Page 1

ANIMAL HEALTH

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

AGRIBUSINESS

Getting the best from ram genetics. PAGE 28

Valtra win tractor of the year award. PAGE 31

Alliance posts an OK result, but better is needed. PAGE 18

TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS DECEMBER 5, 2017: ISSUE 643 

www.ruralnews.co.nz

No guarantees, chum! PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

BRITAIN’S TRADE secretary, Dr Liam Fox will not give New Zealand any guarantee on how access for our sheepmeat will be determined when the UK leaves the EU. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor met briefly with Fox during his whistle-stop trip down under. He described as “useful and positive”

the meeting with one of the people responsible in the UK for trade. A major issue for NZ is how the UK and EU will work out how to deal with the present sheepmeat quota of 228,000 tonnes of lamb to the EU after Brexit. The quota arrangements come under the jurisdiction of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and there is a proposal on the table to see the

quota split between the EU and the UK. NZ opposes this, wanting a flexible quota arrangement. But O’Connor told Rural News that Fox gave no indication his government accepts the NZ position. “That consideration wasn’t top of mind for the minister, but he clearly heard the message. Mr Fox obviously has other trade issues at the forefront. “Splitting the quota will be difficult for us and will reduce

the flexibility we now have.” O’Connor says the UK ministers are focused on Brexit and their obligations to move that through smoothly. Some of the other trade issues seem secondary. But they know they must get on and secure relationships with their trading partners. “We are operating in a dynamic environment and must keep pushing our case when the opportunity arises

to make progress. “We must also realise that, despite the huge growth in the Asian market and China in particular, those markets in the UK and EU are still incredibly valuable.” O’Connor says NZ has enduring, long term relationships that should be supported in a diplomatic and trade sense. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

Teach us more MIKE WOOD, a careers advisor at St Patricks College, Wellington, says he’s blown away by career prospects in the agri sector. Wood and other Wellington secondary school teachers recently took a one-day bus tour in Wairarapa looking at agri careers. This was the fifth such trip, aimed at giving teachers – especially careers advisors – a better understanding of work prospects in farming. The event was organised and run by DairyNZ and the Rural News Group. Wood was impressed hearing recent graduates describe their pathways to agri careers and what they are doing now. “It was fabulous: a banker, farm advisor, environmental researcher, rural insurance agent and a farm worker all talked about their careers. I wish we could have videoed that talk because if we showed it to young people they would get it.” He says the tour gave him ideas on helping some students at his college who would suit agri careers. – More pages 7, 15


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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

NEWS 3 ISSUE 643

Fonterra out to stymie rival?

www.ruralnews.co.nz

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

NEWS��������������������������������������1-15 MARKETS��������������������������� 16-17 AGRIBUSINESS����������������18-19 HOUND, EDNA���������������������� 20 CONTACTS����������������������������� 20 OPINION��������������������������� 20-23 MANAGEMENT�������������� 24-26 ANIMAL HEALTH������������27-29 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS���������������������� 30-34 RURAL TRADER������������� 34-35

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: editor@ruralnews.co.nz Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: subsrndn@ruralnews.co.nz ABC audited circulation 80,580 as at 31.03.2017

A PROPOSED $230 million infant formula plant in north King Country is opposed by some local landowners, including a Fonterra leader. Some Otorohanga residents believe Happy Valley Milk’s proposed plant on the outskirts of the town will affect the landscape and raise environmental issues. Fonterra shareholders council chairman Duncan Coull, who milks 700 cows on two farms 6km from the proposed site, last month made a detailed submission at a two-day hearing by independent commissioners Alan Withy and Phil Michell on Happy Valley’s resource consent application. Coull told Rural News he made the submission as “a concerned ratepayer and Otorohanga resident”. He says preparing the submission took a lot of work and he was happy to

make his views known priately avoided, remeto the commissioners. died or mitigated. Coull will not com“In particular, it is ment further until the difficult to understand commissioners have how this proposal announced their deciwould achieve the pursion. pose of the RMA -- the A total of 69 subsustainable managemissions were received ment of natural and -- 34 supporting the physical resources -project, four neutral particularly [at a time and 30 opposed. when] water quality The commissioners Fonterra shareholders council and land use cannot are seeking more infor- chair Duncan Coull. be thought of sepamation and will hold rately, and when we more hearings this month; a decision have admirable targets to achieve in is expected in January. the coming years.” Coull, also a member of the OtoCoull doesn’t agree with the suprohanga District Development Board, posed economic benefits promoted by told the hearing the information pro- Happy Valley Milk. vided by Happy Valley Milk was “neiHe says the proposed plant’s output of 100,000 tonnes of infant formula ther credible nor complete”. “I have no confidence, as a member annually would make it one of the largof this community, that the adverse est in the world, and it would “signifeffects of this proposal will be appro- icantly impact the rural amenity and

the character of our neighbourhood”. Happy Valley Milk founder and director Randolph van der Burgh told Rural News many valid points were raised at the hearing by different parties. The company will this week provide the commissioners more information as requested. He remains confident the project will get the green light. He says given the spiral of stagnation and decline in Otorohanga’s local economy the proposal for the plant is a “no-brainer”. About 300 people would work on its construction and the completed plant would employ 105 people, 60 of them living in the town. The Otorohanga District Council recommended to the commissioners that Happy Valley Milk’s resource consent application be declined on the grounds that the proposed factory would “compromise the sustainable management of natural and physical resources”.

Let the buyers be aware! PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

FEDERATED FARMERS says it generally supports the government’s decision to further restrict the sale of New Zealand farmland to overseas buyers. Vice-president Andrew Hoggard says the new government policy broadly aligns with that of the Feds. From December 15 not only will the owners of very large farms proposed for sale to overseas buyers require permission from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO), but any land larger than 5ha will now come under this office’s jurisdiction.

The new directive will not apply to forestry land. Associate Finance Minister David Parker says the existing directive is too loose. Parker says too often investors buy a NZ farm then use existing systems, technology and management practices which don’t substantially add anything new or create additional value in our economy. “We want to make it clear that it is a privilege to own or control NZ’s sensitive assets, and this privilege must be earned,” he says. Hoggard says while the notion of ‘benefits to New Zealand’ in the old policy seemed to be right, in practice it didn’t turn out that way in the deci-

sions of the OIO. “You’d look at a decision and say ‘really? they view that as a benefit? Somehow a NZ purchaser wouldn’t have done that anyway.” Hoggard says the new directive will give the OIO a clear message to step up a notch or two in how it assesses the net benefit to NZ. He says Feds’ concerns, and those of the public, centre on the big trusts which just come to NZ and buy farms but do not contribute to local communities or NZ agriculture in any way. A big concern is when these people start buying processing facilities, he says. “People are nervous about that.” But Hoggard hopes the new rules

will not prevent people who genuinely come here to farm and to invest in local communities. He gives as examples two prominent members of Federated Farmers -- Anders Crofoot and Willy Leferink -- who he says contributed much; and James Cameron and Julian Robinson – both wealthy individuals – invested in their local communities and brought new benefits to NZ. “These people have been great for NZ and I would hate to see some blanket guideline that would cut people like that out of the equation.” Hoggard says farmers and others will watch with interest to see if the new directive is applied fairly.

Mow low to stop weeds growing

Give your pastures a head start for fresh growth The lack of grass growth in many areas compounded with the growth of creeping buttercup and other weeds, has put the pressure on farmers this season. One method of pasture control that helps control the weeds growth is low topping. These growths must be mowed low to the ground to stop them growing back, however this is easier said then done when the paddocks are rough from grazing during the wet winter. The Maxam mower is ideal for this task as the under rotor skids stop the blades scalping the ground, and the toppings are spread so they decompose faster.

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

4 NEWS

From kiwifruit to chops MEAT COMPANY Silver Fern Farms has poached a top executive from Zespri to be its new chief executive next year. SFF co-chair Rob Hewett says Simon Limmer has excellent skills and his experience will maintain the strong progress made as a food company. “The board is excited by the leadership Simon

will bring to Silver Fern Farms. “He has deep commercial experience in the food, manufacturing and service sectors in NZ and in several key international markets in which we operate,” Hewett. Limmer has worked nine years for Zespri in general management roles in NZ and China. Before that he spent 14

years with French multinational Veolia in Europe, East Asia, Oceania and the Americas. “His experience, most recently with Zespri as their chief operating officer and prior to that as their general manager China, gives us confidence he will be able to continue our development as a consumeroriented food business,”

Hewett says. “Simon has a clear affinity with NZ agriculture and what is required to successfully take our great products to consumers locally and around the world.” Limmer says it is exciting to be taking on the leadership of Silver Fern Farms at an important time in the company’s development.

“The company is well-positioned to add value to NZ’s natural grass-fed red meat. There is a consumer trend to natural whole foods, the company has a good brand, is well capitalised and has a talented and enthusiastic group of people.” Limmer will succeed Dean Hamilton in March next year.

TOP CV SIMON LIMMER graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Management Studies degree. He was in the Ford Motor Company sales and marketing graduate programme in NZ then worked 14 years for the environmental services company Veolia Environment (CGEA/Onyx) based in Paris, Auckland and UK. He returned with his family from France in 2008 to become general manager of global supply with Zespri. There he has also worked as general manager grower and government relations, general manager China and since 2014 he has been chief operating officer. Limmer in 2015 attended the Te Hono Movement NZ primary sector ‘bootcamp’ at Stanford University.

China now open to NZ avocado exports PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

AVOCADO EXPORTERS are now determining how to develop a niche market in China following the signing of export protocol by the two countries. This brings New Zealand much closer to supplying fresh avocados to China for the first time. “We know the market is huge from a volume perspective,” NZ Avocado chief executive Jenny Scoular told Rural News. “But what our exporters are working through now is how collectively to ensure we create or develop a niche market for NZ avocados. We don’t have a significant volume in the whole of NZ so we must create a high value market for avocados.” The next step before trade starts is an audit this month by the Chinese authority AQSIQ and the Ministry for Primary Industries. “A protocol has been signed and needs to be audited so the China AQSIQ will send their technical experts on December 18-23 to ensure our growers and packhouses in the supply chain are able to meet the requirements of the protocol,” Scoular explains. “Our Ministry for Primary Industries also has an audit to make sure they are comfortable giving assurance that our industry can meet the protocol from China. “An audit from our New Zealand team and the Chinese team [will] make sure we can meet that protocol. When that has happened we will be able to export to China.” MPI director-general Martyn Dunne says securing export access for our avocados into China is NZ’s top horticulture priority. In the 2016-17 season, the avocado industry set a record – exceeding $200 million from 7.9m trays. Avocado exports will join NZ’s other fresh fruit exports to China -- apples, kiwifruit, cherries, plums, citrus and persimmons. Dunne says the progress towards avocado access into China shows strength of collaboration and positive, respectful relationships.

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

NEWS 5

Cow numbers in NZ are dropping, but milk yield is up.

Cow numbers fall, milk yield soars SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

ANTI-DAIRYING ACTIVISTS should be rejoicing: New Zealand’s milking herd has shrunk for the second year in a row. But milk output continues to soar, according to the latest national dairy statistics. NZ Dairy Statistics 2016-17 shows milking cow and herd numbers both fell: cows numbered 4.86 million, down again from 4.99m in 2015-16; herd numbers fell from 11,918 to 11,748 (-170 herds). But over the 12 months to June 2017, the average dairy cow produced a record milk quantity containing record milk solids. The average production per cow was 4259L in the 2016-17 season, containing 381kgMS, versus 4185L and 372kgMS in 2015-16. However, despite the decline

in cow numbers dairy companies processed very similar milk quantities: 20.7 billion L containing 1.85b kgMS in 2016-17; the previous season saw 20.9b L (1.86b kgMS). The results are positive for NZ and its farmers, says DairyNZ. Senior economist Matthew Newman says the rising trend in per-cow milk production shows farmers are opting for animals that are year-on-year more efficient at converting grass into milk – the industry’s objective. “We are producing similar milk quantities from fewer cows, partly because we are breeding better animals and feeding them well,” says Newman. “The average herd is now 414 cows, down from 419 in 2015-16. We are now at the lowest level of cows milked since 2012; North Island cow numbers declined

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90,000 to 2.89m, and South Island numbers fell 46,000 to 1.97m.” LIC general manager ■■ The South Island now produces NZ markets Malcolm 43.4% of national milksolids Ellis says the statistics versus 35.6% a decade ago reflect a shift in the industry. ■■ Milk production in the South “Farmers are Island increased 1.2% in 2015acknowledging that, 16, with increases in North as an industry, if Canterbury (+0.8%), Otago they are not going to (+2.3%) and Southland (+4.9%) be milking more cows ■■ North Island milk production then they need to be declined 1.9% in 2016-17, with all milking better ones. regions except Taupo (+2.2%), “The lower payout in Taranaki (+0.9%) and Manawatu previous seasons forced (no change) producing less milk some farmers to reconthan in 2015-16. sider their cow numbers as part of a wider farm system review, but these stats prove it can pay off for a creating high quality herd replacements that will out-perform their farming business. “It boils down to the funda- mothers in productivity, longevity mentals of herd improvement: and fertility.”

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

6 NEWS

She’s already looking dry PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE RISK of drought in New Zealand is rising, says BNZ’s senior economist Doug Steel. The risk to primary production, if dry weather continues, needs highlighting, but every weather pattern is different, he says. “It has been drying out – rapidly. It has got to the point now of many parts of the country having bigger soil moisture deficits than are normal for this time of year according to NIWA.” It is most pronounced in western areas – typical of the La Nina pattern. “It is of particular concern that conditions are getting dry so early in the season, even before summer has started. Some gentle widespread rain is required, not the recent localised thunderstorms and very heavy rain that has caused flash flooding in some parts of the country.” Economic forecasts have not yet been adjusted. “But it is a risk worth highlighting, especially with near-term weather forecasts showing little rain on the horizon. If dry conditions persist

too long we would expect GDP to be lower than currently expected,” Steel adds. “This could involve milk production falling short of our current expectation of about 1% growth on the previous season. October’s production was 2.9% higher than a year ago, but now drier conditions are putting a question mark over the rest of the season. “Moreover, dry conditions tend

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to bring added costs such as for supplementary feed. Some consolation is that if NZ milk production were to stall or fall from here, it would offer some support to dairy product prices. But it would hardly be the best way to achieve this. Our forecast for Fonterra’s 2017-18 milk price currently sits unchanged at $6.30/kgMS.” There was no sign of any NZ milk supply concern at the latest GDT auction when prices fell for the fourth

consecutive auction, to be down in total about 10% since September, Steel says. “Regardless, it is something to watch over the coming weeks and months, especially if the general lack of rain in NZ continues. We have already seen a mild bid tone return to the NZX whole milk powder futures market despite the latest softer GDT result. “Lamb markets are also showing signs that it is getting dry, with reports of some pullback in store lamb pricing and more new-season lambs being sent for processing as feed conditions tighten. If dry conditions extend we would expect these moves to intensify.” Steel says interestingly a weak La Nina weather pattern often brings optimism. “This is because NZ agriculture, as a whole, often performs well during weak La Nina conditions as the typically more-than-usual rain in eastern areas lifts grass growth and agriculture production in that region by more than the drier-than-usual conditions that dent production in western areas.”

LA NINA HERE WE ARE already in a La Nina, say weather experts. Lisa Murray, MetService communications meteorologist, says we are officially in a La Nina. NIWA also confirmed to Rural News we are already in a La Nina. Murray told Rural News usually the effects of a La Nina are not seen until late summer or early autumn. But a big “blocking” high had been lingering for two weeks, she said last week. It was expected to stay put for another week before slowly moving off. “In the farming community everything was too wet not long ago, just before October. The farmers couldn’t even get their equipment onto the land because it was sinking, it was so soggy. Now to this very quick drying… the weather pattern changed at the beginning of October and suddenly we have these great big ridges.” Most areas are dryer than normal except a few North Island eastern regions. La Nina can bring various weather patterns, but generally the summers temperatures are a higher than normal. The South Island has already had heatwaves - five days in a row when the temperature is 5° Celsius above average. “We’ve had two of those already in the South Island. This is only in November – we are not even in summer yet.”


RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

NEWS 7

Integrate agri into highschool studies PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

A NEW Zealand representative at the recent Youth Ag-Summit in Brussels is arguing for agriculture to be properly integrated into the secondary school curriculum. Beth Hampton says if it was, more young people would likely make a career in the agri sector. Hampton has a double-major degree in environmental science and agribusiness. She works for the NZ Environmental Protection Authority and has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment. She was a speaker on the recent teachers’ agri experience tour co-sponsored by Rural News Group. Hampton grew up in Matamata, but not on a farm. Many of her friends did, and that and her passion for science helped her decide to study environmental science. Then a relative who works in the agri sector pointed

Beth Hampton

her towards agri-business, hence her double degree and desire to work in a job that includes both elements. Hampton says if agriculture was integrated into the core subjects it would save young people having to take agriculture as a separate subject at the expense of some core subjects. This would expose students to what agriculture is all about, she says. “There’s a challenge at high

schools: kids may be interested in agriculture, but if they were like me and wanted to take chemistry, physics, biology, English and maths - that’s all your five subjects,” she told Rural News. Hampton believes many teachers are willing to see agriculture integrated, but the schools would need help and resources from industry. Hampton wrote an essay on this, gaining her a place at the

Youth Ag Summit. She also wrote about food wastage, a topic also raised at the summit. Hampton says about 40% of the food produced is ‘wasted’ in not being used for human consumption. The first stage of addressing this would be to create awareness about it and get people to self-regulate their habits, she says. This would include only buying ‘enough’ food, using leftovers and feeling comfortable taking a ‘doggy bag’ out of a restaurant. “One issue is setting a consistent metric on food waste. At present food is often deemed wasted when not consumed by humans,” she explains. “But if it goes to another productive use it’s not technically wasted, for example, being fed to animals or used to build up organic matter. That is a productive use and this issue needs to be sorted so that proper strategies can be put in place to deal with it.”

FEEDING THE WORLD FEEDING THE planet’s growing populace was a centrestage topic at the World Youth Ag Summit, attended by about 100 young people, says Beth Hampton. She says the challenge is how to increase productivity in countries with less sophisticated agricultural systems so they can feed more people. “They face resource constraints – I mean infrastructure, fertilisers, water and knowledge,” she told Rural News. “The question is how to increase production in these countries in a way that is sustainable for them.” This may require looking at new technologies which may be unacceptable in New Zealand. But for other countries the use of such approaches may be the difference between life and death. NZ does not have the same food security issues as other countries and we must recognise the needs of other people, Hampton says. This relates to another issue raised at the summit – one that she feels strongly about – that of science and society and the need for better communication and public engagement. “Policies must be evidence- and science-based, but also take into account people’s values and what society wants, including regulations that are scientifically defensible.” Hampton says summit attendees came to her and praised NZ’s ‘agricultural credentials’, in particular the fact that our farmers are not subsidised like those in Europe. She says in some European countries farmers appear to protected more for the romance they contribute to the country than their productive capacity. Hampton was impressed with Ireland’s Origin Green campaign which she says is a smart marketing tool.

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

8 NEWS

Report confronts Lincoln with ‘opportunities’ NIGEL MALTHUS

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY is already working to transform itself as suggested in a hard-hitting report warning it is underperforming in many

areas. A ‘transformation board’ set up in March to assess the university and map a future strategy released its report two weeks ago, warning that retaining the status quo

“is not an option”. “By most metrics Lincoln University is not delivering on its potential. It remains small scale, has a poor sense of strategy and has weak relationships with key

stakeholders and entities who should or could be partners,” the report states. “The teaching offering and delivery is in need of an overhaul, along with the focus of research

activities, so that the university can make a more significant contribution to learning, and to community and national wellbeing.” Chancellor Steve Smith has welcomed the

report, saying the negatives emphasised by some news media actually represent opportunities for change. He said it was “a resounding endorsement of the role the university has to play for the future”. “The board report could have said Lincoln University should be merged with one of the bigger universities, that it’s too small and not set for the future,” Smith told Rural News. “However, they quite conclusively said no, Lincoln University should remain an independent university, but much more integrated into the Lincoln Hub, and focused on what it can contribute to enhancing the prosperity of New Zealanders.” Smith says agriculture will be an “absolute core focus” of what the university does. The report says Lincoln and its students

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

NEWS 9

‘Challenging’ year for wool PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE LAST year has been “one of the most challenging for the New Zealand strong wool industry”, according to Wools of NZ’s latest annual report. Nevertheless it had net revenue of $15.4 million – similar to last year – and operating profit of $142,769 ($150,583 last year) in the year to June 30, 2017. The report says global demand for strong wool has continued to trend downwards. China, traditionally a big importer of NZ wool, has increased its domestic wool production. NZ’s wool exports to China have decreased by 48% over the last two years, with volume down from 65m kg in 2014-15 to 34m kg in the 201617 season as local producers come on stream. “The impact of this on NZ’s overall wool export effort is significant given China has traditionally represented a disproportionately large market for NZ wool The next-largest importer is the UK which took well under 10m kg this year. Linked to this dramatic reduction, the NZ Wool Indicator has decreased

Wools of NZ chief executive Rosstan Mazey.

in NZD by $2.35 in 2016-17 vs 201516, down from $5 to $2.65, the report says. The decrease has been exacerbated by the strong NZ dollar (NZD). “Despite these challenging market conditions, Wools of NZ has worked hard to maintain contracted wool volumes with international partners and in securing forward contract

prices in order to provide growers with an element of certainty in a vulnerable market,” the report says. Chairman Mark Shadbolt and chief executive Rosstan Mazey last month told the annual meeting they were proud to deliver a positive financial result for grower shareholders despite the current state of

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? MARK SHADBOLT says consumers worldwide want to know more about what they buying, its origins and ethics. “So we continue to respond to the market’s growing demand for transparency in the integrity of products and production practices. “Our growers have benefited to date by evolving practices onfarm to meet programmes such as EU Ecolable Lamb’s Wool which has consistently led the market for the last five years. “We’ve also worked closely with manufacturers and our brand partners to promote the use of authentic branded Wools of NZ wool, strengthening the direct links between consumers and our growers.” Shadbolt says Wools of NZ recently developed and introduced the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). This is to meet demand from global brands and retailers seeking to offer wool products that reflect their own commitments to responsible sourcing. “It will quickly become a powerful tool to demonstrate the best practice of farmers and to allow brands to communicate their expectations to their full supply chains,” he says. “This industry benchmark will without doubt have enormous impact in securing a future for NZ wool, and aid in the battle against man-made synthetic fibres.”

the industry. “These results are testimony to the merits of the strategic focus of the company over the last five years and the trust and confidence of our shareholders in that focus,” says Shadbolt. “We have relentlessly pursued targeted investments in R&D, the development of new technologies that add value to our strong wool, the right partnerships, different routes to market, securing forward contracts for wool, ethical and sustainable production practices and building a compelling brand story.” He says the company is in a strong position to further develop global commercial markets for initiatives and ground-breaking technologies such as Clacial XT and NuYarn and pursuing new initiatives through commercial success with NZ and international partners for the long term profitability of grower shareholders. “Ongoing success will be greatly enhanced by choosing the right partners who share our drive to add value to shareholders’ wool and to work in collaboration.”

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

NEWS 11

Rabbit virus killing them in Aussie NIGEL MALTHUS

A NEW strain of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease (calicivirus) is working as well as hoped since its release in Australia last autumn. Dr Tarnya Cox, project leader at the NSW Department of Primary Industries vertebrate pest research unit, says 57% fewer rabbits were seen at the release sites two months after the new strain’s release. “We are still analysing the data to remove any background natural mortality rates due to other circulating viruses, non-viral death, emigration, etc, so this number may change

once that analysis is completed,” she told Rural News. “We were expecting a 20% reduction on average, so based on current figures -- yes, RHDV1 K5 has performed at least as well and in some cases better than we hoped,” Cox says. “Most samples returned from release sites were positive for RHDV1 K5, so it gives us confidence that it was RHDV1 K5 killing rabbits and not another strain.” RHDV1 K5 is a Korean strain believed to better overcome the protective effects of a benign calicivirus which also naturally occurs in feral rabbit populations and

Tanya Cox

confers some immunity to the existing RHDV1. Calicivirus was illegally introduced to New Zealand in the face of official refusals in 1997, but rabbit numbers have bounced back in many regions. NZ authorities had hoped to release the RHDV1 K5 strain

at the same time as Australia, but missed the opportunity after failing to get the necessary approvals in time. Environment Canterbury (Ecan) is managing the approval process on behalf of the NZ Rabbit Coordination Group (RCG), which includes regional and district councils, Federated Farmers, Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries and Land Information NZ. They now hope to release it here next autumn, subject to approval by MPI under the Agricultural Chemicals and Veterinary

Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997 and the Biosecurity Act 1993. MPI has called for public submissions, closing on December 14, saying it will consider the disease’s benefit to farming, and its risks; it must also assess a vaccine for protecting pet and farmed rabbits. No vaccinated rabbits have been reported or confirmed dead in Australia, Cox says. “Our study prior to the release showed the vaccine was effective,

challenge. But we have found RHDV2; this is an exotic strain of RHDV that was first identified in Australia in May 2015 but was likely here for longer. This now appears to be the dominant strain in the Australian landscape,” she said. “RHDV1 K5 may still be out there killing rabbits in the background or it may have been outcompeted by RHDV2. Only time will tell.”

and evidence around the world also suggested it would protect against almost all RHDV1 variants. That has proven so with RHDV1 K5 in Australia.” It is not yet known how well RHDV1 K5 has struck in the wild in Australia. “We have not yet detected RHDV1 K5 this spring,” said Cox. “Detection relies on people finding carcases and submitting them for testing, so it was always going to be a

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IRRIGATORS TESTING WATERS IRRIGATIONNZ IS back on farms this summer testing irrigation systems to help farmers improve the efficiency of their water applications. It says it will test this season in the Selwyn District, after a successful campaign in Ashburton last summer, when 131 farms were assessed. The testing, developed with Environment Canterbury (Ecan), assesses the equipment and its usage, and farmers and farm staff are asked how they manage their irrigation systems. “We’re aiming to test irrigation systems and management on 100 farms. We look at how farmers are operating irrigation equipment, whether water is applied evenly, how irrigation is scheduled, the maintenance on equipment and the monitoring of soil moisture and

run-off,” says Steve Breneger, IrrigationNZ technical manager. Contributing to the cost of the work are ECan, DairyNZ, Foundation for Arable Research, Beef + Lamb NZ, HortNZ, Synlait, Fonterra, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Central Plains Water. After the testing, farmers can attend a drop-in session with IrrigationNZ staff to discuss the results and help them tweak their systems to use water more efficiently and improve production. IrrigationNZ says last summer’s Ashburton testing was the first large-scale, independent, irrigation efficiency trial done in NZ, and the results gained were applicable to irrigators nationwide. Testing was done on dairy, sheep and beef, arable and deer farms, where a range of different irrigation equipment was running.

“Most farmers are working to ensure they’re using water efficiently and using technology to support the decisions they make,” Breneger claims. “For example, 70% of the farmers are using soil moisture monitoring technology. “Just over half of all irrigation equipment showed good-to-excellent uniformity of water distribution, 32% had fair uniformity and only 16% poor.” He says last year’s results highlight that the performance of older irrigation systems (15 years plus) can deteriorate over time, but regular testing and maintenance helps pick up and correct faults. Worn parts, sediment, incorrect hardware or blocked nozzles are common factors in less-thanoptimal water distribution and performance. – Nigel Malthus

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

NEWS 13

Looking beyond the cow PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

WESTLAND MILK Products’ (WMP) chief executive says the co-op may in future look beyond the cow in the products it makes. Toni Brendish says a strategy adopted by WMP, including the phrase ‘nourishment made beautiful for generations’, deliberately doesn’t limit the organisation to producing only dairy products. For example, products from plant protein or other animal protein could be processed by the existing WMP factories. Two years ago the co-op was in trouble; now it has turned a corner financially by driving down costs, managing inventory better and building a leaner business. Brendish says high value products such as infant formula and nutritional products are starting to deliver for the co-op. And it is leveraging Westland’s heritage and location and intends

to use this to differentiate its products from other milk processors’. She points to the heritage of tenacity of WMP shareholders and the unique environment of the West Coast with its good environmental footprint. And there’s WMP’s reputation as a butter producer. Brendish expects the butter price to come down, but not as fast as it went up. She is cautious about the overall dairy market and its possible effect on Westland’s payout. “The payout will reflect the trends internationally. We have seen several GTDs soften; this and the combination of events in Europe mean we will see general softening in prices,” she told Rural News. “Westland hasn’t seen milk supply growth so I would say the payout is at the lower end of the forecast range – $6.40 to $6.80. We are still within the range and I’m feeling confident of that, but I have said to the shareholders that it will be at

HARD BREXIT ISSUE FOR UK MEAT INDUSTRY IF THE UK exits the European Union without a trade deal this would be catastrophic for the European meat industry, a new report says. A no-deal outcome would lead to “trade collapsing and market prices falling, resulting in job losses across the EU,” said a report commissioned by the European Livestock and Meat Traders Union. Meat products would face the highest tariffs of all industries, the group said. In a ‘hard’ Brexit scenario, beef trade from the UK to the EU and vice versa would fall at least 80% due to the cost of customs and veterinary checks and higher transport costs, the report estimates. Less trade would lead to a surplus of EU beef and pig meat, lowering the value of European beef production by 2.4 billion euros ($2.9b) in the short term. “It would be difficult for UK suppliers to find alternative markets for these products domestically as the UK tends to export cheaper cuts,” the report says. “This will hurt British farmers and businesses, leading to job losses across the UK.” To minimise disruption the lawmakers should allow a long transition to give businesses time to adjust. UK and EU regulators should keep working together on simplified transit and should invest in ports. “By potentially cutting off one of the largest and highest value meat markets in Europe, Brexit threatens to be catastrophic for the industry in Europe and the UK,” said Philippe Borremans, president of European Livestock and Meat Traders Union.

the lower end and we need to be cautious.” Brendish says the impact of Brexit, Donald Trump and other geopolitics on the world dairy market and how repercussions may affect New Zealand and WMP are a concern. “At Westland we spend a lot of time ensur-

ing we are not overexposed in any one country. “For example, 15% to 18% of our business [is with China] but we measure that carefully; we don’t want more than 25% going there, despite the growth of infant formula; we ensure we are not overexposed in that market.”

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

NEWS 15

Farming needs to cultivate a positive image PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

TELLING THE real dairy story is crucial in being able to attract the next generation of farm staff, scientists and rural professionals, says DairyNZ consulting officer Anna Arrends. Arrends gave Wellington secondary school teachers, attending the agri-teachers’ day out, insights into the range of career opportunities in dairy science and business. The teachers also learnt about future farm systems and the range of skills that will be needed as the dairy sector maintains and increases productivity and profitability, while meeting animal welfare and environmental expectations. This was the fifth such trip, aimed at giving teachers -- especially careers advisors -- better understanding of work prospects in farming. Running the event were Susan Stokes, DairyNZ

and Rural News Group reporter Peter Burke. Costs were met by sponsors. Anna Arrends ran a session on job opportunities in the dairy sector during the group’s visit to a dairy farm. The group also visited a Landcorp sheep and beef farm and an orchard. During a lunchtime panel discussion young graduates told why they chose a career in agriculture. The spark for Arrends getting into agriculture was a presentation at an open day at Massey University, though she eventually went to Lincoln University. “I saw a slide show on how much a firstyear agricultural degree student could earn, and the money was way bigger than any other degree; and I thought ‘that’s me’,” she told Rural News. “Having graduated and now working for DairyNZ, the favourite thing about my job is inspiring farmers and

working with other motivated, intelligent people such as rural professionals and my colleagues. But mainly it’s the farmers, and helping them to achieve a successful and sustainable business.” Arrends says she enjoyed the day with the teachers and she’d like to see more such events and

Anna Arrends

30 years”. “Teachers are great influencers. If they have a good perception and understand what our industry is about then they can have an influence in attracting the next generation of agricultural professionals.”

out there,” she says. DairyNZ’s industry education facilitator, Susan Stokes, says the teachers responded wonderfully to what they experienced. The day opened their minds to the massive range of career options in the sector, “not only now, but also in the next 10, 20 or

hopes the teachers will know more about the agri sector because of the day. “I don’t think agriculture, as a career onfarm or being a rural professional, is being promoted enough and in the right ways in schools – especially urban schools. Days like this are really important to get positive news

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MIKE WOOD, a careers advisor at St Patricks College, Wellington, has taken this and other tours. The career prospects in the agri sector struck him at lunchtime as he heard recent graduates describe their pathways to agri careers and what they are doing now. “It was fabulous: a banker, farm advisor, environmental researcher, rural insurance agent and a farm worker all talked about their careers. I wish we could have videoed that talk because if we showed it to young people they would get it,” he says. Wood says young people listen to their peers, and they listen to good sage advice. The tour gave him ideas on helping some students at his college who would suit an agri career. “I don’t think our young people and parents appreciate that NZ’s income is from the agri sector, so they don’t look for career options there.” Science teacher and careers advisor Jenny Hudson from Heretaunga College says the urban/rural divide is part of the problem, especially discouraging urban girls from agri careers. “It’s not on their horizon or part of their life experience; just opening up the opportunities to them would be really valuable,” she says. Other teachers were impressed and surprised at the way farmers deal with effluent disposal and manage their environment. Many teachers plan to start looking at getting students on farms to see the careers on offer. Wellington High School science teacher and careers advisor Tony Cairns said the day was “awesome”. He now understands agri is not just agriculture and horticulture, but also science, maths, communications and English. He now realises farming is a complex business. “Teachers like me didn’t understand the breadth of opportunities and range of careers and realise now that we should be sending our top students as well as the kids who just want to work the land to make careers in the agri sector,” Cairns says.


RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

16 MARKETS & TRENDS L amb - PM 17.0kg

- 10

M 2 B ull - 300kg

- 10

5.55

5.65

5.30

c/kgCWT NI

LAMB PRICES Last Week 5.60

Change

P 2 Steer - 300kg

2 Wks A go 5.70

Last Year 5.45

S te e r - P2 300kg

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5 .6 0

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P 2 Co w - 230kg

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B u ll - M2 300kg

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Ve n is o n - AP 60kg

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Lo cal Trade - 230kg

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North Island 17kg M lamb price

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Slaughter

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25-Dec Last Ye ar

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10-Sep 10-Oct 29-Sep

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Last Year

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3 Wks A go 227 728

Last Year 204 641

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Last Year 80.9 71.6

5yr A ve 78.8 70.3

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1.6 2.8

2Wks A go 79.0 74.1

P rocu rement Indicator Procurement Indicator -- North North I.Island 95 90% 85% 80% 75 75% Last Year 70% This Year 65% 60% 55 0… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 3… 3… 3… 2… 3… 3… 25-A ug 25-O ct 25-Dec 25-Feb

7.0

Procurement Indicator - South Island

10.0

% of export returns

90 P rocu rement Indicator - South I. 85% 80% 75% 70 70% 65% Last Year 60% This Year 50 25-A ug 25-O ct 25-Dec 25-Feb 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 9-Oct 16-Oct 23-Oct 30-Oct 6-Nov 13-Nov 20-Nov 0-Jan 5yr ave Last Ye ar This Ye ar

9.0 8.0 7.0 6.0 25-A ug

25-O ct 5yr Ave

25-Dec Last Ye ar

This Ye ar

25-Feb

10 Oct

29 Nov Last Ye ar

10 Nov

29 Jan This Ye ar

n/c

2 Wks A go 5.90

Last Year 5.40

+0 .0

10.16

10.12

8.14

550

5yr A ve 5.33 8.44

Export demand indicator - UK CKT leg

450

350 28 Oct

28 Dec

28 Feb

Procurement Indicator

% Returned NI % Returned SI

8.0

29 Sep

Last Week 5.90

250 28 Aug

Change

9.0

10 Sep

5yr Ave

Change

5yr A ve

Procurement Indicator

10.0

6.0 25-A ug

k 10 0Aug

NZc/kg

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

North Island 60kg stag price

11.0

200

UK Leg p/kg

Last Year This Year 150 $1.50 28-A ug 28-O ct 28-Dec 28-Feb 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

25-Feb

S outh Island Weekly Lamb Kill

Export Market Demand

This Year

USc/lb

4.0 25-A ug

10 Nov 29 Jan

200k 300

29-Sep 10-Oct 29-Nov10-Nov 29-Jan 10-Sep 5yr Ave Last Ye ar This Ye ar

$2.00

4.5

This Year

10 Oct 29 Nov

South Island w eekly lamb kill

400 250k

29 Jul

$2.50 200

5.0

Last Year

10 Sep 29 Sep

100 50k

95CL USc/lb NZc/kg

25-Feb

5yr Ave

k 0 10 29 AugJul

100k

Change

25-O ct

200

150k

Export Market Demand

6.0

$/kg

10-Nov 29-Nov

South Island Weekly Cattle Kill

4.5

$/kg

This Year

S outh Island Weekly Cattle Kill

k 0 29-Jul 10-Aug

4.0 25-A ug

300

5k 5

5.5

$/kg

Last Year

15 10k 10

This Ye ar

North eekly lamb N ort hIsland Islandw Weekly Lambkill Kill

100 50k

15k20

4.5 25-A ug

Last Year 5.41 5.43 5.45 5.46 2.90 5.43 5.43 5.43 5.43 2.75

100k

Thousand head

$/kg

5.5

2 Wks A go 7.16 7.18 7.20 7.21 5.00 7.23 7.23 7.23 7.23 4.95

150k

50

10 k 0 10-Aug 29-Jul

6.5

- 10 - 10 - 10 n/c - 15 n/c n/c n/c n/c - 10

Last Week 7.06 7.08 7.10 7.11 4.85 7.23 7.23 7.23 7.23 4.85

200k

40 20k30

South Island 17kg M lamb price

7.5

Change

Slaughter 250k 400

North N ort hIsland IslandWeekly Weekly Cattle Cattle Kill Kill

40k60

25-O ct

Thousand head

4.5 25-A ug

$/kg

P 2 Steer - 300kg

Thousand head

$/kg

SI

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

UKp/kg

c /kgCWT

BEEF PRICES

S o u th Is lan d C h an g e L as t c /kg We e k n/c 7 .2 3

% Returned NI

n/c

2Wks A go 74.5

% Returned SI

+1.0

74.0

Change

85 80%

3 Wks A go 74.5

Last Year 69.1

73.0

66.7

5yr A ve 72.2 70.1

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

% of export returns

No rth Is lan d C h an g e L as t c /kg We e k -1 0 7 .0 8

75 70% 65 60%

Last Year

This Year

50% 55 11-Aug 25-A ug 11-Sep 11-Oct 25-O ct11-Nov 11-Dec 25-Dec11-Jan 11-Feb 25-Feb 85 80%

% of export returns

Me at

LAMB MARKET TRENDS

BEEF MARKET TRENDS

Thousand head

MARKET SNAPSHOT

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

75 70% 65 60% Last Y ear

This Year

50% 55 11-Aug 25-A ug 11-Sep 11-Oct 25-O ct 11-Nov 11-Dec 25-Dec11-Jan 11-Feb 25-Feb 5yr ave Last Ye ar This Ye ar

Venison Prices NI Stag - 60kg

n/c

Last Week 10.05

SI Stag - 60kg

n/c

10.55

Change

2 Wks A go 10.05

Last Year 8.10

10.55

8.10

5yr A ve 7.30 7.42

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

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

MARKETS & TRENDS 17 PRICE WATCH

INTERNATIONAL BEEF: The US imported market remains at a solid level this week. While increasing production from NZ may see asking prices dip slightly in coming weeks, most exporters expect the tight supply of imported product will result in robust demand through December. Prime beef, also, is

SHEEP: Lambs are finally on the

move, and with the increase in numbers has come the inevitable decline in operating prices. Most processors have begun taking money out of printed schedules. Mutton prices are still sitting at all-time record levels, however with lamb slaughter rates lifting, the demand for mutton will ease. The strong money to date is enticing some to wean early and deeper. The dry is beginning to have an impact on the store market, though the increase in numbers coming forward is also taking the edge off prices. Generally lambs are making $3.00/kg in the North Island while the South Island is sitting 15-20c/kg higher.

WOOL: Wool prices have made some

incremental improvements in recent weeks. A lower NZD is a significant driver in overall improvements. In general, the market continues to lack direction. Chinese demand is volatile, and most interest is focused on the finer end of our wools. Recent sales have had positive clearance rates.

WOOL PRICE WATCH Indicators in NZc/kg

Overseas Wool Price Indicators

Change

23-Nov

16-Nov

Last Year

23-Nov

16-Nov

Last Year

n/c

326

326

413

Coarse Xbred

-5

237

243

298

-

310

-

555

Ewe - 35 micron

-

226

-

400

Ewe - 37 micron

-5

295

300

555

Ewe - 37 micron

-8

215

223

400

2nd Shear 37M

+20

265

245

475

2nd Shear 37M

+11

193

182

342

Wool indicator trends Wool Indicator Trends

850 600

CXI

750 500

500

FXI

LI

650 400 550 300

CXI

FXI

200 24-Aug

LI

- 37 micron Coarse Ewe Xbred Indicator

600

Last Year

600

This Year

24-Dec This Year

24-Feb

Ewe - 35 micron

600

550

400

500300

500 400

300

450200 24-Aug Dec Oct

100%

24-Oct Last Year

700

500

The Rabobank difference

400 300

450 200 24-Nov 24-Feb 24-May 24-Aug 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

650700

Second shear - 37 micron

600

5yr ave

24-Oct Feb

24-Dec Jun Last Year Apr

Aug 24-Feb

This Year

AgriHQ is the leading source of independent agri market analysis and advice that farmers can bank on. For the latest market reports visit agrihq.co.nz/farmer or call 0800 85 25 80.

200 24-Aug 5yr ave

24-Oct

24-Dec Last Year

24-Feb This Year

agriHQ.co.nz

The average time our Rural Managers have worked with us

94%

of our customers believe we are committed to their business for the long-term Kantar TNS New Zealand independent research, August 2016

of deposits fund New Zealand agribusiness

global agribusiness research analysts sharing market outlooks

12630

Change

Ewe - 35 micron

Coarse Xbred

OUR INSIGHT. YOUR EDGE.

years of global agricultural history

Indicators in USc/kg

c/kg

looking positive primarily due to a lift in interest out of China.

c/kg

way down throughout the North Island. The delayed start to the new season kill is now drawing more cattle off farm, in turn decreasing the level of competition in the market. Weather conditions will be key over the coming weeks too. Many areas of both islands are quickly drying off and it’ll only take a fortnight or so without rain for some to begin destocking. Buying power in the store market is generally solid, though a little pressure is coming on yearling bull prices in the North Island. A lack of rain is making potential buyers a little wary in the South Island too. Big numbers of 100kg calves are trading through both island at reasonable values. Yardings of more than 2000 head saw 100-115kg Friesian bull calves make $520-$560 at Frankton and $450-$480 at Temuka in the week ending November 24.

c/kg

BEEF: Slaughters prices are on the

c/kg

NEWS

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

18 AGRIBUSINESS

Alliance posts ok result, but better needed “The numbers tell a positive story: new shareholders, a stronger balance sheet, improved profitability and better livestock pricing for our farmers.”

NIGEL MALTHUS

MEAT CO-OP Alliance Group has doubled its operating profit to $20.2 million for the year to September 30, 2017. Chief executive David Surveyor reports good progress on transforming the co-op: financial performance has improved and $11.4 million has gone to farmer shareholders. But lot of hard work remains to be done. “Profit is not at the level we want for a company of this size and we need to capture gains more quickly. Alliance Group needs to run faster,” Surveyor says. “It’s important we maximise the value we create for New Zealand’s best farmers, and ensure our changes and progress are sustainable by further investment, growing value-add, capturing market value and building organisational capability.” Net profit before tax and pool distributions was $28m, including extraordinary items relating to a land sale at Makarewa, Southland. Revenue was up to a record $1.53 billion, and core debt halved to $19m.

Alliance chair Murray Taggart says the co-op is now much fitter.

Shareholders’ equity ratio is 71%, versus 70.6% last year. Chairman Murray Taggart says Alliance is now a much fitter co-op because of higher efficiency, lower costs and more value-capture from global markets. “The numbers tell a positive story:

new shareholders, a stronger balance sheet, improved profitability and better livestock pricing for our farmers.” Suppliers are benefiting from firmer international prices for beef, lamb, venison and co-products. “Lamb prices are particularly strong and venison is

seen more as a premium product.” Taggart says the balance sheet now allows the co-op some “exciting initiatives and innovative practices”. “Alliance has a wide range of short, medium and long-term programmes to gain deeper market penetration and capture more value from existing markets.” Surveyor says the co-op strives to maximise the price it pays farmers for livestock, and to offer other incentives. “We have improved our pricing structures… offering more minimum price contracts, which provides greater certainty for farmers who then can have greater confidence when

budgeting.” $15m in loyalty payments went to farmers during the season. World best practice is key – lifting processing efficiency and improving the operating performance of plants. At least $10m has gone this year into robotic/primal cutting technology and reconfiguring the boning room at Dannevirke; a big upgrade is finished at Lorneville and a big capital spend at Pukeuri. Product range and market reach are growing in domestic and global markets to lift sales, Surveyor says. “We are growing our markets and evolving into a more sophisticated player and capturing more value for our farmer shareholders.” The product range is more varied and it includes premium brands. “A dedicated food service team in the UK targets high-end restaurants and hotels. And we were the first NZ company to dispatch chilled lamb to China as part of a six-month trial.” Surveyor says the co-op’s safety record has improved. “Our total recordable injury frequency rate has improved by about 40% year on year.”

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

AGRIBUSINESS 19 Solid year for dairy goat co-op SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

Mark Shadbolt

GOAT FARMERS supplying milk to the Dairy Goat Cooperative (DGC) were paid $18.50/kgMS last year. Speaking at the annual meeting last month, chairman Campbell Storey reported a year of strong revenue.

This grew from $177 million in 2015-16 to $193m in 2016-17; sales grew in existing and developing export markets. “Farmer payout remained positive at $18.50/kgMS,” he said. During the financial year DGC gained accreditation to the international FSSC22000 food safety systems certification standard. Farmer-shareholders voted

to appoint Mark Dewdney the third independent director on the DGC board. He recently retired as chief executive of PGG Wrightson, having previously worked for Fonterra and LIC. DGC was set up in 1984 to develop, manufacture and market overseas its own-brand goat milk nutritional powders for infants and children.

It sources goat milk from its shareholder suppliers in Northland, Waikato and Taranaki. At its Hamilton base it owns and operates all its core manufacturing processes, enabling tightly controlled production of high quality milk formula. It has at least 200 staff there. DGC products are sold in at least 20 countries.

WNZ to offer more shares PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

WOOLS OF New Zealand plans to offer more shares to growers who have been supporting the Wool Market Development Commitment (WMDC). Growers have contributed $10.9 million to WMDC over four years; 70% has been spent on marketing and innovations, the balance on operations, Wools of NZ says in its annual report. During meetings in August and September 2017, shareholders were asked for their views on how best to recognise grower support through share options, says Wools of NZ chairman Mark Shadbolt. Many growers supported recognising grower-shareholders who had remained committed since capitalisation in 2013, by offering them a larger stake in the company. The board intends to register a product disclosure statement (PDS) by March 31, 2018 to allow for the issue of extra shares to all shareholders who have committed to paying the WMDC from capitalisation in 2013 through to June 2018. This will be on the basis of one share for every dollar contributed. Any shareholders in arrears on June 30, 2018 will not be eligible for extra shares. Shadbolt says the PDS will show flexibility: the board may at its discretion issue shares beyond June 2018 in recognition of shareholders’ commitment. Wool growers who are not shareholders are also being offered the opportunity to supply into the company’s forward contracts though shareholders will have preferential access. “The outlook is positive and as our performance to date indicates, with vision and determination we can change the face of the strong-wool industry. That can only be to the ultimate benefit of our grower shareholders and the broader industry,” says Shadbolt. The annual report says Wools of NZ is still a young company. “Very real challenges face our sector and it is critical to continue to invest in new ways of doing things if the industry is to survive,” the report says. WMDC has enabled the company to invest in R&D, open markets and create innovative opportunities, the report says. It emphasises building an understanding of the unique value of strong wool and then working with partners to create true points of difference that will deliver robust commercial outcomes. “Strong partnerships have been forged and we are seeing the benefits of these in breaking new ground and opening up exciting commercial opportunities for our shareholders that will underpin the future success of the company.” Shabolt says about 70% of the WMDC has gone into Wools of New Zealand’s marketing or innovation strategies. The balance has paid for the work vital to day-today running of the company as it gets established and as returns on investment grow.

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

20 OPINION EDITORIAL

EDNA

Pure politics THE GOVERNMENT’S new rules imposing tougher requirements on foreign buyers of rural land seem more about politics than anything else. The new government directives to the Overseas Investment Office will require foreign buyers to provide additional benefits to the New Zealand economy; and they will apply to any proposed purchase of land 5ha and greater. This does not apply to forestry land. The ruling follows an earlier government decision to ban the sale of existing homes to overseas-domiciled buyers, and indications that new rules may be coming to regulate the purchase of other classes of assets by foreign buyers. The new regulations affecting would-be overseas farm buyers will take effect from December 15 and will apply from that date to land sale applications in process. All applications now before the OIO will proceed under the current arrangements. While this sounds impressive, it is difficult to see what actual difference it will make, other than the perception that the new government is now ‘getting tough’ on foreign farm buyers. It appears little more than a box-ticking exercise to appease Labour’s coalition partner NZ First, given the ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment common among that party’s supporters. The minister responsible for drafting the new regulations, David Parker, appeared to be playing on this sentiment during news media interviews in which he referred to “one-percenters” coming to NZ and buying “our farms”. Said Parker, “We want to make it clear that it is a privilege to own or control NZ’s sensitive assets, and this privilege must be earned. We campaigned on these changes and they won’t come as a surprise to potential investors.” It’s ironic when Parker and others – not landowners – talk about “our farms” in respect of foreign land sales, but “your farms” in respect of polluted waterways. Glossed over is the clear trampling of farmers’ private-property rights -- to sell their land to whomever at the best price regardless of where the would-be buyer comes from or resides. Indeed, the new government’s modus operandi seems more about political perception, as already seen in its attitude to the TPP trade deal now that it’s in government -- very different from what it was saying in opposition. The ‘foreigner’ land ban is another political itch for the scratching. Let’s see what real difference the new rules make; our pick is SFA.

RURALNEWS TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS

HEAD OFFICE POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 PUBLISHER: Brian Hight ......................................... Ph 09 307 0399 GENERAL MANAGER: Adam Fricker ....................................... Ph 09 913 9632 CONSULTING EDITOR: David Anderson .................................. Ph 09 307 0399 davida@ruralnews.co.nz

“Don’t worry – the ladder and the chainsaw survived the fall, and the tree will be there to decorate when you get home!”

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

THE HOUND Not a peep!

Same old

Yeah, right

Good idea

HARD ON the heels of NZ First’s lack of complaints over the sale of iconic NZ company Icebreaker to US interests, news that multi-national syndicate Craigmore Permanent Crop Ltd Partnership recently bought 17.5ha of kiwifruit orchards in Te Puke did not so much as raise a peep from the bauble-takers. The partnership, described as a veritable mini-United Nations -- German, Hong Kong, Swiss, British, Finnish, American and NZ investors – has the green light from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to buy the properties. Perhaps NZ First’s deafening silence is down to one of the owner/managers of Craigmore being one Forbes Elworthy – scion of former Federated Farmers president Sir Peter Elworthy – and a generous donor over the years to one of its current political partners… the Greens? You may very well think that, but this old mutt couldn’t possibly comment.

YOUR OLD mate understands that while lobby group Fish & Game may have a new head in place it has not changed its anti-farming tune one bit. F&G’s new boss Martin Taylor is living up to the activist group’s well-earned moniker of Bitch & Complain by continuing the boring bitching and complaining. Taylor has only been in the job a month, but has already opined that the rural/ urban divide is a myth – as only an ignorant and arrogant urbanite would say. And just recently Taylor has joined his anti-farming friends at Greenpeace to launch a nasty tirade at DairyNZ’s newly released strategic plan ‘Dairying Tomorrow’ which aims to improve the industry’s environmental footprint. These groups will not be happy until NZ’s dairy herd is completely culled!

THIS OLD mutt reckons Fonterra shareholders council chairman Duncan Coull has done nothing to dispel the oft-heard claim that his group is merely a lapdog of the Fonterra board. Coull recently fronted up to an environmental hearing in Otorohanga to oppose a plan by Happy Valley Milk to set up a new milk processing plant in the district. He claimed he was not there opposing the new plant in his capacity as shareholders council chair, but as a “dedicated local community man”. However, his 21-page submission seemed a little too professional for a busy farmer to put together and had all the hallmarks of the Fonterra PR machine (crank crank). If the commissioners didn’t think Coull was there advocating for Fonterra, then I’ve got a bridge in Auckland I can sell them.

THE HOUND likes moves by the Australian government to pass a law that will force animal rights activists to hand over visual evidence of animal cruelty to relevant authorities promptly, instead of delaying its release to bolster emotive, antifarming media-driven campaigns. The Aussie government proposes new offences and penalties for failure to report visual recordings of malicious animal cruelty or for interfering with the conduct of lawful animal enterprises, such as livestock facilities. Law proponent Senator Brockman from Western Australia rightly points out, it is ironic that people who hold themselves up as paragons of virtue in defending animal rights are happy to sit on footage of animal cruelty for months and months and months, developing media stories and not giving the footage and images to the relevant authorities to act on. Sound familiar?

PRODUCTION: Dave Ferguson ........................Ph 09 913 9633 davef@ruralnews.co.nz Becky Williams ........................Ph 09 913 9634 beckyw@ruralnews.co.nz REPORTERS: Sudesh Kissun ....................... Ph 09 913 9627 Pamela Tipa ............................. Ph 09 620 7811 Peter Burke .............................Ph 06 362 6319 Nigel Malthus ...................... Ph 021 164 4258 MACHINERY EDITOR: Mark Daniel ............................. Ph 021 906 723 or 07 824 1190 SUB-EDITOR: Neil Keating ............................Ph 09 913 9628

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


RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

OPINION 21

When uncertainty is the only certainty “UNCERTAINTY IS the only certainty there is and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” These wise words did not come from a farmer or a rural contractor, as they well could have, but the American mathematics professor and author Johan Allen Paulos. One only has to consider the uncertainties that dominate the agricultural sector – commodity price forecasts, the weather or even the recent political dramatics in this country – to find sympathy in Paulos’ quote. First up, commodity prices. The recent round of soothsaying from various economists, bankers and commentators paints a reasonably consistent message on the outlook for various agricultural commodity prices. The consensus seems to be that dairy looks positive, beef steady and lamb – especially in the leadup to the pre-Christmas chilled trade – remains strong. But we know that all these predictions can change at the drop of a hat, especially in the economic and political uncertainty now prevailing worldwide. Another area of uncertainty for our sector is the weather. It is fair to say that rural contractors and farmers nationwide have had a difficult and challenging year thanks to the weather. However, as we head into the busy part of the year it seems

the climate gods are starting to play ball as hay and silage making gets into full swing. Speaking of uncertainty and unpredictability, the recent election result – and the vagaries of MMP and Winston Peters – left the country in a state of political flux as we waited for the formation of the new government. Mr Peters’ decision to form a coalition with Labour and Greens was greeted with some trepidation by those of us in the rural sector – especially given some of the rhetoric of the coalition partners during the election campaign. However, it is now a reality and Rural Contractors NZ is happy to engage and work with the new coalition government on the issues important to us – immigration, attracting young people to work in our sector, transport and workplace safety regulations, to name a few. Like many in the rural sector, I was concerned about the way some of the political parties seem to be targeting farming and further expanding the rural/urban divide during

the election campaign. I hope that as the dust settles after the election campaign the new government will get down to working for the benefit of all New Zealand – including the farming and wider rural sector. It is now more important than ever that organisations like Rural

Contractors NZ take a lead in ensuring that the wider New Zealand public appreciate and value the importance of the agricultural and farming sector to the country’s economy and society. After 21 years as an organisation RCNZ’s goal remains the same: to be a valuable and influential advocate

for our members; we will continue to do this. Meanwhile, in your travels, please watch out for pest plants, especially velvetleaf. This is now a major problem in Waikato/South Auckland and in North Canterbury and Southland. If you are working in any of these areas you must thor-

crank out long hours and days at this of the year. • Steve Levet is an agricultural contractor based at Wellsford and president of Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ), the only national association for rural contractors in the country.

oughly wash down your machinery before going onto new properties. Rural contractors must play our part in stopping the spread of these weed pests. And remember that we need to keep health and safety issues – for ourselves and our staff – top of mind as many of us

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

22 OPINION NOTHING TO SMILE ABOUT! A SMILING Steve Carden is seen crowing about Landcorp’s wonderful profit of $51.9 million (Rural News November 21). What a pathetic return for the taxpayer on an investment of $1.5 billion. A listed public company chief executive would be looking for a new job if this were the best that could be achieved. If this is as good as it gets, maybe it’s time for the assets to be sold to farming families who can do better for themselves and their local communities. Wayne Grattan , Otaki

NOT SO KA PAI ABOUT NAME CHANGE COULD STEVE Carden, chief executive of Pamu Farms of NZ, explain why the company’s former name Landcorp has been replaced by one at best unusual and at worst meaningless? How many people in NZ, let alone elsewhere, know what [the name means]?

I wouldn’t know if it weren’t for your headlines. Did the change arise from a government or a Maori directive by stealth? Use of the Maori language – on radio and television, in name changes at polytechnics, colleges, schools, etc, is putting us on the back foot.

The country’s gone mad; English is the most-used language, and bugger-all – if any – Maori language is taught let alone spoken or understood elsewhere. This is making the next genera-

tion oblivious and backward -- unable to speak English properly. As for the haka, it’s the most insulting [thing] any nation could [present] to any opposition.

I am one of four-six generations living in New Zealand and have grown up here, but the powers-thatbe haven’t.  Robert Patterson Banks Peninsula

SMEAR CAMPAIGN CLAIMED NZ DEERSTALKERS Association president Bill O’Leary’s letter (Rural News Nov 7) on the supposed “illegal deer release” in North Taranaki makes a false impression. O’Leary’s accusations of “eco-terrorism” are quite improper and seem to parrot DOC chief executive Lou Sanson’s language. O’Leary seems on a wild-goose chase: several reports from the area indicate Sika deer have been there for at least 20 years and likely longer. In brief, it’s probable there has not been any recent release. Is the alarm call by DOC a clumsy attempt to publicly smear the growing number of people concerned or opposed to 1080? If not, where is the letter that supposedly takes responsibility for the purported release? Sika deer were in the upper Wanganui area in the 1970s. In 40 years it is likely the

forest dwelling Sika could have made their way to North Taranaki, a short distance as a deer strolls. O’Leary is out of order with his “ecoterrorism” rhetoric. In mentioning “anti1080 activists” he stereotypes many New Zealanders as people who are not hunters and a good number are farmers. FarmersAgainst-1080 (FATE) is an organisation which O’Leary should be aware of, but seems not to be. Readers may remember an attempt to smear anti-1080 protesters in an infant formula scare. It turned out it was a person inside the poison industry doing it for financial gain. Mary Molloy Farmers Against 1080 Hari Hari 

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

OPINION 23

Evaluating the optimal use of land DEBATE CONTINUES about what primary sector activities will be ‘best’ for New Zealand. HortNZ has made it clear that elite soils – once market gardens – are disappearing under urban development. But would moving the market gardens to other regions cannibalise other sectors like kiwifruit or dairying? And what impact would result from changes in dairying or drystock farming? The answers are complicated and require an understanding of the biological system. They depend not only on the geographical region under consideration

clearly have substantially different outcomes for the environment. The economic outcome would depend on the milk payout and schedule prices, and on the costs of production and everything else that farmers have to calculate – including the current fixation, fertiliser and supplement), animal protein production (milk or meat) is substantially greater from dairy animals than from meat animals. At the same time, losses of methane are slightly higher with meat, and total nitrogen loss (greenhouse gases, nitrogen gas and nitrate),

Would moving the market gardens to other regions cannibalise other sectors like kiwifruit or dairying? (including infrastructure and market access), but also on the overall goal of NZ – economic, environment, employment, food security? A Massey University professor of grassland science, Tony Parsons, has developed a map to help with understanding changes and make decisions. “A map,” he says, “is a way of presenting the greatest amount of information in a single image. It shows how the system works and so allows one to weigh up objectively what the options for the future might be to achieve a desired outcome.” Maps have been used to find optimal solutions to many problems in micro-economics and behavioural ecology. Professor Parsons has shown that they also have considerable benefits for the ‘wicked problems’ in agriculture that we are now facing. Parsons’ research, published in international journals, at Australasian conferences and in newsletters, has shown that, for example, for a given land area with a total of 150kg/ha of nitrogen (N) inputs in total (from clover

all per hectare, is also higher. Doubling the N input to 300kg/ha in either system would increase products to a small degree, but hugely increase N losses. The use of highmetabolisable energy supplement increases production per hectare and increases methane but reduces N loss. (Note that this applies when the N in the supplement has been considered in the total N inputs and has allowed a reduction in the fertiliser N input.) Parsons’ new research considers the outcome for changes in stocking rate and the effects of altering the land area allocated to dairy in comparison with meat. The maps show that for the land area now under dairying in NZ, a reduction of inputs from a total of 300kg/ ha nitrogen to 150kg/ ha reduces production by about 30%, but total N emissions reduce by almost 70%. Replacing the dairy area with meat production, still at 150 kg/ha of N (noting that this is common for clover fixation) would decrease food production by 65% but more than double the N loss. Different options

and future costs of compliance. Employment and food security are also components important for society. The mapping approach enables the evaluation of different farm systems and has considerable benefit, not

least for policy, including considering the outcome of policies as a cap on inputs or on N losses. Capping N inputs or loss at a specific value of, for instance, N per hectare, could be achieved in either farm system. However, neither of these capping

mechanisms alone would ensure that the best combination of ‘most food production’ and ‘least environmental impact’ is achieved – onfarm, in catchment or for NZ as a whole. The same approach is needed for evaluating the impact of other

enterprises. More research is always necessary as technologies advance and biology changes. • Dr Jacqueline Rowarth is chief scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority. She works with Professor Tony Parsons on nutrient cycling.

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

24 MANAGEMENT

UK retailer eyes $19m of Kiwi R&D TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED in New Zealand could save sheepmeat suppliers to a big UK supermarket chain $19 million annually, says the developer. Techion Group, in Dunedin, says its combining an internet connected device and data

management with veterinary expertise has shown to better manage parasites and drenching programmes. This is the result of a three year R&D project funded by the big UK supermarket chain Sainbury’s and overseen by its lamb development group.

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working and we have been able to help farmers improve how they manage parasites.” The technology enables farmers to send faecal egg counts to a laboratory and quickly get a result to help them decide how to treat their sheep. Greg Mirams, managing director of Techion Group, says “using technology to solve these problems and achieve these goals makes sense”. “Sainsbury’s has helped validate our system which allows farmers to test for worms reliably onfarm themselves, saving time and helping them treat flocks appropriately.” The technology (FECPAKG2) counts worm eggs in faecal samples, helping farmers to more sustainably target

their use of drenching, i.e. using it only when they need to. Says Hodgson, “It’s a more sustainable way of doing things, and we’ve seen massive successes: in some cases farmers have been able to reduce medication without compromising animal performance by as much as 50% in lambs and 80% in ewes.” The work saw about 100 FECPAKG2 units used by farmers in about 1000 tests on 300,000 lambs. The results detected a parasite problem the farmer was unaware of, and the data determined the choice of effective drench. The result was an increase in lamb growth by up to 50% -heavier carcase weights, produced in less time,

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increasing returns on average by $12 - $15 per lamb. The study showed 37% of NZ farmers involved were using ineffective drenches due to previously undetected resistance. This cost each farm about $74,974 per year in lost productivity, or $19 million in Sainsbury’s total lamb supply chain. Says Hodgson, “By working with Techion Group we’ve been able

to highlight drench resistance, keep our farmers informed of the most effective treatments and increase returns”. “Farmers can safeguard animal welfare and meet the expectations of consumers on drug use in animal production. “They can reduce development of drench resistance by using less, better targeted drenches, improve farm profitability and increase flock efficiency.”

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

26 MANAGEMENT

Barns may help overcome public’s dairy concerns NIGEL MALTHUS

AGRIBUSINESS CONSULTANT Keith Woodford is a big fan of composting dairy barns. Speaking at the recent Centre for Dairy Excel-

lence Dairy Barns conference in Timaru, Woodford said dairy farmers are going to have to do “something” to get cows off pasture in late autumn and winter. He says the New Zea-

land community will not allow current dairy practices to continue for the next 20 to 30 years. Woodford says there are various types of dairy barns and no one answer for all.

“I am enthusiastic about composting barns and the solutions they can to provide in NZ. But they are not the only solution, of course.” Woodford found one composting barn that is

working well in NZ, but says there could be three others and “a couple of hundred” in the US. Woodford identified four basic barn farming systems: 24/7 indoor farming with yearKeith Woodford believes public sentiment won’t allow current dairy practices to continue for the next 20-30 years.

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round milking and fully cut-and-carry feeding; indoor-outdoor hybrid with year-round milking; indoor-outdoor with seasonal milking; and offpaddock shelter used only for limited periods of bad weather in a seasonal milking operation. He also identified four basic barn types: composting; freestall barns with separate standing areas and individual bedding stalls; non-composting loafing barns; and slatted-floor barns with effluent bunkers underneath. On his analysis, only composting barns tick all the boxes as suitable and economic for all four farming systems. A fully composting barn has large areas of composting material at least 600mm deep where the cows spend virtually all their time. “It will have roof venting and it will have daily tilling. If those things aren’t occurring it is not going to be a composting barn.” Woodford says the compost should stay in for 12 months. If it has to be pulled out sooner because it is turning into a foul-smelling “anaerobic custard” then the farmer is doing something wrong. “It’s got to smell nice. It’s got to be pretty dry. If you can squeeze water out of it that ain’t compost,” he explained. “There’ll be steam everywhere as you till, because evaporation is where the moisture goes.” There must be some form of waterproof sealing under the 600mm compost, with a drainage system to catch any effluent, although in a properly functioning composting barn nothing

will come out. “All your moisture is going up through the system to the sky. But it won’t work without the right structure -- a decent-shaped roof of at least 18 degrees slope. You’ve got to have internal venting up top and daily tilling.” The compost is tilled by a tractor twice a day, usually when the cows are out being milked. However, tilling also works with robot milking systems in which the cows do not leave the barn. “That’s OK. The cows will get up and get out of the way as you do it. I’ve seen that happening in North America,” Woodford says. He says the benefits of composting barns include cow comfort, clean udders, less lameness compared to freestall, and no liquid waste. He says barns may also mitigate nitrogen leaching and greenhouse gas emissions, although this needs quantification. Added that this should come improved biological efficiency, as measured by the ratio of milk produced per kilo of bodyweight. Woodford concedes that a composting system will not be for everyone; it requires matching the barn structure to the farming system. He warns that systems could change over time and there is no simple answer as to whether it is the structure or the system that comes first. “This is going to have a role for us in NZ. We are going to have to do something to get cows off-paddock in the second half of autumn and winter.” @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

ANIMAL HEALTH 27

Lepto still under-reported PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

LEPTOSPIROSIS IS still severely under-reported, says a researcher of the disease. Dr Jackie Benschop, from Massey University, says this is despite lepto causing illness and death in animals, resulting in lost production. The spotlight came on lepto last week at the International Leptospirosis Society five-day conference in Palmerston North, attended by about 200 people attended from 34 countries. Benschop was among the speakers.

She says one cause of under-reporting is that in the case of extensively farmed animals, farmers expect some losses due to abortion and don’t necessarily determine the true cause. Only when there is a big outbreak or abortion storm is leptospirosis is recognised. “The treatment of animals sick with lepto is fairly standard. Leptospirosis is a bacterium that responds well to penicillin. “We also have good vaccines that work for the strains of lepto we have, so it’s very much a case of prevention rather than

treatment. We know 97 - 99% of our dairy herds are vaccinated but it is not the same for sheep and beef.” Young stock must be vaccinated early, before they come across the bug in the natural environment, Benschop says. “We vaccinate cattle because some strains can cause illness and abortion in cattle. We have seen outbreaks in humans on a dairy farm where the cattle have a hot recent infection of Hardjobovis, and though the humans got sick the cattle did not. They carried their pregnancies right through

IRON IN PIGS

with no ill effects.” Benschop says as farming systems change, new animals are introduced and existing ones produce different products, the incidence of leptospirosis needs to be watched closely. She cites sheep milking as an example of such a change. The environment in a sheep milking shed is similar to that in a cow shed where there is a risk of contamination from lepto via the urine of the animal with the disease. The same applies where animals are intensively farmed, making transmission of the disease more likely. “An interesting thing for us at the moment is

A VETERINARY science student at West Australia’s Murdoch University is collaborating with industry to tackle iron deficiency in pigs. Nicole McSeveney, from Murdoch’s school of veterinary and life sciences, is studying the effectiveness of iron supplementation on commercial farms in preventing iron deficiency in piglets. In commercial swine production, piglets are at risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia in their first few weeks of life due to low levels of iron reserves at birth, combined with rapid growth and an iron-deficient milk diet from the sow. “To help keep piglets healthy, they are usually given an iron supplement via intramuscular injection at two-three days of age,” McSeveny says. “The dose and timing of the iron supplement can vary across production systems. However, a review of the current scientific literature has highlighted that the usual recommended dose of 200mg iron dextran may not be sufficient to reduce the risk of iron deficiency anaemia for pigs housed indoors.” Preventing iron deficiency is an important goal for producers because of potential economic losses. Iron deficiency anaemia can lead to reduced growth, cognitive impairment and reduced antibody synthesis, making pigs more susceptible lifelong to diarrhoea and other diseases. McSeveney is completing her research as part of Murdoch’s new doctor of veterinary medicine course.

the outbreak in alpacas, which is a new and emerging species,” she says. This is highlighted by changes in regard to leptospirosis over the last 30 or so years. Back then it was by and large a dairy disease and found in meat works. Today it affects all animals, hence the need for greater awareness. Now the disease has spread wider than farms, infecting rural people not working on farms. Benschop attributes this to the disease spreading during floods; this and other changes require new avenues of research. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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28 ANIMAL HEALTH

The health and longevity of commercial rams is an area where farmers can make a big impact.

Getting the best from ram genetics DAVE ROBERTSON

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THE HEALTH and longevity of commercial ram teams is an area where farmers can spend a small amount of time and attention to make a big impact. Healthy rams that last allow more focus on culling for production-based traits, rather than preventable ill thrift or diseases that are not genetic. In the Beef + Lamb Genetics ram health and husbandry study we identified some key reasons for ram losses, many of which are not due to the genetics but rather the management and husbandry of those ram teams. Below is a summary of some of those areas and some management practices that may improve the outcomes for ram teams. 1. Body condition (BCS) In the study rams lost on average 13% of body weight over mating, seemingly a reasonable amount to lose. However, many rams were losing 20 - 30% of body weight over the mating period. These rams had slower recovery of that condition and higher death and culling rates. This body condition loss was not bred-specific, but farm specific, i.e. certain farms pushed rams harder regardless of whether they were terminal or maternal types. If ewes lost

a small amount of BCS over mating then ram teams lost more than 13%. 2. Parasitism Parasite burdens on rams were very high in mixed-age good condition rams pre-mating. Add to a worm burden the stress of mating and body condition loss, then it is fair to assume worm burden will have a significant impact on ram health and recovery of BCS post mating. Recommendation: • Get rams in good condition pre-mating: BCS 3.5. Fitness of rams also can make a difference. One suggestion for exercising rams was to train the pup on rams for 1-2months prior to going out. • Drench with an effective combination drench and boost with minerals (B12, Se, Iodine) pre-tup. • Post-mating drench again on removal from ewes. Check feet (see feet section below). • Make feeding a priority over the winter to recover BCS to help get immune function back on track, e.g. 100kg will need at least 3kgDM daily to gain weight and this will ideally have some quality green feed or ever concentrates. Ideal liveweight varies widely in rams (90 - 150kg). Therefore rams that have 130kg optimal weight will have almost 50% higher maintenance feed requirements than rams that are 90kg at optimum. This may be part of the reason for big

sheep ‘not lasting’. 3. Teeth Excessive tooth wear or broken mouths were associated with ill thrift and deaths and were a main reason for culling. Recommendation • Checking teeth of rams twice yearly pre-mating and prior to working ram purchases for next year. • Tooth wear is influenced by age and the grazing pressure applied to stock. Running rams on longer pasture covers is likely to improve BCS and reduce tooth wear. 4. Feet One of the main reasons for early culling of rams was feet issues -mainly infectious foot problems such as footrot or foot abscess. There was a wide range of opinion and attitudes toward hoof care in rams, however farmers in the survey and the ram study who made hoof prevention a priority with rams had less culling for feet related issues. Recommendation: • Eradicate footrot from the ram team. This is possible as they are an isolated group for 10 months of the year, but is not easily achieved in some cases. Inspect feet whenever the opportunity arises, ideally three times per year. Pre- and post-mating is most critical: two clear inspections at least 30 days apart are required to TO PAGE 29


RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

ANIMAL HEALTH 29

Mouldy feed threatens animal health PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

MYCOTOXINS THREATEN animal health and producer profits, so identifying and addressing these hidden challenges is important for farmers. The Alltech 37+ test now identifies five extra mycotoxins that can threaten animal health and producer profitability. The testing is available to New Zealand farmers, but it is done in Ireland, an Alltech NZ representative says. At least 140 samples have been sent from NZ with interesting results. Alltech claims to be a world leader in mycotoxin management and says it can test for at least 40 different mycotoxins in animal feed samples. With this new analytical capability, the com-

pany can detect new mycotoxins and help farmers understand how these may impact animal performance and health.   Alltech 37+ test results provide a realistic picture of contaminants in feed ingredients or total mixed rations. This can help speed up the process of diagnosis. Alltech laboratories in Lexington, Kentucky, and Dunboyne, Ireland, they have run nearly 20,000 samples, each searching for at least 37 mycotoxins.  Mycotoxins are natural substances produced by moulds. All natural materials and many manmade ones may be contaminated by moulds and, when temperature and moisture are conducive, these fungi proliferate and may produce mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of

moulds, so they are not produced by mould all the time, but most commonly when the mould is ‘stressed’ -- sometimes as a form of defence. Mould stressors may include drought, excess moisture and plant disease. Although stressful conditions that lead to mycotoxins are unavoid-

able in the natural world, actions are possible to minimise the risk to animals. Mycotoxins are also toxic, i.e. they can harm animal health via contaminated feedstuffs, causing loss of performance and profits. To learn more, visit www. knowmycotoxins.com

INFAMOUS FIVE RESEARCHERS HAVE recently found five more mycotoxins of concern to farmers. These and their symptoms are: • Citrinin: kidney damage, oxidative stress, gut health challenges, diarrhoea/ loose manure • Beauvericin: oxidative stress, antimicrobial activity, contamination of milk/ meat

• Moniliformin: heart damage, immune suppression, loss of performance • Citreoviridin: vitamin B1 deficiency, immune suppression, oxidative stress, poor reproductive performance, reduced weight gain Cyclopiazonic acid: • GIT damage, oxidative stress, immune suppression, loss of performance.

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Scanda gets your lambs and calves off to a good start. The dual combination oxfendazole/levamisole drench controls parasites and tapeworm, and with just a 10-day meat-withholding period, there’s just a short wait to get your animals on the truck.

RAM GENETICS FROM PAGE 28

deem a group clear of footrot. • Troughing in zinc sulfate during wet conditions will help reduce the scald. Rams leading up to mating seemed to have higher incidence of lameness, so 7-14 day troughing cycles leading up to mating will prevent simple infections becoming abscesses/footrot. Part of the fitness-pup training program. • Aside from mating, selecting drier paddocks or areas where rams can camp out of the moisture will reduce infection rates. • Treating feet lesions early with systemic antibiotics and topical spray will give best recovery rates. Some will require careful paring to relieve infection and allow healing. Hoof abscesses occur when simple lesions are neglected. Once into the joint an abscess will not respond to antibiotics. 5. Other Get your rams vet checked annually. Testicular lesions are not uncommon and brucellosis can have a devastating effect on a flock. Boost with 5 in 1 every year. This is a very simple way to prevent sudden death in rams. Fly protection, especially around the head pre-summer and late summer. Social pressures. Injuries from fighting are not uncommon, but can be reduced by keeping a stable mob dynamic and mix mixing rams. New two-tooth rams are best kept separate until after mating if possible. • Dave Robertson is a vet at Oamaru Veterinary Centre.

FROM LAMBS AND CALVES.

Check out our websites ELE-01950-RN

www.ruralnews.co.nz www.dairynews.co.nz ACVM No’s: A7130, A7368,A10249. ® Registered Trademarks. Schering-Plough Animal Health Ltd. Phone 0800 800 543. NZ/ALCE/0716/0009

TO SHEEP AND CATTLE.


RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

30 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

A voyage first class

The new Discovery is described as: “A car that drives like a Range Rover, but has the ability of a Defender.”

colour, touch-screen display in the centre console. There’s a modern feel, with entertainment, navigation, telephony and vehicle settings all readily accessible and many submenus close at hand. For drivers predisposed to fiddling there are hours of settings to play with, but this plain steak and chips man prefers to select drive and get going. The 3.0L V6 turbo diesel runs as quietly TO PAGE 31

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switchgear from the ailing Rover Group -- the same as used in the dire Maestro and Montego models. Wind the clock forward 27 years and you get a vehicle still based on the Range Rover and Range Rover sport, but now using a unibody construction, aluminium and a weight saving of 480kg over its predecessor. Our test vehicle in stunning Firenze Red, was sitting on 20-inch rims, had its air-bag suspension at the lowest position and looked a stunning piece of engineering. Hopping in is a breeze and you’re soon settled in the 12-way adjustable seats that offer comfort and support. The push-button start fires everything up, with conventional dials straight ahead and a full

MA DE

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 31

Valtra wins 2018 tractor gong markd@ruralnews.co.nz

THE VALTRA T254 Versu won the coveted Tractor of the Year 2018 (TOTY) and Best Design 2018 awards at Agritechnica 17 last month in Hannover, Germany. Chosen by 23 journalists representing 24 European agricultural magazines, TOTY recognises innovation, technology and performance. “The Valtra sets a new standard in intuitive operation and offers high levels of comfort, performance, efficiency and versatility,” the jury said. “The SmartTouch armrest with 9-inch touch screen, the multi-function drive lever and the new hydraulic joystick offers the most straightforward user interface in the sector, allowing the driver to control and adjust settings for the engine, transmission, hydraulics, guidance and telemetry.” The latest model of the T Series, the Valtra T254 Versu (271hp), launched in June 2017, is described as an arable workhorse that, with

SmartTouch, brings precision farming tools to the same user interface as the tractor controls. The new armrest control is said to increase the productivity of any tractor/implement combination while lightening the workload for the driver. Separate profiles can be assigned for individual drivers or tasks, with settings automatically saved to the active profile. A 5-step powershift transmission has four main and two creeper ranges for a total of 30 speeds in both directions; shifting is effortless whether operated automatically or manually with the drive lever. The T254 Versu also has a hill-hold feature for uphill starts using just the throttle pedal, and patented hydraulics assistant that provides more hydraulic output automatically, whether stationary or driving, with no effect on speed. An intelligent drive lever gives speed increases by pushing forward and decreases by pulling back, keeping acceleration in full con-

First class FROM PAGE 30

as any petrol engine and delivers 190kW and a grunty 600 Nm torque, so getting a wriggle on is no trouble. Progress is smooth, with changes in the 8-speed transmission barely detectable and, of course, flappy paddles ahead of the steering wheel for those who feel the need. The ride is superb, with the car displaying stability at all times, whether driven sedately or hustled, as was shown remarkably well when pushed hard over the Kopu-Hikuai road at the south end of the Coromandel. Mrs D emerged without any comments – now that’s a first. Going back to the price, look at what you get: 12-way heated seats, three-zone climate control, heated windscreen and washers, cornering brake control, air suspension, gradient acceleration assist, hill-descent control with off-road ABS, push button entry and start, Terrain Response 2 and a whole lot more we can’t remember. Space for seven, in all seats – no worries. Up to 2406L of space with the seat lowered – no worries. Snow, ice, gravel, rocks, mud, and tarmac – no worries. With clever stuff like the terrain response, all-wheel drive, locking diffs and traction control. LRNZ’s brand manager summed up the new Discovery as, “A car that drives like a Range Rover but has the ability of a Defender”. Enough said.

trol at all times. There is no switch to change between lever and pedal mode, as they work in prefect sync all the time. Driving with the drive lever is a new feature that provides more flexibil-

ity for the operator, and is said to make the Valtra Versu models the only powershift tractors in the world that enable full operation using only the drive lever. www.valtra.com.au

When it comes to hay equipment we go the extra mile to ensure you get better performance.

The Valtra T254 Versu won the coveted Tractor of the Year 2018 (TOTY) and Best Design 2018 awards at Agritechnia 17 in Germany last month.

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

32 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Wings help irrigators not to fly markd@ruralnews.co.nz

A CANTERBURY FARMER and an inventor have devised a means of securing irrigators in high

in New Zealand -- about 500,000ha. Irrigation contributes $5.4 billion to the national economy, 2.4% to GDP and has created work for 7600 people in

winds without the drag of anchors or ballast. Irrigators have changed the look of the Canterbury landscape and the region now has 65% of all the irrigated land

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MARK DANIEL

Beating irrigator wind damage are (from left) manufacturer Peter Lynn and farmers Daniel Lovett and John Clarkson from Lovett Family Farms beside an irrigator with a wing fitted.

s

dairying in Canterbury. Irrigation systems are at risk in wind storms, as seen in the widespread destruction during the storm of 2012. Greg Lovett, of Lovett Family Farms, grows cereals, vegetables and fruit, relying heavily on irrigation. He shudders when you mention 2012, having lost nearly 50% of his irrigation capacity; the resultant production losses influenced his business for many months. Traditionally when bad weather is forecast and time allows, irrigators are aligned with the wind direction and fixed by ground anchors or ballast such as tractors. Lovett wanted a better way than this labourintensive practice, so he imagined the ‘grounding’ effect and downforce cre-

As with many good ideas, the simplicity hides a great deal of design detail in the delta-shaped wing that is mounted using a universal bracket to each of the towers on the irrigator set-up. Mounting is said to be a oneman job, requiring a drill and a couple of spanners. ated by the wings fitted to the roofs and rear of race cars. He and Peter Lynn, a kitesurfing manufacturer and expert in aerodynamics, have developed a yet-to-be-named downforce wing, proven over a three-year development period and now about to go into production. As with many good ideas, the simplicity hides

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a great deal of design detail in the delta-shaped wing that is mounted using a universal bracket to each of the towers on the irrigator set-up. Mounting is said to be a one-man job, requiring a drill and a couple of spanners. The wing is made from 2.5mm steel plate, galvanised and held in place on the universal

bracket with four large U-bolts. It was tested in wind speeds up to 120km/h, with load cells indicating a downforce of about 360kg – more than enough to resist toppling. The design is said to work at any wind angle, even when airflow is longitudinal across the irrigator, where downforce is still positive at about 30kg. A patent is pending; 22 attributes are cited in the application. The first 100 units are in production, priced at about 5% of a span’s cost -- about $1500 per unit (yet to be confirmed). Testing suggests that subject to local conditions lateral irrigators will only need a single wing per upright; pivot systems will need a wing on each side of the tower.

Jarred L’amie | HiSpec Manager 07 823 3765 | 027 203 5022

www.gaz.co.nz


RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 33

Wheat world record holder goes Dutch MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

GROWING A world record crop of wheat can be about seedbed, planting and harvest, but the husbandry between the second and last event can have a marked effect on the result. Eric and Maxine Watson hold the world record with a crop they grew on their 600ha property just outside Ashburton, achieving an impressive yield of 16.791 tonnes/ha in 2016. A big part of their crop care regime was based on a Dutch-built Agrifac Condor self-propelled sprayer with 5000L capacity and 32m booms, which earned its keep covering 15,000ha during three seasons. For the 2017 campaign, the Watson’s have upgraded to a new Agrifac Endurance unit, with 8000L capac-

ity and 48m booms. This should lend itself to a new format of liquid fertiliser application by offering greater daily capacity, which can be hampered by short spraying windows on the coastal property. Powered by a 6-cylinder Volvo engine coupled to a fully hydrostatic drive system, the machine is based on a patented Stabilo Plus chassis that offers stepless track adjustment up to 100cm and ground clearance of 125cm for the tallest crops. The chassis has self-levelling airbag suspension that provides a smooth comfortable ride. But more importantly it helps carry the 48m J-section boom level and with no visible yaw, at application speeds up to 36km/h. On the road a maximum speed of 50km/h allows rapid transit between sites, while truck-spec air brakes bring

For the 2017 campaign, the Watson’s have upgraded to a new Agrifac Endurance unit, with 8000L capacity and 48m booms.

it to a safe halt. Meanwhile, the time-consuming task of refilling is done by the Hydro Fill Plus system, a separate system with a drop-down filler that can deliver 800 - 1500L/minute. The main spray pump, dubbed Green Flow Plus, combines with a high-speed regulator and self-cleaning filter set-up to achieve outputs up to 380L/min. The Watson’s machine also uses a Hi-Flow air system on the nozzles to

control droplet size to eliminate drift irrespective of wind conditions. The quiet, comfortable Claassourced Vista 2 cabin has an air suspension seat that makes life comfortable, and full automation for machine and spray element control. RTK guidance gives 2cm accuracy from an on-farm base station, to keep everything on track. During Rural News’ visit in early November, Watson was applying fun-

gicide at 100L of water per hectare, so achieving 80ha per fill, but interestingly only using 1200 engine rpm to achieve 14km/h and 55ha/hr; fuel use was 18L/hr. “This machine has quality build and is easy to operate with its simple engineering solutions,” Watson says about his new purchase. “Upsizing to 8000L and 48m booms will allow us to cover about 200ha/day easily.”

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RURAL NEWS // DECEMBER 5, 2017

34 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS / RURAL TRADER ❱❱ Feeders available from 2 bales to 24m3 ❱❱ Universal stock feeders-feed all feed types

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On your bike! MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

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ANYONE WITH a few grey hairs will remember the three-wheeled motorcycles with balloon tyres, operated by the baddies in the 1971 James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever. One year later – in 1972 – Blue Wing Honda, New Zealand’s importer and distributor of genuine Honda motorcycles, founded a business selling on- and off-road

IF YOU’RE handy in the farm workshop and can wield a hammer or work a welder, hear a word of caution before you decide to give your latest creation a lick of paint. If you have a penchant for green and yellow, be beware. A US District Court in Kentucky has just ruled in favour of global giant John Deere in a lawsuit taken to protect the use of the trademark green and yellow combination seen on its agricultural equipment. The decision found in favour of Deere and Co against agricul-

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e.g. 43 continuous years with the Young Farmer of the Year competition and the Dairy Industry Awards. Now in its 45th year, Blue Wing is looking for the best onfarm story or photo that shows how Honda’s offroad machines fit so well into the NZ farming way of life. One lucky storyteller will ride away with a new Honda XR 190 farm bike worth $5500. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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machines. This helped spawn the market for the quad, the machine that would become a must-have for farmers. Heavily involved in supplying farmers ever since, Honda consistently enjoys the number-one spot. This has been helped by over 50 dealers from Kaitaia to Bluff who in turn support their local communities with many trail ride events. Blue Wing Honda has supported the rural sector with sponsorships,

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tural sprayer manufacturer Fimco Incorporated, on the basis that it infringed the trademark established in the well-known colour combination. This is part of JD’s “ongoing, vigorous effort to protect its trademark and intellectual property”; the court ruled, “The JD green/yellow combo has qualified as a trademark since as early as the late 1960s, and the transgressor chose the scheme to create an association with the famous brand”. It also said the use of the com-

bination was likely to confuse prospective purchasers as to whether the product was made or endorsed by JD. The case concluded with Fimco ordered to desist from using the combination in any manufacturing, distribution or marketing activities of its products within the US. In NZ it shouldn’t be a problem, although one company’s product range might be a little close to the mark. In any case, we all know that red machines go faster, but it might be a problem for our Aussie friends.

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RURAL TRADER 35 Rubber Safety Matting

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Rural News 5 December 2017  

Rural News 5 December 2017