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Fodder beet has ‘changed’ beef farming. PAGE 26

Innovative, second-generation sprayer. PAGE 30

New Beef + Lamb chairman steps up PAGE 14


Mystery persists SUDESH KISSUN

MANY MONTHS after the outbreak of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, the source of incursion remains a mystery and despite a cull of 22,000 cows now underway eradication remains only possible. Experts appointed by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to look at possible entry routes of the disease couldn’t confirm imported frozen semen as the source; MPI has focussed on imported semen as the source of

M.bovis. The technical advisory group (TAG) was split on the possibility of successfully eradicating the disease. They looked at imported semen, live animal imports, bovine feed and imported used equipment as possible sources. “In the case of this M.bovis introduction, all the entry mechanisms that can be postulated are improbable, yet one of them resulted in entry,” the group’s report says. It notes that New Zealand has a long history of importing about 250,000 straws of semen each year for

several decades. “If semen was likely to be a pathway for the introduction of M.bovis then it would be reasonable to expect this organism to be endemic and widespread in the country.” On eradication, the TAG says on the basis of data presented to it eradication is “technically feasible” and is the preferred option. Despite clear links between infected properties, the extent of the infection, complexity of diagnostic tests and deficiencies in record-keeping on animal movements will make the task of eradication difficult and expensive.

A minority of TAG members believe successful eradication is questionable due to the likelihood of undetected spread since (possibly) 2015, the scale of tracing required and the failure of NAIT to fully track animal movements. MPI’s director of response, Geoff Gwyn, says a range of options remain for consideration before a final decision can be made on eradication. “There is critical work being done to model the potential spread of Mycoplasma bovis under different scenarios and in understanding the costs and benefits of decisions on eradication. “We are confident the disease is not well established in NZ and we now need to complete our analysis and planning.” Last week MPI said it had searched three locations related to potential breaches of legislation related to the M.bovis response. Such breaches could relate to the Biosecurity Act in regards to importing genetic material – semen, embryos or drugs. Since the M.bovis outbreak many claims have been made about how the disease entered NZ, including semen imports and secret importing and use of induction drugs by farmers. (NZ has banned cow inductions since 2015).


AGRICULTURE MINISTER Damien O’Connor says while, on paper, the NAIT system is very good, he blames the present low level of farmer compliance on the previous government which he claims ignored warnings about this issue. He says a big part of tracking down the spread of M.bovis was reliance on the NAIT system, but lack of farmer compliance slowed this process. “There will be changes to the system and recommendations have been put forward. MPI needs to act quickly in situations like this,” he told Rural News. “In future we have to ensure there is compliance with NAIT at every level and ruthlessly enforce those requirements because the costs to the taxpayer and industry have been huge in terms of M.bovis.” O’Connor sees no issues with NZ’s trading partners over M bovis. They value the way NZ is upfront in dealing with the issue. • More on page 7

Shear guts

Veteran shearer John Herlihy (left) and three of his sons – Mark, Craig and Dean – step up to do their part during their 24-hour Shearathon that last month raised $44,000 for Lifeline, Christchurch’s He Waka Tapu, Through the Other Side Trust and the Taranaki Retreat Trust. The Taranaki Herlihy family is well known in shearing circles, veteran shearer John having been joined in the industry by all six of his sons. They were only a couple of weeks away from attempting a unique brothers’ shearing record in early 2016 when the youngest, Michael (20) took his own life. The family responded by organising their first Shearathon, in Taranaki in 2017, raising $23,000 for charity. More on page 10


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Fonterra has little clout with Beingmate SUDESH KISSUN

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HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print CONTACTS

FONTERRA’S LACK of majority control over troubled Chinese company Beingmate is hindering efforts to turn it around. Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says the co-op has been transforming its businesses around the world with great success. He points to Australia where after losing money for years the business returned to profitability last year. “We do know how to transform,” he says. But Fonterra’s problem with Beingmate is that it owns only 18.8% of the company. In Australia, the co-op owns 100% of the business. “It’s easier to transform a 100% owned company than one where we only own 18.8%,” says Spierings. “We have only 18.8% stake of [Beingmate] so we are not the only one at the table.” Spierings says Fonterra is using its

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two directors on the Beingmate board to “protect the company going forward”. Fonterra’s board has approved a $405 million impairment (write-down) in its half-year results announced recently, valuing its stake in the infant formula trader at $204m. The co-op paid $750m for its stake in 2014. The write-down is causing angst among Fonterra’s farmer shareholders. At Fonterra shareholder meetings last week, farmers grilled directors and management on Beingmate. Waikato

Federated Farmers president Andrew McGiven, who attended the Te Aroha meeting, told Rural News there were a lot of questions around the Beingmate saga. He says farmers are keen to know what the board and management are doing to address the issue. Spierings, who will leave the co-op by the end of this year, believes Fonterra’s business in China remains strong despite the Beingmate setback. He defended the decision to choose Beingmate, saying it was “at that time the number-one infant for-



Theo Spierings and John Wilson face the music over Beingmate at half year result announcement.

mula player in China”. Fonterra chairman John Wilson says shareholders and unitholders are rightfully disappointed with the $405m write-down. “Beingmate’s continued under-performance is unacceptable,” he says. “The turnaround of the [business] is a key priority for our senior management team. “The opportunity in the Chinese infant formula market remains, as does the potential for our Beingmate partnership; but an immediate business transformation is needed for Beingmate to benefit from the ongoing changes in the market.” Spierings accepts that the recovery of the investment in Beingmate “is the number-one immediate priority”. “To be blunt, the investment in Beingmate has not gone the way we expected and there are things we would do differently knowing what we know now. We are focused on doing all we can to get things where they need to be,” Spierings says.

THE OPPORTUNITY for high-quality wool carpets in the world beyond New Zealand and Australia is massive, says Cavalier Corporation chief executive Paul Alston. Cavalier announced last week it is revamping its export focus to significantly grow its business internationally beyond its traditional markets in

NZ and Australia. “We do sell at the moment into the US, Canada, the UK and Europe and a bit into Asia. It is only a small part of our business but we are looking to have more focus in that area, particularly more products, and we are just making plans about how we do that,” Alston explained to Rural News. “The world is a big place and... how we target that market is in the early stages of planning. But we will move

forward as quickly as we can now the company is on the right trajectory.” International sales functions beyond the Australian market will be returned to NZ, Alston says. An experienced salesperson who was the company’s general manager international based in Australia is doing the rest of the world role. That function is being returned to NZ. “Coming back to NZ there is a refocus; we are doing research and will be

targeting the rest of the world in what we see is an area of growth.” They are looking to “potentially change the way we do things”. Cavalier in February reported firsthalf net profit of $1 million in the six months ending December 31 following restructuring and plant rationalisation. This followed a loss of $2.1m in the financial year to June 30 2017.



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THE SUPPLY and demand of global dairy products is well balanced, claims Fonterra. However, increased production out of Europe in the coming months may cause some price volatility. Speaking at the co-op’s half-year result announcement two weeks ago, Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings noted demand from China, Asia and Latin America was strong. Imports into China were up 13% over the last 12 months; between October and December 2017, imports were up 16%. “We are seeing double digit growth in China; a couple of years ago there was a different picture -- only single digit growth,” he says. Imports into Asia, normally up 2-3%, were up 4% in the last 12 months; Latin America was up 5%. Spierings says everyone expected South America to become an exporter; but the region still remains a net importer. “Which only balances out the fact that Russia is still closed (trade embargo) and we don’t see any change anytime soon,” he says. On the production side, there is only moderate growth: US was up 1% in the last 12 months and NZ only 1%, but milk production dropped sharply between October and December last year. In Europe, production has lifted in recent months because of high prices but Spierings says milk prices are tumbling. The current spot price for milk in Europe is 20 Euro cents, versus a normal price of about 40 Euro cents. He says extra milk out of Europe will end up in the commodities market, impacting the price of milk powders. “That’s something we must watch out for,” he says.

A WORLD BEATER FONTERRA CHIEF executive Theo Spierings says the total payout made to NZ farmers is the highest in the world. Spierings says when China came into the picture about 2007, NZ assumed a much more prominent role in the global market. “There was much more demand for NZ products into China,” he says. “Milk prices in the US and the EU are falling but in NZ prices are rising; that’s positive news. “The total NZ payout is the highest in the world, which is good for the farmers.”



Great year, but it’s not forever “Lamb hasn’t come back to the pre-GFC price and probably won’t do so for some time, but we are seeing lamb prices staying relatively strong for the near future.”


MPI’S PREDICTION that 2018 would be a great year for primary industry exports has proven correct. In its March Situation and Outlook report, MPI is forecasting a 10.8% increase in primary exports over last year, bringing earnings from the sector to $42.2 billion – nearly $6b up on last year. This is the largest annual increase since 2014. MPI’s director of sector policy, Jarred Mair, says the rise is due to a recovery in dairy prices, rising red meat prices and strong performances in forestry and horticulture. The only blip is in wool prices, which remain sluggish. Lamb and beef prices are holding well with strong demand from the US, Mair says. “Lamb hasn’t come back to the pre-GFC price and probably won’t do so for some time, but we are seeing lamb prices staying relatively strong for the near future. Because beef is more of a global product than lamb it is doing very well. We are seeing good demand for beef globally and good prices for premium cuts in the US.” Meanwhile, Mair says beef exports to Japan are likely to be among the big beneficiaries of the CPTPP. Despite a difficult season weather-wise, dairy exports 201718 will be $16.7 billion, not $16.8b as MPI predicted in December. The report says milk production overall will be down

new Gold licences they are projecting 7000 new hectares of kiwifruit over the next five to seven

mary enterprises are also contributing more -- in both the area of land entering production and

Levy Referendum Consultation 2018

Jarred Mair

by about 1% this season. But in Taranaki it will be down by about 9%, reflecting the “bizarre weather conditions there”. The report notes the continuing decline in cow numbers in dairy: since 2016 cow numbers have dropped about 220,000. But this is unlikely to impact production as farms become more efficient and better genetics are used to improve per cow performance. “This started back in 2014 when people started to cull a bit more and then we had these rolling droughts that saw farmers drop their animal numbers,” Mair explains. “But now they are realising they can still produce pretty good numbers from smaller herds so we are seeing greater efficiency on farm.” The report warns dairy farmers that environmental policy is likely to restrict cow numbers and

years – so really strong growth for the next decade.” Mair says Maori pri-

the move to higher value products by Maori companies. But he adds a caution: the dairy industry needs to remain aware of rising milk production in the European Union, and all sectors must be aware of the threats posed by new synthetic food products.

the amount of land available for dairying. It predicts that growth will need to come more from productivity increases and higher value products. Forestry has performed strongly in the past year -- log exports have risen 30% since 2015 -- but this growth may not continue due to log mills closing in China. Mair says, predictably, that horticulture has contributed much much to the boost in primary exports and this will continue. “All three – kiwifruit, pipfruit and wine – are doing really well. We haven’t seen the return on investment for the pipfruit sector yet because they planted two million trees over the last couple of seasons and that has still to come into production,” he told Rural News. “But we are seeing significant growth in kiwifruit. With the sale of

In April-May 2018 commercial potato growers will be able to vote on whether to renew the compulsory levy on potatoes grown in New Zealand. Consultation Meetings Consultation meetings will be held in Whangarei, Pukekohe, Ohakune, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Darfield, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru & Invercargill. Please see PNZ website for dates, venues and times. Key dates: 24 April 2018 – voting opens 25 May 2018 – voting closes 12:00 noon Who is entitled to vote? All active commercial potato growers are entitled to vote. Active commercial potato growers are those persons or businesses that are actively engaged in the commercial production of potatoes. Voting Eligibility To be eligible to vote in the Potatoes New Zealand Inc., Levy Referendum your business must have paid a Commodity Levy to Potatoes New Zealand Inc. for the year to 31 March 2018. Voting Methods You may vote in ONE of two ways: INTERNET VOTE or POSTAL VOTE. More information To find out more please visit



Fonterra’s $8 million man to exit this year




OUTGOING FONTERRA chief executive Theo Spierings has hinted his next job may not be high profile. On what’s next after the end of his seven-year reign at Fonterra, Spierings says his “what’s next will be a focus on a better world rather than a bigger job”. Fonterra’s board is searching for his replacement, as announced last week during the co-op’s half-year result media conference in Auckland. The co-op revealed a net loss of $348 million for half-year ending January 2018, having paid $183m compensation to rival Danone and taken $405m impairment on its Chinese joint venture with Beingmate. Fonterra chairman John Wilson says Spierings’ departure is not linked to the Beingmate saga. He says Spierings will continue to drive the co-op strategy in the coming months “with special emphasis on China”.

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Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings will leave the co-op later this year.

“The board and Theo are committed to a high-quality transition to a new chief executive and when we have more information on timing we will let our farmers and the wider market know,” says Wilson. “Until then it is business as usual with the focus on driving returns to our farmers and unitholders.”

Spierings will work towards “a high quality handover”. He referred to his exit from Fonterra as “an awkward moment that doesn’t happen too often in life”. But in big companies it is normal to look at succession plans, he says. “When I came I said ‘I see Fonterra as the envy of the dairy world’; actually that’s

what it is. We are the highest paying co-op in terms of cash payout in the world and I’m extremely proud of it.” Spierings admits not everything has gone according to plan over the last seven years. The controversial Beingmate investment in China remains an issue. Spierings says choosing Beingmate was the right decision in 2014, when it was China’s leading local infant nutrition brand; the founder and majority shareholder Xie Hong had been named entrepreneur of the year. “Yes, that was the right decision but we have certainly learnt lessons since then. “China evolves very quickly; to have an 18.8% stake in a publicly listed company in China with regulations increasing pretty quickly is not easy, to say it mildly.” Spierings says Beingmate and its founder were also slow to embrace e-commerce. However, Fonterra is not looking for a new partner in the infant formula sector in China





September 2011 – Theo Spierings joins Fonterra as its new chief executive. August 2013 – False botulism scare involving whey protein 2015 – $8.40/kgMS milk payout is the highest in the co-op’s history. 2015 – Farmers reject Fonterra’s recommendation to limit use of palm kernel expeller (PKE) on farms; co-op criticised for lack of farmer consultation. 2017 – Fonterra ordered to pay $138 million compensation to Danone over false botulism scare. 2018 – Investment in Beingmate unravels; $404 million impairment leaves farmers fuming.



M.bovis cull the ‘only way’ – O’Connor PETER BURKE

‘IT WAS the only way forward,’ says the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, on the decision to slaughter more than 22,000 cows with M.bovis. He says farmers facing their animals’ slaughter are in a terrible situation, but in the end it’s a “hard decision that had to be made if we are to eradicate this disease”. The numbers will set a New Zealand record. Other such slaughter occurred in 1978 when 1900 sheep were suspected of having scrapie during research on Mana Island, and in February 1981 when 880 pigs were killed at Temuka because of suspected foot and mouth disease. O’Connor says because of this M.bovis, all industry-good organisations and farmers must change their approach to biosecurity. The cost to taxpayers and the country is huge and NZ cannot afford a repeat, he says. “This is a very serious event; I don’t think we have had such a cull in the history of NZ agriculture, but we are doing it to eradicate the disease,” he

graded as normal and told Rural News. mainly exported. “We have been work“We have to make sure ing through this with the we can eliminate the risk industry and many people of any further infections have called for a cull.... from those properties. We have tested all the The farmers are limited herds and finally got to a in what they can do with position where we can say the animals,” he says. it is not endemic in NZ.” “Ultimately they can O’Connor says all the Agricultural Minister only send them to slaughinfections can be traced Damien O’Connor. ter, but some have kept back to the two hubs of infection – the Zeestraten property at on milking and that has been producWinton (currently understood as the ing ongoing income for the farmers. “But we have moved quickly to earliest source of infection) and the Van Leeuwen property at Waimate. If they had not been able to trace the outbreak of M.bovis back to these two hubs, it would have been very hard to FARMERS WIDELY support the decieradicate it. sion to cull 22 more herds. So far dairy cattle in five herds have DairyNZ says it supports MPI’s been slaughtered, but this latest decidecision to cull all cattle on properties sion will see 22 more herds slaughinfected with M. bovis. Although this is a tered. Thirty more farms are on hard step for farmers, it is an important ‘restricted notice’ while tests are done move towards eradicating the disease and other herds may need slaughterfrom NZ. ing. Carol Barnao, of DairyNZ, says this O’Connor reiterates there are no is never an easy decision to make. food safety or quality issues with aniRemoving these animals from the 28 mals infected with M.bovis and they infected properties is considered and can be slaughtered at freezing works,

slaughter these cows to avoid the risk of movement from the farms during the winter and any further spread of M bovis.” With their animals gone, farms must be ‘cleaned’ before they can be restocked. O’Connor is taking advice from a technical group on this and says it may be six weeks – probably longer – before animals are allowed back on infected farms. “This will be devastating for many people who own the farms or who own the animals. “The Biosecurity Act ensures they

get fair compensation but it still doesn’t mean the people who have bred animals will not be really upset at losing their stock. “I also understand the position of staff, such as sharemilkers on some of the farms. The compensation part of the Act says that a person should be no better or worse off, so loss of income is able to be claimed under the compensation provisions of the Biosecurity Act.” However, O’Connor concedes it’s a complex process and may take longer than some people would like.

INDUSTRY SUPPORT sensible, but nobody should underestimate the effect on farmers losing herds they’ve managed for years. Kimberly Crewther, of the Dairy Companies Association NZ (DCANZ), welcomes MPI’s confidence that M. bovis is not well established in NZ. The national surveillance has required huge effort and DCANZ is pleased to see it contributing the information necessary for making response decisions. Beef + Lamb NZ says MPI’s cull deci-

sion gives clarity to farmers living with uncertainty. BLNZ spokesman Dave Harrison acknowledges the very trying few months endured by the affected farmers -- restricted from trading, bearing extra costs, and suffering worry and anxiety about the future. Federated Farmers also supports the decision to cull: president Katie Milne says this will be a huge relief for all drystock and dairy farmers.

27/03/18 10:44 AM



Carbon neutral status close PAM TIPA

THE SHEEP and beef sector may be closer to carbon neutral status than it realises, says James Parsons in his final speech as chairman of Beef + Lamb NZ. “A question we have been asking as a board recently is, can we be carbon neutral given the progress we have already made in reducing our carbon emissions?,” he told the annual meeting. “I’m often asked what I mean by carbon neutral? When I describe carbon neutrality for a sheep and beef farm, I’m talking about the amount of emissions produced off that land area balanced by the amount of carbon sequestration on that same land area. “Under true ETS (emissions trading scheme) accounting, we may not be carbon neutral; however when we factor in that 24% of NZ’s indigenous bush is on sheep and beef farms plus riparian plantings -- in addition to exotic woodlots -- we may well be surprised about how close we

Former Beef + Lamb NZ chair James Parsons.

actually are to this ambition.” BLNZ is about to release is a University of Canterbury report it commissioned on the amount of biodiversity on NZ sheep and beef farms, he says. “Their research found 2.7 million hectares (24% of NZ’s indigenous habitat) is on the 8.8m hectares farmed by sheep and

beef farmers.” Work is underway understand this better. Parsons later explained to Rural News that from an ETS account perspective sheep and beef farmers aren’t looking fantastic. “But when you [consider that] we’ve probably got 24% of

NZ’s indigenous bush on sheep and beef farms, the carbon emissions coming off those farms compared to sequestration might be surprising; and then if you start counting things like popular trees and riparian strips…. “If we want to do the right thing by the climate in terms of reducing emissions we need to look at [all the ways] those emissions can be sequestered.” Sheep and beef farms make up just over 40% of NZ’s total land estate, of which 2.7m hectares is native bush. “It is not really for the sheep and beef sector to beat its chest, saying ‘look at how great we are; we have all these indigenous habitats’. Instead it is more about how -- as part of the sheep and beef strategy -we look to be doing our best by that. But from a carbon sequestration perspective it is quite a significant component. “From a pure ETS perspective, unless that is new since 1990 it doesn’t count, but it is still a significant factor: every tree on a farm will have seques-

tration capacity.” However BLNZ is concerned about the Government’s one billion trees policy, coupled with its climate change policies. Well-intended but perhaps not fully worked through policies may result in blanket afforestation of hill country farms, similar to what we saw in the 1990s, Parsons says. The environmental goals are good, he says. “But we are actively engaged in the ‘how’ discussion so that we don’t see farming communities sacrificed as an unintended consequence.” However Parsons says despite farmers’ concerns pre-election, the new government has been good to work with. Parsons stepped down after four years as BLNZ chairman and nine years as a director representing the northern North Island region Southland sheep and beef farmer Andrew Morrison is the new chairman. He has been on the board for four years representing the southern South Island region.

WHAT’S NEXT? JAMES PARSONS says everyone is asking him the question “what next?” “I intend to catch my breath a little bit. I have really enjoyed the nine years on the board; it has been a great group of people and a fantastic sector.” He now intends to devote more time to family and his own business rather than jump straight from one thing to the next. He will “take a moment” and see what arises, he says. “I’ve certainly got plenty of things to get my teeth into in my own farming business and I have some other governance roles as well. “So I am not on the unemployment benefit just yet,” he jokes. Parsons told the annual meeting he was looking forward to spending more time with his wife and three sons .


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Shearathon raises $44k for mental health NIGEL MALTHUS

THE HERLIHY family’s 24-hour charity Shearathon, raising money for mental health and suicide prevention in the shearing industry, could become an annual fixture

following the success of the recent North Canterbury event. Organiser Mark Herlihy said it raised a provisional $44,000 for Lifeline, Christchurch’s He Waka Tapu, Through the Other Side Trust

and the Taranaki Retreat Trust. The Shearathon started at 10am on Friday March 23 and ended with an auction of donated goods and services on the Saturday morning. They tallied 3222 sheep

shorn for local farmers Tim Hawke and Duncan McIntosh. Hawke’s Okuku woolshed was the venue. Herlihy said the $44,000 was made up of the shearing fees plus just over $17,800 from


Local Heiniger shearing equipment rep, Geoff Holmes, pitches in during the 24-hour Shearathon raising money for suicide prevention and mental health promotion in the shearing industry. RURAL NEWS GROUP



the auction, $4000 from a Givealittle page, cash donations and sponsorship. The Taranaki Herlihy family is well known in shearing circles, veteran shearer John having been joined in the industry by all six of his sons. They were only a couple of weeks away from attempting a unique brothers’ shearing record in early 2016 when the youngest, Michael (20) took his own life. The family responded by organising their first Shearathon, in Taranaki in 2017, raising $23,000 for charity. “This was our second and everyone’s asked when we are doing the

next one so definitely we’ll be doing another one,” said Mark Herlihy. “We might do some more in another district and get them involved and get behind us.” He said at least 50 machine shearers and at least seven or eight blade shearers took part. Along with wool handlers and pressers, cooks and others there were well over 100 volunteers. “Even getting the sheep in,” said Herlihy. “We had the trucks there in the middle of the night chucking sheep in for us. “There were probably 10 people out there loading and unloading trucks.”


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Spot-market stock selling unhelpful PAM TIPA

ONLY ABOUT 20% of stock in the whole meat industry is actually being supplied to processors on contract, says Dr Nic Lees, senior lecturer agribusiness management at Lincoln University. That means 80% is being supplied on a spot market where price and quality can be highly variable, he says. The finding came up in his research on relationships between farmer suppliers and processors in which he surveyed at least 1000 sheep, beef and deer farmers. The research shows poor relationships between farmers and their meat processors could be costing New Zealand. Lees told Rural News the results showed only about 40% of the farmers

supplied any stock on a supply contract on some level. Of those farmers, on average they would supply about half their stock on contract. “So the proportion of the industry delivering product to specific quality and delivery standards is pretty low at 20%.” The three industries together make up 12% of NZ’s exports and currently contribute $5 billion a year to the NZ economy. Lees says improving farmer relationships with processors and exporters was essential to NZ producing higher value products that meet consumer needs.   “NZ is missing out on higher market returns for meat exports because of a lack of commitment and trust between farmers and meat companies,” he says. 

Nic Lees

“We effectively still have a system driven by production rather than market requirements. Farmers sell stock based on their farming requirements and the number of stock and quality often does not match market needs.” Lees says long-term

committed relationships are necessary because processors and exporters want to build relationships with customers and customise products to meet the customers’ needs. They need commitment from farmers to deliver stock when required and to the qual-

ity standards required. “If farmers aren’t committing to those supply chains it is very hard for the meat company to deliver a consistent product when the retailer wants it,” Lees says. “So what tends to happen is you get much more selling of commodities because you can’t commit to delivering higher quality and more consistent product.” The survey indicated more trust is needed. “Relationships take time to build and particularly in the meat industry farmers have long memories and it takes time to build that trust,” says Lees. “We looked at the processor side in terms of defining what they would call supplier performance. That was on things like quality, communication

MEASURE TOOLS THE LINCOLN University research has developed tools for companies to measure the quality of their relationship with suppliers and identify what they can do to improve. A number of exporters are already using these tools and there is potential for wider use by agricultural and horticultural companies. Lees says he came up with a scale of how you could measure relationship quality. “That is a bit similar as to how you would measure IQ,” he says. “You can’t directly measure IQ but there are tools you can use which correlate strongly with the concept of IQ. In the same way relationship quality is a conceptual thing.” What the tools enable processors to do is be able to identify that and track their relationship quality over time. “If they are investing in building quality relationships they can see whether they are actually capturing that.” Lees says he worked with a number of processors that were delivering higher value products and he saw that relationship quality was a very important part of that.

and loyalty…. and also profitability because processors actually want their farmers to be profitable. “It is important to the processors that they have

a long term viable supply base. If the farmers aren’t profitable they aren’t going to be reinvesting in their farms and they may not even be there in the long term.”



New Beef + Lamb chair steps up SOUTHLAND SHEEP and beef farmer Andrew Morrison steps into the Beef + Lamb NZ chairmanship as the levyfunded organisation implements a revised strategy Released last year, this strategy puts more emphasis on enhancing farmers’ environmental position, unlocking

the southern South Island region. With his wife Lisa, he farms 1030ha of breeding and finishing units spread between Southland and Otago. He actively farms their 150ha home farm near Gore, though Lisa is in charge of the day-today management. They have two children: Bryn (19) and Kelly (15). Morrison takes up the reins after the former chairman James Parsons stepped down at BLNZ’s annual meeting on March 22. Parsons was chairman for four years and a director representing the northern North Island region for nine years. Morrison acknowledged the contribution Parsons made to both BLNZ and the wider red meat industry during his tenure. “James provided leadership during some challenging times in the industry, especially with climatic events, biosecurity breaches and farming’s environment footprint being called into question,” says Morrison. “I am a huge supporter of the BLNZ strategy and committed to delivering on it. “Alongside continuing our investment in extension programmes and ongoing research and development to support farmers, our key priorities are the launch of the

the new strategy and recent structural changes is the focus on developing insights. BLNZ is now constantly looking ahead and undertaking research and developing thinking to position the sector for future challenges and opportunities.” Morrison takes the chair after four years on the board representing

market potential and greater government and public insight engagement, while still supporting farming excellence. “The strong meat prices and recent trade gains are positive, but we need to continue to work hard for our farmers,” says Morrison. “One of the most important elements of

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environment strategy and Red Meat Story. “The environment strategy and the Red Meat Story are critical to setting up the sector for a strong future. If we get these right, we will go a long way to achieving our ultimate goal of profitable farmers and thriving

New BLNZ chairman Andrew Morrison.

“The environment strategy and the Red Meat Story are critical to setting up the sector for a strong future. If we get these right, we will go a long way to achieving our ultimate goal of profitable farmers and thriving rural communities, valued by all New Zealanders.” rural communities, valued by all New Zealanders.” Morrison says the Alternative Proteins report is an example of the kind of substantive work BLNZ wants to produce more consistently and there is further work in the pipeline, particularly on the environment. “The red meat sector

is in a strong position with an unprecedented global demand for protein. We need to leverage our competitive advantage of producing natural grass-fed hormone and antibiotic free sheep and beef.” Morrison says he is looking forward to meeting with key partners in government and in the

agricultural sector.   “The red meat sector is stronger if we are able to work with others so effective collaboration is vital.” Morrison also sits on the boards of Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Ovis Management Ltd, NZ Meat Board and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium.




Fat-bottom girls gain attention NIGEL MALTHUS

THE INTRODUCTION of the Beltex breed to the New Zealand sheep industry is off to a flying start: the breed’s inaugural sale drew a price believed to be a New Zealand record for any crossbred ram lamb. The sale of ram lambs, both purebred and cross, was held at Blair Gallagher’s Rangiatea farm, near Mount Somers, Mid-Canterbury, on March 23. The top price of $15,000 and the second-to-top price of $12,500 were both paid for Beltex-Suffolk crosses. Beltex, or Belgian Texel, is known for its characteristically heavy hindquarters and outstanding kill weights. The breed has been brought to NZ by a partnership formed by Gallagher, former Invermay head Dr Jock Allison and farm advisor John Tavendale and their families. They imported purebred Beltex in the form of frozen embryos from the UK, as well as semen put into Gallagher’s Suffolk, Poll Dorset and Perendale flocks. At least 300 people attended the sale, with buyers hailing from as far afield as Northland and Southland. The sale saw offerings of 16 purebred Beltex, 18 Beltex X Suffolk, 22 Beltex X Poll Dorset and 10 Beltex X Perendale ram lambs. Of the purebred Beltexes, the top price of $12,000 went to a late replacement. This was an animal Gallagher was intending to keep, but it was included in the sale after a withdrawal of another ram forced by

injury. The other purebreds went for $2500 to $8000. The top price for the Poll Dorset crosses was $2800 and top price for the Perendale crosses was $2000. The buyers of the thought-to-be record-setting $15,000 lamb are a loose syndicate of Guy Martin, from Lincoln; Grant Black, Timaru; and George Williams of Grassendale Genetics, Tinui. Martin said he and Black had been swapping genetics for 10 years. They had stabilised a SufTex (Suffolk-Texel) line, which he says is why a pure Beltex would not add a lot, but the ram they bought “fits straight into our programme”. “We’re producing meaty rams,” Martin told Rural News. “We’ve got good structure, good feet and good muscle already, so if these [Beltex] can add to that we’ll definitely use them. “They’ve got a tremendous hind-quarter,” said Black. “We just want to see new blood and new genetics.” Allison said the lowish price for the purebreds was “a bit of a surprise” but the Suffolk-cross prices were way ahead of expectations. “That would be the most expensive crossbred sheep ever sold in NZ, I would think. I would be surprised if it wasn’t. And the next one was probably the second best. Overall it was a very good sale.” Gallagher called the high price “pretty amazing”. “We had expectated the pures would be higher than they were; that’s

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where we invested our money. But the potential to breed is in the crosses so that’s obviously played out in the pricing.” Gallagher said the

importation would continue this year, with more purebred embryos coming in from the UK, from four different studs and six different sires.

Is that a hint of a smile? Blair Gallagher and his son Hamish (far left) look on as the bidding for Lot 19 heads to $15,000, thought to be a NZ record for a crossbred ram lamb. RURAL NEWS GROUP

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Dairy copes with challenges International outlook Since Rabobank’s last outlook (in December 2017), the New Zealand drought – which was identified as clear risk – came into play. As a result, global commodity prices, particularly for Oceania-origin product, received a boost in Q1 2018. However, this was always likely to be a short-term driver of global commodity markets with the Northern Hemisphere looming large on the horizon. Production is expanding across Europe ahead of the peak and a favourable shift in currency has triggered some increased export activity from US dairy exporters. As a result, Rabobank is still anticipating some pressure to build on global

commodity prices in Q2 2018 in line with the Northern Hemisphere peak.

Figure 1: Milk production growth – big 7 exporters (actual and Rabobank forecast), 2010-2018f YOY change (percent).

Strong global milk flows THE EXPORT engine has been running on most cylinders since mid-2017. Apart from New Zealand where dairy farmers have battled with one of the more disruptive seasons on recent times, milk production has been growing in all key export regions. However, as alluded to at the end of 2017, Rabobank does not see the Northern Hemisphere peak milk flows completely overwhelming the global market. EU milk production has started strongly in 2018 as expected, but is also trending lower as expected. Looking further afield,

Rabobank is forecasting combined milk production growth across the Big 7 to moderate though 2018. A key factor behind the anticipated slowdown in milk supply is the margin pressure starting to build on farm. Milk

prices have started falling in most export regions and in some instances the farmgate milk prices have fallen by as much as 15% since the start of 2018. Nevertheless, milk supply growth is outstripping import demand and will continue to do

so through Q2 2018. This will limit upside in global commodity prices and may lead to some downward pressure.

Possible slowdown coming OVER THE past quarter, Chinese buyers have done

most of the heavy lifting in terms of purchasing. Active purchasing from the world’s largest import market always helps in keeping global markets in balance. The global economy continues to show broad-based growth which is important stimulant for dairy demand growth. According to anecdotal evidence, dairy demand in Southeast Asian remains robust. In contrast, economic settings and weak consumer spending in some economies across the Middle East and North Africa region are key reasons for less robust dairy demand volume growth. Import buyers elsewhere have largely been on the side-lines given the luxury of high stocks and sufficient supply with

the looming EU peak. On the upside for global pricing, import buyers may begin to accelerate purchasing in order to get some short-term inventory cover with the expectations of a shift in the balance coming in 2H 2018. Ahead of the European peak, intervention stocks of skim milk powder remain a burden on protein prices. Despite healthy bid volumes to purchase aged product at recent tenders, the European Commission has not yet found an appetite to sell at the offer prices; meaning only small volumes have exited warehouses. A tweak in the tender system will limit further stock accumulation in 2018 – meaning peak milk supply will need to find alternative

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Content supplied by Rabobank – Grow with the bank founded by farmers for farmers streams. Hence, the expectation that global commodity prices will see pressure across the entire complex in Q2 2018 lingers. Given the elevated price levels for cheese and whole milk powder versus other commodity streams this appears the place for more immediate downward pricing pressure. This is a fairly familiar story for buyers and sellers. However, what has changed is that the profile of the peak in the Northern Hemisphere will be less daunting, hence Rabobank has turned the pressure down on price expectations through Q2 2018 and still see a rebalance over the course of 2H 2018.

New Zealand THIS SUMMER has been one of the more challenging ones for many New Zealand dairy farmers. Drought conditions across some key dairying regions impacted soil

moisture and pasture growth in December and January. Total milk production through summer (December-February) reached 575mn kgMS – down 5.4% on the corresponding period (or 33mn kgMS). This brings season-to-date production to 1.511mn kgMS; down 1.1%.

Welcome rains There was much needed rainfall in late December however, January was New Zealand’s hottest month on record with temperatures above average across the country. February then brought with it two exTropical cyclones which

caused some disruptions for dairy farms in affected areas but delivered high rainfall. By mid-March soil moisture levels had been restored to the point where some regions are wetter-thannormal. Relief from the dry/drought conditions helped milk production start to stabilise in some key regions – particularly in the Waikato. In contrast, production struggled in key regions across the South Island. In recent times there have been price premiums for winter milk introduced which triggered a strong start to the season (albeit a very

small base). The desire for more winter milk comes from increased demand by foodservice and consumer markets needing flat milk. Markets will be watching with interest whether the trend towards incentivising more winter milk is continued in the new season given the weather challenges from the current season.

Milk flows slowing MILK PRODUCTION is winding down quickly and will be unable to make up lost ground. Farmers will be weighing up decisions about feed availability and whether to dry-off early. As a result, Rabobank expects monthly milk production volumes to trail year-onyear comparisons for the remainder of the season and finish down 1% for the full-season. Weather forecasters are expecting the normal to above-normal rainfall

MARKETS & TRENDS 17 Figure 2: Dairy commodity prices FOB Oceania, 2010-2018 USD/tonne.

and soil moisture profiles in the next three months to May. A drop in production and persistent import purchasing from Chinese buyers have been the key ingredients behind the recent rally in whole milk powder prices. Since the start of December when dry conditions started to bite the Oceania WMP has rallied 13%. The late-season rally in whole milk powder prices has allowed Fonterra’s to lift its forecast

payout to NZD 6.55/kgMS and beat Rabobank’s previous forecast (NZD6.30/ kgMS). According to Rabobank’s latest rural confidence survey results, New Zealand dairy farmer confidence levels remains cautiously optimistic for the next 12 months – but more than 50% of farmers expecting conditions to stay the same. Over the past three months to January, New Zealand total dairy exports expanded by a moderate rate of just 3% -

reaching 307,000 tonnes. Not surprisingly, WMP exports have been quite strong with exports volumes up 15% in the same period. • Want to keep up-todate with the latest food & agribusiness insights? Tune into RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Australia & New Zealand podcast channel. Most Apple devices have the Podcasts app pre-installed – if not, you can find it in the App Store. These are also available on Android devices.



Alternative proteins both an opportunity and a threat to NZ A NEW survey of the threats posed by alternative proteins to New Zealand’s red meat farmers also shows a wealth of opportunities, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ). The report, commissioned by BLNZ, identifies threats to NZ and suggests how the new proteins can be tackled. The rise of alternative proteins has been rapid, fueled by millions of dollars from cash-rich tech companies, often headed by passionate alternative meat advocates pushing product onto shelves alongside traditional proteins. One alternative is now on our shelves: the NZ company SunFed Meats claims to be this country’s first non-animal protein company and its non-chicken ‘chicken’ is available in NZ stores. The BLNZ survey identifies NZ’s critical US burger beef market as the most vulnerable to gains in alternative protein sales. Long a market taking NZ grass-fed beef and blending it with fattier

The rise of alternative proteins has been rapid, fueled by millions of dollars from cash-rich tech companies, often headed by passionate alternative meat advocates pushing product onto shelves alongside traditional proteins. US feedlot-sourced beef, it buys almost half NZ’s beef exports. In the report, BLNZ chief executive Sam McIvor notes large scale production of “nonmeat” patties and mince is likely within five years, and the rise of alternative proteins has big drivers. These include concerns about climate change, the sustainability of animal farming, the use of animals in food production and health issues in eating meat. But the report is not a doom-and-gloom prospectus for NZ pastoral farming; instead it contains notable positives for farmers and the industry to pursue. McIvor points to a growing, but almost

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untapped, demand for grass-fed red meat reared without hormones or antibiotic use in natural environments. He says this is a product consumers are prepared to pay a big premium for. Ironically the US market -- the one most vulnerable to alternative meat patties -- offers the greatest potential. There grass-fed beef sales have doubled every year since 2012, reaching at least

$330,000,000 in sales in 2016. Premium grassfed beef burger sales are booming. And beef consumption is expected to keep rising, with forecasts of 12.8 million tonnes by 2026. China’s growth is

expected by then to have risen 50% to 9.5m tonnes. McIvor says NZ has a valuable opportunity to capitalise on these trends towards ‘natural’ beef. Global population growth will allow NZ plenty of scope to feed the world’s

“wealthiest 40 million people, rather than trying to feed everyone,” he says. Cashing in on these opportunities will rely on the NZ brand – integrity and validity. This will soon be underscored by

a branding promotion -- ‘NZ story’ -- due for wide release in April. It has been tested in India, China, the US and United Arab Emirates. The ‘NZ Story’ is the work of six meat companies; it has had positive feedback during test marketing. “This has given marketers confidence that despite alternative proteins’ threat, consumers will not turn their backs on red meat if they can see it is natural and grass raised.” McIvor adds that NZ beef’s integrity has also been assured from farmgate to the processing plant. Farmers are now writing farm environment plans, fencing waterways and seeing to animal welfare. @rural_news

A POTENTIAL BOTTOM LINE BOOSTER FOR FARMERS with suitable land, alternative proteins could provide a valuable income source. Guy Wrigley, Federated Farmers arable industry chairman, said the prospect of plant-based protein foods should not be cause for alarm. For example, he says in Canterbury where land is suitable for red meat, dairy or arable production,

alternative protein sources could easily fit into the farming mosaic. “But in the meantime, we also have a very strong alliance with traditional protein sources that remain in demand, namely dairy, poultry and pork, which all rely on the arable sector for grain supplies.” Beef + Lamb NZ special trade envoy and meat farmer Mike

Petersen said he also sees in the alternative protein market as many opportunities as threats. Bayleys national country manager Duncan Ross said the rise of alternative proteins should not worry farmers, but instead prompt them to consider getting other income as a result of those opportunities. “Ultimately it is all about protein

sources, and we may even see land that was once used for dairying or beef head into crop production for these products,” he says. “[That could be] without necessarily suffering any loss in capital value or income reduction; in fact the opposite may be true in the long term as demand increases for these products.”



Innovators urged to be part of Fielday’s 50th celebrations THE NATIONAL Fieldays is calling innovators: join our 50th celebrations and bring your new gadgets along. Entries have opened for the 2018 National Agricultural Fieldays Innovation Awards. The awards showcase innovation in dairy and drystock farming, horticulture, information and communication technology, cloud and mobile-based software, animal health and genetics, water and waste management, environment and clean-tech, animal and farm management, farm safety and research. This year marks Fieldays’ 50th year of showing agriculture and innovation to rural and urban audiences. The theme is ‘Future of Farming’, and visitors and exhibitors are being encouraged to start talking about the future of farming for them. Fieldays innovations event manager Gail Hendricks says they’re encouraging entries from small, grassroots

innovations through to the larger, international innovations. “We love seeing how widespread our entries are, and have always encouraged the small, grassroots entries just as much as the bigger, more established ones,” says Hendricks. “Even though an entry might be ‘small’, it can still make a big impact.” The entries are housed in Fieldays’ Innovations Centre, where entrants can get free advice from lawyers, patent and trademark attorneys, accountants and product development consultants. Hendricks says ‘Future of Farming’ ties in with the Innovation Awards. “Originally, the Fieldays Innovation Awards were about widgets, gadgets and devices to improve farming, but increasingly we’re seeing entries that play to the agritech factor and consider how science and technology continues to advance agriculture.”

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Awards judge Nigel Slaughter, chief executive of Hamilton molecular extraction company Ligar, says the judges aren’t necessarily looking for the most clever hi-tech of inventions. “We’re looking for entries that show they’re ahead of the curve, have seen a gap in the market and shown

their product is useful for its intended audience,” he says. “We want to see the thought processes behind the innovation. Have they seen where their product is going to be useful? Is it going to save the user time or money? Have they considered the feedback they received during trials?

“Sometimes innovators spend a good deal of time explaining their own thought processes in getting a new product off the ground, and while that’s an important part of the journey we want to see how they’ve engaged with their audience and incorporated their users’ feedback into their final prototype.”




Get with the programme FOR AT least 30 dairy farmers and their staff, life will be tough for a while as their cows are slaughtered in an attempt to eradicate M.bovis. The prospect of seeing the herd you have built up -- perhaps your main equity in the dairy industry -- being trucked to slaughter must be very hard to take. We sympathise with these farmers in their loss. M.bovis has caused pain and with it lessons to be learned. The big one is that biosecurity is not just the responsibility of MPI staff, but of every New Zealander. Some farmers have never taken NAIT seriously; in fact some Federated Farmers leaders once openly opposed its introduction. Why oppose what will personally benefit you and the wider industry? Heaven knows, but they did. Maybe this lack of leadership -- even open opposition -- is a reason why some farmers have been sloppy about complying with NAIT requirements. If M.bovis had been foot and mouth disease the situation for farmers and NZ generally would have been disastrous. NAIT is by no means perfect. Online systems are designed by people who live in cities where there is good broadband; they don’t seem to grasp the problems of people living in isolated regions with poor telecommunications. If NAIT is to be enforced it must be designed for easy operation by farmers. This calls to mind the recent census, when organisers assumed every household had access to high speed broadband. (To their credit, they did offer paper forms -- though some were incorrectly addressed.) In essence, a successful NAIT must be easily workable by all farmers and conversely all farmers must make it work. The shambles over tracing the movement of stock must end now, and all parties must cooperate to get a viable NAIT system up and running pronto.

SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND? GOT SOMETHING on your mind about the latest issues affecting our farming industry? Put your pen to paper or your fingers to your keyboard, and let our readers know what you think. Contact us by either post or email. Don’t forget to put your name and address. Note: Letters may be edited. post to: Letter to the Editor PO Box 331100 Takapuna , Auckland 0740. or Email:


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Tough times

FURTHER TO earlier concerns raised about this matter, your old mate is deeply troubled by the nefarious behaviour of Associate Environment Minister and Green MP Eugenie Sage over the sudden resignation of Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) chief scientist Dr Jacqueline Rowarth. Under questioning in Parliament, Sage has admitted to meeting with the chief executive of the EPA and forwarding emails critical of Rowarth to him, but claiming to not to have had ‘substantive discussions’ on the matter. It seems to this old mutt that Sage is dancing on the head of a pin in her less-than-believable denials. The Hound reckons if Sage ever gives up politics, her lessthan-exemplary antics would not be out of place as the new captain of the Australian cricket team.

SPEAKING OF dodgy greenies, your old mate is delighted to see that the money-grubbing, multi-national, environmental activist group Greenpeace has lost is charity status in New Zealand. The High Court has ruled that Greenpeace NZ’s political activities mean it cannot be registered as a charity and claim the tax-free benefits that go with this. Greenpeace appealed against a 2010 ruling by the Charities Commission which found its actions were political rather than educational and while it did not directly advocate illegal acts, Greenpeace members had acted illegally. In his judgment, Justice Paul Heath found the commission was correct in its judgment and turned down the Greenpeace appeal. The Hound reckons other activists groups such as SAFE and Farmwatch should be next.

YOUR CANINE crusader has been doing a bit of surfing on the Twitter machine of late and has noticed quite a bit of action by his good mate John McCarthy, the former frontman of the failed, futile, flopped Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group. McCarthy’s Twitter action suggests he is desperate to curry favour with the new government – and perhaps get himself a cushy job on one of its many taxpayerfunded working groups, committees, boards or assemblies while he either brown-noses Government ministers and/or lambasts Opposition MPs. Remember, fellow MIE flunky Mark Patterson is now a NZ First MP – he’s known around Parliament and beyond as the ‘invisible man’ – and Winston Peters (Russia’s last remaining ally in the West) backed MIE’s other major failure in opposing Silver Fern Farm’s joint venture with Shanghai Maling.

YOUR OLD mate’s piece on the perceived penny-pinching by rural services company PGG Wrightson (PGW) in not issuing pencils with its annual notebook has drawn correspondence from aggrieved farmers bemoaning the fact. Spies tell the Hound PGW’s ‘carefulness’ was also evident at the recent Wanaka Show where, according to reports, they were cutting sausages in half (lengthwise) as they came off the barbecue. “And they ran out of onions at 12.30pm and clients were not impressed”, one informant told your old mate. Meanwhile, the Hound hopes that given PGW’s improved half-year result announced recently, perhaps whole sausages(!) – and notebooks with pencils – could be back on the menu next year.

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Greenpeace should be thrilled GREENPEACE HAS suggested that meat and dairy product consumption should be reduced to 16kg and 33 kg per person per year, respectively. For the average North American (eating 90kg of meat and 275kg of dairy products, according to the OECD and FAO) and European (70kg of meat and 286kg of dairy products), the Greenpeace suggestion could be seen as radical. For the average New Zealander, it would require quite a rethink: we eat 72.2kg meat and “more than 200kg” of dairy products per capita per year. The Greenpeace vision is explained in ‘Less is more: reducing meat and dairy for a healthier life and planet’, released in March 2018. It is based on the following statement: “For millions of years – on a daily basis – humans have faced the same question: what to eat? This question [is common to] ancestral hunter-gatherers and working parents on their way home, wondering what to feed their family.” The document attempts to assist people in choosing a healthier lifestyle by avoiding animal products. While it is true that greenhouse gas production is higher per unit of ruminant meat protein than it is for dairy or nonruminant meat protein, comparisons of planetary impact are fraught with difficulties in that water and energy use are also

It would appear that we are already doing what Greenpeace is advocating, particularly as animal growth hormones are not added in our production systems. In addition, antibiotics are used sparingly: we have the third-lowest use of active ingredient per kg of animal liveweight in the develdifferent. Comparisons with plant protein are even more difficult to make, particularly as statements frequently muddle protein per unit of dry weight with that of ‘cooked’, and also overlook the topographical and climatic requirements for plant protein production. The Greenpeace report suggests there should be a transition to a food production system “where a reasonable number of animal products are produced with the land and resources not required for food or nature needs”. Horticulture and arable cropping now occupies about 500,000ha in NZ – less than 2% of our land area. Dairying occupies about 7%, forestry another 7%, the Department of Conservation estate has 30%, and beef and sheep farms cover about 34%. And NZ farms have mostly freerange animals on pasture where human food would be difficult to grow for reasons of soil type and topography, unsuitable climate and lack of supporting infrastructure and labour.

oped world. The same cannot be said of the human population where use is high. A further point in NZ’s favour is high animal welfare and human employment standards. These factors should be part of the NZ animal product marketing story. Global population is

now at least 7.61 billion people and predicted to reach over 9b, increasing the requirement for protein, whether animal or plant-based. This potential demand creates an opportunity for NZ: the global ‘allowance’ of 16kg of meat and 33kg of dairy product should be the best that

money can buy…. Premium-based products is one of the paths for the future recommended by the Beef + Lamb NZ ‘Future of Meat’ report. Some dairy companies are also focussing on a premium future. Capturing full value for NZ will require far more of a national

“ Seasons come & go. We’re here to stay.”

approach than has been achieved in the past. Recognising that we are already heading in the right direction should be broadcast to the world. • Dr Jacqueline Rowarth has a PhD in soil science and has been analysing agri-environment interaction for several decades.

Daryl Moore Pioneer Area Manager

South Canterbury

LETTER Mark Stewart

WELCOME BACK, JAC! I WAS delighted to open Rural News March 20 and find Jacqueline Rowarth’s column is back. That morning I had been fuming at her politically inspired ‘assassination’ at the hands of the Environmental Protection Authority people unable to respect her intellectual integrity or tolerate her dissenting from their own narrow vision of the world around us. I have never met her, but I find her articles a breath of fresh air and by far the most authoritative and reasonable voice in the agricultural and environmental sector. It is a pity that she has fallen victim to the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome that can prevail here. She is a great communicator and I hope we can look forward to more of her articles.   Alan Gray   R.D. 1, Porirua [Editor’s note: we also are delighted to have Dr Rowarth back. Another of her columns appears in this issue.]

Canterbury Farmer

Dave Stewart

Canterbury Farmer

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Getting staff for spring a head scratcher ANOTHER AUTUMN season is fading away with all the challenges of maintaining good staff mostly behind us. Yet Rural Contractors NZ is again having to prove its case for importing some of the people we need to drive our machinery in the coming spring. Our billiard balldomed chief executive Roger Parton takes life in his stride, but his recent request for RCNZ to pay for hair implants -- so he could tear them out -- got my attention. Roger has been engaged in our annual process of trying to get an agreement in principle

(AIP) for RCNZ to bring in skilled drivers and operators for tasks such as silage and haymaking. Every RCNZ member wants to employ New Zealanders where available with the necessary skills. We submit our AIP, region by region, to

Immigration NZ which then consults with the Ministry for Social Development (MSD). Our bid for 83 imports for Waikato this spring/ summer was queried by MSD who advised they could find half that number of staff after “significant investment in driver licensing, health and safety, and Site Safe and heights training programmes”. Roger asked Waikato members to contact MSD -- most do -- about such staff. Here’s one reply: “We tried hard at the beginning of our spring season with WINZ to find someone local for trac-

Spring time brings an annual headache for contractors in finding skilled staff.

tor operating and truck driving positions we had. These would have been full time jobs as well and we were very keen to employ somebody local for various reasons. “The only person who came forward from WINZ with an HT licence we employed - to our peril!

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It turns out the guy could not see properly and ended up damaging our customer’s property by ripping down a power line to the cow shed - just before milking….” MSD has also advised that it could fill 20 of the requested 20 positions in Taranaki/Whanganui/King Country. They also suggested that with sharemilkers drying off early in drought conditions and not likely to have income till spring, they were a further source of labour with machine operating skills. Spring, of course, is precisely when contractors also need their skilled machinery operators. And a sharemilker

may be able to drive a tractor but not operate a huge sileage machine or similar. Contractors are continually advertising for staff locally and getting little, if any, reply. Some people who come through an MSD course could potentially operate a machine worth more than a house, but their skills need to match the high-pressure world of contracting against the vagaries of seasonal weather and demand; this doesn’t allow for exposure to high health and safety and other risks, as our Waikato member discovered. Meantime, there is a pool of people with

proven experience who work through the European summer and then into ours. Rural Contractors NZ has only ever sought 350 people under AIPs. Given the huge amount of work and the good working relationship established between our chief executive and Immigration NZ, I hope reason prevails and we are able to import our usual small number of skilled operators to fill regional demand, much like under the RSE scheme, which sees about 10,000 visitors here every year. • Steve Levet is president of Rural Contractors NZ. @rural_news

East Coast

Farming Expo

11-12 April 2018 Wairoa A&P Showgrounds Gates open 9am - 4pm both days

Two days of exhibits and seminars for

East Coast Sheep & Beef Farmers

Farm Smarter Farm Longer

Allowing farmers the chance to explore new ideas for their operation in an exclusive and specialised environment!

Seminar topics include: Workplace Culture, Benchmarking, Farm Governance, Export Markets, Energy Technology, Land-use change on hill country, Legumes in dryland systems

Meet Richard & Annabelle Subtil, Omararma Station

at the A&P Evening Muster on Wednesday evening Tickets available online or at the gate

Strategic Sponsors



Expo a must-do for farmers THE EAST Coast Farming Expo has secured its place on the region’s rural event calendar with three key sponsors giving their support to the 2018 event. Rural News Group and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council are back -- they sponsored the expos in 2016 and 2017 -- and Eastland Group is aboard as a sponsor for the second time. Acting land manager for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Nathan Heath, said HBRC is looking forward to this year’s expo and is proud to be a major sponsor. “We believe the expo has the potential to be a must-do event on the annual farming calendar,” he said. “Rapid growth in technology can make significant improvements to the way we farm. So to have access to people researching, producing or selling this technology on our doorstep is a great opportunity for the community to learn more.” Staff on the council’s site will answer questions about the work they are doing and discuss proposed changes to services for the Wairoa community. Eastland Group returns as a key sponsor in 2018 and chief executive


Eastland Energy will recreate its Electric Village at the Wairoa A&P Showgrounds during the expo. The interactive display will include electric vehicles and other options for energy.

Matt Todd said the company is excited to be involved. “We’re delighted to be a strategic sponsor of the expo for the second year running,” he says. “We believe the expo’s focus on innovation can be of genuine value to the farming community and the region as a whole.” Todd says Eastland Group’s newly opened Electric Village, at 37 Gladstone Road, Gisborne, is a NZ-first community space focusing on emerging energy technologies. “We’ll be bringing Electric Village on the road to Wairoa, giving farmers the chance to have conversations about electric vehicles, electric bikes

and farm bikes, our solar research trials, and possible savings on their power bills. “And we look forward to hearing how they envisage their businesses being powered in the future.” Rural News Group general manager Adam Fricker says that judging by the strong turnout of exhibitors and sponsors for the expo this year, the industry is acknowledging farmers’ ongoing interest in bringing innovations into their farm businesses. “Events like this are vital to allow new technology and farming techniques to be discussed and shared throughout the industry,” he said.

‘FARM SMART – Farm Longer’ is the key theme of the East Coast Farming Expo, and two full days of seminars will help farmers to achieve just that. Expo organisers are encouraging farmers and landowners in Hawkes Bay and the East Coast to attend the seminars, which will complement the interactive outdoor exhibits. “The seminars were a popular aspect of the expos in 2016 and 2017, with attendees enjoying a variety of speakers,” says expo director Dave Martin. “The presentations will be topical to farming right now in our region so attendees will find the information helpful for their operation.” The acting land manager for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Nathan Heath, will speak on ‘Fit for purpose tree planting: the way forward for hill country farming’. Also speaking will be Mavis Mullins, well known for going from shearing shed hand to corporate strategist and

company director. Stuart Taylor will speak on ‘Workplace culture’, as seen in his Millennium Farming social media campaign to promote better management practices in agriculture in NZ. Other speakers at the seminars will be: Derrick Moot, professor of plant science, Lincoln University: ‘Legumes in dryland systems’; Nick Pyke, Foundation for Arable Research: ‘Efficient maize production systems’; Linda Paulson, human resources consultant, BDO Gisborne: ‘Understanding your obligations as a good employer’. Rick Cranswick, agri specialist: ‘Successful family businesses from conception to burial’; Mike Petersen, NZ special agricultural trade envoy: ‘Market opportunities for NZ agri-food exporters’; The complete seminar programme is available on the expo’s website.

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Robust conversations about farming and the environment expected lenge to sift through all the information that comes your way and decide what is good information and what is bad. “Opportunities for integrating new technology into farming have increased significantly but using this technol-


ROBUST TALK about the environment will be on the agenda at the East Coast Farming Expo, whose organisers will shine a light on this hotly debated aspect of farming. The expo will be held on April 11 and 12 at the Wairoa A and P Showground. The environment is “everything” says Jacqueline Rowarth, formerly a professor of agribusiness at the University of Waikato and until recently chief scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority. “It’s land, water, sky... as well as raising social, political and economic considerations,” Rowarth says. “The big issue is sustainability,” she says. “For a soil scientist this means maintaining or improving productivity, decreasing risk to production, maintaining or improving soil and water quality, and being socially acceptable and economically viable.”  Rowarth says farmers are acutely environmentally aware: “their land is their heritage and livelihood”. And research has shown farmers and the industry even better ways to operate, she says. “The farming sector generally leads productivity gains for the country, and New Zealand farmers are recognised globally as being extremely innovative; they’ve had to be. “The rest of the developed world is cushioned with subsidies. NZ products are produced with very high N, P and GHG efficiency. The fact international travelers rate the natural environment more highly than the built environment, and much more highly than tourist attractions, accommodation and food and drink, is a testament to agricultural success.” Rowarth says the 2018 Expo is not just ‘mustsee’ but ‘must-hear’ too. “The latest technology will be on show and the seminar series has been

ogy in hill country farming still has a long way to go.” Heath sees improvements to remote sensing and drone technology as crucial advances -- “the sheer breadth of information we can derive from one image”.

Expo info ➤ Tickets to the A&P Muster are $20 - includes canapés and complimentary drink. ➤ Go to to buy your tickets.   ➤ Gate price to the Expo and seminars is $10.  For more information go to 


Jacqueline Rowarth will be one of the guest speakers at the expo.

designed to add value,” she says. Rowarth believes if it’s the former, a hefty increase in taxes will be required. “The Department of Conservation doesn’t currently have the money to look after the 30% of NZ it manages, let alone the 48% or so that is in production [at most 7% dairy and much more in beef and sheep].”  She says innovation and technology are important to sheep and beef farming to keep sustainability at the fore – meaning the environment and the economy. Acting land manager for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Nathan Heath, says the environment is the air, land and water where we live, farm, spend our recreational time and derive our prosperity and wellbeing. “It is a very important piece of the overall picture for achieving profitable farming systems, that are also sustainable and support the wellbeing of the community around them,” he says.  “The East Coast relies heavily on its natural capital and turning that natural capital into services and products we require to live.” Heath says sheep and beef farmers must be environmentally aware because they’re managing the future potential for the next generation.   “Research has shown in Wairoa that even after 80 years of an erosion event, pasture produc-

tion has still not returned (only 80%) to what it was before the erosion event, so it has multiple generational impacts. “Community expectations are higher now – overseas and in NZ – for the food we’re eating and the way it was produced to be sustainable,” Heath says. The internet gives incredible breadth of information and opinion to producers and consumers, which is positive and negative for agriculture, Heath says. “It’s a growing chal-

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Peter Manson says East Coast farmers are balancing the growing of pasture and quality livestock with the need to spend money and animal pressure on keeping pasture in good condition – “it’s a tough environment”. “Weather, seasons, soils, water supply and water quality: these things are all essential elements of hill country farming, but when things don’t go to plan, such as flood and drought, that can affect the farm business dramatically,” Manson says. “Also, we are now learning that even some common events like cropping near waterways or stock wandering up and down creeks, is having effects downstream. “Pressure to stay profitable can in turn put pressure on our natural capital; soil and water unless we manage them carefully,” he adds. “Most landowners have planted

poplar and willow poles for decades and those who have kept at it and managed the land well, can see huge benefits: a much more attractive landscape; protection from erosion events and shade, shelter and drought fodder. Manson believes innovation has come a long way in recent times enabling research to give options to hill country farmers: • Recent approval from MPI to develop the practical management of Tagasaste for soil conservation and feed. • Development of a new affordable tree seedling protector enabling farmers to plant almost any kind of tree on their land. • Recent trials showing native trees are suitable for planting out on the hills. • Dryland forests initiative, which has recommended a range of ground durable eucalyptus species suitable for hill country. 

• Affordable solar powered pumps for remote alternative water supplies.   “Hill country farming faces constant challenges and just about anything you do on a hill costs too much. Generations on the East Coast have learned to farm through wet and dry, low prices and interest rate fluctuations,” Manson says. “Innovation is a key element to success, so we have stepped up to try to provide some options that will help rather than hinder farming in the future. Making changes for environmental outcomes could be another burden, but it could also result in better farm production and infrastructure.” He says a good example is a recent study by AgFirst showing that reticulated water supplies give a very high rate of return on investment.  “HBRC staff have worked alongside farmers for many years and believe we can make a difference with good outcomes for all.”

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See it for yourself at the East Coast Farming Expo Site: Farmlands tent



Fodder beet has ‘changed’ beef farming NIGEL MALTHUS

FODDER BEET has dramatically changed the beef industry, says Brent Fisher of the Silverstream Charolais stud, Greenpark. Fisher is sending animals as young as 15 months to the works, at carcase weights previously attained at 30 months. “It’s been a massive change,” he says. Fisher was an early adopter of fodder beet in beef production, introducing it about five years ago primarily for winter

grazing. He said he recently toured six or seven ❱❱ beef properties and found nearly all are now ❱❱ using a fodder beet system “with amazing results”. “If you do everything right there’s nothing to be afraid of.” Fisher said New Zealand’s traditional beef rearing system saw calves “battle though” two winters before

The facts: Silverstream consists of two properties: one on the flat adjacent to Lake Ellesmere/Waihora and one nearby in the Port Hills, totalling 900ha. They fatten about 1000 cattle a year and calve about 300 stud cows -Charolais and Hereford. They winter about 2000 cattle and run about 1000 breeding ewes.

finally being fattened up enough to go to the works “providing everything goes all right”. It is a very long pro-

Brent Fisher with beet-fed 18 month Charolais steers on his Silverstream property at Greenpark. RURAL NEWS GROUP


cess. However, with fodder beet they have really good growth rates through the winter. “We can put on about 2500kg liveweight gain per hectare on our fodder beet crops. “That springboards those cattle into the spring. “So we’re now killing cattle at about 300kg carcase weight from about 15 months of age, which is absolutely unheard of.” Fisher said fodder beet fits well into the NZ system because it allows farmers to utilise the spring grass growth curve. “Unless you can

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winter a lot of animals you’ve never got enough come the spring to take advantage of it.” Fodder beet allows him to run a lot of cattle on a small area. “Then when the spring comes and the grass starts to grow you’ve got the animals there to utilise your grass. You keep the ME good in your grass and if you’ve got good ME you’ll get good growth rates in your cattle.”

It makes the industry as a whole more efficient, said Fisher. “The people who are fattening, because they can fatten them faster can afford to pay more for the calves from the fellow who’s been the breeder. And over the years the breeding cow numbers have been sliding and sliding because they haven’t been getting paid enough... because the fattening system was so inefficient.”

NOT FOR EVERYONE BRENT FISHER says fodder beet does not necessarily suit everyone. “If you don’t do things right the potential for things to go bad is quite high. But it’s like someone being let loose with grain or anything: if you’ve got poor management you’ll have major problems, no question,” he explains. “The critical thing is to make sure you’ve got your 10-in-1 up to date, that your trace elements in your animals are right, and that you transition the animals onto the beet in the correct fashion.” Fisher says the clostridial-type problems tackled by the 10-in-1 vaccination seem to be exacerbated in fodder beet. There is “a good chance you’ll bowl a few” if the vaccination is not up to date, but the vaccination itself is cheap. Silverstream also administered copper and selenium bullets because of known deficiencies in the soil. Fisher transitions the animals onto beet according to the now-standard gradual transition protocols to avoid acidosis. But beef cattle rarely have the same phosphorus deficiency problems as lactating dairy cows, and Fisher uses no DCP on the farm.

Read us until the cows come home!



P-deficiencies on beet ‘easily managed’ – expert NIGEL MALTHUS

PHOSPHOROUS DEFICIENCIES in cattle fed on fodder beet are “spectacularly easy” to deal with, says Lincoln University senior lecturer in livestock health and production Dr Jim Gibbs. A pioneering researcher into feeding fodder beet to dairy and beef cattle in New Zealand, Gibbs was responding to comments from DairyNZ senior scientist Dawn Dalley that some veterinarians were “really struggling” with emerging health effects of long-term fodder beet use on dairy farms. She will be a lead researcher in a large study of fodder beet use, led by the South Island Dairy Development Centre with Dairy NZ and others, funded by a $500,000 grant from the Sustainable Farming Fund. “The farms that seem to be getting these issues, particularly on phosphorus, are the ones that have been in the fodder beet feeding game for up to 10 years now,” said Dalley. However, Gibbs said phosphorus deficiency in fodder beet-fed animals is “not widespread by any means”. “I’m the scientist who developed dairy fodder beet feeding systems and as an extension of that the beef one,” he said. “You only have phosphorus issues in a few relatively restricted dairy environments in NZ and it’s spectacularly easy to deal with.” Gibbs questioned the validity of long-term problems when early adopters of fodder beet had now been using it successfully for many years. “I want to know how long do we wait. These cows are dying of old age.” On farms needing phosphorus supplement, the key was feeding DCP in an effective manner,

such as by soaking it through straw and feeding that to the whole herd every day during the time they are on beet. However, some farmers were told they only needed it for limited periods or were “sold a pup” in the form of buckets or licks. “As we pointed out from day one, there’s 50 years of research showing even acutely phosphorus-deficient cows don’t go and eat phosphorus on demand.” The best herd acceptance of free-choice supplements for minerals is about 80%, he said. “20% of them will never go near it. You can imagine that 20% of a dairy herd that are critically needing phosphorus is a lot of cows to be on the ground.” To use DCP effectively it has to be put out at 50g/cow/day in a system that works, he said. “It can be problematic in the sense that it’s a little bit of work for the farm to get that system right. “So a good farmer gets that right and there’s no problem. It’s worked very well for us for 13 years, including these places that really needed it. “But you can take all manner of shortcuts and get all manner of poor advice given to you, and in those cases DCP is worse than useless.” Responding to Gibbs, Dalley acknowledged that it was his research that led to the recommendation to use DCP with fodder beet, “but what we’re hearing from vets is that it’s not solving the problems in a lot of herds”. It could be difficult to get it uniformly administered, she said. “The things we’re looking at are the interaction between calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, and further understanding the range of mineral content in fodder beet. “That is data that Jim

may have but we haven’t been able to access that.” She added that fodder beet is now being more

aggressively fed through the lactation period rather than just as a winter feed.



Lincoln University senior lecturer in livestock health and production Dr Jim Gibbs in a 5ha fodder beet paddock at the Silverstream Charolais Stud. RURAL NEWS GROUP




















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Five liver fluke myths debunked RICHARD HILSON

LIVER FLUKE can cause major losses in production, often with few direct clinical signs evident, meaning that farmers don’t recognise the impact on their properties – particularly in bad fluke years. In Australia, an eco-

nomic assessment identified that it might cost Australian producers $50-$80 million dollars per year in productivity losses alone! When to treat it, how to treat it, and what exactly needs to be treated aren’t always crystal clear. Myth 1: If there are no

Richard Hilson, B.V.Sc

signs or symptoms, you don’t have a liver fluke problem. Before obvious signs of liver fluke occur, such as weight loss, scour or ‘bottle jaw,’ animals lose significant production. It is also not always clear which farms have liver fluke. It’s possible produc-

ers that should be treating for liver fluke aren’t, while some are treating for liver fluke, even though they don’t need to be. While many farmer’s monitor intestinal parasites to ensure selection of effective drenches and appropriate timing, liver fluke is less purposely monitored.

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Liver flukes tend to be intermittent and irregular egg layers, which makes faecal egg count tests somewhat unreliable. The most effective tests on the market are blood tests like the ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay), which detects the antibodies animals produce in response to infection. Myth 2: There is no risk of liver fluke in dry or drought conditions. Because liver fluke larvae mature in water snails, it leads people to believe that they’re only present in wet or rainy conditions. Liver fluke eggs hatch into larvae, which mature and multiply in the aquatic snail for five to eight weeks. Then tadpole-like larvae emerge from the snail and form cysts on vegetation. These cysts can last for months on the vegetation where water once existed – in a dry dam for example – putting grazing livestock at risk. When addressing liver fluke, it’s important to consider the timing of treatment and not necessarily rely on weather conditions to assess risk. Treatment times depend on your specific region, because when temperatures are consistently above 10oC the lifecycle can continue. Moisture and temperature control the lifecycle and these vary significantly in NZ regions. In places like Northland for example, a general rule of thumb might be to consider

treatments three times a year. Late April to early May is the most important time as it is when liver fluke is most likely to be around two weeks old, which is its youngest treatable stage. Following this, treatment in August / September when adult fluke that survived in the animal over winter start laying eggs again; treatment here targets adult fluke. Sometimes you may need to treat again in January / February to eliminate infection livestock may have picked up through the spring and to prevent a significant adult load in the autumn. Myth 3: All application methods are created equal. While pour-on applications are quick and easy, they might not be absorbed as well as other routes. The treatment needs to be absorbed into the bloodstream and make its way to the liver, which is likely to be quicker for example when an oral or injectable fluke drench is administered. Also critical is using a drench that minimises larval damage, killing larvae as early as possible. The time you save upfront during application doesn’t always pay off when considering the increased speed of an injectable or pour-on treatment.   Myth 4: The threat of resistance isn’t really that important. Triclabendazole has TO PAGE 29

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Revised sheep guide out PAM TIPA

A GO-TO guide called The Sheep, on sheep health, disease and production specifically for New Zealand conditions, is now published in a fourth revision from a new publisher, Massey Press. It’s a good book for all sheep farmers to have on their shelves, says co-author Anne Ridler, associate professor of sheep and beef cattle health at Massey’s veterinary school. “While it is primarily aimed at vets and vet students, the book is popular with farmers,” Ridler told Rural News. “It tries to be practical and provides useful information; it is not overly technical but is certainly not a basic handbook. The handbooks some farmers have are just too basic. You are better to have more information and read the important bits than not have enough information.” Written to be user friendly, the book is aimed at syndromes or symptoms, so the farmer does not need to try to diagnose the disease first. “It has chapters on poor growth in lambs, poor thrift in ewes, abortion and so on. “Take abortion, for example; it is easy to go to the abortion chapter and


read about it rather than guess what may have caused the abortion and find a chapter on that. “It is designed to be based on what a vet or a farmer sees, rather than having to know specifically what problem or disease they are dealing with.” The book’s detail about treatment and prevention will be useful for farmers, says Ridler, and should be used in conjunction with consultation with a veterinarian. The Sheep has been extensively revised and fully redesigned with a wider range of illustrations and colour photographs; tables are used more comprehensively.

BOSS® Pour-On. Designed from the molecule up to deliver improved product performance. How? By using our unique DMI-Sorb™ “liquid-gel” formulation system to stop run-off and improve absorption. It really works. And unlike when you use other combination pour-on’s you won’t have to worry if rain occurs shortly before or after treatment. For more information see

Liver fluke myths FROM PAGE 28

been relied on as it gave the greatest efficacy against young fluke, minimising production loss; and has been present in many brands. Research work conducted in Australia [Virbac Australia] has shown there is an emerging resistance to triclabendazole – an active used to treat liver fluke. Resistance was first seen there in 1995 and now is progressively increasing in frequency. New Zealand identified possible triclabendazole resistance first in a case in Taranaki in 2009* and then confirmed on the same property in 2011. Since then, no serious studies have identified how prevalent the problem is. Farmers who suspect they have issues with fluke despite treatment should work with their veterinarian to investigate the status in their herd/flock and identify the best treatment. Myth 5: Switching

brands won’t reduce resistance. To delay resistance, look for combination products that will do a better job of wiping out flukes, some products offer synergistic combinations with triclabendazole which work more effectively than triclabendazole alone [synergy proven for oxfendazole combination, suggested for Moxidectin combination]. Consider the use of an alternative nontriclabendazole treatment containing actives like closantel, clorsulon, nitroxinil or combinations of these. To delay onset of problems, fluke treatment should be completed strategically at times as discussed above; avoid using triclabendazole products as routine monthly drenches. Also consider your land use, placing stock away from high risk areas [especially sheep and young cattle]. Graze high risk areas in late winter with adult

cattle. Whether you’re looking to start a program or already implementing a program, you should seek expert advice to assess what the best approach is for your livestock and farm. Your veterinarian can help you identify the problem and devise an actionable strategy to control liver fluke on your property. * Hassell C – publication: Proceedings of the Society of Sheep & Beef Cattle Veterinarians of the NZVA, 2012 p, Jan 2012 • Richard Hilson is a veterinarian at Vet Services (HB) Ltd, with a serious interest in sheep and deer in particular. He is big on animal health management planning and often works with clients one on one to assist in fine tuning production systems. Brought to you by





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Innovative, second-generation sprayer MARK DANIEL

THE DUTCH manufacturer of self-propelled sprayers Agrifac has enjoyed a meteoric rise in ten years: it made only 20 units in 2008 but in 2017 turned out 200 units. Now from a new factory at its Steenwijk base comes its second-generation Condor Endurance sprayer that will give competitors something to think about. Powered by a 9.6L Cummins motor pushing out 420hp and meeting Tier 5 emission regulations, the machine has an 8000L spray tank, boom configurations from 24 55m operating width and a road speed of 60km/h. Each area of the machine has a dedicated function. The front is dedicated to filling, either via the induction hopper or the main tank filler, storing clean water and it has fill points for fuel and DEF fluids.

Around the centre and the main spray tank are storage areas for chemicals, clothing and tools. The rear is the favoured location for the pumping and onboard electronic systems, said to be easy to access and maintain. Along the flanks, one side has electrical wiring and the other liquid hose runs, in a move to avoid short circuits. On top, the main cab frame is still sourced from the Claas company, but it has a new suspension system and fully revised in-cab controls including a new flower-shaped joystick and a single touch screen that connects with about 600 sensors to control all machine functions -boom height, GPS and road navigation, all controlled from the new Grammer electrically heated and suspended seat. Lots of innovation is seen in the spraying operation: by collating information from field


The arrival of the second-generation Condor Endurance sprayer will give competitors something to think about.

maps and data from boom mounted cameras

and sensors, the new DynamicDose system

sprays each plant with the correct amount of

spray and, for example, when weeds are detected the nozzles switch on and off to target specific plants. Likewise, when manoeuvring under trees or in tight corners the StrictSpray function reduces under- or over-dosing by matching boom speed and required dosage rates to each nozzle. In practice this means nozzles open and close up to 100 times/ second, typically applying less product in the centre of a turn and more to the extremity, which will be

moving faster. SmartDose sees to it that no spray is left in the bottom of the tank after a job: a separate pump injects and mixes chemicals directly into the spray line without the need to fill the bulk tank; this should be very useful on small areas needing specific treatment. Also new is a boom height system that uses four boom-mounted sensors that get a fan-shaped view of the crop below; this gives more progressive adaption of height on changing contours.

EURO CULTIVATOR LOOKS THE BIZ A FRESH face at the southern field days, Waimumu, was George Andrews from Ikon Machinery, Geraldine. Recently formed, the business sells direct, offering low-tech, quality machinery with no need for the traditional dealer/farmer relationship, Andrews claims. It markets European brands such as Kockerling cultivators, Larrington trailers and SiloKing feeding equipment. At Waimumu it presented a Kockerling Vector 460 cultivator designed for stale seedbed cultivation on broadacre farms. The machine needs 350hp minimum.

George Andrew, Ikon Machinery.

It has a four-bank tine layout, so offering plenty of clearance for trash flow, and a hydraulic autoreset function for when the going gets too tough.

Folding down to 3m for transport, the Vector can be specified with a choice of points, from a 40mm subsoiler type to a 320mm wide goosefoot design, depend-

ing on soil or crop residues being worked. Ideal for working depths between 100 and 350mm, this unit has multiple sets of wheels that keep the frame at a constant yet adjustable on-the-move depth, while a telescopic and oscillating drawbar deals with undulations Behind the tine bars a levelling board sees to lumps, then the soil gives way to a STS (soil to soil) double ring roller for consolidation. Interestingly, the open section of the rollers is designed to fill with soil, so promoting a positive drive in all conditions.

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Silage wagon maker changes NZ distributor MARK DANIEL

GILTRAP AGRIZONE, in Waikato, has replaced Power Farming Wholesale as distributor of the Schuitmaker brand. With the change comes a bigger offering of models for New Zealand users. Well known for 30 years, the brand has a loyal following for its build quality, performance, longevity and ability to shift large amounts of grass in a day. The extensive range includes the farmerfocussed 58V -- ideal for zero-grazing and therefore goat farmers, whose numbers are growing particularly in Waikato; and there are the 55 and 65 models of the 10 series, aimed at small to medium contractors. The higher-spec 520 and 580 models of the 100 series will suit bigger operators, with their heavier construction, larger rotor and optional ISOBUS control weighing systems. At the top end, the 1000 series offers high

output and durability achieved by very heavy construction and a larger diameter rotor. A stand-out feature of the Schuitmaker wagons is the rearwards facing pick-up that adapts to changing contour more readily. Its ‘pushed’ layouts offer the advantage of increased ground clearance. The Rapide series machines can be equipped with up to 43 Hardox steel double-sided knives to achieve a chop length of 44mm, and high load weights. Maximum load weights are attained by high density achieved by pushing chopped material along the RapidStream front panel. A simple joystick control and well laid out control box make loading easy, and much automation is available. Alternatively, some models are ISOBUS compatible to allow control from the tractor’s integral display terminal. A range of options – depending on the model series – includes steered axles, hydraulic suspension and a choice of

REAL POWER! A FIAT diesel engine has made a name for itself and its manufacturer with an impressive speed record. The Fiat Powertrain Engine (FPT) powered a triple-hull powerboat to a Guinness World Record for the fastest speed on water powered by diesel: it hit 277.5km/h on Lake Como, Italy, on March 7. The driver was powerboat racing champion Fabio Buzzi. The FPT Cursor 16L engine is generally used in farm machines, e.g. powering New Holland’s FR650 and 780 forage harvesters, but in this case was configured to push out 1700hp and eclipse the standing record by 25km/h. – Mark Daniel

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tandem or triple-axle configurations, the latter allowing loadings of up to 40 tonnes. Also, NIR sensors can determine dry matter content using infra-red sensors, and weigh cells in the wagon’s undercar-

riage and drawbars can record weights. Data from individual paddocks can be saved using the field track and trace function then transmitted by wireless modem to a SIM card or farm office PC.

The 1000 Series offers high outputs and durability achieved from heavy construction and a large diameter rotor.



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Second-generation potato harvester sets the standard MARK DANIEL

GRIMME LAUNCHED its 4-row selfpropelled Varitron potato harvester in 2011 and now a second-generation machine – 435hp, rubber tracks and a 7-tonne non-stop bunker as standard. The family-owned company manufactures in a purpose-built factory in Rieste, Germany. The Varitron 470 Platinum Terra Trac meets the latest Tier 4 Final emissions levels and is available with a row width of 750 or 900mm. A high priority in the new model was to improve the driver comfort, achieved via the new ErgoDrive operating concept to allow intuitive control and easy access to all functions. The operator can save individual and fieldspecific settings that can also be stored and retrieved for future use. Up to 12 LED headlights provide exceptional lighting, and a coming-

home function allows the driver to leave the machine safely. Assistance systems regulate the speed of the ring elevator and the main webs based on the load of the intake. An air compressor system with connections at the cab and at the air filter allows easy cleaning. Close attention to improving crop extraction sees the attachment and deflection of all main webs being comprehensively improved, likewise the extracting rollers of the roller separator. This leads to a higher stability, improved waste separation and easy adjustment. A standard integrated stone protection system protects each share plate and share frame from damage by stones or obstacles, so protecting the whole intake area. Also, in heavy soils it is now possible to use highly wear-resistant plastic share plates that help reduce sticking of soil in difficult harvesting condi-

Designers of the Varitron 470 have paid a great deal of attention to improving crop extraction.

tions. The maker’s wide choice of separators is unique in the potato harvester market. Besides a fine haulm elevator, Grimme offers a roller separator or

MultiSep and is the only manufacturer offering a VarioRS, a double MultiSep or the combination of a roller separator and VarioRS or MultiSep systems. Gentle unloading, designed to pro-

tect product quality, is achieved by a novel ring elevator to ensure an equal and gentle distribution of the potatoes into the pockets of the ring elevator. Another new optional extra is the haulm distributor which spreads the waste potato plants and haulm evenly over the cleared surface; it allows adjustable haulm spreading distance from the cab. The weight distribution of the machine has been significantly improved, i.e. by a redesign of the rear axle, by displacement of the fuel tank and by use of light, stable plastic bars in the webs. As a result, ground compaction is much reduced and the machine is more stable even with a full bunker. The Terra Trac rubber tracks reduce compaction and enhance stability on slopes, and a telescoping front axle allows the use of a wide oversized tyre which also reduces compaction on the right outer row.

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Pressure helps seeder to get the job done

GIVEN THE success of the previous model, the new Gaspardo Gigante Pressure no-till pneumatic seed drill should expand its presence in New Zealand farming. It can deal with extremes of conditions -- from winter-pugged ground, through cereal stubbles with high levels of crop residues, to highcountry hard-baked ground during mid-summer. The 4m unit has 150mm row spacing and a construction and layout designed for maximum penetration in all conditions. Up front it can be hitched to a suitable tractor via a crossbeam mounted to the lower links and incorporating a swivel to the drawbar. That heavy-duty drawbar and main frame assembly is made from heavy duty steel to impart weight,

which helps deliver coulter downward pressure of up to 250kg per unit to penetrate the soil in all conditions. To improve machine stability, the hopper assembly has been turned

tiliser. These can be used separately or combined if, for instance, the machine is being used in a grainonly configuration. The hopper is pressurised by a drawbar-mounted, hydraulically driven fan.

As part of the upgrade process the machine has extra bracing for stability, extending its operating life, and similarly through to the drilling element. 90 degrees to sit over the machine spine; its lower, wider profile creates a lower centre of gravity making filling by machine or hand easier. Oversized wheel and tyre equipment complement the modified layout for greater stability on difficult country or when travelling at high speed on the road between jobs. The hopper is split 60:40 into two compartments for grain and fer-

The grain and fertiliser feeds are controlled by a Genius e-drive metering system that is steplessly adjustable by speed or the use of interchangeable metering cartridges. This handles a wide range of products – from fine seeds to high application rates of fertiliser. The metering system conveys materials to an externally mounted distribution head tucked in behind the hopper

assembly. As part of the upgrade process the machine has extra bracing for stability, extending its operating life, and similarly through to the drilling element. The first noticeable point is a 42% increase in diameter to 50mm of the main pivot at the front of the seeding unit. Likewise, bearings, bushes and pins have been upgraded to extend service life. The soil-engaging elements have much tighter manufacturing and fitment tolerances to improve drilling performance, with special attention to the boot retention set-up to encourage positive drive in all conditions. On the seeder, the single-disc units, with a large amount of movement, benefit from a twin, independent spring layout working with a large diameter depth control wheel. This combination is said to create a

fine tilth, despite a minimal disturbance, to create an ideal germination zone, which after sowing is firmly and consistently closed by independent press wheels. The Gigante Pressure is fully ISOBUS-compati-

ble, allowing the operator to plug in and go to work, controlling the machine directly from the tractor’s integral display terminal which negates the need for a second terminal in the cab. This also allows the machine to be used

with automatic shut-off and on at headlands when used with a GPS signal. Maintenance is by a cluster of grease nipples that make for prompt daily set-up. @rural_news

e weed


e ge n





er -

s in



7 The new machine offers the ability to deal with extremes of conditions from winter-pugged ground through to hard-baked grounding during midsummer.




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MULLERWHERO FARMING, near Otorohanga on 265ha (eff), has Neil and Peter Muller milking 830 cows. The farm is being remodelled, i.e. new and realigned raceways, and the Mullers needed to move some dirt. Mindful of time and weather constraints, they decided to buy a high capacity trailer. Their location just around the corner from manufacturer Giltrap Engineering made the supplier the obvious choice. Giltrap was able to make a bespoke unit to meet the Muller’s wishlist so the company got the order. The recently delivered Construction series 22

trailer is built for a tough life. It has a body made of 6mm Hardox steel that helps reduce tare weight without compromising strength. Notably, Giltrap Engineering is the only New Zealand farm machinery maker accredited by the Swedish steel supplier to use its ‘Hardox in My Body’ slogan. The trailer measures 4.88m long x 2.9m

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wide and is rated 11 cu.m capacity, level filled, though in use a heaped load amounts to about 17 cu.m because of the slightly wider-than-normal configuration. As well as capacity, the trailer was chosen for its rear steering axle set-up -- a heavy-duty ADR unit. This also has unique hydraulic suspension which has quickly become a positive talking point. Mullers wanted to avoid leaf spring suspension because of its tendency to instability, especially when tipping. The Construction 22 series uses four hydraulic suspension units and accumulators that give 240mm of travel for each wheel. This allows the operator to control ride


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“The Quadbar saved our employee from significant injuries.” – Colin van der Geest

For a Quadbar, call me, Stuart Davidson, owner of Quadbar NZ, on 021-182 8115. Email or for more info go to


height in paddock or road at the touch of a switch, and it allows adjustment of the rear axle to transfer more weight to the rear axle of the towing tractor. A high degree of automation during tipping sees the steering ‘locking’ in the straight-ahead position as the trailer moves rearwards. As the body tips the front axle lifts – transferring load to the rear axle and reducing the risk of a vertical jackknife. Coupled to the tractor with an 80mm ball and spoon hitch ahead of a swivelling hitch, the trailer pulls well. This is enhanced by 650-55R 26.5 flotation tyres that help reduce compaction and offer reduced rolling resistance especially in difficult conditions. A high-clearance hydraulic tailgate gives unobstructed discharge and a four-way pivot at the base of the tipping ram deals with any misalignment. This and a dual hydraulic and air braking system (lights are LED) halts the trailer swiftly and safely.

• Cost Effective • Complete Package • Unbeatable pricing 600 500 400 300 200 100 0




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


Phone 0800 625 826

incl GST

P 06 835 6863 -


TOP DOG BOX ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱ ❱❱

• Performance Guaranteed





RURAL TRADER 35 PO Box 73 Tuakau 1892 Automatic Super Jetter Rubber Safety Matting FLY OR LICE PROBLEMS? Tel: (09) 236 8414

Innovative Agriculture Equipment

Stainless Structure The magic 1892 eye sheepjetter since 1989 PO• Box 73 Tuakau PO Box 1892 73 Tuakau • ATV Carrier Mats Exit/Entry Areas construction Fax: (09) 236 Quality construction and9321 options • Get the contractors choice Tel: (09) 236 8414 Tel: (09) 236 8414 • Calf Trailers • Horse Floats & Trucks 1,000 + Email: sheep/hr (09) 236 Fax: 9321(09) 236 9321 • Incredible chemical economy • Weigh Platforms • Fax: Bale Mats Fantastic • Amazing ease 1500+ per hour Email: Email: Penetration • Comfort Mats for Wet & Dry • Unique self adjusting sides • Environmentally and user friendly $7,500 plus GST • Utility Deck Matting • Automatically activated

ndustries Ltd sdustries Ltd Ltd

With Davey Pump & Honda Motor


Get up-to-date news

Phone: 0800 80 8570

PO Box 73 Tuakau 1892 07 8414 573 8512 | Tel: (09) 236 Dairy – PO Box 73 Tuakau PO Box 1892 73 Tuakau 1892 Fax: (09) 236 9321 Free Range & Barn Eggs Feed Systems Tel: (09) 236 8414 Tel: (09) 236 8414 airy Dairy Email: Feed Systems SUPPLIERS OF: (09) 236 Fax: Fax: 9321(09) 236 9321 tems ed SystemsEmail: • Nest boxes - manual or Email: Got Diesel Bug automated Industries Ltd

• Poultry Equipment

PO Box 73 Tuakau 1892

Tel: (09) 236 8414 Feed & Drinking Fax: (09) 236 9321 Email:trays • Plastic egg


5.85 per hectare delivered


plus GST

Ph Brian Mace 027-438 9822

Grow vegetables all year round Very affordable and easy to install New Zealand designed and made 35 years producing tunnel houses Range of models sized from 2m - 8m

Fax: (09) 236 9321 0800Email: 901 902

PO Box 73 Tuakau 1892 Tel: (09) 236 8414 Fax: (09) 236 9321 Email:


tunnel houses

• Proven effective on lice as well as fly • Compatible with all dip chemicals • Accurate, effective application

PO Box 73 Tuakau 1892 Tel: (09) 236 8414

NZ’s finest BioGro certified Mg fertiliser For a delivered price call... 0800 436 566


03 214 4262 |


in your Farm Tank?


A trusted name in Poultry Industry Tel: (09) 236 8414 Poultry for over 50 years PO Box 73 Tuakau PO Box 1892 73 Tuakau 1892 Fax: (09) 236 9321 Equipment Tel: (09) 236 8414 Tel: (09) 236 8414 oultry Email: Fax: (09) 236 Fax: 9321(09) 236 9321 quipment nt Fix it with Email: Email: ❖

Fuel Right.

Up to 6 rechargeable waterproof collar units & remotes • Model SD-1825 – 1.6 Kms range (1 mile) • Model SD-1225 – 1.2 Kms range • Model SD-825 – 800 Metre range All with Tone & Vibration options 24 levels of correction – 3 year warranty

J000060_BDMA Revolution


Fuel Right Right isis the complete Fuel diesel diesel system treatment that that deals deals with diesel bug and keeps expensive and keeps your your expensive equipment running equipment running smoothly smoothly and and efficiently. efficiently.

COOKERS & STOVES PH: 0800 777 551 Ph: 0800 777 551

The Spreader Specialists

Be Safer With Clic Dual Wheels

Walco Have the Spreader to suit YOUR Needs

Walco Spreaders are Leading the Pack with: ● ● ● ● ● ●

GREAT VALUE SD-1825 with 1 collar ................$695.00 SD-1225 with 1 collar ................ $595.00 SD-825 with 1 collar ..................$495.00 Extra collars $375.00 – PRICES INCLUDE GST

Sizes from: 70 - 675 litre ATV Trailed & 350 - 2600 litre PTO linkage

To u & gh Ma St No d e ro ng n-C fro Ga orr m lva osi ni ve se P d las St ti ee c l

on Duals for more traction, stability, flotation, towing power, versatility.

Clic Wheel Systems Ltd, ROTORUA

Contact us NOW for more info on these Fantastic Machines 0800 355544 or

Ph/Fax 07 347 2292

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

Best Value for Money Reliability & Durability All Round Strength Even Spreading Huge Range to Choose From Extended Warranty

• Lightweight, easy to install • Made from polyethylene

McKee Plastics Mahinui Street, Feilding Ph 06 323 4181 Fax 06 323 4183 |


Helping Farmers Boost Production Made in New Zealand


0800 625 826

for your nearest stockist

Joiners supplied FREE with culvert pipes


Performance pays

We’re here to help you optimise value from the land and reduce environmental impacts. Strong growth means we’re able to return another early interim cash rebate. Enabling you to secure your finances and fertiliser application for autumn.





per tonne


Don’t delay. Order now. Call the customer centre on 0800 100 123.

Smarter farming for a better New Zealand™ *Paid on eligible solid fertiliser despatched between 1 June 2017 and 31 May 2018. Terms of Trade apply.

Rural News 3 April 2018  

Rural News 3 April 2018

Rural News 3 April 2018  

Rural News 3 April 2018