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Champagne crop for Mid Canterbury farmers. PAGE 17

Weevil the answer to tackling horsetail? PAGE 30

$30 million to be invested in building 10 kiwifruit orchards on Maori land in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. PAGE 22


Rains get river flowing NIGEL MALTHUS

ENVIRONMENT CANTERBURY reports that the Selwyn River is flowing across the plains for the first time in years, recharged by both ex-cyclone Debbie in early April and ex-cyclone Cook a week later. ECan chief scientist Dr Tim Davie says that with Debbie the river had recorded 75 cumecs at Whitecliffs, where the headwaters leave the foothills and meet the plains.

“That’s a big flood. That’s more than the Waimakariri flows at for most of the year. But it wasn’t enough to get it all the way across the plains.” He says it then took a lot more rain for the gravel river bed to be full and the river to flow right across the plains. The flow at Coes Ford peaked at about 12 cumecs late on Easter Saturday and was still at about 3 cumecs the following Tuesday. Davie says that while the Selwyn might still dry up

higher up the plains, he now expects it to reconnect regularly with normal winter rain. “Now that it’s full it will reconnect much easier.” In the lower reaches, from about 1km upstream of Chamberlains Ford, the river normally recharges from groundwater and doesn’t usually dry out completely. Chamberlains Ford dried out this summer and Davie says that was very unusual – not known at all in modern records, although believed to have last hap-

pened in the 1930s. Davie says the biggest driving factor in the low flows had been the drought. Spring rain helped grass growth but was not enough to recharge the groundwater which fed the lower reaches. “There is a factor from irrigation, absolutely. But it’s nowhere near as big as the impact of three dry winters.” @rural_news

Still ploughing along Sixty-two years ago Jim Brooker won the first New Zealand ploughing championships and in doing so won himself a trip to the world ploughing championships in Oxford in the UK. This year the sprightly 85-year-old was at it again leading the grand parade to the ploughing plots at the recent NZ ploughing championships held on Seaton’s farm, near Kirwee, Canterbury. Amazingly Brooker was driving the same tractor and plough he drove when he won the national competition as a young lad in 1956. He says his prize included a round-the-world air ticket that allowed him to stop in Canada to see fellow competitors on his way to the world championship in the UK. For 30 years Brooker was president of the Courtenay-Paparua Ploughing association and today he is the patron. - More on the ploughing on page 15


THE 2017 New Zealand kiwifruit season is underway with continued growth in SunGold volumes as more vines reach full maturity. Green volumes are down on last year’s record crop due to weather, says Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer. “It’s the second-largest crop in our history and fruit is sizing well on the vines heading into harvest, with good taste levels. The NZ kiwifruit industry is [approaching]... the anniversary of 20 years of delivering premium fruit in a Zespri box around the world,” says Limmer. “Over the long-term, our strong volume growth here in NZ and offshore will continue as SunGold volumes increase to meet consumer demand around the world.” The first of the 46 reefer vessels (refrigerated charter ships) from New Zealand left for China in late March in a break with tradition: for many years the first ships went to Japan. This marks the increasing importance of the China market; China and Japan are now Zespri’s two largest markets. In addition to the reefer vessels, about 14,000 containers will be shipped in the 2017 season.


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


NEWS��������������������������������������1-18 MARKETS�������������������������� 20-21 AGRIBUSINESS��������������������� 22 HOUND, EDNA���������������������� 24 CONTACTS����������������������������� 24 OPINION��������������������������� 24-26 MANAGEMENT�������������� 28-30 ANIMAL HEALTH������������32-33 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS���������������������� 34-38 RURAL TRADER������������� 38-39

Trump dumps on Canada US PRESIDENT Donald Trump  has launched an attack on Canada’s highly protected dairy farmers. The move adds to a simmering trade dispute between Canadian and American milk producers: the US dairy lobby is accusing Canada of “systemic disregard” of its trade obligations, while the Canadian industry accuses its American rival of “scapegoating”. Trump’s decision to call out Canada has put that country’s dairy sector on notice that they are in America’s fairtrade sights. His comments – among his strongest anti-Canadian rhetoric – came during an event at a Wisconsin dairy factory last month, where he unveiled his ‘Buy American - Hire American’ executive order. He took aim at the Canadian dairy industry’s coveted supply-manage-

ment system, long a use its governmentsacred political cow controlled system to in Canada. unfairly dump greater Trump received a Canadian exports in letter last month from global markets,” the four US dairy indusletter said. try groups: National Dairy Farmers of Milk Producers FedCanada, which has preeration, US Dairy viously denounced the Export Council, Intercomplaints as “falsenational Dairy Foods hoods and half-truths,” Association and the said it was confident National Association Donald Trump has Canada’s its government would protected dairy sector in his sights. of State Departments continue to defend of Agriculture, accusthe dairy industry. ing Canada of violating its trade comIn a blog posting earlier this month, mitments to the US. Dairy Farmers of Canada spokes“Time and again Canada has dem- woman Isabelle Bouchard said Canada onstrated its disregard of its dairy has done nothing to block US imports commitments to the United States and that the predicament is the result – hampering America’s exports to of an “over-saturated” market that has Canada – while pursuing ways to led to lower prices.

OCD confirms new plant SUDESH KISSUN

HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print CONTACTS Editorial: Advertising material: Rural News online: Subscriptions: ABC audited circulation 80,580 as at 31.09.2016

MILK processor Open Country Dairy is to build a new plant at Horotiu, Waikato. It already has three plants – in Waharoa, Southland and Wanganui. The company is majority-owned by Talley’s Group, which also owns Affco Meat, headquartered in Horotiu. OCD suppliers were informed of the expansion programme during a round of supplier meetings last month; the board has given its green light. In the monthly newsletter to farmer suppliers, OCD chief executive Steve Koekemoer told suppliers that groundwork on site will start shortly. “This expansion will provide more capacity for us in the Waikato and more options for the milk we process,” he says. The new plant is expected to pro-

vide OCD more flexibility on its product mix. Primarily a cheese producer, OCD also makes whole milk powder, whey protein concentrate and anhydrous milk fat for export. Koekemoer told suppliers that while cheese has been its priority product, there are signs that the EU is getting more aggressive on cheese prices.

“We are also aware of the USA cheese stocks building which may put some pressure on prices over the following months,” he says. “We stand behind the superior quality of our award winning cheese and drive the premiums wherever possible.” Pricing for fat products such as AMF have continued at record levels, but to make these products OCD


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“By contrast, in Canada, supply management (literally matching supply with demand) avoids overproduction and reduces the impact of devastating market fluctuations such as those the US is currently experiencing,” she wrote. “It is wrong to use Canada as a scapegoat for the situation in the United States.” Trump has blamed Canada for “some very unfair things that have happened to our dairy farmers and others”. However, Francois Dumontier, a spokesman for Les Producteurs de lait du Quebec, said imports of US milk products have increased since 1993 and now account for three-quarters of milk products in Canada. “So the Americans are not suffering from the current terms of NAFTA and existing trade agreements.”

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needs to produce skim milk powder (SMP). On Global Dairy Trade, SMP is currently trading at a US$1,000/ tonne discount to WMP, which negates the high AMF pricing. Also, there is still over 350,000 tonnes of skim milk powder in the EU intervention stock from the previous season and the first 472 tonnes of new stock has just been added for this coming season. Koekemoer says this indicates that there will be no short-term recovery for SMP and that the differential for WMP and fat prices will remain for a while. “Open Country Dairy’s future will rely on the ability to have more flexibility on product mix; to remain competitive and move with the market.” Talley’s own 75% of OCD; Singapore-based Olam International owns 15.19% and Dairy Investment Fund Ltd is the third largest shareholder with 6.7%.

RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017

4 NEWS Bobby plants to merge MEAT PROCESSOR Silver Fern Farms is consolidating the operations of its two Waikato bobby calf processing facilities. The company says there will be no job losses when the Waitoa and Paeroa plants, 30km apart, fold into one operation. SFF says it is spending at least $1 million at Waitoa to allow it to process the combined volume at one site. The company says it is consulting with Paeroa staff who will be transferred to Waitoa on their existing employment terms. Chief executive Dean Hamilton says the investment in the Waitoa site is due to its superior facilities, which include a larger coolstore that also services the company’s Te Aroha beef plant. “Our Waitoa plant has greater scope for further redevelopment should additional processing capacity be required in the region. “Our Paeroa site is now at the point where it requires significant invest-

ment to replace its entire refrigeration system and its boiler. That investment doesn’t make sense when only 25 minutes away we have our Waitoa site which can lift its processing capacity to cover the volume processed by both sites. “It also has the advantage that we can process stock in a more efficient manner by not duplicating resources at two sites. “We can also better focus our investment in new plant technology at the one site. “As the Waikato’s largest calf processor, we’re excited by the opportunity to create an efficient, high quality processing facility at Waitoa, which can better service our loyal dairy suppliers in the region.” Most of the 300 seasonal staff at Paeroa also work at Silver Fern Farms’ beef site at Te Aroha for the main processing season and this proposal does not affect their employment at Te Aroha.

More meat, less sheep and GHGs SHEEP AND beef farmers have vastly improved their productivity since the 1990s, says Beef + Lamb NZ’s chief executive Sam McIvor. He told the recent Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc) conference that this was best illustrated by increased lambing percentages – up from 100% to a 125% average. “Additionally, we are achieving higher lamb weights sold per ewe wintered, increasing by 93% -- remarkable,” he says. Sheep and beef farmers are using far less resources, maintaining the amount of meat produced and exported (over 90% of the sheepmeat produced is exported) from half the number of sheep. “And it’s been achieved on 23% less land as conversions to dairy have occurred and hill country has been

Sam McIvor

retired into native bush reserves,” he adds. At least 600% of new QE2 covenants are occurring on sheep and beef farms; not only has the land-use footprint reduced, so have the greenhouse gas emissions. It’s been calculated that since 1990, driven by genetic and productivity gains, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by

19% on sheep and beef farms. “Sheep and beef emissions are 19% below what they were in 1990. In emissions intensity (kg of CO2 equivalent per kg of product) sheep have improved 23.1% and beef 19.7% -- about 1% per year. If the current rate of emissions reduction continues, sheep and beef will just make the 30% below 2005 mark, and

will also hit the 50 by 50 mark,” he says. McIvor says while the global meat industry is being challenged on its environmental/sustainability footprint, NZ has a strong argument to mount on its production methods. At least 70% of the land farmed by sheep and beef is hill country, producing food on land that would otherwise unused. McIvor says while the UK remains an important market for NZ, a carcase these days makes 42 different cuts, exported to 100 countries. “In the 1960s over 90% was sold as frozen carcases; today 18% is chilled cuts and boneless product and frozen carcases make up only 5% of our trade. This has been a great effort by our processors and exporters, meeting the demands of consumers in many different countries.”

WESTLANDS RESEARCH SURVEY OTAGO UNIVERSITY student Chantal Whitby is keen to find out farmers’ views on establishing wetlands on their properties, as part of her research thesis for a Master of Science in Environmental Management. “Currently, one of New Zealand’s most critical environmental problems is the improvement and maintenance of its water. The establishment of wetlands on agricultural areas has been suggested as one of the ways to

tackle this problem,” Whitby says. “The aim of my research is to find out what farmers think about establishing wetlands as a water management strategy and to identify some of the factors that influence those views.” She says the results will then be used to evaluate whether establishing wetlands in agricultural areas is a practical strategy for contributing towards the improvement of water quality. “A diversity of viewpoints is

welcome, so that the issue can be understood from different perspectives.” Interested farmers are invited to participate in the survey via the link: surveys/?s=4CD7NFMKK4. Whitby says the survey can be completed anonymously until May 8 and all information will remain confidential. Any questions can be sent to her via email at: which356@student. .

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Dairy’s emissions down by 20% NEW ZEALAND dairy farming has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20% since 1990, measured as carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of milk solids produced. But with dairying responsible for half of NZ’s agricultural emissions and a quarter of the country’s emissions as a whole, dairying still has a big role to play in reducing the footprint, says Fonterra’s group environment manager, Francesca

Eggleton. “It’s an issue we take very seriously.” Eggleton detailed Fonterra’s continuing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in a presentation at the recent New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Conference. While different reporting standards makes direct comparison difficult, NZ is the world’s most efficient producer of milk on the basis of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of fat


protein corrected milk (FPCM) produced, with a score of only 0.89 CO2e per kg FPCM, versus a global average of 2.4 and a global high of more than 7. Eggleton told the conference the lower footprint is likely to be associated with yearround grazing on pastures, high pasture production per hectare, low cow replacement rate and relatively low use of supplement feed. She says Fonterra has spent at least $8 million through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium for mitigation technologies

A ZESPRI campaign has been chose one of five finalists in the PMA-Product Plus Marketer of the Year Award 2017. Janice Byrnes, marketing manager Australia, is a finalist on behalf of Zespri’s sales and marketing team for the Zespri 2016 ‘Go for Gold’ Australian marketing campaign that helped increase Zespri’s SunGold kiwifruit sales. It linked kiwifruit with the proper nutrition needed by sports people of all ages. Other finalists include campaigns on tomatoes, onions, a sports equipment campaign also linked to fresh produce and a Rockit Apple campaign. The Marketer of the Year Award, which recognises outstanding achievement over the past year in the marketing of fresh produce in Australia and/or New Zealand, attracted an impressive scope of entries from all points of the value chain. Chief executive of PMA Australia-New Zealand Darren Keating says this year’s entrants gave us a fantastic list of campaigns that collectively are doing a great job at increasing sales of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers right across the industry. The finalists will showcase their campaigns during the Hort Connections conference in Adelaide on Wednesday, May 17. The winner of the PMA-Produce Plus Marketer of the Year Award 2017 will be announced during the Hort Connections Gala Dinner at the Adelaide Convention and Exhibition Centre later that night. – Pam Tipa

Francesca Eggleton

research, including methane inhibitors, methane vaccines, lowemission feeds and lowemissions animal breeds. It is also working with the wider industry, with DairyNZ and others, to

develop a greenhouse gas emission advisor qualification, to assess on-farm reporting models and research farm practices for greenhouse gas mitigation. Fonterra is commit-

ted to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all its business operations, and to moving towards cleaner technologies and energy sources. It has partnered with Z Energy to use biodiesel in its North Island tankers, for a potential decrease of emissions of 4% for each vehicle, and is converting a third of its urban fleet to electric. She says Fonterra will work with its farmers to improve profitability, environmental efficiency and resilience to climate change and climate variability, and will advocate for appropriate policy. “We believe... we can

continue to use land productively and protect the environment. We have for generations, and our farmers care about the environment,” said Eggleton. 88% of Fonterra’s farmers have completed nitrogen reports under its nitrogen management programme. She says farmers are already doing “great work” through riparian planting and fencing and effluent management. “In areas... of intensification... our farmers, and councils and communities, have recognised this and are working to address it.”



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


The high and long-haul flier PETER BURKE

THE BOARD of Omapere Rangihamama Trust is considered a strong one and its Far North farm is one of the three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for New Zealand’s top Maori sheep and beef farm. Omapere has a separate farm committee, which deals with staff and the management of the property and reports back to the main trust. A big effort has been made to get well qualified people on the trust and it’s taken the unusual step of appointing a trustee who now lives and works in Germany and commutes across the world for the annual meeting and six monthly meetings. Colleen Bermingham-Brown has worked in Germany with her husband for the last four years. She recently took a job in Bonn, recruiting and managing about 2500 volunteers worldwide who work for the United Nations. The couple have four children. Her mother was from Kaikohe and her grandmother and grandfather were

also from the Far North; she is one of 3532 owners of the trust. While Bermingham-Brown was brought up in West Auckland, she was taken on regular trips back to Kaikohe by her mother to keep her connected with her whanau. After leaving school she quickly moved into the corporate world. “I am trained as a nurse and have a nursing degree. But in the 1990s there were no nursing jobs so I ended up working my way into human resources recruitment,” she told Rural News. “In some ways they are quite similar, because nursing was about getting people well and HR is about helping people find jobs and bettering themselves. I worked in London and Australia for recruiting and consulting companies in my 20s and in my 30s came back to NZ.” Once back in NZ, she worked for Westpac on leadership and talent management then became head of the first Maori business unit in a bank. Her last role with

“It was my time. I was ready and I was always interested in a governance career and I wanted to spend more time back home,” she explains. “So I went where I knew; this is where I knew and where I was comfortable. “It also helped with my journey discovering my Maori side, because I had lived overseas for so long. It was also a platform for me to discover a bit about who I was and what it meant to be Maori,” she says. Today, Bermingham-Brown is comfortable in her role and can walk in Maori and corporate worlds and on the other side of the world. When she was about to move to Germany with her husband (who also works in HR) four years ago her term as a trustee of Omapere was due for renewal and she wondered what might happen. But the Omapere trustees were not about to let a talented young person slip away; thanks to Skype and Facetime and other technologies her fellow trustColleen Bermingham-Brown ees are just

the bank was head of corporate and community engagement. This background in people management persuaded Bermingham-Brown to put her name forward to be a trustee of Omapere Rangihamama.

a screen or phone call away – and it works. “When the board meetings start it’s midnight for me and they go through until about 6am my time; so it is a big commitment for me because I do a full day at work and then front up for what amounts to a night time board meeting,” she explains. The challenge for BerminghamBrown has been to change what she describes as a sense of hopelessness among the beneficial owners of Omapere, which she discovered when first becoming a trustee. She says the trust was in debt and they were afraid of losing their land, but this has now changed and her people are more positive about their future and think anything is possible. As a trustee of Omapere Rangihamama, Bermingham-Brown has been a strong advocate for providing scholarships for young people to get them better educated and to regain their self-esteem and make a valuable contribution to their people and NZ as a whole. • See more on the Omapere field day, page 28.



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Showcase for NZ agriculture on the world stage PAM TIPA

NEW ZEALAND’S pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai will have strong potential to showcase this country’s primary industry products and innovation in sustainability, claims Catherine Beard ExportNZ’s chief executive. The Government has just announced New Zealand will participate in World Expo 2020, to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is committing $53.3 million to construct a NZ pavilion. Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says “that will allow Kiwi businesses to highlight their innovative products and services and open doors to new export markets”. The expo site will be about 2 and will contain three themed areas: opportunity, sus-

tainability and mobility. NZ has been invited to participate in the sustainability precinct. Beard told Rural News Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UAE is NZ’s largest export market in the Middle East and the country’s 12th-largest trading partner.  “In addition NZ is close to securing a free trade deal with the wider area of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” she says.  “If the trade deal comes off then our exports will become even more competitive than they are now and there will be increased interest from NZ firms to tackle those markets.” This expo in Dubai will be an important showcase for NZ’s country brand, showing the range of things we can do as a country

with a sustainability theme, Beard says.  “GCC countries are rich in oil and gas, but lack farmland for food production and have high demand for imported food and drinks,” she says. “NZ’s trusted dairy and meat exports meet some of that demand and there is increasing interest in food service exports into hotels, restaurant chains, etc. “GCC countries are also motivated to reduce their trade reliance on oil and diversify their economies into high-tech and service sectors.” Beard says the focus of NZ’s stand will be showcasing our innovation in sustainability, showing we can do more than just sell commodity products.  “I imagine we will be showcasing sustainability in farming practices right through to manufacturing and services.”

Bridges says showcasing NZ to the world is a crucial aspect of boosting economic growth. Expo 2020 will provide a springboard to promote us as an innovative, solution-focused economy to the 25 million visitors expected to attend from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. “It will also allow us to build on our strong economic and transport links to the UAE, which acts as a global air and sea logistics hub, providing access for NZ exporters to a much wider region. We’re already well connected by five direct daily Emirates flights, contributing $700 million to the economy,” says Bridges. The expo will run from October 2020 to April 2021. The organisers expect about 180 nations to participate. NZ is among the first 20 to formally confirm attendance.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges.


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Fonterra to lose more market share? PAM TIPA

FONTERRA’S MARKET share could fall from 84% to 79% over the next five years, says TDB Advisory, financial and economic advisors.  The ‘New Zealand Dairy Companies Review’ published in April says it seems likely that Fonterra’s competitors, with well-established relationships with farmer-suppliers and offshore customers and profitable operations, will have access to capital to permit them to continue growing at rates of about 10% per annum. “If, as we assume to be the case, Fonterra grows by 2.5% per annum, Fonterra’s market share will fall from 84% to 79% over the next five years.” It says the market share of NZ milk processing companies in 2016 was Fonterra 84%, Open Country Dairy 6%, Westland 3%, Synlait 3%, Miraka 1%, Oceania 1% and Tatua 1%. “The NZ milk processing industry remains predominantly low risk with the large majority of volumes in commodities,” the report says. “Competitors to Fonterra have improved the transparency of the sec-

tor’s risks and returns. The higher-risk paying some of the excess return to strategies (Tatua and Synlait) are being farmer-suppliers. When we normalise adequately rewarded while at the other their cost of milk to Fonterra’s FGMP, end of the spectrum OCD is generat- their returns on assets in 2016 were ing returns materially above its (low-risk) cost of capital.” Earlier the report says Fonterra’s NZ milk-processing competitors are now well established. “The competitors’ milk volumes have grown from 600 million litres when Fonterra was established in 2002 to 2.9 billion litres in 2016. “They now have a combined profitability (EBIT) of over $200m. Interestingly, Fonterra has grown its Australian milk processing volumes to 1.7b litres over the same period and Fonterra’s market share of NZ’s milk production could in 2016 delivered a normalised drop from 84% to 79% over the next 5 years. EBIT on its Australian operations of $63m.” Open Country Dairy is the bench- 22% (Tatua) and 17% (OCD). “Synlait is successfully shifting mark commodity processor and Tatua the benchmark value-added processor. more of its milk into higher margin “Both are focussed on their core returns and has the access to capital businesses and delivering higher than and confidence from recent returns expected risk-weighted returns to their on assets of above 10% to invest in shareholders and farmers. Both are higher-value manufacturing assets that

will continue its growth in volume and margin. “Westland is the underperforming Fonterra competitor, and it is

difficult to see that it could get shareholder support to invest more capital in higher-value processing assets. “Westland has acknowledged its underperformance and we would expect little milk volume growth until it reduces its costs and regains the con-

fidence of its shareholders. “The balance sheets of Tatua and OCD show how significantly different their investment in long-term fixedprocessing assets is.” Tatua invests 250% more than OCD for every unit of milk processed, the report says. “This additional investment is an indicator of the increased risk attached to a value-add strategy and underscores that a higher value-add strategy is not as simple as it sounds. It takes investment in long-term trusted customer relationships and investment in manufacturing assets that cost a lot more than is required for a commodity processor. “If Tatua’s investment in manufacturing per unit of milk is applied to the other NZ dairy processors (including Fonterra’s NZ milk volumes), an additional $8b in capital would be required across the sector.” The TBD Advisory report says given comments from the companies “we think it is reasonable to assume the current strategic positioning of the companies will remain the same over the coming few years”.


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Central Plains moves to stage two NIGEL MALTHUS

CANTERBURY’S CENTRAL Plains Water Ltd (CPWL) irrigation scheme has entered stage 2, with Prime Minister Bill English officiating at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Darfield. Stage 2 complements stage 1, which takes water from an intake on the Rakaia River near the gorge, and services 23,000ha by way of a 17km open canal terminating near Hororata, with underground laterals to the member farms. Stage 2 will take water from the end of the existing stage 1 canal to service another 20,000ha of farmland in the northeast half of the CPW area. It will be fully underground,

using 2.5m and 2m diameter glass-reinforced plastic pipes – the largest used in New Zealand to date – for the main trunks. About 220 construction and design staff will be based at Darfield for the duration of the $200 million project, which will be carried out by Downer and is expected to be complete in about a year. Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd (CIIL) will make a $65 million secured loan to CPW to part-fund stage 2 of the CPW scheme. CIIL invested $6.5 million in CPW stage 1 which has since been fully repaid. Prime Minister Bill English, who declared the project under-

way by cutting a red ribbon stretched across a 2m-diameter jointing ring for the glass-reinforced pipe, emphasised both the economic benefits of the scheme and the expected environmental benefits to the stressed waterways of the lower Selwyn Waihora zone. By bringing in alpine water from the major rivers the scheme is already taking some of the load off groundwater in the stage 1 area. CPWL says it has reduced groundwater take by 75%. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the scheme will be a boost to the Canterbury regional economy. A reliable source of water gives farmers certainty and options to invest in

mixed farming operations including arable, sheep and beef finishing, dairy farming and horticulture. “Importantly, it also has many environmental benefits. Using alpine sourced water rather than ground water is environmentally beneficial for Canterbury as it reduces pressure on aquifers which are needed to replenish flows in lowland streams. Replacing groundwater with river and stored alpine river water has the potential to improve water flows into Lake Ellesmere – Te Waihora by an estimated 15-20%, helping the longterm process of improving its water quality,” said Guy. The day also included a visit to Sheffield, where

Central Plains Water Ltd (CPWL) chief executive Derek Crombie (left), Fulton Hogan’s Mike Howat, local MP Amy Adams, Prime Minister Bill English, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, and Fulton Hogan project manager Peter Wissel on the site of the 2 million cubic metre storage pond being built for the Sheffield Water Scheme. Physically separate from the main CPWL scheme, which is now entering its stage two construction, the Sheffield scheme will take water from the Waimakariri to irrigate 4300ha in the northwest sector of the CPWL coverage area. RURAL NEWS GROUP.

a 2 million cubic metre storage pond is being constructed for the physically separate Sheffield Water Scheme. That will service another 4300ha in a northwest corner of the CPWL coverage area, with water taken from the Waimakariri. Under construction by Fulton Hogan, that scheme is due to be operational in October this year. Meanwhile, Guy also revealed promising results from the Hinds/ Hekeao managed aquifer

recharge project, a pilot scheme testing the feasibility of using alpine river water to recharge lower aquifers, which he visited earlier in the day. The project consists of a purpose-built ‘leaky pond’ south of Ashburton, fed with water from the Rangitata River via the Rangitata diversion race and the Valetta Irrigation Scheme, which then drains away to feed the lower aquifers and lowland streams. “I was pleased to hear that in the first year of


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this project the bores monitoring groundwater conditions downstream have shown improvements in both water quantity with rising levels and in water quality with decreasing concentrations of nitrates,” said Guy. Hydrologist Bob Bower, who is leading the MAR project and also attended the Darfield event, said formal results from the first year’s operation were still being collated but confirmed that it was looking good.

RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Consent to farm now a reality NIGEL MALTHUS

FARMERS IN Environment Canterbury’s Selwyn-Te Waihora zone are being urged to get a move on with their farming consents. An estimated 900 farmers in the catchment, which runs from the foothills to the coastal region

around Lake Ellesmere (Waihora), will by July this year need a land use consent to farm. The requirement is laid out in the Selwyn Te Waihora section (Plan Change 1) of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan, which specified new nutrient management limits and

became operative in 2016. Farmers in the zone must have a land use consent if they farm more than 10ha, and either: • Have nitrogen losses of more than 15kg/ha/ year. • Are in designated phosphorus sediment risk areas (primarily heavier soils in two broad

swathes, near the foothills and in the Lincoln and Leeston area). • Are in designated cultural landscape/values management areas (primarily around the lake). Zone committee facilitator Ian Whitehouse says ECan sent out about 2000 letters in February to rural property owners

warning them they may need a consent. At the same time ECan also announced a new nitrogen assessment tool, NCheck, approved for use only in the Selwyn Te Waihora catchment. Whitehouse says NCheck is a very effective and valuable tool enabling people to esti-

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mate whether their nitrogen losses are greater or less than 15kg/ha/year. ECan regards Selwyn Te Waihora as one of the more challenging catchments in the country, with low flows in the Selwyn River, and the lake at the bottom of the catchment acting as a sink for nutrient runoff. Whitehouse says that as a wide shallow lake, in which sediment is easily

Hutton says farmers first need to realise what zone they’re in by consulting ECan’s website, then identify whether they need act. “Phosphorus is an issue for the guys in Selwyn primarily on the heavier soils and nitrogen is the issue for the guys in Selwyn primarily on the lighter soils, both of which potentially

“It is very much expected of the farmer that they will already have had a farm environment plan produced and in place before they go on the waiting list. And they are expected to have started to undertake the good management practises described in the FEP regardless of whether they are having to get the consent or not.” stirred up in windy conditions, there is never any shortage of nutrients. “The lake grows algae very well.” However, the total package is not just about what is required of farmers, but also covers other management issues over the lake margins, wetlands, and the lake level. Whitehouse says the basis for the consent application will be a farm environment plan, which various industry bodies will help farmers to draw up. Speaking at the recent Lincoln University Dairy Farm focus day, Ravensdown environmental consultant Arron Hutton said the consenting process is very complex because a number of different rules are in play, but the nitrogen limit of 15kg/ha/year will impact many. “In most cases if you know you are an intensive farmer, such as a dairy farmer, it’s almost a given that you are going to have to take some sort of action.”

can accumulate in the environment to negative effect.” He says while many farmers will not have time to get the consent in place by July, ECan is allowing Ravensdown Environmental to run a waiting list. “It is very much expected of the farmer that they will already have had a farm environment plan produced and in place before they go on the waiting list. And they are expected to have started to undertake the good management practises described in the FEP regardless of whether they are having to get the consent or not,” said Hutton. “First get in touch with someone who understands your farm system and knows what the rules are, and they will be able to advise you what your best course is,” he advises. “But not getting on a waiting list will not be an excuse at ECan’s end.” @rural_news


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Main hort crops escape damage PAM TIPA

AVOCADO AND kiwifruit industry representatives say recent storms have caused severe damage but it appears to be localised and unlikely to affect the

overall national crop. Avocado NZ chief executive Jen Scoular says losses would have been higher if this was the better year for avocados; this year is the offyear for the fruit which produces a good crop

biennially and a small crop in the off year. Damage from ex cyclones Debbie and Cook has been “quite sporadic”. “We have had some [hard hit] orchards with both the wind and the

rain, particularly in the Edgecumbe-Opotiki areas. The continued rain is tough on the trees as they hang the crop for next year,” Scoular told Rural News. “In some orchards a number of trees were

Zespri says the kiwifruit industry has remained relatively unscathed from the storms.

uprooted and the fruit is on the ground but it hasn’t been a solid impact across a whole area. But it has been very significant in a lot of places, particularly in the Eastern Bay.” Now is the very end of the 2016-17 season, so the crop on the trees is for June-July harvesting this year -- fist-sized fruit. “The crop is much lower this year anyway so the trees are not holding huge amounts of fruit as they would have been a year ago.” But they cannot say how it may impact the overall crop, if at all. “In Northland the industry got away without too much wind so it wasn’t as bad as people had anticipated it might be with crop coming in.” An avocado may sometimes completely uproot but the tree stays sideways and keeps growing. “They are a pretty shallow rooted tree and in the areas without good drainage... a tree can take 18 months to recover from the water sitting around the roots. That is when the impact can carry on to the next growing season.” Scoular says they would be “quite happy with a quiet and not too wet winter, thank you!” NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc (KGI) chief executive Nikki Johnson says damage was severe but localised and was unlikely to affect the overall crop. Kiwifruit industry representatives were in contact with growers to reduce the risk of kiwifruit vine death due to deposits of silt from river water and compaction of soil by heavy vehicles.

“Grower assistance has been focused on three core areas: identifying severely affected orchards and providing information and support where necessary; helping provide pumps for getting water off orchards; and communicating the availability of pastoral care for people experiencing stress,” she says. A handful of kiwifruit growers near Te Teko and Edgecumbe had bad flooding on their orchards from ex-Cyclone Debbie. “The few orchards whose fruit was touched by flood waters or dropped by wind will not be harvested due to food safety reasons,” she says. “However, it is hoped most of the fruit on affected orchards will be able to be harvested.  It will be some time before the extent of long term damage to kiwifruit plants from flooding in this area is known.  “There was limited further damage from exCyclone Cook.  Supporting affected kiwifruit growers has been a priority across the whole industry since the arrival of cyclone Debbie,” Johnson told Rural News. A Zespri spokesperson says the kiwifruit industry escaped relatively unscathed from Cyclone Cook. “We’ve had no reports of serious damage or anyone being hurt and we don’t anticipate this will impact on the overall 2017 season. “It’s been a gorgeous week or two in the Bay of Plenty and the weather forecast is looking good, with picking and packing now in full swing now.”

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Food origin supporters call for submissions PAM TIPA

SUBMISSIONS ARE now open on the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill until May 18 – with backing from NZ Pork and Horticulture NZ. The bill passed its first reading in Parliament

after the Government had a change of heart and supported the Green Party initiative. Primary production committee chair Ian McKelvie says the issue is important to many NZers and he encourages people to have their say. This bill requires the origin of fruit, vegetables,

meats, seafood and other single-ingredient food to be labelled or shown at the point of sale. It also introduces offences for misleading statements on the label of single-ingredient food. NZ Pork says crossparty support for the bill, heading to the select committee stage, is a true

reflection of Kiwi consumers’ attitudes. The pork industry lobby has called for all parties to back it. It claims, according to consumer research now underway, that NZers expect the meat they buy here to be from animals born and raised here. NZ Pork chairman



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Ian Carter says about 60% of pork sold in NZ is imported from 20 countries. NZ Pork is refreshing its labelling for NZgrown pork products to emphasise both country of origin and its PigCare accreditation programme. Carter says the label will highlight that pork products are sourced from pigs born and raised in NZ and farmed with care – with welfare at the centre of the farming practice. The accreditation programme, developed by Massey University with the support of vets, pig farmers, NZ Pork and MPI, is described as a world-class assessment of animal welfare. “We hope as this bill progresses more of our elected representatives will recognise the wishes of their constituents and provide the opportunity for local consumers to understand more about where their food is sourced,” says NZ Pork. Horticulture NZ says a recent survey showed at least 70% of NZers want mandatory country of origin labelling (CoOL) of fresh fruit and vegetables. HortNZ says it will encourage people to make submissions to the select committee and, as it is election year, it will also start a movement via Facebook to enable people to ask their local MPs what they are going

to do about meeting people’s demands for mandatory CoOL. This law will not be enacted by the September general election, so people need to be clear what the next Government’s stance will be, HortNZ says. “There are a lot of misconceptions and myths about CoOL,” says Chapman. “Voluntary CoOL has been adopted by major supermarkets but there is no consistency across the board, which is why it needs to be mandatory. For example, people make assumptions about what they are buying at those local Saturday markets that spring up in neighbourhoods around NZ, but not all the produce meets expectations of being fresh and locally grown. “There are no trade issues; most of our trading partners have CoOL and our exporters certainly trade on coming from NZ, as people pay a premium for that.” HortNZ is asking for single-ingredient fresh fruit and vegetables to have mandatory CoOL. “This does not mean we are asking for complicated label changes, or every piece of fresh fruit and vegetable to have individual labels. “The sensible approach is to label the bin the fresh fruit or vegetables are in.”


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Ploughing champs attract crowds PETER BURKE

FINE WEATHER brought out the crowds to this year’s national ploughing championships at Kirwee, Canterbury, last month. The warm and sunny weather helped make it a very successful event, says Colin Millar, who represents New Zealand in the World Ploughing Organisation. He says ploughing in NZ is still strong and it is good to

have two new competitors in the conventional class and one in the vintage class. Millar says NZ is very competitive on the international scene and several training courses for judges and competitors are aimed at lifting the standard. “Our people going to international events need to be upskilled somehow and we are talking about how to do that and lift them a level,” he told

Manawatu. Woolley described conditions at Kirwee as

Ian Wooley (inset) in action.

STILL GOING STRONG AFTER 62 YEARS THIS YEAR saw the staging of the 62nd national ploughing championships, near the town of Kirwee, Canterbury. The event was held on Warwick Seaton’s farm and the forbears of the present owners were among the competitors in that first competition. Seaton is a fifth generation farmer on the property. He is on the local committee, but not competing, but his brother Ashley was.

The farm is 800ha of which 300ha is in crop and the remainder is used for finishing sheep and beef. Seaton had been planning for the event for four years, making sure it was ready for the big occasion. “It was just getting the crop rotation right: one grass and one stubble paddock. It took us about a week to get it right in the end,” he says.

Warwick Seaton

Rural News. This year Ian Woolley of Blenheim won the conventional class and Bob Mehrtens the reversible. This means both will go to the world event in Germany in 2018. Both are already heading to Kenya this year after winning their respective classes last year in

perfect: the ground conditions were superb and the event brilliant.

FINALE FOR HORSE COUPLE SEAN LESLIE and Kaye Walker (above) from Middlemarch won the Rural News Group sponsored horse ploughing competition for the second year in a row. The couple won last year at Manawatu and were thrilled to win again. However, they won’t be together next year for the competition in Southland. Kaye decided to call it quits, but Sean will be there again. Kaye says she’s hoping to train someone else up to take over her role.



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Champagne crop for Mid Canterbury farmers TEAM EFFORT FOR NZ


ABOUT 20 years ago, when Ashburton arable farmers Eric and Maxine Watson told their son Philip of a particularly good wheat harvest, he congratulated them with a bottle of champagne – in the form of a fridge magnet. At the time, he told them they would get a real bottle when they set a world record. The fridge magnet is still in the Watsons’ kitchen, but this month the US-domiciled Philip had to courier in the real bottle of bubbly. “We drank it the night Guinness confirmed the record,” they say with a smile, on the day Rural News visits to talk about the record. The Watsons, who farm at Wakanui, about half-way between Ashburton and the coast, are now listed on for their 16.791 tonnes of wheat per hect-

Ashburton arable farmer Eric Watson has set a new official world record wheat yield of 16.791 tonnes per hectare. PHOTO: LIGHTWORKX PHOTOGRAPHY.

are, which beat the previous record of 16.519 tonnes held for two years by a UK farmer. Planted in mid-April 2016, the crop of the Oakley variety was harvested in mid-February after a heavy regime of care, not just in nurturing the crop but

TOP OPERATORS THE WATSONS believe they can do even better, but probably not this season because of an unusually wet and grey autumn. The farm had recorded 122mm of rain in March and another 97mm by mid April, even before the tail end of Cyclone Cook came through at Easter. They had been unable to drill any autumn crops so far; at the same time last year, the record crop was already in the ground. The Watsons have been on the property for about 25 years, having

moved from lighter-soil, sheep country at Ealing. Already set up for irrigation when they bought the property – after a 10 year search for the perfect cropping farm – their 490ha is 97% serviced by linear irrigators. The Watsons, who were the first in the South Island to adopt variablerate irrigation, have previously been recognised with the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year title in 2006, and the 2011 Ballance Farm Environment Award for the Canterbury region.

also in monitoring every step to satisfy Guinness’s standards, which had recently been made more stringent. It was the second season the Watsons had attempted a record, which was originally prompted by their agronomy advisers and chemical supplier Bayer. Eric Watson says that with a lot of Bayer products used it meant prestige for the company, and it was an honour for the arable industry and New Zealand to have the record back in the country. “Bayer said, ‘you can do it and we’re prepared to help you’. They did all the organisation. I just did the growing.” He also thanked Yara Fertilisers, whose arable specialist Paul Johnston took fortnightly leaf samples for analysis, something the Watsons would not normally do for a crop more than a couple of times a season. Meeting Guinness’s requirements required registering the attempt and

BAYER NEW Zealand Crop Science country manager Scott Hanson says the record is an important achievement for NZ. “We hope achievements such as this will help promote NZ as a global leader in growing grain and seed for local and global markets. “Two years ago we worked with Warren Darling of Timaru to get the world record for barley. The addition of the wheat world record firmly puts NZ at the forefront of worldwide farming.” Hanson says Bayer’s aim is to make NZ the highest yield-producing

surveying the fields even before the seed was drilled. On harvest day, cameras had to record the fields, the weighbridge and machinery, and everything was audited and witnessed by Justices of the Peace. Their success comes a year after FAR chairman David Birkett, of Leeston, harvested an even greater yield of Oakley wheat, but could not claim an official record. At the time, Birkett was doubtful of the chances of bringing the record back to NZ because of Guinness’s newly stringent rules, but was unaware of the Watson’s attempt already underway. Maxine Watson says the effort was beyond any one individual. “I’m glad Eric got the recognition because he’s grown a lot of good wheat crops over the years. But one can’t go into it lightly.” However, it was not just the prestige that made it worthwhile.

country in the world. Yara Fertilisers’ Paul Johnston says the regular herbage testing was a very important factor, in guiding the timely inputs of foliar trace elements. Meanwhile, Ashburton-based Carrfields has also welcomed the record, pointing out that both the Watsons’ achievement and Darling’s 2015 barley record came from Carrfields-supplied seeds. “We’re immensely proud that both the farmers are Carrfields customers,” says cereal seed product manager Phil Smith.

Maxine recounted a recent discussion at a FAR Women in Arable meeting when some questioned whether it was worth going for extra-high yields, because the extra inputs represented money wasted if the crop failed. The response was that the extra inputs were in fact insurance against failure. “You put in all that good stuff. You look after the crop and you’ll get the yield. It’s not likely to fall over if you pay attention to detail.” She says the Watsons had grown four paddocks of wheat. “Yield makes a big difference when it comes to the end of the day because [the record field] was the highest gross margin. They were all looked after really well, but the one that had the greatest yield had the greatest return.” Eric says it was all about attention to detail and he’s still learning from the experience of the past two seasons.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Genetics key to lamb taste PAM TIPA

GENETIC SELECTION for taste seems to outweigh other onfarm factors such as breed, lamb gender or fat cover in the

eating quality of lamb, says Grant Howie, general manager sales, Silver Fern Farms. SFF says this in a report on research into lamb eating quality under the FarmIQ Pri-

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tently high-quality eating product. Howie says they had “absolutely confirmed” that consumers see lamb as a good quality product, “so it gives us confidence that the

Thorough tests have found no ram lamb effect, according to SFF’s Grant Howie.







product the farmers are producing is meeting consumer taste expectations.” Interestingly for farmers, the research did not find a significant or consistent effect on lamb eating quality from breed, lamb gender, pasture, growth rates, fat cover and marbling, butt conformation or locality, he says. Several of these factors had minor effects, but all were outweighed by the right cut and correct ageing, he says. “This wasn’t just a one-off study; there were several studies over that time. We were getting more and more information the more we tested,” Howie told Rural News. “I think early on we were expecting, for example, a ram lamb effect; there is a lot of talk in the industry about that. But the more we tested it and the more thoroughly we looked at those sorts of things we couldn’t see any ram lamb effect and it wasn’t just a oneoff study; we did several

studies on that. “There is more variation in the genetics within a breed than there is one breed versus another. “Ag Research and FarmIQ have invested a lot of money in the last few years developing a SNP chip which helps identify different gene markers that can identify the markers for tenderness, low pH and marbling in lamb. “The same technology has been used in the beef industry. “Ram breeders can now use that technology to improve the genetic make-up of lambs – or of rams and passed on to lambs obviously – for tenderness, pH and marbling. “All the studies have confirmed that farmers are on track, and they can ensure we remain on track if the breeders use the genetic technology of the SNP chip and keep our lamb eating as good as it is now.” @rural_news

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The report, Lamb Eating Quality: the commercial application of findings from Silver Fern Farms’ consumer and onfarm research into the eating quality of lamb, covers the findings of New Zealand’s largest-scale research into the eating quality of NZ lamb.  The research was done under the FarmIQ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme, a partnership between Silver Fern Farms, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Landcorp. Research partners include AgResearch, Texas Tech University, the University of Otago and several international meat quality experts.  Key factors shown to significantly and consistently effect lamb eating quality were: selecting the right cut, correctly ageing the meat, and correctly matching the cut to the cooking method. Silver Fern Farms chief executive Dean Hamilton says the company’s research into eating quality over the last eight years has covered lamb and beef. “We need our farmer partners to continue to supply quality in-spec lambs year round, and we need to maximise returns by delivering product to consumers which has consistently high eating quality, in packaging with an appealing brand story.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017

20 MARKETS & TRENDS L amb - PM 16.0kg



Last Week 5.70

M 2 B ull - 300kg




5.20 4.20


c/kgCWT NI

P 2 Steer - 300kg

2 Wks A go 5.70

Last Year 5.30

S te e r - P2 300kg


5 .7 0


5 .3 5

P 2 Co w - 230kg




B u ll - M2 300kg


5 .6 5


5 .0 5

M Co w - 200kg





Ve n is o n - AP 60kg


8 .4 0


8 .6 0

Lo cal Trade - 230kg






P 2 Steer - 300kg




South Island 16kg M lamb price






M Co w - 200kg





Lo cal Trade - 230kg






20-May Last Ye ar

20-Jul This Ye ar

North Island 300kg bull price


5yr Ave

10-Sep 10-Oct 24-Feb


South Island 300kg steer price


5yr Ave




South Island 60kg stag price



7.0 20-Mar 5yr Ave

20-May Last Ye ar

This Ye ar


S outh Island Weekly Lamb Kill

k 10 0Aug

10 Sep

5yr Ave

2 Wks A go 229 718

Last Year 209 665

10 Nov

24 Apr Last Ye ar

24 Jun This Ye ar


Last Week 6

2 Wks A go 6

Last Year 5





Change UK Leg p/kg

3 Wks A go 230 728

10 Oct

24 Feb

Export Market Demand

This Year


5yr A ve 207 621

Export indicator - US 95CL D edemand mand Indicator - US 95CL Beefbeef


5yr A ve 6 9

Export demand indicator - UK CKT leg


300 23 Jan

23 Mar

23 May

23 Jul

Procurement Indicator

Last Year This Year 150 $1.50 23-Jan 23-Mar 23-May 23-Jul 5-Jun 12-Jun 19-Jun 26-Jun 3-Jul 10-Jul 17-Jul 24-Jul 31-Jul 7-Aug 14-Aug 21-Aug 28-Aug 4-Sep 11-Sep 18-Sep 25-Sep 9-Oct 16-Oct 23-Oct 30-Oct 6-Nov 13-Nov 20-Nov 5yr ave Last Ye ar This Ye ar

Procurement Indicator -0 +0

2Wks A go 78.3 70.0

3 Wks A go 78.6 69.6

Last Year 78.1 69.1

5yr A ve 74.6 67.2

P rocu rement Indicator Procurement Indicator -- North North I.Island 95 90% 85% 80% 75 75% Last Year 70% This Year 65% 60% 55 0… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 20-Jan 20-Mar 20-May 20-Jul

Procurement Indicator - South Island


6.5 20-Jan

Last Year

% of export returns

$/kg $/kg


-1 -9

% Returned NI % Returned SI


10 Nov24 Jun

400 200k

24-Feb 10-Oct24-Apr10-Nov 24-Jun 10-Sep 5yr Ave Last Ye ar This Ye ar



This Year

10 Oct 24 Apr

South Island w eekly lamb kill

500 250k

24 Dec

North Island 60kg stag price


Last Year

10 Sep 24 Feb

50k 100

USc/lb 20-May Last Ye ar This Ye ar

5yr Ave

k 0 1024 Aug Dec

100k 200


20-Mar 5yr Ave


300 150k

$2.50 200


6.5 20-Jan

10-Dec 24-Jun

South Island Weekly Cattle Kill

95CL USc/lb NZc/kg 250 $3.00



10-Nov 24-Apr

S outh Island Weekly Cattle Kill



4.0 20-Jan

This Year

90 P rocu rement Indicator - South I. 85% 80% 75% 70 70% 65% Last Year 60% This Year 50 20-Mar 20-May 20-Jul 55%20-Jan 19-Jun 26-Jun 3-Jul 10-Jul 17-Jul 24-Jul 31-Jul 7-Aug 14-Aug 21-Aug 28-Aug 4-Sep 11-Sep 18-Sep 25-Sep 9-Oct 16-Oct 23-Oct 30-Oct 6-Nov 13-Nov 20-Nov 0-Jan 5yr ave Last Ye ar This Ye ar

% of export returns


Last Year

Export Market Demand


North eekly lamb N ort hIsland Islandw Weekly Lambkill Kill


0 k 24-Dec 10-Aug


Last Year 4.86 4.88 4.90 4.91 2.40 4.63 4.63 4.63 4.63 2.25


4.5 4.0 20-Jan

2 Wks A go 5.76 5.78 5.80 5.81 3.60 5.68 5.68 5.68 5.68 3.55




+10 +10 +10 n/c n/c +5 +5 +5 +5 n/c

Last Week 5.86 5.88 5.90 5.91 3.60 5.73 5.73 5.73 5.73 3.55


10k 20



Slaughter 250k 400

North N ort hIsland IslandWeekly Weekly Cattle Cattle Kill Kill


5yr Ave



k 0 10-Aug 24-Dec




P 2 Co w - 230kg

40 20k


4.0 20-Jan





Thousand head





4.5 4.0 20-Jan



Thousand head




M 2 B ull - 300kg

Thousand head


North Island 16kg M lamb price

c/kgCWT NI Lamb YM - 13.5kg P M - 16.0kg P X - 19.0kg P H - 22.0kg M utto n M X1 - 21kg SI Lamb YM - 13.5kg P M - 16.0kg P X - 19.0kg P H - 22.0kg M utto n M X1- 21kg


c /kgCWT

S o u th Is lan d C h an g e L as t c /kg We e k +5 5 .7 3

% Returned NI


2Wks A go 75.6

% Returned SI




85 80%

3 Wks A go 75.6

Last Year 69.4



5yr A ve 70.0 68.0

Procurement P rocu rementindicator Indicator-- North North Island I.

% of export returns

No rth Is lan d C h an g e L as t c /kg We e k +10 5 .8 8


75 70% 65 60%

Last Year

This Year

50% 55 11-Aug 20-Jan 11-Sep 11-Oct 20-Mar11-Nov 11-Dec 20-May11-Jan 11-Feb 20-Jul 75 80%

% of export returns

Me at


Thousand head


Procurement indicator - South Island P rocu rement Indicator - South I.

70% 65 60% Last Y ear

This Year

50% 55 11-Aug 20-Jan 11-Sep 11-Oct 20-Mar 11-Nov 11-Dec 20-May11-Jan 11-Feb 20-Jul 5yr ave Last Ye ar This Ye ar

Venison Prices NI Stag - 60kg


Last Week 8.40

SI Stag - 60kg




2 Wks A go 8.40

Last Year 7.50



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

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5yr A ve 6.68 6.71

RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


cow kill has not yet resulted in a significant increase in cow meat offered to the US market. Low production to date has many processors packing to forward orders, but also with volumes of product not significant yet, processors appear to be biding their time before entering the market. The volume of cow meat offered

SHEEP: Lambs continue to elude

North Island processing chains. The writing is now well and truly on the wall that lamb supply is not going to increase by any significant degree. Many processors have responded by reducing killing capacity. This will keep a lid on procurement activity, and stop lamb schedules lifting as sharply as what we have seen in recent weeks. The South Island isn’t quite as tight on lambs. Some have been enticed to kill following the heavy rains through the upper end of the island over the last fortnight. However, for others this has only slowed their killing intentions. There has been little change in the store lamb market lately. Recent weather conditions and impressive returns at auction have drawn big numbers to North Island saleyards, but the markets largely held stable. It’s been quiet by comparison in the South Island, where prices have stayed red hot.


Overseas Wool Price Indicators




Last Year

Coarse Xbred





Coarse Xbred

Fine Xbred





Fine Xbred







Indicators in NZc/kg


Mid Micron




Indicators in USc/kg

Wool indicator trends Wool Indicator Trends

850 700



Last Year


















Mid Micron

Fine crossbred indicator

700 FXI





650 500


550 450 300 21-Apr 21-Jul 21-Oct 21-Jan WeekNo 42110 42124 42138 42152 42166 42180 42194 42208 42222 42236 42250 42264 42278 42292 42306 42320 42334 42348 42376 42390 42404 42418 42432 42446 42459




300 19-Jan


Coarse crossbred indicator Coarse Xbred Indicator Last Year


5yr ave



19-May Last Year

19-Jul This Year

Lamb wool indicator

This Year





will increase at some point. However with both domestic and imported supply expected to be tight in the short term and domestic demand exceptionally good, the amount of downside in the imported 90CL price may well be limited.


BEEF: North Island processing plants are full as more cattle are offloaded and bookings are squeezed into three short weeks. Cows dominate the numbers, however there is also a decent mix of other classes coming out too. This is similar to what the South Island is experiencing. Slaughter prices have come back as a result, more so among cows than another other beef type. More downside is likely in the coming weeks. Store trading is mostly focused on weaner calves still. The only new trend to emerge lately is some softening among the heavier end of the market. There are a few more backing off the weaner market as the price level becomes just too high. Weaner steer prices through the North Island have tracked around 50c/kg above a year ago with the South Island at least 60c/kg above a year ago.



500 450300 19-Jan Dec Oct

5yr ave

19-Mar Feb

Apr 19-May Jun Last Year

Aug 19-Jul This Year

400 200 5-Jan

5-Feb 5yr ave

5-Mar 5-Apr Last Year

5-May This Year


AgriHQ is the leading source of independent agri market analysis that farmes can bank on. For the latest market reports visit or call 0800 85 25 80.









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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


$30m Maori investment in kiwifruit PAM TIPA

$30 MILLION will be invested in building 10 kiwifruit orchards on Maori land in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne over the next 18 months, says entrepreneur Te Tumu Pairoa, in partnership with Quayside Holdings. In the single-largest kiwifruit investment ever made on Maori land, at least 90ha of semi- and unproductive land will be converted into grower businesses. Te Tumu Paeroa has developed a unique

model for the enterprises, to allow full ownership of the orchards to transfer to landowners in an estimated 12-17 years after achieving a targeted rate of return on capital invested. In the interim the land will be leased and Te Tumu Paeroa will build and run the high-performing businesses, carrying the financial risk. “Our programme allows landowners to participate in developing a successful kiwifruit orchard on their land and see the ownership of the business transfer to them

by 2030, creating a legacy for generations to come,” says Jamie Tuuta, Maori trustee and Te Tumu Paeroa chief executive officer. “A core part of our programme is building the capability of landowners to successfully govern the business when it comes time to transfer ownership to them,” he says. “We want to see Maori landowners involved in the whole process — developing skills and hands-on experience in running kiwifruit orchards on the

Jamie Tuuta, Maori trustee and Te Tumu Paeroa chief executive officer.

ground and in the boardroom.” By 2030, based on today’s return, the orchards are expected to generate at least $80,000/ ha/year, or $7.1m, by growing a mixture of premium Gold kiwifruit and traditional Green kiwifruit. In the 2015-16 season the average return for Green kiwifruit was a

do have access to capital and can reap the financial rewards for taking the entrepreneurial risk. Maori landowners are missing out. Our programme addresses that, putting businesses in the hands of landowners.” Te Tumu Paeroa has successfully piloted the approach, building two new orchards in the Bay


ADDS LIFE to your roundworm control program.

DOW AGROSCIENCES used the recent South Island field days at Kirwee to promote two causes close to the company’s heart. The first was in its specialty area of agrochemicals: it released a new weapon to control grassweeds and broadleaf weeds in wheat or triticale, in the shape of new Rexade herbicide. Said to provide an alternative to other grassweed herbicides and diflufenican for broadleaf weeds, Rexade kills ryegrasses, wild oats,

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References: 1. Leathwick et al. (2009). Managing anthelmintic resistance: Modelling strategic use of a new anthelmintic class to slow the development of resistance to existing classes. NZVJ 57(4) 181–192. 2. George, S.D. et al. (2013). The synergistic effect of monepantel/abamectin combination anthelmintic. Proceedings ASV Conference. Zolvix Plus contains 25 g/L monepantel and 2 g/L abamectin. Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 (No. A011107). Registered to Elanco Animal Health, Division of Eli Lilly and Company (NZ) Limited, Level 1, 123 Ormiston Road, Botany Junction, Auckland 2016. Elanco, Zolvix™ and the diagonal bar are trademarks owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates. ©2017 Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly and Company. EAH17027 NZSHPZOL00018b

record $56,673/ha. “It’s difficult for Māori landowners to develop businesses on their land unless they have access to capital from other sources, because many don’t want to use the land as security on a loan,” he says. “As a result, owners usually contract out the land to businesses that

of Plenty over the last three years. At least 9ha of kiwifruit vines were planted in 2016 and the first fruit will be harvested next year. The properties are managed by professional kiwifruit management companies Southern Cross Horticulture and OPAC. Te Tumu Paeroa is an independent, professional trustee organisation providing services to Māori landowners. It manages 100,000ha of Māori land, 2000 trusts and $100m in client funds on behalf of 85,000 owners. Its vision is to support owners to use their land to its full potential, creating a legacy for this generation and those following. Quayside is the investment arm of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council set up in 1991. Its investments include property, shares and kiwifruit orchards; it is the majority shareholder of Port of Tauranga Ltd. 0800 ELANCO (352 626)

field pansies and speedwells in one pass, removing the need for split applications. On a lighter note, the company was also promoting its charitable side and community responsibility with a cricket themed ‘Bash for Cash’ fundraiser during the three-day event. To date, the company has already donated about $400,000 to Habitat for Humanity following the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquake events. “We just wanted to give a little

back and give those needing a leg up a little help,” says Dow’s marketing manager Nick Koch. For those attending the SI field days, any budding Kane Williamsons had the chance to hit an over of six balls at a target with $20, $50 and $100 apertures, with the aim of hitting the highest score. The totals over the three days were accumulated and Dow committed to turn that number into cash, which raised $5300 for the charity.




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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017



Bad taste? DOES THE New Zealand meat industry have a problem in some of our lamb products leaving consumers with a bad taste – namely ram taint? Some farmers, and others in the sector, have raised such concerns, but it appears generally the industry itself is not concerned. Critics claim that ram lambs, especially those used to service ewes and older than 12 months, have a ‘taint’ issue. But both Silver Fern Farms and Anzco have dismissed the suggestion that ram taint is a problem, insisting that other issues are more important in determining quality and taste in lamb products. This is backed up by recent research – part of a FarmIQ Primary Growth Partnership programme with Silver Fern Farms, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Landcorp – which showed that lamb gender did not have a consistent or significant impact on taste. The trial involved 4739 lambs from 16 properties nationwide, which provided 23,000 samples of loin, rump, topside and knuckle. These were subjected to a spread of chilled ageing and fed to 1800 consumers in NZ and 1440 in the US. “Given the closeness in eating quality preference between rams, cryptorchids, wethers and ewes it would make little sense to exclude any from a premium value lamb offering,” the researchers said. “Through our consumer panel research very few consumers were sensitive to any ram-lamb effect.” However, another major meat processor, Alliance Group, agrees with the concerns raised over ram taint in NZ lamb. Its market development services manager, Gary MacLennan, says while NZ lamb is number-one in the world with a range of products getting good feedback from chefs worldwide, we must ensure quality is maintained. “We recognise there is an issue with both ram lamb and crypts over aging tenderness; we need to be doing better, perhaps looking at wethering if they are going to be killed later in the season,” he says. Massey University animal and meat scientist Nicola Schreurs says many factors can influence lamb meat quality and ram versus castrated versus ewe is just one consideration. Schreurs claims that no known flavour compounds had been associated with ram taint and it had not been independently and scientifically verified to occur in NZ-produced lambs. So is it a problem or not? Rural News would be interested to hear your views and whether (pardon the pun) this issue needs more investigation. We welcome your feedback:


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“As an extra incentive to clean up the river, Edna suggested we put our intake from it below our discharge point!”

Want to share your opinion or gossip with the Hound? Send your emails to:

THE HOUND Testing times

Good riddance

Oh dear


POOR OLD Ali Williams. The former All Black gets caught buying cocaine in Paris and then must face the ignominy not only of losing his career in France, but also the story being reported in New Zealand. The media outlet Stuff, in its rush to get the story out (it’s sometimes known as Stuff-up), made a classic blooper. In recalling Williams’ rugby career it noted he had played 77 testes for the All Blacks. The Hound always suspected skulduggery in the scrums and the Stuff story adds weight to this hunch. Maybe it was just a hangover from the days when the farming boys brought along a plate of mountain oysters to go with the beer at the after-match leer-up.

YOUR OLD mate is not unhappy to hear that the long-time head of Fish & Game – better known in farming circles as Bitch & Complain – is taking his gold watch and stepping down from the hunting and fishing lobby. Bryce Johnson has been a constant, snivelling critic of farming who, with his Bitch & Complain whiny, wader-wearing mates, coined the phrase ‘dirty dairying’, which more than anything else in NZ has stirred up anti-dairying sentiment and widened the urban/rural divide that threatens to wreck this country. One of this old mutt’s happiest moments was in 2002, when Rural News exposed Johnson’s own lessthan-explementary environmental farming practices that had him ‘bitching and complaining’ all the way to the Press Council where his claim was dismissed.

THE HOUND despairs at the shallow, puddle-like pool of political talent this country puts up as members of Parliament. A good case in point was on show at a recent South Canterbury Federated Farmers meeting where the agricultural spokespeople for the Greens and NZ First were guests. According to reports given to yours truly, both the Green’s Eugenie Sage and NZ First’s Richard Prosser were truly awful and appeared totally out of their depth and out of touch on most farming issues. As one wag told the Hound, “It really was a case of dumb and dumber on display.”

YOUR CANINE crusader sees that the former seed salesman and mouthpiece for failed meat industry ginger group MIE is now going to write a book. Apparently Hyland says his book on the excellence of NZ farming ‘simply has to be written’. According to a publicity spiel about the hitherto unwritten book, the self-proclaimed agribusiness advisor will tour the country for the next year and interview 30 farming families to find out what makes them so successful. Hyland has even managed to cadge a free SUV from Ford to help him get around. However, news of this literary masterpiece has not gained universal acclamation: with one mate of the Hound asking whether the book will come with crayons to help the author fill in the blank pages. Ouch!

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

RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Evidence-based science crucial in decision-making The role of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in chemical substances is to regulate chemicals coming into NZ and to ensure that storage and guidelines

ensure that pesticides are used only in circumstances where warranted. To suggest otherwise overlooks the expense involved, not only in the chemical itself but also in time and equipment. It also overlooks the productivity gains that technologies, including pesticides, have enabled, and hence the number of people being fed. Productivity is the balance between inputs and outputs that drives an economy. Mobilising resources is the key in Krugmann’s argument, and good management (and smart marketing in some cases) turns the comparative advantage of a country into a competitive advantage, thereby allowing economic development. NZ agriculture is a case in point. The annual productivity statistics released in March show that for the 2008-2015 period (latest data available since the global financial crisis) multi-factor productivity increased by 2.8% in agriculture, 3.3% in information media and telecommunications, and 0.8% in accommodation and food services. Arts and recreation services decreased by 1.2%. Multi-factor productivity includes labour and capital inputs. The breakdown of the figures for agriculture indicates labour productivity increased by 3.1% during the timeframe, and capital productivity increased by 2.5% -- more output per hour worked and money spent. From this it would seem that modern technologies are having an effect. Yet it is some of these technologies, including pesticides, which are being rejected by society.

on use are appropriate. This applies as much to shampoos and cosmetics as to industrial and primary industry chemicals. In agriculture the history of research has

enabled the productivity gains already recorded; now more research is required for the future to ensure further gains whilst ensuring human and environmental safety. The regulatory envi-

ronment, in which the EPA operates, is informed by the evidence produced in research. And it is focussed on achieving the balance between protecting the environment and enabling the economy so

that the lifestyle of NZers is enhanced. • Jacqueline Rowarth is chief scientist for the Environmental Protection Authority. @rural_news

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The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Standard Communications Pty Ltd is under license. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.


‘THE RIGHT to food’ was the focus of a special report to the United Nations general assembly at the beginning of the year. It stated that “pesticides, which have been aggressively promoted, are a global human rights concern, and their use can have very detrimental consequences on the enjoyment of the right to food”. The detrimental consequences of pesticide use included 200,000 acute poisoning deaths, 99% of which occur in developing countries where “health, safety and environmental regulations are weaker and generally less strictly applied”. However, a Lancet (UK medical journal) article in March made it clear these deaths were deliberate self-harm -- nothing to do with inadvertent exposure. Other detrimental effects cited in the UN report were runoff from crops to other ecosystems with uncertain ecological effects, potentially disrupting the predator-prey balance in the food chain; and large decreases in crop yields, “posing problems for food security”. However, the UN report then stated that proving a definitive link between exposure and human diseases or conditions, or harm to the ecosystem, presented a considerable challenge. Systematic denial, fuelled by the pesticide and agricultural industries, was blamed. In some contrast, the beneficial effects of pesticides in increasing crop yields by suppressing weeds, insects and disease have been shown repeatedly by independent researchers. In New Zealand, the proceedings of the Plant Protection Society hold the records of years of investigation examining various aspects of yield, quality, chemical movement and effects on biodiversity. These results are used by consultants, extension specialists and field representatives to

LM323i_XRS_187x280_RuralNewsNZ.indd 1

12/01/2017 9:11 am

RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


It’s all CoOL – consumers know best


e weed


er -



e ge n






in adjusting labels for what is currently labelled, this is a cost that is already included in exports, because virtually every country NZ exports fresh fruit and vegetables to requires some form of CoOL. This minimal cost should not result in an increase in the price of fresh fruit and vegetables for consumers; after all, what is the cost of simply labelling a bin of fresh fruit and vegetables accurately with a sign explaining where the produce was grown? The campaign for CoOL has

recently gone up a level, with a Green Party sponsored private member’s bill being referred to the primary production select committee after its first reading. Submissions on this bill close on May 18, then the select committee will consider the bill and, after the general election, report back to Parliament. Horticulture NZ has also created a Facebook page called ‘Country of Origin Labelling NZ’. If you support CoOL, please ‘like’ this page and send an email to your MP stating your support for mandatory CoOL for fresh fruit and vegetables, and asking for their stance on the issue. We have a long way to go before mandatory CoOL for fresh fruit and vegetables becomes law in NZ. We need to ensure that what consumers want becomes law, and we can only do that with your support. So make a submission on the Green Party’s bill and ‘like’ the ‘Country of Origin Labelling NZ’ Facebook page. After all, consumers know best. • Mike Chapman is chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand


each week, but 70% want to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, and 72% want to know where their fresh fruit and vegetables come from. When shopping, 66% look for country of origin labelling (CoOL) but they only regularly find this 32% of the time for fresh fruit and 29% of the time for fresh vegetables. 71% of respondents Where is your fruit and vege’s want mandatory CoOL for fresh coming from? fruit and vegetables; it is simply a claims. But country of origin was the matter of consumer choice. Food Standards Australia and New label element most commonly looked Zealand conducted a similar survey in for -- by 72% of consumers. The underlying reasons why man2005; the results are on their website. This survey found that 77% of NZers datory CoOL is supported by consumsomewhat or strongly agree they trust ers is that they want to have the option the information on food labels, 70% to buy fresh, local produce, and supof consumers in NZ used the nutri- port NZ businesses when they can. tion information panel, and 65% used What is required for this is to have all the ingredient list. Further to this, 42% currently labelled fresh produce indiof consumers looked for the types of cate country of origin, and for loose sugars on the ingredient list, and 17% fresh produce to have the bin labelled. Although there may be some cost of consumers were interested in health


GIVING CONSUMERS what they want ensures at least two things: that they’ll pay a premium for the product, and that it will sell out. It’s a simple recipe for success. The proof is in the market return from kiwifruit, cherries, apples, tomatoes and onions, and in Plant and Food Research’s world-leading breeding programmes matching new varieties with the Asian palate. Although 60% of our fresh fruit and vegetables are exported, which enables horticulture’s value growth, the New Zealand domestic market remains a vital part of the industry’s success. The same formula for success abroad applies at home: give consumers what they want. Earlier this year, Consumer NZ ran a statistically robust survey asking consumers about buying fresh fruit and vegetables (the results of this survey are available on the HortNZ website). The results were very interesting: about 20% of NZ consumers do not buy fresh fruit and vegetables

RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


From cot case to showcase Some 200 people turned out recently to a field day at Omapere Rangihamama Trust farm, near Kaikohe in the Far North. The event was part of the judging process to select the winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Maori sheep and beef farm in the country. Omapere is one of three finalists. The others are Puketawa Station, near Eketahuna, Northern Wairarapa, and the Pukepoto Farm Trust, near Taumarunui. Peter Burke reports. THE 902HA (eff) Omapere farm is a mixed sheep and beef property, now transitioning into a mainly bull beef rearing operation. The farm borders Lake Omapere. Since 2007, the present trustees of the property have embarked on an extensive strategic plan to improve the farm. The judges who selected Omapere as one of the three finalists in the competition noted many positives, including the clear strategy of the trust, its contribution to

education and its overall farm performance. The setting of the farm is stunning; from high vantage points there are great views of Lake Omapere, the only Maori-owned lake in the country, which is managed by a separate Maori trust. Before the present trustees took on the task of running the property in 2007, the farm was in poor shape but over the years they have progressively improved the land. The move from a


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sheep and beef unit to mostly bull finishing is mainly because of better beef prices, but also the lower cost of using electric fencing for the bulls as opposed to upgrading conventional fences for sheep. For farm manager Lloyd Brennan, an experienced farmer, a big challenge is clearing gorse which over time has

got away. No new areas are being cleared until already-cleared areas are brought under control. Rushes are also a problem, as is getting experienced staff to work on the farm. Brennan says bulls are a challenge. “They are unpredictable. Keep them contented and they are fine, but when pressure comes on them – not get-

ting enough feed or if the weather turns – they are a different kettle of fish.” The field day included a tour of the farm and a series of presentations by the trustees. This drew much praise from local farmers, consultants and others visitors to the region. The Ahuwhenua management committee runs the competition, and its chairman Kingi Smiler says it was a great field day that incorporated a good farm tour and excellent and insightful presentations about the property and the goals of the trust. He says those who attended the day would have come away

well informed and admiring the passion and commitment to making the best of challenging country. “Like all Maori farms, Omapere has a strong strategic and practical commitment to improving the environment of the property and this is benefiting their whanau and all other people in the district,” Smiler told Rural News. “Omapere is also doing a lot to encourage its young people to make a career in agribusiness by offering scholarships and this again highlights their intergenerational strategic thinking.” The chairman of

Omapere Rangihamama Trust, Sonny Tau, says he was blown away by the number of people who came to the field day. “We are in this to win and we are seriously thinking about that all the time. Being a finalist in Ahuwhenua is very, very important not only for the trust, but also the hapu and the iwi of Ngapuhi and we have had great support from the hierarchy of our iwi for this day,” he says. Tau says since the present trustees took over the trust in 2007 it has gone from being $1.7 million in debt to being an $8.5 million asset – a great achievement.


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Weevil the answer to tackling horsetail? NIGEL MALTHUS

A RECENTLY announced grant from MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund will pay for the next stage of a biological control proj-

ect aimed at the invasive weed field horsetail. A fern-like plant native to North America and Eurasia, field horsetail has seriously invaded pasture, crop and riparian

areas in wetter regions of New Zealand. It is especially a problem around the Rangitikei region, but has been recorded widely in both islands. Previous funding

Landcare research technician Lindsay Smith with pots of Field Horsetail in which he is breeding weevils for a biocontrol project. The plants naturally die down in winter but these are hosting weevil larvae in the roots and are not expected to recover in Spring. RURAL NEWS GROUP

enabled the Rangitikei Horsetail Group to get the approval of the Environmental Protection Authority to release the horsetail weevil Grypus equiseti as a biocontrol agent for the weed. Landcare research technician Lindsay Smith, who has been rearing weevils at Landcare’s containment facility at Lincoln, says the new funding will allow mass rearing of the weevils and their release into the affected areas. Smith says field horsetail is a relative of various horsetail strains that were commonly sold as attractive ‘architectural’ plants for home gardens, but they are all now banned. The plant thrives in wet areas, particularly on the west coast of the lower North Island, and is now marching from waterways and into the paddocks. “It can be toxic to

stock, and that’s why we’ve got a chunk of money to work on it.” It dies down in winter but grows back from an extensive horizontal root system which defies chemical control. Smith says four different potential control insects were trialled. All were shown to be host-specific to horsetail, so would not damage wanted species, but three of them fed only on the fern-like stalks of the plant, and only the chosen weevil has the advantage of also attacking the roots. Adult weevils are a small brown insect 4-5mm long, with a strong proboscis which they insert into the plant stalk, hollowing it out and killing it. Females lay eggs in the stalks and the larvae then eat their way into the roots where they feed throughout the

winter, so killing the roots as well. Adults emerge from the ground in spring. Smith says the first batches of his breeding stocks are now coming out of containment, and the first field releases will be next year – a year later than originally hoped for because fewer adults than expected had emerged this year. The weevils, imported from Europe, have a relatively long lifecycle of about a year, which means it took longer to acclimatise them to the reversed seasons by manipulating light and temperature in the containment facility.

An adult horsetail weevil, which is to be released in an effort to control the invasive weed Equisetum Arvense, or Horsetail. SUPPLIED

“We’ve had a number of shipments over the last couple of years of these guys. We’ve got pots galore inside containment, at various stages of winter and summer.” Smith says the weevils will be released in batches of 100 or 150, preferably in spots where they can get established without being disturbed by grazing or other farm work. “Like most projects, farmers will stand at the gate and welcome you in. They’re more than happy to try to make it work.”

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


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“As long as the advertising is responsible and there is a clear message that antibiotics should be used carefully and only when really needed, rather than, say, as a quick fix or substitute for good practice, then adverts in themselves aren’t a problem.” animal producers. Mastitis management expert Steve Cranefield echoes the view that prevention is better than cure. He believes the dairy industry’s attitude towards antibiotics is being challenged. He says farmers will have to focus on prevention of diseases, such as mastitis, rather than treatment. Speaking at a Smaller Milk and Supply Herds (SMASH) seminar in Clevedon recently, Cranefield also warned that the industry will need to change targets to include rational use of antibiotics. According to Cranefield, technical manager of AgriHealth, NZ dairy farms should be aiming to achieve: • An average season bulk milk somatic cell count (BMSCC) under 100,000 cells/ml

• Less than 10% of the herd treated for mastitis, and • Less than 10 - 20% of cows treated with antibiotic dry cow therapy. “There will now be both an economic and a moral cost if these targets are not achieved,” he says. The ultimate aim of mastitis control is to limit the number of bacteria on a cow’s teats and to reduce the risk of bacteria entering the udder through the teat canal. Cranefield says although this sounds simple, mastitis is the end result of complex interactions between cow, bacteria, environment, milking machine and farmer. “The relative importance of these factors varies from farm to farm so it is important that your plan is specific to your farm.”


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RESTRICTIONS ON advertising of antibiotics will not necessarily lead to a reduction in usage, claim academics. University of Otago microbiologist professor Gregory Cook says the advertisements currently appear in magazines read by vets and health professionals. “Personally I don’t feel this is an issue and I doubt there is a link between advertisements and usage/ antimicrobial resistance,” he told Rural News. University of Otago research fellow Adam Heikal, now working at the University of Oslo, says the key is education on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use and to ensure correct use of them when they are required. “As long as the advertising is responsible and there is a clear message that antibiotics should be used carefully and only when really needed, rather than, say, as a quick fix or substitute for good practice, then adverts in themselves aren’t a problem. Prevention is better than a cure – an oldie but a goodie.” MPI’s Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) group is looking at the prudent use of antibiotics. Last month it sought feedback from vets on the issue of advertising antibiotics. ACVM says since 2007, advertising of restricted veterinary medicines (including antibiotics) has been allowed in New Zealand. World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidance recommends that antimicrobials should only be advertised to people who are authorised to prescribe them and shouldn’t be advertised to food

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Advantages to older cattle breeding PAM TIPA

AGING PREGNANCY in beef herds has advantages including pasture management, easier mob management and a more uniform crop of calves, says Dr David Moors, Franklin Vets. It makes it easier to monitor calving groups, he told a Beef + Lamb NZ Farming for Profit field day in northern Waikato recently. “You don’t need to monitor late calving ones, you just do a quick whip round and focus on the early ones. “You are less likely to over-feed those late calving ones than when they are all in the same mob. The late calving ones aren’t going to be over-fat so you will not have problems calving them.” The biggest risk of disease to a calf is older calves. “So if you are calving them in mobs of three weeks – early, mids and lates -- the oldest calf in that group will be three weeks and the youngest will be one week. “So you will not have a one-week-old next to a nine- or even 12-weekold calf. “They are less likely to get sick and you will have a more uniform crop of animals at the end of it.” There is an 8-10 week period of anoestrus (non

cycling) after calving. In the late ones it may be slightly shorter, but in theory you don’t want to maintain your late calving heifers, he says. They may have one or two shots at mating; “you’ve got to carry them all though for the year, you’ve got rearing costs and then they will fall off the back, particularly in that nine weeks of mating”. A study published in 2013 of 16,5000 animals in the US over 20 years showed what happens if you pick your heifer replacements only from those which calve in the first cycle, say, the first 21 days. As a heifer they give birth to lighter calves but the weaning weights of the calves from heifers in the first cycle are heavier. Those heifers also remained in the herd one year longer than their counterparts. After five years 40% of your heifers from the first cycle are retained. With second- and third-cycle heifers only about 20% are still in the herd. “So after five years you’ve got twice as many heifers retained in your herd, which means you’ve got more options. “They give birth twofour days earlier for the second to fourth calf which… doesn’t ring true that all this effect is just from them getting in calf

“So for every seven of your replacements you need to be putting 100 to the bull.” You still mate them for nine weeks to avoid any complications arising during mating. “You pull out anything that has been in the first 21 days; anything else can be sold. “Or if you have had any complication with mating, what we do is scan it and mark anything green that’s within the first 21 days and anything that is in the first two weeks of that second cycle, we write the number on the back with orange. “If we don’t have enough numbers through, we can draft off some

Vet David Moors says there are a number of advantages to aging pregnancy in beef herds.

earlier. “These heifers are superior in their genetics. They probably suit your system a lot better and their weaning weights for their first six calves equate to weaning an extra calf.” So for the first six calves there’s about a 70kg difference in weight between those from an animal that calved in the first cycle versus animals that calve in the third. So there is a big gain to be made. “You’ve got to be hitting your heifer targets for mating before you think about doing this,” he says. If you are not hitting those, you are not going to get these heifers in the first cycle anyway. He says you need to rear more heifers if you plan to stick to only keeping ones in the first cycle.


“So you basically need the number of replacements you want and you divide it by 0.7 and that gives you the number you need to put to the bull.

rate dates on those pregnancies. “In theory embryonic loss is great earlier in the pregnancy so you could end up with slightly more empty animals come calving time, but this doesn’t appear much of a problem.” In retaining heifers which only calve in the first 21 days, you will have a higher attrition rate of what you put to the bull. But if you can sell them that is ideal, he says. “You will keep your heifer in your herd for a year longer so you don’t have the wastage of heifers leaving the herd early. “Ageing of pregnancies is only marginally more expensive and only takes a bit more time.”

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from the second cycle. “With these animals you probably have the flexibility to sell them, but if not you can probably stick them on the feedlot and flick them off.” It will take you about 10 sec/animal to age them rather than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It costs about $1 more than just doing a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at drafting. You can record them on paper but they tended to use three types of paint to mark the groups. “Normally with yes/ nos the bull will come out and you pregnancy test two-three months later. You want to be doing it about six weeks after the bulls have come out so you can get accu-

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Ride the wave – save time and money AUSTRIAN MACHINERY maker Pottinger has unveiled what it claims is a new concept in ‘smart’ soil cultivation for its drills in the shape of the Terrasem Wave Disc. Said to result in reduced soil cultivation while increasing yields, the Wave Disc is available on Terrasem R3, R4, C6, C8 and C9 seed drills, and all models with direct fertilisation. The company notes various key reasons or soil conditions that favour reduced cultivation prior to drilling: very dry conditions; where less disturbance reduces moisture loss; or by contrast in very wet or sticky soil conditions where less soil movement helps reduce ‘smearing’ of the seed slot. This also applies to early season sowing when ground conditions are not ideal. Reduced cultivation is also beneficial in areas where erosion is prevalent, and those areas that might have high

weed burdens which are resistant to herbicides. In operation, the 510mm Wave Disc only moves a narrow band of soil about 50mm either side of the centreline, thus delivering friable tilth for seed germination, but preventing erosion or evaporation. By contrast, in areas with herbicide resistant grass weeds, the discs reduce the germination trigger brought about by cultivation, so is said to be particularly useful in black-grass infested areas. The company also points out that moving less soil can result in up to 15% power savings, allowing use of a smaller tractor, or using less diesel. In practice, the 12.5 or 16.7cm row spacings result in only 365mm (27%) of the working width being cultivated. Working depth is controlled hydraulically, so is easy to change on

The 510mm Wave Disc only moves a narrow band of soil about 50mm either side of the centreline.

the move particularly in areas such as compacted headlands. Each disc assembly offers non-stop overload protection by a rubber ele-

1000 units and counting MARK DANIEL

JOHN DEERE’S Horst factory in the Netherlands has a history of plant protection, designing and manufacturing crop sprayers for at least 70 years. Purchased by JD in 1997 from the Dutch maker Douven, the global powerhouse has just hit a milestone by producing the 1000th self-propelled unit, in the shape of a 4000L capacity R4040i machine. Having taken nine years to achieve this, they knocked a year off when they celebrated in 2016 the production of

The JD self-propelled unit comes with a 4000L capacity.

10,000 trailed sprayers. The 1000th self-propelled unit, complete with symbolic gold key, will be delivered to a 1800ha family farm in the Czech Republic owned by the Lukas brothers. Meanwhile, a little further west in Europe, John Deere’s exclusive

partner for the production of carbon-fibre spray booms, King Agro, has opened a new factory in Valencia, Spain. Dedicated to the production of booms for the JD 4000 series machines, the Euro 8 million investment covers 5500 sq. m, employs 100 people and will produce up to 1800

booms each year. The company aims to change the paradigm of steel in agricultural machinery manufacturing, by using instead carbon fibre, which lowers costs, increases productivity and reduces soil compaction.

TOUGH AT THE TOP SOMETIMES YOU don’t want to break existing records, which was the theme of a speech delivered by John Deere’s deputy chief economist, Luke Chandler, at the US Dept of Agriculture’s 2017 Agricultural Outlook Forum in March. Chandler noted that the industry bellweather Deere had only experienced falling sales for three consecutive years on three occasions in its 179-year history. It had never happened four years in a row, he said. “2016 was the third year in a row for declining sales, and we have no ambitions for 2017 being the year that makes new history for our company,” Chandler said.

The scale of the decline in worldwide demand for tractors and agricultural machinery between 2013 and 2016 saw declines in all major markets. In the US and Canada sales fell by 34%, in Latin America 49%, Western Europe 27%, Central Europe and CIS 19%, and Asia, Africa and the Middle East 29%. The only region to buck the trend was Australia and New Zealand which had flat sales over the three years. – Mark Daniel


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Hey presto, cultivation at speed MARK DANIEL

FARMERS OR landowners looking to establish seedbeds quickly might want to take a closer look at the new Maschio Presto disc harrow distributed by Power Farming. The company claims it’s the ideal tool for uniform work up to 10cm deep at speeds up to 15km/h. Three-point linkage or semi-mounted, and available in 3 or 4m working widths for the former or 4, 5 or 6m for the latter, Presto is said to be suitable for producing seedbeds from sprayed-out areas, cereal stubbles or pastures after winter crops. Layout sees a robust frame carrying two gangs of discs, mounted in opposing directions, with a 620mm clearance between each gang helping to prevent clogging or soil build-up. Disc assemblies are individually mounted to the frame by a silent-bloc system made up of four rubber dampers, which

act as a shock absorber and are said to be maintenance-free. Each disc is mounted to its axle with sealedfor-life SKF bearings with integral oil baths. A choice of discs see the standard fitment of 510mm, 9 scallops and a mounting angle of 18 degrees to the soil and 11 degrees from vertical. Alternatively, smaller 410mm diameter units can be specified for shallower cultivation. At the rear of the machine rubber press rollers leave a uniform finish, with product specialist John Chapman claiming them suitable for stony country or heavier soils because of their ability to cope with impact from stones, and inherent flexing to self-clean. Optional cage or packer roller systems are available for specific tasks. The versatility of the machine is further enhanced by the folding frame design, which in the case of the 6m version is carried out hydraulically, to a transport width of just 3m. Incorporated in the

layout, a central hinge allows equal down pressure to be placed on the wings in flat going, while also allowing contouring and consistent depth control in rolling countryside. For heavily com-

pacted or pugged areas an optional ballast pack made up of three 125kg modules can be specified to increase penetration. Power requirement is 150-240hp.

The new Maschio Presto disc harrow is ideal for uniform paddock work up to 10cm deep at speeds up to 15km/h.




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HELMUT CLAAS, said to be among the world’s most influential agricultural engineers, has been awarded the Rudolf Diesel Medal for his lifetime of achievement in innovation. The medal was first minted in 1953 to honour Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the namesake engine and is dubbed the ‘Oscar for Inventors’; the award recognises scientific achievement and entrepreneurship. As managing partner of the CLAAS Group for many years, Helmut Claas Helmut helped to build the company, founded by his father and uncles in 1913, into a world leading enterprise. Helmut joined the family business in 1958 after completing a degree in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Hanover, which included studies in Vienna and Paris. In 1962, he was appointed director of the engineering department and has a special focus on innovation and mass production. In what proved to be a glorious period in the company’s history, he oversaw the introduction of the world-famous Dominator combine harvester (1970), Jaguar forage harvester (1983), Quadrant square baler (1988), Xerion advanced technology tractor (1993) and Lexion combine harvester (1995).

RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Records tumble for Case IH MARK DANIEL

CASE IH is making the most of its 175th anniversary year in 2017 by getting into the record books in the US and Europe.

Their largest wheeled tractor, the Steiger 620, was recently tested at the University of Nebraska test lab, and came away with the twin accolades of “most fluid efficient” and the highest drawbar

pull of any tractor tested to date. Delivering a whopping 594.0hp to the drawbar, the tractor showed exceptional fuel efficiency with a usage figure of 242g/ kWh, and the produc-

tion of 75% of maximum power with a figure of 257g/kWh. That fluid efficiency considers the consumption of diesel and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), with a reduction of around

A University of Nebraska test lab showed the Steiger 620 has the highest drawbar pull of any tractor tested to date.

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reflects in reduced operating costs. Engines for Steiger and sister Quadtrac series tractors are manufactured by group company FPT; their design does not require a diesel particulate filter (DPF), thereby eliminating the need for regeneration, and a service interval pushed out to 600 hours. Meanwhile, in Europe a Case IH Magnum 380CVX combined with a Vaderstad Tempo 16-row planter has smashed the world record for maize planting in 24 hours by hitting 502.05ha. Working in two fields in western Hungary, the previous record of 448.29ha was eclipsed, while also applying fertiliser and insecticide in normal agronomic condi-

tions such as consistent seed rates and plating depth. Planting at 30-inch row spacing, and with each pass covering 12.19m, the record attempt used Case IH’s AccuGuide auto-steering system to operate at speeds of up to 24km/h with 2cm pass-to-pass accuracy. Planting was overseen with the ISOBUS enabled AFS Pro 700 terminal which allowed individual management of the 16 rows to ensure accurate switch on/off at the headlands, while the CVT transmission of the 380 allowed the tractor to get to drilling speed quickly as it pulled away from the headlands.

GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY FEW FARMERS from the 1950s, 60s or 70s will have forgotten the old finger-bar mowers. Back come the memories of sharpening knife sections and jamming one’s fingers. They were easily blunted and prone to blocking in difficult conditions, so everyone breathed a sigh of relief when twin drum mowers and, eventually, disc mowers, arrived on the scene. So it’s interesting to see that the French manufacturer Kuhn is this year marking the 50th anniversary of the introduction of its first disc mower the GMD4. Launched in 1967, the design had oval discs with replaceable blades, which assisted the cut crop on its path and cut smoothly in difficult conditions or lodged crops. Today the company continues leading the design of disc mowers, with machines of 2.6-5.2m cutting width, or in multiples to make triple systems with width exceeding 9.5m. These mowers have many innovations: lift control, which enables up to 31 degrees of oscillation while maintaining a regular cutting height; and the impressive ProtectaDrive, which helps prevent driveline damage from hitting junk, achieved by a premachined groove in the disc drive shaft fracturing above the support bearing in an impact. Easy replacement takes only 15 minutes.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Ute versus SUV battle continues MARK DANIEL

THE BATTLE of the motoring giants rages on with Ford and Toyota offering special editions of their utes and SUVs. The ute market knows few boundaries: a staggering 44 units were sold daily in New Zealand during the first three months of 2017. The boys from the blue oval recently released details of two models that anticipate the British Lions Tour – the Ranger FX4 and the Everest FX2; the former is limited to 200 units and the latter to 50. Both vehicles are described as having a unique look with attitude and sure to be a hit, especially with people who love Batman and anything painted black. The FX4 is based on the popular Ranger XLT which with its sister models helped Ford achieve sales of 8476 units of the model in 2016. Priced at $65,390, the FX4 has 18-inch Smooth Grey alloy wheels, roof rails, bonnet and tailgate decals in black, and a black sports bar, rear bumper and side steps in the Caped Crusade’s favourite colour. In the cab, leather seats with the FX 4 badge are combined with interior highlights, of course in black.

The Everest FX2 takes a lot of detailing from the FX4. It’s the first Everest to be offered in RWD format, with the base of the special edition being the Everest Trend. Highlights include 18-inch semigloss alloys, black front grille, roof rails, tinted windows and front and rear guard rails in black. Both vehicles, available from May 1, have the latest in communications and entertainment with Ford’s Sync3 system which offers voice recognition and an 8-inch touch screen. In the Toyota camp, the ever popular Hi-Lux Ute gets a special edition in the shape of the Hi-Lux Edge, based on the popular SR model. Detailing includes 17-inch alloys from the SR5, black over-fender flares, bonnet stripes and edge decaling and badging on the well-side. The market leader has cut $4000 off the price of the Hi Lux and a massive $10,000 off the Fortuner SUV, said to be because the kiwi dollar has strengthened against the Japanese yen by nearly 8%. Unlike the badged blue, the Toyota Edge is available in choice of six colours and specifications from the 2WD pre-runner manual to the 4WD auto, 3.0L litre turbo-diesel.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017


Tough season’s been a struggle IT’S FAIR to say that rural contractors – and farmers – right around the country have had a difficult and challenging season to contend with thanks to the weather. In the north, it was very dry at the end of last year and at the beginning of 2017. This meant there was very little grass to make into supplementary feed. Then from about mid-February it has done nothing but rain – making it difficult to even get on paddocks. In Northland, where I am based, the rain has brought many problems with ground conditions now very wet. A lot of maize in low lying areas hasn’t been harvested yet, as farmers wait for the ground to dry out. And this delay is holding up the re-grassing of pad-

docks. In the lower North Island, spring was challenging and the summer has been wet, cold and windy. This has seen a delay to harvesting and next season’s plantings. However, Hawkes Bay is now reporting very good autumn growth. In Manawatu and Horowhenua contractors have been working around the clock in any breaks in the weather and when the ground is dry enough to take maize harvesters. Meanwhile, the South Island has not escaped the weather challenges. The West Coast has seen a shockingly wet season with locals there claiming it’s the worst season since the 1960s. In Canterbury, summer has been cold

after a reasonably wet spring. While many in the region welcomed the rains, it made things difficult for hay and silage making. Things dried out in January and February – helping with the grain harvest. However, since March heavy rains have made getting late crops in difficult and many are still to be harvested. In the south, contractors there too have experienced a variable season. There were good grow-

ing conditions in spring, but then from November to January it was cold and wet making it a shocker of a harvest. Things picked up again in March and now there are reports of good growth and contracting work around the region progressing nicely. Being rural contractors, we are always challenged by the weather, but let’s just hope the rest of the year is not quite so challenging. Meanwhile, the pieces are falling into place for our new agreement in principle (AIP) that will let RCNZ members recruit overseas staff for next season. All going well, we hope to have the AIP finalised with the Labour Department by the end of this month. For contractors cov-

ered by RCNZ’s AIP it is a much simpler process to get visas for overseas workers, rather than individual contractors having to go to WINZ and meet all their requirements on their own. RCNZ members who are covered by our AIP must be accredited registered contractors and sign a written agreement with RCNZ that lays out the contractor’s responsibilities under the scheme. Currently, RCNZ must apply every year to renew our AIP and any qualified member our organisation who wants to join the scheme can do so. Also during May, our annual RCNZ roadshow will be hitting the road. Our chief executive Roger Parton will be visiting eight regional centres around the country


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MASSEY FERGUSON has scooped another award, its MF 6718 S picking up Machine of the Year in the midpower tractor category at the recent SIMA exhibition in Paris. At 200hp, the MF 6718 S is said to be the most powerful fourcylinder tractor on the market, delivering the torque of a six cylinder and manoeuvrability unheard of in a 200hp tractor. Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson’s director marketing services, says the S-Effect in the tractor’s design means the MF 6718 S

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times go to our website: nz. Finally, a quick reminder that RCNZ’s annual conference is just around the corner. This year it will be held at the Rydges Hotel, Queenstown, from June 19-23. We have a top line-up of speakers and a programme chock-full of interesting stuff. For more details go to the RCNZ website. In the meantime, let’s hope the weather gods play fair and the grass keeps growing so we can all get on with our contracting businesses. • Wellsford agricultural contractor Steve Levet is the president of the Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ). @rural_news



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to update members on the latest regulations and information concerning health and safety, road transport and other matters. The roadshows will visit Whangarei, Rotorua, Hastings, Palmerston North, Nelson, Oamaru, Ashburton and Gore. The Ashburton, Gore, Rotorua and Palmerston North events will also hold agrichemical afternoons and the zone annual meetings at the same time. During the roadshows, a new health and safety toolkit is being launched that RCNZ has developed with WorkSafe and ACC. Called ‘Keep Safe, Keep Contracting’, it addresses health and safety issues that pertain to the rural contracting sector. For all the dates and

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 2, 2017

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Rural News 02 May 2017  

Rural News 02 May 2017

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