monitoring more parameters,” Brown adds. “Further to this there is now a push into radio and wireless technology meaning lower costs to the end user.” “Ten to 15 years ago the attitude was ‘it looks dry’ or ‘the neighbour has started so we better get irrigating’,” O’Kane says. “People using irrigation realise how expensive it is to put water on, and have made a profit based decision to embrace technology and use water wisely. “All control bodies have implemented water monitoring so big brother is watching and it means your allocation can not only go over but you are likely to use your allocation more wisely than the previous ‘hit and hope’ method.” Water Right Ltd and Hydro Logic NZ Ltd will have a variety of products on display at the expo. “Hydro Logic will show a range of products to suit the agricultural sector including weather stations, soil moisture and water quality stations,” says Brown. “Automation means better use of farm labour and we have the products to do this.” “We will have an irrigator and pump equipped with GSM technology; this means the machines talk to you if there is a problem, you can remote start them from anywhere in the world with cell phone coverage and get progress updates with a text message,” O’Kane explains. Both companies believe innovation and technology, in general, to be integral to the success of sheep and beef operations which is why they wanted to get on board with the expo. “Markets and prices demand increased efficiency to ensure maximum profits into the

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Southerner’s finally make the cut Two South Island dairy farms for the first time have been named among the finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy competition for the top Maori dairy farm. Peter Burke reports. IT’S THE first time in the history of the competition that there have been two finalists from the South Island. The other finalist is from South Waikato. Ngai Tahu Farming Limited’s farms are located near the Canterbury township of Oxford, while Rakaia Incorporation’s is near Ashburton and Tewi Trust is near the south Waikato settlement of Tirau. Ahuwhenua Trophy Management committee runs the competition, chair Kingi Smiler says all three farms have made a big and brave call to showcase their operations in challenging times. He says in difficult times it is important that leaders emerge and show the way for others. Smiler says there is no denying that the dairy industry is going through some

difficult times at present with a combination of international factors well beyond the control of farmers. “But this is not a time to retreat until the better times return. Such downturns in a cycle provide an opportunity for all farming businesses to take stock of their operations and to honestly analyse what they are doing well and what they could do better,” he told Rural News. “Such work will pay great dividends when times improve.” Smiler says overall Maori agribusiness is in very good shape and believes – irrespective of the blip in the dairy sector – other elements of the primary sector are doing well, especially kiwifruit. The three finalists were announced at a function at Parliaments historic grand hall,

earlier this month, and attended by more than 100 people involved in Maori agribusiness, businesses, industry-good organisations – as well members of parliament. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, who was at the function, says the announcement was a nice bit of positive news for the dairy sector. He says it’s exciting to see businesses such as the three finalists performing well at a time when global dairy prices are putting pressure on farmers. “One thing this dairy downturn has done is to refocus our farmers on growing grass, harvesting grass efficiently and working on the bottom line. We have to focus on the basics. In my view, we will get through this period of volatility.” Guy says it great to see Maori agribusiness performing so well and

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their respective farms where anyone can come along and see and hear about their operations. Competition judges will spend time with the finalists the day before the field days and also be on hand that day to see how the events are run. The winner will be announced at an awards dinner in Hamilton on May 20.

Ahuwhenua Trophy management chair Kingi Smiler.

growing its asset base. He says a lot of work is being done by MPI to get Maori Trusts to work closely together and generate economies of scale. Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell, who hosted the announcement, says the Ahuwhenua awards contribute significantly to the profile and growth of Maori agribusiness – and in turn the growth of the country’s economy. He says it is also a reminder

that the provenance of these finalists’ products is internationally appealing because Maori culture is uniquely Aotearoa Flavell told those at the function that anything to do with the land is important to Maori and that the Ahuwhenua competition is about acknowledging the people who look after the land – the kaitiaki. In March, each of the three finalists will stage field days at

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Ngai Tahu Farming Limited Ngai Tahu’s dairy farming operation currently consists of seven dairy units – of which Te Ahu Patiki and Maukatere, the finalists are located side by side near the Canterbury township of Oxford. The area is known as Te Whenua Hou and was originally a New Zealand Forest Service radiata pine plantation commonly known as Eyrewell Forest. Ngai Tahu made the decision to convert forestry to dairying to get the best economic return and to develop wider opportunities for whanau. The first farm came on line in the 2012/13 season. Full development of Te Whenua Hou will see 13 dairy farms and seven dairy support units

across the property. All the land is flat and most of the milking platforms of both farms are irrigated by water from the Waimakariri River. The milking platform at Te Ahu Patiki is 355 ha and runs 1,251 Kiwi cross high BW cows that last season produced 468,747 kg/MS. The slightly smaller farm Maukatere has a 290 ha milking platform on which 979 Kiwi cross high BW cows produced 413,058 kg/MS last season. There are also a number of dairy support blocks owned by Ngai Tahu – where stock from these farms is sent during the autumn. Being new farms, the soil is still quite sterile and there is a focus on increasing the organic matter in the ground to build up fertility. Both farms have 64 bail rotary sheds and include a lot of modern technology with inside automation designed to improve the efficiency and minimise the environmental footprint. The pivot irrigation systems that have been installed on both farms have a ‘variable rate’ feature. This is a form of precision agriculture that allows water to be used

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And the finalists are... more efficiently and in an environmentally-friendly way. The system can be calibrated to only apply water to areas that need it and to avoid applying it to already ‘wet’ or ‘sensitive’ areas. About five staff are employed on each of the two dairy farms, but on its overall dairy farming operation Ngai Tahu employs about 70 staff. It also helps run a highly successful and popular training programme called Whenua Kura designed to give young Maori from Ngai Tahu and other Iwi the skills to make a career working on their farms and in the wider agri sector. Tewi Trust Tewi Trust is situated near the small south Waikato settlement of Okoroire, near Tirau. The area is famous for its hot springs and its beautiful hotel. Tewi Trust is named after one of the original owners Tewi Hoera – who passed the land on to his daughters and was then leased out by them to a local farmer. When the lease came up for renewal in 1941, the menfolk of the Trust were overseas with the Maori Battalion so the land was leased out again for another 30 years. When this expired the Trust took back one parcel of land and a year later a second parcel to form the farm, but these were separated by a privately owned farm. During this period a new shed was built and general improvements made to the farm. But the Trust faced further challenges and it was decided to employ a 50/50 sharemilker. In 1991, a small parcel of land was exchanged to physically connect the run-off to the main farm. In 2000, the Trust bought the land that the two blocks completely surrounded. Tewi Trust has just 53 shareholders and some of those are individual trusts, which are part of Tewi. Some of their land is part of the entity by way of lease. There are two waahi tapu (sacred) sites on the property – one is Tohu and the other is in a paddock where ancient bones are buried.

Today the farm is still run by a 50/50 sharemilker and consists of a 138 ha effective milking platform, where a 430 cow Friesian herd produces 174,405 kg/ MS. The cows are milked in a 40 aside herringbone shed. The land is flat to rolling with some steeper slopes. The soil is Tirau ash and is very good dairy land. The farm runs on system – which means the cows are fed mainly grass and receive supplements such as PKE on the shoulders of the season and to cover unforeseen adverse events. Up to six hectares of turnips and four hectares of chicory are grown to protect against the summer dry. Each year about 90 tonnes of grass silage is produced – about half of this is on the main farm and the other half from the leased block. About two thirds of the maize used on the farm is grown on the lease block and the rest on farm. Tahu a Tao farm The Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporation’s Tahu a Tao farm has a long and proud history dating back to 1886. The present 216 ha property, near Ashburton, runs around 830 Kiwi cross cows that produced 371,294 kg/MS last season and is located 8 km from the Rakaia river mouth. In the early days, this area proved to be quite a challenge for travellers going through the region – particularly crossing rivers. Tahu a Tao is the Maori name for the Kyle district where the farm is located. It is also known for being a resting place for travellers where there was Mahika kai – where food was gathered. Tahu a Tao was converted to dairying in 1996 with highlyrespected dairy consultant, John Donkers playing a major role the property’s development which has always operated in conjunction with 50/50 sharemilkers. The current sharemilkers Mark and Julie Cressey are into their ninth season. When the farm was initially converted, old pastures were sprayed

out and new ones planted and since then the Incorporation has made concerted efforts to re-pasture with the latest cultivars – as a key means to boost production. With the conversion came new fences, stock water and irrigation and of course a 50 bale rotary

dairy shed. Two bores supply the four irrigators that run on the property. Irrigation is at the foundation of the overall dairy farm system. It is tightly managed using soil and water measuring technologies. Water metering and moisture monitoring technologies

help identify the optimal time to irrigate. In addition to the cows in milk, a further 200 replacement calves are reared each year. There is a strong farm culture with particular emphasis on animal welfare – especially on the treatment of bobby calves, which are fed good-

quality colostrum milk for four days before being sold. Health and safety is also given high priority status on Tahu a Tao. Since the conversion there have been on-going capital works the most notable being additional staff accommodation. Soil tests are taken annually

and close attention is paid to recording data on the property. Weekly farm walks are undertaken and feed budgeting is a key part of the management of the property. @rural_news



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Milking sheep potential problems afoot SHEEP HAVE been raised for their milk for thousands of years and were milked before cows. In New Zealand, however, we are far more familiar with sheep being raised for their meat and wool – but there is growing interest in farming dairy sheep. Sheep milk is nutritious and is richer in vitamins A, B and E, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium than cow’s milk. It contains a higher proportional of shortand medium-chain fatty acids (the “good” fatty acids). The fat molecules in sheep milk are smaller than those in cows’ milk so are more easily digested. While lactating ewes of any breed can be milked there are specialised dairy sheep breeds, such as the Chios (from Greece) and Awassi (in New Zealand, but originally from Israel). These can produce about four times more milk per lactation than meat and wool producing breeds. Unfortunately, sheep and goats are susceptible to getting footrot – a painful infection of their hooves. It is a major welfare issue; causing significant economic

cost to sheep production worldwide. In an international collaborative study with scientists from the School of Veterinary Medicine, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, Professor Jon Hickford of Lincoln University studied genetic variation in a gene marker for footrot resilience in the Greek Chios sheep. The research found that the breed was susceptible to footrot and that the gene-marker test developed in New Zealand was a useful tool for finding sheep that were less susceptible to the disease. This compares with what Hickford had already found in Awassi sheep in New Zealand. “This suggests that if we intensify and farm milking sheep then footrot may be an issue,” explains Hickford. “Farmers would need to be diligent about checking susceptibility to footrot of any dairy sheep, especially any sheep imported into to New Zealand to build a sheep milking industry. “While it’s true, we don’t have Chios sheep here, the observation that the footrot-gene marker test we have developed

Lincoln University’s Jon Hickford.

works in them and the Awassi, says it would be a useful tool in any expanded milking sheep industry in New Zealand.” Hickford says, to start with, farmers could get any rams they are considering purchasing tested to ascertain their footrot susceptibility before making a final decision. “They could then selectively breed for

increased tolerance to the disease, which would reduce any adverse cost or welfare issue stemming from a footrot outbreak or ongoing disease challenge,” he adds. “This is an opportunity for farmers contemplating the change to a new form of sheep production, to capitalise on the considerable research already undertaken in this field.”



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FARMERS GETTING very lush lucerne are wondering whether a grain or carbohydrate supplement will help on their lucerne, says Beef + Lamb NZ senior extension manager Aaron Meikle. He says BLNZ recommend a fibre source particularly when animals are on green lucerne, to help with bloat. San Jolly, an Australian expert in dryland nutrition, says there is no doubt that regardless of what animals are grazing on lucerne, if you supplement with a cereal grain you will get a growth rate response. But she adds that farmers need to

monitor growth rates to see whether it is a cost effective growth response. Lucerne is a more fibrous plant than brassicas so it is best not to use a supplement containing straw. If you choose hay or silage make sure it is good quality. Established lucerne is about 40% protein and scours are more likely to do with ammonia toxicity than anything to do with fibre. “Cereal grain supplementation in that case will help mop up a lot of that protein and provide the animal with additional energy in metabolising that protein.” Jolly recommends good quality oats. She doesn’t know about New Zealand oats, but of all the grains it is fickle and there are good quality

oats and low quality. Feed testing is critical to identify high ME. In Australia the good quality ones are up 13.5-13.5MJ ME and they are the ones a farmer should choose. “Somebody needs to do testing to find out how good your oat varieties are and which ones they are,” she says. “With oats you don’t have the introductory problems you have with other grains because they have little starch. If sheep in particular get a huge feed of oats they tend to become airborne, spit and salivate but they don’t die.” Care must be taken to adjust to the ME requirements of the animal being fed versus the ME concentration of the lucerne.



Best looking rams don’t necessarily deliver results A NORTH ISLAND trial comparing the value of lambs sired by low versus high genetic merit rams validates that using genetic data does pay off. The “Data Drives Dollars” trial ran this season and aimed to find out if genetic selection information – specifically, EBVs (estimated Breeding Values) – worked and if there was a financial gain from using rams with high genetic merit, or not. It was a joint project between Massey University and red meat genetics company Focus Genetics, supported by Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics. The trail was run at Mt Hebert Station in Waipukurau and Taratahi’s Glenside Station in Gladstone. Trial results showed lambs sired by rams with higher genetic merit were 0.7kg heavier at weaning – which was worth an average of $1.69 more per lamb, compared to those with lower EBVs. Focus Genetics sheep and deer programme manager Dr Richard Lee says the results

show that EBVs work in delivering a significant production outcome – which increases dollars returned. “For an average farmer, based on the schedule of $5.85 on 12 November 2015, this would have increased returns by over $2000 per farm per year, and if taken across the industry could add significantly to New Zealand export returns,” Lee says. “We now have evidence here in New Zealand that proves rams with higher genetic merit do produce heavier lambs which increases farmer returns. “It is now up to the industry and individual farmers to decide if the commercial advantage is worth it,” Lee adds. The two farmers from the commercial properties which ran the trial, Simon Wilson of Mt Hebert Station and Reuben McClean, manager of Taratahi’s Glenside Station, say the trial confirmed for them that EBVs work. “This has demonstrated to me that

there is a real and direct commercial gain from selecting rams with high EBVs,” Wilson says. McClean added that the evidence showed that the two properties with different feeding regimes and climates both had seen the benefit from the rams with higher EBVs. “The results of this trial should give farmers confidence in knowing that when buying rams, those with higher proven genetic merit for growth will grow bigger lambs.” The results also took the 50-farmer strong working group by surprise when the heaviest and “best” looking ram they picked produced the lightest lambs and the ram no-one even looked at came out tops with his lambs at 2kg ahead. Wilson says no one can see genetics. “None of us picked him at the beginning or at the end of the trial.” McClean says just because a ram might be the best looking one in the paddock, it doesn’t mean he will deliver the biggest lambs.

The two farmers of the commercial properties which ran the trial Simon Wilson of Mt Hebert Station in Waipukurau (right) and manager of Taratahi’s Glenside Station Reuben McClean, Gladstone, say the trial confirmed for them that EBVs work.

Lee says whether this study will now influence a significant change in farmers buying lambs on EBVs alone only time will tell. “All the farmers who volunteered their time to be part of the working

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Poor conception rates may mask BVD PETER BURKE

DAIRY FARMERS are being encouraged to be vigilant about bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) which DairyNZ says affects up to 60% of dairy cows and 90% of herds in New Zealand. Horowhenua vet Keith Christensen told a DairyNZ discussion group

in Otaki recently that BVD harms reproductive efficiency, causes cows to abort and causes many other problems. “In cows it is responsible for the lower in-calf rate in affected herds, but unfortunately sometime the impact is hard to detect because there are other causes of lack of reproduction efficiency,” Christensen

says. “There are lots of people who will struggle to get an adequate submission rate and perhaps their conception rate might not be all that good and that may mask the problem of BVD.” He says the most readily available test for a whole herd is a milk test from the bulk vat. This tests for the overall exposure of the herd to


BVD and by counting the antibodies in the test it is possible to get a good idea of how many cows in the herd are infected with BVD. “The other test is a very sensitive one called PCR (preliminaries chain reaction) that will pick up if any of the cows milking are carrier animals – persistently infected (PI). These are

Farmers are being urged to be vigilant about BVD.

born that way and that’s a crucial point of control. They are made when the mother is exposed to the BVD virus between about 90 and 120 days and at that stage of pregnancy the calves haven’t got an immune system so the BVD virus sits in them as an unwanted guest. Their immune system doesn’t do anything about it, so they are born and they are growing up producing lots of virus because they think it’s part of them.” Christensen says as well as knowing the status of the animals on the farm, it’s equally important to know the status of those coming onto the farm – the obvious ones being bulls. These must either be

tested or presented with a record of a previous test to verify their status. Knowing the BVD status of calves is also important, especially given that the virus can be passed on within ‘sniffing distance’. While there is a cost in testing, identifying infected calves allows the farmer to decide whether it’s economic to rear such animals. All calves should be treated as infected until their status is known, Christensen says. Farmers with BVDfree herds should ensure their cows or calves are protected from any neighbouring herd with BVD. Double fencing a boundary will keep a herd out of sniffing range.

Despite the low payout Christensen believes farmers should continue with the milk test and the testing of bulls. He acknowledges testing calves may be too costly for some farmers. “We have a falling payout and increasing awareness of animal welfare so things centred on welfare are crucial. None of the supply companies wants to see an event that causes any drop in the value of milk because of the perceptions of clients,” he says. Christensen says good advances have been made in animal welfare and he is confident these will not drop away in the face of tight budgets.

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Track record proves machine’s value MARK DANIEL

THE JCB Fastrac is a little like Vegemite -- you either love it or hate it – but it has now been around for 25 years. Originally designed as a high speed tractor for the British armed forces, the vehicle quickly found favour in agriculture, not only for its high speed capability that suited contractors, but also its ability to accept implements to the front, rear and midmounted. Recently arrived in New Zealand, the new 4000 series replaces the outgoing 2000 series and should find favour with Fastrac fans, as the company claims it’s more powerful, but more economical, it’s stronger but more nimble and it’s more versatile, but easier to operate. The new model stays true to the original design with multiple implement mounting points, all round suspension and a high spec braking system. However, it sees improvements to engines, transmissions and a new cabin design. The three models are powered by a 6-cylinder, 6.6L AGCO Power engine which meets Tier 4 Final emission regulations with the use of SCR / Ad-Blue. Rated power outputs for

the 4160, 4190 and 4220 models is 160, 189 and 217hp respectively at 2100 rpm, which climbs to a maximum of 175, 208 and 235hp as the engines come under load. Transmission is taken care of with a Fendt-sourced CVT unit for stepless forward and reverse speeds, and the ability to choose different strategies for power or economy, fixed engine or PTO speeds and fuel saving high speed travel. The latter sees the machine achieve 60km/h at 1600rpm or 50km/h at a miserly 1400rpm. Safe stopping is achieved by large external disc brakes with ABS. An interesting feature is the Active Traction Mode that manipulates engine torque output to prevent wheels spinning, thereby increasing grip and reducing wear. All models are fitted with four wheel steer (4WS), which automatically reverts to 2WS at speeds above 20km/h and can provide alternative steering modes such as delayed 4WS, true tracking and crab steering. The company also says the 4WS allows the tractor to might tight headland turns with a sub-10m turning radius. An optional Rapid Steer system offers adjustable ratios with the high speed selection seeing the

tractor going from lock to lock with two turns of the steering wheel. The hydro-pneumatic suspension units in each corner make for a comfortable ride, and helps eliminate ‘power hop’ in draft operations, and an advanced suspension option provides side to side leveling, and allows the machine to squat to allow easy fitting and removal of de-mount attachments At the back end, lift capacity sees a useful 30% increase to see 8000kg, and the front end is capable of moving 3500kg. The central load platform is rated at 4000kg. Hydraulic flow is by way of a closed centreload sensing set-up that sees a healthy 148L/min output. A new Command Plus cab sees that the operator is taken care of with more glass and better cooling and ventilation, and the options lists sees the availability of roof window, cool box, MPS connection and a high sped heated suspen-

sion seat. This is further enhanced with options such as GPS Ready, and LED worklights that turn night into day. www.claasharvestcentre. com

JCB’s new 4000 Series replaces the outgoing 2000 Series.



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FOR THE ENTHUSIASTS VERSATILE IS credited with building the first true equal- wheeled 4WD tractor with the D100 back in 1966. So to celebrate 50 years of building broadacre, no-nonsense tractors, the company will build 50 machines with 4WD or Delta Track from 375 to 550hp – featuring the original red and yellow paint scheme of the 1960s. In addition to the retro paint job,

each tractor will sport commemorative decals, a special serial number, customlogo leather seat and a plaque denoting the customer, supplying dealer and the production date. Initially only destined for farmers in North America and Canada, we are sure there will be a number of Versatile enthusiasts in NZ and Australia who would love to get their hands on one.

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Taking guesswork out of silage making MARK DANIEL

SILAGE ADDITIVES have long been promoted as a means of producing higher quality winter feed. While the composition

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and efficacy of the various products have been argued, one key point applies to all – to ensure the correct amount of product is used for the prevailing conditions. Quite often the calculation about the amount required is based on guessing the output of the forage harvester, guessing the weight of the crop in the trailer and sometimes guessing the output of the additive pump. This guesswork is further compromised during the harvesting day by changes in drymatter, grass species and changing trailer weights. The SilaScale system, invented and developed by Andy Strzelecki and UK specialists Kelvin Cave Ltd, is aimed at removing all the guesswork with a system that continuously updates application rates throughout the day, by monitoring the fresh weight of forage being delivered to a trailer. Key to the system is a robust set of load cells fitted to one trailer -- the ‘master’ in a fleet of silage trailers. The master trailer continuously monitors the fresh weight of forage being harvested and communicates the results to the flowmeter that is part

of the harvester mounted applicator via a Bluetooth connection. Crop weights are measured 60 times per second and data is transmitted every second. The data received allows the flowmeter to recalibrate second by second. When the master trailer moves away from the harvester to empty, the flow meter ‘fixes’ the average flow rate for that load and continues to apply this rate as subsequent trailers are filled. When the master returns the wireless connection is re-established, and the flowmeter is re-calibrated as the trailer is filled. The key benefit is complete accuracy of application and the avoidance of under- or over-delivery: the former would compromise forage quality and the latter provide little or no benefit except for increased costs. Once installed, the desired application rate is selected, the system is fully automated and it needs no operator input. “A farmer or contractor who is certain that the right additive is being delivered at the right rate can be more certain of the final result,” Strzelecki explains. “And he is also likely to benefit from substantial cost savings.”


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emember when washing machines and refrigerators lasted a generation? And tyres used to last for years too? Things were made to last back then. Now it seems things are made to wear out. The reason for this is original tyres fitted to new vehicles are made to the vehicle manufacturer’s price. The result may compromise on the tyres’ performance and life. Cooper Tires are better value. Tyre companies making aftermarket tyres exclusively for vehicle owners like you are still providing performance and longer life. Drivers choosing quality American made aftermarket tyres are finding they are getting a lot more mileage

Comparison of Tread Depths. Dunlop AT22 (9.0mm), Cooper A/T3 (12.7mm)



Cooper tyres are only available at selected Cooper Tires dealers.

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WITH THE bi-annual Agritechica show in Germany just around the corner, it’s likely that lots of the major players will be releasing new models with options we didn’t realise we couldn’t do without. Quite often the manufacturers will bask in the glory of an award, but often as not it’s likely the development comes from one of the ancillary suppliers: take tractor tyres for instance. Take a look at the new VarioGrip Pro tyre inflation system from tractor maker Fendt. This technology was developed with Czech tyre company Mitas which calls it Air Cell technology. The system will be of interest to farmers and contractors who face the need to change tyre pressures, for example, when moving from cultiva-

The Air Cell takes the form of a ‘tyre’ within the main tyre, taking up

around 30% of the original volume. In use the Air Cell is continuously inflated to 8 bar pressure, which can then be released into the original tyre to achieve a rapid increase in pressure. In practice, this means pressure can be pushed from 0.8bar (11psi) to 1.8bar (24psi) in around 30 seconds, which is about 10 times quicker than normal methods. As well as allowing rapid increases, it can also be used in reverse for rapid deflation, since it has already reduced the original volume by 30%. Made from a sturdy rubberised compound that retains its original shape – even at high pressures – it has no effect with regards to volume by distortion. It is not connected to the original tyre and does not create any heat or additional friction. And you thought all tyres were the same.

Super Deal

FENCEPRO Farmtek 4.0 ● 4.0 m mast

Northland Fieldays Site 75A Central Districts Fieldays Site S64

● 190 kg Block ● 4 Bank Valve ● Adjustable Height Feet ● 900mm Sidemount unit with Toolbox

$12,900 + GST

Normally $14,025 + GST Deal ends 31 March 2016, no trade ins

FENCEPRO Professional Post Drivers

FENCEPRO Farmtek 4.0

tion work requiring low pressure to road or transport operations which require higher values. The concept saves time, but also has other benefits including reduced soil damage and fuel consumption.

Warwick Brown and his new tractor.

New Masseys added to the stable WARWICK AND Judy Brown have a history of working with Massey Ferguson that dates back many years. Their stable already included a MF Super 44 bulldozer, a MF 35 diesel and an older model dating back to 1952. The collection has been recently added to with the purchase of a new 4708ST and 4708ES, which have quickly become the perfect workhorses on the couple’s two Morrinsville dairy farms. The choice of a simple tractor was helped by their being plenty of contractors in the area to carry out heavy tasks on the farms. Interestingly, Warwick Brown chose two different specifications, with the 4708ST offering a footstep platform, dry clutch with a synchronised F/R shuttle and mechanical dry brakes. The higher specification 4708 ES has a semi-platform operator station, wet clutch power shuttle for clutchless forward/reverse shifts, and the tractor is fitted with hydraulic wet brakes.

Power comes from AGCO Power 4-cylinder engines producing 82hp and complemented by 342Nm of torque at 1500rpm. The tractors have a 6-speed transmission with high and low ranges that give a choice of 12 forward and 12 reverse speeds and a maximum speed of 33km/h. At the rear of the tractor a healthy 6200kg lift capacity is very useful, as is the 62L per minute oil flow and the two speed independent PTO system. Both tractors are fitted with MF self-leveling frontloaders that are in daily use for feeding out and loading tasks. “The peppy motor is complemented by the synchro gearbox and a comfortable ride, no doubt helped by the radial tyres,” Brown told Rural News. “In the time the two tractors have been here we have been pleased with the way they have performed; they are straightforward and simple to operate.” – Mark Daniel



SLURRY TANKERS have traditionally been simply a means of dealing with smelly waste. However, for the last few years, driven by environmental issues, interest has grown in getting the right machine for the job and trying to realise the nutrient benefits of the waste. The Fliegel VFW range, distributed here by Claas Harvest Centres, uses the latest manufacturing techniques to make it stand out from the crowd; it offers units of 7500-30000L capacity. The mainstream market is taken care of by single-axle models of 750010,600L; bigger users can choose tandem axle units from 10,60018,000L. Construction is centred on the use of hot-dipped galvanised steel to ensure corrosion resistance and a durable long life and this is used extensively for the tank and chassis components. Standard features – for a fast turnaround – include high capacity

vacuum pumps (10,000-14,000L/ min), a 150mm quick coupler, liquid level indicators, on-board hose storage and a 600mm access hatch for easy cleaning. Customer-specified options include suspended and hydraulically adjusted drawbars, filling options such as auto-couplers, powered fill and hydraulically driven agitators to improve flow and prevent blockages. An optional moveable axle (manual or hydraulic) transfers weight to the tractor hitch when moved rearwards in difficult conditions, or vice versa when used for long distance transport. Hydraulic brakes are fitted as standard, and air variants as options. At the business end, standard application is by a simple splash plate system, although users wanting to make best use of available nutrients might wish to specify an optional dribble bar or disc injector layout. The former is available in 9-18m spreading widths and the injection rigs from 3-8m wide. Also optional are flow meters to record volumes applied.

Compact Italian on the straight and level MARK DANIEL

FRONT SUSPENSION on tractors is normally associated with high specification models that do haulage work at high speeds. So it’s interesting to see tractor manufacturer SDF launch a new system for the SAME Frutteto range, whose domain is normally vineyards or orchards. It’s not uncommon to find these types of enterprises located in challenging areas, so the addition of an independent front suspension system has the potential to increase stability and more importantly improve driver safety. ActiveDrive takes technology used in the companies’ premium models, with the addition of sophisti-


cated hydraulics and electronics, to high levels of precision in the reaction times and adjustment of the system. The layout comprises a pair of hydraulic cylinders linking the independent front suspension arms to the axle carrier assembly. The mechanical components are monitored by a combination of two speed sensors, two position sensors, a steering angle sensor and three nitrogen accumulators. In operation the electronic system analyses the motion and speed of the hydraulic cylinders alongside the tractor’s speed and steering angle. The information is used to keep the suspension level, irrespective of load on the front axle. This in turn allows the mechanical system to make

use of the entire damping travel available and ensure effective anti-roll control. Braking performance is also improved on slopes in particular with the inclusion of an anti-dive function which stops the front end ‘dipping’ under braking, and shifting the centre of gravity forwards, which

• Tac lock Coupling Inc. 3rd service • Visual boom angle indicator • Option: TT Models with Frame levelling + Chassis side shift


• Lifts from 3.5 – 4.2 Tonne • Boom reach 7 metre • Option: Available 10 metre


• Dependable, proven with over 500 units in NZ • Contact your local Merlo dealer now for a demonstration on your farm.

Innovative Merlo Systems

Lifting Capacity Pedigree

if unchecked transfers load off the rear wheels. Available for the Frutteto S and V ranges with power from 80-110hp, in either 3or 4-cylinder configuration, the tractor recently won Best Specialised prize at the recent Tractor of the Year Awards 2016.

• New modular cabin design • Reduced interior noise levels • Improved A/C and Air seating • Single lever controls Inc. Fwd/reverse • Option: Suspension cabin

Safety • MCDC. Merlo Dynamic Load Control • Real time load + Position monitoring • Auto/ Manual, Attachment recognition • Integrated reverse camera

Towing versatility • Towing capacity up to 21 tonne • Option: Auxiliary rear remotes • Option: Towing / ladder / hydraulic hitches • Option: Trailer Brakes (opt hyd or Pneu) camera

Hydraulic system options • Gear pump 106 litres ELC / Mechanical Joystick • Load sensing from 125l / 170 litres • Flow Sharing spool valves • Option: Full ELC proportional Joystick • Option: Engine RPM response to Hyd demand

Power Train

Versatility in the Field

• World leading fuel efficient engines 100-120hp • EPD (eco power drive) 18% fuel saving • Hydrostatic 40Kph Transmission Top EPD • Option: Engine RPM response to Hyd demand

• Innovative Industry Leading • Option: Mechanical PTO 540/1000

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Pottinger balers aim to Impress MARK DANIEL

GRASSLAND AND cultivation specialist Pottinger claims a first for its new range of round balers, achieving chop quality usually associated with loader wagons. The Impress range will be offered with fixed or variable chambers with a combined wrapper and with a choice of master or pro specification. The feed route to the bale chamber has been redesigned: the maker’s Liftup carries the crop over the feed rotor rather than the traditional route that takes crop under. The Liftup rotor carries a series of tines arranged in a patented spiral layout, which push the crop into the chamber at an angle. This offers the benefit of high feed rates with low ‘leaf shatter’ and creates a filling effect across the full width of the chamber. It also removes

Chopper versions have the Flex Cut system of 32 twin-blade reversible knives which offer a theoretical chop length of 36mm across the full bale width.

the need to steer left and right to create good shaped bales. The company says the units work equally well in wet or dry conditions and suit all types of crop.

Shearwell in NZ

A patented knife switching system further enhances chop length flexibility and removes the need to remove blades and fit dummy units to the exposed slots. Pottinger says the very short chop lengths increase bale density, so reducing the number of bales per hectare, cutting haulage costs and saving storage space. Also the bales break up easily for mixing in feed mixer wagons, and chopped straw is easily fed or spread with low power input. The Impress chopper balers have a swing-out knife system with easily moved knife banks, providing good maintenance access at workbench height outside the bale chamber – important given the large number of knives in the machine. Expect to see evaluation machines in 2016 and machines on sale for the 2017 season.

SHEARWELL DATA was established 30 years ago in the UK by Richard Webber. Webber started business as a contract shearer and employed shearers from Australia and New Zealand. The company diversified into identification systems and has been supplying visual and RFID solutions since the 1980s. The company’s visual and RFID (EID) sheep tag, sold in Britain and Canada, is now available in NZ. The one-piece tag has a wrap-around design that’s light enough to be inserted into new-born lambs and strong enough to last for life. The design of the Shearwell tags means they have exceptional retention rates (over 99.5% in Canadian trials) and are gaining popularity in Australia, Brazil, US and Canada. Other products include Android and iPhone RFID stick readers, race readers, EID weigh crates and auto-drafters for sheep. Shearwell NZ has appointed Alistair Barnes, a farmer, as its NZ representative. He has a long history in agribusiness, and thoroughly understands RFID technology and NAIT regulations.

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TOP DOG BOX Accommodates up to 4 dogs 6 individual air vents Removable centre board 2 lockable galvanised gates In-house drainage Tie down lugs on each side Fits all wellside & flatdeck utes (2 models) ❱❱ Raised floor for insulation ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱

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BROMAR FEEDER Choose Performance That Lasts


The Bush Hog® brand means superior performance now and for years to come. It was born more than 60 years ago with the famous Bush Hog® rotary cutters. From the very beginning, Bush Hog® TOUGH features were built into these machines. Many Bush Hog® mowers built 30 years ago are still on the job.

Available Accessories**

Canopy (not pictured) Our white canopy mounts directly to the roll bar (ROPS tube) to provide shade, comfort and protection from harmful UV rays. Grass Mulching Kit Under-deck, bolt-on baffles capture grass clippings so specially designed mulching blades can shred them into a fine, lawn-feeding mulch. Working Lights Halogen headlights are easily angled from the operator’s seat and throw plenty of light for after hours mowing. Trailer Hitch Kit Easily bolts-on to enable you to tow a utility trailer or other tools and attachments. Anti-Scalping Roller Additional anti-scalp protection on discharge side is provided by this easily bolted-on roller. Recommended for use with mulching kit. Bar Tires Specially designed for maximum traction on hilly terrain or red clay and mud. Power Deck Lift (Not pictured) Electronically raises or lowers the mowing deck to your chosen cutting height. (Available on Professional Series only)

• Fully galvanised construction • Unique licking system and plastic **Accessories differ by model. See dealer for complete details. lick compartments • Weather proof sliding lid Trailer Hitch Kit for safe operation • Made in Australia • Adjustable cover – slides up and down to vary feeding rates, no pressure from grain on cover Anti-Scalping Roller therefore easy to operate • Assembled ready to use


ely variable speeds from 0 to 14 MPH d 73-inch cutting widths with 7-gauge welded decks on fuel capacity e high-back, vinyl covered full-suspension seat equipped with arm and operator weight adjustment, lumbar adjustment and fore and ustment ydro-Gear ® ZT5400 hydrostats with large, 9-inch cooling fans faster ground speed and superior responsiveness ng front axle to reduce scalping and deck wear s suspended from front axle to provide better contour following mediate response to high spots commercial limited warranty. Lifetime limited deck weldment.*

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Culvert Pipes

Bush Hog®, Inc. 2501 Griffin Ave., Selma, AL 36703 (334) 874-2700

SMILE. The grass needs mowing. Again.

Our line of Zero Turn Mowers give you plenty to smile about. There’s the renowned durability and reliability that has made BUSH HOG® a legend for over 60 years. They’re perfect for commercial landscapers and homeowners with large lawns and acreage. They’re built to last and easy to maintain. They cut beautifully. And they’re a total blast to drive!


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*Engine Rated at 3600 RPM Per SAE J1940 Gross

for your nearest stockist

New Zealand’s CHEAPEST Culvert Pipes! FREE joiners supplied on request. ONE STOP WATER SHOP 300mm x 6 metre ................................ $410 400mm x 6 metre ................................ $515 500mm x 6 metre ................................ $690 600mm x 6 metre ................................ $925 800mm x 6 metre .............................. $1399 1000mm x 6 metre ............................ $2175 1200mm x 6 metre ............................ $3475 ALL PRICES INCLUDE G.S.T.

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MOBILE FEED TROUGHS 4.5M (3 Wheel) Jumbo Culvert PK Feeder $3695.00 inc

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We’re open for business, just up the road.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re farming or growing, you’ll never be far from one of our stores. We welcome farmers and growers from all walks of life and offer the same great service and value to everyone. 160 years of experience has taught us that being local counts. So when you need to down tools and go looking for the products you need to keep things ticking over, we’re just up the road.

There’s only one name you need to remember. PGG Wrightson.

Freephone 0800 10 22 76

Helping grow the country


Central Districts Field Days


MARCH 1, 2016: ISSUE 602


Latest and greatest on display ORGANISERS OF the Central Districts Field Days say the event is ready to launch in 2016, showing the latest in farming trends, agricultural developments and rural innovation. From March 17-19 at least 550 displays of the latest and greatest in agriculture will attract some 30,000 visitors from around New Zealand to Manfeild Park, Feilding. Key attractions during the three days include the rural lifestyle pavilion focusing on rural homes and family, the Massey University agricultural pavilion, agricultural machinery demonstrations, vintage tractor and machinery displays, and a great range of food, beverages and entertainment. Event manager Cheryl Riddell says people travel from all over North Island to check out the latest and greatest products.

also be returning with her dogs and will perform two shows each day. For the first time this year, Central Districts Field Days is part of the inaugural Agri Investment Week, a programme of activities and events that focus on collaboration and investment in NZ’s agri sector.

The week ties together innovation in farming, food production, marketing, investment, research and technology and includes the NZ Agribusiness Investment Showcase, Sheep Milk NZ Conference, Future Farms Conference and Women in Agribusiness Thought Leadership Forum.

People are expected from all over the North Island to check out the CD field days.

“We have a great line-up of exhibitors and competitors returning. We call it the best day off the farm all year as farmers put it on their calendars to come along and check out new inventions and make their purchases. “Many of the old favourites are returning along with some new attrac-


tions which will appeal to farmers and rural townies.” Crowd favourite competitions will include the Tractor Pull, the National Excavator Championships, and the Central Districts Doubles Power Fencing competition. New Zealand’s Got Talent finalist Chelsea Marriner will

The CD districts fencing competition is sure to attract the crowds.




SCR, DEF, EGR Problems? We can help you

– Brian, Wairarapa



More than meets the eye MARK DANIEL

MASTERTON DISTRIBUTOR Tulloch will showcase products from its Krone, Baertschi and Monosem stables at this year’s Central Districts field days. In the Krone display, look out for the new ActiveMow range of disc

mowers, developed from the well-known AM series. They embody innovations such as the SmartCut cutter and the SafeCut safety system. The former uses a wedge shaped, fully welded cutter-bar which is leakproof, permanently lubricated and quiet running due to large spur gears. The safety system

features a unique disc mounting hub that will break an easily changed roll pin if an obstruction is encountered, protecting the main cutter-bar from any major damage. A revised headstock has greater strength and an improved spring suspension system for optimum ground pressure and contour following.

A 12 row fodder beet planter from Monosen will be on the Tulloch stand at CD Field Days.

SHEEP JETTER Sheep Dipping...made easier!

Manufactured from Stainless Steel and fitted with auto sensor Includes: Honda Motor Davey Pump Delivery to nearest main centre



$7500.00 + GST

Known for high capacity balers, the Krone MultiBale will be on display. This machine incorporates high speed technology and HDP from the larger balers and offers a bale size of 800mm wide x 700mm high for stability and the ability to load trucks four high for maximum permissible weights. However, the unique feature is the ability of the machine to make either conventional large square bales up to 2.7m long or utilise the MultiBale feature to produce up to nine bales of 0.3 to 1.35m long which are bound into a single package. This offers the advantage of clearing paddocks quickly, but allows the packs to be broken down into single items for easy use onfarm. The Oekosem Rotor Strip-till is manufactured by Baertschi in Switzerland. This concept has

been configured to suit New Zealand pasture based farming for cost effective establishment of fodder beet, maize and sweet corn. This last season has seen some very pleasing results in Taranaki. The configuration incorporates Rotor Striptill, dual placement of fertilisers and slug bait and precision placement of seed in one pass. A 12 row fodder beet planter from Monosem will be on display showing the patented Monoshox technology. This focuses on improvements for better germination. The maker’s 70 years of precision planter design experience has brought to the industry a host of enviable patents, and a simple design with the fewest moving/wearing parts.

LATEST STORIES EVERY DAY Get up-to-date news at

NEW HORIZONTAL & VERTICAL LOG SPLITTERS ›› 6, 9, 14hp Vertical & Horizontal Models ›› Five trailed models ›› Two 3pt linkage models ›› Adjustable legs for stable working platform ›› Fully galvanised ›› Hydraulic lifters for 9 & 14hp models PHONE 0800 509 777

Passed regula tory inspections & meets essential Hea lth and Safety Requir ements

Also manufacture ATV, car and commercial trailers. Horse floats and specialist trailers. Trailers made to order.



No risk in mixing up the boys and girls ANIMAL HEALTHCARE specialist Purtec says it will showcase a range of innovative products at the CD Fieldays – including the No Mate teaser harness designed for use with sheep and goats. These allow entire males to be placed with females – without the risk of mating. The merits of the device have been praised by Massey Vet School, not least because it removes the need for vasectomies on teaser stock. The company will also show the Bearin prolapse harness, which achieved great results during the last lambing season. These are described as robust, easy to use and prevent the ewe from lifting its back and straining,

which can cause prolapsed bearings. Adjustable fixing straps make the device suitable for ewes or hoggets, making it fit well and keep the bearing profile in place. According to Spring Valley Farms, which is running a triplet lambing trial: “If a ewe is carrying triplets, saving her and the lambs is a small price to pay for the $25 invested in the harness.” On the dairy side, Purtec’s Heatmark ERO heat detectors will be on display. These also have a loyal following. Users rate the new adhesive applicator, as getting the glue right down to the skin and outperforming self-adhesive detectors. This superior adhesion is said to result

in better detection and mating results in all types of stock. The company will also display a range of animal health applicators including a new needle-free vaccinator which ensures the

dose gets to the animal for effective uptake of the administered product. And it removes the risk of site lesions which might become infected after the process if conventional equipment is used.

No Mate teaser harnesses will be on show at the Rurtec site.

Simple solutions to everyday farming.

Take the guesswork out of heat detection.

Turn on and forget. S20 & S10 Portable Solar Energizers

Flashmate® Electronic Heat Detector

Harden up! FOR FARMERS or contractors working abrasive soils, the cost of wearing metals on ploughs, cultivators or powered implements can make a serious dent in their bottom line. A new material called Ferobide has recently hit the market from specialist supplier Tenmat which promises to give better wear properties than tungsten carbide and is claimed to be easier to work with than traditional face hardening materials. Key difference is a composition that sees the material using a hardened steel matrix that bonds particles together. This features allows it to be used easily onfarm where welding skills may be basic, and also gives the product some resistance to chipping, which can be a problem with traditional tungsten carbide facing materials. The Ferobide tiles are easily cut to size and shape using a standard cutting wheel, or alternatively the cut line can be scored by a cutting wheel, held in a vice along the score line and sheared with a clean hammer blow. The manufacturer claims that any welded joints are much stronger than brazed items, and will hugely prolong the life of wearing parts.

Make bungy gates easy Power your portable fence from either end. to spot. High Visibility Sighter

Dual Purpose Portable Handle

Come and see us at Central Districts Field Days - Site I14

0800 731 500



Euro ute in table that counts MARK DANIEL

IT’S INTERESTING to see a famous European badge appear in the NZ topten ute sales tables. The VW Amarok has a following, probably on the state highways, but this reviewer believes it could certainly cut the mustard in the backblocks, as it is rather good and a testament to the VW design engineers who have thought outside the square. First point of difference is the 2.0L, 4-cylinder engine that seems to lack in cubic capacity but uses common rail and twin turbos to bang out 132kW power and a very agreeable 420Nm torque, sups a light 7.4L of go-juice per 100km, so should be good for a 1000km on a tankful? Keeping things German, the lusty lump mates with a ZF, 8-speed auto box as smooth as a block of Whittakers dark chocolate, and sliding imperceptibly between ratios without any fuss. Control extends to a choice of Eco Mode, Sport Mode or Tiptronic depending on which side or whose bed you got out of, whilst the fulltime 4WD – 4 Motion in VW speak – uses a central Torsen mechanical diff to deliver power to back or front dependent on conditions. Safety is always a consideration and the Amarok isn’t light in this area either. Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) keeps everything straight and level, Electronic Diff Lock (EDL) delivers power to where it’s needed, and a Trailer Stability Programme uses the vehicles ABS system to counter any sphincter worrying moments when a loaded trailer develops a mind of its own. This is further supplemented by a Hill Hold Assist feature that keeps the brakes on for around two seconds as the throttle is applied, and a hillside descent function that is driver selected,

The VW Amarok earns its listing in NZ top-ten ute sales list, says our reviewer.

automatically applying the brakes to maintain constant downhill speed. Out on the black stuff, the Amarok is very quiet compared to its contemporaries, no doubt aided by the 8-speed box, and the ride, although not quite car-like, is pretty close, bearing in mind that this is a one tonne lugger and a three tonne puller and definitely better than the pack. This is probably due to the leaf springs sitting ‘outside’ the chassis rails, lower deck height

and longer springs giving a softer ride because of greater articulation. The spring arrangement also gives rise to the maker’s boast about the size of the load area in this double cab: between the inner rear wheel arches you can stow a 1.22m pallet. In the cabin, it’s all very nice, with car like features and a hint that everything is screwed together properly and will withstand the rigours thrown at it. The Black Label as reviewed here fea-

tured Alcantera trimmed seats, smoke rear lenses and window tints, rather nice 18 inch alloys and useful running boards for vertically challenged drivers. The move away from the norm also carries through in operation of the vehicle with 12 monthly or 20,000km service intervals, air and fuel filter replacement at 120km, cambelts at 220km and the transmission and final drive fluids filled for life. Negatives: the switch for cruise con-

trol on top of the indicator stalk, about a big as a pimple and activating a left turn indication every time it is switched on, and a tonneau cover that looks the bizz, but has locking clamps that must have come from a Tonka toy. In summary, a great vehicle, not least because of the designers’ fresh thinking and certainly carrying more kudos than some of the others in the market.

Hard working engineering We engineer equipment for grassroots farming. It’s solid machinery, to help convert your blood, sweat and tears into a thriving business.

See us at Central Districts Field Days Site C39-40

P 07 533 1259 E

New Trough/Tank Valves! Compact!

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Proudly Kiwi Owned and Operated Since 1958



New forage harvesters for late 2016









See us on Site S53-S54


e weed

e ge n








Top side of the race track




er -




column, and the CommandGrip control lever combine to offer fingertip control, and the Intelliview display screens monitors all machine functions.




New Holland’s new range of FR self-propelled harvesters are due for release late this year.



spout areas. A deluxe air suspension seat offers auto weight adjustment, variable shock absorption and a host of adjustments to suit all shapes and

sizes. An optional leather luxury seat can be specified in the 3 larger models. To further enhance the package a slim double jointed steering


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The operator is not forgotten either, with a new cabin offering 360 degree views, with an exceptional, unclut-

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WITH THE end of 2016 in sight, New Holland has released details of the FR range of self-propelled foragers. With five models in the range (FR 480, FR 550, FR 650, FR 780 and FR 850) these leviathans of harvesting deliver 470, 544, 653, 775 and 824hp respectively. Running FPT Industrial engines that meet Tier4B emission regulations, the four smaller machines run Cursor 13 or 16 engines whilst the flagship FR850 sticks with the massive 20.1L Vector engine. With a combination of Ad-Blue / DEF and DOC to deal with emissions, the 2016 set-up is said to use around 13% less fuel than the previous Tier 3 versions, but maintains the same length of cut. As part of the 2016 upgrades, all models are now fitted with ECO mode which reduces fuel consumption when the engine cannot be fully loaded, with the engine management system controlling engine speed to suit the job at hand. There is also an option of the NH Powercruise system which monitors power use and can adapt forward

length, replaceable side and top liners, a hard faced flipper at the spout’s end, and a larger flipper control ram. At the base of the spout, an improved lubrication system takes care of wear and tear, and the optional NH Intellifill will fill trucks or trailers automatically in all conditions


speeds to achieve the highest work rate in variable conditions. The package is further enhanced by larger fuel and DEF tanks to enable longer intervals between refills. At the front end of the machine, HN claims to have the largest feed channel in the industry, with a 750mm wide feed roll unit delivering to a chopping cylinder with a chevron knife layout. A choice of 2x8, 2x10 or 2x12 knives gives a range of chop lengths of 6-33mm, 5-27mm or 4-22mm respectively. An added bonus is the NH Hydroloc system offering on-the-go adjustment of chop length as conditions dictate. This system can be combined with the optional NH Activeloc system which monitors information from moisture and yield sensors to adjust length of cut automatically, based on moisture content, with the ability to adjust by up to 5mm over a 5% moisture change. At the delivery end of the machine, 2016 sees a new spout layout with full





Conditions maize nicely MAIZE SILAGE has long been an important aspect of livestock farmers’ conservation choice for winter feed. So it’s no surprise to see harvester manufacturers looking at new ways to make the crop more productive. In the early days, maize needed to be

cut extremely short to ensure all the kernels were cracked and digestible. However, the introduction of corn cracker systems in the late 1980s allowed an increase in crop length, while achieving the same result. Claas has recently introduced the MCC MAX maize silage condition-

ing system for fitting to the Jaguar range of selfpropelled forage harvesters. The machine will be awarded a silver medal at the forthcoming Agritechnica event. Using a pair of rollers with a saw tooth profile and 30 angular segments, the system uses a combination of friction, cutting

and shearing to intensively condition the grains and release the maximum amount of digestible starches and increase energy levels, as well as shredding the stalk material at chop lengths up to 22mm. Offering the potential to increase feed value, there are also advantages

to be had in the ensiling process, not least by achieving better levels of consolidation at longer chop lengths. There is also the opportunity to sell any surplus maize silage to burgeoning AD gas production from a common silage clamp.

LOG SPLITTER CLEARS SAFETY A NEW range of wood splitters will be released by Brent Smith Trailers at Central Districts Field Days. These offer all-new safety features that make them totally compliant with industry safety standards and regulations. The main improved safety feature is the two-handed protected control levers which require both hands to be on the controls during the splitting stroke and its return. This design came about after it was seen that a number of accidents occurred when operators used their spare hand to adjust logs while the splitter was working. The two handed approached removes this potential risk The work table area has also been increased to hold more rounds and/or split wood, and the support legs give a stable working platform. All splitters now have a waterproof container to hold the operating and safety manual, and signage has been improved to give clear safety and hazard identification during the operation. Offered with 6, 9 and 14hp motors and a choice of 2 vertical and 3 horizontal trailer models, all units can be registered and warranted, and there is also a choice of vertical and horizontal three-point-linkage model for tractors. The 9 and 14hp models have the added option of a hydraulic arm to assist lifting large logs onto the working table. – Mark Daniel



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WHILE THE bulk of the grass harvest falls to the hands of contractors, small paddocks or late cuts can often be carried out by farmers with their own machinery. Sometimes the choice is difficult when choosing a cutting system because the machine is likely to need to be dual purpose to carry out mowing duties as well as topping or pre-cutting before grazing. Maxam mowers designed and built in New Zealand by Farmgear offer a different perspective from the mainstream in that they can carry out all the above tasks, but can also be used to spread the cut crop in the same pass. A range of machines for in-line, offset or front mounting offers cutting widths from 2.1 to 3.3m and features a drum-style design carried on a full length skid assembly, and swinging replaceable blades that operate at tip speeds in excess of 300kph. The drum design allows an unobstructed flow of grass through the

machine, even in heavy crops, and the swinging blades move back if they encounter any foreign objects; they are inexpensive to replace. The skids have good ground following characteristics, especially as they work with a spring loaded top link system called ConTour. Another point of difference with the Maxam mower is the ability to use the wilter attachment which serves to spread the cut crop in a carpet across the full width of the machine. Smaller rotors set behind the main cutting drums carry spring steel tines that lift the crop and throw it rearwards, with heavier material being thrown further, and landing above the shorter, drier material, getting more exposure to the wind and sunshine for quicker drying. This drying serves to increase dry matter and ME, and helps eliminate moulds which can spoil the conserved crop.

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Side-by-side gains popularity MARK DANIEL

NOT LONG ago the humble quad was the main means of getting around the farm. However, lately side by side vehicles have become increasingly popular, no doubt because of their ability to safely seat two or three people and carry a generous payload Canadian manufacturer BRP has sold the Can-Am range of quads and side by sides in the New Zealand market for a number of years, and has probably been best known for its high performance vehicles. That’s about to change with the introduction of the all new Can-Am Defender. Designed and engineered from the ground up and utilising feed-

back from existing users, the Defender range will add another weapon to the Can-Am armoury in the increasingly important utility sector which encompasses farmers, hunters and municipal operators. The power plant is the Rotax V-Twin with the 799cc HD8 and 976cc HD10 producing 50 and 72hp respectively, and offering around 20% more torque than their competitors. Engine power is channelled through the ProTorque transmission, which offers a work specific low gear for optimum torque delivery, and a host of features such as larger CVT ratios, electronic protection for increased durability, and engine braking for deceleration. The 4 mode traction system offers the

option of 2x4 or 4x4, and the choice of locked or unlocked rear diff works with the front Visco-Lok system to put power to the ground. A choice of model specific wheel equipment sees wheels of up to 14 inch diameter and meaty 27 inch Maxxis tyres. Combining all these features with 10 inches of front and rear suspension travel and up to 11 inches of ground clearance means these machines have serious off-road capability. The other key feature of the machine that stands out is the towing capacity rated at 1000kg, the cargo box which handles 500kg and the total payload capacity of 750kg, which means the machine can easily handle a fully loaded cargo box and three adults.

The cabin area is enhanced by a raked forward front cage section, which offer easier access and exit, multiple storage areas for all those odds and ends needed out

on the farm, and some models offering dynamic power steering. Essentially a four model range, the Defender can be customised to individual


taste using a vast range of Can-Am accessories including cabins, windscreens, and varied equipment stowage solutions Finishing off the package is a maintenance-

free service requirement that runs to one year, 3000km or 200 running” hours, further enhanced by an industry leading three-year factory warranty.

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Open bags with ease MARK DANIEL

BIG BAGS have revolutionised agriculture: nobody misses humping around 50kg bags of seed or fertiliser. Unfortunately the big bags do little to help health and safety because they have a flaw – the need to be opened on the underside to release the contents. Besides the risk of standing under a suspended bag and getting covered with the con-

tents, there is the often a risk of fine dust or powders damaging lungs or eyes. Now from Europe comes the new Cronobag Opener – a device for safely opening and discharging the contents of a big bag without the driver having to leave the seat. Made largely of stainless steel for long life and durability, the device has three curved blades around a centre spindle. At the upper end a spike gives the driver an aiming point and castel-


The Cronobag Opener means bags can be opeend safely without leaving tractor seat.

lated raised ribs stop any swinging of the bag as it is lowered onto the device. The blades are protected

by a flexible sleeve held in place by coil springs with a 100kg preload. The 12kg unit can be

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mounted directly to the grids in fertiliser and seed drill hoppers or can easily be set up to sit on a subframe in the body of a machine to give a more substantial fitting. In operation the driver lifts the bag over the hopper, sets it on the central spike and uses a lowering action to expose the blades and cut the bag. Slowly raising the loader or handler boom controls the rate at which the bag empties. Available in two versions: Cronobag Premium or Cronobag Essential. The former uses 316 stainless steel and suits all types of seeds and fertilisers including limes and powders; it carries a full 3yr warranty. The more basic Essential version is made of steel, with chromate steel blades, and suits only seed and fertiliser. It carries a one year warranty.

CLAIMS BY manufacturers of increased performance or reduced costs can sometimes be vague. Tyre industry giant Michelin is being more specific with a claim, following a trial at Harper Adams University in the UK, that farmers can expect an increase in yield of 4% using the company’s Ultraflex tyre technology. Based on the establishment, growing and harvest of a wheat crop, the company claims that if all the vehicles in the world’s wheat growing areas used Ultraflex tyres, the expected increase in production would be around 23 million tonnes. Interestingly, the US Department of Agriculture says this is how much wheat is needed annually to feed the total US population of 319 million people, and it’s equivalent to Germany’s annual wheat production. The company claims the key benefit of Ultraflex technology is the ability to reduce tyre pressures below the norm, protecting the ground from rut formation and ground compaction. These points alone encourage the permeation of air and water through the soil profile, improving plant uptake of nutrients. The larger footprint of Ultraflex also helps spread weight over a larger area, as well as improving traction and reducing wheel slip, which reduces time in the paddock, improves productivity and reduces fuel usage. Ultraflex is available for vehicles used throughout the production cycle – AxioBib, XeoBib and YieldBib for tractors, CereXbib for harvesters and CargoXBib for trailers. @rural_news

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New name on ATV market MARK DANIEL

II WOULD be fair to say the Avatar is a new name when it comes to the global market for UTV’s, but that could be about to change. Following a quad accident to a family friend who was left disabled, Hamish Gilbert set about looking for a better alternative; the result looks like a reworking of North American sports derived machines. The idea was to build a machine more suitable to New Zealand conditions in durability, noise and speed. Gilbert quickly found that durability and lower noise could best be achieved by taking components from the automobile industry, on the premise that they were well tested and engineered, and freely available at a sensible price. The development over the last four years has resulted in a large step forward for Avatar with the recent signing of an agreement for worldwide distribution with Sinomach, of Luoyang, China. It is part of a manufacturing group that includes the YTO Company, the first to manufacture tractors in the country Recently landed on NZ shores, clearly the machine has been well thought out, with inspec-

tion of the chassis and A-arm suspension units revealing that everything is galvanised and should be durable. This durability is confirmed when you notice that the A-arms are greaseable, and the petrolheads will notice that the 32mm drive-shafts started life in a Mazda 626. It’s available powered by a 62hp diesel or 800cc petrol. The former uses a 3-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled unit commonly used in 1.5 tonne trucks from the Chery stable with technical input from the likes of Mitsubishi, GM and Chevrolet; and the later takes its design lead from a Canadian off-road specialist. In the diesel variant the engine is laid over on its side, and is said to produce 62hp, compared to its nearest rival in this segment whose units produce 24hp, so no problems on the power front. Transmission on the diesel variant is centred about a 5-speed manual gearbox, sourced again from the delivery truck sector, with a top speed of around 85km/h, with speeds 2 and 3 covering most farm applications in the 1800 to 2500 rpm sector with a minimum of noise. The 800cc petrol unit sticks with the more conventional layout of a CVT style transmission, with the bonus of an

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The Avatar has been built specifically for NZ conditions.

advance engine braking system. In terms of operation daily maintenance sees the liftout bench seat give way to easy access to the engine bay, and the daily normal checks for air cleaner, battery, and engine oil level, whilst a low level indicator takes care of radiator levels. Once on the move there is selectable 2 or 4 WD, and a choice of individually activated front or rear diffs. Parking up even in difficult locations is looked after by a dashboard activated, electronic park switch which acts on the rear discs. The driver’s area is well thought out with saloon style doors for easy access to the roomy bench seat, an adjustable steering column to suit all sizes

and a full width opening front windscreen. Individual seat belts make sure everyone is safe, further enhanced by substantial headrests behind each occupant. The rollbar further enhances the safety package, and combines with a rear glass panel; an HD roof panel and rear view mirrors complete the look. As part of the development package the company took special care to ensure that the vehicle was cost effective to operate, with a service interval of 250 hours, and a full service, including labour, filters and fluids, coming in at about $490. Bringing up the rear is a manually operated tipping deck which appears well thought out. Gone is the electric tipping mech-

anism that proved to be unreliable in previous models; in are tie down rails and hooks to make sure the load is secure. Available options include a front mounted winch system, full enclosures for the cab and a range of tyre options for difficult terrain. With the diesel version tipping the scales at 720kg as opposed to the petrol option nudging 680kg, each version is able to offer a healthy 500kg payload on the rear tray, and towing on the rear ball, whilst the ground clearance of 290mm and suspension travel of 8 inches should see the Avatar well able to tackle the toughest terrain with ease. www.avatarproducts.

➟ Ideal for shearing sheep, alpacas, goats and cow tails. ➟ Variable speed from 2400-3500 rpm. ➟ Latest brushless motor technology New and means minimal heat build up. Improved ➟ 1400gms means 100-200gms lighter than standard handpiece. ➟ At 2700 rpm the 12-volt lithium battery will crutch up to 300-400 sheep, 400-500 cow tails. ➟ Tough alloy switch box with auto reset fuse for overload or lockup – clips to belt.

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Fergy revamps its range MARK DANIEL

WITH THE new year comes a new range from the Massey Ferguson Camp – the 7700 series that will take the place of the award winning 7600 series. With nine models with

maximum power 140255hp the range should have a broad appeal, particularly in a market segment that amounts to 21% of the total. Notably, the engine power management (EPM) system, offered on all models, gives another 25hp boost, pushing outputs to a range

165-280hp. Six-cylinder AGCO Power engines of 6.6 or 7.4L use a third generation Ad-Blue system to meet Tier 4 Final emission regulations, doing away with the need for any diesel particulate filters (DPF). A choice of transmissions sees the well

Massey’s new 7700 Series will replace the award-winning 7600 range– covering the 140-225hp range.

sorted Dyna-4, Dyn-6 or Dyna-VT options offering 16F/16R, 24F/24R or a continuously variable set-up with a maximum speed of 50km/h. Upgrades over the outgoing series sees an increase in permissible gross vehicle weights by around 12%, the largest


I30 - I35

Bale Feeders

Forage Wagons

Manure Spreaders

models capable of operating at 14 tonnes, thereby increasing their load capacity, and the rear linkage can now carry up to 9950kg, proving it the boss of any job that comes to hand. Hydraulics have closed centre load sensing throughout the range, offering flow on demand and outputs of 110, 150 or 190L/min, dependant on model. The operator centre gets a spruce up with new dashboard displays and the choice of Essential (base) or Efficient (mid-range) specification. Options such as autobeacon activation, auto air-conditioning, electric de-icing and a host of

communication and audio choices mean the tractors can be customised to meet operator requirements. The cabin can be equipped with either a standard or the new active mechanical suspension systems, the latter allowing more automation and allowing the operator to tweak settings for the best ride to suit conditions or differing terrain. At the front end of the machine, as well as the option of an integrated front link system with a lift capacity of 4000kg, the tractors have an all-new in house-designed and manufactured front axle suspension system, said to give a smoother ride, but probably more impor-

tantly it is completely maintenance-free. The tractors can be specified with the optional SpeedSteer system that reduces the number of turns required at the steering wheel to go from lock to lock and should prove useful for loader work or repetitive headland turns. The system automatically disengages at speeds above 18km/h. And finally, surely a first for tractor manufacturers: the option of a unique key, rather than the traditional one key fitting the whole range; at the end of the day you can lock up your pride and joy securely. www.masseyferguson.


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MASSEY FERGUSON’S Beauvais facility in Picardy is home to Massey Ferguson in Europe and produces MF tractors from 75-400hp. The company reports that a Euro 300 million investment in the plant over the last five years is resulting in much higher manufacturing standards. The tractor plant was recently awarded ISO 9001 Quality Certification, as well as the ‘Best in Class’ Housekeeping Award

from its parent company, AGCO. “For Massey Ferguson customers, this means ever-increasing reliability and dependability, We are focused on every stage of a tractor’s journey to achieve this – from design, engineering and production through to delivery on-farm and lifetime support.” says Richard Markwell, Vice-President and Managing Director, Massey Ferguson, Europe/Africa/Middle East.

See us at Central D Field Days Site O 74

AgriFert’s easy to use fully galvanised trailer, complete with oscillating axles and floatation tyres for smooth travel has a low centre of gravity making it safe to operate. The continuous agitation and no-fuss 9 -10m spray pattern is ideal for mixing and keeping products in suspension and spraying at low application rates. Quality Assurance


3 models to choose from: Single Axle ST650L or Tandem Axle ST1150L and ST1600L



Discs show they can really cut it MARK DANIEL

AFTER LAUNCHING the Gascon range of cultivation machinery at the 2015 National Fieldays, importer/distributor Origin Agroup reports sales and positive feedback from users. The flagship machine of the offset disc range, the EOS, is hydraulic folding and available in working widths 3.05-5.88m and transport width of only 2.5m. The heavy duty construction is based on extensive use of high grade steel and manufacturing expertise that dates back 145 years. The main frame is built in three sections and uses steel up to 200 x 100 x 10mm to

spread loads evenly across the whole machine. This leads to heavy tare weights, for example, over 4500kg on the 4.0m unit, which makes for easy penetration in primary situations without the need for additional ballast. A choice of discs in 26 or 28 inch

diameter offers disc weights of 132 and 148kg respectively, units being supported by greaseable taper roller bearings carried by a 40 x 40mm disc gang axle, and using water and dust seals with housing protectors for a trouble free service life. Gang

See us at Central Field Days Site N15

adjustment is carried out hydraulically, as is the adjustment of the self-levelling stabiliser system. The unit is carried on oversize 500-50 R17 tyres with hydraulic depth adjustment.

0800 957 868 @rural_news


PPP INDUSTRIES will use the Central Districts Field Days to showcase its new Super Sensor Jetter. Mostly tainless steel manufacture has reduced the unit’s weight by nearly half to 56kg. And extensive testing has ensured the unit suits crossbreds and finerwool halfbreds. Aimed at dealing with flystrike or lice, the unit gets the active liquid treatment to skin level, from the poll, over the shoulders and along the

back line, then over the rump, down around the crutch and around the pizzle area. The unit is light yet strong and easily moved into position. It has a jetting system that is triggered as animals move down the race and are detected by an electronic sensor.Two upper spray lines mounted in the same direction as the animal’s movement carry ten spray nozzles, and

 New Zealand Made  Tailor-made to fit

a lower unit mounted across the

direction of movement carries a further three; this is angled 30o forward for maximum underbody penetration. The spray valve,

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activated after detecting the animal, achieves instant jetting, sending a continuous stream that ensures maximum wetting. It is recommended that animals move through the race in no more than one per second for best results. The unit comes complete with all necessary pipework with cam-lock fittings, intake filter and a Honda 5.5hp petrol engine and Davey Fighter pump. www.pppindustries.

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Mahindra making it happen MARK DANIEL

IF YOUR impression of Indian based manufacturing is one of backstreet workshops, dirt floors and very big hammers, you may be in for a re-think. India is a powerhouse of low cost production, and major manufacturers are increasingly setting up shop there to take advantage of this. The Mahindra company can be traced

back to a foundation in 1945, when it introduced the Willys Jeep to the masses and its grown massively since then. Today Mahindra has a vision to be a major world player, seeking growth through innovation and with an eye to the environment and its people. And looking at the current annual turnover of 16.9 billion USD, spread across 18 divisions as diverse as agriculture and aerospace, and

employing 180,000 people, no one could call this company small. In agriculture alone Mahindra is the world’s largest producer of tractors by volume – 300,000 units annually roll off the production lines in a range 22-100hp. In automotive it produces cars, trucks, utes and electric scooters. In 2015 they bought the American UTV manufacturer Intimidator, and now produce the Mahindra

Mahindra’s new Mpact XTV will be on show at Central Districts Field Days.

Mpact XTV. The business also sees emerging technologies as important to its future; it tests these technologies by participating in motorsport – five teams ride Mahindra motorcycles in Moto3 GP

racing, and the company races in Formula E, the Formula 1 equivalent for electric race cars. Mahindra owns 70% of the Korean car company SsangYong, and last year it bought Peugeot-Citreon’s

motorcycle business and the Italian design firm Pininfarina, the designer of stunning Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Maserati models. At Central Districts Fieldays the company will showcase its rugged

no-nonsense ute – the new XUV 500 SUV with a host of technological and safety features that will put it up against better known Japanese and European brands – and the new Mpact XTV.



More zip and greater space included in the package. In the cabin, high tech seems the order of the day, all models having THERE’S NO doubting electric windows front the popularity of SUVs in and rear, 7 inch touch New Zealand. screen display, navigation It was Suzuki that and reversing camera. launched, in the It was Suzuki that Electrically adjusted late 1980s, the first door mirrors, compact SUV – the launched, in the on-board computer, Vitara, that went on to sell 2.87 million units. late 1980s, the first and steering wheel controlled functions Now comes the compact SUV. complete the look. second-generation The LTD version the rear axle if slip is Vitara model – four years also benefits from an detected), Snow (4WD in development. electrically operated and ideal for slippery Based on the S-Cross panoramic glass sunroof, or loose surfaces) and platform, it boasts more keyless entry and high Lock (limited slip diff for interior space than the grade suede effect extreme conditions). outgoing Grand Vitara. upholstery. Suspension is coil It’s available in five Interestingly, the springs at each corner, versions with two- or growth of compact SUV’s with McPherson struts up four-wheel drive, two is increasing faster than front and a torsion beam trim levels and a choice any other segment in setup at the rear. of manual or automatic the NZ motor industry, All vehicles are shod transmission; there and obviously shows the with weight saving should be something to desire of the public to get aluminium alloy, spoked suit all users. off the beaten track, so it wheels and, depending on The 1600cc 4-cyl looks like Suzuki are onto the level of specification, engine pumps out 86kW a winner. Hill Hold and Hillside and around 156Nm Descent functions are also torque, driving through MARK DANIEL

The second generation Vitara has been 4 years in development.

either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The 4WD models have the Allgrip system with three modes: Auto (defaults to 2WD and diverts power to


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Innovative solutions on show MARK DANIEL

GALLAGHER GROUP has always been at the forefront of innovations and effective solutions for livestock farmers. At the Central Districts Fieldays the company will exhibit in the Farmlands Village, showcasing its latest ideas for dairy herd mating and electric fencing solutions. The Flashmate electronic heat detector is aimed at farmers wishing to improve their herd’s six week calving rates and AI detection. The standalone, lightweight disposable device is placed on the animals’ rump where it constantly monitors cow heat behaviour during the mating season. Using technology

similar to a touch screen on a smartphone, and working with a smart microchip that identifies specific patterns of riding activity – including frequency, number and time – the unit flashes red for 26 hours, indicating the animal is ready for AI. “Following a limited release in 2015, feedback has been positive, and while farmers can’t control the weather or the milk price, upping their six-week in-calf rate from 65% to 75% can result in a payback of $60 per cow per year,” explains Gallagher national sales manager Peter Nation. Out in the paddock, a number of solutions to everyday fencing problems should prove popular, including the S20 portable solar energiser,

which builds on the technology first seen in the smaller S10 unit and can pack a punch for 1.2ha or 2km. The device will suit those who don’t want to use a battery powered unit, but who need up to three weeks without sunshine once its integral battery is charged up.

Complementing the energiser, Gallagher has come up with a new

dual-purpose insulated handle that uses a ringshaped design to stop

the perennial problem of portable fences ‘bouncing’ off the permanent wire when they are being deployed. A high visibility sighter will also be on

display – a plastic globe that clips onto temporary or permanent lines to indicate their presence and alleviate accidents

NEW LINK-UP ADDS POWER WITH AGRICULTURAL innovations dating back to the 1930s, Gallagher has a name for delivering easier onfarm solutions. The company has now teamed up with Rezare Systems, Hamilton, a specialist in agricultural software products. The resulting joint-venture company, called Apps on Farm Ltd, will market cloud-based animal recording software based on Rezare’s current pureFarming platform. The launch will include webbased and mobile tools that will interface with various recording devices – including Gallagher’s own weigh systems and EID products – and make it easier for farmers to access animal data at any time and from anywhere there is an internet connection. The company says ease and speed of access will help improve decisionmaking and accuracy and will also provide basic reporting functions and visibility to farm staff, managers and advisors.









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* Subject to finance company approval. Terms & conditions apply. Single Cab Wellside Model for $25,290 inc GST + ORC on $950. Based on 48 month term with 1/3 deposit at 13.95% interest rate & $13 ppsr fee, $10 monthly account fee & $450 application fee. Finance offer available to approved applicants of Mahindra Finance only. Available from participating Mahindra Dealers only. Mahindra reserves the right to vary, withdraw or extend this offer. Photos used for illustrative purposes and may show optional extras not included in the price. Only while stocks last.