Page 1

NEWS

MACHINERY

MANAGEMENT

Appeals lodged on Psa case.

Tea from an unlikely source.

Management programme lights fire under South Canterbury deer farmer PAGE 31

PAGE 14

PAGE 39

TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS AUGUST 7, 2018: ISSUE 658 

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Here for ‘years’?

LAGGARDS MUST GO! PETER BURKE

NIGEL MALTHUS

CONCERNS HAVE been raised that Mycoplasma bovis may have been in New Zealand at least five or six years before the currently accepted date of discovery. That’s the belief of Oamaru veterinarian and Angus beef breeder Neil Sanderson. “I’ve got people who are pretty convinced they’ve had similar outbreaks, or similar incidences of untreatable mastitis with high mortality, quite a long time before 2015,” he told Rural News. “But MPI is very reluctant to entertain any of that, unfortunately, which I think is quite disappointing. “Because if it was found to be in the country much before the MPI contention of a 2015 incursion, then this erad-

ication programme would likely be a waste of time.” Sanderson believes legitimately imported germplasm – imported embryos or semen – could be a likely entry mechanism and is sceptical about the veterinary medicine pathway. “Back in 2007-18, an EU audit of the NZ germplasm industry played merry hell with NZ’s germplasm trade into Europe, stopping it for several years,” Sanderson claims. However, he believes the EU’s concern at the time was more about trade

than biosecurity. He says he and others had warned MPI and the then Minister of Agriculture, David Carter, that the greater risk was to NZ importing European germplasm rather than the other way around. “I know that for importing semen and embryos [from the EU] the donor animals did not have to be tested for Mycoplasma bovis,” Sanderson says. “There are processes for handling the embryos that were thought to remove any risk of M.bovis, but I think when you read the research that’s been

done, you can’t absolutely rule it out.” The disease appeared in NZ mainly in Holsteins. Sanderson says he had not heard of any Jersey herd or any beef herd infected, which also points to a germplasm source. He warns that in the upcoming mating season beef and dairy farmers must be vigilant about sourcing service bulls from traceable sources and avoid buying bulls from saleyards and nonverifiable trading enterprises. • See “Beef industry unfairly tainted” page 36

Beefing up Maori farming Cedric Nepia (Trophy Kaitiaki) and Andrew Morrison, chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand launching the 2019 Ahuwhenua Trophy competition for the top Maori sheep and beef farm, at last week’s Red Meat Sector conference. BLNZ is a major sponsor of the competition and Morrison says Māori are big players in the red meat sector. “They bring scale and innovation and contribute hugely to our sheep and beef exports and the strength of the New Zealand economy.” More coverage of the red meat sector conference in this issue.

peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

THE MEAT industry has some great exemplars but still too many laggards, says the Minister for Primary Industry, Damien O’Connor. He told the Red Meat Sector conference that the laggards are farmers who ignore NAIT and animal traceability and who breach animal welfare codes and other regulations. He says New Zealand’s reputation is determined by the lowest common-denominator farmer for whom there is no place anywhere in the primary sector. “This is because an iPhone can send a negative message around the world and undermine all the good stories we will tell under the Taste Pure Nature brand.” O’Connor says Taste Pure Nature is a good start but he believes NZ must promote regional differences as the wine industry does. “Then we will have people coming to NZ to find the subtle differences in the flavour of meat between, say, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury.” O’Connor referred to two serious concerns he hads about the meat industry: one was the lack of women at the conference -- not peculiar to the meat industry; the other was the low involvement of Maori. “They have values, kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and manaakitanga (hospitality) that embody everything we are trying to do in producing food and protecting our environment,” he says.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

NEWS 3 ISSUE 658 www.ruralnews.co.nz

A safe pair of hands

ACTION CRITICAL

SUDESH KISSUN PAM TIPA

sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

NEWS��������������������������������������1-19 MARKETS��������������������������22-23 AGRIBUSINESS�������������� 24-25 HOUND, EDNA���������������������� 26 CONTACTS����������������������������� 26 OPINION��������������������������� 26-28 MANAGEMENT�������������� 30-34 ANIMAL HEALTH������������35-37 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS���������������������� 38-42 RURAL TRADER������������� 42-43

HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print CONTACTS Editorial: editor@ruralnews.co.nz Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: subsrndn@ruralnews.co.nz ABC audited circulation 80,580 as at 31.03.2018

FONTERRA’S NEW chairman John Monaghan is a safe pair of hands for the job, says Federated Farmers Waikato president Andrew McGiven. He told Rural News the appointment signals business as usual as the co-op hunts for a new chief executive. While Monaghan’s appointment may not signal a shift in strategy, farmers expect the new chief executive to bring some changes. McGiven says that to many farmers busy with calving the abrupt change in chairmanship came as a shock -- an unfortunate timing given the new chief executive appointment pending. “With John Monaghan stepping up as chair, I see him as a safe pair of hands to continue with business as usual, especially with the appointment of a new chief executive underway. “This appointment may bring somes changes to the strategy as the new appointee may have new and diverse ideas on how to meet the board’s vision and mission.” Monaghan took over from John Wilson, who recently underwent major surgery for an undisclosed ailment and requires further treatment. An experienced director, on the board since 2008, Monaghan has farming interests in Wairarapa and Otago.

New Fonterra chair John Monaghan.

He has chaired and served on many board committees and led during customer visits and on global trade issues. Wilson, who joined Fonterra’s board in 2003, will retire at the annual meeting in Waikato on November 8. He says the decision to stand down as chair had been difficult but was ultimately in the best interests of the cooperative. “I have made a very good recovery and am well but will need ongoing treatment. It has been a privilege to serve you as chairman and give something back to this great cooperative that continues to give my family and me so much. “As many of you will know from experience, governance roles are

incredibly rewarding but equally demanding on individuals and their families. Continuing as chairman when I cannot put my full energy and attention into the role is not appropriate.” McGiven thanked Wilson for years of hard work and leadership on behalf of all shareholders. “He was unfortunate to inherit the mantle when the botulism scare occurred and has guided the company through rough waters,” says McGiven. “He has always had an extremely sharp intellect and has been able to bring that to the fore as chair of Fonterra, and has always been accessible as chair if supplier/shareholders needed additional comment.”

WILSON EARNS PRAISE DAIRYNZ CHAIRMAN Jim van der Poel says the dairy sector has benefitted from John Wilson’s inspiring leadership. “At a relatively young age, when others might focus solely on their farming business, John chose to devote a significant amount of time to key leadership roles,” said fellow director van der Poel. “As an elected farmer director,

John’s understanding of the Fonterra business and the market environment in which it operates is second to none.” But Wilson’s passion and dedication to the sector goes much further than Fonterra. “John has always been an active participant in industry-good initiatives, including recently the new Dairy Tomorrow strategy and the

Mycoplasma bovis challenge. He always made time for these important issues and DairyNZ thanks him for his commitment and leadership contributions.” Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis says Wilson has always been fiercely supportive and proud of his co-op shareholders and the work they do.

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SOME OF the 21,000 apple trees and plant material involved in the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) biosecurity action are very important to the industry, says Alan Pollard, Pipfruit NZ chief executive officer. “The imports are a significant contribution to the industry because [they are] the next generation of cultivars -- improvements on existing varieties,” Pollard told Rural News. “So certainly it is significant.” MPI has decided risky apple and stone fruit plant material imported from a US testing facility must be contained or destroyed to protect New Zealand from biosecurity risk. This follows an MPI audit in March which found notable failures at Clean Plant Centre Northwest in Washington State. The industry may keep priority plant material as long as it’s properly contained while MPI determines if it can be tested for diseases so it may be released in the future. Almost 48,000 affected apple and stonefruit plants and small trees are secured at 50 sites in Hawke’s Bay, Waikato, Nelson and Central Otago. Asked if he thought MPI was influenced by the High Court decision on the kiwifruit claim that found MPI’s predecessor MAF failed in its duty of care with Psa, Pollard says, “I think it certainly caused them to think about how they act and respond in these situations”. “And I am not surprised they would do that. I think if I were in their shoes I would too.”


s last.

RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

4 NEWS

Red tape swamping farmers PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

FARMERS ARE being overwhelmed by pressure to comply with all the new regulations. Federated Farmers’ meat and wool section chair Miles Anderson told Rural News, at the recent Red Meat sector conference, of farmers’ problems in meeting the expectations of local and central government and meat companies. It worries him that many farmers are quitting the industry because of this pressure. “It adds a lot of psychological pressure on farmers and I fear that the smaller, family-type farm that’s been the backbone of NZ will find it harder to exist.”

Farmers face a variety of challenges – environmental change and climate change in particular. Anderson says he’d like to hear sound science on what is and what isn’t contributing to climate change. “As for the environmental footprint of synthetic proteins being minor, I severely doubt this because of the intensive cropping needed to produce the precursors for the proteins; so you would have fertiliser use, chemical use and monoculture crops. “With big areas you have biodiversity issues, water use and carbon in the soil, so I would like to see some evidential science on that as well.” Consumer demand is also an issue. If the con-

PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

Miles Anderson

sumer is prepared to pay more for food verified as sustainably produced, farmers will do it, he says. “But it’s doing stuff at cost for no return that

I’m concerned about.” He doubts NZ has done all it can to capture value in the marketplace and says the sector needs to work as a team to get

the best returns. “As country we are good at working in isolation and that needs to change,” Anderson says.

Nailing the big issues CLIMATE CHANGE and water quality are two issues the sheep and beef industry has yet to nail, says Beef + Lamb NZ chairman, Andrew Morrison. Speaking to Rural News last week at the Red Meat Sector conference in Napier, he said health and safety was a big issue 12-18 months ago but the industry has moved on from this and is working through these other issues. “We really want to get the water quality and climate change issues sorted,” Morrison says. “We are working out what tools we can

PARKER PRAISES INDUSTRY LEADERS

set up to help change the behaviour of people on these issues; not regulation so much as how we can structure policy that gets the necessary outcomes.” The conference heard a lot about the need for NZ to focus on the growing and changing demands of modern consumers, especially in wealthy markets. But Morrison believes these consumers’ demands are no different from what Kiwis expect from this country’s production systems. “So we need to demonstrate to consumers – and NZers – that

they have every reason to feel comfortable with our production systems and the proteins we produce. “We also must demonstrate that we are handling climate change, water quality and animal welfare to a high standard, which should alleviate any concerns they have.” Morrison says the conference in Napier was excellent and it was good to see unity between farmers and processors. He saw the conference helping to unify the industry.

“Farming doesn’t end at the mailbox and excellence in processing doesn’t start at the mailbox, so we must work together to help create products that add value all the way through the system.” Andrew Morrison says BLNZ and MIA are working well together -- they recently held a joint strategy day -- and have spent a lot of time working with the new government. “It’s exciting times; everyone talks about challenges and disruptions, but these are opportunities,” he says. – Peter Burke

FARMING LEADERS are stepping up to the mark on climate change and water quality, says environment and trade minister David Parker. “Personally I am confident we are already on the path to a transition to a post fossil-fuel economy, a low emissions economy,” he says. “The leadership of some of the farm peak bodies is really good and to be applauded.” Some individuals are “stepping up and leading and it is a hard space for them”. “Some of them are elected to those positions and not all their members are as progressive in their thinking as they are,” he told an Environmental Defence Society conference on environmental reform last week. Although he did not name them last week, he had singled out at an earlier conference Andrew Morrison, chair of Beef + Lamb NZ and Jim van der Poel, chair of DairyNZ. Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings was also leading with some important examples. Parker says fresh water is his priority as Minister for the Environment and he is happy to be judged on his performance on that. “When politicians prioritise things and put themselves out there to be judged on them we cause the ministries and civil society to take note and that in turn helps achieve the outcome,” he says. “Making those sorts of statements is also a signal to the system that we are serious about fixing this.” He says he is willing to work with anyone who is willing to share in that duty. “Again I applaud the emerging leadership that is coming from some parts of the primary sector. I believe we are seeing a real change in the primary sector and a drive to make improvements.” Parker says that among initiatives to come will be a revision of the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management. – Pam Tipa

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

NEWS 5

DOCKING YARD DEALS!

Drums still beat on takeover NIGEL MALTHUS

THE REBRANDING of New Zealand Agriseeds to better reflect its international ownership is not quelling speculation that its Dutch parent company is interested in buying out PGG Wrightson’s seed section. Canterbury-based Agriseeds was formed 31 years ago when it was spun off from Yates. The Dutch seed giant Barenbrug then took a minority shareholding and has since bought more; it has owned all the shares for about 10 years. The company said in July that to better reflect its global connections it was rebranding as Barenbrug Agriseeds. General manager Michael Hales says “absolutely nothing� would change for its farmer customers. “Our people are the same, the

products are the same, and the products we supply will still come in the yellow bags they’ve always come in.� Asked about speculation of a possible buyout of PGGWrightson’s seed business – the Australian company Elders and Barenbrug are named as potential buyers -- Hales declined to comment because of a non-disclosure agreement. “The Wrightson seed business is one of the few big grass businesses out there and so it doesn’t surprise me that there would be an element of interest from Barenbrug,� he told Rural News.� Hales says Royal Barenbrug Group has been part of Agriseeds from the start and gave the company a technical edge, providing unique access to plant genetics, science and knowledge. “It’s the largest privately owned seed company in the world

Barenbrug Agriseeds NZ general manager Michael Hales.

and without having been able to share its resources we would not be where we are today.� Hales claims that a key outcome of this collaboration has been a raft of market-leading pastures developed specifically to improve livestock production and profitability. “They’ve put the weight of their resources and expertise

behind the team here in New Zealand, at the same time as giving us scope to meet the needs of local farmers.� He says the Barenbrug connection has also enabled advanced research on endophyte technology and opened export opportunities for NZ seed growers. Founded in 1904 by Joseph Barenbrug, it is now a fourthgeneration family business, with 29 subsidiaries and 14 breeding stations on five continents. The group has 740 employees, including 105 in R&D, and an annual turnover exceeding $NZ425 million, making it the world’s 13thlargest seed company. Barenbrug Agriseeds is located on a 224ha research farm in Canterbury and has about 60 across NZ. Its pasture lines account for 34-40% of the NZ market and include Trojan, Shogun, Tyson and Rohan.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

6 NEWS

NZ meat industry unhappy PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

THE MEAT Industry Association (MIA) says the latest TRQ proposal from Britain and the EU is absolute nonsense, is unnecessary and is premature. MIA chief executive Tim Ritchie says no one knows whether

it will be a hard or soft Brexit and that could have a huge impact on Britain’s domestic product flows. “Britain exports about 30% of its products to the continent, mostly to France in whole-carcase form. If it is a hard Brexit that product will face high import tariffs so it will probably stay in Britain and that will impact the

A SCOURGE ON WORLD TRADE

FLEXIBILITY VITAL NZ’S SPECIAL agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen, a sheep and beef farmer from Waipukurau, also weighed into the debate. He says for the UK and EU to claim that the 50:50 TRQ split is consistent with other deals done is nonsense and puzzling. Petersen says NZ worked hard in the 1970s and early 1980s to get a fair deal and especially the flexibility in the present deal. “NZ’s argument has always been clear and considered: that we do not think there is a need to split these TRQs even if Brexit goes ahead as currently planned,” he told Rural News. “The ability to have flexibility for NZ exporters to sell to the highest value market right across Europe is not just a benefit for NZ farmers, it is benefit a for UK and EU farmers as well. We are not looking for windfall gain out of this, but NZ will be worse off under the current proposal and we are saying under WTO rules that principle is absolutely rock solid in that no country should be worse off after notifying a change.” Petersen says many issues on Brexit are unresolved and the filing of this latest schedule doesn’t make sense.

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British market and leave a shortage in France,” he told Rural News. “During the foot and mouth [disease outbreak] in Britain in 2001-02 suddenly they found they couldn’t export to the continent. So the logical thing was we [New Zealand] tempered our exports into Britain and filled the gap on the continent – because the TRQs cover both markets. But as this proposal stands it will potentially destabilise farmers in the UK, NZ and the continent.” Ritchie says the 50:50 split is based on a rolling three-year-average, which he claims is meaningless given that NZ has been a

trading partner with the UK for at least a century. He says the NZ meat industry will not accept any decrease in the quality or quantity in the present quota and because the deal is sanctioned by the WTO he’s predicting a long and protracted negotiation. “The UK and Europe is a pretty important market especially for the leg of lamb. There is no other market in the world that returns that sort of money for chilled legs through supermarkets,” Ritchie explains. “That leg contributes 30% of the farmgate value of NZ lamb and we want to maintain that.”

WHILE NZ’S red meat sector has responded well and in an agile fashion to the various trade roadblocks, Vangelis Vitalis says it still faces an insidious obstacle – non-tariff trade barriers (NTTBs). He says NTTBs cost the agriculture sector at least $6 billion a year. Vitalis adds that while ordinary tariffs are bad, at least they are transparent and written down and can be dealt with. “Non-tariff barriers affect people all the way through the supply line and they can hit you at various points; many issues come up in the area of non-tariff barriers,” he told Rural News. “They are a major burden and we have taken cases against countries which have applied these.” Vitalis says MFAT recently set up an internet page where people can ask questions about non-tariff barriers. “We will answer these with 48 hours – try us,” he says. Vitalis says MFAT will keep working to conclude free trade agreements because they bring real benefit by way of tariff reductions. For example, he says, NZ is still paying $231 million annually in tariffs but this will reduce by $63m when the CPTPP is signed. Vitalis warns that NZ also has to watch out for subsidies to farmers, such as the ones the US has just introduced. Finally, he says NZ farmers must operate in an environmentally sustainable way. “One bad news story could wreck years of hard work,” he said.


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

NEWS 7

UK and EU declare ‘war’ on NZ PETER BURKE

IT COULD GET WORSE!

peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

AN ABSOLUTE nonsense, unnecessary, premature, puzzling, and is our so-called friend the UK doing the dirty on us? Such were the reactions to news that Britain and the European Union plan to split the trade weighted quotas (TRQs) which regulate how much lamb and beef NZ may send to the UK and EU on a 50:50 basis when Britain leaves the EU. This is as opposed to the present flexible arrangement that NZ has with the EU, which allows us complete flexibility as to the amount of lamb we send to specific countries in the EU – including Britain. NZ

THERE IS potential for this whole international trade situation to get worse. Vangelis Vitalis talked about the problems of the appeal body at the WTO potentially heading down the road to collapse, of a threat of trade wars, and of disagreements between nations threatening to break down the present rule-based system of trade. Brexit, Trump, China and a host of new

currently has quota of 225,000 tonnes of lamb, and quotas for beef and dairy to the European Union. This latest missive from London and Brussels, which results from the protracted and fractious Brexit negotiations, was the major talking point at last week’s Red Meat Sector conference held in Napier.

political agendas continue to disrupt the order that has sat in place for many years. He says to New Zealand the UK and EU are vital markets and the present uncertainty is unwelcome. “The EU and UK keep telling us they care about the international law-based system, that they don’t agree with President Trump’s unilateral move,” Vitalis said.

Open anger flared at the cavalier way the EU and Britain are treating NZ. There was also a threat that if they didn’t retain the present flexible arrangement, NZ would take legal action against the pair to preserve its rights, emboldened in the agreement with the WTO. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

(MFAT) top trade negotiator Vangelis Vitalis told the conference that the proposed TRQ split would diminish NZ’s access to both the UK and EU markets and would effectively reduce the ability of NZ firms to respond to market demand. He says they would be locked into a particular level in both markets and this would

NZ trade negotiator Vangelis Vitalis.

remove necessary and commonsense flexibility. “Under the present arrangement, if British consumers want more lamb we can respond and the same would apply to French, Greek or German consumers,” Vitalis told the conference. “This is particularly so at certain times of the year and that’s why the present system is so important. This latest unilateral step is a troubling one.” He says the UK and the EU have been very

good politically at telling us that no third country will be worse off because of Breixt. However, Vitalis says, we’ll have to see how that works, but right now it’s very difficult to see how that can be achieved if they are going to unilaterally reduce our access. “It feels very difficult to be effectively negotiating in a context where we don’t know what the relationship between the UK and EU will be because the Brexit nego-

tiations are still ongoing. Yet despite this we are being asked to change our relationship with them before we know what this will be.” Vitalis told Rural News that NZ negotiators have already made a counter proposal on the TRQs, which would provide more flexibility. He points out that NZ is not wanting greater access to the EU and UK, just what it has now which is supposedly guaranteed under the WTO rules.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

NEWS 9

Hort sector’s growing Labour pains NIGEL MALTHUS

COMING CHANGES in labour relations law represent “a real crisis point” for all New Zealand businesses, says Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman. It is one of the tough issues facing the industry, Chapman said in an address to the 2018 Horticulture Conference, recently held in Christchurch. Chapman told delegates that when Labour stood for the election it said it would raise the minimum wage to $20/ hour by 2020. “That means another $1.75 each year for the next two years to make $20 by 2020 for the minimum wage. That will put inflation up in this country by 2% because it it ripples through everyone,” he said. “We will be advocating to Government that they don’t do it, because that is so counterproductive to growth and the continued prosperity of this country.” Chapman referred to a couple of bills coming through Parliament which Horticulture NZ, Federated Farmers, Business NZ and others had submitted on.

“On each of these points we engaged the select committee, particularly the Labour and Green members.” The first was the plan to remove the 90-day trial period for new hires for employers with 20 or more employees. HortNZ submitted that the trial should be retained for businesses with 100 or fewer employees. The 90-day trial had worked well despite the Government not accepting it had, he said. “Go to the Business NZ website and see the stats.” Another proposal was to allow union reps to access any place of employment without permission, against which there were “obvious objections” on health and safety grounds. There were also changes coming to collective agreement laws. “The bill will compel collective bargaining and even if you’re not part of that collective bargaining, arguably your business will be bound by a deal you haven’t even made,” said Chapman. “There are so many strikes on at the moment in the public sector. We’re going to see enormous inflationary pressures from these wage increases

Horticultural NZ chief executive Mike Chapman addressing the industry’s annual conference.

the public sector is getting, and then you add to it the pledge to increase the minimum wage to $20 by 2020.” Chapman said the change of Government has brought a completely new focus. There have been casualties, including roading. He noted that the Cambridge Expressway was recently completed, and those workers had been destined to build the upgrade from Tauranga to Katikati, but that has now been scrapped. “So we’ve had workers who were skilled and reliable who built that fan-

tastic expressway, and they’ve now gone to Australia.” Similar things are happening in the gas and oil exploration industry, he said. Young workers are heading to Australia in numbers last seen 20 years ago. “If we don’t stop that happening we won’t be able to call on those people who have reliability, skill and initiative.” Chapman referred to some positive initiatives, such as boosting diplomats and foreign affairs to help push trade. The Provincial Growth Fund repre-

sents an enormous opportunity for the sector, he said. However, costs are increasing in road tolls and regional fuel taxes and these will spread beyond Auckland. Capital gains and environmental taxes are being considered, and “most importantly” for horticulture, immigration is tightening up. Chapman said he was pointing out the problems “not to be depressing” but to highlight challenges that will make it harder to be in business and find people to employ. A 2016 NZIER report identified a coming deficit of 6000 workers but the sector will need more than that, said Chapman. “We’re going to have to get out there and find them, source them and put them into work.” Initiatives underway include a labour steering group focussed on the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and on getting Kiwis working, the horticultural capabilities group, and employment practice workshops. Meanwhile, Chapman applauded the 100 new horticultural apprenticeships being made available through Primary ITO. • More from Hort Conference pp24-25

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

10 NEWS

Wool industry needs restructuring PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE WOOL industry has to be restructured; there is no other way, says prominent grower Derrick Millton. And the long-time

wool man reckons it may require a bold move by the Government as happened with the dairy industry. “There is a real commitment by people to work together purely because the price of

wool is so low and it is so uneconomic,” Millton told Rural News. “There will need to be some rationalising and some of these things we have discussed over the last 15-20 years will probably become more doable

because there is no way other than to restructure the wool industry now.” There may be some amalgamation of the clip, he says. Millton claims that Wools of NZ under Mark Shadbolt’s chairmanship

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is starting to make headway. “So there is a chance of amalgamations around the progress he is making.” Millton, a WNZ shareholder, believes the model is starting to work with greater volumes. “I think Wools of NZ have come through a very difficult five years and is now looking quite positively to having some role in amalgamating the strong wool industry. “From a grower’s perspective Wools of NZ has really put together something that will be achievable in the future. A lot is traded on different markets and by different organisations; dividing and ruling won’t get the wool industry off the mark. “We have to be quite bold in whatever we do. And if the Government can help us to achieve that bold move that we need, just as they did with the dairy industry some years ago, that may be the catalyst it will take. “We are encouraged by the Government’s need to push the wool industry

Long-time wool man Derrick Millton believes there is ‘no other way’.

along,” he says. The sheep industry is on a bit of a roll and it’s the wool industry that is holding it up, Millton says. “If we get that part of it right we may well be able to be environmentally smarter by having perhaps a greater number of sheep in the industry.” Millton says the numbers who volunteered for committees at the

Wool Summit organised by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor was heartening. “I am impressed by what the minister is trying to achieve here. The staff he has put onto this project are quite substantial, so the wool growers ought to be happy with that. “It is a good initiative. The go-forward is to get some groups going to progress this discussion.”

WORK UNDERWAY THE GENERAL manager wool at PGG Wrightson, Grant Edwards, says there is a proposal in front of those who attended the wool summit to now split into three sub-groups. “The key takeout for me was the appetite for the Government and the minister to support our industry and look at ways to further improve it,” says Edwards. “One of the key things is to get more collaboration across the total industry.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

NEWS 11 A GOOD START – FEDS THE PROOF of the pudding will be in the eating following the Wool Summit, says Feds meat and wool industry group chairman Miles Anderson. “It is a start. The problems haven’t been solved yet, but the intention and the goodwill gave me some confidence for the next stage,” he told Rural News. Three working groups are being formed. “I am not holding my breath, but I am certainly more optimistic

about the process than I was going into the summit,” Anderson says. “There is a sense of urgency about those who attended; they realised that if we don’t do something meaningful in good time it might be the last chance for the industry, more particularly on the strong wool side of things.” Telling the wool story internationally needs to be done, he adds. “We assume people know that wool comes from a sheep and it is shorn off and they grow a fleece

every year. But the reality is a lot of people seem to think the animal has to die for the wool to come off it. There have certainly been campaigns in developed countries by PETA and others who like to give the impression the animal dies for the wool to come off it.” Anderson says work is also needed on where the wool goes and what it is turned into. “We don’t know because a lot of it leaves in wool form and we don’t know what it gets turned into

and where it is sold. We are not even 100% sure of that. Whether that information is available and hasn’t been collated or whatever, the work needs to be done to define that.” Anderson reckons there was a willingness and openness by all at the Wool Summit and representation from a large cross-section of the value chain from growers to manufacturers. “There was certainly a positive attitude taken by everybody. “

Wools of NZ chair Mark Shadbolt.

Changes must be industry-led – Shadbolt PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE WOOL Summit had an air of collaboration and an understanding of the need to consolidate the industry, says Wools of New Zealand chairman Mark Shadbolt. However, Shadbolt told Rural News, any change needs to be commercially not politically led. But he says the Government, via the Ministry for Primary Industries, has a role to play in maintaining the momentum started by the recent summit. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor initiated the meeting of about 40 industry players. “I don’t think anybody has a magical answer,” says Shadbolt. “Change in this industry will come about commercially not politically. But where we can consolidate and work together for the good of the industry, well and good.” Up to a dozen commercial players and other organisations in the wool industry attended, Shadbolt says. “I think everyone was a bit hesitant about what they were saying and that indicated a spirit of willingness rather than aggression.” Improvement has to come from a consumer-led initiative, he says. “We need to focus more attention on getting wool away from the floor because it is so price-centred that it is never really going to change the profitability for the growers or the New Zealand industry -- and I incorporate those two areas together.” A commercial strategy needs to be developed further. “What I am hearing since the meeting is a willingness to collaborate and it is not unfair to say that Wools of NZ collaborates with most of the commercial players in New Zealand in one form or another, whether it be with our NFX or our wool tender; there is a range of things. “That collaboration is going on and it frustrates me that everybody says wool industry players stand back from each other. That is very far from the truth.” Shadbolt says it is important for the wool sector to tell its story. “There is huge opportunity ahead of us in the next 10 years because of the move against plastics. We need to be out there telling the positive story about wool and all the different areas it can be used in.” The bottom-line question is who will pay for it? he says “I got the sense there is a group within that meeting that wanted the Government to fund it. They will only fund it if we can prove as an industry that we are organised. The next step is how we get ourselves organised to leverage that financial support from Government.” A key is to keep the momentum up.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

12 NEWS

Change key to Westland’s survival SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

DAIRY CO-OP Westland Milk must change in order to survive, says Christchurch investment advisor Grant Williamson. Williamson, of Hamilton Hindin Greene, says the capital structure review announced last week isn’t surprising; low payouts to farmer shareholders over the last few years aren’t sustainable by the co-op. “Westland Milk needs to change to survive,” he told Rural News.

Westland’s board last week said it has picked Macquarie Capital and DG Advisory to “consider potential capital and ownership options that will create a more sustainable capital structure and support a higher potential payout”. The review will look at a full range of options, Westland says. These will include continuing with the current co-op model, introducing a cornerstone investor to provide new capital to fund growth, and a merger or sale of the cooperative. Westland has lost

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Westland Milk chair Pete Morrison says any changes would be voted on by shareholders.

farmer shareholders to rival Fonterra after years of low payouts. Following a change in board and management the co-op is forecasting a payout of $6.75 to $7.20/ kgMS for this season; Fonterra is forecasting $7/ kgMS. Westland chairman Pete Morrison says shareholders have indicated they would support a plan that delivers higher returns and shareholder value. “This strategy has the potential to add significant value to our business. We’ve had strong interest from new suppliers and we take great heart from that as well as the loyalty shown by existing shareholders,” he says. “Shareholders have clearly indicated support for a plan that would create higher returns and shareholder value, which would likely require significant new capital.”   Morrison says to realise opportunities, Westland needs access

to new and increased capital. “We have relatively high debt levels and limited financial flexibility so it is now timely to look ahead and consider the options that can provide a sustained, higher payout and improve the company’s financial flexibility.  Obtaining new capital would make a significant difference to the cooperative.” Williamson believes Westland won’t have problems attracting investors. “There’s a lot of interest for this type of operation; definitely there will be strong overseas interest.” He says securing a cornerstone investor would depend on the price and “give and take” from shareholders. “It’s still early days; Westland needs to go through the review and then shareholders have to choose.” Morrison says the review would run for several months.


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

NEWS 13

Footy and fractionation fan hangs up boots Rugby played a big role in New Zealand gaining a world-leading soil scientist, Professor Mike Hedley. He retired recently from Massey University after a distinguished career and international recognition of his research. Peter Burke reports. MIKE HEDLEY grew up on a dairy farm in Norfolk, UK, and, as he put it, took the advice of his father -- do something other than milk cows. That turned out to be a degree in biochemistry at the University of Leeds. As well as loving science, the young Hedley was a keen rugby player, and when he finished his BSc (Hons) degree he seized an opportunity to do a PhD at Massey University. “New Zealand was a tempting place to come for a young rugby player in 1975. I did my PhD on phosphorus run-off with Professor Keith Syers, the foundation professor of the department of soil science at the university,” he told Rural News. “In those days, Massey had 20-plus rugby teams. For one year I played at first five eight for the senior A team while the famous Bob Burgess was overseas.” Hedley played one game for a Manawatu preseason squad against the junior All Blacks where he was up against Bill Osborne. “I wasn’t the greatest tackler and he ran right through me several times,” he concedes. While Hedley didn’t gain high honours on the rugby field, he met his match off the field -- his wife-to-be Carolyn. She had come to NZ and Massey University to do a masters degree,

also in soil science. When they had completed their degrees they went to Canada where Mike did post-doctoral studies. “I worked on wheat soils and developed a method of phosphorus analysis for which I am famous in the soil science world – the ‘Hedley P Fractionation’. I then went back to the UK and to Oxford University to do another a post-doctoral degree, this time on phosphorus availability in root zones. “There I worked with Bob White who went on to become a professor at Massey after Keith Syers left,” he says. “The research at Oxford won us the 1983 International Phosphate Institute Agronomy Prize.” Despite opportunities on offer in the UK, the Hedleys returned to NZ and Massey in 1983 because they liked the place and had great friendships to return to. They stayed, with Mike becoming the director of the fertiliser and lime centre in 1998. During the lead-up to this appointment he researched rock phosphate and the development of new fertilisers. In 1992, Hedley and his family took eight months leave to work in the Philippines at the International Rice Research Centre near Manila. “This research involved trying to iden-

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS A CAREER highlight for Mike Hedley has been the creation of professional courses on nutrient management, and the annual Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre Workshop run at Massey since 1987. “This is a good melting pot. Our FLRC team have brought great international speakers to this event and it’s well supported by scientists and rural professionals in NZ and its fun,” he says. “Everybody enjoys that event and gets good value out of it; it works well and we are proud of it.” Retirement for Hedley, aged nearly 66, will see him spending time on his small farm where he runs steers and a small breeding flock of sheep. But he still has a few projects at Massey.

tify rice cultivars that could take up phosphate efficiently,” he explains.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

14 NEWS

Appeals lodged on Psa case PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE CROWN will appeal the High Court’s decision that the government was negligent in allowing kiwifruit vine-killing dis-

breached its duty of care to growers. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says the appeal, lodged by the Crown Law Office, “seeks to clarify the scope for government regula-

ease Psa into the country. Last month, the court backed ‘The Kiwifruit Claim’, a group of 212 growers led by Strathboss Kiwifruit and Seeka, in the first stage of the trial, finding the Crown

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If the current ruling stands the government will be liable for many millions of dollars in compensation.

“MPI takes its biosecurity responsibilities seriously, and while the decision is being appealed, it must still be applied in the interim. The impact of this for importers and others will be delays in decisionmaking.” MPI says no biosecurity system in the world can prevent every pest incursion. A strong biosecurity system needs government, importers, industry and the public actively participating and acting to identify and manage risk, it says. “As the matter will go before the Court of Appeal, we will be making no further comment,” MPI says. Michael Franks, chief executive of Seeka, told Rural News for them this has always been about accountability. “Clearly in the appeal from the Crown they

haven’t got the point,” he says. Seeka will also be lodging an appeal “on aspects that went against us in the original decision”. “In the absence of a more sensible settlement discussion we have every intention of following it to its natural conclusion,” Franks says. If appeals do not overturn the original High Court decisions, the level of compensation has yet to be determined but reported estimates have been $500 million - $800 million. The appeal documents lodged by the Crown Law office say that the imports decision (on pollen from China which the court deemed was the likely pathway for Psa) was “an exercise in judgment based on a range of inputs and relevant considerations (not least the

absence then of any scientific evidence that kiwifruit pollen collected from hand-picked closed buds in China was likely to be a pathway for Psa)”. The Crown Law appeal documents also contend that the Plant Health and Environment Laboratory (PHEL) report relied upon for making import decisions was a significant review of the contemporary scientific literature prepared using expert peer-reviewed scientific judgment and contained “a clear conclusion that kiwifruit pollen was not associated with nor transmitted by any pests or diseases”. The appeal also claims the plaintiffs failed to prove that a June 2009 consignment contained Psa. The High Court was wrong to conclude otherwise, the Crown Law appeal document says.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

NEWS 17

Aussies get $500m extra drought relief SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

DROUGHT-STRICKEN NEW South Wales farmers are welcoming an extra A$500 million in state government aid. 99% of the state is now in drought. NSW Farmers Association’s James Jackson says the extra A$500m is generous but he stressed that the money must be easily accessible to all the state’s farmers battling drought. “The expansion of the drought transport subsidies... recognises that good animal welfare covers a variety of activities and requires longterm planning,” says Jackson. “The decision to provide back-payments to January 1 recognises that planning for drought happens before the country is dry. “It’s not only the big costs that affect farm business cashflow; it’s the small, ongoing commitments that add up. Relief from deferring rate pay-

ments, water licenses and agricultural vehicle registration will benefit local communities and contractors.” The NSW state government says the Emergency Drought Relief Package will bring the total drought support to at least A$1 billion. It will provide A$190m for drought transport subsidies covering up to 50% of the full cost of transporting fodder, water for stock and livestock to pasture, slaughter or sale. The relief measure will be back-dated so farmers can get more money for freight expenses incurred since January 1, 2018. A$100m is offered for reducing the cost of farming fees and charges and A$150 million for the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) infrastructure programme. Funding will also go towards counselling and mental health, critical services including trucking water and repairing and upgrading roads, and animal welfare and stock disposal.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro, says this drought has quickly worsened in NSW because June and July were drier than expected. “[Our increase of] the

drought-relief package to over A$1 billion reflects how serious this drought is, and how much we value the health and wellbeing of our farming and regional communities,” Barilaro said.

Drought-stricken NSW farmers will get a further A$500 million of state assistance.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

18 NEWS

E-bikes and drones may bring insurance woes MARK DANIEL

Thousands of drone and e-bike owners are being warned to check their insurance policies.

markd@ruralnews.co.nz

THOUSANDS OF Kiwi drone and e-bike owners are being warned to check their insurance policies. It appears insurers have not kept pace with these new technologies, meaning consumers who are concerned about the level or type of cover are being advised to consult a broker. The brokerage NZ Brokers says its analysis of offered home contents policies found a lot of complexity and variation in policy wording; this can leave many e-bike and drone owners unexpectedly without cover for loss, damage or third-party liability. Drones and e-bikes may be thought of as resembling model aircraft or pushbikes, but insurance companies see them differently. A company may insure your $5000 pushbike but not an e-bike bought at that price because of terms in the policy or the legal status

of the machine. Likewise, a drone may be treated by insurers as a type of aircraft if it can lift more than its own weight; such a criterion is hard for most consumers to measure. This means your drone may be covered for loss if you drop it while getting it out of the car, but if it falls

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from the sky while in use you are on your own. From the insurer’s perspective, it appears drones and e-bikes are an unknown risk and until they have an accurate picture of that risk insurers tend to act conservatively. Statistics NZ estimates 40,000

Kiwis now own e-bikes; some 500W models cost about $10,000. And recreational drones come in a wide range often costing $5000 or more. As insurers start to see a claims trend it is likely that more exclusions and conditions will be applied to e-bikes and drones. There is a 1960s and 70s precedent for this type of problem; insurers then began to exclude sporting goods ‘while in use’ after they found themselves paying out for bent golf clubs and damaged windsurfers. Likewise with laptops: insurers realised they were replacing damaged items with better equipment because you could no longer buy the same product with old software. Some home contents policies will cover an e-bike smaller than 300W. Any machine more powerful than 300W is a ‘motorcycle’ under by NZTA regulations, so confusion arises because some motor manufactur-

91

ers print on the motor the maximum ‘input power’ because that number is larger (typically motors run at about 80% efficiency), so giving the impression the buyer is getting a more powerful motor. Some insurance policies will not cover e-bikes and drones, while others will set maximum standard limits but will include third-party damage. The risk of a crash on an e-bike with a speed of 40km/h is at least as high as on any other vehicle travelling at that speed. But most home contents policies we looked at don’t cover owners for third-party damage to other vehicles. If a drone causes an accident while it is in use near a road, the owner will mostly be left to foot the bill. While there are no e-bike specific policies on the market now, some insurers are starting to offer better cover for drones, given their increasing use in commercial applications.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

NEWS 19

NZ farming no longer ‘gumboot land’ PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

NEW ZEALAND must get beyond seeing its agri sector as ‘gumboots in the mud’ and portray itself as a high value-food producer using innovative technologies. That’s the view of

Massey University vicechancellor Jan Thomas. She says because NZ has limited agricultural land it must focus on highquality dairy, meat and horticultural products. The emphasis on clean, green and food provenance is a help, she says, but an opportu-

nity exists to take this to a higher level with functional foods and things wanted by the rising middle classes of the world. “We have traditionally seen food as an energy source that provides us with vitamins that keep the body run-

PLANNING FOR AN UNSEEN FUTURE nimbly to ways of work we don’t yet understand,” Thomas told Rural News. “We will see a transformation of that work and we want our graduates to ride that wave, be entrepreneurial and be able to create jobs for others. That’s our long term goal which is a brave and big one but we are working hard at it and its going well.” Thomas says consumers are taking more interest in the science that creates food and she’s encouraging academics at Massey University to get out into the community and tell people how science and technology can benefit every aspect of life.

Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas says the NZ agri-sector needs to portray itself as in innovative, high-value food producer.

ning. But now with technology advancements you can get functional foods which have particular added benefits in health outcomes,” Thomas told Rural News.

“Take a standard crop such as a plum: you can just have a bowl of plums on your table, or you could breed a variety of plum with particular technical elements that

help prevent blood pressure and heart and vascular disease, so increasing health outcomes.” Thomas says Massey University is research-

ing meat substitutes that will appeal to some consumers, but the aim is to diversify rather than substitute; there are many more consumers who value a high quality steak. 13035

CONSUMER TASTES and demands are changing and the rules on farming systems are also in the spotlight, says Jan Thomas. So Massey University must train graduates for jobs that don’t exist now but will in the future. She forsees a need for more engineering and computer science graduates. Students are encouraged to spend time in industry to gain understanding of what they will head into when they graduate. “We want our graduates not only to have a good understanding of how to work in the industries and communities they serve, but also to be able to adapt

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

20 NEWS

Horticulture veterans win accolades NIGEL MALTHUS

KIWIFRUIT INDUSTRY leader Peter McBride has won horticulture’s premier award, the Bledisloe Cup, at this year’s Horticulture Conference. Very similar to the famous rugby Bledisloe Cup, horticulture’s version was one of three cups which then Governor-General Lord Ble-

disloe presented to New Zealand in 1931. The award recognises McBride’s 40 years in the kiwifruit industry. “The Bledisloe Cup celebrates a person who has made an outstanding and meritorious contribution to the NZ horticulture industry, and Peter McBride certainly epitomises that,” said Horticulture NZ president

Julian Raine. “In 1978, Peter was first exposed to the NZ kiwifruit industry through his family’s orchard in Te Puke, Bay of Plenty. “He went on to purchase his first kiwifruit orchard in 1989, and today he has responsibility for several large farming companies and heads one of NZ’s key horticulture companies, as the

chairman of the Zespri board. “He has fought hard for horticulture and is a key interface between growers, industry and the Government. He is focused on innovation and also represents Zespri International as a director on the NZ International Business Forum, and as a member of the NZ-China Council.”

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Also presented on the night was Horticulture NZ’s inaugural Environmental Award, which went to another Bay of Plenty kiwifruit pioneer, James Trevelyan, managing director of the family business Trevelyan’s Pack and Cool. “On considering the nominees for this award, the Horticulture NZ board was heartened by the vast amount of environmental work underway and the focus growers have on sustainability,” said Raine. “James Trevelyan proudly and publicly supports the environment while providing tasty, healthy, nutritious fruit to the world. In 2017, his family-owned company produced a report, Our Journey Toward a Sustainable Future, that states sustainability is a journey that requires

ongoing development, innovation, collaboration and commitment.” Trevelyan’s was set up by James Trevelyan’s parents 52 years ago, and now employs 170 permanent staff, rising to 1650 in the season. In an earlier presentation to the conference, he outlined how the company joined a “sustainability journey” four years ago on the three pillars of working smarter, respect for people and treading lightly on the environment. Trevelyan said examples are the waste organic matter coming onto the site which is now sent back to orchards in the form of 200 tonnes a year of compost, and waste label backing paper now being processed into animal bedding. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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Q: What publication did you see this promotion in? Answer: .......................................................................................................................... Name: .............................................................................................................................. Address: ........................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................... Phone: ...................................................... Email: ............................................................................................................................... Terms and Conditions: Information on how to enter the competition forms part of these terms and conditions. Entry in to the Win a Suzuki Kingquad competition is deemed acceptance of these terms and conditions. Entry is open to all New Zealand residents except for employees of Rural News Group and their immediate family. Each entrant may enter more than once. To be valid, each entry must contain the correct answers as determined by the Rural News Group. The competition opens on Monday August 6, 2018 and closes Friday November 2, 2018 at 11pm. The prize winner will be drawn on Monday November 5, 2018 and will be contacted by phone and email by Wednesday November 7, 2018. The winner will be announced via email by Friday November 9, 2018.The promoter’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to. By accepting the prize, the prize winner consents to the promoter using his/her details, photographs and recording of the prize acceptance for promotional and media publicity purposes. There is one prize of a Suzuki Kingquad 500 XE ATV. The winner may be required to pick up their prize from their nearest Suzuki dealer. The prize is valued at $16,995. The prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash. All insurance and any on-road costs are at the winner’s expense. All entries become the property of the promoter. The promoter is Rural News Group, First Floor, Bayleys Building, 29 Northcroft St, Takapuna, Auckland 0622


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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

Rabobank supports clients from farm to fork in

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22 MARKETS & TRENDS

global agribusiness research analysts sharing market outlooks

2018 farm salaries report AFTER LITTLE movement in wages in recent years, people working in primary industries have made gains in what they earn, according to the latest Federated Farmers Rabobank Remuneration Survey. The survey’s responses were collected from 940 employers on 13 separate farm positions across the dairy, sheep and beef and arable sectors. In addition to information on salaries, the report also provides a range of other data including weekly hours worked by employees, employee age, length of employment and recruitment ease. The report shows all surveyed positions in the dairy sector over the last year with the most notable jumps for the mid to highly skilled positions of Assistant Herd Manager

(6.6%), Herd Manager (5.5%) and Farm manager (5.5%). There was also a more modest increase for the entry level farm assistant position (2.8%). “After a couple of years of very little growth in reported salaries, it’s good to see some meaningful movement in the face of a tight labour market, especially when you consider the current rate of inflation is sitting at just 1.1%. “We would also expect to see farm salaries continue to move north over the remainder of the year because the majority of the key agricultural sectors have performed strongly over the last 12 months. The outlook for the next 12 months is also favourable.” While salaries were up for dairy farm workers, the survey also revealed

dairy employees were working longer hours. “The weekly hours worked by permanent dairy staff in the previous year’s survey was an average of 45 hours per week. This has now risen to 49 hours. “Over 63% of dairy sector employers report it being ‘not at all easy’ or ‘not very easy’ to find employees and the longer hours could well be a result of dairy farmers and their current employees having to work to cover vacant positions.” For the arable sector, the report found strong growth for most positions while a drop in the mean salary of arable farm managers was recorded. “Generally there has been good salary growth for those employed in the arable sector since the last report with the average salary increase for

non-management positions up by close to 6%.” Employees in the sheep and beef sector saw stable salaries overall – although there was a significant jump in mean salary for the sheep and beef farm manager position which rose by 5.2% since the previous survey. IPSOS has conducted the annual Employee Remuneration survey on behalf of Federated Farmers and Rabobank since 2012. This latest report collates the results from the survey conducted late 2017 and early 2018; survey respondents provided information on over 2862 positions. The information in the report relates to permanent (FT), part-time and casual employees. It should be used as a guide only on remuneration in the agricultural sector, as

the survey was restricted to members of Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ and the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR). The report covers: • Information relating to permanent (FT), part-time and casual employees; • Basic annual salary; • Total remuneration (TPV = Total Package Value) • Hourly rates for casual and permanent (FT) employees; • Remuneration trends since 2009 for each surveyed position; • Information regarding employees such as age, length of employment and legal status of employees; • Information regarding understanding the capability of employees and their training proficiencies

Summary Particularly interesting findings from the survey include: • Overall, over a third of employees (40%) have been employed for less than one year. Short

lengths of employment are particularly evident in the more junior positions such as Dairy Assistant (58%) and Sheep / Beef Dairy Hand (52%). • Most employees (84%)

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

MARKETS & TRENDS 23

COUNTRIES

Content supplied by Rabobank – Grow with the bank founded by farmers for farmers are New Zealand citizens / permanent residents, with only 15% employed on a working holiday visa or a temporary work permit. The proportion of migrant labour is again higher for the Dairying positions, 22% vs.2% for Sheep / Beef. • 91% of permanent (FT) employees have written contracts (94% for Dairy, 81% for Sheep / Beef). • Accommodation is provided to 80% of Permanent employees (significantly higher for Dairy 86% vs.76% for Sheep / Beef). • Most employers say their employees (92%) are ‘very satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with at least one of their employees’ performance. No difference by industry (89% for Grains, 91% for Dairy, 92% for Sheep / Beef). • 54% of employers reported it as being ‘not at all easy’ or ‘not very easy’ to find employ-

ees, compared to 37% who reported as being ‘very easy’ or ‘extremely easy’. Dairy positions are generally perceived as harder to fill (63% for Dairy vs.41% for Grains and 34% for Sheep / Beef). • 46% of employers claim to have not provided any formal training to their staff. However, Dairy seems to have the most training out of all industries (57% for Dairy, 27% for Sheep / Beef). • 98% of employers surveyed are Federated Farmers members. The 2017 Remuneration Survey shows that employees’ mean salaries and total package value (TPV) were somewhat similar compared to the 2016 Survey, with the change shown in the adjacent % change column. • Want to keep up-todate with the latest food & agribusiness insights? Tune into RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Australia & NZ podcast channel.

Overall Summary Summary of the 3 different groups

2017/2018 Results

Employees: n=

Sheep/ Beef

Dairy

Grains (Arable)

1,972

762

128

Mean Total Package Value (TPV)

$51,954

$52,047

$56,823

Mean salary

$49,809

$48,475

$54,608

49 hours

44 hours

47 hours

26 hours

28 hours

39 hours

$20

$22

$23

2�6 years

3�8 years

4 years

NZ citizen / Permanent resident

78%

98%

88%

Accommodation provision

73%

57%

49%

91%

92%

89%

Mean hours / week (Permanent) Average hours worked (per week) - for weeks worked

Mean hours / week (Casual) Average hours worked (per week) - for weeks worked

Mean / hour (excluding non-cash benefits) Average length of service

Satisfaction with employees’ performance Based on Employers satisfaction with at least one of their employees’ performance

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

24 AGRIBUSINESS

Maori moving into horticulture PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

MAORI ARE making a major move to horticulture as opposed to the more traditional sheep and beef sectors. David Harrison, ANZ’s head of Maori relation-

ships, has just prepared a report called Te Tirohanga Whanui (Iwi Investment Insights) which examines the performance of 34 post treaty-settlement iwi NZwide. He says three or four years ago large sheep

and beef farms were an appealing asset for Maori. But not any more; they are looking at other more profitable investments outside traditional farming – unless the land is special to a particular Iwi. “There are reasons for this. Horticulture is David Harrison

CHALLENGE FOR IWI WHILE OVERALL iwi have made a success of their treaty settlements, Harrison says they face a situation in their businesses that is unique to them. In talking to chief executives and boards, when compiling his report, one factor stood out – the tough job of balancing the trade-off between risk and reward. “You might think all business are doing this and it’s not a unique tradeoff. But for post-settlement iwi, I think that trade-off is acute and heightened because of the type of entities they are,” he told Rural News. “I feel there is huge pressure to

increase distributions to shareholders and that is driven by the growing populations who want to see the fruits post settlement. There is a pressure to increase returns and distributions, then – on the flip side – you have this deep responsibility that iwi and hapu have as kaitiakitanga (guardians) of these assets.” Harrison feels those two things work in opposition and these create real tensions and a difficult balancing act. On this issue there is no one answer, he says, noting that some iwi are making larger distributions while others are focused on health and education and environmental projects.

an exciting and appealing sector for Maori, with environmental aspects that are more appealing than livestock farming, such as the great growth in kiwifruit, avocados and berries,” he told Rural News. “There are lots of opportunities to get the best use of land and create jobs for their people.” Harrison says at least 50% (on average) of iwi balance sheets are held in managed funds which

The report say Maori are finding investments in horticulture – such as kiwifruit – exciting and appealing.

have performed well. But they are looking to invest in orchards, etc outside the traditional farming base, which offer better returns. This is the second year ANZ has produced the report and Harrison says it now has a good data set to work with. While managed funds are working well for iwi, large scale farms are not.

“In the lower quartile, the most common asset they have are farms of significant size, which they actively manage themselves. From our level of analysis, we can’t say the farms are causing drag; we are just saying that in the lower quartile the majority have large farms.” According to Harrison, iwi tended to buy

the large farms offered to them as part of a treaty settlement. The purchase of such farms likely was prompted by iwi wanting the land for cultural reasons. Some ‘non-economic’ reasons for purchasing this land are now starting to show up as compared to iwi who have invested in other businesses such as tourism and transport.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

AGRIBUSINESS 25

Grower apprenticeships ‘good news’ NIGEL MALTHUS

AGRICULTURE MINISTER Damien O’Connor says horticulture offers a pathway to a better future for thousands of Kiwis. The industry predicts it will need 25,000 more workers and the news of 100 new horticultural apprenticeships is “a start,” the minister says. Horticulture offers opportunities to make money and add hugely to New Zealand’s growth, said O’Connor. But he added that the sector struggles with staffing, especially in management. “But we haven’t been able to get that message through to them. And 25,000 people projected to be needed is a positive challenge for us in an industry of growth.” O’Connor said this at the launch of the NZ Apprenticeship in Horticultural Production, held alongside the recent Horticulture NZ annual conference in Christchurch. O’Connor says the apprenticeships are for people who can see a

pathway into management positions. “We have to address that issue of how to incentivise them,” he said. “If we can tell them ‘at the end of your apprenticeship you will get $10 an hour more, or you will end up with a good salary’ – then you will see Kiwis clamouring to get into this scheme.” O’Connor also promised a shake-up of the whole tertiary education sector. “I think TEC (Tertiary Education Commission) needs a shakeup. And I am committed to that,” he told the conference. The new horticulture apprenticeships are being offered by Primary ITO with the support of employers and off-the-job training institutes. “This three-way support system enables [apprentices] to achieve success and quite literally become the leaders of the future,” Primary ITO chief executive Linda Sissons said at the launch. “By working with industry, the Primary ITO is ensuring the...

ROBOT PACKER UNVEILED A NEW Zealand-designed and built robotic applepacking machine made its public debut at the recent 2018 Horticulture Conference. The Aporo Produce Packer developed by Tauranga firm Robotics Plus is being marketed globally by Jenkins Freshpac (also Tauranga) in a joint venture with an American partner. Five of the machines are now used at Wenatchee, Washington State, in the centre of America’s premier apple-growing area. The Aporo machine (te reo for ‘apple’) has been in development for several years, the first prototype being built in 2013. It uses suction cups to lift apples off the conveyor belt and place them in packing trays. However, unlike fruit such as kiwifruit whose regular oval shape enables their alignment by purely mechanical means, the machine uses cameras to optically detect the apples’ shape and orientation. These are then rotated into line before the suction cups lift them into the cardboard trays, all placed on their sides and facing the same direction. It is important because misaligned apples can stand proud of the others in a packing tray, so causing pressure points that lead to damage and spoilage in transit and storage. The cameras can also detect each apple’s reddest side and place it upwards for the best presentation. The machine can handle 120 apples a minute. – Nigel Malthus

apprentices will enter environments that will support their training, and the employers will get the support that they need.” Sissons says the apprenticeships will be

flexible and will suit a range of businesses, and will create a national standard and expectations of each graduate’s competence. Details of the scheme are at www.letsgrow.co.nz

Hort leaders (from left) Horticulture NZ chairman Julian Raine, Primary ITO chief executive Linda Sissons, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and NZ Avocado chief Jen Scoular representing the Horticulture Capability Group, cut the cake at the official launch of a new horticulture apprenticeship scheme. RURAL NEWS GROUP

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

26 OPINION EDITORIAL

EDNA

More of the same? FONTERRA’S BOARD, especially its former chairman John Wilson, wouldn’t have planned for such an abrupt handover of the chairmanship. With the appointment of a new chief executive around the corner, Wilson’s preference would have been to chair the board for another 12 months and help the new chief executive get his or her feet firmly planted. Wilson’s health scare and surgery (for an undisclosed illness) within the last month means he requires ongoing treatment, so the chairman’s baton was hurriedly passed to John Monaghan. Critics of Fonterra’s leadership frequently speak about the old boys’ club mentality within the board -- long-serving directors reluctant to hand over the reins to outsiders. The abrupt chairmanship switch gives some credence to this claim. Monaghan is Fonterra’s fourth chairman since its formation 17 years ago: Sir Henry van der Heyden served for 10 years until 2012 when Wilson took over. For most of Fonterra’s existence, the board has functioned without a deputy chairman. Fonterra doesn’t seem to have taken succession planning seriously at board level. Monaghan was the obvious choice among the farmerelected directors to take over; Fonterra’s constitution allows only farmer-elected directors to hold the top job. He has been on the board since 2008; like Wilson he was also chairman of the Fonterra shareholders council before election to the board. So Fonterra farmers, already unhappy with some of the strategic investment decisions, are wondering if Monaghan’s appointment will signal a seismic shift in the co-op’s strategy. Chief executive Theo Spierings is leaving the co-op with a few feathers in his cap, such as a record payout to farmers and growing the coop’s business. However, food safety scares and the heavy losses incurred on China Farms and in Beingmate Baby and Food Company robbed him of the icing on the cake. As chairman, Wilson supported Spierings and tried hard to gloss over the losses in China. Fonterra farmers were hoping for a clean break -- a new chief executive and a new chairman to steer the co-op away from disastrous investments. Does Monaghan’s appointment mean more of the same? Let’s hope Monaghan breaks the old boys’ club mould and with the new chief executive guides the ship on a new course, especially in China.

RURALNEWS TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS

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

“OK! OK! – If you’re sure wrapping your hay in it is sustainable!”

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

THE HOUND Unfair?

Sacre bleu!

Bye John

Hello John

A MATE of the Hound’s – a good, salt-of-the-earth, southern bloke – tells this old mutt that he is less than impressed with claims made by the directors of rural insurance company FMG who are wanting an increase in director fees at the upcoming annual meeting. Your canine crusader’s informant reckons it is a bit tough when the company is crying tough times in the insurance market while it is being less than generous with bonuses and rebates for shareholders. Meanwhile, FMG’s directors are asking shareholders for an increase in board fees, including a $10,000 annual pay rise for chairman Tony Cleland. The Hound’s mate reckons it is a bit off for the company directors to be sticking their hands out for more cash when the company is crying hard times.

YOUR OLD mate reckons Trade Minister David Parker and his trade minions now trying to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU only need to look at the recent Tour de France to see how tough it is going to be in getting any FTA across the line. The Hound notes that this year’s event saw French farmers protesting their government’s decision to cut aid; they blocked and interrupted the 16th stage of the famous cycle race in late July. The protesting farmers got 200 sheep, tractors, and bales of hay to block the road and the race. If you think that was bad – when the protest was just about the French government’s ‘apathy’ to farming – imagine how cranky these Froggy farmers would get if NZ’s agricultural products gained access to the highly regulated markets of the EU.

THE HOUND notes the contribution of former Fonterra chair ‘Little’ Johnny Wilson, who has stood down from the role due to ongoing health issues (How much of a dick does ‘Mouth of the North’ Shane ‘Porn-free’ Jones now feel about his cheap, nasty attack on Wilson at Fieldays?). While your old mate was never shy to pull Wilson up for slip-ups, while he was steering the good ship Fonterra, he never once doubted Wilson’s commitment to the dairy co-op and the farmers he represented. This old mutt is sure others will join him in wishing the immediate past chair of Fonterra all the best for his ongoing recovery and a speedy return to full health.

WITH THE surprise resignation of John Wilson, the Fonterra board has promoted long-time director John Monaghan as its new chair. The Hound remembers Monaghan from his time as head of the Fonterra shareholders council (just like Wilson was before him – which makes it hard to ever see the SHC shake its reputation as the dairy co-op’s lapdog and just a training ground for future directors). Even though your old mate is getting long in the tooth, he remembers Monaghan spending most of his time on the council walking round looking as though he had swallowed a bucket of sour milk, which earned him the moniker ‘Grumpy’ John. It will be interesting to see how ‘Grumpy’ John gets along with the Government and its plans to change the DIRA regulations and legislation that will govern how Fonterra is run in the future.

PRODUCTION: Dave Ferguson ........................Ph 09 913 9633 davef@ruralnews.co.nz Becky Williams ........................Ph 09 913 9634 beckyw@ruralnews.co.nz REPORTERS: Sudesh Kissun ....................... Ph 09 913 9627 Pamela Tipa ............................ Ph 021 842 220 Peter Burke .............................Ph 06 362 6319 Nigel Malthus ...................... Ph 021 164 4258 MACHINERY EDITOR: Mark Daniel ............................. Ph 021 906 723 or 07 824 1190 SUB-EDITOR: Neil Keating ............................Ph 09 913 9628

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SOUTH ISLAND SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Kaye Sutherland Ph 03 337 3828/021 221 1994 kayes@ruralnews.co.nz

ABC audited circulation 80,580 as at 31/03/2018

WEBSITE PRODUCER: Jessica Wilson ........................ Ph 09 913 9621

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


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

OPINION 27

Farm debt bill will be welcomed DEBORAH HART

THE SOUND heard emanating from the provinces this past month is a collective sigh of relief for what promises to be a new era in farm debt mediation; and it almost didn’t happen. Three years ago, NZ First introduced its Agricultural Debt Mediation Bill as a private member’s bill. There the political initiative looked destined

ultimately to their wider communities. Right now, of course, farm debt is the major concern. Most banks say they are already mediating issues on it -- negotiating with farmers and trying to assist them. But what banks say is only part of the story. The banks are not compelled to go down the mediation path. And this lack of a required third-party mediator, rather than

makes the point that many of our local banks are largely Australianowned and run out of Australian states, which have statutory farm debt

mediation schemes. Yet these processes have had no official traction in NZ. The banks and other rural lenders would also benefit from getting an

independent mediator involved. • Deborah Hart is executive director of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators Institute of New Zealand.

Deborah Hart

The coalition agreement between Labour and NZ First provided for another look at farm debt mediation. to remain unless it was drawn from the ballot. At the time, though – and still today – the evidence suggested that the subject deserved a wider airing. This was not just in respect of the bankrelated issues, which the proposed legislation sought to address. It was for a much-needed wider role of mediation in the rural sector. The coalition agreement between Labour and NZ First provided for another look at farm debt mediation. A bill has since been introduced to Parliament, where it has been referred to select committee. The final details are yet to be ironed out. Unusually, and gratifyingly, this bill enjoys widespread support across party lines. The newfound momentum comes at a critical time for the country’s rural sector. If the work of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand is anything to go by, the growing degree of rural anguish — whether to do with financial stress, sharemilking matters, trust issues, family, employment disputes or contractual stoushes — suggests the need for skilled mediation has never been greater. Often these disputes are highly, bitterly and unproductively personal. They’re also very costly for those involved and

what often is simply a mere advocate, can create serious problems. “The interweaving of personal and family aspirations can make for a potent mix where farmers are experiencing economic or viability difficulties,” says mediation expert John Larmer. Larmer is a rural professional who specialises in advisory, valuation and land issues and dispute resolution. He says mediating requires skills and experience and a comprehensive knowledge of agricultural systems and rural economics. In other words, the better the calibre of mediator one has — somebody trained, qualified and credentialed — the higher the probability of a resolution people can live with. That’s why at AMINZ we have a thoroughly vetted list of professionals for rural disputes. We also operate, under agreement with Federated Farmers, the national panel of conciliators specifically trained for sharemilking disputes. The better the chance of an attractive resolution, the higher the amount of goodwill that will probably be gained in the process. Not to mention money saved by avoiding the costs of litigation, with all its associated risks, damage to morale and the business. John Larmer also

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

28 OPINION

Action groups offer great learning opportunities JOHN STANTIALL

FARMERS SHOULD seize the opportunity to join a Red Meat Profit Partnership action group if they want to improve their profitability.

advice, as well as offering the opportunity to learn from fellow farmers. I don’t adopt the stance of an ‘expert’ in the meetings of the groups I’m involved with; I go along to facilitate the

I am facilitating five lower North Island action groups that offer real value to farmers. The RMPP has seed-funding available to help pay for group facilitator services and for other specialist

action group until they join and get the opportunity to share their ideas with others. You must have the right mindset to want to get involved when the opportunity presents

discussion. I discovered a very long time ago that farmers learn more from each other than they ever learnt from me. Some farmers don’t realise how much they can benefit from an

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John Stantiall is a facilitator of five lower North Island RMPP action groups.

RMPP IS a seven-year Primary Growth Partnership programme funded by 10 partners: government and private sector (Ministry for Primary Industries, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, ANZ, Alliance, ANZCO, Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms) working alongside farmers to help them increase the productivity and profitability of their businesses.

itself. It’s just a matter of whether you want to move ahead or not. The reality is that none of us are going to live long enough to learn everything we need to know on our own, so working together in a group helps speed up the learning process and it gives you confidence when you see other people doing things. If you stay at home day after day and do the same thing you’ve done for the last 20 years that’s fine too, but don’t expect necessarily to get ahead much. One of my groups, centred on Dannevirke in Hawkes Bay, is focused on feed budgeting. Members bring their laptops to every meeting; they update their feed budgets and look forward to issues they might encounter in the next few months. Usually the biggest one’s a potential feed shortage: what are we going to do? So we brainstorm and list all the things we could do at each time of the year, then we cost them out as best we can. That’s been an absolute eye-opener. Often what we think of as doing nothing, e.g. letting ewes get a bit skinnier, or tightening up the cattle, actually works out to be a very expensive option overall. Financial analysis has been a real revelation for

some group members too. Sometimes people do something because it’s easy – ‘We’ll just go and buy some baleage’. Farmers can be reluctant to sell stock if they get short of feed; for some reason they’d rather buy in feed than sell stock. But most of the feed you buy in is going to cost at least 50 cents/kgDM, yet our farming systems only return 10 - 20 cents/ kgDM, so if you start piling in expensive feed it’s going to affect your profitability quickly. When the penny drops that what they’re doing isn’t helping profitability, farming practices can start to change. I love it when that happens -the light-bulb moments everyone shares in: it’s fantastic. That’s part of the benefit of a group of farmers who get on well and can appreciate what’s happening. Sometimes it takes time for farmers to have the confidence to incorporate new ideas in their management. However, I’m confident positive changes will be made. It’s just a start, the profit’s not going to happen this year. But they’re now seriously thinking more critically and objectively about what they do. The improvements in profit will come. • For more information visit ww.actionnetwork. co.nz


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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

30 MANAGEMENT

Increasing compliance worries in hill country PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

COMPLIANCE IS growing more intense and complicated, worrying hill-country sheep and beef farmers in the central North Island. That conclusion is drawn by the farm consultancy firm AgFirst in its 2018 Financial Survey just released. The research covers about 1600 hill country farms in the Waikato, King Country, Stratford,

Ruapehu, Whanganui and Rangitikei regions. The report says better lamb and beef returns this season than last season were good: net cash income rose 12%. This coincided with an 11% rise in farm working expenses, says AgFirst economist Phil Journeaux. Much of this was on deferred maintenance including more fertiliser. But against all that was the weather, “certainly a big issue”. “If you look at last spring to

Christmas it was a real bugger of a time,” he told Rural News. “It was wet through to October and really dry November/December, which that saw a lot of store lambs coming through at lower weights and sold quite poorly. Then we had a brilliant autumn, so farmers carried stock over to fatten them at heavier weights and to take advantage of a rising schedule.” Journeaux says the poor spring saw breeding

ewes and cows worked relatively hard and an unknown is the impact that may have on breeding performance. However, the good autumn has kept stock generally in good condition and pastures covers are also good. Crops suffered in spring, but many bounced back when the rains came in January. Journeaux says the AgFirst model shows a wide range of approaches to retaining or reducing capital

AgFirst economist Phil Journeaux.

stock numbers. He says there was a further slight decline in ewe numbers and the suggestion is that this might continue. Overall, a decline is seen in breeding cow numbers. Profit before tax rose in 2017-18 by 28% to $110,000 due to the rise in the schedule. On the other side of the cashflow report, farm labour,

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shearing and fuel costs were all up markedly. Journeaux says farmers are cautiously optimistic. “It’s interesting: the top quartile of farmers are doing quite well. The average farm, which is what our model is based on, is doing ok but not brilliantly and the bottom not well at all. “The reason, it seems, is often it comes down to farmer expertise and skill.... The people making

reasonably good money are into bulls and the guys lower down the order are more traditionally breeding cows and ewes.” Journeaux feels that farmers were budgeting very conservatively this past year and will make a bit more money than they expected. But many farmers are now facing increased capital spending on environment-type issues and health and safety.

BIOSECURITY CONCERNS PHIL JOURNEAUX says M.bovis has sent a shockwave through the industry. Farmers are carefully watching the testing for M.bovis this spring with an eye on what changes they may need to make. “It has the potential for farmers changing their farm system, being a lot more careful where they buy stock and a lot more careful about onfarm biosecurity -cleaning vehicles and visitors cleaning boots,” he told Rural News. “I’m also pretty sure they will be more vigilant about NAIT.” Journeaux says his company AgFirst now has a policy of washing vehicles and boots. Rural News also knows of a farmer installing a security camera to record who has come down the driveway. Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor also entered the fray on M.Bovis this week, saying farmers, traders and all in the livestock system must do their bit. He said to rely solely on MPI is unreasonable and unrealistic. Overall, Journeaux says AgFirst’s survey shows that Central North Island hill country farms are generating sufficient income to operate at a maintenance level, but they lack cash for more development.


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

MANAGEMENT 31

Management programme lights fire under deer farmer a nearby 144ha block bought by the Ruperts in 2011. Brook says the FMP taught him the importance of analysing the farm performance and understanding what makes things go well or not. He had been impressed by a presentation by Tasmanian cheesemaker Paul Bennett who stressed, ‘you have to know all your numbers

The operation runs about 750 each of stags and hinds, plus 450 dairy SOUTH CANTERBURY heifers used to clean up deer farmer Joshua Brook surplus grass. has won a prestigious “Deer enjoy eating the trans-Tasman award for nice fresh-growth grass, 2018. then the heifers come The Rabobank Farm second and get to eat all Management Project the rougher stuff,” Brook (FMP) award is made for says. “We don’t push the the best project arising deer hard at all so they’re from the previous year’s always getting the cream Rabobank Farm Managof the crop.” ers Programme. The aim He says the operais to develop and enhance tion is all business manabout velvet agement skills in genetics. young farmers from “It’s all weight and “It’s all various agricultural conformation of the antler. weight and sectors in Australia The antler has a shape to conformaand New Zealand. As a graduate it and we’re after a specific tion of the antler. The of the 2017 FMP, shape and that’s what we antler has a Brook presented shape to it his project at this go for.” and we’re year’s programme, after a speoutlining how he to be able to make decicific shape and that’s had taken on the lessons sions on the spot.’ what we go for.” and applied them to his “We have to analyse The antlers, harvested farming operation. He what we’ve got and what from October each year, received the award and a we’re doing,” Brook says. average 7kg a set and are $2000 prize at a dinner Among the changes he sold to Korea and China. in Adelaide in late June is implementing is a large They cut ‘spikes’ from attended by this year’s project to re-fence and first year stags and the FMP graduates, industry reorganise the paddocks, first proper antlers from leaders and senior Raboputting in laneways so two year-olds, when they bank staff. they no longer have to decide which animals to Brook, with his wife “play chess” with several keep and which to sell to Kiri, manages Rupert Red mobs to move a single other velveters. Deer, a 324ha stud stock mob across several padBrook says the curand velvet operation on docks to the shed. rent velvet price is “very two properties in Peel They are now also good.” Forest, South Canterbury. planning a further expan“The last couple of He said his attension of their operation, seasons have been very dance at the 2017 FMP having realised – through strong, and it’s been had “lit a fire” under him steady the past four or to develop a new business their computer analytics – that they could improve five years, at a high.” plan including short- and fawning percentages by On the stag block, the long-term goals. running hinds on less animals are run in age “One of the outcomes productive land. group mobs. Winter feedof developing the busi“One thing we discoving includes high quality ness plan was to start our ered by doing this analysilage and a daily fodder own stud brand – Rupert sis was the land we were beet break. Brook says Red Deer – selling our using for our first fawning run-off paddocks allow top genetics as sire anihinds was holding us back them to “chill out on mals and selling our surgrass and have their own plus young stock,” he told in producing our best space”. Rural News. genetics due to the fact Older animals – the “Having our first hinds tend to get too fat “gummies” which can no sale did two things: it on the highly productive increased our profit on paddocks we were using,” longer manage beet bulbs – stay on grass and silage. selling our surplus stock Brook explains. Meanwhile, the twoand opened our eyes Other farmers were year-olds are “just too to what our stock were getting better results curious and stroppy” to potentially worth.” when hinds were on be contained by break The operation was lesser country. fencing so they get beet begun 15 years ago by “We’ve recently taken lifted and fed to them in Kiri’s parents Martin our numbers and finantheir paddocks. and Rikie Rupert. Brook cial budgets to the bank “They’re like little came in as partner and and have successfully teenagers; they wreck manager four years ago. obtained the money we fences and all sorts conThey now run stags on need to purchase a proptinuously,” says Brook. the original 180ha block, erty with the right land He also feeds PKE while hinds are run on class and contour.” NIGEL MALTHUS

coming into growth stages, especially in drier times. It is a full dryland property with no irrigation, but nestled in the foothills where it catches about 1000ml of rain a year. “If this place here goes dry you can guarantee Canterbury is an absolute dustbowl,” he says. Born and raised in nearby Geraldine, Brook was workshop foreman of a local engineering outfit before taking on the farm. He says deer demand the highest stockmanship. “You’ve got to have your wits about you being a deer farmer. One minute they’re nice and calm and the next they’re climbing up the walls.”

Josh Brook, who runs the Rupert Red Deer farm near Peel Forest in Southern Canterbury with his partner Kiri and her parents Martin and Rikie Rupert, waas recently named the Rabobank Farm Management Project award winner for 2018. RURAL NEWS GROUP


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

32 MANAGEMENT

GM grass may provide answers 50% faster than conventional ryegrass. And it can store more energy for better animal growth, to be more resistant to drought, and to produce up to 23% less methane (the largest single con-

With funding from the Government and industry partners including DairyNZ, the High Metabolisable Energy (HME) ryegrass has been shown in AgResearch laboratories to grow up to

NIGEL MALTHUS

A NEW Zealand-developed genetically modified ryegrass has reached an important milestone, entering a full growing trial in the US.

AgResearch scientist Dr Greg Bryan discusses the development of a geneticallymodified ryegrass, during a workshop for farmers in 2017. RURAL NEWS GROUP

tributor to NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions) from livestock. Modelling also predicts less nitrogen excreted into the environment by animals feeding on the ryegrass, and

consequently less nitrate leaching and lower emis-

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sions of another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide. Development of the HME ryegrass is now progressing in the mid-west of the US where genetically modified organisms can be field tested outside the lab. After a growing trial last year confirmed the conditions were suitable, AgResearch principal scientist Dr Greg Bryan says the full growing trial began in the US last month and will continue for five months. “The preliminary trial was only two months, so it’s not over a timeframe that has any statistical merit; however we saw the increased photosynthesis that we saw with the plants in the greenhouses in NZ,” he says. “In this full trial now underway, we will be measuring the photosynthesis, plant growth and the markers that lead to increased growth rates. While the growth has previously been studied in glasshouses in pots and as plants spaced out in the field, this will be the first opportunity to assess the growth in a pasture-like situation where plants compete with each other. “The five-month timeframe will allow us to determine if increased growth is consistent across the summer and autumn, and we will simulate grazing by cutting plants back every 3-4

weeks. “Animal feeding trials are planned to take place in two years, which we will need regulatory approvals for, and the information we get over the next two years will help us with our application for those feeding trials.” DairyNZ spokesman Dr Bruce Thorrold says the HME ryegrass is a science breakthrough and holds great potential for NZ farmers. “HME ryegrass could help us achieve less nitrogen leaching and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as improving pasture quality and productivity,” Thorrold says. “So it is important we explore all promising avenues which could help dairy farmers respond to the challenges we face.” While NZ has not yet approved the release of genetically modified crops, Bryan said it is important that the science keeps options open, and for there to be strong scientific evidence on any benefits or risks for policy makers to draw on. “We think the advantages here could be very significant, with modelling to date showing the HME ryegrass could boost farm revenues by as much as $900/ha, while providing a tool for farmers to manage nitrogen run-off and greenhouse gas emissions.”

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THE DEVELOPMENT of high metabolisable energy (HME) ryegrass is based on increasing foliar lipids or fat content in the leaves. The researchers initially produced plants which synthesised extra lipids, but then metabolised it away. They then looked at how plants stored oil in seeds by surrounding lipid bodies in a protective protein. Incorporating that protein produced plants able to successfully accumulate the lipids. The enzyme producing the increased lipids has come from nasturtium and the protein that protects the fat bodies in the leaf is from sesame. Both have been modified slightly to make them more stable. The method could be used in any plant species using what is known as a C3 photosynthesis type, which includes many common crops.


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

MANAGEMENT 33

Compulsory waterway planting impractical NIGEL MALTHUS

MAKING WATERWAY planting compulsory on farms nationwide would be totally impractical, says North Canterbury native plant nurseryman and environmental consultant Jamie McFadden. Cheviot-based McFadden works throughout the North Canterbury area, but says he’s finding that many of the native plantings done 10-15 years ago are now being smothered by weeds such as old man’s beard. “There are certain areas now that we do not recommend to plant,” he told Rural News.

including “six of the worst” – old man’s beard, blackberry, gorse, broom, elderberry and willow. Old man’s beard can climb 10 20m over native trees and smother them, and its windborne seeds can travel 1 - 2km. It is now getting into native plantings. “I’m always very careful when advising whether to plant or not. I think the important thing first is to look after your waterways. Get your intensive farming activities out of your waterways. Get your waterways as clean as possible.” Farmers who want to plant natives can do so, but should understand they

“We learn over time, and we learn the pitfalls of fencing waterways and the pitfalls of planting waterways. It’s not always as easy we thought it would be,” says McFadden. “There certainly are a lot of waterways that can be planted successfully, and there are regions that don’t have the same degree of weed issues that we do here. But that would be the worst thing, to have a mandatory nationwide requirement to plant waterways.” McFadden says some areas of North Canterbury’s Amuri district are particularly bad. The region’s four main rivers – the Hurunui, Waitohi, Pahau and Waiau – are all loaded with weeds

CHALLENGE PAYS OFF JAMIE MCFADDEN has worked with Medbury Farm, recently named the 2018 Canterbury regional supreme winner in the 2018 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Speaking at the winner’s field day, McFadden says the farm was a challenge as it was bounded by two of the weed-infested rivers. “With Medbury when I first looked I

said ‘I don’t think planting is a good idea on your farm. It’s always going to keep coming back and your plants will never ever beat it.’ ” Medbury has gone ahead with extensive planting. “It’s an ongoing battle that will never stop, but good on them for wanting to look after their environment,” McFadden says. Born and raised at Cheviot,

McFadden and his wife started a native plant nursery 20 years ago, primarily for planting out their own 800ha steep hill country farm. McFadden says he’s now noticing that a lot of plants are escaping from gardens and moving up and down the region’s waterways. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

Jamie McFadden says planting and fencing off waterways is not always easy or practical.

may be in for maintenance “forever and a day,” he says. McFadden believes one option is to plant flax and a swamp grass called carex secta – both immune to the herbicides Grazon and Tordon.

“I call them the filters of the land because they’re really good as a filtration plant as a buffer,” he says. “You can still spray over them. That will take out certain weeds, but it won’t kill flax and carex.”

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

34 MANAGEMENT

Aiming to improve farmers’ profit and environment NIGEL MALTHUS

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY-OWNED research and development company Lincoln Agritech says dairy farmers might improve their envi-

ronmental footprints and profit through two research projects now underway. Lincoln Agritech got hefty grants in the latest round of the Ministry of Primary Industry’s Sus-

tainable Farming Fund for two three-year studies that began on July 1. One is looking into using winter catch crops to reduce nitrate leaching loss, and the other into using real-time optical

sensors to direct variablerate fertiliser application in dairy pastures. Dr Peter Carey, who heads the catch crop study, said research already showed farmers could use nitrogen more

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efficiently while reducing their environmental footprint, by following grazed winter forage crops with a crop that can be lifted for green chop silage in November. The study aims to show how it could be up-scaled from research trials to commercial working farms, and done reliably and consistently, using various crops under various conditions. “It can be a win-win situation. But traditionally, trying to sow a crop in the middle of winter is not usually encouraged. Often those paddocks have lain fallow until the next sowing of a winter forage crop or pasture in spring.” Carey says that rain and leaching from grazed winter feed paddocks can cause a major loss of nitrate.

“It may be only 10% of their farm area, but it may be 40% of their nitrogen loss over that year.” He says some farmers are experimenting with winter crops but with variable results. They want confidence that it would work, and the study is aimed at producing workable guidelines. Carey says contractors involved in the study are also enthusiastic, as winter sowing could bring them work at an otherwise quiet time of year. The study will be trying out new technology -- a power spade plough imported from the Netherlands and designed to manage even wet soils. The spading action helps drive the tractor forward as it works, rather than it relying on tyre traction in muddy ground.

MORE ACCURATE FERT APPLICATION THE SECOND study is aimed at showing how optical sensors now widely used overseas for real-time variable fertiliser application in arable farming, could also be used on dairy pastures. Dr Armin Werner, manager of Agritech’s precision agriculture group overseeing both projects, says paddocks are not uniform. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)-funded Optimum N project has already shown that dairy farms can reduce nitrogen fertiliser use 30% without yield loss and reduce nitrate leaching 13%, just by identifying areas within a paddock that need less nitrogen. However, methods such as plate meters are too timeconsuming to be used to map biomass variability within paddocks. Tractor-mounted optical sensors directly measuring the pasture’s reflectance could “circumvent any guessing”. Some farms will definitely have enough variability on pastures to benefit from it, others may not, he says. The scientist leading the study, Dinanjana Ekanayake, says only one company in NZ now supplies the sensor equipment. It will first be trialed on one dairy farm in Temuka, South Canterbury, to test different strategies. In the second and third years she hopes to take the study to other commercial farms and to test other sensors if and when they became available. A major aspect of both projects will be demonstrations, field days and workshops.


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

ANIMAL HEALTH 35

New research into leptospirosis PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

MSD_Nilvax_Strip_RN_100x265_02

A NEW Zealand expert in leptospirosis says the disease appears to be becoming more ‘tropical’ in the way it is occurring in NZ. Associate professor Jackie Benschop, a veterinary epidemiologist from Massey University who has researched the disease for 10 years, says over the last three or so years several new trends have begun to emerge. A new $1.2 million research grant should help explain some of these trends and inform strategies to reduce the impact of lepto. Benschop says currect data shows reporting of more cases of leptospirosis and while many are in traditional rural areas and meat works there are new risk groups. “We are seeing subtle increases in groups that aren’t traditionally affected and that includes other occupations and more women,” she told Rural News. “Last year, 14% of the cases reported were women whereas the previous four-year average for women has been just 7%. Many cases seem to be related to regions which have had flooding and an increase in rodent numbers -- Auckland, Northland and Waikato.

Jackie Benschop

WHAT’S IN THE WATER? THE GROWTH and changes occurring in leptospirosis are a likely result of climate change, especially flooding, Jackie Benschop believes. Hence more women and others who do not work in meat and farming are contracting the disease. Floods can affect anyone. However, she knows also that more women are in typical farm work where the disease is prevalent, especially dairy sheds. “Water is a major factor in the spread of leptospirosis. My message is for people to be very cautious around flood or other water,” she explains. “We have identified lepto in farm water sources such as puddles and standing water in paddocks.”

This is the message we are getting from medical officers of health and

doctors.” Benschop sees the new funding grant as

a game-changer. It will allow them to keep laboratory staff employed and employ a post-doc student to manage the research. The three-year grant gives relatively long secure funding. “It allows us to take on and develop a PhD student who will investigate key questions including the genetics of the sources of human infection,” Benschop says. “For example, whether strains of Leptospira Ballum from mice or cattle are closely related to those infecting humans will help shed light on the transmission of the disease.” The team will investigate chronic leptospirosis. She says by enrolling 150 people who have lepto and following them for a long time will enable them to learn more about the persistence of lepto symptoms Benschop plans to apply for more money for this aspect of the work. “This issue is largely unexplored in NZ. Case studies show about one in three people have symptoms of lepto that go beyond six months. “These people may have persistent muscle and eye pain, and fatigue a very long time after they have had that first clinical episode of lepto. This is in addition to when the disease first hits

when most lepto cases go to hospital, with about half needing intensive care.” Benschop says leptospirosis places a huge burden on those affected, their families and the farming sector as a whole.

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

36 ANIMAL HEALTH

Beef sector unfairly tainted by M.bovis numbers – claim THE MINISTRY for Primary Industry’s published figures on the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak unfairly implicate the beef breeding industry, says Oamaru veterinarian and Angus beef breeder Neil Sanderson. He says while MPI was not trying deliberately to mislead, people could get the wrong idea from figures showing more beef

“It would be very unlikely for bought-in trading stock to mix with beef breeding cows, even if it was a mixed breeding farm that was also buying in these trading animals.” farms than dairy are now infected. Sanderson believes the distinction has to be made between the pure-

bred breeding side of the beef industry and the rearing and finishing side, which buys in calves from the dairy sector.

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“If they haven’t been classified as being a risk or infected then I think we need to point that out and make sure there’s nothing misleading,” he told Rural News. “Certainly the seedstock producers have not been included in any infections and we believe that the cow calf producers have not been either.” Sanderson says while nobody can guarantee anything, the chances of cross infection into the beef breeding sector are low. “If it’s mainly a disease within the dairy industry at the moment, it’s not highly likely that it’s spread very far through the beef industry at all.” He says, worldwide, M.bovis is not highly infectious between adult animals, especially those not actively shedding. “It would be very unlikely for bought-in trading stock to mix with beef breeding cows, even if it was a mixed breeding farm that was also buying in these trading animals,” Sanderson explains. “It wouldn’t be good management to do that anyway, because of the risk of other diseases from the dairy industry that might not be in the beef cows, like BVD.” The reported beefdairy split continues in

An injection of Multimin® + Cu one month prior to mating is proven to enhance the reproductive performance of your cows and heifers. Assists with ovulation, oestrus and conception. International and local trials have demonstrated earlier conception in treated animals.1,2 3.4 to 4.1 times ROI.1 The gold standard in trace element delivery.

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Document Path: \\wdcwfsp756\MapInfo\GIS Data MPI\Response_MBovis2017\MXD\MBovisOperationsMasterReferenceListStaticMaps\MBovisOperationsMasterReferenceList_UnderBiosecurityControls.mxd

NIGEL MALTHUS

Restricted Places (includes infected farms) NODs (under testing – 70 to 80% return negative) Land Information New Zealand, Eagle Technology

This map and all information accompanying it is intended to be used as a guide only, in conjunction with other data sources and methods, and should only be used for the purpose for which it was developed. The information shown in this Map is based on a summary of data obtained from various sources. While all reasonable measures have been taken to ensure the accuracy of the Map, MPI: (a) gives no warranty or representation in relation to the accuracy, completeness, reliability or fitness for purpose of the Map; and (b) accepts no liability whatsoever in relation to any loss, damage or other costs relating to any person’s use of the Map, including but not limited to any compilations, derivative works or modifications of the Map. Crown copyright ©. This map is subject to Crown copyright administered by Ministry for Primary Industries.

the most recent MPI update, dated July 27, which records 33 infected properties, of which 19 are classed as ‘beef’, 17 as ‘dairy’, and three ‘others’, which includes lifestyle blocks and calf rearers. Sanderson is a partner, with his wife and another couple, in the Fossil Creek Angus Stud inland

0

Under Biosecurity Controls Mycoplasma bovis Response 12/07/2018

from Oamaru. He says the M.bovis outbreak is affecting the business, with anecdotal evidence via social media posts by North Island breeders saying they would not now buy animals from the south. He is “particularly sensitive” to continued references to Oamaru as the

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160 Km

Created by the Infortamtion & Data Management Team Date: 12/07/2018

area where the disease was first isolated. “That was where it was first identified by a very astute veterinarian. But it’s since been found to be all over the country, so there’s no point in putting anywhere that it was first isolated in any particular area, because that’s non-productive.”


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

ANIMAL HEALTH 37

Raising dairy industry’s next sires AT THE back of Raglan Harbour, on the West Coast peninsula, lies an influential New Zealand farm. Peninsula Farm is where herd improvement company CRV Ambreed grazes its young Friesian, Jersey and crossbred bulls that may become the industry’s next megastars. Each year 150 bull calves are selected for CRV Ambreed’s progeny test programme and are shipped from farms NZwide to the company’s Bellevue production and logistics centre. At about 12 months of age their semen is harvested and then allocated and distributed to contracted progeny testing herds nationwide. It takes four years to measure the performance, milk production and type of a bull’s daughters, so for the next 3.5 years these bulls graze in an isolated and controlled environment at Peninsula Farm. 250 Friesian, Jersey and crossbred bulls averaging 800kg graze at the farm over winter and up to 310 bulls in spring. They are put into mobs of 10-20 bulls, and each mob is rotated around three or four paddocks. Annually, 800 silage bales are brought in and fed out from March to October. Farm manager Darryl Parker says Peninsula Farm is paradise seven months of the year and wet and windy the rest. Big areas of the farm are planted in native trees and shrubs to protect

biosecurity practices in hygiene and equipment disinfection,” Parker says. “We minimise visitors, but when we do have visitors they have to sign in and out, and their vehicles and any other equipment are sprayed and washed if they have to come onfarm.” Health and safety is always top of mind for Parker and farm assistant Jordan Ratima. “I’ve been working for CRV Ambreed for over 20 years and been on this farm for almost five years, but I am still wary at all times. It’s all about

keeping your eyes open, keeping your distance and getting to know the bulls,” he says. “98% of the animals are fine to handle, but for safety we always have two people on hand to shift and feed the bulls. “We don’t walk through paddocks; we’re always on bikes. We use dogs. And feed is important; we usually use feed to shift the animals when they need to be shifted,” he says. After the four-year progeny test, the bulls with the potential to provide the highest

genetic gain for dairy farmers are selected by CRV Ambreed’s product management and product development team, which includes Parker’s older brother Aaron. They have a combined 46 year history with the company. These bulls are once again health tested and put into interim quarantine on Peninsula Farm for 45 days. Once their blood and TB tests come back clear, they return to the CRV centre near Cambridge for more quarantine disease testing.

MULTIMIN® + Cu Peninsula Farm team Daryl Parker and Jordan Ratina.

FINAL JOURNEY THE FINAL stage of the bulls’ journey is to enter the semen collection centre; here their semen is collected for freezing for AI for CRV customers worldwide. Each season the next group of bulls in waiting make their way to Peninsula Farm. “Seeing the top bulls go off to collection every year and knowing that I was part of that is really satisfying,” Parker says. “I love working at the farm and I don’t

from coastal erosion. With large animals up to 1000kg walking around in winter the paddocks can quickly become soft, Parker says. “We spend a lot of time rolling, levelling and re-growing grass where we can,” he says. “As you’d expect with a bull farm, there’s also triple the maintenance of your typical dairy farm, but that is part and parcel of what we do.”

get bored out here. “There’s the normal farm chores like stock work, repairs and maintenance and farm development, but then I get to blood bulls, take bull photos and collect semen from a 1000kg bull. “And at the end of the working day I can drop a net for a feed of flounder or go whitebaiting, so it’s a real privilege to live out here.”

The 240ha farm suits quarantine as the farm’s boundary has only 800m of neighbouring farm. Three sides have a coastal boundary and the fourth side that neighbours another property is seperated by a gravel road. All sides are double-fenced with a 5m buffer zone, which protects the coastline and prevents noseto-nose contact with other stock. All precautions pos-

sible protect the quarantine disease status of the bulls and manage any known biosecurity risk, including diseases such as IBR, BVD and Mycoplasma bovis. The farm is categorised as a fully isolated controlled environment, managed under strict vet supervision. It’s also registered and audited biannually by the Ministry for Primary Industries. “We follow strict

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

38 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

LUV training hits the spot MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

QUADS AND and light utility vehicles (LUV) get a bad rap because operators’ poor skills and riding judgement cause crashes. Quality training can reduce such incidents. Jacks Farm Machinery, Whakatane, a forward-thinking machinery dealer in the Bay of Plenty region known for horticulture, decided to

“The LUV course was a great investment for the staff involved and our wider business, as trained operators pass useful information to their colleagues.” act. This supplier of Polaris quads and LUVs was already in the business of certified modifying Ranger and Ace models to allow them to work under pergolas in

kiwifruit orchards; this also allowed orchardists to switch from quads to LUVs. A Jacks customer asked the company for help in training workers on the use of machines,

leading to Jacks running NZQA-accredited on the safe operation of a LUVs. The two-day course is run by Andrew Simpson of Carnz Ltd, a registered MITO assessor who is also a Primary ITO AgExcel trainer and a NZTA-registered driving instructor and testing officer. His instruction includes how the vehicle’s drive system works, basic driving skills, towing on undulating terrain and safely carrying loads. The trainees earn credits as they finish modules, leading to the NZQA unit standard for

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LUV training. Theory and practical training are given on the first day, then more training and assessment on day 2. People wanting to extend their skills can complete unit standards 24558, 24560 and 24562 -- operation on undulating terrain, operation with trailed implements, and operating with mounted implements or loads, respectively. Trainees must present a log that lists previous experience before they can be assessed. “The LUV course was a great investment for the staff involved and our wider business, as trained operators pass useful information to their colleagues,” says Roy Anderson of kiwifruit specialist Seeka.

“The trainer delivered his message in an interesting manner that kept people involved. He focused on understanding the machines, their abilities and importantly how to do a job plan beforehand to reduce the risk of getting into tricky situations in the first place. We will definitely do more staff training.” Stephen Kenna, an orchardist at Katikati, said the course allowed trainees to discuss different events, major and minor, that had occurred on their properties. “And what they could have done differently to avoid the situation. It has changed the way we operate LUVs on our orchard and we are now safer and more informed.”

AUSSIE SAFETY SCHEME CRITICISED IN AUSTRALIA, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), representing the quad industry, has criticised a NSW state-subsidised quad safety scheme. FCAI says the state is misdirected in offering a financial incentive that could skew support towards crush protection devices (CPD) whose effectivness is unproven. The FCAI supports proven ways to reduce injuries and fatalities, e.g. operators wearing helmets, no passengers on single-seat vehicles and no under-16 operators. But it says a NSW government scheme to subsidise CPDs will take quad operators’ eyes off the need for safe practice. It queries the state government’s incentive, saying that a recent quad users’ survey by Safe Work NSW showed that CPDs did not reduce injuries. FCAI says Safe Work NSW is ignoring coroners’ inquests in Queensland, NSW and Tasmania in 2015 and 2016, in which expert evidence on the effectiveness of CPDs resulted in no coroners calling for their use. FCAI says the scheme will lead quad operators to think that if their machine has a CPD they can go slack on safe practice, e.g. neglecting to wear a helmet.


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 39

Tea from an unlikely source MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

BEST KNOWN as the dairy capital of New Zealand, Waikato can also claim to be the nation’s home of tea. The Zealong Tea Estate, just north of Hamilton, is NZ’s only commercial tea grower. The Zealong story starts in 1996, when Vincent Chen noticed the region’s abundant camellia bushes -- the same Camellia sinensis that is used to produce white, green, black and oolong teas. In that year, Chen imported 1500 cuttings from Asia, and after a long quarantine he had 130 plants for his fledgling business. Fast forward 22 years and the Zealong Tea Estate now extends to 48ha, of which 25ha is used to produce 100% certified organic oolong teas that have won many awards around the globe. Growing tea starts with taking cuttings from established plants. These need to be grown-on in specialised facilities for 18 months at a cost of $2.50 per plant. Then they are returned to the estate and placed at 20,000 plants

per hectare in a twin row format. It then takes another four years before the tea is ready to have its first harvest. Camellia sinensis has been known to thrive for 100 years in ideal growing

French-made tool carrier, bought two years ago for $350,000. This does a range of tasks such as fertilising, trimming, pruning, inter-row mowing and discing. Trimming and pruning

Harvesting begins in November with the ‘first pick’ taking the top three leaves of new growth off the plants. conditions. It suits growing on most land types but the ideal is peat that is slightly acidic -- a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. Rainfall at the Zealong farm is 1200 - 1800mm, but as farm manager Eric Lin points out, “wetter is better during the summer growing period”. Tea growing centres on growing leaf, with no need for buds or fruit. During the growing season the crop is fertilised with an organic mix of soya meal, sheep pellets and guar gum with trace elements of boron, calcium, manganese and zinc. Three applications are made in November-March at a rate of 7 tonnes/ha, delivering 275kgN/ha. During the growing season a key task is the use of a specialised

are done to create and maintain the plants in a box-hedge style 1m high x 1.2m wide. 1m is the ideal height (no bending) and 1.2m is the ideal width for hand picking from either side. Dubbed ‘The Transformer’ the 100hp unit is a one-off built to Zealong’s specifications. It uses a hydrostatic driveline to maintain speeds from 0-25km/h; it covers 0.5ha/hour during trimming. The machine lives up to its nickname with a range of interchangeable task-specific attachments. Harvesting begins in November with the ‘first pick’ taking the top three leaves of new growth off the plants. Two further picks occur at 8 to 10-week intervals, ending in March when the plants

The ‘Transformer’ is a one-off machine built especially for Zealong’s tea growing operations.

enter a dormant phase. Harvest of the highvalue, oolong crop is done by hand at the rate of 1ha/day; this work is done by 50 skilled workers brought from Taiwan under the recognised seasonal employer (RSE) scheme. The three pickings gather about 4 tonnes/ha, with the resultant 100t of wet material turned into 2t of dry tea. Camellia sinensis suffers no ill effects from Waikato damp and fog. But summer frosts can cause havoc with new growth. Managing this starts with sensors sending a message to the farm manager who may then call in helicopters to create airflow, as in orchards and vineyards. So the next time you switch on the jug, ask yourself if that awkward spot in the back paddock might be the place to grow a crop of ‘Bruce Lee’.

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SOUTH ISLAND www.cochranes.co.nz Call Alastair Robertson | 03 324 3791 | 027 435 2642 AMBERLEY | LEESTON | ASHBURTON | TIMARU | OAMARU


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

40 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Thermal imaging possible ADAM FRICKER

IF YOU were loaned a $1099 mobile phone to review, would you test its maker’s claims that it was dropproof to 1.8m and waterproof at depths up to 5m? Tempting, but in the end we took on faith these claims about the CAT S60. Its chunky design, strengthened die-cast frame and Gorilla glass give it the appearance of a unit that “exceeds military specifications”. Its other trick feature is a thermal imaging camera that can measure temperatures from -20°C to 120°C from up to 30m away – a first for a smartphone. CAT says farmers might use this feature to monitor soil temperature, ensure correct milk temperature, see the accurate temperature of pipes and check for inflamed areas on animals. You could also use it to locate livestock at night. The thermal camera is controlled

by an app built by thermal imaging company FLIR. It works by simultaneously taking two photos (or videos) – one with the thermal camera and one

with the standard lens. It overlays the shots to provide a detailed image showing temperature differences by colour. You can enhance these images using

spectrum filters to highlight the temperature differences. The display quality on the 4.7” screen is excellent and the touch screen is said to work even if you’ve got wet fingers or are wearing gloves. The hardware includes 4G, the two cameras already mentioned, a Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor (this is good apparently), 32GB ROM and 3GB RAM. Emailing and internet surfing are at your fingertips and at a decent clip, subject to local internet speeds. You’ll be pleased to know that the CAT S60 also functions perfectly well as a phone on which you can call or text. If you’re a farmer, vet or contractor who spends about a grand on a phone then wraps it in chunky protectors, this unit might well suit straight out of the box. It might also appeal to tradies and to outdoor enthusiasts up for a spot of hunting and fishing.

FARM MACHINERY STRENGTH / QUALITY / PERFORMANCE

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TRACTOR NUMBERS ON A ROLL

THE WORLD’S tractor market 1448 in 2017, a rise of 26.1%. Tractor and Machinery Associalooked healthy in 2017, with 2.1 million sales – up about 13% on the 2016 tion (TAMA) president John Tulloch says sales are back near 2014 total of 1.9 million units. levels, seen in such This data comes sectors as lifestyle, from Agrievoviticulture and agrilution Alliance, culture, rather than representing 14 only agriculture, industry bodies and which four years ago 6000 agricultural accounted for most machinery makers. tractor sales. The high-vol“It’s rare to see ume markets of every sector relaChina and India had tively buoyant at the at least 1 million same time,” Tulloch sales -- 490,000 and told Rural News. 600,000 respec“Customers tively. And Europe, TAMA president John Tulloch with large markets in France and appear to be cautiously optimistic rather than big-spending, probably Germany, had 190,000 sales. The US market saw 4% more because of healthy scepticism about sales than in 2016 -- 220,000 trac- forecast payouts.” He says TAMA members reported tors sold. In first-half 2018, US tractor sales totalled 123,316 – up 6.5% that Fieldays was largely positive, but on the same period in 2017. Inter- actual sales prospects were down. “We believe it might be a record estingly, at least 84,000 were tractors less than 40hp – lifestyle-block year for sales. “However, like our customers we machines. In New Zealand, first-half 2018 remain cautiously optimistic.” – Mark Daniel also had healthy sales -- 1876 versus


RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 41

Mower dances to a new record MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

A CLAAS Disco 1100 RC, billed as the largest tractor-mounted mower-conditioner on the market, has shattered the world record for mowing, knocking over 141ha of lucerne in just eight hours. Mounted on a Claas Axion 870 tractor (295hp) with a continuously variable transmission, the triple mower-roller conditioner unit achieved an average work rate of 17.6 ha/hour. This was an impressive result given the average yield of 5.24 t/ha DM and the fact the crop was spread across four different fields. The new record eclipsed the previous benchmark by 40.5ha set in grass – without conditioners and therefore a

much easier task. The record, yet to be verified by Guinness World Records, was set by Tate Mesbergen from Mesbergen Farms, Greely, Colorado, helped by his support team and CLAAS staff. The start was delayed several hours by 12.7mm of rain that had fallen the previous day; and there were two unplanned stops in the paddock, one when the rig hit a piece of concrete that luckily caused no damage. The Disco 1100 RC has a conditioner with two V-shaped interlocking polyurethane rollers which compress the hard stems while simultaneously preserving the precious leaves. This helps reduce the wilting time and preserves maximum feed value, because the leaves

are preserved. But it increases the mower’s power consumption. The 1100 incorporates the maker’s Max Cut cutter-bar, which has a wave-shaped mower bed press-formed from a

single piece of metal. The machine is the flagship in a range that includes 28 new frontmounted, rear-mounted and trailed models with operating widths from 2.6m to 10.7m.

The Claas Disco mower in action.

WORKING WITH YOU TO DELIVER RESULTS

LELY HIBISCUS CD VARIO WHAT YOU FEED IS WHAT YOU GET

Keep it clean GIVEN THE outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis, the need for basic entry/exit biosecurity measures on all rural properties is high. No surprise then at the raft of footbaths on show at Fieldays. Keeping things simple, effective and low-cost, Stallion Plastics was offering a 120L disinfectant footbath at $200+gst – so no excuses. It comes with a non-slip mat, a screw cap at the lowest point for drainage and a heavy-duty brush for getting soles of footwear clean. The unit can be easily sited at entry and exit points as the beginning for a good on-farm biosecurity regime. – Mark Daniel

A consistent swath with the right shape and width results in high pick-up capacity, good output and a precise cutting action. The Hibiscus rakes create the optimal conditions for balers, loader wagons and forage harvesters. • Perfect swath with adjustable camtrack • 3D suspension of rotors for the best ground contour following • Individual rotor lift - standard on 815 and 915 • Unique hydraulic unfolding system: safe and operated from the cab • Hydraulic working width adjustable while moving For more information contact your local Lely dealer

AGCO NEW ZEALAND 840 Arthur Porter Drive, Hamilton Tel: 07 974 1780 or www.lely-forage.com

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

42 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS / RURAL TRADER

Queensland trip show’s regions diversity MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

SUGAR, CHEESE, chocolate and coffee might sound like a night out at your favourite restaurant. It was instead the theme of a study tour taken by the tractor and machinery group Power Farming NZ. The company took 50 Kiwi farmers and staff to Queensland and NSW in June.

They first took in the Atherton Tablelands, the fertile area southwest of Cairns, then visited the Jaques Coffee plantation at Mareeba, where owner Nat Jaques showed some of the plantation’s of 85,000 Arabica coffee trees. Raw coffee beans fetch about $33,000/tonne; coffee is the world’s second most-traded commodity after crude oil, and it now provides the

Jaques family with a regular income. Heading south from Mareeba, the party ventured into familiar territory – the Gallo Dairyland near Atherton and a 400ha farm milking 350 cows. The farm also runs a busy café and makes and sells cheeses and chocolates. Returning eastwards to the coast, the group encountered rainforest,

NEVER LOSE YOUR CAR A NEW entry-level Range Rover Velar is set to be the model Kiwi motorists can better afford. The 2L Velar P250, powered by the latest petrol-fuelled Ingenium engine, will go on sale in New Zealand later this month with a starting price of $114,900 + orc. That’s $20,000 less than the 3L version and, for the first 35 vehicles sold, it comes with a free R-Design style pack upgrade. The price is expected to be well received; it mirrors the strategy used with the Range Rover Evoque 2L model. The P250 has similar specifications to the 3L model, with only 100kg difference in the braked towing capacity of 2400kg. Performance-wise, the P250 Velar’s 185kW/365Nm engine accelerates the car from 0-100km in 6.7 seconds and offers up to 6.7L/100km fuel economy. It won the World Car Design of the Year title at the 2018 World Car Awards, dubbed the most beautifully designed vehicle on the planet.

sugarcane, pineapple, tea, mango and pawpaw plantations before arriving at Tully, 150km south of Cairns and 1500km north of Brisbane. The group learned something about sugar cane, from planting of canes to the harvest by self-propelled cane cutters. They learned that the raw material is taken on cane trains to a mill that produces light, brown raw sugar for export via a dedicated sugar port at Mourilyan. Finally, heading south to Byron Bay in NSW the group got to operate a range of tractors and machinery marketed by Power Farming and its Australian subsidiary PFG. On display were key brands such as Deutz Fahr, Howard, Kverneland, Aitchison and Maschio.

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The RR Velar comes with optional Kvadrat designed seats covered with an environmentally friendly fabric that combines a NZ Merino wool blend with faux suede made from recycled plastic bottles. The P250 Velar will come standard with the latest in entertainment and safety technology and safety systems that include remote access from the InControl app. This allows the owner to lock and unlock the vehicle, check the fuel tank level or see where the vehicle is parked using a smartphone or smartwatch. It also enables remote engine starts and climate control setting. And there’s more: SOS Emergency call technology with automatic collision detection and optimised assistance. In an emergency, an SOS call tells the emergency service the vehicle’s location. In the event of a breakdown, optimised assistance transmits a GPS location and diagnostics data to a recovery company. – Mark Daniel

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RURAL NEWS // AUGUST 7, 2018

RURAL TRADER 43 WINTER RAINWEAR SALE! save $174*ENDS 31 AUG

Flexiskin Max - we reckon it’s pretty good! In fact we haven’t had a single complaint about it in the 2 years weve been selling it. That’s why we supply one of the country’s largest horticultural operations (over 600 staff). It’s great in the dairy shed too. A similar quality jacket will cost you around *$230 in your rural supply store. So why not save yourself $174? That’s a lot of beer money, especially if you have staff. Also our garments are extremely comfortable! PHONE 9am-5pm

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Rural News 7 August 2018  
Rural News 7 August 2018