Page 1




Marathon effort keeping dogs well fed. PAGE 38

Calling on history to make a modern point. PAGE 45

Irish love their farmers – why don’t Kiwis? PAGE 12


Time to bridge divide PETER BURKE

MEAT INDUSTRY Association (MIA) chair John Loughlin says he is concerned about the “expedient politicking” that went on during the recent election campaign. Loughlin told Rural News his impression of the election campaign was of some parties trying to advance their constituency of urban voters essentially by taking a very hard line on rural issues. This had the effect of driving a wedge between the two sectors, he says. “In some respects it went to extremes during the course of the

election and that is unhelpful to what New Zealand needs. Essentially NZ is a highly urbanised society in terms of its population, but we have massive economic reliance on the rural sector so both sectors have to co-exist intelligently.” Loughlin believes the rural sector has a lot of work to do to correct people’s incorrect perceptions. But he also

Tough going A 24ha plot of potatoes in mid Canterbury been harvested for prominent Ashburton grower Dave Redmond. Crews working harvesters are expected to take two weeks to lift about 1200 tonnes in total. The crop was destined for the AS Wilcox packhouse in Rakaia, which supplies both Countdown and Foodstuffs supermarkets throughout the South Island. Planted around December 20, the crop has wintered in the ground, surviving at least one bout of unexpectedly heavy rain. Meanwhile, farmers and growers throughout NZ are facing one of their worst seasons on record due to the rain that just keeps on falling. – More page 7 and 13.

acknowledges there are issues the rural sector must work on. “NZ has become the only major OECD country where the population has become highly urbanised but still relies very heavily on the rural sector for its export earnings,” he said. “Over time, people from the urban sector have lost understanding about the realities of farming and the realities

of rural life. Also, in farming areas and urban areas there has been degradation of rivers. People in the cities expect to come to the country and find pristine rivers and in some cases they are not up to what they should be.” Loughlin says the rural sector must embark on a big communication exercise, but also change position on some subjects.


FONTERRA IS defending chief executive Theo Spierings’ hefty $8 million pay packet, saying he hit “far-reaching and demanding targets” set by the board. Fonterra chairman John Wilson agrees that Spierings’ pay, revealed in the co-op’s 2016-17 annual report, is “big numbers”. “We benchmark this remuneration using independent advisors,” Wilson says. “Clearly these numbers are high from a New Zealand perspective and we absolutely respect and understand that; but from an Australasian and global perspective we are still well within the bands of what those global executives earn.” Fonterra’s annual report shows Spierings received a base salary of $2.4m, short-term incentives totalling $1.8m and $3.8m in long term incentives. Wilson says 5600 employees received short term incentives aligned to key operating metrics. A new set of incentives was agreed between the board and senior management on the coop’s transformation project called ‘velocity’. “We had an extraordinary result this year; to give credit to management they were able to hit those targets and the outcome... are what TO PAGE 3



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Farmers repay Fonterra At a glance


NEWS������������������������������������� 1-23 MARKETS������������������������� 24-25 AGRIBUSINESS���������������26-27 HOUND, EDNA���������������������� 28 CONTACTS����������������������������� 28 OPINION���������������������������� 28-31 MANAGEMENT���������������33-36 ANIMAL HEALTH������������37-40 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS����������������������� 41-45 RURAL TRADER������������� 46-47

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 31.03.2017

FONTERRA WILL this month recoup $193 million from its farmers -- some of the special loans made two years ago at the depth of the dairy downturn. The remaining $190m will be deducted from farmers’ milk cheques when the advance rate climbs above $6/kgMS, expected about August next year. Fonterra farmers were hit by low farmgate milk prices in 2014-15 ($4.40/ kgMS) and 2015-16 ($3.90/kgMS). To ease cashflow on farms the co-op loaned $383m to 76% of its farmers; the loan was interest-free until June 1 this year and farmers have since been paying 2.4% interest. Repayments were to start only when the payout surpassed $6/kgMS. Fonterra chairman John Wilson says the loans were “highly successful” for farmers, providing cash when they needed it. “We did it based on our confidence in the global dairy market that once we got above $6/kgMS we would initiate the first loan repayment,” he told Rural News.


■■ ■■


■■ ■■

Wilson says he is also proud of the assistance the co-op’s subsidiary Farm Source provided to farmers during the downturn. “Farm Source is a lot more than what used to be called RD1. The Farm Source business has to provide a return to Fonterra while passing lower costs on to farmers.” He says an average farmer saves 10c/kgMS by shopping exclusively at Farm Source rather than at other rural retailers. “That’s extraordinary; if you are a young farmer up against [market] volatility that makes a huge difference.”

During the downturn, ■■ Farm Source extended interest-free and deferred■■ payment terms to 4000 farmers, redeeming $17.8m of reward dollars. Fonterra last week announced a final milk payout of $6.12/kgMS for the 2016-17 season; with a dividend of 40c/ share that makes a total cash payout of $6.52/kgMS. For the year ending July 31, 2017 revenue increased 12% to $19.2 billion, and rising prices offset a 3% decline in volumes (22.9b liquid milk equivalent).

2016-17 total cash payout $6.52/ kgMS, up 52% on last season’s farmgate milk price of $6.12/kgMS and dividend of 40c/share Revenue $19.2b, up 12% Normalised EBIT $1.155b, down 15% Net profit after tax $745m, down 11% 46c earnings per share Large growth in consumer and foodservice: extra 576 million liquid milk equivalent Advanced ingredients sales growth up 9% Group return on capital 11.1%. Normalised EBIT of $1.2b was down 15% as a result of reduced margins across the business, which also influenced net profit after tax – down 11% at $745m. Wilson lauded the co-op’s ability to maintain its forecast dividend despite the milk price increasing by 57% over the year and the impact of negative returns.

$8m pay packet defended FROM PAGE 1

we call ‘velocity’ payments.” He says the ‘velocity’ project made $2 billion cash and working capital for the co-op. Fonterra shareholders council chairman Duncan Coull says feedback from his councillors attending farmer meetings last week shows there weren’t “a lot of discussion or questions from the floor” on the

issue. Coull says the level of transparency in Fonterra’s annual report and directors’ explanations gave context to the pay package and put farmers at ease. “I think there’s more interest in the issue from those outside Fonterra,” he told Rural News. Coull says Fonterra paid $10b to farmers in the last financial year -- a

total payout of $6.52/kgMS. “These are big numbers.” Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis says there were “mixed reactions” from farmers he spoke to. Some question whether Spierings would be paid $8m by another global dairy giant like Nestle or FrieslandCampina, Lewis says. “The $8m pay package is certainly eye-watering and some farmers are

asking whether he is an $8m man,” he says. “But some point out that the $8m is not his salary; most of it is bonus for meeting targets set by the board and the board is satisfied with his performance.” Lewis says Spierings’ leadership delivered results for Fonterra last year and setting the remuneration package is “a difficult balancing act” for the board.





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Kiwifruit’s new man to build a legacy PAM TIPA

THE NEXT push for Zespri will be further creating demand ahead of supply and getting the best value out of the company’s global structure, says the new chief executive Dan Mathieson. It will build on the legacy left by outgoing chief executive Lain Jager. “We’ve got offices of talented people in our major markets around the world,” Mathieson told Rural News. “I will be focusing on our all being connected and working together for one global strategy.” Mathieson says Jager did a “stunning job” over the last 10 years to ensure the right invest-

ment was made in the right parts of the organisation to ensure we are keeping our demand position ahead of supply. “That has put us in a strong position with great teams of people around the world and a strong strategy for growth. “It is a very exciting time to be appointed chief executive officer of Zespri so I can now build on that platform and take the organisation forward to our next chapter.” A Zespri executive for 15 years, Mathieson has worked overseas; he moved to Singapore in 2015 to head Zespri’s global sales and marketing hub. He speaks fluent Japanese and lives with his wife and three children in Singapore.

Zespri chairman Peter McBride and new chief executive Dan Mathieson.

Mathieson took over from Jager on Monday

September 18. “The next level for

Zespri is looking at the whole supply chain/value chain and where we have made that investment and are bringing it together as one cohesive global strategy,” Mathieson says. They have a strong growth strategy and the investment has been huge, focused on growing locations to improve the quality of fruit and the supply chains to ensure the right fruit is delivered to market in the right condition. However, the bulk of investment in the last five years, and where he personally has been managing, has been in the marketplace. “We’ve established offices in 22 markets around the world.

We’ve created a sales and marketing hub in Singapore to ensure our markets are being fed with centre-ofexcellence support in the various demand-creation functions like consumer marketing, trade marketing and sales.” This is to ensure demand exceeds supply, to connect with and understand consumers and to enable Zespri teams to partner with distribution companies and retailers so that customers always get great quality. Considerable marketing budget is spent on ensuring the Zespri brand is strongly resonating with consumers. As chief executive, Mathieson will split his

time 50/50 on focusing here in the heart of Zespri’s business and the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, and ensuring they are looking at all opportunities in the global marketplace. He plans to spend sufficient time here to connect with growers, post-harvest companies and Zespri staff. He expects eventually to spend about one third of his time in NZ, one third in Singapore and one third in international markets to ensure he has a view of the “end-to-end global strategy”. “I am incredibly excited about the opportunity and our mission to double sales by 2025 which is only seven years away.”

Election deflates farmers confidence PETER BURKE

FARMERS’ FEARS about the outcome of the election and a new-look government have led to a slight drop in overall confidence in the latest Rabobank farmer confidence survey. The survey completed earlier this month shows net farmer confidence has fallen to +38%, down from the record high of +54% in June Rabobank analyst Blake Holgate told Rural News the reason for the drop is falling commodity prices and fears about a future government’s

policies. He says in the lead-up to the election farmers were concerned about its outcome and how this might play out in changes to government policies. “We saw a significant spike in the last quarterly result in relation to that question and I think that’s aligned to polices relating to farming and potential intervention at the farmgate.” “Farmers were concerned pre-election how this could impact farming generally. Now, as we are in coalition talks and the formation of a new government, [their concern is] with the kinds of intervention and regula-

tion they may be facing in the next 12 months,” he says. Holgate says farmers are concerned about how new or changed policies could affect their production costs and this has created uncertainty for their businesses. Environmental issues brought to the fore by various groups are the major concern. “Environmental groups, in particular, have highlighted some of the different impacts of the farming sector. As we came up to the election, that translated into political parties taking a stand and articulating policies relating to those environmental areas

which impact on farmers,” he adds. “Interestingly, it’s the sheep and beef farmers, rather than dairy farmers, who showed a greater concern about government intervention and the potential impact of government policies in the last quarter,” he says. Holgate believes this is because dairy farmers have been more aware of the issues and only now are sheep and beef farmers starting to realise they will get caught up in such policies sooner rather than later. Whether this lower confidence persists may depend on who forms the next government. “If it was to be a National/NZ First

government the indication is that the polices in the rural space will largely continue in the direction they have done in the past and I’d expect some of that uncertainty to erode,” he says. “But if there is a change of government and an indication that policies may change, this could prolong this uncertainty.” Holgate says any uncertainty could likely have an impact on farmer spending and investment. However, he points out that while there has been a drop in confidence in the past quarter, overall farmer’s confidence is still high.

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Sir Graeme Harrison believes the country’s water problems by correctly storing and managing water.

Storage answer to water problems

NEW ZEALAND’S water quality problems can be solved by correctly managing the storage of water, according to meat industry stalwart and long-time Canterbury resident Sir Graeme Harrison. He says NZ uses only 4% of its water and it is a shame to see the amount of water pouring down the river off the mountains and out to sea during heavy rain. “When you spend time in Asia you see how much water is highly preserved there,” he says. Harrison hails from mid-Canterbury where irrigation in NZ started. The Rangitata diversion scheme was built by the Labour Government as a way to employ people, its construction starting in 1937. His grandfather was one of the first farmers to use it. Harrison says 40% of NZ irrigation use is in Mid-Canterbury yet its

rivers are pristine. The northern branch of the Ashburton River runs through his farm. “There has been some build-up of nitrate levels, but the real reason for that is because we became so efficient at using irrigation. “Before then it was a flood irrigation system: you would build dykes then let the water run and that made sure the aquifers were recharged,” he explains. “When we moved to pivots we got too efficient, we used satellites on them and the amount of monitoring of water is incredible. “I don’t think urban NZ has any idea what sort of technologies are actually at work. “As a result of that during two dry seasons our nitrate levels increased. Now we are finding a way to recharge the aquifers and we have a managed aquifer recharge operation going on just north of Ashburton. I am on the

governance group of that.” @rural_news

down 5.9% on last season and this helped support slaughter prices as processors compete to procure what stock is available,” he says. Rabobank is expecting NZ’s cattle supply to remain limited until at least November, which it says should limit further price-easing in the short term. “However, as domestic supply increases later in the year, prices are likely to face further downward pressure.” The report says a key factor impacting NZ beef prices is the fall-off in demand for grinding beef from US importers. “Due to increased US domestic production, the demand for imported grinding beef in the US has decreased and this has led to

a downward trend in US imported beef prices for lean trimmings,” Holgate says. “Given the significant volumes of manufacturing beef NZ exports to the US, if this trend continues it is likely to push NZ beef prices lower.” A further downward pressure on NZ beef prices is the recent hike in Japan’s tariff rates on beef imports, which Holgate says were lifted recently to 50% for all countries other than Australia, Mexico and Chile; all have trade agreements with Japan. “Japan is NZ’s fourth-largest export market by value and sixthlargest by volume and the new tariffs will significantly impact our prime beef exports given Japan is a high-value beef market for NZ.”



A STRONG New Zealand dollar and declining US imported beef prices have seen NZ beef prices drop marginally during the past quarter. And further downward pressure on beef prices is expected as the year progresses, with increased Japanese tariffs on frozen beef imports creating more headwinds for Kiwi exporters, according to Rabobank’s latest Beef Quarterly report. Rabobank animal proteins analyst Blake Holgate says in the three months to the end of August, NZ beef prices fell by 2% in the North and South Islands; lower domestic beef supply was a key factor preventing a more drastic price drop. “The number of export cattle slaughtered in the season to date is

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Fonterra now Aussie’s big cheese! SUDESH KISSUN

FONTERRA IS set to become Australia’s largest milk processor following an exodus of suppliers from a troubled rival. The company’s milk pool in Australia has grown by 500 million litres in the last three months, mostly from farmers switching supply from the troubled co-op Murray Goulburn (MG). Fonterra chairman John Wilson says its Australian plants have reached capacity and now have a waiting list of would-be suppliers. “We have gone from picking up 1.6 billion litres of milk to just over 2 billion,” Wilson told Rural News.

MG’s milk supply had fallen from 2.7b L last year to under 2b L, and after suffering a net loss of A$370 million in 201617 the co-op put itself up for sale. Fonterra and other

Australian and global processors have bid for MG; they may have to get regulatory clearance to buy all or some of MG’s assets. Wilson says MG is going through the process

NO PAIN NO GAIN FONTERRA CHIEF executive Theo Spierings says its Australian business is back on track after “a couple of years of pain”. In the 2016-17 financial year, the return on capital from the Australian business reached 12%, compared to -8% in 2014-15. He says Fonterra kept on believing in the business. “We were under severe pressure for quite a while; we kept telling the market that this is a profitable business but it needs to be right-sized,” he says. “We wrote down assets, reviewed product and brand mix and reduced cost.” Spierings says the transformation took time and the business is now in pole position.

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with its financial advisor Deutsche Bank AG. “Our focus is on our business -- paying a competitive milk price we believe in and not based on what someone else pays,” Wilson says. “It’s to grow our consumer business in Australia and provide another source of high quality ingredients on top of NZ-sourced products.” Wilson says Fonterra must grow its global milk volume. “In Australia we are operating at full capacity and looking at how we de-bottleneck some of our plants by investing marginal capital to get more performance out of the existing asset base.” Wilson believes the focus is no longer a

Fonterra has boosted its Australian milk supply.

comparison between the milk price in New Zealand and Australia,

but rather a competitive milk price for Australian suppliers and a strong

return on capital for farmer shareholders in NZ.

MG PROPOSALS ARRIVE MURRAY GOULBURN confirms receiving “a number of confidential, non-binding indicative proposals”. “These proposals have ranged from the sale of certain assets to whole-of-company transactions,” it says. MG and its financial advisor Deutsche

Bank AG are talking to several parties to assess their proposals, including valuation. “At this point it is too early to make any comment about valuation or implementation. MG notes there is no certainty that any transaction will eventuate,” the co-op says.



Rain keeps farmers, growers waiting PETER BURKE

COMMERCIAL GROWERS in parts of the lower North Island are facing one of their worst seasons on record due to the rain that just keeps on falling. John Clark, owner of Woodhaven, a business just south of Levin producing 1.2 million cases of vegetables a year, says he’s never experienced conditions like this in 38 years. It’s impossible to plant crops because the ground is too wet for tractors. “We have had a year and a half of this. It started the winter before and carried on through the summer and this winter,” Clark told Rural News. It will affect the yields of his crops enormously, he says. The only good thing is the prices have gone up, but on the downside labour costs have risen because of the state of crops and the time needed to harvest them in the wet conditions. Just north of Levin, Geoff Lewis, a big asparagus grower, is facing similar problems. He’s owned his property since 1980 and has never experienced such a wet season -- so long that the

Farmers and growers in parts of the lower North Island are facing one of their worst season’s on record due to continual rain.

ground is waterlogged. Other asparagus growers have the same problem, he says. “Nationwide, asparagus growers are quite concerned about the harvest this year, especially the soil conditions because the ground is waterlogged,” Lewis told Rural News. “We have water right at the surface of the ground, meaning it is totally

water-logged. “In Waikato, Manawatu and Horowhenua it has meant we are at risk of root-borne diseases; we are not sure how that is going to impact the yield at this stage. “Most growers have looked to protect their crops by using fungicides, which they wouldn’t normally do.” The wet, boggy conditions make it

hard for staff to get trucks around the property. “It’s a most unusual weather pattern. Interestingly the soil temperatures are not bad and the last month has been very mild for this time of the year. But the lack of sun and the continual rain are a problem.” Potato grower Terry Olsen says in some parts of Horowhenua it’s been

very bad. “Hard on people, hard on the soil and hard on the machinery; it’s just been a challenge,” he told Rural News. Olsen says it will be hard for him and other locals to have potatoes ready for Christmas, but other regions are not as badly affected as Horowhenua. In Manawatu, dairy farmer and Federated Farmers board member Andrew Hoggard says the rain has affected pasture utilisation and regrowth, but there is not much farmers can do. His calving has gone well, but this will vary from farm to farm. He says conditions from now on will have a big impact on mating in a few months. Fine weather should improve pasture utilisation and cow condition. The problem of the rain is backed up by Met Service statistics. Spokeswoman Georgina Griffiths says many regions had their entire annual quota of rain in the first eight months of the year. In Horowhenua the rainfall total for the first eight months is 873 mm, well ahead of the norm of 673mm. The annual average rainfall for the region is 1082 mm.

27/09/17 9:51 AM




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Don’t pay too much for cattle – SFF NIGEL MALTHUS

FARMERS BUYING store cattle should be careful not to pay too much, warns Silver Fern Farms chief executive Dean Hamilton. The meat processor is predicting a mixed outlook for the new season starting on October 1. “On beef we are at an interesting point. Store stock markets appear overheated, given where we expect volumes and schedules to end up. Current finished cattle schedules reflect a shortage of supply, which is typical at this time of the year,” he told Rural News. “However, once volumes pick up, and assuming the currency stays at current levels, we believe schedules will retreat to more accurately reflect end-market conditions.” He says it has been a good 12 to 24 months for beef, with less supply out of Australia and the US, but commentators expected their volumes to pick up later this year, so SFF was “a bit more cautious” about the outlook going into 2018. “What we’re seeing at the moment is quite a strong store stock market,

people at the yards buying cattle and paying high prices. We are signalling a need to be cautious about that, and how we believe the current schedules are likely to go down not up,” Hamilton says. “Farmers should be careful about their end price expectations when they’re buying these young cattle, because we feel the balance of risk here is on the downside, if Australia and the US do what they say they’re going to do.” Hamilton says China’s demand is increasing, but not at the pace of that competing supply. Bobby calf numbers have been down in the past two seasons as dairy farmers retained a lot more bull calves and some heifer calves. Hamilton says SFF expected cattle numbers to rise this season, as those animals reached 270kg carcase weight. “We expect cattle numbers in the coming season to be similar or slightly up on this season, with some of the retentions out of the dairy herd last year expected to boost bull and even heifer numbers.” Meanwhile, with mating about to start, Hamilton does not expect to see

Silver Ferns Farms chief executive Dean Hamilton.

any “massive change” towards putting beef breeds over dairy herds to minimise bobby numbers. “Some people talk about putting Wagyu over them. I think that’s very niche, at the end of the day.” Dairy farmers will do what is right for them for milk production, he says. “Maybe at $3.50/kgMS they pay a bit more attention to the by-products of their business, but I think at $6.50/kgMS they’re well and truly focussed on maximising the volume of milk. I don’t see them compromising their herd to create a beef animal out

of that.” Meanwhile, on lamb Silver Fern Farms has had reports of good strong lambings, particularly in the North Island – following a mild winter – with no repeat of the facial eczema of previous seasons and a good spring. Hamilton says the number processed this season could approach 20 million. “So we could well see volumes up 5% on last year. That would be significant; if prices can hold up with 5% more volume that would make for a good year. “For lamb, China and US demand is currently strong. “In October we will head into the European chilled supply season, which should hold up farmgate prices. Once through that, we expect the total return from lamb to decrease given the greater frozen mix. We would normally see a $1.00/kg rule-of-thumb difference in value from the Christmas chilled period to the main part of the season, everything else being equal.” Hamilton says that would mean mid-season prices around $6.00/kg, still well up on the $5.10/kg to $5.20/ kg of December 2016. Hamilton also expects a positive

year for venison. Deer and velvet prices were strong so deer farmers were looking to retain their hinds rather than have them processed. “Supply’s down 25% on what it was two years ago. Demand has started strong in Europe and the US so you’re seeing strong market prices and that’s being reflected in record high payments to farmers. At the moment they are receiving close to $10/kg for their venison. We see those market prices staying relatively strong and it feels like it’s going to be a positive year.” “We expect venison numbers processed to be similar to the current season at about 280,000 - 300,000 as the national herd continues to slowly rebuild.” Hamilton says this season will be Silver Fern Farms’ first since the closure of its lamb-processing plant at Fairton, near Ashburton, and the decision to send that volume to its Pareora plant south of Timaru. “We’re confident we’ve got all our plans in place to do that. It’ll depend obviously on the flow of lambs, but if it does what we expect it to do we have more than enough capacity at Pareora to cope with the Fairton volume.”


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Fonterra not regretful about Beingmate SUDESH KISSUN

FONTERRA CHAIRMAN John Wilson says the board has no regrets over its $700 million investment in troubled Chinese child nutrition trader

Beingmate. Despite writing off $35m from the value of its 18.8% stake in Beingmate in the last financial year, the board had “strong expectations”, says Wilson. With Beingmate

securing new regulatory approvals to sell infant formula in China from January 1, 2018, Fonterra hopes the company’s fortunes will turn around. “We’re watching what is happening in that market carefully; we

took the prudent step of impairment this year and will continue to monitor that,” Wilson told Rural News. “We’ll get a far better insight over the next 6-12 months. Is this business going to track back to his-

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings and chair John Wilson front the co-op’s annual result last week.

torically what it used to be at? We see no reason why it won’t do so.” A regulatory overhaul of the infant formula market by Chinese

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change and it’s difficult to see why we won’t be well placed in the next 6 to 12 months.” The crackdown on infant formula brands

19. Sep

authorities has put Beingmate and a handful of other players in pole position to regain market share. Sice January 1 a few companies have been issued approvals for infant formula recipes in China; Beingmate got approval for 15 recipes. Fonterra’s Anmum got its approval last month. Wilson says the clampdown on infant formula brands in China is a good thing for consumers, who are demanding safe, quality products. “It was good to see Beingmate receive some of the very first regulatory approvals,” he says. “We expect fewer sellers in the marketplace; that’s a quite a remarkable

caused a drop in sales last year. Retailers are reluctant to hold products that won’t be certified for sale next year. Beingmate also had its own problem, reporting a loss of $158m last year versus a profit of $20m in 2015. Late last year its reputation was hit by a case of alleged milk powder tampering, causing it to forecast a loss of up to $48 million for the first quarter of this financial year. An authorised Beingmate infant formula dealer had been linked to a ring that bought cheaper powder and repackaged it so it appeared to be a more expensive product.

CHINESE BUSINESS THE BEINGMATE investment is just one part of Fonterra’s China business that has been performing strongly. Chairman John Wilson says while the co-op is facing challenges in the China infant formula segment, the rest of its business there is booming. “Our consumer and food service and ingredients businesses in China are doing exceedingly well.” Last year the co-op pumped 5.5 billion litres of milk equivalent (LME) into China – about 25% of its total yield. Fonterra does business in at least 100 countries; while most regions are doing well there are challenges in Venezuela (political uncertainty) and Brazil (recession). Russia’s embargo on dairy products is also affecting its business. A global business “will always have unders and overs,” Wilson says. “Rightly we’re attentive to what’s happening in Beingmate” but many of the co-op’s investments are going “exceedingly well.”

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Irish love their farmers, why don’t Kiwis? During the election campaign NZ farmers – and the rural community in general – came under attack from politicians and the public, and felt they were being demonised. This is in sharp contrast to what’s happening 20,000km away in Ireland, where the people are proud of what their farmers do. Peter Burke reports. IN IRELAND the public are proud of what their farmers are doing, says Padraig Brennan, director of markets for Origin Green. Run by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), Origin Green is a highly successful quality assurance programme that most of Ireland’s dairy farmers have signed up to; so have the nation’s major food and drink manufacturers, some beef farmers and even major retail outlets such as McDonalds restaurant chain. The programme seeks to assure buyers of Irish food and drink about the quality and sustainable way the nation’s food products are produced and is the envy of many other nations, including NZ. Since it was launched in 2012, Origin Green has essentially been a business-to-business initiative targeting wholesale buyers of Irish food products. However, Brennan says they are now about to launch the

idea of the programme to the wider public and are confident it will have their support. A simple information campaign will make the public aware of food and drink makers’ sustainability. “Our research shows consumers in Ireland think a farmer is a good person; consumers have sense of pride in what the people on the land do, especially in the areas of sustainability and climate change,” he told Rural News. “Consumers are becoming increasingly informed about this and are aware of the challenges globally. They realise that everyone has a role to play and are proud to see the Irish food and drink industry making an effort to improve. I suppose most Irish consumers still have a close link to agriculture and so they understand the nature of the message and are well disposed to it.” Brennan says even in large cities such as Dublin there is strong support

for farmers and food and drink producers. “The farmer is central to the communication and telling the story about how a product is produced,” he explains. “Irish consumers like to put a face to a product because it links them back to the land. If anything, that is getting stronger as time goes on.” About 16,000 of Ireland’s 17,500 dairy farmers are signed up to Origin Green. Some of these are very small farms (12 - 20 cows) of a size now disappearing from the industry anyway. Brennan says the scheme is now being rolled out to Ireland’s 49,000 beef farmers and he’s confident they will quickly sign up. Under the Origin Green scheme, farms are audited to make sure they comply with its strict conditions. The various elements in the scheme are subject to evidence-based science audits.

Padraig Brennan, director of markets for Origin Green.

GREEN AMBASSADORS PADRAIG BRENNAN says Origin Green was set up to help support Ireland’s exports of food and drink products. As part of this proposition they have sought to get to know their customers and the challenges they face and to make Origin Green part of the solution for them. Collaboration is a huge part of the ethos of the scheme. “We run an ‘ambassadors programme’ in which we fund top people to complete a master’s degree in sustainability,” Brennan explains. “As part of that programme, they undertake three six-month work placements with leading food and drink companies


around the world. “That has helped us understand the challenges these organisations are facing and are trying to address. This in turn allows us to explain what we are trying to achieve through Origin Green. By building those relationships and discussions we are getting traction and influence in the market.” Brennan says by getting alongside major global companies and understanding their needs, Origin Green helps pave the way for Irish food and drink exporters to develop new markets and to better meet the needs of existing ones. Part of the message is that any Origin Green brand repre-

sents all facets of Irish food production and has strong government support. Origin Green is not a generic product, and has to be flexible to meet the needs of specific markets or countries. “What sustainability might mean to someone in China can be very different from what it might mean to a customer in, say, France,” Brennan said. “We are trying to work out which elements of Origin Green are most relevant to different markets and make adjustments accordingly. There is no point is saying ‘this is Origin Green, take it or leave it’.”

A KEY message from Origin Green is that it’s selling food, not agriculture. This issue is canvassed in NZ by commentators such as Ian Proudfoot, of KPMG, who talks about the agrifood sector. “Food is what we are exporting, agriculture is what produces that food,” he explains. Brennan says in today’s environment the authenticity and provenance of food is becoming more important to consumers, as are nutrition and health issues – all of which are incorporated in the Origin Green brand. Brennan concedes other countries,


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including NZ, have tried to copy or establish similar programmes. Bord Bia has worked with many other countries and he says it’s important that food producing nations collaborate to keep quality food on supermarket shelves for 12 months of the year because if consumers don’t see a product they will change to another one. While Origin Green has served Ireland well, Brennan says there is no room for complacency. “The challenge for us in Origin Green is not to sit still, but to continue to develop and evolve and that is what we are actively working on all the time.”



Farm well or get railroaded

ALIGNING FARMING practices so they care for the environment is critical for New Zealand, says Maori agri-businessman, King Smiler. He said this last week at the launch of 2018 Ahuwhenua Trophy contest for Maori dairy farmers at Tainui College for Research & Development at Ngāruawāhia in Waikato. Entries are now open. Smiler, chair of the committee running the event, says NZ has been too slow in balancing farming practices so as to properly care for the environment. And unless the industry itself takes up

the challenge, others will force farmers to do things and some won’t cope and will go out of business. The annual Ahuwhenua Trophy contest is now in its 86th year, alternating each year between dairy and sheep and beef farming. The 2018 trophy will be awarded for dairying excellence. Smiler says the Ahuwhenua contest has all along built up a rich cultural and spiritual history and become a symbol of excellence in farming. The entrants, finalists and winners have played a huge part in growing the legacy of Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe who inaugurated the competition. The contest offers a


BUY A bag of Nadine potatoes from a South Island supermarket in about a month and they will probably have come from this paddock alongside Thompson’s Track in Mid-Canterbury. The 24ha leased plot was recently harvested for prominent Ashburton grower Dave Redmond. Crews working aboard two Scandinavian Grimme harvesters expected to take two weeks to lift about 1200 tonnes in total. The crop was destined for the AS Wilcox packhouse in Rakaia, which supplies both Countdown and Foodstuffs supermarkets throughout the South Island, under the Wilcox brand. “In about a month’s time, if you go into a Countdown supermarket and you get Nadines, they’ll be out of that paddock,” said Redmond. Planted about December 20, the crop has wintered in the ground, surviving at least one bout of unexpectedly heavy rain. “It’s a bit of luck, isn’t it? We had all that rain but it was less than 12 hours that paddock was under water. But there’s no rot came out of it, so we’re very lucky there,” said Redmond. Potatoes are effectively a year-round business, between the new potatoes coming on in January, the later harvests and those held in the coolstore to provide a 12 month-supply. Redmond cultivates about 150ha of potatoes for Wilcox, in several varieties including Nadines, salads, Red Jackets, Agrias, and Vivaldi. 20 years in the business, Redmond also produces Angus cattle and, as he puts it, “a bit of wheat.” He was in fact named this year’s United Wheatgrowers grower of the year, in the premium milling wheat category.

great opportunity for all Maori farmers, especially those whose peak performance can be an example for other Maori farmers and the rest of the industry, Smiler says. DairyNZ chief execuDairy NZ’s Tim Mackle and Kingi Smiler hold the Bledisloe Cup, which will be awarded to the top Maori dairy farmer this time.

tive Tim Mackle, who formally launched the 2018 contest, says Maori values fit well with DNZ’s farming philosophy: sustainable, competitive and profitable - making a profit out of the actual business rather than relying on capital gains. Mackle says DairyNZ

has gained a lot during its ten years involvement in the Ahuwhenua contest. He hopes the entrants themselves have also benefitted. The 2018 contest entries close on November 24; entry forms are available on the Ahuwhenua website.


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Meet the new King of the North PAM TIPA

NEW NATIONAL MPelect for Northland Matt King, who took the seat off Winston Peters, is not taking anything for granted until the special votes are counted. Although he is about

1300 votes ahead and has been told that is a safe margin, he will wait and see before making any big decisions. They will include whether to lease out the 283ha beef farm at Okaihau that he bought only six months ago from his father, having leased it

himself for the past 10 years. He has lived on the farm most of his life. But he says there is no way he could give his best to his new role as an MP and continue to run the farm himself. He reckons it is “absolutely” an advantage to have people from a rural

background in Parliament. “We’ve got a mixed bag of people from all walks of life. But my electorate is a farm; it is all farming. I don’t have any cities; I only have towns in my electorate. Being from a farm is essential: it gives me the under-

standing, the background, the experience and the knowledge to be able to speak for the farming community,” King told Rural News. “For me an MP really needs to know about farming… especially my patch. Five hours from end to end and it’s all


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New Northland MP Matt King.

and Maori land, so ratepayers are paying a disproportionate amount, he says. The Government has increased the roading subsidies to local authorities but he will advocate for an even bigger subsidy. In Northland, tourism generates $1 billion and he would like to see small towns get better infrastructure so they can participate in that. King says he is “a cuphalf-full type of guy”. He thinks there is an element of negativity in Northland where people oppose everything and are ‘anti’ - an attitude that doesn’t work. “I always say to people ‘we have to have the attitude that we are going ahead, we want people to come here and we want Aucklanders to come to the regions to bring their money, their businesses and investment. You do that by being upbeat and positive and encouraging people’.” There is a 50 point economic development plan for Northland and much of the work is underway – the broadband, improving the roads and the infrastructure. National has “stuff happening” all around the regions of New Zealand, King says.

SOFA SQUATTERS FEEDING OUT BULL SOME URBAN people are “a bit ignorant” of the rural sector but the divide isn’t as wide as people perceive, says King. People get misconceptions from social media. “I liken social media to this: you have a room of 1000 people and the people who are like the 10 to 20 in the front with the placards and the banners have a lot to say. The vast majority are just getting on with their lives and they read stuff and they listen but don’t say too much. So


pretty much farmland.” The Northland electorate extends from Cape Reinga to Wellsford but excludes Whangarei. National already has excellent strong rural voices in Parliament, he says. He includes Barbara Kuriger who owns two dairy farms, and Ian McElvie and primary industries spokesman Nathan Guy, both farmers. Northland is similar to the East Coast – the “poor cousins” from a social statistics point of view, King says. “Infrastructure is probably the biggest thing for Northland – our roading, cellular and all our networks need investment. They are getting it but we can always do with more.” Exciting things are happening, he says. The National Government has put high speed broadband fibre cables through to all the rural schools and hospitals in New Zealand and now this will be run to the towns over the next three to four years. Stage two of the broadband rollout started this year in which small operators can make agreements with the Government to link up high speed broadband from the schools and hospitals to small communities. “Having people connected and in touch with the world and society, and running businesses from home... I don’t think we have even begun to explore the possibilities that will bring over time.” King says roading is also a big deal in Northland which has Department of Conservation

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New Zealand’s Young Farmer of the year 2017, Nigel Woodhead competing in the practical section of last year’s final held at Massey University.

Young farmers contest hits 50 NIGEL MALTHUS

NEW ZEALAND Young Farmers is encouraging pairs to enter the annual Young Farmer of the Year competition for the first time, as a way of boosting interest from people who may be reluctant to give it a go. Now in its 50th year, the competition season starts this weekend with the first of 21 district contest and skills days. Event manager Bridget Johnson says the paired entries would not be eligible to go on to the regional competition stage, but it is a chance to have a go “in a more relaxed sense”. “They can do it as a pair

and that’s to encourage more participants to get involved and just have a go, see what it’s all about and to learn some new skills.” They aim for about 400 competitors each year and Johnson says this year’s entries are well on track. As in previous years, they were encouraging women to take part. “That’s a big push for us, getting women involved,’ Johnson adds. “That’s where the pairs thing comes in, because a lot of women like to enter with a friend, so that’s what we trying to encourage – to get them involved and probably make it less intimidating for them for have a go.” The 21 district contests begin

with the Christchurch district event at Lincoln on October 7 and run through to the West Coast event at Ahaura on December 10. Seven regional finals take place in February, March and April and the final will be in Invercargill in July. Contest chairman and former finalist Dean Rabbidge says the contest is in good heart and remains an iconic event in NZ agriculture. “For 49 years we have seen NZ’s top agricultural leaders fight it out for the much sought-after title. It is an honour that can never be revoked and with only 49 names on the winners’ board you can be sure the competition will be as hot as ever -- to be named the 50th champion.”

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Mr Patterson goes to Wellington more direct involvement with NZ First came when the party opposed the Silver Fern sale. “I was one of the farmers pushing back on that, and NZ First was doing so as well, so that’s where my contact with NZ First started and it went from there.” Patterson says NZ First is “totally opposed” to a water tax and had campaigned on that. “On the rural-urban divide the standard of debate has been frustratingly poor. There’s probably been


SOUTH OTAGO farmer Mark Patterson plans to be a voice for both the Otago-Southland region and the rural community, as he enters Parliament as one of the few new members with a farming background. “The urban centres, particularly Auckland, are becoming so powerful in their numbers in Parliament, just by sheer weight of population. It’s possible for our issues to be marginalised,” Patterson told Rural News. “I’ll be making sure the voice of the south is heard alongside the other southern MPs, I’m sure.” Representing New Zealand First, Patterson polled third in the Clutha-Southland electorate, with 3192 votes on the provisional election night results, behind National’s Hamish Walker on 19,524 and Labour’s Cherie Chapman on 6519. However, NZ First garnered nine list MPs, and Patterson enters Parliament at seventh on the party list. His entry into

Lawrence farmer Mark Patterson has entered Parliament as a New Zealand First list MP. SUPPLIED

national politics follows his run with the nowdefunct Meat Industry Excellence group which opposed the 50% sale of Silver Fern Farms to Shanghai Maling. Foreign ownership remains a big issue for him. “Particularly farmland: I am totally opposed to the sale of farmland to foreign interests,” he said. Patterson says he was in the National Party until three-four years ago

when he gave his weight to MIE in its efforts to reform the red meat sector. “Part of that role was when we were coming up to Parliament and lobbying the Government, and I was very frustrated by their apathy and ambivalence,” he says. “About that time Winston won the Northland by-election and I felt we needed a bit of a political alternative.” Patterson says his

a lack of understanding by urban dwellers about how much farmers are doing in lifting their environmental performance. “Equally, some of the outcomes on the

be bickering about who’s causing the problem rather than getting down to what the solutions are. That’s where we need to be.” Raised on a fourthgeneration family

Going to Wellington will be “quite a change.” deterioration of some catchments need to be addressed. “Ultimately, we all want the same thing. However, there seems to

cropping farm at Lakeside, in Canterbury’s Ellesmere district, Patterson has been farming “on and off” since he was 17, minus

overseas travel and offfarm work. But he has always had a passion for stock farming and for the last 10 years has farmed a 503ha, 5000 stock unit property of mediumsteep hill country near Lawrence. Going to Wellington will be “quite a change,” Patterson admits. “I’ve got a young guy going to step into the role of manager. I hope to get back there from time to time and do the odd day when I can, but it’s going to be fairly limited.”


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Time to end cartoon days for meat industry PAM TIPA

MEAT INDUSTRY veteran Sir Graeme Harrison reckons the sector was summed up by a 1994 cartoon captioned, ‘we can’t see, we don’t hear and we don’t talk’. “I think that is pretty typical of a lot of New Zealand’s export sector to be frank,” the ANZCO Foods Ltd founder and chairman told the recent ExportNZ conference in Auckland “Really what we’ve got to do is join hands and collaborate. That is certainly what ANZCO has done in its business relationships around the world.” Harrison also gave a plug for the NZ International Business Forum that started in 2007, which he chaired for its first seven years. “This group of likeminded organisations, like Business NZ and NZ chambers of commerce, worked together to try to build

NZ’s business case and market access,” he says. They have a good working relationship with government and appreciate the efforts of trade ministers. “As an export sector you should be willing to collaborate, and put the pressure on government and make sure the political parties - no matter what their colour - finally realise how important agriculture, the agri-food sector and the wider export sector is to the NZ economy,” he says. ANZCO is the new player in the top four big meat companies, Harrison says – alongside Silver Fern Farms, AFFCO and Alliance Group. These four companies handle at least three quarters of the total production. ANZCO sits at 20% of beef and 10% of sheep meat. Its turnover is just under $1.5 billion. Its growth trajectory has risen almost continuously throughout

the years. But NZ livestock numbers have been declining and its business direction has changed. The company’s 11 sites are not what people imagine of the meat industry. “It is a mass of stainless steel, not too different from the NZ dairy industry. “It is in a range of products blood products to animal tissues to various food solutions, proteins, etc. That is our direction.” When they started contract processing in Korea in the 1980s, Koreans were still very poor. Yet at the time of the signing of the NZ Korea free trade agreement in March 2015, our per capita income was almost the same - US$33,000. “We are now on a path to having our tariffs removed over 15 years from 40% down to zero. It was a good trade agreement for the NZ beef sector, and it was good overall for all sectors in NZ. “The growth of the middle class in Asia is there for all of us

Sir Graeme Harrison

to note. The Economist summed it up well last year, saying that before the late 1990s China barely had a middle class; whereas in 2000, five million households earned between US$11,500 and US$43,000 a year in current dollars. Today 225 million earn that much.

UNBELIEVERS SILENCED GRAEME HARRISON says ANZCO’s origins were in the 1980s, getting around New Zealand’s then-restricted labour practices by processing offshore in Korea and supplying customers in Japan with different products. Many different items could be produced by manufacturers from this product. At one stage, the company had five contract processing plants in Korea. ANZCO became the first foreign company to import and distribute beef in Japan. But this still had a 70% tariff from 1990. Harrison went to the New Zealand meat industry with another report suggesting they use the relationships and customers ANZCO already had. “I went to all companies but one, but I might as well have talked to the wall.” As a result, Harrison decided to talk to the Japanese. Two companies listed on the Japanese stock exchange joined “this little outfit from NZ” in 50:50 joint ventures. From that came the establishment of NZ’s first large scale cattle feedlot – still the only one today – in Ashburton. “Japan is NZ’s number-one chilled beef market and one company accounts for over 90% of its value.” ANZCO bought its current Canterbury site 14km away when Fortex collapsed. “From that is the business today: we have spent a huge amount of money to get it into today’s shape. It is the largest private sector employment site in Canterbury – 950 employees.”

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Water scheme on track despite protests NIGEL MALTHUS

CENTRAL PLAINS Water Ltd says both its expansion projects are progressing well with only minor weather delays. Stage 1 of the main scheme takes water from an intake on the Rakaia River and services 23,000ha via a 17km open canal terminating near Hororata. Stage 2, under construction since April, will take water from the end of the existing stage 1 canal to service another 20,000ha in the northeast half of the CPW area. It will be underground, using 2.5m and 2m diameter glass-reinforced plastic pipes for the main trunks. CPWL chief executive Derek Crombie referred to the very wet winter, especially heavy rain a month ago that affected everything. The Hororata River crossing site, where the pipe will be buried about 5m below the river bed, had been flooded twice but that will not affect the completion date, about April next year. Meanwhile, the physically separate Sheffield scheme is due to come on stream by early October. That will take water from the Waimakariri River and service about 4100ha in the northwest corner of the CPWL coverage area, from a 2 million cu.m storage pond now being lined. Crombie said in midSeptember that the contractor, Fulton Hogan, needed only about 15 days good weather to finish off the HDPE plastic lining of the dam; that meant not too windy, when the plastic sheet would be too unwieldy, or too cold, which would make it brittle. Only “a little bit of infill pipe” is needed to complete the rest of the infrastructure. The completed dam will take 14 days to fill, but water draw-off can begin at a depth of only 2 - 3m. The Sheffield scheme will service 33 shareholder farms and Crombie said

most already have their farm infrastructure ready to go. Meanwhile, Crombie said two separate protest occupations by Greenpeace activists had negligible impact on the progress of either scheme. On August 2, activists chained themselves inside one of the pipes on the stage 2 construction site but that only briefly stopped work at that one site. On any day there would be work going on at about eight sections, he said. On September 7 activists occupied the floor of the Sheffield scheme dam site before being removed by police after about eight hours. Crombie said the protests had minor effects “but [according to] their website they stopped the world”. “We’re frustrated that the information they’re giving out is selective and misleading; saying things like we’re polluting the rivers is simply not correct because we don’t have any discharge into the Waimakariri, the Selwyn or the Rakaia. “At the same time, we’ve said to them we have no problem with peaceful demonstration; that’s a democratic right. We have a problem with them over illegal occupation or illegal trespass.” Responding to the Greenpeace charge that irrigation would expand intensive dairying, Crombie said there is no doubt that irrigation can support dairy farming. “But the other side of it – and this is where they’re not saying anything – is that Environment Canterbury have put very stringent operating conditions on dairying and other types of farming. If you convert to a dairy farm now you have to comply with those conditions.” Crombie pointed out that the three broad types of soils in the CPWL area include very good soils for high-end cropping around Darfield, Kirwee and Sheffield; middlegrade soils that do not hold water quite as well

and are used for sheep and beef units; and stoney soils on the south sector near the Rakaia where dairy has prospered. That area was fully developed for dairy before the CPW scheme,

but using groundwater for irrigation. Crombie said the scheme allows them to turn off groundwater and replace it with surface water, to the benefit of the aquifers and lowland streams.

CPWL says its expansion is on track despite weather delays.

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SUSTAINABILITY AND scientific innovation is high on the agenda of Waikato dairy farmer Grant Coombes, standing as a self-nominated candidate in the forthcoming DairyNZ director elections. “I represent the next generation of farmers, I know the challenges we face and I believe we are in a position to grow, innovate and continue to do things better,” he says. He says it’s time farmers embraced new technology and innovation to tackle environmental sustainability. Coombes lives at Taupiri, north Waikato, 2000 milking cows, plus dairy support and dry stock cattle, on 750ha. Open to trying something new, he is in the process of phasing out his fleet of quads for new electric farmbikes. “I’ve got seven Ubco 2x2 electric bikes, and they are great,” says Coombes. “They are quiet and easy to operate. I’m

passionate about sustainable farming and reducing emissions.” Coombes says he first heard about the Ubco bikes at Fieldays two years ago. “I’ve always been interested in innovation so these caught my eye.” With regulatory and political pressures making demands on farmers, Coombes believes new science and technology will be vital. “These days we are farming in a ‘fish bowl’ and that means that the wider community in New Zealand is looking at farming, and so is the international community and our export markets. So we must look at new ways to improve sustainability onfarm.” He believes scientific developments and technology hold the key. “Farmers can take heart in some of the innovative discoveries happening in NZ,” he says. He cites as an example CRV Ambreed’s LowN

Grant Coombes and his electric bike.

Sires, a genetic discovery announced in March, with potential to reduce nitrogen leaching on farms by 20% within 20 years. The company identified and selected bulls genetically superior for a new trait related to the amount of urea nitrogen in milk. Cows bred from these bulls are expected to excrete less nitrogen in their urine which will, in turn, reduce the amount of nitrogen leached from

grazed pasture. “This could save NZ 10 million kg in nitrogen leaching a year, based on the national herd number of 6.5 million dairy cattle.” Then there’s the plantain Ecotain, launched last month by Agricom, designed to reduce nitrogen leaching from urine patches by up to 50%. He believes agricultural leaders need to get into the conversations

about science and technology and how they can help farmers. “It’s important for our industry leaders to communicate the latest scientific developments, products and technology to grass-roots farmers,” says Coombes. “I’d like to see agricultural leaders collaborating more and communicating better on science and technology, and making that a part of the ‘story of dairying’.”

ALLIANCE AFTER MERINO SUPPLY ALLIANCE GROUP says it is seeking more farmers to meet demand during the upcoming Silere Alpine Origin Merino season. The Invercargill meat company took on full brand management of Silere last September as part of its product expansion. For 12 months it

has been exploring options to grow markets and build the lamb’s profile as a ‘luxury dining experience’ for the food service sector. The group’s marketing manager premium products, Wayne Cameron, says about 40 farmers have committed to supply Merino for this season,

which runs from late September until January 2018. “We are looking for more finewool Alpine Origin Merino to top up supply from November into January and are currently talking with more farmers,” he says. “While we offer frozen Silere products throughout the year, our marketing initiatives

and investment programme is focused on our ‘best in season’ strategy - promoting its story and benefits to the hospitality sector which has a high demand for premium-season produce.” Cameron says Silere has a loyal core base of farmer suppliers with strong “philosophical buyin” to the brand.

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AUCKLAND SECONDARY schoolers will soon get a close look at farming without travelling far. A new centre to display the best of the primary sector is being built at Mount Albert Grammar School in west-central Auckland. The $14 million project was

announced in 2015 by the landowner ASB Bank. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy last month was on hand for the turning of the first soil. Mount Albert Grammar School’s ASB Farm, set up in 1932, will become the AgriFood Experience Centre, showing primary sector careers and making possible new connections

in Auckland. “The primary industries play an incredibly important role in our economy,” said Guy. “This centre will play a big part in telling this story to younger, urban audiences.” Mt Albert Grammar principal Patrick Drumm says the new centre will provide a great opportunity for the best and brightest MAGS students.

“Gumboots will still have a place in the agricultural and horticultural careers of today, but of increasing importance are skills in science, technology and business, and an understanding of people and the need to sustain our environment,” he says. “The ASB MAGS Farm has proved an asset for thousands of MAGS students the 95 years of our existence as a school.”



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AFFCO’S FIRST shipment of chilled meat landed in China last month and will be swiftly followed by many more, says chairman Sam Lewis. Lewis was in Zhengzhou, China, to celebrate the milestone. The consignment was part of a trade trial which enables product to be chilled and aged during the 21-day voyage, so it is in prime condition on arrival. “The speed at which the meat industry has taken up this opportunity is very impressive, considering the Government access agreement was only announced by the Ministry of Primary Industries at the end of March,” says Lewis. AFFCO’s first 20-foot container of beef will be distributed by Kangyuan to food service and retail outlets

“It has blown my mind how well equipped these guys are; they have got up to speed much quicker than anticipated.”


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More chilled meat heading to China

throughout the Henan Province in east-central China. The company’s China sales manager, Clint Bailey, says the shipment has been backed up by significant volumes of sheep meat and beef. Bailey is surprised at how quickly the Chinese market has adapted for the chilled consignments, and says AFFCO is working with several key customers whom they believe have the cold facilities and infrastructure to deal with large shipped volumes. “It has blown my mind how well equipped these guys are; they have got up to speed much quicker than anticipated.” The meat processor had been working with its Chinese partners in the lead-up to the pilot shipment so they could make the most of the trial window. Preparations included visits from Chinese butchers to AFFCO plants to determine the best way to cut the meat to extract the most value for that market. “We’ve found that for sheep meat in particular, chilled ‘western’ cuts are not the way to go. It’s got to be cut Chinese style to get the most from the carcass.” To resolve this AFFCO is shipping chilled mutton carcases whole, which will be cut to specification at their destination. Whole carcases are worth almost twice as much to the Chinese as traditional western cuts, which are often underutilised in their market. “Sending something in carcase form might seem counterintuitive to a value-add offering, but value needs to be assessed through the eyes of the customers and their willingness to pay for it. “With chilled imports to China now an option, sending a high-quality whole carcase to the right customer means select Chinese consumers can purchase New Zealand product on a ‘cut-to-order’ basis.” Bailey says the company’s breadth of customer base in China means they can carefully select the appropriate channel to capture the highest value for chilled NZ meat into that market. “It’s a great example of how AFFCO is adding value from the bottom up, to all our meat products and every part of the carcase – not just from the top down as at the European high end. “Traditionally mutton has been worth about a third of lamb, so initiatives like this offer us the opportunity to close the gap between those pricings.” Bailey says another upside to the chilled programme is that it will help maintain frozen volume pricing. With up to 20% of the frozen volume taken away in chilled form, there will be less pressure to move supply.



Thinking big, while getting smaller The advent of Brexit and changing demographics in Ireland are contributing to an expansion of Irish dairy farming, as is the scrapping of the EU milk quotas; farms are now growing in size. Visiting there recently, Peter Burke met the Mulligan family, running a herd of 740 cows – big for the Emerald Isle. LOCATED NEAR the city of Sligo, in northwest Ireland, the Mulligans’ farm is just half a kilometre from the beautiful rugged coastline. Their land is fertile and the country gently rolling – ideal for dairying. Dry stone walls are a feature of all the farms. This is typically beautiful Irish countryside with a slice of ruggedness making it even more attractive. Today the farm covers just over 350ha, about half of it owned by the Mulligans and the remainder leased. Rainfall is about 1000mm, normal for this region with its exposure to Atlantic gales. Padraig senior has worked on the farm since he was 14 when it was a 5.6ha mixed farm with three cows, 14 ewes, two sows and a horse for ploughing and carting of hay. It was essentially self-sufficient. When he took over the farm in 1972 it had grown to 16ha and ran 55 cows.

One year later he and wife Mary married and returned from their honeymoon to a disaster. “When we came back the whole herd had gone down with brucellosis. I had to start again and that was pretty hard. My wife went back to working in the bank and there were a few pounds coming in every week, and we started doing B&B to help the finances. “We have moved on from those bad days, rebuilt the herd and bought about 20 small farms and some machinery and for a while did contracting,” he says. The game-changer was son Padraig’s decision to return home to help his father run the farm. Since then, they developed what could be called an Irish-cross cow – part Jersey and part Holstein. This has produced a smaller cow with good milk production but higher milk solids – similar to the NZ Kiwi-cross.

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Mulligan is aware NZ farmers feed out a lot of supplements, but his philosophy is to use grass to the fullest, cut back the use of meal and use baleage and hay only when necessary. At present, stocking rate on the farm is 6.4su/ha – double the national average. Since Padraig Og (Irish for junior) returned to the farm the expansion has speeded up and it’s reached the stage where the present milking parlour is too small. Planning to expand, four years ago they formed a company with him and his parents as directors. The two Padraigs do the farm work, and Mary looks after the finances and paperwork. With production at least 400,000kgMS/year from 740 cows, the Mulligans decided two years ago to bite the bullet, making plans to install a 70-bail Dairymaster Rotary at a cost of about NZ$1.3 million. Padraig Og says they looked at

Padraig Og Mulligan and sons Kyle and Callum at the site of the proposed $1.3m rotary milking parlour.

whether to install a smaller rotary, but other large dairy farmers advisied them to go big. Now most of the earthworks for the new parlour are completed and the aim is to have the shed running late this year. “The parlour, although large, will be quite basic -- the usual automatic cup removers, teat spray, automatic drafting and a back-end scraper. We chose Dairymaster because they were Irish and we could get a part quickly; after-

sales service is very important. “With this parlour two people will be able to milk 500 cows an hour. In the present parlour, morning milking can take up to five hours and the evening four hours, so there will be savings in the cost of labour.” The Mulligan family are confident their decision to grow the business will pay off long term. They are banking on dairying becoming an even bigger part of the Irish economy.


24 MARKETS & TRENDS L amb - PM 17.0kg S te e r - P2 300kg B u ll - M2 300kg Ve n is o n - AP 60kg

5.20 4.10


5 .3 5

P 2 Co w - 230kg





5 .0 5

M Co w - 200kg






9 .7 0


9 .7 0

Lo cal Trade - 230kg





North Island 17kg M lamb price


P 2 Steer - 300kg





M 2 B ull - 300kg





P 2 Co w - 230kg





M Co w - 200kg





Lo cal Trade - 230kg






23-O ct

23-Dec This Ye ar


5yr Ave

10-Sep 10-Oct 27-Jul

23-A ug

23-O ct


South Island 300kg steer price

5yr Ave

This Ye ar

$/kg $/kg $/kg

3 Wks A go 217 662

Last Year 206 620

South Island 60kg stag price

220 690

7.0 23-A ug 5yr Ave

23-O ct Last Ye ar

This Ye ar



k 10 0Aug

10 Sep

5yr Ave

10 Oct

27 Jul

27 Sep Last Ye ar

UK Leg p/kg


Last Week 5.80






10 Nov

27 Nov This Ye ar

2 Wks A go 5.80

Last Year 5.40



5yr A ve 5.37 8.71

Export demand indicator - UK CKT leg


350 26 Aug

26 Oct

26 Dec

Procurement Indicator

150 $1.50 26-Jun 26-A ug 26-O ct 26-Dec 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 -5.1 -1.8

2Wks A go 77.9 73.6

% Returned NI


2Wks A go 75.1

% Returned SI

+0 .5



This Year

3 Wks A go 83.0 75.4

Last Year 85.8 79.3

5yr A ve 75.6 68.4

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… 23-Jun 23-A ug 23-O ct 23-Dec

Procurement Indicator - South Island


200k 300

5yr A ve

% of export returns



6.0 23-Jun

2 Wks A go 220 662

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

23-O ct

S outh Island Weekly Lamb Kill

250 26 Jun

% Returned NI % Returned SI

23-A ug

10 Nov 27 Nov

Export Market Demand

This Year

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




+3 +0

95CL USc/lb NZc/kg

North Island 60kg stag price


This Year

10 Oct 27 Sep

South Island w eekly lamb kill

400 250k

10-Oct 27-Sep10-Nov 27-Nov Last Ye ar This Ye ar

USc/lb 23-Dec


6.0 23-Jun

Last Year

27-Jul 10-Sep 5yr Ave

Last Year

23-O ct Last Ye ar

Last Year

10 Sep 27 Jul

27 May


23-A ug 5yr Ave

5yr Ave

k 0 1027 Aug May

100 50k

$2.50 200




10k40 30

250 $3.00






10-Dec 27-Nov

Export Market Demand


4.0 23-Jun

10-Nov 27-Sep

90 P rocu rement Indicator - South I. 85% 80% 75% 70 70% 65% Last Year 60% This Year 50 23-Jun 23-A ug 23-O ct 23-Dec 55% 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 16-Oct 23-Oct 30-Oct 6-Nov 13-Nov 20-Nov 0-Jan 5yr ave Last Ye ar 9-Oct This Ye ar

% of export returns


This Year

South Island Weekly Cattle Kill

4.5 4.0 23-Jun

Last Year

S outh Island Weekly Cattle Kill

0 k 27-May 10-Aug


North eekly lamb N ort hIsland Islandw Weekly Lambkill Kill

100 50k

5k20 10

North Island 300kg bull price

Last Year 5.86 5.88 5.90 5.91 2.85 5.58 5.58 5.58 5.58 2.70


15k60 50

Last Ye ar

2 Wks A go 6.96 6.98 7.00 7.01 4.20 6.98 6.98 6.98 6.98 4.25



10 k 0 10-Aug 27-May

23-A ug

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

Last Week 6.96 6.98 7.00 7.01 4.20 6.98 6.98 6.98 6.98 4.25


40 20k30

South Island 17kg M lamb price


Slaughter Thousand head


Thousand head

23-O ct

c/kgCWT NI Lamb YM - 13.5kg P M - 17.0kg 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

250k 400

North N ort hIsland IslandWeekly Weekly Cattle Cattle Kill Kill


23-A ug




5 .3 5

5yr Ave 6.0


5 .7 0

5.0 4.0 23-Jun


P 2 Steer - 300kg

Last Year 5.55





2 Wks A go 5.70





M 2 B ull - 300kg




4.0 23-Jun

LAMB PRICES Last Week 5.70

Thousand head




Thousand head

c /kgCWT

S o u th Is lan d C h an g e L as t c /kg We e k n/c 6 .9 8


No rth Is lan d C h an g e L as t c /kg We e k n/c 6 .9 8

85 80%

3 Wks A go 75.1

Last Year 75.0



5yr A ve 72.3 69.8

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

% of export returns

Me at



75 70% 65 60%

Last Year

This Year

50% 55 11-Aug 23-Jun 11-Sep 11-Oct 23-A ug11-Nov 11-Dec 23-O ct11-Jan 11-Feb 23-Dec 85 80%

% of export returns


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

75 70% 65 60% Last Y ear

This Year

50% 55 11-Aug 23-Jun 11-Sep 11-Oct 23-A ug 11-Nov 11-Dec 23-O ct 11-Jan 11-Feb 23-Dec 5yr ave Last Ye ar This Ye ar

Venison Prices NI Stag - 60kg


Last Week 9.70

SI Stag - 60kg




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

We know your weekends are workdays too.

2 Wks A go 9.70

Last Year 8.80



5yr A ve 7.82 8.13




Competitive pressure from Australian beef is expected to intensify in coming weeks as dry conditions see slaughter rates continuing to lift. Demand from Korea, one of NZ's key markets, is suffering from this supply pressure. However much of Australia's focus in the next six months will be on Japan, as they

forward has increased as teeth are becoming an issue and cropping land is beginning to be turned over. Stability is likely to remain for a couple of weeks at least. Chilled Christmas production starts for many next week. We don't expect to see any further increases in operating prices as a result, as the current spot market is above most of the supply contracts for this period already. There are still a few old season's lambs coming out to be sold store, but numbers are shrinking, reflective of the time of season. Prices have also eased back as the buying bench loses a bit of grunt at the tail end of the season. Ewes with lambs at foot continue to sell to good interest at the saleyards, though there aren’t all that many available in the South Island.

Overseas Wool Price Indicators




Last Year

Coarse Xbred





Coarse Xbred

Ewe - 35 micron





Ewe - 35 micron

Ewe - 37 micron





2nd Shear 37M





Indicators in NZc/kg

850 600



Last Year









Ewe - 37 micron





2nd Shear 37M





Indicators in USc/kg

Wool indicator trends Wool Indicator Trends




550 300


450 200 22-Sep 22-Dec 22-Mar 22-Jun 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 CXI FXI LI

200 22-Jun



Second shear - 37 micron



650 400




750 500


SHEEP: The number of lambs coming


- 37 micron Coarse Ewe Xbred Indicator Last Year

700 This Year



500300 450200 22-Jun Dec 22-Aug Oct Feb Apr 22-Oct Jun 5yr ave Last Year

OUR INSIGHT. YOUR EDGE. AgriHQ is the leading source of independent agri market analysis and advice that farmers can bank on. For the latest market reports visit or call 0800 85 25 80.

22-Aug Last Year

22-Oct This Year


Ewe - 35 micron


500 c/kg


make the most of their tariff advantage. A lift in US imported prices lately implies this market is managing to absorb these increasing volumes right now. Whether or not this is sustainable going forward as beef supplies increase, still remains to be seen.


BEEF: Cattle operating prices remain variable. The high NZD:USD will be putting a dampener on manufacturing beef margins, and some processors have taken money out of manufacturing schedules as a result. As always, at this time of year, the time to watch is post Labour weekend when most processors return to full processing capacity. If the numbers are not yet beginning to come out, there is potential to see a rise in procurement pressure. Store cattle interest is somewhat subdued in many regions as continuing wet conditions keep a lid on demand. Hawke's Bay is an exception, as warm weather and good soil moisture keep the momentum in spring pasture growth. Supplies have over-powered interest in the South Island for yearling cattle, and there’s been a little weakness in prices as a result.



500 400

300 Aug 22-Dec

This Year

200 22-Jun 22-Aug 22-Oct 5yr ave Last Year

22-Dec This Year

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Trade key to NZ’s future PAM TIPA

OF THE top five countries New Zealand trades with, it only has trade deals with two, an ExportNZ conference has heard. “That leaves us very vulnerable,” says trade expert Charles Finny. “We don’t have links to those markets that others do.” National trade spokesman Todd McClay had earlier pushed the case for NZ to forge ahead in doing deals with likeminded countries. Of our top five goods export countries -- China, Australia, US, EU and Japan -- we only have trade deals with China and Australia, he told the Auckland conference held on September 21. McClay says when we

do trade deals we get it right and trade flows increase significantly in both directions, as has been the case with China. He says that FTA got NZ through the global financial crisis (GFC). “To continue to offer opportunities to NZ we need more trade deals.” EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has expressed a desire to have a trade deal with NZ within two years; “that will take a lot of hard work”, McClay added. He expects this will take “three years rather than two”. NZ is one of only six WTO countries that don’t have a trade deal with EU. McClay says with the UK we are in a good space since Brexit was announced last year. UK trade secretary Liam Fox

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ground. During a recent There was a protracconfirmed earlier this tion of international trade visit the overwhelmyear that NZ will be first ing message he got from cab off the rank with Aus- after the GFC, but we businesses and city and are coming out of that. tralia for new FTAs once state level officials was We are seeing growth in they got through Brexit. that while Meanthey read while, McClay “If we step back from that, the tweets says TPP11 is from Presa high-quality we give up the position of deal. leadership and respect for NZ ident Trump, “If we step as trade negotiators.” it is not back from affecting that, we give them too up the posimuch on the ground. The international trade but tion of leadership and US economy is growing “we have a lot of work respect for NZ as trade at 2%;- one commentato do”. negotiators.” tor said it “was the most Finny says it is very Finny is not certain robust 2% they had ever interesting to see the there’s a global trend seen”. Unemployment is leadership role currently towards protectionism. down to 4.3%. being played by Japan. He says the US is look“As long as the new “Some wouldn’t have ing inward, but would administration doesn’t believed it – maybe not necessarily describe do anything too ridicumyself a few years ago – Brexit as being actively lous either on the foreign but Japan now is the real anti-global. policy front or on the champion.” “The Brits are accomtrade front, then I think NZEIR deputy chief panying their comments the prospects for NZ into executive John Ballinon Europe with a desire the US remain pretty gall says US protectionto negotiate FTAs with solid,” says Ballingall. ism is a worry, but we a number of other counhave to separate the rhettries including NZ,” he @rural_news oric from what is on the says.

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Todd McClay


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CARETAKER TRADE Minister Todd McClay says TPP without the US is still important. He says this is because Japan is the world’s thirdlargest economy and NZ doesn’t have a trade deal with that country at present. If they get high quality rules across the Asia Pacific through TPP these “become infectious”. “Think about the NZ beef farmer: before TPP we face a 38.5% tariff rate in the Japan market. With an FTA, Australia is down to about 19%. For frozen beef, NZ exporters are facing a 50% tariff at the moment. Under TPP, that will go down to 9%.” Japan is showing real leadership on TPP, to the surprise of many. Finny says his TPP nightmare scenario is that we are the one country insisting on renegotiation and that is the cause of the whole thing unpicking. Labour initially said it would like to ‘restrict foreign house buyers’, which is allowed under TPP. But since that initial policy announcement Labour then changed it to ‘a ban’ which requires renegotiation. “There is ample opportunity to restrict foreign purchases of real estate under TPP,” Finny says. Ballingall says banning foreign investors in existing properties has the potential to take some heat out of the residential property market. But he questions what will be put at risk for a very small potential benefit? “It is the potential markets in existing agreements, which is the $2.5 billion gain potentially from TPP. It is being left out in the cold if the TPP goes ahead without us – if we decide not to sign it.” He adds there is also the reputational risk of signing a deal then wanting to renegotiate it backwards. “To my mind, that trade-off does not make sense.”



EU deal would benefit NZ and EU

MODELLING DONE by the European Community shows that its agriculture would be little affected by a free trade agreement with New Zealand, says John Ballingall of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. The recently released economic modelling shows that a FTA between the EU and NZ would have positive outcomes for both parties, he told an Export NZ conference in Auckland last week. “My concern was that some economic modelling would show that the European agricultural sector would get decimated by a flood of product coming from NZ. The modelling doesn’t show that at all; it shows tiny, tiny impacts on the EU agricultural sector. That is going to be very helpful to us as we go to negotiate.” In terms of the leverage NZ has, EU companies want better access to the Asia Pacific, he says. “They know that [region] is a real engine of growth in the global economy.” “By signing trade agreements with NZ, which has trade agreements with Asia Pacific – or hopefully will if TPP and the RCEP (regional

comprehensive economic partnership) go ahead -- they get to link into those supply chains a lot better.” National trade spokesman Todd McClay says all the EU member states say they support the launch and conclusion of an FTA with NZ. A small group say there will be some difficult issues to work through. “Ironically because of what has happened in the US there is a greater chance we will get it done in that two to three year period…. “They want to send a very clear signal that they want to stand up for free trade… and they want to move ahead and push forward.” But McClay said if he remained trade minister he would not be willing to do a quick deal at the expense of a good deal. Asked what were the chances of getting a good deal for the agricultural sector, he said it will be a challenge. But he thinks the EU has an opportunity to do something with NZ that it has not done before – a high quality, modern deal that delivers for companies large and small. “But ultimately we will be wanting better access for agriculture into the EU market,” he says.

IN BRIEF PROFIT UP NUFARM, the manufacturer of crop protection products, has announced a net profit of A$114.5 million for the year ending July 2017. The profit includes the impact of A$23m in one-off restructuring and asset rationalisation costs and compares to a net profit of A$27.5m in the previous year. Underlying net profit after tax was A$135.8m, up 25% on the A$108.9m reported in the prior period. Nufarm managing director Greg Hunt says the company’s ability to grow revenues and maintain margins in a period when the overall industry saw a contraction in sales is an excellent outcome. Nufarm posted strong revenue gains in Australia, North America and Asia. While South American sales were ahead of the prior year, market conditions in Argentina led to lower profit there. European sales were slightly down but margins improved, leading to stronger profit. Hunt says the company expects to meet its 2018 target of achieving at least A$116m in net benefits from efficiency programmes of recent years. Hunt says Nufarm expects to growth further in the current financial year and is assessing opportunities that might arise from industry consolidation.

NZIER’s John Balingall

“How we go with that will depend on a number of other things and I think it will be a very carefully balanced negotiation; but agriculture is going to be a very big challenge.” Trade expert Charles Finny says there were very strong strategic reasons for EU to want to

negotiate a high quality and relatively quick deal with NZ. In the negotiations with EU and Japan a lot of problems were solved very quickly. “I think with us, similar factors will be in play… we have an advantage over the Australians in that some of the most difficult issues poten-

tially between NZ and Europe have already been resolved through negotiations in the WTO.” For example, existing quota agreements could be expanded. McClay says the worst thing for NZ would be for the whole agreement to have to go to individual EU parliaments because

of agricultural issues. He is confident we can negotiate a high quality deal in a relatively good time. He prefers not to put a one to two year timeline on it but thinks it should be doable in three years. @rural_news


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Déjà vu THE OUTCOME of the recent general election and who will form the new government is again in the hands of the notoriously curmudgeonly long-time MP Winston Raymond Peters. As the legendary Yankees baseball coach Yogi Berra famously said: ‘It’s déjà vu all over again!’ Anyone who was around in 1996 will not so fondly remember the interminable nine-week wait as Peter’s and his cronies traded talks with both National and Labour before he finally opted to coalesce with the former. Thankfully, this time Peters has said he will have a decision by October 12 – writ day – a mere four weeks after the election. To give him his due, the former member for Northland has played the smart, strategic game and can now extract the best deal from these negotiations. In contrast, the Greens – who could be in a similarly powerful position to NZ First – have snookered themselves by refusing to deal with National. It is ironic that if the Greens – who claim we have no time to waste before fixing climate change, cleaning up rivers and solving child poverty – do not try to negotiate a deal with National they will be stuck three more years staring at these issues if they are not part of a coalition government with Labour. This sanctimonious, self-absorbed act of political sabotage alone proves why the wily Peters prefers not to have the Greens anywhere near a deal he may eventually stitch up. Meanwhile, Peters will need to be cognisant that any final deal he makes must take account of both his pre-election claims to being the man representing regional and rural New Zealand, and where his electoral support came from – regional and rural NZ. Losing his Northland seat will have been a blow to Peters, but a quick look at where most of his support came from shows that Whangarei, Northland, Coromandel, Rangitikei, Wairarapa, Waitaki and Clutha Southland are National-held seats. In fact 22 of the best 23 seats for NZ First are National-held seats. This will also make it very interesting for NZ First if it decides to support a Labour-Green Government. How will all those provincial and rural voters who voted NZ First react to the antiagriculture policies that have been espoused by these parties? Which way Peters eventually goes will show whether he really is putting the country first or just himself.


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Blast from the past

YOUR OLD mate had to chuckle when Fonterra announced its new chief financial officer – none other than Marc Rivers. Considering all the hoo-ha about dirty dairying and with dairy industry critics blaming the co-op for the poor state of the country’s waterways, this old mutt thinks it ironic that Fonterra’s new finance man is named Rivers. He can already see Greenpeace’s media release headline bagging the dairy sector: ‘Fonterra bags Rivers’. You read it here first.

WHILE THE nation waits for the former MP for Northland to decide who the new government will be (don’t you just love MMP), this old mutt reckons wily Winston Peters could add a new bottom line to his list of demands – eradicate over-the-top PC-ness. This comes in the wake of media reports that a rural Waikato primary school has been forced to cancel a possum hunt after an international online petition sparked a fierce backlash. Orin Combined School, located between the Munawara River and Te Hoe Mountain north of Hamilton, planned to hold The Great Orini Possum Hunt to raise money for a class camp in Coromandel. This upset animal rights activists so much that they took to posting abusive messages on the school’s Facebook and email account, saying children should not be taught that killing “sentient beings” was “a fun and rewarding activity”.

YOUR CANINE crusader hears that the failed former meat company chief executive Graeme Thompson is about to publish a book about his life - More Paddocks to Plough. Apparently the tome will cover the Fortex years and the fraudster’s rehabilitation back into society and a successful wine exporting business. In 1996, Thompson was sentenced to six and a half year’s jail for falsifying the Fortex accounts. At the time, farmers reacted with disbelief which quickly turned to anger when they realised they would not be paid for lambs sent to the company for processing.Thompson says his motivation for the book is to leave a legacy for his children and grandchildren. However, your old mate suggests a better legacy would be a repayment to ripped-off farmers from any royalties from the book’s sale. Fat chance.

SPEAKING OF arch critics of the dairy industry and water quality, the Hound admits to enjoying the sight of the selfappointed Massey University fontof-wisdom on water Mike Joy being shown up as a two-faced liar during final days of the election campaign. Cat-killing party TOP was pleased to use Joy as a promoter of its policies – especially on water – using a statement from the good doctor. However, as a long-time Green Party supporter, Joy was soon getting grief from his former tree-hugging fans and, in a panic, he then publicly claimed he “had never endorsed TOP” and the cat killers had taken his statement from “a private Facebook post”. However, his duplicity was soon revealed when it came to light that he had in fact emailed TOP a statement to use. After the truth was revealed Joy claimed that he “forgot” he sent the email of support.

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Better communication will help bridge rural/ urban divide

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rethink how to communicate the key messages. They must galvanise resources and do a better job of telling the story. The business challenges for rural NZ are now greater than ever and farmers need public discussions to reflect the full facts. The communication challenge is to start having conversations about the reality of farming, across-theboard. The quality of water,


THE FARMING community needs to step up to help lessen the rift between city and country. I believe the debates during the course of the recent election campaign oversimplified some issues that are core to the agri sector, such as water and soil quality. These have created divisions that are not helping New Zealand move forward. As with many complex issues, the rush to simplify the discussions and debate has seen farming, in particular dairying, blamed for many of our environmental problems. That’s simply not correct. The nature of election battles means complex areas are reduced to headline-grabbing oneliners that don’t reflect the detail of what is happening behind the scenes. Many farmers feel the entire agri sector has been tarred with a brush of negative stories about a minority of farmers perpetrating bad practices. And there were the proposed water tax and soil quality claims raised

soil and the environment are major issues and to solve them, without destroying NZ’s largest revenue earner in the process, will take co-operation, thoughtful policy and a willingness by all parties to achieve a goal. That is already underway, but it’s not being communicated widely enough. • Hayden Dillon is managing partner and agri specialist at Crowe Horwath.



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Hayden Dillon

during the election. Farmers are feeling that the average city person views farming, dairying in particular, as a bad industry and is unaware of the work going on behind the scenes. I am not sure city dwellers realise that under the Dairy Water Accord, for example, dairy farms have fenced off 97% of waterways and 83% of the industry now have nitrogen budgets. The National Water Policy Statement, which has set a target of 90% swimmable rivers

by 2040, also sets out the rules for regional councils to comply with. Around the country, regional councils are now well underway to achieving the targets on how much nitrogen and phosphorus can go into waterways. A number of the larger councils, such as ECAN and Horizons, already have these in place. Others are not far behind with their nutrient management plans. The communication landscape is not going to become any easier. Rural NZ needs to completely


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Getting women active in decision making A COURSE designed to lift farm profitability by helping farming women become more active partners in their farming businesses is achieving outstanding results, according to new research. The Understanding Your Farming Business (UYFB) course funded by the Red Meat Profit

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Di and Jeff Cleveland

to her and husband Jeff’s finances as the key to support people.” 864ha sheep, beef and moving their business to The research also deer farm near Oamaru. a higher level. showed that at least twoThe couple say the He is enthusiastic thirds of the women were knowledge confident in and conintroducing “Being on the same page fidence a new idea to has helped both of us plan she gained be considered better and gain confidence improved for their farmcommuniing business. At in our ambitions.” cation and least half said they were comgave stronger about the new skills and paring their financial perfinancial focus, greater formance against industry confidence Binks has organisation and clearer brought to their business. direction. “The course benchmarks. “I can see the beneSince Hawke’s Bay also made me realise that fit of creating more effifarmer Binks McCurdy it was time for Jeff and I cient office systems and completed UYFB this to become a great dream increased financial trackyear she has taken team for the next 10 years ing. Being on the same responsibility for the and go for it,” said Di. page has helped both of financial and office manEach UYFB course us plan better and gain agement of the business, consists of three one-day confidence in our ambifreeing up her partworkshops and an evetions.”  ner Dave to focus more ning graduation cereThe course was the on operations on their mony, all run over four catalyst for another grad1000ha sheep, beef and months. 2018 course uate, Di Cleveland, to cropping farm.  dates and locations are leave her part-time job in The couple see the due out in November.   town to commit full-time fine-tuning of farm

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Is this synthetic food thing for real? SYNTHETIC FOOD is being talked about rather more than it is being eaten. The balance might change in future as the technologies develop, but at the moment there is more hype and interest than hunger and intake. The Impossible Burger seems to be the focus at the moment. The burger is made in the laboratory from wheat (grown in a field) and involves a ‘haem’ from legumes. The haem is pink (it is responsible for the colour in healthy, nitrogen-fixing clover root nodules) and so confers the burger with ‘bleeding’ properties. Perfect Day milk (once called Muufri – as in ‘without cows’) is also

preferences: they pays their money and takes their choice. They might follow perceived health benefits, taste buds, price, convictions or beliefs. But they can pick from a range of options, all of which are subject to regulatory controls in terms of chemical use so that the outcome is safe to eat.

are approximately 7.57 billion people in the world, with a projection of variously 9.5 - 11 billion. This means that we can feed only 0.6% of the world at the moment, decreasing to about 0.5% by 2050. The key to a successful future lies in ensuring that NZ food is desired by the 0.5% of the global

What goes for NZers making choices of food source also goes for the world. The Riddet Institute (hosted by Massey University) has calculated that NZ can supply the animal protein (meat and dairy) needs of approximately 45 million people from conventional production scenarios. There

population who will pay premium prices for what NZ does better than most countries: pasture-fed, free-range animal protein. This means not only better marketing but also better packaging and transport systems so that fresh NZ food arrives in premium places in a state that is as good, or better, than when it left these

shores. Synthetic food may well be part of the future, and increased research and regulation will safeguard the consumer, but how could it beat nature in conjunction with Kiwimade? • Jacqueline Rowarth is chief scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority

been in the food supply. A report in August indicated that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had heard from the company that up to a quarter of its haem ingredient was composed of 46 “unexpected” additional proteins, some of which are unidentified and none of which were assessed for safety in the dossier.

“It’s only 73% pure, the other 27% is from proteins from the genetically engineered yeast that produces it, and these have an unknown function.” synthesised in the laboratory. The creators state that their ‘milk’ is made with a process similar to craft brewing, ‘using yeast and age-old fermentation techniques’. Having created milk proteins, they then add ‘a special mix of plant-based sugars, fats, and minerals to make a totally new kind of dairy milk without stabilizers, hormones, lactose, or other nonsense’. Both Impossible Burger and Perfect Day involve the use of gene technologies. In the case of Perfect Day, genetic engineering was used to create a type of yeast that produces milk proteins. The creation of vegetarian rennet, ethical vanilla, and insulin use similar techniques. The final product is free of yeast, and so is ‘totally nonGMO’. The Impossible Burger, however, is the subject of some debate as the genetically engineered haem has not previously

“It’s only 73% pure, the other 27% is from proteins from the genetically engineered yeast that produces it, and these have an unknown function.” This could be a case of inventor enthusiasm overtaking caution, hence the intervention by the FDA, but plenty of New Zealanders have embraced the experience of trying it and nobody appears to have yet suffered any consequences. Nor have they suffered from trying cricket bars (which have nothing to do with the sport) or simply eating NZ protein from cows and sheep. The protein might have been produced under conventional or organic, or even biodynamic systems. Claims might have been made about freerange, grass-fed or chemical-free (meaning free from synthetic chemicals). But whatever, the point is that consumers can select to suit their



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First-time entrants encourage others to have a go ENTERING THE Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a great learning and development experience, say Keitai farmers Gay Pembroke and Mark Corby. “The past 12 months have been great fun. It was a wonderful experience. Entering the awards and being involved in the process has given us a lot more confidence that what we are doing is on track,” Pembroke says. They have owned their 102ha dairy support/beef block at Kaitaia for three years. Neither is from a farming background and they say the change they made from 4ha to 102ha was exciting but massive. They enjoyed networking at the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards dinner and the comments and feedback they got from the judges. “The feedback they gave is fabulous, very encouraging and there is a lot of valuable information in the report – great ideas and great concepts. We often refer to it and have shared it

Northland farmers Gay Pembroke and Mark Corby say the Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a great learning and development experience.

with others.” While the couple did not make it through to the second round of judging they say they have no regrets. “We were not finalists, but that did not dishearten or embarrass us,”

Pembroke adds. “We definitely recognised the calibre of the finalists and the regional winners. We also acknowledge the time and effort contributed by the organisers, sponsors and judges.” Entering again is a possibility for

the couple. “We will definitely contemplate it. We have more capital development to do and we want to finish some of the items mentioned in the feedback report,” Corby says. “We would strongly recommend

and encourage others to enter. Do not wait until you think your farm is where you want it to be; enter and learn as a work in progress.” He says a lot of the locals had been telling the couple they were doing a great job. “But we were also looking for reassurance from professional people advising us we are on the right track.”  National judging co-ordinator Andrea Hanna says judging teams have a wide range of skills and look at all parts of the farming business. Judging is relaxed and friendly and climatic factors are considered. “In the past, we’ve found farmers can be reluctant to enter if their farm or orchard has been affected by wet weather or drought,” Hanna says. “But the judges know severe climate events are part of farming and growing and will look beyond this at the wider picture.” Anyone may nominate a farmer or grower, provided the nominee agrees. Entries are now open.


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Couple happy to get back home to farm TARANAKI FARMERS Peter and Nicola Carver are back on their farm after a recent trip to Wellington as the national ambassadors for sustainable farming. He said it was good to better understand how Wellington works, “but good to get home and get stuck into improving our farming operation”. The Carvers run dairy and dry stock on their 515ha family property at Ohangai, east of Hawera. They won the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards in April, and in May won a role as ‘national ambassadors’ in recognition of their work in the primary sector, particularly on the environment. In Wellington they met agribusiness and government leaders and toured the Beehive with TaranakiKing Country MP Barbara Kuriger, meeting Labour’s primary industries spokesman Damien O’Connor and Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie, who has chaired the primary production select committee. “Clearly in the build-up to the election there was a lot of discussion about the effects farming has

on the environment,” Nicola says. “I think there has been a shift in farmers’ attitudes… towards their being part of the solution. As a collective we’ve got a way to go but we’re now on a journey.” In Wellington the Carvers met leaders DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Rabobank and the Ministry for Primary Industries. Said Nicola, “The language of our industry leaders has changed: whereas in the past we’ve been defensive, now I hear much more about the need for farmers and the primary sector to step up to meet community expectations.” The Carvers will tour overseas next autumn, funded by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. They may go to the US where Peter wants to look at no-tillage farming as a means of improving soil fertility. The Carvers say the Taranaki Regional Council has given them good advice and supported their efforts to meet their environmental goal. They plan to connect with urban people, starting by hosting some of the people who showed them hospitality in Wellington.

Taranaki farmers Peter and Nicola Carver.



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Ask hard questions before hiring a farm environmental consultant THE DEGREE to which farmers are mitigating environmental impacts was a hot topic during the recent election, says Ravensdown environmental manager Mark Fitzpatrick.

“With all that complexity, visibility and risk comes the opportunity for consultants to step in and help farmers with their challenges.” Fitzpatrick says while farmers are used to con-

tracting professional support, e.g. accountants or agri-consultants, farm environmental consultants are a fairly new breed and lots of new specialists are now pitching themselves as experts.

He reckons there are six key questions farmers should ask. 1. Are you a certified nutrient management advisor (CNMA)? “This qualification [certifies that the holder

meets] nationally recognised standards in nutrient management advice. Advisers are required to have completed appropriate university qualifications or suitable work experience in agriculture,” Fitzpatrick explains. “They also need to have successfully completed the intermediate

Mark Fitzpatrick.

“If a consultant wouldn’t defend his work in a legal setting, then you aren’t getting what you’re paying for.”

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in a legal setting, then you aren’t getting what you’re paying for. It’s the ultimate test of his confidence in his data, analysis and recommendations.” 4. Do you understand my farm? “If the consultant is not visiting your farm and discussing your goals, then alarm bells should ring,” he says. “Having

8/9/17 11:15 AM

and advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management in New Zealand Agriculture courses via Massey University, and show that their skills and knowledge meet required standards by competency assessment.” 2. Will you tell me what I want to hear or what I need to hear? “Farm environmental work is important. A poor piece of technical work linked to a resource consent can result in legally binding conditions with the council that put your farm’s value at risk,” he says. “So make sure they’re giving this work the effort it deserves. Keep an eye out for someone who may be taking shortcuts that could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. It’s worse than a false economy; it’s a false sense of security.” 3. Will you stick with me and defend your work in the event of prosecution? “Farm environmental management is here to stay, so ongoing support is likely to be needed, whether it be farming advice or compliance assessments for reporting to councils. You need to know the person working with you to meet regulatory requirements and obtain consents will also be there to help you in the years to come.” Fitzpatrick says in the worst-case scenario you need the consultant’s support in the Environment Court. “If a consultant wouldn’t defend his work

access to fertiliser history, soil test results and spreading maps are all going to speed up the process. Knowledge of the region and the challenges faced by neighbouring farms will also be helpful.” 5. How thorough is your process? Fitzpatrick says complex modelling and scenario planning of farm systems through Overseer is no walk in the park; it can take time to do the work well. “To ensure nothing is missed, all work should be reviewed by another senior ranking advisor. The reviewer should have the experience and knowledge to really understand the work and give it the critical eye it deserves.” 6. Do you understand the rules? “The regulatory framework can be complex and contain a lot of specific details. Knowing the ins and outs of the latest plan change ruling and applying these to your case is part of what you’re paying for,” he adds. “The way rules are implemented changes all the time so if your advisor isn’t up-to-date with the variations, he may be missing a vital piece of the puzzle. Ask him how he stays in touch with what’s changing and how much contact he has with regional council officials.” Fitzpatrick says the best way to approach environmental management is to think of it as business risk management.



MPI tightening net on cow disease THE MINISTRY for Primary Industries (MPI) has done at least 15000 tests for Mycoplasma bovis. Response incident controller Dr Eve Pleydell says most tests have come back negative; positive results have been found only on the six properties known to be infected. The tests are done at MPI’s animal health laboratory at Wallaceville. Farm testing may be done up to three times at three-four week intervals before there is a definite result for each farm but the results so far are encouraging, says Pleydell. “All the current infected properties have direct links to each other through animals moving from one farm to another and disease passing between animals that are in close, repeated and prolonged contact. “There have been no cases of infection by any other means. Despite intensive testing, no neighbouring properties have as yet been identified as infected. “As part of our tracing and test-

More about M.bovis MYCOPLASMA BOVIS is a bacterium that causes illness in cattle, including udder infection (mastitis), abortion, pneumonia and arthritis.  It does not infect humans and presents no food safety risk. There is no concern about consuming milk and milk products from affected cattle. The disease was confirmed in July 2017 on two farms in a 16 farm dairy enterprise in South Canterbury. In August 2017 a third infected farm was confirmed in the Oamaru area. All three affected properties and the remaining 14 corporate farms in the group are under legal controls (restricted place notice) restricting the movement of stock and equipment off those farms to contain the disease.  Mycoplasma bovis is common internationally and is present in most countries with animal production industries. It is not listed with the OIE (world animal health organisation). It does not present a trade risk for NZ animal products. This is the first time it has been found in NZ. The bacterium is an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993.

MPI’s M.bovis incident controller, Eve Pleydell.

farms that are neighbours to an infected property, to make sure we get a complete picture of any local spread of this disease. So far, no positive results have been returned from any neighbouring farms, which is good news.”

ing programme we are continuing to contact individual farms where there may be a higher chance of the disease being present because they have received cattle from an infected property in recent months. “We are also testing animals on

SUPPORT FOR AFFECTED FARMERS farming communities need right now is support. As much as possible, business needs to continue as usual. We realise this is a worrying situation for farmers in NZ but business decisions need to be evidence-based and grounded in fact. “We have no evidence of any means of disease spread other than from close animal contact on a farm at this stage. This includes no evidence that the disease has jumped fences and infected animals on neigh-

bouring farms. Our scientists and vets also tell us this is unlikely to occur because the disease is usually spread by repeated and prolonged contact between animals. “As our picture grows and as more test results come back, the greater our confidence that the disease is being well contained on the known infected properties. “We are confident our control measures are sufficient to contain it there as we continue to gather the




MPI SAYS it is disappointed to hear that farms in South Canterbury and North Otago are facing contract cancellations. Customers looking at sourcing stock are now shunning farmers in the regions and turning to other parts of New Zealand. Eve Pleydell says this is disappointing and is not justified based on what MPI knows of the current pattern of disease. “What the South Canterbury and North Otago


evidence necessary to assess whether this disease can be eradicated.” Along with the animal industry bodies, MPI says it will continue the biosecurity response, finding any further infected properties, controlling the disease and if possible eradicating it from the country. “We encourage all farmers and rural contractors to help protect their farms and businesses by following standard farm hygiene best practice.”

MPI has a wide range of checks and testing underway to get a detailed picture of where the disease is. Infected properties, neighbours and trace properties are checked, and the ministry does regional and national testing. MPI is taking a multi-layer approach to testing to find out how wide spread Mycoplasma bovis is. “This approach has three layers that we call response surveillance, district surveillance and national surveillance. “Response surveillance is focussed on the infected properties, stock movement traces from and to those properties and the neighbouring properties.” District wide, a Waimate/Waitaki survey is run by MPI and several industry groups to screen the milk from animals in those districts. Bulk and discarded milk is being collected from about 260 farms in the area and tested. No positive results have been found on uninfected farms in the area. Nationwide testing is also multilayered. Firstly, any farmer who has contacted their vet about possible Mycoplasma bovis disease in their

herds are tested. Vets across the country are identifying any farms on their books with a history of recurrent mastitis and other signs that could be a result of Mycoplasma bovis infection. In addition, samples of mastitic milk are collected from regional labs for testing. To date about 1000 samples have been received; these tests have also not identified any other infected farms. “Taken together, these initial surveillance results are encouraging and suggest this disease is not spreading in the local area around the infected farms and is not widespread across the country,” says Pleydell. “We will continue our testing programme until we have enough evidence to be highly confident the disease has not spread elsewhere. “If farmers have not been contacted by us, then it means they are not in any of these groups and are at considerably less risk of the disease being on their property. It’s a case of ‘no news is good news’.

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Marathon effort keeping dogs well fed BAD NUTRITION in working dogs could be jeopardising farmers’ profits, says the head of a New Zealand company that recently launched a new food for working dogs. Dr Sean Duggan, chief executive of Masterpet, says New NZ’s working dogs can run as much as a half-marathon on any given day and add huge value to a farm. “The other side to this is that bad nutrition can leave a working dog unable to perform to its potential and can mean loss of productivity, increased costs and reduced profits,” he says. “We estimate one in four dogs on NZ farms is under-performing due

to bad nutrition. With so much depending on working dogs, NZ farmers can’t afford for their dogs to be unpredictable.” Duggan’s comments come at the launch of Black Hawk’s new product, formulated for NZ working dogs. He says the endurance formula behind Black Hawk Working Dog is high in quality protein (32%), with lamb and beef as the main ingredients and quality fats (22%), designed to promote strong lean muscles and ensure a sustainable release of energy throughout the dog’s working day. Lamb and beef are rich in zinc and vitamin B12, promoting cardiovascu-

A working dog can run as much as a halfmarathon on any given day.

lar health and a boosted metabolism. The balanced carbohydrate profile helps provide energy for short, sharp, responsive bursts.

“With Black Hawk, we are challenging all owners to feed real ingredients,” says Duggan. “This is particularly necessary for farm dogs, where live-

18 0 2 R A D N E L A EDNA C

lihood and profits can often come down to the reliability of the dog.” He emphasises that the product is made of real meat, fruit and vegetables but no fillers, artificial colours or flavourings. “It’s a high quality, nutritionally complete, balanced meal to

fuel working dogs all day.” Duggan says working dogs have different requirements from companion dogs because they’re much more active for a lot longer during the day. The Black Hawk Working Dog formula

also contains emu oil, known for its anti-inflammatory properties and healthy doses of omega 3, 6 and 9. This and supplemented glucosamine and chondroitin supports cartilage in regenerating and repairing itself. Grant McMaster, manager of Closeburn Station, has been feeding a Huntaway and heading dog Black Hawk Working Dog for six weeks. “I expect a lot of my dogs, so it’s great to have a product tailored to their needs. I know they’re in great shape as they are full of energy all day, their coats are shiny and they’re looking fit,” he says. “They must enjoy it too, as even the fussy one can’t get enough of it. I like what it’s doing so far.” The food is now available in rural vet clinics.

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Less, heavier cows means lower emissions NIGEL MALTHUS

LOWER REPLACEMENT rates and higher body weight/lower stocking rates are the two most effective of five available ways of cutting dairy greenhouse gas emissions, a scientist has told a workshop for rural professionals. Other possibilities, in descending order of effectiveness, are using alternative forages, applying nitrogen fertiliser with a urease inhibitor, and using a stand-off pad at times when N losses are highest. AgResearch senior scientist Dr Cecile de Klein said reduced replacement rates also rank best for costeffectiveness. “It’s actually a benefit because it’s reducing your costs. You gain a reduction in greenhouse gases and you gain a financial benefit.” The stand-off pad ranks last because it addresses nitrate but not the other main agricultural greenhouse gas -- methane. It is also last in cost-effectiveness because of its capital cost. The Lincoln event, one of a string of greenhouse gas workshops run by DairyNZ and AgResearch, drew about 60 participants. DairyNZ senior policy advisor Kara Lok said NZ is unusual in having 48% of all its greenhouse gas emissions coming from farming – about half from dairy. Around 85% of the

sector emissions were generated on-farm and the rest in processing and transport. “To really address dairy’s emissions most of the action will have to occur on-farm.” Lok says NZ is already a world leader in producing emissionsefficient milk, likely because of year-round grazing on pasture, high pasture production per hectare, low cow replacement rates and relatively low use of supplementary feed. However, Lok claims there is political consensus that the farming sector must do something, though it is not clear what that should be now the general elections are over. “It’s important that the climate change policy framework and the freshwater management policy are integrated and we look at what we can do with freshwater and what that means for climate change and vice versa.” AgResearch science impact leader Dr Robyn Dynes told the meeting of four research threads for methane emissions reduction: low methane feeds, genetics, methane inhibitors and the “ultimate” -- a vaccine to suppress the methanogen bacteria in the rumen, perhaps reducing emissions by 30%. Dynes said about 300 potential antigens are now identified. “There’s a lot of

methanogens but a small number producing most of the methane so we’ve got to get antibodies that respond to the significant methanogens and that’s not without its challenges.”

thing I ask of you, that you don’t give up on the vaccine. Hard as it is, it is the single-biggest breakthrough that could happen for management of methane in ruminants globally’.”

Higher body weights and lower stocking rates are two of the most effective ways of reducing dairy’s emissions.

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Meanwhile, two New Zealand scientists and a Monash University biologist have shown that methane-oxidising bacteria (good for tackling greenhouse gas) are more flexible and resilient than previously thought. Long term this could help the dairy industry in the production of protein feeds. And because it shows the methane-oxidising bacteria working elsewhere, there are implications for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The research was co-led by Dr Carlo Carere and Dr Matthew Stott from GNS Science, New Zealand. Carere, a geothermal microbiologist team leader of the Geomicrobiology Research Group at GNS, told Rural News this work shows that methane-consuming bacteria are better able to survive in environments when using both methane and hydrogen gases – as opposed to methane alone.

Dynes cited Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright’s greenhouse gas emissions report from last October. “She said ‘there’s one

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UK vets oppose non-stun slaughter British vets say they are concerned about the rise in animals killed without stunning.

BRITISH VETS says they are gravely concerned about the rise in animals killed without stunning. The number of animals killed without

pre-stunning has risen sharply, according to analysis by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) of the latest survey released by the Food Standards



Agency (FSA). Slaughter without stunning unnecessarily harms the welfare of animals at the time of death, yet 24% of sheep and goats slaughtered in AprilJune this year had their throats cut without first being made insensible to pain. That is up from 15% in 2013, when the EU and UK allowed an exemption for animals slaughtered for religious purposes. The number of chickens being slaughtered without pre-stunning has soared from 3% in 2013 to 18.5% in 2017, the FSA figures also revealed. British Veterinary Association president Gudrun Ravetz says his members are concerned. “This huge increase in the number of sheep, goats and poultry not stunned or not stunned effectively before slaugh-

ter is a grave concern. Millions of animals are affected, making this a major animal welfare issue. “The supply of meat from animals not stunned massively outstrips the demand from the communities for which it is intended and is entering the mainstream market unlabelled. “In the light of these official figures we reiterate our call for all animals to be stunned before slaughter. If slaughter without stunning is still to be permitted, any meat from this source must be clearly labelled and the supply of non-stun products should be matched with demand.” Welfare at slaughter is a pressing UK health and welfare concern for vets, according to BVA’s latest member survey.

CONSUMERS MUST KNOW HOW The BVA believes all animals should be stunned before slaughter. But if slaughter without stunning is still to be permitted: any meat or fish from this source must be clearly labelled to enable consumers to fully understand the choice they are making when buying such products immediate post-cut stunning offers a valid means of reducing the suffering of animals at slaughter; although the option of post-cut stunning is not equivalent to pre-cut stunning it is something where an immediate post-cut stun is applied, the requirement for sheep/goats to remain stationary for a minimum of 20 seconds is unnecessary as stunning renders the animal immediately unconscious and insensible to pain the supply of non-stun products should be matched with demand.

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Direct drill delivers real advantages MARK DANIEL

KIRWEE-BASED BUSINESS Colin Payne Contracting focuses on direct drilling and bale wrapping. However, the arrival of a new, Horsch Avatar single-disc (SD) direct drill should help the Canterbury business provide customers with greater flexibility and more drilling capacity. Having researched several machines, Payne purchased one of the first units to arrive in New Zealand, collected it from the South Island Agricultural Field Days in Kirwee in March and has been using it ever since. The Avatar SD drill uses a single-disc coulter set-up that is ideal for direct seeding due to its high (9300kg) tare weight. Individual coulter pressure up to 250kg is said to guarantee excellent soil penetration, while the strong coulter frame eliminates sideways movement and promotes consistent sowing depth, even on uneven soils. A press wheel catches the seed

and ensures optimal seed-to-soil contact, then the closing wheel seals the seed furrow and consolidates the seed row. Coulter depth control is maintained using a stronger version of the rubber suspension from the Horsch Pronto, while daily maintenance is virtually eliminated due to the rubber suspension and fully sealed coulter setup. Despite the Avatar’s weight, which is necessary for good penetration, power requirement remains low, helped by 36-disc coulters arranged on two bars. The 6m and 8m versions of the Avatars, using the extremely accurate and reliable metering system of the Pronto DC drills for its seed distribution, can be specified with a 3500L single hopper (seed only) or a 5000L double hopper (seed and fertiliser). A smaller 4m Avatar is available with a 2800L single hopper or a 3800L double hopper. The drill features a half-width shutoff for the seed and fertiliser bins, further

improving the versatility for tramline set-up or for section control. All options allow for an additional 200L small seed box. “The thing I like the most is the precision of the metering system. It’s the most accurate drill I have ever seen and I was really impressed with that,” Payne says. “It has a pressurised hopper and it gives an even calibration when you are using different product in the different bins. The split hopper can still be filled with seed if required, giving 5000L capacity and helping reduce the number of fillings during the day.” Payne also notes that the ability to place fertiliser while drilling gives him and his customers more options. “My clients have the choice to drill with both seed and fertiliser. We can put the fertiliser in under the soil next to the seed, so it is going to act quickly,” he adds. “Drilling is more accurate than truck spreading and it will give the farmer savings on fertiliser.”

The Avatar SD drill uses a single-disc coulter set up that is ideal for direct seeding.

Contractor Colin Payne says the Avatar is the most accurate drill he’s seen.

DRAINAGE AND SOIL AERATION PAY BIG DIVIDENDS Don’t put good fertiliser on compacted soil which can’t absorb it. If your soil can’t support 15cm root growth and good worm population check for compaction. You could need aeration. In dollar terms, what would 20% production increase mean to your yearly turnover?








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Agco punching hard with new MF combine harvester

WITH THE European grain harvest just ending, combine harvester manufacturers are whipping up a frenzy for their 2018 models. AGCO’s Massey Ferguson division has been left behind in the harvester stakes over recent years by Claas, NH and John Deere. However, the company’s latest developments signal that it wants to compete against the big boys. The MF Ideal is a new generation rotary harvester built at the company’s Breganze works in Italy, once the home of the well-known Laverda brand.

Three models, with single or dual rotor threshing systems, will be designated Ideal 7, 8 and 9 and use AgcoPower 9.8L, and Man 12.4L and 15.2L engines to deliver 451, 538 and 647hp respectively. Having undergone six years of global testing, which has seen the production of 45 prototype machines, the Ideal combine has modern angular looks boosted by a stunning graphite paint job. The Ideal 8 and 9 machines use a 4.84m long dual-helix rotor claimed to offer the largest threshing area available, the largest grain tanks at 17,000L and the fastest unloading at 210L/sec. Product spe-

cialists say these three features usurp the competitors by 31%, 18% and 32%, according to current specifications. With ease of use in mind, header hook-up has an auto dock function which allows the operator to couple mechanical, electrical and hydraulic

functions without leaving the seat. Also easing the load is the optional IdealHarvest app, which adjusts automatically, taking readings from grain quality cameras and 52 mass acoustic detection sensors to regulate rotor, fan speed and sieve settings to maintain

The MF Ideal new generation harvester is expected to be available for the 2019 harvest season.

maximum output. Available with MF PowerFlow tables of up to 12.2m working width, the machines are said to work on slopes of 15 degrees, by virtue of profiled under-rotor pans


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FOLLOWING CLOSE behind I-Plough and GeoMow, Kverneland will use the upcoming Agritechnica event to showcase its latest Geo incarnation, the GeoRake. Available as an option on the new 97150, four-rotor silage rake, the fea-

ture is designed to automate the operation of the machine and make it more driver-friendly. Typically, these over-sized machines can be a handful in smaller or odd-shaped paddocks, requiring several headland lifts and turns, and need a skilled operator to deal with the 15m working width. Obviously, timing is all-important to ensure good swaths are left

Only tough will do THE CAPITAL cost of high-output modern tractors and machinery has prompted many agricultural contractors to diversify into civil work such as site development, recontouring and road or race building. A new venture set up by established agricultural dealers Waikato Tractors, Hamilton, and the Tractor Centre, Pukekohe, offers to supply contractors looking to diversify a range of heavy duty implements designed and manufactured to operate in harsh conditions. AG and Civil Machinery Direct can supply for purchase or hire for specific tasks a wide range of machines said to be high-end, and more importantly lean on their agricultural roots to deliver 24/7 parts and service support The product range includes a heavy-duty mulcher range from Sukone, Finland, with the Meri Crusher models, and heavy duty offset discs from Kello-Bilt with 32-inch diameter discs and working widths of up to 14 feet. Italia specialist Montefiori offers a range of laser-controlled graders and several box scrapers. For operators looking to move large quantities of soil during site development or recontouring, box scrapers from Orthman offer cut widths up to 7 feet and forced ejection systems. Those looking to build or maintain roads in tough situations can look at pull-type scrapers from HyGrade, North Dakota. Commenting on the new venture, sales manager Ben Peters says the company is pleased to service existing and new customers wanting to diversify. “We have taken the time to partner with task-specific, specialist manufacturers from around the world to ensure the machines get the job completed one time, every time.”

to satisfy the voracious appetites of self-propelled harvesters that usually follow close behind. The headland sequence for the massive rake is now fully automated, allowing each of the rotors to be individually operated, providing section control which is co-ordinated by the tractors GPS and ISOBUS systems. The manufacturer says this will

allow drivers to concentrate on where they are driving, rather than on where to lift and lower, helping to increase output and reduce fatigue. Additionally, the GeoRake can also automatically adjust the position of the rotors to deliver a straight-as-possible swath, helping to avoid the wrath of the following harvester driver. In operation, the system uses GPS

to constantly monitor and record the area raked. If a rotor approaches an already-raked area of the paddock, the rotor will lift automatically, conversely lowering as it moves over unraked areas. Of help is the fact that no swaths on headlands will be spoiled by interference from the rotors, as already formed rows are avoided.






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5/07/17 9:42 AM



Big X range expands and improves MARK DANIEL

FAMILY-OWNED HARVESTING specialist Krone has pulled the wraps off a new offering in its Big X self-propelled range. The new Big-X680, 780 and 880 models become part of a range of 12 models with power outputs from 490 to 1100hp. A complete re-design sets the three new models apart from the rest of the range, and offers a world-first cab lift system that will be debuted on a Big-X machine at Agritechnica ‘17. It will allow operators to raise the cab at the touch of a button by up to 70cm, using an under-cab hydraulic scissor lift layout; this should allow better vision over the crop and into trucks and trailers travelling alongside.

Krone has unveiled its Big X self-propelled range of harvesters.

An additional bonus is the lowering of cab noise because the base of the unit is located away from the chopping cylinder. A key part of the re-design is the addition of the company’s multi-tank concept: up to five storage tanks, in seven configurations, hold additives or inoculants in large quantities that allow

longer intervals between refills, and so more productive days. Available with Krone’s OptMaize Universal package, the new Big-X models can offer chop lengths of 3 - 30mm using the MaxFlow cylinder and Virilocal feed roller gearbox. Ease of adjustment such as reducing the cylinder speed from 1250 to 800rpm

allows the operator to double the chop length without the need to remove any knives. Standard gear includes the VariStream crop flow system for the cylinder, and the blower housing with spring-loaded lower concaves which adjust to give blockage-free crop flow in all conditions. The new models will have Liebherr Tier 4 engines, which in the case of the Big-X 880 (16L, V8) push out 900hp. The new machines are said to offer excellent manoeuvrability through independent wheel suspension, good especially on undulating paddocks. And new geometry allows the fitment of tyre equipment up to 900/60 R42 which helps increase ground clearance, reduce compaction and improve operator comfort.


HANDS-FREE HARVEST DONE THE HAND-FREE Hectare, a joint project between Harper Adams University in the UK and Precision Decisions, set out to plant, grow and harvest a crop of spring barley using autonomous vehicles and drones, without need for human intervention. The harvest is now in the bag. The project centred on a lightweight Iseki tractor for drilling spraying and rolling. Similarly a lightweight header was used for harvesting; it had started on trial plots. The Sampo machine (2m cutting width) offered the benefits of a light footprint, which served to minimise soil damage. However, because of its relatively narrow cutting width, it delivered more accurate yield maps. “It’s interesting that over the past decade the focus in farming has been on more precision,” says Jonathon Gill, researcher at HAU. “By contrast, the larger machines we are using are not too compatible with this regime, so the autonomous future might be based on several smaller machines working 24/7.” In the real world, of course, with weather windows appearing to get smaller, the size of machines seems to be increasing to do jobs more quickly. Martin Abell, leader at Precision Decisions, said the project aimed to prove there was no technological reason why a crop cannot be grown without human intervention. “Which we have proven – at a modest cost of less than $370k – using machines and tech readily available in the marketplace.” So what now that the 4.5 tonne crop is safely in the bin? Well, of course, with students involved, the barley will be transformed into a batch of Hands-Free Hectare beer, which will be quaffed with unbounded optimism as a plan is made to repeat and extend the project in 2018. – Mark Daniel



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Calling on history to make a modern point MARK DANIEL

WHEN YOU tell your golfing buddies that you’ve just come back from the launch of the Range Rover Velar, they ask, “What sort of name is that?” Interestingly, the name Velar predates that of Range Rover and was initially used on 26 pre-production vehicles of the well-known brand back in 1969-70. Meaning ‘to guard’ in Spanish and ‘to veil’ in Italian, the name was used to spoil the scent of the paparazzi of the day while the prototypes were tested around the world. Some 47 years later – and with a mountain of heritage behind it – the Velar of 2017 enters a market for high-end SUV’s that sees it competing against familiar models like BMW X5, Audi Q7 and the Porsche Macan. “The Velar is the most road-

focussed member of the Range Rover family to date,” says Jaguar Land Rover, NZ product manager Michael Jones. It fits in between the smaller Evoque and the larger Range Rover Sport. Target aspirations are that it will rack up about 150 sales per annum in the busy NZ market. The tale of the tape shows the Velar is about 50mm shorter than the Sport, narrower and sleeker, runs constant 4WD and has no low-range transfer case. Using a mix of electronics that power the terrain response system, an eight-speed transmission, active differentials and a constantly adjustable air suspension, the Velar is extremely capable in everything from school playing fields to the water-sodden forests of the Kaipara. During a quick blast around north Auckland followed by a trek through the Woodhill Forest, journalists com-

Range Rover’s 2017 Velar enteres the market for highend SUVs.

mented on its ability on the road and its unstoppable ability when the bitumen was left behind. Smooth fluid looks, complemented by design detail like flush-fitting door handles that pop up for use, are carried further with the use of LED lighting to the front and rear, and animated directional indicators on each corner. A choice of Velar or Velar DynamicR body styles sees the latter taking bumper accents, bonnet and side vents, and lots of satin chrome detailing. Three specification levels -- S, SE or HSE -- allow customers to choose a vehicle that suits their needs and optimise it extensively. In the cabin, two 10-inch touch screens offer intuitive control of all the vehicle systems, while the futuris-

tic dashboard also carries must-haves such as an embedded SIM, 4G Wi-Fi and a clever activity key for remote control functions. Current engine choice is a V6, 3L item in diesel or petrol: the former, the D300, uses twin-turbos to deliver 221kW, while the petrol P380 takes the supercharger route to make 280kW. On the drive circuit, the petrol performed akin to a hot hatch, covering the ground quickly without giving any

indication of its 1900kg mass. The twin turbo oil burner was not so swift of foot, but still made a 0-100km/h dash in only 6.5 secs. Ride quality was comfortable in all situations, showing the technology of the suspension dynamics, which also served to eliminate any body roll even when thrown into tightening bends. At the rear end, maximum volume is quoted at 1730L and this is easily accessed by the easy loading function that allows the vehicle to squat on it air suspension, and the gesture-controlled electric tailgate function.





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Over 150 years in the making, the Deutz Common-Rail (DCR) turbo diesel engine works seamlessly with the fully synchronised transmission and hydro-pneumatic suspension to ensure a safe and comfortable ride, every time. With one of the largest, best designed tractor cabs and programmable operation sequences this is the tractor you’ve been looking for. Contact your local Power Farming dealer for a demonstration, you won’t regret it.




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ITM1167 Ad 390mmx265mm.indd 1

24/08/17 11:58 AM

Rural News 03 October 2017  

Rural News 03 October 2017

Rural News 03 October 2017  

Rural News 03 October 2017