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Farmers are urged to plant more trees. PAGE 30

John Deere’s new forage harvesters are coming. PAGE 46

Nine years is enough.Retiring Fonterra director Nicola Shadbolt looks back. PAGE 12


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Farmers are urged to plant more trees. PAGE 30

John Deere’s new forage harvesters are coming. PAGE 46

Nine years is enough.Retiring Fonterra director Nicola Shadbolt looks back. PAGE 12


$9/kg on the cards for lamb? PETER BURKE

THERE’S A chance that the lamb price could hit $9/kg next month. That’s the view of ASB’s senior rural economist Nathan Penny, who says he’s running out of superlatives to describe the performance of lamb prices. Data shows the lamb price con-

stantly rising and passing $8/kg, he says, and there is speculation that it could reach the magical $9 number in October. Penny doesn’t get too carried away about the future for lamb, except to say that whichever way you cut it, prices are strong -- good news after a long lean period compared with other sectors. “The reason for the high prices is strong demand from a number of

fronts. We had expected that postBrexit the UK would weaken substantially, dragging down overall lamb returns, but that hasn’t been the case,” he told Rural News. “Other markets have stepped up – the US and Europe; those two markets have been strong, so has China.” Penny says those markets have picked up the UK’s slack, but the UK hasn’t been as bad as he thought it

would be. “There’s been pretty good growth globally. Economies have been strong and that has flowed into incomes and demand for lamb. So all up it’s a really good story for lamb and it’s been a while between drinks for lamb producers so the price rise is welcome.” Penny says there’s a risk that rising lamb prices could make it too expensive for consumers, who would switch

to less expensive proteins. But so far the consumers have accepted the lamb prices. After a predicted spike of prices in October, the ASB forsees easing as the season progresses. Penny thinks the US/China trade wars are playing out a bit more than was first thought, and drought in Australia could see more lamb coming on the international market as farmers seek to cut their losses. – More on p5

More manuka magic? A NEW field trial is using native plants to help clean up farm runoff into Lake Wairarapa. Scientists from ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research) are looking at the potential of mānuka and other native trees to reduce the leaching of nitrate and other pathogens from farm runoff. Maria Gutierrez-Gines, a scientist at ESR, says laboratory work shows that mānuka and kānuka enhance the die-off of E.coli in the soil and reduce nitrate leaching more effectively than pasture or pine trees. Dr Gutierrez-Gines (blue shirt, centre) is pictured with members of ESR’s research team and Greater Wellington Council staff planting manuka seedlings, near Lake Wairarapa, to see if their positive lab results can be replicated on farm. - See story page 18

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

FEDERATED FARMERS president Katie Milne is encouraging farmers to get involved in Fish & Game NZ because it has been saying a lot of “interesting things” about farming. Much of its criticism seems directed at the bulk of farming rather than the irresponsible few, Milne said. “We all know there are a helluva lot of farmers out there doing a helluva lot to improve the environmental footprint of farming and there seems to be very little recognition of that. It often sounds like the [responsible farmers] are outliers, but we all know they’re not.” Milne’s comments come as nominations close for council elections in each of Fish & Game’s 12 regions, and follow a call by her for farmers to stand for election. Milne said she is surprised that her call is interpreted by some as suggesting a farmer takeover of Fish & Game. “Actually this is just another democratic process that we as farmers can be involved in. A lot of us are fishermen or duck shooters so here’s a way to be part of that, if you choose to. Just like when local body elections are up we put out information to remind people they’re up, to get some balance, have some say. “I know of people who’ve put themselves up. And don’t forget there are already Federated Farmers members on [F&G] councils around the country.” She said the point is to make sure there is balance and understanding, and to work better together rather than “throw people under the bus”. Farmland makes up much of NZ’s fishing and shooting areas but there is a risk of F&G alienating farmers who are sick of being told they’re something they’re not.


Fed Farmers president Katie Milne.

“The last thing we need is even more of a disconnect because urban people can’t get through a farm to go fishing. And that’s a real danger with the sort of rhetoric that’s coming out.” The elections are for 12-member councils in each of Fish & Game’s 12 regions. Three regions have 12 or fewer nominees so elections will not be required. Postal and online elections will be held for the other nine, with the results to be declared on October 20. Hunting and fishing licence-holders are eligible to be nominated and to vote. Fish & Game national chief executive Martin Taylor said he had not seen the full list of nominees but said farmers were welcome “like anyone else”. “I am sure they would understand the statutory responsibility Fish & Game has to advocate for our interests and they would declare conflicts of interest if they had them. “There seems to be a healthy number of people standing, which is

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excellent. Having people engaged and willing to stand is really important.” The elections come against the backdrop of three separate investigations underway in three of the F&G regions. Taylor declined to comment on the investigations but has previously said that issues relating to governance and potential conflicts of interest had been raised about the Central South Island and Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game councils. North Canterbury is also being audited after councillors raised concerns about the handling of a substantial bequest. They include Springston dairy farmer Phil Musson, who also declined to comment before the results of the audit, which he expected “any day”. Musson, a former winner of a Fish & Game environmental award, is a coopted member of the North Canterbury council but is now standing for election.

THE US trade war with China poses a risk to New Zealand, says ANZ’s chief economist, Sharon Zollner. NZ could be hit if the trade war severely impacts the Chinese economy and people’s incomes and ability to pay for our farm products. And at the same time the Chinese economy is slowing, Zollner says. “Their authorities have lots of levers they can pull that other countries don’t have, but at the moment we’re seeing them loosening up on monetary policy – allowing more lending – and on fiscal policy,” she told Rural News. “And they have cut taxes there also, so that will support their economy in the near term. That’s the glass-half-full view. The glasshalf-empty view asks, what are they seeing in their economy that they are trying to offset and what does that mean for NZ?” Zollner says in trade terms NZ is more tied to China’s hip than ever before. Other Asia markets are opening but China remains the most important for NZ. Dairying is facing many challenges, not least the downward trend in prices in the global dairy trade auctions. “This has dropped in nine of the last twelve auctions, so I guess you can call that a trend,” she says. Zollner sees the dairy industry having a big long-term challenge in meeting the Productivity Commission’s proposed low emission regime. The whole agricultural model is set to change – including fewer cows – and that will make for interesting times.



Alliance re-brands NIGEL MALTHUS

ALLIANCE GROUP is using its annual farmer roadshow to launch new corporate branding as it works to transition itself to a “food and solutions company”. The name doesn’t change, but the co-op has unveiled a new logo -- a farm gate containing a capital letter ‘A’. Chief executive David Surveyor said the new corporate identity celebrates the co-op’s proud history and highlights its evolution from its beginnings 70 years ago. “We chose the farm gate because the in-built ‘A’ is a simple, effective representation of the ‘direct from farmer to Heather Stacy consumer’ philosophy. “Alliance is globally trusted and a great name. It speaks to farmers coming together. The company was established by a group of like-minded farmers who saw that unity and common purpose were strengths and owning greater parts of the value chain made absolute sense. Today, we continue that by expanding this vision even further. “Over the last three years we have been evolving. We are not just a great livestock processor, but also a world-class food and solutions co-operative. Alliance is building on its history and there is so much to be proud of. We are leveraging our farmer relationships and processing expertise and connecting more directly to consumers.” The new branding has been unveiled just before Alliance goes on its popular annual roadshow, when senior staff go on the road to present an update to shareholders throughout its catchment area. Heather Stacy, general manager

livestock and shareholder services, told Rural News that attendees will hear about the co-op’s business transformation strategy, performance, livestock pricing and market outlook. “There is always plenty of interest in the annual Alliance roadshow. We’re encouraging farmer shareholders and anyone interested in the co-operative to head along to a roadshow meeting.” Alliance calls itself New Zealand’s only 100% farmer-owned major red meat co-op. Surveyor said the new branding reflects the growing demand from consumers who want to be directly connected to the farm and know where their food comes from. “It is symbolic of the incredible hard work of farmers, and our people, environmental sustainability, farming practices and skill that go into all our produce. Our farmers produce quality free-range grass-fed natural lamb, beef and venison in beautiful environments where the animals are a reflection of the way they are farmed. “Our farmers love what they do and have a deep affinity with the land. They are proud, and so are we, of producing food for people across the globe.” “Consumers want to know the provenance of their food and the values of the people behind their meal. They want to know what makes our produce different and worthy of their investment.” This year’s 25 roadshow events will begin at Cheviot on September 24 and run for about a month, covering the South Island and the lower North as far as Dannevirke and Feilding.

O’Connor puts faith in science work PETER BURKE

AGRICULTURE MINISTER Damien O’Connor has told the International Conference on Agricultural GHG Emissions and Food Security, held in Berlin last week, that New Zealand is spending large on R&D to identify options to reduce agricultural emissions. He says while NZ is a small country, it remains clear about its responsibility to bring about positive changes in this area on a global scale. O’Connor repeated PM Jacinda Ardern’s claim that the NZ government “regards climate change as the nuclear free movement of the modern generation”. “As a global community we need to deliver more food of a higher quality with less environmental impact than ever before. We need to reduce agricultural emissions, while maintaining strong economies and productive and resilient sectors capable of meeting the food demand of an exponentially growing world population,” he told the conference. O’Connor says NZ has a low population density and a temperate climate, ideal for agricultural production. He says through innovation and impressive productivity gains – helped by the removal of agricultural subsidies and


WT 200

Damien O’Connor

tariffs in the 1980s – NZ can produce more food more efficiently than ever before. He noted that NZ is the number-one dairy exporter in the world, but only produces 3% of the world’s milk. Also the country ranked number-six beef exporter in the world, but only produces 6% of the world’s beef. O’Connor told attendees about NZ’s Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change research programme (SLMACC), set up to help NZ meet international greenhouse gas reduction goals and maintain profitable and sustainable agriculture and forestry sectors in the face of a changing climate. “In the decade since its inception we have funded over 150 projects with $50 million of Government funding – some with returns 10 times the

original public investment. As a Government, we have stated clearly that we want clean water and a low emissions economy and we are working through these challenges carefully and pragmatically with the farming sector, whose efforts in these areas are strong and a story worth sharing. “In the spirit of what we call kaitiakitanga, or guardianship, our work is not just about preservation, but wise utilisation of our natural resources and understanding how to best match land use to different production types and regions.” O’Connor says NZ has long held the view that more can be achieved through collaboration than alone. This inspired us to lead the set-up of the Global Research Alliance in 2009. “The GRA’s aim is to bring countries together to find ways to grow

more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. It achieves this by increasing international cooperation, collaboration and investment in public and private research by its 50-member countries.” O’Connor told the conference that NZ has spent $65m over the last nine years to support the GRA to accelerate and expand global research in livestock, soils and measurement. He says in the livestock sector NZ has found promising leads. “By working with others, we’ve measured thousands of animals and have been able to identify some that emit lower levels of methane. “We’ve screened hundreds of thousands of chemical compounds and isolated a handful that have large potential to reduce emissions. We’re undertaking world-leading research to try to develop a vaccine to reduce methane from livestock. “We’ve carried out a global survey of ruminant animals including sheep, cattle, deer, goats, buffalo and even giraffes, and we discovered that the same groups of microorganisms dominate in nearly all rumens across a wide variety of species and animal diets.” O’Connor says this study involved at least 140 scientists in 73 organisations in 34 countries.


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Fonterra’s $billion dive SUDESH KISSUN

A BILLION-DOLLAR drop in Fonterra’s fortunes leaves the co-op vulnerable to increasing competition, says Federated Farmers Dairy president Chris Lewis. Lewis says the $196 million net loss announced last week, compared to $745m profit in 2017, means Fonterra must retain more earnings in the coming years to shore up its balance sheet. “Fonterra has had a lot of time to become matchfit like the All Blacks, but that hasn’t happened,” he told Rural News. “There’s a lot of competition around for milk now; more competitors

Fonterra’s new chair John Monaghan and chief executive Miles Hurrell have some work to do to turn around the co-op’s fortunes.

are setting up and they all have strong balance sheets. If Fonterra wants to remain the numberone choice for NZ farmers they need to pull their socks.” Lewis notes that apart from the net loss – the first in the co-op’s 17-year history – debt has

increased, with gearing ratio now at 48.4%. He says farmer shareholders will be unhappy with the poor results. “Shareholders don’t tolerate losses, especially when it relates to bad investments and being sued and losing court cases.” Lewis believes

Fonterra must look at its investment strategy and execution, and with a new chairman and chief executive it can change strategy and execution, government relations and handling of competition. Chief executive Miles Hurrell says that in addition to the previously


reported $232m payment to Danone, and the $439m write-down of the co-op’s Beingmate investment, there were four main reasons for the poor earnings performance. “First, forecasting is never easy but ours proved to be too optimistic. “Second, butter prices didn’t come down as we anticipated, which impacted our sales volumes and margins. “Third, the increase in the forecast farmgate milk price late in the season, while good for farmers, put pressure on our margins. “And fourth, operating expenses were up in some parts of the business.”


ASB’S NATHAN Penny is circumspect on beef prices. He says while prices for New Zealand beef are up 5% - 6% on last year, this tends to hide the reality of the situation. “Looks are deceiving. When we take the NZ beef prices in $US values, they are down,” Penny told Nathan Penny Rural News. “That means the weaker NZ$ has effectively propped up the price. We are seeing some weakness in that key US market with growing production and the drought in Australia with extra slaughter also poses a problem.” Penny believes that by late 2018 beef prices will feel the pressure of increased global supply.

‘We need to do better’ FONTERRA CHIEF executive Miles Hurrell says a clear plan is in place to lift the co-op’s performance. “It relies on us doing a number of things differently,” he says. The co-op is taking stock of the business -- reviewing all investments, major assets and partnerships to ensure they still meet today’s needs. “This will involve a thorough analysis of whether they directly support the strategy, are hitting their target return on capital and whether it can scale them up and grow more value over the next two-three years,” he says.

“This will start with a strategic review of the cooperative’s investment in Chinese baby food company Beingmate.” Fonterra is also looking at “getting the basics right” and has begun acting to fix the businesses that are not performing. Hurrell says financial discipline will be lifted throughout the co-op so debt can be reduced and return on capital improved. Farmers will get more accurate forecasting. The business will be run on more realistic forecasts with a clear line of sight on potential opportunities and the risks.

“It will also be clear on its assumptions, so farmers and unitholders know exactly where they stand and can make the decisions that are right for them and their businesses.” Chairman John Monaghan says the co-operative is being clear with farmers and unitholders on what it will take to achieve the forecast earnings. “For the first time, we are sharing some business unit specific forecasts. Among others, these see the ingredients and consumer and foodservice businesses achieving an EBIT of between $850 million and $950m,

DAIRY DROPS and between $540m and $590m, respectively. “FY19 is about lifting the performance of our cooperative. “We are taking a close look at the cooperative’s current portfolio and direction to see where change is needed to do things faster, reduce costs and deliver higher returns on our capital investments. “This includes an assessment of all the cooperative’s investments, major assets and partnerships against our strategy and target return on capital. @rural_news


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ON THE dairy front, August was not a month to remember for dairy farmers, Penny says, with Fonterra twice cutting its milk price forecast. He says ASB is sticking to its forecast of $6.50/ kgMS which is still “healthy” for farmers. Overall, Penny is fairly positive about the future of the dairy sector, but he warns that markets can change quickly. He notes that low interest rates are keeping the lid on farm expenses, although he expects these to rise about 3% in 2019. “On the positive side, horticulture – especially kiwifruit – is going from strength to strength. There is momentum which we see continuing for a while. Production is growing and even as kiwifruit supply has been growing, prices have held up or in some cases increased.” Penny says new markets for kiwifruit are strong and ASB sees that continuing.


molecule to have an effect on warming in comparison with

The potential effectiveness of GHGs in influencing

one molecule of CO2. GWP is a concept promulgated by

temperature depends essentially on five factors:

the IPCC and is accepted (by governments) as the basis

1. The capability of individual molecules to absorb

for the calculation of their country GHG inventories.

or radiate heat.


More of that later.

2. Their relative concentration in the atmosphere.

The individual molecules of CO2, H2O and N2O are

3. Whether each can actually absorb effectively (as heat


similar in structure. Their relative concentrations in the

is radiated to and from the earth) depends on both

atmosphere are in Table 1 – CO2 is now 410 ppm.

the location of their spectral bands and the energy

The GWP values are from the 2007 IPCC AR4 report.

distribution of the earth’s outgoing radiation.

In 2013, the IPCC adjusted the GWP for CH4 up to 28 and

4. Competition for absorption by and between other gases.

Water blamed as big planet warmer for N2O downwards to 265. Effectively these values are

5. Phase change of water, evaporation, condensation

almost certainly wrong because of the faulty conceptual

and precipitation.

approach embedded in the very definition of GWP. Recent

These factors will be discussed in turn.


in Virginia, USA. Informing their research (especially of atmospheric physics) were: Will Happer, a professor of physics at Princeton University, USA, and William van Wijngarden, a professor of physics at York University, Canada. “Water vapour and clouds are responsible for 80-90% or more of the



WATER VAPOUR is responsible for at least 70% of the ‘greenhouse effect’, while methane and nitrous oxide -- New Zealand’s supposedly ‘nasty’ emissions – are “virtually irrelevant” as contributors to any global warming effect.

So say two scientists, a New Zealander and an American, authors of a paper highly critical of the tack most politicians and many others are taking on climate change. They are former MAF senior scientist Dr Jock Allison and Dr Thomas P. Sheahen, chairman of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, based

Table 1: Atmospheric parameters of GHGs

Atmospheric concentration Rate of increase Atmospheric lifetime Global Warming Potential (GWP)






385 ppm

1797 ppb

322 ppb


1.5 ppm/yr

7.0 ppb/yr

0.8 ppb/yr

Very short 1–5 days

Variable 5–200 yr

12 yr

120 yr





*The amount of water vapor in the air varies according to temperature and density of air (usually ~1–3% of troposphere † Water vapor levels vary strongly according to region, so rates of change and warming potential cannot be assessed


THE GLOBAL warming potential of methane and nitrous oxide are so “vastly overstated” by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and by member governments of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that New Zealand should remove these gases from its greenhouse gas inventory and prepare a supporting case for this to negotiate with its international partners, say scientists Jock Allison and Thomas Sheahen. “And there’s a much bigger prize at stake,” they say. “Carbon dioxide has only a small part to play in global warming/climate change -- no more than 20% of the total greenhouse effect -- and the effects of methane and nitrous oxide are trivial. “This means there is an urgent need to stop all this expensive concentration on ‘climate change’ and be rid of the naivety of assuming that human beings can control and/or stabilise [the planet’s] climate.”

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reports also emphasise that the treatment of reputedly

GHG (greenhouse/warming gas) effect,” say Allison and Sheahen. “Carbon dioxide has a finite influence and is in fact the gas of life. Doubling the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would most likely result in about a 30% increase in plant growth, a terrific boon to food production.

“Increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not such a potential warming problem for the world, as is frequently promoted in the scientific literature, by governments and the media. “And of all the carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere each year, 5%

or less is [human caused] in comparison with methane, about 40% of which is from natural sources; and similarly, estimates of naturally occurring nitrous oxide are about 60%. “So trivial are the effects of methane and nitrous oxide (reckoned about 50% of total New Zealand emissions) that

their effects as infraredabsorbing GHGs (greenhouse/warming gases) must be “seriously questioned”, as also should the “quantitative role” of carbon dioxide. Allison’s and Sheahen’s paper will be published in the Institute of Primary Industry Management Journal later this month.

This refutes the popular notion and the IPCC’s claim

long-lived gases such as CO2 in the same way as shortlived gases (such as CH4, 12 years) is not environmentally

that CH4 and N2O are much more powerful GHGs than

credible (Allen et al., 2018). This same approach must

CO2. The reason for this is that the assumed radiative

also be considered for N2O because the half life of this

forcing for CO2 is much more strongly saturated than

gas in the atmosphere is about half that for CO2. Allen

the other gases (Figure 2).

et al.’s (2018) approach if adopted may reduce CH4’s

Because of this saturation additional CO2 above 400

assessed effect by about three-quarters, or New Zealand’s

ppm has a miniscule effect on warming in comparison

calculated emissions by about 30%. Quite evidently, the

with additions to the very low unsaturated concentrations

‘official’ GWP numbers asserted by the IPCC are unreliable

for N2O and CH4. However, the comparative effects of

and controversial.

‘Vanishingly small’ Recent calculations (Happer & van Wijngaarden,

unpublished data) clearly show that the absorptive

capability of individual molecules of the GHGs is not as

widely different as the GWP values might suggest (Table 2).


CH4 and N2O on warming are derived with no cognisance of any competitive effects of water vapour throughout

Nothing to fear

the atmosphere, or the fact that there is very little

energy transfer from the earth at the frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum at which these trace gases might have an effect. More of this later.

Table 2: Calculated heat absorptive capability of individual GHG molecules relative to CO2 with a concentration change of zero to one ppb, at the tropopause (11 km) or the top of the atmosphere

Relative concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere Omitting water vapour, the major gas components of a

the average dairy farmer $230,000 ing the rise in cow numbers. Sherwin says more forestry a year. (Ar), at 78.1%, 20.9% and 0.92% by volume, respectively, CAPABILITY TO ABSORB HEAT IN COMPARISON “In fact, if it’s $2300 a year is a clear option and he believes all of which do not absorb heat. This leaves 0.1% by WITH CO2 = 1 at this stage I would FARMERS SHOULD not be scared this would be planted volume for the remaining gases. CO2 at 400 ppm is the Gas Top of atmosphere Tropopause be surprised.” It will by the Productivity Commission’s on some – but not largest of the trace gases. CH4 and N2O are very small, CO2 1 1 largely depend on how all – marginal sheep report on how New Zealand can just traces in effect, 1.7 and 0.3 ppm, respectively (Table 1). farmers choose to react and beef country -CH4 0.19 0.22 achieve net zero carbon emissions But the real atmosphere is not dry. Water vapour is widely in an emissions pricing “the stuff that is more by 2050, says chairman Murray N2O 0.54 0.66 variable: a very low percentage at the poles, but up to 4% in regime. remote, lower in proSherwin. the tropics. For the purposes of comparisons and discussion H2O 0.084 0.14 Sherwin adds that ductivity therefore He claims it won’t put a handin this article, we have assumed it is 1.5% or 15,000 ppm. dairying has been reducmore brake on will encourOf course, anyfarming, amount ofbut atmospheric water vapour willlikely to move ing its emissions intenthe of potential impact of higher carbon and Table nitrous oxidethat in the the capability age and incentivise farmers to go proportionately reduce the percentage of in all theunder other gases. 2 shows the individual Murray Sherwin sity over time anyway these gases down to vanprices”. atmosphere. different directions. Further the amount of anthropogenic CO (human 2 molecules to absorb heat (radiative forcing) is of the ishingly small values. For dairying the commission by the use of better genetics and 3) The earth emits This seems Sherwin says the key message is of the total induced) produced each year is less than 5% same order of magnitude. reasonable on the inforvery little instructure the land use will have to change is not advocating a straight-out different feed and management COthat since the energy molecular of the“Based four molecules is 2 entering the atmosphere. Now, how are these gases regimes. presented, reduction in cow numbers. energy band where both Also, mation substantially if ofNZ is to transisupposed to cause all the warming the world has not enormously different. the absorptive value we Other options he points to are a conclude the “Thatand doesn’t come out in the methane andbetween nitrousthe molecules tion to asince lowthe emissions economy experienced Little Ice Age (LIA)? In the teaching differences is verythat similar to GWP value [as estimated by the scientific report and, in fact, what we say vaccine for methane and the plant oxide absorb radiaby 2050. whatcan Tyndall found in the 1860s. literature the estimates vary. IPCC] of 25 (and rising) tion. The report notes that between explicitly is that dairying is highly species plantain. “The message we are getting for methane, and between 4) The absorption 1990 and 2015 agricultural emis- productive and profitable relative 265 and 310 for nitrous bands2.5 of methane and sions rose by 16%, largely due to to sheep and beef. So you wouldn’t from the scientists is ‘don’t expect oxide, is incorrect. nitrous oxide are narrow dairying, intensification of farming expect much land to go out of a methane vaccine anytime soon’,” “Thus the generally and small, thus these and the use of synthetic fertilisers. dairying into anything else; there Sherwin says. 2 “Plantain, for sure, in that it accepted GHG effects molecules are unable But it says emissions from dairy- is no great impact there.” of methane and nitrous Sherwin disputes claims by Fed- enables farmers to use less nitroto materially contribute ing specifically rose by 130% and Most warming effect50% of oxide -- almost to the1.5 dominant role of of carbon’s dairy’s share of total agricultural erated Farmers and DairyNZ that gen fertiliser and get a better pickcomes in the first 20ppm the total NZ emissions -water vapour in the heat emissions in this period rose from in the worst-case scenario meet- up of nitrogen.” • Flawed data, page 8 must be seriously questransfer1process. 23% to 50%, to some degree reflect- ing the emissions target would cost tioned.” “These factors drive Pre-industrial times


Atmospheric CO2 concentration (ppm) *Assumes a climate sensitivity of 0.15°C/W/m2 following Lindzen and Choi, 2009



















PETER BURKE ‘dry’ atmosphere are nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2) and argon

Degrees °C

IN THE ‘engine room’ of their paper, Allison and Sheahen explain that the molecular structure of methane and nitrous oxide limit their warming effect; so do their concentration in the atmosphere and the minor amount of energy falling within their very narrow absorption bands. “They are ineffective GHGs,” the authors say. Present political assessment of the effectiveness of methane and nitrous oxide as GHGs rests on four serious discrepancies, Allison and Sheahen assert: 1) The similar molecular structure to carbon dioxide and water, nitrous oxide and methane result in their individual capability to absorb radiating heat from the earth of a similar order of magnitude. 2) There are very tiny amounts of methane


Figure 2: Increasing levels of CO2 cause less and less warming effect

Source: Adapted from Lindzen & Choi (2009). This relationship is the basis of the MODTRAN atmospheric model, University of Chicago.


10/09/18 3:43 PM



Flawed data in Productivity Commission’s report PETER BURKE

BEEF + Lamb New Zealand says the Productivity Commission’s report on a low emission economy contains fundamental errors about the sheep and beef sector. BLNZ’s chief insight officer, Jeremy Baker, told Rural News the report appears to have been based on economic modelling that centred on simplistic, out-of-date assumptions on prices and profitability for the sheep and beef sector. He says the commission’s assumption is that the sheep and beef sector has a lot of marginal land on which productivity is marginal. He says it has wrongly assumed this land is prime for a lot of plantation forestry. “That is simply not the case. The past few years have seen substantial changes in the sector,” Baker told Rural News. “We now have sheep and beef farms that are twice as profitable as in the 1990s. I think the land [the Productivity Commission] is talking about is already in native plantations, which we

Beef + Lamb NZ’s Jeremy Baker takes issue with claims about sheep and beef profitability.

estimate to be about 1.4 million hectares. A lot of land has also gone into native forest. “So things the Productivity Commission wants us to do have largely already been done.” Baker says the sheep and beef sector is a model of efficiency and that while sheep and beef numbers have fallen since the 1980s and 90s, the value of

exports has gone up by 63%. “Farming profitability has, of course, gone in the same direction. So it’s a fantastic story about a sector that

CAREFUL ABOUT TREE OPTIONS THE REPORT makes much of the need for more forestry, but Baker believes there needs to be caution about what kind of forestry is planted. He says while pinus radiata grows fast and sucks up a lot of carbon quickly, it only lasts for 30-40 years, then it has to be harvested and planted again. “So in terms of continuing to offset emissions from agricultural production it’s not a long term plan, it’s just a quick-fix, a sugar rush.” Forestry needs a balanced approach with emphasis on the long term, which is native forests, Baker says. However he concedes NZ will probably need some short offsets in order to meet the 2050 target of zero neutral emissions. Baker also points to new research of other native species such as manuka, which appears able to help clear waterways of E.coli. Such species, he says, bring aesthetic, ecological and economic benefits to rural communities. “BLNZ will engage with the commission to make sure they understand that we think they have got some things wrong. We’re also talking to a lot of other people – such as politicians –about the story we have and what the sector has achieved. This is part of an ongoing conversation,” he says.

has transitioned from volume to value and at the same time has reduced its carbon emissions by about 30% since 1990. Very few sectors in the NZ economy can say they have reduced their carbon emissions; it’s a sector with a lot to share with the rest of the country.” Baker believes the Productivity Commission report -- 624 pages and no simple summary -- is a missed opportunity to helpfully guide NZ -not just in the sheep and beef sector – in successfully transitioning to a low carbon economy. “It’s a large report with good things in it. But I think there needed to be more clarity in the story and messaging on what all the different industries will need to do to make this transition,” he says. “I argue that the sheep and beef sector is already well on the road to

doing that and it would have been great if that had been part of the outcome of the report.” Baker says the sheep and beef industry stands out in its efficiency and has been working on a whole lot of things over time. Getting to the 2050 target will require a lot of things across the industries. “I think it’s a pity we can’t get that story out more through this report,” he adds. BLNZ supports many things in the commission’s report, such as the acknowledgement of the differences between methane and nitrous oxide gases, Baker says. And the idea of a carbon neutral economy will resonate with international customers for the NZ’s highvalue products. @rural_news

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Milk fat is back – claim MILK FAT will earn dairy farmers more than protein in the 2018-19 season. Fat has been a low value milk component, but has risen steadily in recent seasons due to consumerdriven market value, says DairyNZ strategy and investment leader Bruce Thorrold. “That’s a welcome change for NZ dairy farmers who are set to receive a strong 2018-19 milk price buoyed by the value of milk fat,” he says. In the 2009-10 season milk fat earned only one third of a dairy farmer’s milk income. Between 2010 and 2015, the five years prior to the current surge in fat value, milk fat earned 38% of the farmer’s milk income. Today, Fonterra is paying almost parity. Next season a kg of fat will be earning suppliers much more than a kg of protein. Since Jersey cows produce more fat than any other breed, the breeding worth (BW) of Jersey bulls is growing. Milk price and the relative value of fat and protein are the biggest factors in the BW of dairy cattle. The changes in fat price have caused large shifts in BW between and within breeds. Of the top 200 bulls by BW in 2019 (BW2019), 70% are Jersey, 5% Holstein-Friesian and 25% cross-bred (Jersey and Holstein Friesian), Thorrold says. “On average, Jersey bulls are increasing by

$23 BW while HolsteinFriesian decrease by $28 BW. Cross-bred and Ayrshire bulls are relatively unchanged (-$4 and -$3 BW). Within breeds, individual bulls will shift up or down by as much as $40 BW relative to their breed average shift.” NZ Animal Evaluation (NZAEL), a wholly owned subsidiary of DairyNZ, administers a BW index to rank cows and bulls according to their ability to meet the national breeding objective of breeding dairy cows that will be the most efficient converters of feed into profit for farmers. NZAEL recently finalised the economic factors that will be used to calculate BW from February 2019, Thorrold says. “This will give farmers insights into which bulls can add the most value to their breeding programme in a market where fat is a high value component. The calves born in spring 2019 will have the BW2019 values.” The economic values of fat and protein are calculated by partitioning the milksolids price into a value for fat and protein, then accounting for the cost of producing each component. The value of fat relative to protein has been increasing for the past three seasons and this trend is forecast to continue. NZ is well placed to benefit from strong

MORE CHANGES ARE COMING BRUCE THORROLD says the shift in consumer demand for fat and the consequent change in BW are big changes for dairy farmers. “The milk price values we use in BW lag behind the market price because we look to smooth out short term changes; for breeding the national herd we need a longterm view. If current fat prices are maintained, then the shift in favour of high fat bulls will continue next year. “Breeding high BW cows is vital for farm profit, so given these shifts in BW all farmers need to be thinking about their breed choice as well as individual bulls. “Farmers can be confident that BW is identifying the most profitable genetics for NZ grazing systems, whether they are looking for the best bull team or best bull within a breed.”

demand for fat-based milk products due to the strong influence of Jersey genes in the national herd. There is high genetic variation

in the trait in NZ dairy cattle that enables farmers to respond quickly to market signals. @rural_news

Jersey cows produce more fat than other breeds.






Big brother is watching your lamb! PETER BURKE

EXCITING NEW technology is now available to lure consumers to buy products, and a university high-tech researcher says New Zealand should take advantage of this.

sophistication of marketing our products in supermarkets worldwide. He says the technology called ‘block chain’ can connect images all along a supply chain from a farm and can show these in a retail store. “Imagine going into

Mahyar Osanlouy, a research engineer at Auckland University, also works part time for the Auckland company Soul Machines, which specialises in virtual reality. He says this technology has amazing possibilities for adding to the

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Research engineer Mayhar Osanlouy says high-tech is a way to lure more consumers of NZ meat.

“It tells you what sort of meat it is, where it’s come from – which country, which farm...” a supermarket and picking up a pack of meat. There is a screen above the freezer and as soon as you pick up the meat a whole lot of information about it appears on that screen,” he told Rural News. “It tells you what sort of meat it is, where it’s come from – which country, which farm, whether it is premium quality and whether the animal was grass fed or not plus lots of other information.” Osanlouy says as NZ is well known globally as a producer of high-quality meat and other primary products, it is well positioned to take advantage of this technology. “By implementing

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this technology NZ will help retain and increase its market share nationally and internationally. Consumers are looking for the story behind what they buy,” he explains. “When they buy NZ lamb they want to know where it is coming from, the unique story behind it and anything to do with the provenance of the product.” Osanlouy says NZ can use this technology to make consumers’ shopping experiences fun and more interactive. Australia is looking at the technology and he predicts within a couple years it will be common in supermarkets worldwide.



Asian hort show brings real business You have people from Europe, from across Asia, from Central and South America and from Oceania. So there are lots of new varieties coming to market from all over the world. “It is always nice to keep in touch with what your competition is doing and which sorts of products are ‘hot’ in the market. “It is a useful opportunity to gauge where we fit in that space,” Palmer adds. But he says the main focus is on Asia as a fastgrowing produce export market for NZ and for others. “We have been in [the Asia market] reasonably early compared to other countries, so we are making sure we keep some profile, which is a bit of credibility with our customers. It is also a chance to meet with all your Asian customers in one place.” On development on the e-commerce side, Palmer says if you looked at that three years ago you would have said the online e-tailers are the way to go -- they are driving hard on their business. “But for produce it has been pretty tough for them. It is not the easiest thing to ship – not like shipping a shirt or something like that. “What we are seeing now is more local online like the Pagodas in China – a local store that will deliver your produce to you in 59 minutes. That


FEWER TYRE kickers than previously and people there to do real business was one of the observations made at Asia Fruit Logistica, says Horticulture NZ acting chief executive Richard Palmer. That was reflected by all the NZ stand-holders there who were flat out for the whole week, Palmer told Rural News. The annual event, held at the Asia World Expo in Hong Kong in early September, is the pre-eminent produce event in Asia. “There were still people meeting new customers and signing deals there, but lots of exhibitors from NZ also just using the chance to meeting existing customers, talk over how the programmes are going and setting out some for the future, particularly where they have their own varieties that they are shipping into particular markets,” says Palmer. On the technology side, one of the presentations was on the use of blockchain and how that might apply to traceability and food safety in the produce industry. “It certainly has potential; not a big showcase on it but certainly people were very interested in what that might offer on the side of the business providing assurance to customers. “But constantly there are innovations in all sorts of produce on show.

is an iteration in the online sales that is really a local retailer delivering from an online platform, rather than a big distribution centre delivering in four-five days like the Amazons or,” he

explains. “It is one of those evolutions you see in product in the e-commerce space; it is a little bit different from other sales.” Zespri’s stand at Asia Fruit Logistica.

























* Total cost for CFMoto U800 Farm Spec is $18,004.11 paid via three equal instalments of $6,001.37. Total cost for CFMoto X500 Farm Spec is $9,954.09 paid via three equal instalments of $3,318.03. The initial instalment is in the form of a deposit at time of purchase. The second instalment is payable after 12 months where the third (final) instalment is payable after 24 months. These totals equate to the cash price including GST plus a $180.60 application/documentation fee and $10.00 PPSR Lodgement (Total charges of $190.60). Total cost is subject to 0% interest rate and applies specifically to these models only. Normal lending criteria apply. Offers end 30th September 2018.

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Nine years enough – Shadbolt SUDESH KISSUN

RETIRING FONTERRA director Nicola Shadbolt is happy with the calibre of director candidates endorsed by the co-op board. Shadbolt, who leaves the board in November after nine years, says she’s confident “our cooperative will be in good hands during the up to nine years they will serve”. Fonterra’s board is backing Zespri chairman Peter McBride and Maori agribusiness leader Jamie Tuuta in the 2018 board elections. Sitting director Ashley Waugh has also won nomination from the board

after being recommended by the independent selection panel. Shadbolt and former chairman John Wilson will step down at the annual meeting at the Lichfield site on November 8. The directors election process includes two nomination options: the independent nomination process and the self-nomination process. The self-nomination process that allows a farmer to stand with the support of 35 shareholders is now open. Nominations close on September 20. The full list of candidates will be announced on September 24. Shadbolt says a recent governance

NINE-YEAR STINT NICOLA SHADBOLT was elected to the Fonterra board in 2009. She is a professor of farm and agribusiness management at Massey University, serves on the board of the manager of the Fonterra shareholders’ fund and represents New Zealand in the International Farm Comparison Network in Dairying. Shadbolt was made an officer of the NZ Order of Merit for service to agribusiness in 2018. She lives in the Pohangina Valley, Manawatu, the base for five farming and forestry equity partnerships she runs, including two dairy farms.

Retiring after 9 years Fonterra director Nicola Shadbolt.

and representation review resulted in nine year directorships being chosen as optimum and 12 years as maximum. “I have done my nine years, no mean feat; it sets a good precedent,” she told Rural News. “The governance and representa-

tion review also changed the process of director elections to encourage very able and experienced governors, who we know are in our shareholder base, to step up. “Experienced governors know what good board culture and leadership is,

so can expect and command it from day one. “A recent board member, Andy Macfarlane, is a good example. He came to the board with a breadth of governance roles and chairmanship experience. “The two new nominees, Peter and Jamie, have similar, strong backgrounds and I am confident they will also bring high expectations to the board.” Voting packs containing candidate profiles will be mailed to eligible shareholders on October 15. Shareholders can vote by internet or post using the first -past-the-post majority system. Voting closes at 10.30am on November 6, and results will be announced later that day. McBride, Zespri chairman since 2013, has investments in the kiwifruit and dairy industries. Tuuta was appointed chair of Maori Television in May this year. He was previously chair of the Parininihi ki Waitōtara Incorporation, the largest farmer in Taranaki and a large supplier to Fonterra. @rural_news

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Intern helps agritech firm into China WHEN LINCOLN Agritech took on a Chinese student, Zheng (James) Wang, it didn’t forsee him becoming the company’s China business development manager. “James’ international agricultural experience and lingual skills made him a pivotal part of our

sales opportunities there. Barrowclough offered Wang a fulltime job. Now Wang and Barrowclough are just back from China where they talked to distributors and explored market opportunities. Wang says the internship enabled him to con-

gives companies access to talent for their business needs. P roject manager Simon Anderson says Christchurch “is home to an amazing tertiary sector and we’re producing

some great graduates”. Lincoln Agritech was recently announced a finalist at the Westpac Champion Business Awards in the Christchurch NZ Champion Innovation category.

James Wang

“James’ international agricultural experience and lingual skills made him a pivotal part of our company’s expansion into China,” company’s expansion into China,” says Lincoln Agritech chief executive Peter Barrowclough. He met Wang through ChristchurchNZ’s Job Ready programme that helps link overseas students and Christchurch businesses. Wang was keen to join the agritech firm during his final year at Lincoln University. Drawing on marketing skills and experience in China, Wang devised a plan to help Lincoln Agritech further market Irricad, its irrigation design software, in the Chinese market. He spent several months understanding the market for irrigation in China and reported on

nect with local businesses in Christchurch and leverage his international agricultural experience. “The internship offered me an opportunity to work on an industry report relevant to the irrigation sector and an opportunity to use my bilingual skills,” he says. “Lincoln Agritech had identified China as a market for Irricad... and begun forming relationships in China in 2014. The Chinese government’s initiative to adopt smart irrigation systems for improving water use efficiency also helped the company’s mission.” The ChristchurchNZ Job Ready programme




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TO HIT targets and ensure a flow of young talented people coming into agriculture requires connecting with everybody. This is the view of Lynda Coppersmith (48), who takes over as Young Farmers chief executive on October 1. “If that means we need to do more to connect with women and show young women there is a career path, then let’s do it,” says Coppersmith. “That increases our chances of ensuring we have a sustainable pipeline of young people coming to work in the industry.” Young Farmers is a good channel for that, she told Rural News. “Particularly in urban spaces we are competing with other industries for young people so we have to get their interest early. We have to get them excited about all the opportunities and if we can start in schools that is great. “But they have to be excited about all the opportunities, not just the onfarm ones. There are all the other roles they can play in this great industry that they need to get excited about; let’s do it.” The tech-savvy business leader says this includes making them aware of the sophisticated technology onfarm these days and how

New Young Farmers executive Lynda Coppersmith.

farming has almost become a tech industry. Coppersmith is currently a senior account manager with accounting software company MYOB in Christchurch. She will be NZ Young Farmers’ first woman chief executive. Former chief executive Terry Copeland moved to Federated Farmers as chief executive in July. Prior to MYOB, Coppersmith worked for DairyNZ, was a business development manager for the Livestock Improvement Corpora-

tion (LIC) and an area manager for Fonterra in Timaru. She didn’t grow up on a farm. The only association she had with a primary industry before her LIC job was her family breeding racehorses, originally in Hawkes Bay and now Cambridge. Her cousin is one of the top trainers in NZ. “That is a good message: it shows you don’t have to come from a farm to get involved in the farming sector.” She says Young Farmers NZ has raised its profile.

“During my time with DairyNZ in 2011-2012, Young Farmers had a high profile in the industry. “But with the work done in the last few years – led by Terry – in getting more profile in schools and giving schools the tools to get young people interested, it has had more of a profile in the urban space. “My kids both go to city schools in Christchurch and they both know what TeenAg is and have friends involved.” While it is too early to say about the strategic direction of Young Farmers, Coppersmith says she is interested in the concept of the ‘the future of work’ -- what that looks like and what we need to be doing to ensure employers meet the needs of young people entering the workforce. “And work needs to be done to educate employers on what young people expect from an employer. And what they will want over the next 5-10 years from their employers. It may be different from what we know now as a good employer. “We may need to look at that to see if there is any value we can add there.” Coppersmith says her predecessor has done a great job of bringing Young Farmers to where it is today. “I am looking forward to getting stuck in to see what I can do.”

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NEWS 15 New YFC chair Ash-Leigh Campbell.

Leadership scholarships on offer APPLICATIONS WILL close soon for five leadership scholarships from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (Agmardt). Agmardt each year awards up to $15,000 per scholarship to individuals committed to future leadership roles in the primary sector. General manager Malcolm

More changes coming to Young Farmers CHANGES TO the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest are designed to attract more female entrants. Partly this reflects the leadership of NZYF having passed into women’s hands: Ash-Leigh Campbell is the new chair, and Lynda Coppersmith is now chief executive. New awards will assess contestants’ skills and knowledge in innovation, food, people, environment and technology. Hinds dairy farmer and NZ Young Farmers contest board member Cole Groves hopes the changes will encourage more women to give the contest a go. “We want to expand contestants’ knowledge beyond just fencing and identifying different types of fertiliser. “We’ve just celebrated our 50th anniversary, which is an amazing achievement. However, if we don’t make major changes now this contest won’t be relevant in 50 years.” The contest board chair, Rebecca Brown, of Dannevirke, said a strong practical side will remain in the contest, but the modules and challenges need to use technology more. “In future, contestants might have to use GPS technology to mark out and erect a fence around riparian planting.” The overhaul also aims to better tell New Zealand’s ‘paddock to plate’ food story. “That can often get forgotten,” said Groves. “There is a huge amount of public pressure on the primary industries at the moment. We’re all food producers and showcasing what we do is vital.” The three age-level sections -- AgriKidsNZ, TeenAg and FMG Young Farmer of the Year -- will be retained but the TeenAg competition will be rebranded as the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year. The changes will start at regional finals early next year, leading into the 2019 FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay in July. – Nigel Malthus

Nitschke says the success of New Zealand agribusiness is achieved

by talented and inspired leadership. “Our ability to ensure a sus-

tainable sector for generations to come relies on attracting, supporting and developing those leaders now,” he says. “We are offering up to $15,000 for each scholar to attend one of the many governance training, business or management programmes available, either here or overseas, and achieve their

potential through a personalised development plan.” Nitschke says they are looking for passionate, forward-thinking people interested in agriculture, horticulture or forestry, and preferably nominated by their business, industry organisation or group. Applications close on September 28. Application forms are online at

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Billion trees not enough PAM TIPA

SHANE JONES’ one billion trees planting project is not ambitious enough, says the Productivity Commission. Its recent report on climate change says this won’t get New Zealand to carbon neutrality by 2050 – and the Forest Owners Association agrees. President Peter Weir claims Jones’ muchhyped tree planting programme needs to at least double – from 1 billion to 2.5b trees. He told Rural News that the 10-year, one billion trees project will have to keep going for another 15 years. “You will have to keep going at that same high planting rate through to 2050 if you are going to achieve carbon neutrality by offsetting. That is a key thing: trees don’t reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, trees offset those emissions by

locking up the carbon,” Weir explains. “Our perspective is you have actually got to reduce those emissions. One way to do it is by having a much more grandiose version of Shane Jones’ trees, and that is what the Productivity Commission is suggesting. “There are other ways of doing it, i.e. fundamentally reducing GHG emissions rather than offsetting – quite a big difference. Forests don’t remove greenhouse gas emissions they just offset them.” To double the current tree planting is a “massive amount of land use change”. About 1.8m hectares are now planted in forest in NZ, but Weir claims the country will need to plant an extra 2.5m ha. “So it would be doubling and a bit more the size of the existing plantation estate if we are

Forestry minister Shane Jones.

going to do this by offsetting. “Realistically you have to reduce emissions – completely getting coal out of the economy, electrifying the transport fleet and then you still

have to markedly reduce the GHG emissions from agriculture – if you are going for net zero,” he says. “It is all predicated on getting back to net zero by 2050. Net zero does

not mean we go to zero GHG emissions, it means our emissions will be in balance with our offsetting in forests. The presumption is there will still be 60m tonnes of GHG emissions per year, but there will be 60m tonnes of GHG absorbed per year in forests; that is what net zero emissions means. “Our emissions are currently 80m tonnes per year so somehow we have to either reduce or offset 20m tonnes of GHG emissions per year from where we are now. The objective is to reduce those emissions down to 60m tonnes per year. But increasing sequestration (offsetting) in forests to 60m tonnes per year would get NZ to net zero. “It would be a stretch. “It is up to NZ society to figure out if we want to do that or not. The Productivity Commission has spelled out the pathway.”

HILL COUNTRY TO GO? THE LAND for future forestry is the farms, but the Government has a lot of work to do to clarify its policy for farmers, Weir says. “It is not the dairy farms. You would never stick trees on them or the highly productive Southland sheep farms either. Let’s be honest, people are talking about North Island hill country sheep

and beef farms to do this; that’s the target.” Somehow they have to incentivise farmers to plant up some of the farm, but not the whole farm, Weir says. That would diversify their income streams. “And quite honestly forestry is far more profitable than drystock farming and has been for the last

five or seven years or so. “How do you facilitate that? How do you create an advisory service, how do you de-risk it, how do you come up with the capital to do it? How do you provide the cashflow so the cocky can eat until ready to harvest?” The Government will have to create systems to remove the

pitfalls. “They have to start out simply and they haven’t done that yet. They have quite a bit of work to do.” Completely separately from the Productivity Commission MPI is working on the policy to simplify it. “But it will be a year or so. Sometime in 2019 they might spell out a simpler policy.”

DON’T GRANDPARENT EMISSIONS TWO ‘POOLS’ of emissions accounting arising from the Productivity Commission’s proposals could lead to a grandparented tradeable emission right for dairy farmers that is denied sheep and beef farmers, says Weir. “We are seeking clarity on how that will play out,” he told Rural News. “There is a proposal that the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) be changed so that short-lived gases – which is code for methane – be treated differently from long-lived gases, i.e. carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. “There are challenges there: if you are going to introduce a differential price, how would that work? Do we end up with two different Emissions Trading Schemes? Weir says another issue is whether they decide to cap the methane while reducing the CO2. “How are you going to allocate the methane emissions? One would presume it would get allocated to existing dairy farmers and it creates a property right if you do that.” He says this is the same as is happening in Waikato with nitrate leaching, whereby dairy farmers there get allocated the bulk of the nitrate and the sheep and beef farmers don’t get any and that gets reflected in land value. “It is basically grandparenting an emission or a right to pollute,” Weir claims. “You have outfits like Farmers for Progressive Change and the Primary Land Users Group who are bitterly opposed to the grandparenting of an emission right of nitrogen. We suspect that once you start talking about this for methane you are doing the same thing.” He adds that it seems highly likely agriculture will come into the ETS, but it is a matter of how it comes in. “There is danger that if you grandparent the methane right to existing dairy farmers, that right to pollute will get captured in their land value and those that don’t get it will miss out. I “t creates a differential between dairy farmers and hill country sheep and beef farmers,” Weir says. “It creates a property right to pollute which goes against the spirit of the policy intent.”

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On again, off again – on again argued that only “rich farmers would benefit” were forgetting that a minimum flow issue in the Waimea River still had to be addressed. “If you want to address that, you must have some sort of recharge.” Palmer says it is not just irrigators who will benefit from the dam. “A whole lot of industries needing water would lose it in dry peri-


HORTICULTURE NZ is welcoming the Tasman District Council’s U-turn on the Waimea Community Dam project. The $102 million project envisages damming the Waimea River in the Lee Valley, in the ranges east of the Waimea Plains. It aims to use the stored water for agricultural irrigation on the plains, and to protect urban water supplies and river flows in dry periods. The project is on again after the Tasman District Council voted to reverse an earlier ‘no’ decision on the basis of a revised funding model which mayor Richard Kempthorne said would lower the expected costs for ratepayers. Richard Palmer, the acting chief executive of Horticulture NZ, says the Tasman district is a prime horticulture area -- the second-largest grower of apples and a big producer of kiwifruit, berries and vegetables. “The key thing is that... for farming businesses to contribute to the economy and keep hiring people, they need certainty [about] water.” Palmer acknowledges a personal interest in the scheme: his father John Palmer is the strategic advisor to the project. And he is a director of a packing business in

ods. It’s not just irrigators, yet it’s irrigators – together with their funders – who are stumping up [most] of the money.” The dam project was revived when three councillors who had voted against it nine days earlier changed their votes after hearing the revised proposal behind closed doors. The project also benefits from loan funding

from Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd (CIIL). When the Government said in April that it would end CIIL funding for large irrigation projects, several proposed schemes were put at risk; but Waimea was identified as one of three -along with stage two of Central Plains and the Kurow Duntroon scheme -- for which existing funding commitments would be met.

The proposed zone of benefit of the Waimea Community Dam as published in a 2017 Tasman District Council consultation document. SUPPLIED

the district, although the family’s orchard is outside the irrigation area. Palmer says some people seemed to think farmers’ existing water rights should be curtailed to provide for increased river flows and urban water take. He says the dam will address all three fundamental issues: raising minimum flows in

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Horticulture is a key economic driver of the region. “Horticulture is an expensive investment. It delivers very high economic returns on a per hectare basis but that’s only possible with the necessary infrastructure, including certainty of access to water,” Palmer says. He says people who

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18 NEWS ESR’s Dr Maria Guitierrez-Gines says lab work shows that both manuka and kanuka reduce nitrate leaching more effectively than pasture or pine trees. She is now running outdoor trials to see if this is replicated on farm.

Manuka scores in runoff trials PETER BURKE

A NEW field trial in Wairarapa is using native plants to clean up farm runoff into Lake

THE NAIT ACT HAS CHANGED WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW You may have heard some changes have been made to the NAIT Act. The changes fix some shortcomings in the old law – some of which became apparent during the Mycoplasma bovis response. Remembering, the NAIT online system is used for tracing the movement of animals in the event of a food safety or disease incident.

We want to be clear about some of the main changes: BEFORE THE CHANGES


Is NAIT important for tracing the spread of cattle diseases like Mycoplasma bovis?



Is it important for responding to possible future diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease?



Can NAIT officers enter a farm to check NAIT compliance?



Do NAIT officers have to identify themselves?



Do NAIT officers need to let you know before they come onto your property?



Can officers search a farmer’s house or any other living quarters on the farm without a search warrant?



Is it clear what evidence they can collect (for example copies of an ASD form, or photos of animals without NAIT tags)?



Is it an offence to move cattle to a NAIT registered location and not record the movement?



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Wairarapa. Scientists from ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research) are looking at the potential of mānuka and other native trees to reduce the leaching of nitrate and other pathogens from farm runoff. Dr Maria GutierrezGines, a scientist at ESR, says laboratory work show that mānuka and kānuka enhance the dieoff of E.coli in the soil and reduce nitrate leaching more effectively than pasture or pine trees. Gutierrez-Gines and other researchers from Scion and Lincoln University first worked with pine trees. But iwi with whom they were working suggested they try using native plants instead of pine. Gutierrez-Gines says they experimented with manuka and kanuka to see if these species could absorb nitrogen better than pine trees. “These experiments showed that E.coli and salmonella die faster in

manuka and kanuka than under pasture,” she told Rural News. “They also showed that the nitrate leaching was ten times less under manuka and kanuka than under pine trees. Recent research also suggests that rata and horopito may have similar properties.” Based on the results of these laboratory experiments, GutierrezGines and her fellow scientists are running field trials to see if the results can be replicated onfarm. Trials are underway at Lake Wairarapa where 1.5ha are planted, and 4ha at Lake Waikare, 40km north of Hamilton. “Our part in the project is to study the contribution of each plant species into nutrient and pathogen fluxes in the soil and in the plants and to see which one offers the best potential to remediate the impact of farming activities on the lakes,” she says. @rural_news

WAIRARAPA EXPERIMENT THE TRIAL in Wairarapa is the joint work of ESR, local iwi and Greater Wellington Regional Council; they have planted native trees on land donated by iwi and local farmers. GWRC land management advisor Kolja Schaller says he is getting a lot of support from farmers around the lake participating in the trial. “The land owners want better water quality, so they’ve put their hands up and given their land for this trial.” Schaller says the plantings are at a range of widths to see what density of plants is required to get the same or similar environment outcomes. They will also look at getting data on the impact of the buffers to help inform farm nutrient budgets. “There is big potential long term for native plantdominated riparian zones. It’s a win-win if we can plant a species like mānuka that provides an ecosystem service, reducing the nitrates; and at the same time there’s an economic benefit because of the oil and the honey.” Local farmer Julie Wrigley says joining the project will help protect the environment for future generations. “We farm on the edge of this beautiful lake, so if there is anything we can do to minimise future damage we are lucky to be part of it,” she says. The trials are in their infancy and Dr Maria Gutierrez-Gines says it’ll be at least one year – possibly two years – before they will know whether the results in the laboratory are matched by those onfarm.

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Wrangle over imported fruit tree stock NIGEL MALTHUS

Leaning Rock Orchard manager Peter Bennie shows where a small number of trees had to be destroyed because of the import accreditation issue. RURAL NEWS GROUP

PROTECTING NEW Zealand’s biosecurity status is paramount in the wrangle over imported American fruit stock, says Summerfruit NZ chair

Tim Jones. Imports from the cultivar supplier Washington University Clean Plant Center Northwest (CPCNW) have been halted and thousands of trees either impounded

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or already destroyed, after the Ministry for Primary Industries said it could not be sure of their disease status because of non-compliance issues at the US facility. Growers have challenged MPI in the High Court, which has directed MPI to reconsider and work with growers to develop more appropriate ways of managing its concerns. Jones, the general manager of the Central Otago cherry orchard company 45 South, says the affair raised several issues. “From an industry point of view, the most important thing to protect is our biosecurity status, so we took the view that if there is any risk obviously the plants should be destroyed,” he told Rural News. “The bulk of the growers who had five trees or ten trees said ‘I don’t care, let’s just get rid of them. If there’s a risk let’s get them off the property’.” However, the court case was taken by growers, such as nurseries, with more money at stake. “So the industry groups – Summerfruit, Pipfruit – have sat to one side while that court case has been going on, just to see exactly where that’s going to shake out,” Jones says. “Growers are saying to us ‘biosecurity is paramount, so we need to go into bat for them’.” He says Summerfruit NZ would be “more than happy” for the

impounded trees to be released if there was proved to be no risk. Many of the affected trees have already been destroyed. Leaning Rock Orchard, Alexandra, had trial numbers of new varieties amounting to about a couple of dozen trees in total. Orchard manager Peter Bennie, indicating the gaps in the rows where trees were lifted and burned, emphasised that he was not criticising the way MPI handled the matter. Jones says the bigger issue for the future is how to maintain a steady pathway of new genetic material coming into NZ. “This is closing the border at the moment for new stuff to come in. We’ve got an outdated import health standard that needs to be rebuilt so we can use modern technology.” CPCNW is now saying it’s not interested in seeking re-accreditation for the NZ market. “That’s a concern, not just for summerfruit, but for pipfruit and any plant material that might be coming from that facility into NZ.” Jones told Rural News that the problem for NZ is that it’s so small a market that suppliers find it uneconomic to deal with our accreditation requirements. “We fight that... with chemical companies, for example – fungicides, insecticides, that sort of thing. We’re such a small market that the cost of registration is prohibitive.”

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Pamu Farms chief executive Steven Carden.

State farmer’s alternative focus PETER BURKE

THE CHIEF executive of Pamu Farms of

NZ (formerly Landcorp) says producers of alternative dairy foods made from organic cow milk, sheep milk and deer milk need to evolve in how they farm and what they produce. Steven Carden says Pamu’s focus on these opportunities is expected to make a growing contribution to the business over time. Especially the company is pleased that core premiums from milk increased by over $1 million on last year, due partly to a focus on organic, grass-fed and wintermilk dairy. “This is an exciting time to be in the dairy industry,” Carden says. The Government will get a $5 million dividend from Pamu for the year ended June 30, 2018. The company declared a net profit after tax of $34.2 million – down $17.7m (34%) largely due to smaller gains from

biological assets (forestry and livestock) and a higher tax liability. The result has been helped by a rise in prices achieved by core dairy and livestock businesses, and an ongoing move into premium products to “transition Pāmu beyond commodity products which fluctuate greatly in price,” Carden says. “For example, positioning Pāmu’s products to align with growing consumer demand for ‘alternative’ dairy foods is hard work but we’re starting to see the results.” Recognising the huge potential for alternative dairy, Pāmu recently launched Pāmu deer milk, which won a Grass Roots Innovation Award at Fieldays 2018 and is getting positive reviews from the food trade. “Innovation within and beyond the farmgate means we are operating beyond our traditional farming model that requires sustained investment in our people and their wellbeing. “It also means diversifying our income streams,” he says.

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EXCITING TIMES STEVEN CARDEN says this is an exciting time to be in the dairy sector with its challenges and changes, including Pamu’s objective of reducing its environmental footprint. Huge innovation is taking place in the dairy industry and many opportunities exist for people to participate. “We are getting our organic dairy into SE Asian markets, connecting with these consumers and building a value proposition around the clean, environmentally friendly, government-owned safe food which Pamu can provide to Chinese consumers,” Carden says. Pamu has in the past talked about scaling back its dairying depending largely on where its dairy farms are located. For example, on farms in Canterbury, where there are environmental issues, it

LINER RAKE will look at alternative land uses, e.g. alternative crops; overall Carden forsees a gradual decline in cow numbers “We are pushing hard into regenerative, biologicals and organics, but I don’t see us re-converting dairy farms to other uses unless there is an easy way of retrofitting a dairy shed so that it’s suitable for, say, sheepmilking.” Greenhouse gas emissions are key to Pamu’s thinking about how to become a carbon neutral organisation. Climate change and its impacts are seen as likely to hit Pamu severely sooner than anticipated. “Climate shifts in the northern hemisphere are a precursor to what we will see in the south. So part of our strategy is directed at preparing our business to deal with this,” he says.

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Call for Brexit revote PETER BURKE

BRITAIN SHOULD hold a second referendum on Brexit to make sure the British people fully understand what they will be in for when the UK leaves the European Union (EU) in six months. That’s the view of commentator Fintan O’Toole who visited NZ recently on a brief speaking tour. He told Rural News that if Britain leaves the EU it will shape the economy and future of that country for decades, with many severe economic impacts on ordinary people. Despite months of talks, there is still no prospect of a deal and there is a risk Britain will crash out of the EU with-

out one. O’Toole says British Prime Minister Theresa May should try to negotiate the best deal possible with the EU and then put this to all the people in the UK by referendum. “Remember this is a 100-year decision, not a one-day wonder or an election. I think the British people deserve the right to know what they are getting into,” he says. “If, in the end, they chose to leave the EU

knowing exactly what it is – that’s their right. But they have the right to think about it again and hold a second referendum. Far from being undemocratic, it would actually be the only democratic way to solve this thing.” O’Toole describes Brexit as a “lazy fantasy”, “politically reckless”, “stupid” and always prone to fail. He says while Theresa May is not an impressive person or


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Fintan O’Toole

leader, he doesn’t believe anyone else in the Tory Party could do a better job. O’Toole believes at the core of the problem is a resurgence of English nationalism somewhat akin to ‘Trumpism’ in the US. He accuses leading Brexiteers, such as Boris Johnson, of playing games with the English people. “They are trying to create and capture a strange kind of English identity, but they are not rational. They really think it’s worth closing down the British car industry, closing down the aerospace industry with the loss of 65,000 jobs, having a food crisis – all those sorts of things.

They think it’s worth it and that’s the ideological reason.” O’Toole claims that some of the supporters of Brexit have moved the headquarters of their own business operations to Ireland because they can see the problems looming in Britain.

IRISH ISSUE STUMBLING BLOCK FINTAN O’TOOLE says Brexiteers don’t understand or care about the major fundamental stumbling block to Britain doing an exit deal with the EU – the Irish border. He says no one can or will come up with a practical solution to the problem because there is no solution. Recently Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, described Theresa May’s latest proposal on the border issue as an “invitation to fraud”. “The pro-Brexit people don’t care and never thought about the Irish border, which is a very soft porous border,” O’Toole told Rural News. “The facts are that in the whole of the 27 nations in the EU there are just 137 crossing points between the various countries. There are 208 ‘official’ ones between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and hundreds more unofficial crossing points. Brexit would not just be going back to the way it used to be, but would be turning it into something it never was before -- a major international frontier -and actually you can’t do it.” O’Toole says Ireland will suffer hugely under Brexit. Already the mushroom industry in Ireland has gone bust and farmers there are being badly hit because of the fall in the value of the British pound. He says while everyone thinks that the Irish economy has gone high-tech and multinational, like NZ, it is still based on farming. “It’s still founded on the beef and dairy industry and all the spin-offs from that in terms of high quality food. The main market for the small-medium Irish food companies is and always has been the UK,” he explains. “It’s the geography, the history, its natural and they are going to take a real hammering. Nowadays a lot of the agricultural industries are cross-border. Most of the milk produced in Northern Ireland is processed in the south and they then export it to the north. The famous Irish drink Baileys Irish Cream crosses the border five times in the course of its manufacture.” O’Toole says the Irish border is unpoliceable. He says during the ‘Troubles’, 10,000 British troops, helicopters and watchtowers could not control the steady flow of goods and people crossing the border.

NZ CONNECTION PEOPLE ARE aware of what happened to NZ when Britain joined the Common Market, as it was then known in 1973, O’Toole says. He says they remember how NZ was suddenly abandoned and how things moved against us. “Reminders from history show you can’t make assumptions about what your markets are and how they are going to continue in future.” The Brexit prospect dismays and distresses O’Toole. He says he’s very fond of England and the English and that relations between the two countries are the best they have been for centuries. “I just hope that somehow common sense prevails,” he says.



Gore’s nutrition plant starts NIGEL MALTHUS

AFTER EIGHT years hard work, Mataura Valley Milk’s new $240 million nutrition plant at McNab, near Gore, has begun production on schedule, accepting its first milk from its farmer suppliers on August 20. The plant opened with general manager Bernard May and founding director Ian Tulloch partnering in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Tulloch said it was satisfying to see the plant open after eight years of hard work by a lot of people. “It’s having a big impact on the district. It’s exciting times.” MVM’s major shareholder, the China Animal Husbandry Group (CAHG), have been good partners in the project, Tulloch said. A group of local businessmen and farmers including Tulloch, a former district mayor (also known as ‘Inky’ to generations of motor-racing fans), had worked for several years to set up a locally based milk processor; then the project took flight with major CAHG investment in 2016. The plant was designed as the first in Australasia to be certified to USFDA standards. It is expected to process about 500,000L of whole milk a day, producing about 30,000 tonnes of infant formula a year at full capacity, with 80-85% exported. It will have about 65 full-time employees. China Animal Husbandry Group is among the largest of China’s SOEs in the agriculture sector. Hamilton-based BODCO, itself partly owned by CAHG, also has a small shareholding in

Mataura Valley Milk, and will handle the canning of some of MVM’s product. Bernard May thanked the people who have contributed to the company’s vision taking another step towards reality. “It’s a proud day for our team and everyone involved in developing what we believe will be the world’s best nutrition business,” he said. “We’re very happy with the spread of suppliers and their proximity to the nutrition plant.” Phill, Alet and Jimmy Gerritsen, who farm in the nearby Waikaka Valley, said being shareholder suppliers to MVM felt like being part of a family. “We work hard to produce the best possible product and to be fairly rewarded for that is important,” Jimmy said. “Obviously for Gore as well there’s a lot of people coming in and a lot of money being spent here,” Alet said. Rosie and Malcolm McIntosh, who also farm in the Waikaka Valley, said they were delighted to be supplying their milk to a high-value processing plant. “We did a fair bit of homework and looked at the plant, and that it was going to be at the high end of the nutritional formula market. They wanted good milk and we have good milk, so it made sense,” Malcolm said. They saw MVM employing the best people and implementing the best technology and processes and knew their milk would be in good hands. Demand for quality nutrition worldwide is growing fast and NZ is in an excellent position to produce and export high

Waikaka Valley farmers Jimmy, Alet and Phill Gerristen, who supply Mataura Valley.

quality nutritional products, he said. May said MVM has been dealing with significant international nutritional customers from the start and will be producing product from day one. “We’re delivering what we said we would and customers are on board.”

Staff at the official opening of the Mataura Valley Milk plant.
















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Long, slow return for M.bovis farmer NIGEL MALTHUS

SOUTHLAND BEEF farmer Ben Walling is suing Southern Centre Dairies owner, Alfons Zeestraten, over the spread of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. Walling told Rural News that he believes Zeestraten knowingly gave him infected animals. He has served notice through his lawyers and intends to seek damages “for anything MPI doesn’t cover, plus punitive losses and stress.” Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that Southern Centre Dairies and Zeestraten have been charged by the Ministry for Primary Industries over the importation of farm machinery in January 2017. Both MPI and Chapman Tripp – the lawyers acting for Zeestraten – confirm that those charges do not relate to M.bovis. Chapman Tripp has not responded to a request for comment on the Walling claim. Walling and partner Sarah Flintoft run a calf rearing and finishing business at Lumsden. Their property was declared M.bovis-infected in January. They are now clear of the disease and looking to rebuild. However, they may now convert a block to dairying, to become self-sufficient in calves and less susceptible to future disease incursions. Walling traces his infection to a mob of 61 calves received from Zeestraten on October 24, 2017. He believes Zeestraten would have known of his own M.bovis infection then, even though it was not officially confirmed until December. Walling said many of the mob were “crook” the day they arrived at his farm, and nine were dead by the next day. He kept the rest in the belief they may have had rotavirus or similar. However, by December they were still not responding to treatment and other calves were also becoming ill. When rumours

reached him that M.bovis was in the district, Walling said he rang all his neighbours and warned them that “we have all the symptoms and they’re dying.” He voluntarily put his farm into lockdown even before it was officially listed as an infected property on January 12. Although Walling has been able to keep some bulls on a separate block, they ended up having to kill all their calves, numbering about 1550 – including 400 shot on the property – “which at this stage MPI are backing away from paying us for,” Walling said. About 186 R2 bulls were also killed on the property. Walling’s usual practise is to buy in about 1500 calves a year, sell half at 100-120kg, and continue to rear the rest to two or three years old. This year they were aiming to rear about 2000 calves and keep about 1000. They also normally winter graze between 3500 and 6000 dairy cows, but this year could only graze about 3000, on a separate block, because of the lockdown. Walling said so far he’d received about $555,000 — about 25% of the compensation he’s expecting. While Walling agrees that MPI should not “willy-nilly” throw public money around – in some cases to people who were ripping the system off -he says it is ridiculous to still be waiting eight months later. “They value your stock, they count your stock and put a valuation figure on it. They should be able to write a cheque there and then.” Meanwhile, Walling says they had a 228ha block consented for dairy about three years ago to give themselves a choice for the future. “We have no choice but to go ahead with the conversion – finance permitting – in order to become self-contained in the supply of calves.” Walling had been reluctant to convert

because he preferred beef and drystock farming, whereas dairying meant loading up with more staff. The couple also has a contracting business with about 20 staff, but that

was mostly run by managers. “I went farming to get away from having so many people around me,” he told Rural News. @rural_news

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NZ needs to get bolder PAM TIPA

NEW ZEALAND companies aren’t bold enough when taking innovation overseas, says Callaghan agritech innovation expert Nicky Malloy. US companies are much bolder in the early stages of the business, she told Rural News. You don’t realise the scale until you go there. That was one reason for leading a team of 30 NZ delegates – from smaller agritech startups to big businesses like Zespri and research groups -- on a week-long trip to Silicon Valley and California. The Agritech Immersion Programme and Conference visited large US growers and producers, connecting with local trends while scoping

investment and export opportunities. From the outset US companies are bolder in messaging, story-telling and how fast they move to scale, Malloy says. “In NZ we want to get little things solved and get it right before we take it to market whereas they take it to market and then get it right. They just do it. When you talk to a US company you almost think they are bigger than they are.” The big challenges for US farming are the same as here -- labour, environment and water -- but on a much bigger scale. One US orchard can be equivalent to the whole NZ apple industry. “You can be solving a small problem in the NZ, but go and do that in the US and gain way bigger traction. We encourage

The delegation from NZ Agritech visiting Silicon Valley.

doing your R&D in NZ, but going offshore for scale. That is part of why we have instigated these trips.” Malloy says much needs to be done on the NZ storytelling piece and Callaghan is working with companies on this. “When they land in

the US we don’t want them to be shy.” The research groups on the trip realised challenges in the way NZ runs research: our seven year programmes may instead need to be “short sharp iterations”. The Callaghan Innovation trips to Silicon

Valley are a three-year programme so companies from the first year now entrenched in that market talked about their journey. It emphasises connecting science with onfarm problems needing a solution and then the need for entrepreneurs to take it to market.

A key message from farmers was “make sure the tech works and don’t just give me another app”. They don’t want apps that just solve one problem; they want more integration. Another key message was the recognition that NZ farmers aren’t behind in adopting technology. “In the US… a 300,000ha farm will be more reluctant than an NZ-size farm in bringing something onfarm. We are more nimble in our ability take up technology and give things a go. Our universities are quite connected; they are talking with farmers who give us honest feedback,” Malloy says. “Robotics, automation, managing data -- some of that technology is more advanced in NZ. There is more opportunity for NZ

in those areas to really make a play.” At a panel session Tony Laming from Blinc Innovation talked about how the global industry can connect into NZ. “We have an opposite season to the northern hemisphere so there is an opportunity for companies to do a 12 month programme rather than stop because it is the end of the growing season. They can come down and continue it in NZ,” Malloy explained. Getting NZ companies in the agritech community to get away from their business, talk to each other and think longer term was a highlight of the trip. “That’s the bit I love: getting the NZ businesses all interconnecting.” @rural_news

No. 4928



M.bovis hits Northland NIGEL MALTHUS

BIOSECURITY NEW Zealand has confirmed a farm in Northland has tested positive for MycoA map of the Mycoplasma bovis spread indicates that only the Bay of Plenty and Marlborough remain free of the disease. Taranaki and the West Coast have farms under suspicion. SUPPLIED/BIOSECURITY NZ

plasma bovis. Although several farms in the region are under a notice of direction (NOD) -- usually applied to farms where test results are pending -it’s the first time the disease has been confirmed in Northland. Tasman district was

confirmed two weeks ago as having its first infection. Northland’s infected property is a drystock beef farm, identified by tracing animal movements from known infected farms. It is now under a restricted place notice

under the Biosecurity Act 1993, in quarantine lockdown restricting the movement of animals and other risk goods on and off the farm. Biosecurity NZ is not publicly naming the farm but has notified neighbours who share a boundary with it. The risk to

neighbouring farms is reckoned very low. All infected cattle on the farm will be culled, the timing agreed with the farmer. Biosecurity NZ held a public meeting in Dargaville on September 6 to keep local farmers informed.

ONLY TWO REGIONS DISEASE-FREE MPI HAD by late August reported 37 farms confirmed infected with M.bovis -- eight in the North Island and 29 in the South. Twenty-one are beef farms, 14 dairy and two are “others.” Including those infected farms, 58 are now listed as ‘restricted places’. Notices of direction (NOD), which restrict some movement of stock from farms and are usually applied to farms where test results are pending, are in place on 190 properties. A Biosecurity NZ map of the M.bovis spread indicates that only the Bay of Plenty and Marlborough remain free of the disease, with neither RP notices nor NODs in force. Taranaki and the South Island West Coast have farms under NODs but as yet no confirmed infection. MPI says 70 - 80% of NODs do not go on to prove infected. Meanwhile, MPI says eradication continues, with 30 farms now cleaned and depopulated and free to resume operation with new stock.





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Sliding dollar boosts commodity prices GLOBAL COMMODITY prices experienced some downward pressure in August. This was not surprising given the general feel is that New Zealand milk production is anticipated to be plentiful, with largely benign

weather conditions suggesting a strong start to the season. Buyers are in no rush to procure stock and are happy to wait and see how New Zealand’s spring peak pans out. RaboResearch still anticipate milk production across the season to

lift by 2%. Off the back through August remained of weakening commodity relatively stable, with the prices, Fonterra revised weakening NZ$ and seadown its 2018/19 foresonal low supply helping cast farmgate milk price to underpin current pricfrom NZ$7.00/kgMS to ing levels. As at the start NZ$6.75/kgMS. Despite of September, the North the 25 cent haircut, this is Island bull price is 3% still a healthy milk price higher MOM, averaging forecast. NZ$ 5.50/kg cwt, while Elsewhere around the the South Island bull globe, the hotter summer price did not move over temperatures start-key exporting the last month, Productionare growth regionsaveraging ing to show in the milk NZ$ 5.30/kg cwt. months supply data. IrishLatest milk month HeavyLast killthree numproduction was behind bers through June and by 3.1% in July 2018 as a in a jump 1.1% (June) July resulted 1.1% EU result of the heat impact in New Zealand beef on grass growth. July and exports for the month August were very hot of July. Exports for the 0.4% (July) 0.7% US months and with feed month totalled NZ FOB costs lifting with the dry 305.11m, up 20% on July conditions and pressurlast year on the back of -4.2% (July) a 22% increase -0.8% in export ing Australia margins. RaboResearch expect volume. A large propormilk production numtion of this increase went bersNZto reflect these chalto China, with New Zea0.1% season final 2017/18 lenges, once finalised. land beef exports there for July up 53% on last year. Overall, New ZeaBeef Source: Rabobank 2018 land’s season-to-date FARM-GATE returns

Weather Risks to Global Supply Are Climbing Global dairy prices, 2014-2018 7,000

USD/tonne FOB

6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000





Source: USDA, Rabobank 2018

North Island Bull Price

Rabobank expects the seasonally tight domestic supplies over the next month to hold prices firm throughout September.

600 580 560

NZD cents/kg cwt




520 500 480 460 Oct




Feb 2015/16









2017/18 Source: NZX AgriHQ, Rabobank 2018

exports (October-July) to China are up 36% on last season. This reflects China’s strong growth in demand for beef imports in 2018. B+LNZ’s recently released “Stock Number Survey” estimated the New Zealand beef cattle herd at 3.68m head as at 30 June 2018. This is a 1.9%, or 68,000 head, increase on the previous year. This is the second straight year New Zealand’s beef cattle herd numbers increased fol-

lowing over a decade of decline, with multiple seasons of strong beef prices incentivising farmers to lift their herd sizes. Outside China, beef prices in New Zealand’s key export markets remain relatively flat. However, the continuing depreciation of the NZ$ (now at its lowest point against the US$ since February 2016) has helped to protect farmgate returns against some of this negative market pressure.

THE INTENSE competition between processors for the remaining lamb supply has pushed schedule prices to unprecedented levels, with further lifts likely over the final month of the 2017-18 season. As of the start of September, the schedule price in the North Island averaged NZ$ 8.55/kg cwt (6% higher MOM), while South Island lamb averaged NZ$ 8.30/kg cwt (4% higher MOM). Schedule prices are now 22% up YOY in the North Island and up 21% YOY in the South Island. While domestic schedule prices continue to push higher weekly, there are signs that in-market

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South Island Lamb Price South Island Lamb Price 900 800 600 500


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Source: NZX AgriHQ, Rabobank 2018

performance in some key Source: NZX AgriHQ, 2018 markets are justRabobank starting to soften slightly. In particular, the hot summer conditions in Europe have had a negative impact on demand for lamb there, while there are also reports of inventory levels starting to rise in China. This means current schedule lifts are largely coming off processor’s margins, although the weakening NZ$ is also provide some pricing support. This does have the potential to put some additional down-

ward pressure on schedule prices later in the season when processors may look to regain some lost margin when the supply of lambs begins to increase. Rabobank expects procurement competition, supported by the weakened NZ$, to continue to move schedule prices upwards throughout September.

Wool THE AUCTION market for New Zealand wool saw improve-

demand, the decline in the NZD currency against the USD falling in September to its lowest level since 2016 has helped to boost the average $ per tonne, and support New Zealand farmgate returns.

Currency IN EARLY September the NZ$ fell to its lowest level against the Greenback since February 2016 –trading at 65.36 US cents on September 10. The

NZ$ was pushed lower by a combination of positive US economic news, weak NZ economic news, and a general flight of capital to safe havens amidst worsening economic crises in Argentina and Turkey. In the USA, the labour market remain tight, US consumer spending (which had helped deliver a whopping 4.2% GDP growth in Q2) grew nicely in July, while inflation remained at the Fed

NZ Dollar Slides as US and NZ Economic Prospects Diverge Further


NZ c/kg cwt


the market through the ment through August 20,000,000 coming season. This comto recover the losses bined with the still slow recorded18,000,000 in the first few demand signals for coarse weeks of16,000,000 selling in the crossbred wool indicates new season. The coarse 14,000,000 continued pressure on crossbred end of the 12,000,000 coarse crossbred wool market still battling lack10,000,000 prices lustre demand sits at 8,000,000 Exports in July did NZ329c/kg. 6,000,000 recover somewhat from Conversely, the fine wool season on the South the decline in June, lift4,000,000 ing 3% month on month Island has kicked off 2,000,000 and were 17.6% up on last strongly, mirroring the 0 July. Interestingly 2017/18 with market strength seen in 2016/17 little improvement in the Australia. The tale of two South Island Island coarse North crossbred market wool markets continues with China’s appetite for fine and medium wool Source: NZ Meat Board, Rabobank 2018 well outweighing coarse crossbred. In August, the NZ/US dollar Cross Rate Australian benchmark Eastern Market Indica0.76 tor pushed through yet 0.74 another price record above AUc2100/kg clean, 0.72 helped by a weakened Australian dollar and fall0.70 ing supply. 0.68 While wool production in New Zealand 0.66 remains constrained with no increase in sheep 0.64 numbers expected, stocks of wool not sold through the last 18 months will Source: RBA, Rabobank 2018 continue to overhang

Reserve target level of 2% (for the 3rd time this year). We continue to expect one more interest rate hike in the US the next 12 months (to 2.25%). But if the trade conflicts do not escalate, a further additional hike becomes a distinct possibility. Meanwhile the RNBZ left rates on hold when it met on September 4. Inflation remains low and wage growth weak and business confidence is falling. The Reserve Bank has already said that rates are likely to be on hold till 2020: bets are appearing on a cut being the next move. As monetary policy in the US tightens and NZ settings most likely remain unchanged, we expect to see the NZ$ soften to 64 US cents by August 2019, (one cent below our last forecast). • Keep up-to-date with the latest food & agribusiness insights. Tune into RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Australia & NZ podcast channel.


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Farmers urged to plant more trees PAM TIPA

IF FARMERS want to offset their emissions – if farming goes into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which looks likely – then it is rational to plant forestry and get the carbon credits for that, says Farm Foresters Association president Neil Cullen. Parts of some farms still remain in gorse or are steep unproductive country, he told Rural News. The scope of afforestation proposed to get New Zealand to carbon neutrality by 2050 is huge. Cullen says the forest companies don’t have the spare land and are reluctant to buy it at the current prices. “Farm Forestry would like to see farmers planting parts of their own farms – the less productive parts – in trees. That would be the ideal and having a patchwork mosaic of forestry and farming integrated. In the real world, some farmers don’t want to plant trees or they are not keen on trees so there will be farms sold to companies and the whole lot planted.” There is an opportunity for farmers to plant less-productive areas as many farm foresters have around the country, he says. Cullen believes farmers should start looking at it now. “The changes to the ETS are probably still 18

More farm planting. These trees are eucalypts, which are used for extra timber strength, quality paper and some species showing lots of potential for durable posts.

months away. They are talking 2020 when the new provisions for averaging and counting harvested wood products come in, which would make it more attractive for farmers. There will be less risk involved because you wouldn’t have to repay any credits at harvest and you would also be getting credited for the wood that is lasting longer in things like furniture or housing, so you get more credits. “If the (carbon) price goes up to $75 – which the Productivity Com-

mission is suggesting it needs to go to – then it is going to be a substantial income. It doesn’t even need to be a forest that will be harvested; it could just be regenerating native forest on ground that is bare now.” He says every farm situation is different. It would pay to get advice from a consultant or someone with forestry knowledge on what to plant. “If you are looking at planting in a remote area where roading is a bit expensive to put in then you are possibly looking

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at an indigenous forest or even something like redwoods that wouldn’t

need harvesting for a long time. “You could just let to

grow for a 100 years. “Some people are talking about planting pine

trees and leaving them and you would be getting the credits for that fast growth and leaving them to grow. If there is native seed source around, the native bush will start growing underneath it. If the pine trees eventually fall down you would end up with an indigenous forest. The ETS should be able to allow for that as the new changes come in. You would be credited for that ongoing uptake of CO2.” Cullen suggests the North Island hill country will be the main areas. “There would be more like blanket planting I would imagine in some places, but there are still opportunities for farmers or through syndicates to take part in that investment as well.” Inquiries are growing. “Farmers are starting to realise they will probably end up in the ETS and they might as well make use of the ETS to their advantage. There are people looking at it.”

OK FOR HONEY, NOT ETS “THERE ARE people planting manuka, especially in the North Island in the Gisborne area and in Northland for honey,” Cullen says. But he claims manuka is a marginal plant as far as the ETS goes. “They are allowing it as a tree at the moment, but to qualify as forest trees they are supposed to get to 5m. Manuka can do that, but the beekeepers like it to be lower, so there is a bit of a conflict there.” Cullen says there are issues to be ironed out. MPI’s Te Uru Rakau (the

new forestry arm) is still working on the incentive schemes for planting and there will be more announcements. “They have money there to fund afforestation schemes so there will be money there for new planting. “I think it will be pretty attractive for farmers.” It is “absolutely” time for farmers to start looking at it, he says. “Some of the constraints will be a lack of seedlings; the nurseries will have to scale up their planting and

will have to be assured that the plants they grow are going to get used. In the past they have been burnt when they have had a lot of seedlings available and people have changed their mind or haven’t taken them and they have had to plough them in and lost money. “The other thing will be the labour as far as planting goes. There is a shortage now in the North Island for planting trees so where those extra planters will come from will be a challenge.”



New Holland’s hydrogen tractor is likely to be on the market soon.

Could ammonia be the new motion lotion?

AUSTRALIAN FARMERS are throwing their support behind a proposed agricultural visa, which the Government could soon introduce to ease the worker shortage on farms. Industry puts the shortfall at about 100,000 sector-wide. National Farmers Federation Australia president Fiona Simson says the nation’s summer fruit harvest is again under threat.

“Our peaches, nectarines, mangos and cherries are almost ripe for picking,” says Simson. “Unfortunately, again this season, growers will struggle to hire the workers they need to pick the fruits of their labour.” Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has been a vocal advocate for new visa categories since he took office in December. “This has been a priority of

mine since becoming the ag minister,” Littleproud said. “I [want] it this season as I promised and I’m confident I’m close, in consultation with immigration and workforce ministers.” Simson says farmers are buoyed by Littleproud’s support for a visa, to “cater specifically for the acute skill shortages facing agriculture, including fruit pickers and packers. Our sector

already relies heavily on migrant labour”. She says the industry is keen to develop a domestic labour force but this alone is not the answer. “Research and experience demonstrates that we need migrant workers to meet the farm sector’s needs. “Many agricultural tasks are short-term and/or seasonal.



HYBRID OR electric vehicle (EV) makers had better mind their backs: the hydrogen fuel cell could still be in contention. From an efficiency point these are at least twice as efficient as petrol or diesel powertrains, so only need half the fuel. But it seems that the biggest challenge holding the technology back is issues of safe storage and transport. The technology might now have moved a step closer to commercial reality: Australia’s CSIRO has developed a membrane technology process that enables safe and efficient production of ultra-pure hydrogen by extracting it from ammonia. “Hydrogen fuel cells can be fitted to a wide range of vehicles -- cars, tractors, ships -- but concerns remain about safety during storage and transport,” says CSIRO principal research scientist Dr Michael Dolan. “Our technology allows extraction from ammonia that increased safety and had benefits in handling and storage”. Dolan says to move a lot of hydrogen it must be in liquid form -- much more dense than gaseous fuels. In the case of hydrogen, this is difficult to achieve without resorting to very low temperatures; but ammonia (nitrogen and hydrogen) forms a liquid at mild temperatures and behaves much like LPG. In practical terms, ammonia carries a lot of hydrogen; the challenge is to pull that hydrogen back out, and it’s now achievable with CSIRO’s new membrane technology. From a safety aspect, ammonia suits transport and storage because it burns slowly and is hard to ignite. Before long, says Dolan, fuel cells will be used in all forms of transport including tractors. For example, New Holland’s hydrogen tractor is reckoned likely to be on the market within three years. He says CSIRO is also researching solar energy, bio-mass and other renewable sources and is making ammonia production more efficient -- the latter having implications for fertiliser production. And there is new interest in straight ammonia as a substitute fuel for diesel in tractors, a process trialled in the US with reasonable results.

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Debate heating up WE’VE HAD lately an abundance of reports on how New Zealand should tackle its carbon emissions profile – especially regarding agriculture’s contribution. Many advocates claim the science is settled on climate change, others strongly disagree (see story page 6-7). What can be agreed is that greenhouse gases can be seperated into short-lived and long-lived varieties. It is argued that short-lived gases, notably methane, exist in the atmosphere for less time but cause a lot of damage. Long-lived gases, such as carbon dioxide, are less harmful but persist in the atmosphere much longer, effectively ‘locking in’ the warming they create. NZ is in a unique position: the size of our agriculture industry means short-lived gases make up a much larger proportion of our emissions than those of other countries. A recent report by the Productivity Commission recommends placing methane within a dual-cap emissions trading scheme, or an alternative methane quota system, to “incentivise reductions of biogenic methane” in recognition of its nature as a short-lived greenhouse gas. This follows a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment saying that methane emissions would need to be cut by 10 - 22% by 2050 to contribute to halting global warming. Such cuts could be made by cutting stock numbers and reducing the emissions of each animal, the report said. But now we are hearing claims that “farmers will be given a reprieve” in the calls for NZ to reduce its methane emissions to zero. Climate change zealots, typically Greenpeace and Forest & Bird, insist that all NZ’s emissions must be reduced to net zero – including those from the agriculture sector. They say the Government has a “scientific and moral” obligation to include agriculture in the Zero Carbon Bill.  However, it makes sense for the Government to treat methane differently from other greenhouse gases in its Zero Carbon Bill; that would direct NZ toward meeting its Paris Agreement commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Change Minister James Shaw has indicated that short- and long-lived gases could be treated differently under the Zero Carbon Bill. Despite claims by the naysayers, agriculture is facing up to its responsibilities. However, for the sake of the country, the economy and the farming sector – and the planet – any final decisions must be carefully and fully considered.


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Fatally flawed?


YOUR OLD mate notes his good friends at Bitch & Complain (Fish & Game) have had yet another crack at the farming sector, this time over winter grazing. However, this old mutt reckons the sanctimonious types at Bitch & Complain might want to look in-house before throwing rocks at others. One would think chief executive Martin Taylor might be better employed investigating what’s happening within his own organisation before lecturing the agriculture sector – again. Currently, both the central South Island and North Canterbury branches of Fish & Game are undergoing audits due to alleged financial and organisational irregularities. The Hound suggests that perhaps Bitch & Complain should clean up its own act before telling others what to do.

THE HOUND reckons the new Fonterra chair ‘Grumpy’ John Monaghan is proving more elusive than the Loch Ness monster. In fact, many have suggested to your old mate that the fabled Scottish aquatic creature has made more public utterances than Monaghan since he took over the helm of Gumboot HQ from John Wilson. This old mutt believes Monaghan’s media silence is an insult to Fonterra shareholders who have every right to hear how the new chairman plans to lead the dairy co-op. Rumours are that most of the problem is down to Fonterra’s highly paid, under-performing and inept team of spin doctors – known as ‘the Kremlin’ – who are hiding ‘Grumpy’ John from media exposure. This makes your old mate question just why ‘the Kremlin’ has put Monaghan into effective media witness protection.

A MATE of the Hound – a former technician and founder of an electronics business – reckons the NAIT system has many big flaws. Firstly, he reckons the system’s passive RFID works by reflecting its code to the antennae of the reader, but the reflective device (inside the ear tag) is easily destroyed by high voltage. “This is well known in the RFID industry,” the Hound’s mate explains. “But not apparently by NAIT.” Meanwhile, he also reckons NAIT information relies on people updating the system – known as batch processing – as it occurs after an event. “This is old fashioned and obsolete as the system needs to operate in real time to be effective.” He also says the current NAIT model with its multiple levels of reporting and animal handling is a recipe for failure.

SPEAKING OF M.bovis, the Hound understands the latest outburst by a farmer hit early on by the cattle disease has upset several people. The van Leeuwens -- the South Canterbury, multi-property dairy farmers first publicly identified with M.bovis last July – recently complained to a farming publication about the lack of support from Fed Farmers. And your old mate understands the dig at Feds has caused consternation and frustration at the farmer lobby. Your old mate understands countless hours have been spent by the Feds executive and staff helping the van Leeuwens deal with lots of problems caused by M.bovis. Your canine crusader suggests that perhaps the ongoing stress of dealing with M.bovis has caused these under-pressure farmers either a serious case of amnesia or just plain ungratefulness.

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Ag sector ready to tackle challenges TOM RICHARDSON

TWO IMPORTANT pieces of work released in the last couple of weeks bring into clear focus the challenge New Zealand faces in its greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. The first of these was modelling released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) on the impact of methane emissions from livestock, which sets out the kind of reductions NZ needs to achieve to contribute to the global challenge of climate change. The second, a comprehensive report by the Productivity Commission on transition to a low emissions economy, calls for changes to the structure and methods of agricultural production, including greater diversification of land use and greater adoption of low emissions practices on farms. The commission at the same time pointed to the need for “significantly more resources” from the Government for innovation in this area to support this transition. While much of the recent public debate on methane (the single biggest contributor to NZ’s agricultural greenhouse gases) has been about the degree to which it contributes to climate change, the science is now clear that its impact is significant. The modelling from the PCE provides some potential starting points for planning – including an estimated 10-22% reduction in methane emissions that would be required by 2050 to avoid any further warming contributed by NZ above current levels (the number within that range to depend on the action of other countries). With AgResearch being a key player in the science to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – mostly

methane from livestock – I see plenty of reason for optimism that the latter approach will continue to yield benefits. Working with partners such as the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) and Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc), our scientists are looking at promising methods to reduce methane emissions through changes in farming systems, animal feed, breeding, and potential inhibitors and vaccines, to name a few. Some of the exciting prospects now in development include the following: • High metabolisable energy (HME) ryegrass With the support of government and industry partners including DairyNZ and Grasslanz Technology Ltd, we are field testing in the US a genetically modified ryegrass shown in glasshouses to reduce methane emissions from livestock by up to 23%. Not only has the HME ryegrass shown potential for methane reduction, it also has features of reduced nitrate leaching, and its increased photosynthesis allows for faster growth and increased energy for the animal, as well as improved resistance to drought. So less methane and greater productivity. • Breeding lower emission animals Our scientists have shown that livestock can be bred to produce less methane emission. With money from the PGgRc and NZAGRC, we have bred sheep with a 10% difference in methane emissions between the average animal in the high- and low-methane breeding lines. Other benefits appear to be leaner meat and increased wool growth. This breeding approach can also be applied to cattle. • Vaccines and inhibitors

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Again with money from the NZAGRC and PGgRc, our scientists are working towards the development of a vaccine and inhibitors that can be applied directly to livestock to reduce the

amount of methane they produce. Whatever we do, we will need to achieve consistent reductions in our environmental footprint while maintaining our regional

Tom Richardson

and national prosperity. I’m confident that continued investment in our world-class science will enable us to get there. • Tom Richardson is chief executive of AgResearch.



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Beware of all the forests from these trees DAVE READ

BEWARE THE snag in the incentivised pushing by central and local government to get hill country into trees. The push for reduced sediment loads in our rivers by Hawkes Bay Regional Council (HBRC); the billion trees project; and the Productivity Commission’s report calling for two million hectares of pasture land to be planted will all result in large financial incentives for planting farmland. If this is done sensibly we can

play our part in reducing New Zealand’s carbon emissions, increasing our water quality and maintaining present employment opportunities. However, what is most likely is a repeat of the sale and planting of whole farms that we saw in the 1990s. There are always quite a few farms on the market these days. The average age of farmers is now 58 so even more farms will be up for sale in the next few years. The forestry incentives will enable buyers planning to plant trees to always

outbid pastoral farmers looking to buy hill farms as they come on the market. The start of this trend is the ongoing negotiations for the sale to forestry of Waihua Station, a Wairoa farm with lessthan-average erosion risk. In Wairarapa, Hadleigh Station – with one third cultivatable land – has been sold to production forestry. In Wairoa, during the 1990s, 75% of forestry workers were from out of town, resulting in a 30% reduction in employment per 1000ha when farm-

East Coast farmer Dave Read is concerned about the future of hill farming with the push for more tree planting.

land was planted. Today, the drop in local employment would be much bigger. I am unaware of any resident logging crews,




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and changing silviculture practices see much less pruning than in the past. Nationally, the proportion of whole-log export has increased from 17% in 1990 to 54% in 2016. More remote or erosion-prone land will go into plantings that will earn the owners revenue from the sale of carbon credits -- a practice that will grow in popularity. The discussion documents put out with the Zero Carbon Bill talk of increasing the price of CO2 to $300 or even $700/tonne. These carbon-only plantings will produce very little employment except during the year of planting. When the forest has reached its peak biomass, it will no longer produce carboncredit income either. The owner will be left with the cost of maintaining

this forest (fire protection, pest management, rates, etc) but no income. Will the owners of this land then abandon it leaving the ratepayer to foot the bill? The schemes being promoted by central government have two aims: firstly, to offset emissions by the rest of the economy -- mainly transport; secondly, to reduce methane production by reducing sheep and beef numbers. The Productivity Commission recognises that the main contributor to agricultural emissions is the dairy industry (sheep and beef farming are responsible for slightly less warming today than in 1990 and are on track to produce only 77% of current emissions by 2050). However, the commission says it will be too difficult to get dairy farm-

ers to convert to horticulture, so its solution is to plant sheep and beef land instead. It is well recognised that planting forest to offset emissions is a temporary measure. However, while the respite from breaching NZ’s obligations is temporary, the change of land use is permanent. Once committed to forestry, this land can never be used for any other purpose. The destruction of farming infrastructure (fences, yards, buildings, etc) over the life cycle of forestry, and the huge cost of redeveloping the land into pasture, would mean that little, if any, hill country would ever be reconverted from plantation forestry to farming. On top of this, the ETS requires this land to TO PAGE 35



Science the answer to debate BLAIR MILLER

THE PREVIOUS government issued a call-toaction to New Zealand: double primary production export earnings while maintaining or improving water quality. Most people saw this dual challenge as contradictory, yet we must determine our ability to respond and commit to fulfilling both ambitions. I believe it is an achievable goal as we have worldbest scientists working on the problem. The challenge to the new Blair Miller government is to give our scientists the resources to contribute to the task. Pundits regularly promote the notion of moving up the value chain to increase export earnings. This, of course, is happening all the time. We should applaud companies such as Synlait with its slogan ‘Making more from milk’, which describes the strategy well. However, we must determine how much primary produce we need to achieve growth. Bulk commodities dominate our primary sector exports and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, so increasing production is the only realistic way to double our primary export earnings. However, this strategy inevitably leads to intensification and with that comes environmental impact, which we must understand if we are to develop appro-

priate mitigation strategies. The fate of nitrates attracts the most attention due to dairy intensification, but dairy is not the only sector negatively impacting our environment; other farming systems such as arable can also cause problems. Phosphorous and sediment – pollutants chiefly generated from surface runoff – also degrade water quality. But without minimising their importance, we already have a better understanding of these contaminants. It is nitrate management that needs greater resourcing to meet the call-to-action. Nitrate leaching from cow urine patches is a major contributor to groundwater contamination. Soil scientists must keep working to solve this issue, but farming system changes also require further attention. We must be careful not to jeopardise our production integrity with too large a swing toward confining dairy cows, which could create negative sentiments in some markets. Sufficiently funded research will ultimately balance on-and-off-pasture dairy production and we will see hybrid systems being used more. The recognition of the benefits of planting plantain in pastures (commercialised as Ecotain by Agricom with assistance from Lincoln University, Massey University and Plant and Food Research) to reduce nitrate leaching is a positive development

Forests for trees FROM PAGE 34

be maintained permanently in forest. The result for rural NZ hill communities will be disastrous. Depopulation, loss of services and ageing resident populations will all snowball to destroy local communities. Due to our high rainfall and soft rocks, a big slice of the two million hectares to be targeted for conversion to trees will be local land (Wairoa and the East Coast to the north), and Wanganui and Taumaranui will also be big areas. Our councils need to act now to regulate mass planting except on the very worst erosion-prone land that cannot be stabilised by space planting. Otherwise, in 30 years these areas will have no hill farms, no local meat processing and no service industries. • Dave Read is the owner of Waiau Station near Wairoa.

to help pasture based dairy production. More research is needed that helps improve production systems, retains nitrogen in the root zone and reduces other contaminant transfers. The nutrient budgeting model Overseer contains tools to analyse the likely out-

comes of different management options. It’s not perfect but it offers much value and will improve with more work. Land-use planners need more information; they must make difficult decisions about the appropriateness of farming activities in specific locations and about

where to focus resources. The only way we will meet these challenges is by improving our ability to identify appropriate farming activities for any given parcel of land. No one scientific discipline will solve this problem; it requires the summation of a wide range of work. To this end, the ‘National

Science Challenge – Our Land and Water’ programme was set up by the previous government. It is a collaboration linking research agencies and stakeholders to work on enhancing primary sector production and productivity while maintaining and improving our land and water quality for

future generations. With the initial tranche of government funding due to run out in mid-2019, we hope the Government will prioritise additional spending in this area to ensure the work continues. • Dr Blair Miller is group manager environmental research, Lincoln Agritech.



Immense crop farms amaze Kiwis FOUR KIWI arable farmers were amazed recently to see the immensity of the cropping industries in western Europe and Ukraine. They joined Australian growers in a 30-strong group on a two-week grains knowledge tour led by agribusiness banker Rabobank. The bank drew on its EU client and industry networks, taking the farmers from Amsterdam to Kiev. This was the bank’s second grains tour; last year it took a group to the US Mid-West grain belt. The New Zealand farmers on the trip were Eric Watson, Mid-Canterbury; Steven Bierema and his partner Frederika

Noordam, Mid-Canterbury; and James Roy, Southland. Watson grows a variety of crops on a 490ha spray-irrigated property at Wakanui. He last visited Ukraine ten years ago. “In 2008, I spent four days driving around Ukraine looking at arable farming with a friend who was looking at investing there,” he said. “I’ve been keen to go back for a while to have a look at what’s changed there.” Travelling to Kiev, Odessa and Mykolaiv in Ukraine, the tour included visits to Kernel, the largest crop producer in Ukraine with 560,000ha of crop sown annually, a sunflower




crushing plant and port facilities. Ukraine averages 80 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds each year, 45mt of it exported. Watson saw big developments since his last visit. “Most of the land that was lying idle when I was previously there is now in arable production. Their agronomy has also improved immensely, increasing yields by about 50%, plus marked improvement in their port facilities. “And the sunflowers: ten years ago I hardly saw a sunflower and now it’s their second-biggest crop; they’re the biggest producer of sunflowers in the world.”

Watson says Ukraine’s good soils and consistent rainfall suit growing crops; it’s a big player in the global grains and oilseed market. “Their infrastructure and road network could be improved, and they have issues with corruption and the structure of land ownership. But if they can make progress in these areas they could further ramp up their production and exports.” On the western European leg of the trip the tourists visited Amsterdam and Utrecht in the Netherlands, then Cologne, Zweibrucken, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin in Germany. Watson says the inten-

NZ and Australian farmers visiting a farm between Odessa and Kiev in Ukraine; Eric Watson is front centre in shorts and a dark blue top.

sification of crop growing in the Netherlands was mind blowing, as was the high cost of land. “There’re only small areas available for crop growing and the cost of land is high. Their land grows mainly a few vegetable crops -- potatoes, onions and carrots


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-- which to me appeared hard on soil structure. “In New Zealand, and on my own operation, we’re fortunate to have larger areas of land so we can run a diverse crop rotation and maintain the quality of our soils.” Watson was captivated by the “colossal” flower markets outside Amsterdam. “It was fascinating to see how they have incorporated technology and automation into the auction process.” Watson says highlights of the German segment of the tour were visits to the John Deere factory in Manheim, the Bayer CropScience headquarters in Monheim and the port tour in Hamburg, including “fantastic access to the loading facilities and the big container ships”. “The size and scale of the export facilities was phenomenal with huge tonnages moving through the port. At times we were within 5m of container ships loading grains. You wouldn’t get that type of access here in New Zealand and it was interesting to watch close up.”

Rabobank NZ chief executive Todd Charteris said the prompt for the grains study tour was the rising influence of the Black Sea region in global markets: in the early 2000s it had no more than 10% of the global wheat trade; today it has 40%. “We wanted to give NZ and Australian arable farmers a chance to see for themselves the potential of Ukraine. With plenty of top quality arable land, a good climate and improving farming practices, it’s not hard to see why Ukraine is growing its dominance in the global grains and oilseeds market.” Rabobank will run study tours next year to various countries and will host tours in NZ, Charteris said. “The tours provide a platform for like-minded farmers to share knowledge and compare farming practices to improve their own farming operations. It’s clear to the bank that farmers want to take part.” @rural_news



Experienced farmers inspire winner on health and safety 2018 EAST COAST Young Farmer of the Year Patrick Crawshaw early in his career learned from ‘early-adopting’ farmers how to identify and manage risk. Now he’s putting that knowledge into practice on the farm he and wife Isabelle have bought at Patoka, Hawke’s Bay. Crawshaw (24), who also won the Agmardt Agri-business Challenge and FMG People’s Choice awards at the national Young Farmer of the Year finals, grew up on his family’s Angus stud, near Gisborne. He gained a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) from Lincoln University and then spent two years at the Pukemiro Station cadet farm at Dannevirke, then a year with Foley Farming Enterprises, Central Hawkes Bay. “Growing up, mum and dad were always careful about health and safety and so were the people who worked at the farm: they were strong on always wearing helmets on motorbikes, but back then they didn’t have the formal processes they do today. “I learned about liability and risk as part of my studies, but when I started doing work experience and was placed with progressive farmers – early adopter types – I got my first insights into the practical application of that.” At Pukemiro Station, where he began as a junior shepherd, progressing to become a block manager, Crawshaw again found a focus on health and safety leadership and a passion for showing young farmers “what good looks like”. “We’d meet at the workshop every morning where we discussed the plans for the day and how to approach jobs safely. For instance, if it looked as though rain was near, we’d talk about how the ground might get greasy, and what would be the best vehicles to use. The ongoing message was, ‘if you aren’t confident something’s safe, seek

advice from a manager’. “We’d talk about anything that had happened; like if rain had washed out a new tomo near a track, we’d discuss whether to close the track or fence the tomo off. “We also had more formal monthly meetings where health and safety was discussed. Topics included anything that had happened to create risk and how we were managing that. It led to an open culture of health and safety; it was business as usual and that got the ball rolling.” At Foley Farming Enterprises, which finishes 35,000 lambs each year on 650ha, a big health and safety challenge was the wide geographical spread of four finishing platforms and a breeding block. “Foley Farming have regular communication in a very similar way to Pukemiro,” Crawshaw says. “We plan the work, raise any issues and get the right processes in place. “The biggest challenge is the geographical spread, but there’s a young team and everyone was keen to get involved with health and safety planning. “We found WhatsApp was a good tool to stay connected and monitor activities. We set up a team group on the app and had a live team commentary going constantly, so we always knew where everyone was and what they were doing.” Not surprisingly, risk identification and management was a key priority as Patrick and Isabelle prepared to move onto their 285ha sheep and cattle farm in late August 2018. “The risk identification and risk management plan is a work in progress, which I’ll be able to complete once we get onto the farm,” Crawshaw says. “It will just be the two of us working there, so that will involve a lot of working on our own and using contractors, both of which carry their own risks. “We are going to be

carrying emergency locator beacons and I’m putting processes in place for contractors. I’ll be using the Zero Harm Farm app, which makes it easy to set up sound, robust health and safety, hazard iden-

tification processes and contractor and visitor inductions. “It’s straightforward and it’s good to have everything documented; that way, when contractors are coming on farm,

you can simply go over what they will be doing with them and point out anything they might encounter on the farm.” Patrick Crawshaw will take learnings with him on health and safety to the his farm.

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Rotowiper has recently gone through some exciting major changes to its structure and services. Dougal and Jenny Lamont the owners of Rotowiper Ltd have purchased all the shares of Mouldings Unlimited SI Ltd - a rotational moulding company that they had a 40% shareholding in. The moulding company operates from the same Rotowiper facility in Ashburton. This now gives us the opportunity to reduce our overheads, operating costs as well being able to offer all our customers from both companies a wider range of product and services. We can offer our full range of: ❱❱ Rotowipers - from 1.8m through to 12metres. ❱❱ Rotocarts (formerly Smartkarts) The newly branded small plastic bin trailers with steel chassis - 3 model sizes RC270, RC300, RC500 - litre sizes. ❱❱ Rotovacuum - (formerly Ladymuck) Paddock vacuum - 1 size - 350lt tank utilises a BG86 Stihl blower motor as its power source. ❱❱ Rototanks - we manufacture water tanks from 200lt barrels, 800lt, 1100lt, 2000lt 5500lt & 7500lt. We also sell Devan tanks 10,000lt, 15,000lt, 25,000lt and 30,000lts along with a range of septic tanks and accessories ❱❱ Rotomoulding - contract manufacturing. We manufacture your product for you. We are presently manufacturing for some of the largest agricultural companies in New Zealand along with many other non agricultural commercial customers. We can assist from concept, design, mould manufacture and plastic production of the product. ROTOWIPER’S: “OUT WITH THE OLD & IN WITH THE NEW”

We recently released the long awaited new “TR” series which replaces the WCF range. There are some very new exciting features and benefits: ❱❱ Single ratchet height adjuster - simple and easy height adjustment ❱❱ Roller drive disengagement - simple spring loaded pin to disengage the roller drive - roller is not rotating during to and from the paddock. ❱❱ Fold up drawbar - great for storage and easy transportation. ❱❱ Double frame - super strong frame - excellent for handling those rough conditions. ❱❱ Single wheel legs - RHS strong single wheel legs. ❱❱ Stub axles - solid hubs and stubbs with high speed bearings. ❱❱ Tank levelling - tank can be level when machine is at differing heights. ❱❱ Option of paint or zinc frame - zinc long life, no rusting. New models are in the mix with a brand new 12 metre fully trailing heavy duty Rotowiper with the first unit going into service this coming season. This unit will have 5 rotating roller sections ( 4 x 2.5m and 1 x 2m) all hydraulically driven with hydraulic depth control legs.

A full heavy duty chassis with 400lts tank, full electronic control with a fold up to 3.1m. This unit will be an ideal for the contractor or a larger farming unit. ROTOCARTS: THREE MODELS AVAILABLE:

TR Rotowiper Trailing model towed by a 4 wheel bike


Single height adjustment Roller drive disengagement Fold-up drawbar Tank leveller adjustment New strong design frame New stub axle hub arrangement All covers now stainless steel

48 Bremners Road PO Box 333 Ashburton P: 03-308 4497 M: 027-311 9471 E:


❱❱ RC270 - 270lts capacity - the bin is made from strong rotationally moulded polyethylene plastic. This is a push tow combination bin - great for around the house and garden. ❱❱ RC300 - 300lts capacity – the bin is made from strong rotationally moulded polyethylene plastic with rear opening door. Tow behind your ride on lawn mower and use around your lifestyle block. ❱❱ RC500 - 500lt capacity – the bin is made from strong rotationally moulded polyethylene plastic with rear opening door. This heavy duty small trailer tow behind your quad bike which is great for those small jobs around the farm or larger lifestyle block. Simple tipping system which makes it very user friendly. ROTOVACUUM: PADDOCK VACUUM We manufacture by rotationally moulding our own range of water tanks. These are made from food grade high quality potable plastic. Sizes made - 200lt barrels, 800lt slimline, 1,100lt, 2000lt, 5,500lt and 7,500lt. Ideal for catching that free roof water that can be used for house water, garden watering and great for the batch etc. We also manufacture and supply motorhome and caravan tanks 3 sizes 70lt, 100lt and 150lt and water troughs 360lt and 750lt. ROTATIONAL MOULDERS: CONTRACT MOULDERS One great model that really does the job. 350lt bin, 100mm suction hose with a BG86 Stihl blower power unit. Simply unclip the blower and you can use the blower separately. This unit will clean up your paddocks in particular after horses and alpacas. Also proved a great way of picking up nuts such as hazel and walnuts. Tow behind your quad bike or even your ride on mower. Simple tipping system for emptying really makes this a great all round unit.

We are a full rotationally moulding manufacturer. We have built up a solid client base with customers from Invercargill to Auckland. We can assist with design of moulds, manufacture of the moulds and then mould your product. We are a one stop shop with some of the leading agricultural machinery manufacturers using our services to mould their products. We pride ourselves with the best quality and best service working with our customers.



A good plan for sheep, beef farmers ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE is already a common business practice in dairying and horticulture, and now sheep and beef farmers must devise farm environmental plans (FEP) -daunting prospect for some. Nationwide more sheep and beef farmers are being required by regional councils to document the effect their farming practices are having on the environment. Using FEPs these farmers must outline how they will mitigate any detrimental practices and show by their plans that their farms will meet regional environmental regulations. With all the uncertainty and external pressures, farmers are grappling with the work they need to get done. What really is a FEP? It is a plan that assesses the key issues of a council or a catchment. It must be completed by a suitably qualified rural professional who will normally charge for their time. This may look like just extra cost, more regulations and no benefit to the farm business. But environmental management is a core part of business risk man-

More commonly, farmers find that through years of fencing for grazing management or to reduce stock losses they have already achieved much of what is required.

agement and it pays to do it right the first time. The benefit lies in protecting yourself and your industry. Issues like stock access to waterways and intensive winter grazing or cropping are high-profile subjects and are everyone’s responsibility. Poor management practices, even in isolated cases, can attract a lot of negative attention for individuals and for the whole industry. While doing their planning, farmers often realise that achieving compli-

Ravensdown’s Colin Tyler is urging sheep and beef farmers to implement FEPs.

ance or adopting better management practice is not as onerous as it may seem. For example, certain waterways or stock classes may not be covered by stock exclusion rules, or there may be management practices that mean no fencing will be needed. More commonly, farmers find that

through years of fencing for grazing management or to reduce stock losses they have already achieved much of what is required. Many good practices to reduce environmental impacts are just common sense. They often raise productivity and profit by conserving soils, reduc-

ing the loss of valuable nutrients or improving stock health and performance. To help a farmer meet targets, the role of the FEP is to correctly identify the scope of a problem, break it into achievable steps and set reasonable timeframe for completion. This can bring a sense of realism to a task that at first looked overwhelming, or it can form part of a resource consent that will provide some legal protection. If the rules require an FEP, it will need to be completed to a certain standard by, say, a certified nutrient management advisor. This advisor must fully understand the regulations and must know the farmer’s industry and business so that the plan meets all needs. A lot of good environmental work is underway on sheep and beef farms NZ-wide and your farms FEP should acknowledge this. Many challenges lie ahead but farmers should be proud of their achievements to date and be willing to keep playing their part in enabling smarter farming for a better NZ. • Colin Tyler is a principal consultant environmental for Ravensdown.










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The show will go on! NIGEL MALTHUS

THE COUNTRY’S biggest annual A&P Show will go ahead with cattle classes this year despite the threat of spreading Mycoplasma bovis. However, there will be no calf classes, and there will be a range of new measures to prevent the

spread of any infection. The Canterbury A&P Association (CAPA) has released a list of protocols to bolster biosecurity for the show. Junior classes will continue, but only with yearling animals, not calves. Even the simple act of the judges draping the winners’ ribbons over

winning cattle is to be banned. Instead, they will pass the ribbons to their handlers, and will also be banned from touching animals’ heads or muzzles. Other measures in the show ring include a strict 2m space between parading animals and a one-way traffic system

between the ring and the cattle pavilion. In the pavilion, empty pens and plywood panels will create buffers and barriers between animals from different herds. There will be separate dairy and beef washing bays, each run on a roster system and rigorously disinfected.

The Canterbury A&P Association has released a list of protocols to enable cattle to be displayed at this year’s show.

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Extra staff will be on hand to manage cattle, with strict requirements for proper paperwork and no late entries accepted. The show vicepresident, North Canterbury cattle breeder Chris Herbert, said there had been no known infections from nose-to-nose contact between neighbouring herds so the actual risk of transmission was extremely low. But the new protocols are to give exhibitors confidence to attend. “I’ve had exhibitors ring me since that information went out and they’ve said ‘we weren’t planning on coming but if you’re going to put these protocols in place, actually it will be OK, we will come’.” The banned calf classes usually attracted only 10 to 15 entries. Herbert said they were often hand-reared pets and lifestylers’ animals, and it was “just too hard” to be sure of their histories.

Beef cows with calves at foot would still be allowed. Herbert said he did not expect cattle numbers this year to “break any records” but Canterbury was usually the country’s biggest cattle show and he expects it to remain so. CAPA in a statement said that the risk is minimal because M.bovis needs prolonged exposure to spread. “We feel this is the time to ensure standards at shows across New Zealand are reviewed and raised to allow this great agricultural tradition to continue in a safe and responsible manner. We expect these regulations to bolster the future of the show and we will keep working with MPI, and other shows, for improvement.” Entries are now open; the show will run at the Canterbury Agricultural Park from November 14 to 16. @rural_news




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Vets worry about muddy cows PAM TIPA

THE NEW Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is very concerned about the animal welfare consequences of poor practices during winter grazing, says chief veterinary officer Helen Beattie. “Intensive winter grazing and over-wintering on crops are common practices in some areas of NZ, yet they often result in poor welfare for animals and damage to the environment. “As veterinarians, it is challenging to see the conditions in which some livestock are living. For example, when they are constantly living on and in mud, their physical and behavioural needs are unlikely to be met. “We are concerned for the wellbeing of all components – animals, people, and the environment – but the NZVA’s first concern is for the animals.” A key animal welfare point is a cow’s ability to display natural behaviour, in this case to lie down, ruminate, rest and sleep, says Beattie. When there is wet substrate (mud) the cows reduce their lying time by

50-75%, Beattie told Rural News. “They don’t have the ability to display their natural behaviour.” And there may be other health issues, notably mastitis and hoof problems. “But the key thing is that ability to display natural behaviours is a pretty important part of cattle welfare. They like to lie down and ruminate and we should be providing an environment where they do that happily. “There are specific issues with the types of crops being fed and other things… but natural behaviours is one for me personally which sticks out. We are talking about animals on wet substrates reducing their lying time by 50-75%. That is significant.” Farmers need to decide whether they are choosing the right animal to winter crop in the specific areas with that specific crop. “Cattle are big heavy creatures; they are 500kg and they are going to cut through topsoil. “Among those key things to consider when putting crops in: is this going to be an area that will drain sufficiently, but not into a waterway? If

The facts: MANY HEALTH and welfare issues arise from livestock being kept for a long time in wet and muddy conditions, including: ■■ Poor hoof health that contributes to claw lesions and lameness ■■ Inability for proper rest and rumination ■■ Inability to express normal behaviours ■■ Increased risk of mastitis ■■ Reduced access to a nutritionally balanced diet ■■ Unacceptable body condition scores ■■ Lower resistance to disease.

it’s gravelly soil you may not see the runoff going overland but you will get leaching down through the soil.” Resources are available online. The different levy organisations have information on how to crop and where you put crops, and consultants are available to talk about what type of crop to put in different places. “That might not just be the seed merchant. You might need an ecologist to discuss whether, if you are going to crop off this soil, this is what you can expect as outcomes. It is a much bigger conversation than, will the crop grow in this place? What are the implications and ramifications of growing it in that spot and can we make changes to that?”

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Beattie says she is not being too precious. “I realise there will be cows on mud in farms in New Zealand. We have an outdoor farming system, it rains and that is a given. But there’s mud and there’s mud,” she says. “Cows living in mud up to their udders and having no desire to sit down and rest and ruminate is a different type

of mud from just when it gets muddy in the winter.” Beattie says an opportunity exists for people to do it well – where welfare is protected, waterways are still clean and significant ramifications don’t arise. And speak out against the cropping tool being used to a very poor standard, she says. Calving on mud brings another whole challenge. “Cows are biological systems and biological systems are variable… But it is a different thing calving onto a reasonably hard winter surface versus two foot of mud.” Beattie says the physical health issues these animals may face is not the whole thing, but also their mental state as sen-


“The cows are comfortable in here. Cow condition is awesome, my herd has never looked as good as it does now”


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tient beings, which must be considered under the Animal Welfare Act. She has been discussing these issues with the NZVA’s primary industries branch committees, NZVA members, other stakeholders and environmental experts.


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“A lot of research in this area supports our concerns. For livestock to be constantly knee-deep in mud, without adequate shelter, and unable to lie down, rest, and ruminate as they normally would, is stressful and harmful to their health overall.”



Pig sector faces own ‘M.bovis’ outbreak NEW ZEALAND’S pig industry is warning officials it could be hit with issues similar to those now inflicted on the beef sector by M.bovis. The industry body NZ Pork is calling for greater

border protection against the spread of African swine fever (ASF), a deadly pig disease now sweeping China and eastern Europe. It says new outbreaks of the disease, which has

no effective treatment or vaccine, have been reported recently in China which has half the world’s population of pigs. And ASF has been expanding in eastern Europe since 2014; it first

spread from Lithuania to Poland and Estonia. “New outbreaks this year have been reported in Russia, Romania and Hungary,” says NZ Pork. “A tenth EU country – Bulgaria – has reported


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NZ Pork wants greater border protection against African swine fever.

the disease this month. “Officials in Denmark, a leading pork exporter, have expressed concern that it is ‘only a matter of time’ before ASF reaches their country.” NZ Pork says while the disease presents no risk to humans – just like M.bovis – it is devastating to local pig populations and the industry. Often fatal in pigs, once ASF is detected entire herds need to be culled to prevent further spread. It can also be passed via infected meat; it can survive for years in frozen carcases and spread from clothing, boots and soil. NZ Pork chair Eric Roy says the industry is asking for the Government to step up surveillance of the spread of the disease and consider more stringent import controls on pork from affected countries. “NZ imports a lot of pigmeat from the EU where the disease continues to spread,” Roy said. “We are concerned about the risk of African swine fever arriving in NZ via such infected meat.” He says this could devastate the local industry, which generates $750 million per year. Almost 60% of pork consumed in NZ is imported from 25 countries including China, Poland, Estonia, Denmark and Spain. So far in 2018, almost 53,000kg of pork products were imported to NZ from China, including a small amount classified as dried product -- the latter a worry because it may contain an ASF virus still active despite processing. “The major risk to our industry is that infected meat gets into the ‘lifestyle’ or para-commercial pig population through the feeding of uncooked food scraps, which is banned but can still occur

when hobby farmers are unaware of the risks. “Our wild population could also come into contact with food waste, which is a major problem in Europe.” At least one outbreak in Europe was traced to sausage meat left behind after a roadside picnic. “This sort of occurrence is completely outside the control of our farmers, and yet an African swine fever outbreak could wipe out our local industry if it spread from a hobby farm or feral pig population,” Roy says. NZ Pork is asking MPI to investigate the imports from China to see what sort of risk they pose, and to further assess the risk posed by meat imported from the EU. “Most official notifications of ASF to the World Organisation for Animal Health by countries involved in the current outbreak of the disease in eastern Europe declare the source of the outbreak to be ‘unknown or inconclusive’,” NZ Pork claims. “This is particularly important given that NZ is trading pork with the EU sector under virtually identical rules that apply to inter-EU trade – standards which have done nothing to stop the continuing spread of the disease through Europe,” Roy says. “NZ needs to make sure it has learned the hard lessons from M.bovis. “Recent events have highlighted the risks to local primary industries of imported diseases. NZ Pork believes this situation warrants extra vigilance and protection to avoid another homegrown industry being severely damaged by the spread of an exotic virus.” @rural_news



RAM’s latest ute is a beaut! MARK DANIEL

KIWIS’ APPETITE for high-end utes seems to know no bounds. However, the recent arrival of the new RAM 1500 series – price starts at $89,990 + ORCs – will prompt other distributors to re-think their pricing. Rural News took a closer look in late August in and around Bathurst, NSW. If you’re in the market for a high-end ute, don’t do anything until you’ve taken a closer look at the 1500 series. Let me explain why. The RAM 1500 is shorter, lower and lighter than its 2500 and 3500 siblings we already know. However, it still starts life in the US, before coming to Melbourne to be officially remanufactured

to RHD at the rate of 10 units per day, said to offer factory-like consistency with full FCA part numbers. Aimed at the premium 4X4 double-cab market now dominated by Ranger Wild Trak, X Class and Amarok, the 1500 is available in two body styles: the Express or the Laramie, the former with a slightly smaller cab and 1939mm long tub, while the latter offers five roomy seats and a 1712 mm tub. The shorter tub carries 800kg, while the Express is rated at 845kg. Other noticeable differences see the Express colour-coordinated on the exterior, whereas the Laramie is more American-bling with acres of chrome on the front, rear and flanks. Common to both

derivatives, the standard fitment list is extensive, making pricing comparisons with other suppliers worth the trouble given that many items are extras. The RAM has 20-inch wheels with 275-60 rubber, full length side steps, HD tow bar, fog lamps and spray-in bed liner all included. The engine, which certainly isn’t basic, will get petrolheads salivating over its a 5.7L Hemi V8 delivering 291kW and 556Nm at 3950rpm. It is easily up to 100kW more than a recently launched contender that claims to be NZ’s most powerful ute. I don’t think so. Using clever tech, the big V8 can switch off two or four cylinders to run in a V6 or V4 format, saving fuel and delivering 9.9L/100km efficiency. Also helping on the fuel

front, active grille louvres help prevent overcooling and promote quicker warm-up from cold. Bolting the engine to an 8-speed trans, controlled by a neat rotary dial on the centre console, gets you 0-100km/h in 7.8 secs and push-button shifts if required. Tougher conditions can be tackled with the choice of 2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD High-locked and 4WD Low-locked. The only difference in the Express is that it misses out on the 4WD Auto option. On the road this truck is big no doubt, but a commanding driving position makes visibility great. Get-up-and-go ranks with the big V8, but the ride is assured and level even when pushed through the rural bends of NSW. Perhaps the elec-

trically assisted power steering might offer limited feedback but, hey, this is a 2.6 tonne truck not a micro-mini. Neither model lacks room in the cabin, and fit-and-finish is up there with the best, especially in the leather-trimmed Laramie that shows great attention to detail. For those looking to increase the truck’s versatility, the other factory

option is the RamBox storage system with lockers built into the flanks of the tub above the wheel arches. These waterproof, lockable bins allow a wide range of objects to be securely stored, working simply with the bed divider/extender to deal with any load. Towing is a breeze given all that power and the 4.5t rating, eclipsing the competition by

a good tonne, but also with its trailer brake control, sway control and ready alert braking. Add in all the other safety features, such as airbags, stability control, ABS, hill start assist, park assist and a rear-view camera, then you see why the RAM 1500 is highly recommended and worth a closer look. @rural_news

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Feed mixers built tough MARK DANIEL

MANUFACTURERS OF total mixed ration (TMR) mixers should stop claiming their machines have “better steel, bigger tyres and brighter lights” than competitors’ machines, says Marti Phillipi, export sales manager for the Canadian TMR specialists Jaylor. Phillipi accuses competitors of claims that have no bearing on the purpose of a TMR mixer – to create of different ingredients a uniform, homogenous mix that resists sorting by the animals being fed. Jaylor (the name originates from the names of owners Jake and Lorraine Tamminga) is located at Orton, 60km from Toronto, Canada. The family business started in 1993, aiming

to make a mixer to deal with the large round bales of hay and silage that had become increasingly popular during the late 1980s. “Total mixed rations (TMR) are the single most-influential factor in increasing milk production in North America in the last 20 years,” says Jaylor president Jake Tamminga. He developed a vertical auger concept that remains to this day; its development during the ensuing years led to 36 patents -- six of them applying to the auger design. The patented SquareCut auger cuts and carries material upwards in the tub, then releases it to tumble downwards to achieve mixing. The sloped top of the auger prevents bridging of round bales, allowing

Canadian TMR specialists Jaylor say the purpose of its TMR mixer is to create a homogenous mix that resists sorting by the animals being fed.

them to be cut rapidly and achieve a good mix in a shorter time frame. A novel side plate gathers material, moving it to the centre of the auger for lifting and reducing friction between the auger and the tub wall, cutting power need by 20% and helping extend the life of the tub. This contrasts with manufacturers statements about ‘re-lin-

ing’ options for their machines. Simple Perspex viewing windows in the tub allow the operator to watch the mix in progress and decide when it is ready. Cutting is achieved by a combination of carbidecoated horizontal and vertical knives that are self-sharpening and durable for long working life. Machines range in size from Mini-Mixers (1.5cu.m) for feeding indi-


viduals or small groups, to single auger models (1016cu.m), twin-augur units (18-29cu.m) and a model for large feed lots or ‘oversized’ operations. Depending on the size, suspension can have single or tandem axles and single or twin tyre assemblies. Discharge options include front, rear or side door combinations and the choice of a drop floor or different discharge conveyors for various feeding situations. Other options are weighing systems, two speed drive trains for smaller tractors, brakes and central greasing. A five-year warranty applies to certain components. @rural_news

ON THE SNOW WITH PLENTY OF GO A RECENTLY published world record refers to the northern hemisphere likely expecting lots of snow that will need moving quickly. Valtra, of the global AGCO stable, and tyre specialist Nokian Tyres earlier this year set a record for high-speed snow clearing with a fully autonomous tractor. An unmanned Valtra T254 Versu tractor equipped with Nokian Hakkapeliitta tyres cleared snow on a closed road in southern Finland at 73.17km/h. R&D teams from both companies were prompted by the growing interest in autonomous technology in the agriculture, roading and logistics sectors. Tractors are said to incur extra stresses when operating at high speed with front-mounted implements on slippery surfaces. But the block-style tread pattern of the specialised Nokian tyres imparted stability, predictability and car-like steering. The outcome will provide good data for the evolution of autonomous driving technology. This is the second world record for the Scandinavian duo, who in 2015, helped by the rally legend and farmer Juha Kankkunen, drove a Valtra T234 tractor on ice at a top speed of 130km/h, running on tyres similar to those used in the record setting. – Mark Daniel


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New distribution for Case IH and Kuhn MARK DANIEL

THE FORMING of CKNZ, a subsidiary of CB Norwood Distributors Ltd, heralds a new direction for the distribution of Case IH in New Zealand as Norwood prepares a new growth strategy. Farm equipment brand Kuhn will also be distributed through CKNZ, which will operate independently of its Palmerston North parent company. CKNZ is expected to be well focussed on supporting the Case IH and Kuhn brands and it will give a leaner and more efficient channel to market. CKNZ’s new general manager, Tim Fanning, says the changes enable the two ‘powerhouse’ brands to offer a stronger value proposition.

“We want to concentrate 100% on the end-user experience, meaning we must be highly responsive to our dealer network, particularly in aftersales. “CKNZ gives Case IH and Kuhn the best of both worlds: committed specialists who are passionate about the brands they represent, but still able to utilise and leverage the resources of its parent company when required.” The principal supplier of Case IH, CNH Industrial Pty Ltd, supports the parent company reorganisation and creation of CKNZ, says David Gibson, CNH Industrial’s NZ commercial manager. “CNH Industrial looks forward to working closely with CKNZ. We are confident that the announced changes will result in greater retail

focus and customer satisfaction for Case IH customers.” CKNZ says it expects minimal disruption to the business and it hopes customers will soon start to see improvements.

“We have an extremely capable network of dealers and they are excited about the future,” Fanning says. CKNZ, a subsidiary of CB Norwood Distributors Limited, heralds a new direction for the distribution of Case IH and Kuhn in New Zealand.

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GPS SET TO GET EASIER PRECISION FARMING specialist Trimble looks set to rark up the GPS positioning game with RTK accuracy via a satellite connection. Its media release says its RTX GNSS corrections technology is achieving pass-to-pass technology below 2cm, plus quicker start-up and convergence times. “Operators can now achieve full accuracy in less than 15 minutes, or even as fast as one minute, in areas where the RTX Fast Network infrastructure is available,” the company says. Trimble RTX is said to provide unprecedented performance from a satellite-derived correction service. In addition, corrections are available via an internet or cellular connection, making the service extremely versatile. The technology allows users to attain highly accurate positioning data for precision agriculture. This is without relying on a VRS network or local RTK base station, so improving accuracy in remote locations without spending a lot of money. Connection is via an RTX-capable receiver or display, allowing a quick start-up and a minimal convergence period. It requires only line-of-sight to the sky, allowing operators to work freely, without the constraints of geographic boundaries inherent in a VRS network. – Mark Daniel

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JD’s new forage harvesters coming MARK DANIEL

SNIPPETS DURING the last few months about the new John Deere 9000 series SP harvesters no doubt originate in the ‘mothership’ and are disseminated by social media.

Now the wraps are off, with official photographs and confirmed specifications; twin, chromed exhaust stacks and a J.Lo back end hint at where they’re headed. The new 9000 series will have four models -the 9600, 9700, 9800 and flagship 9900. The small-

est unit has Deere’s own 13.5L, 6-cylinder PowerTech engine, while the three larger units are equipped with a 24L, V12 engine supplied by Liebherr. Maximum power outputs are 625, 770, 870 and 970hp, respectively, in machines the man-

Thinking of a mulcher?

Think again!

The wraps are off the new John Deere 9000 series SP harvesters.

“The Major Cyclone can knock it down and keep pastures in order. It can chop some pretty massive stuff.” TOM GRANT, Whakatane

The Major Range of Cyclone Mowers is designed to give a quality finish in grassland, gorse and scrubland. Delivers a 25% fuel saving compared to traditional mulchers. Seven models from 2.0m to 5.6m. Heavy duty rear roller. Designed & produced in Ireland. Patented HD driveline. Overlap blade system for clean cut.

Now available in New Zealand through:

Kaitaia Tractors (027 4812188), Norwood (027 4820146), Roger Gill Agriculture (027 2378723), Whyteline (021 588874), Giltrap AgriZone (07 823 3721), TransAg (027 498 3903), Stevenson & Taylor Ltd (027 444 2087) Major Equipment Intl Ltd

ufacturer describes as ‘wide-bodied’ with fuel capacities of 1100 to

1500L. Rural News understands that several exist-

RIPwithITAlpego UP From

$21,950 CRAKER SUBSOILERS IDEAL FOR: PUGGED GROUND - PRE MAIZE CULTIVATION - CROPPING GROUND • Built tough from high tensile Swedish steel • Double spiked rear roller breaks soil clods for level finishing • Breaks soil pans for free drainage from 300 to 650mm depth • 3m working widths available now, to suit tractors from 80-500HP • Increased pasture & crop yields resulting from more plant root vigour * Normal lending criteria and special conditions apply.

Visit our website for more info and your nearest dealer -

ing 8000 series machines will remain in the product offering. It is expected the 8600 will become the flagship of that series, with the same 13.5L/625hp engine as the entry level 9600 machine. John Deere says the new series will provide “10% more productivity while consuming 10% less fuel” than existing topof-the-range machines. It also gives a similar number of 10% higher kernel processing scores for machines equipped with corn crackers. The range has undergone several changes, including an 850mm crop channel that feeds a 670mm diameter drum that carries 40, 48, 56 or 64 chopping knives. Add to this an improved mainframe to deal with higher loadings, a reinforced driveline in the same vein and optimised component speeds: all are said to increase efficiency and form the basis of JD’s new HarvestMotion concept. The kernel processor/ corn cracker for the range

merits attention; it has the optional XStream KP unit developed with US specialist Scherer. It has a roller diameter of 250mm and a roller speed differential of 50% to create a ‘scrubbing’ effect; it is said to achieve the higher kernel processing score authenticated by independent test institutes. Processor rollers are fitted in a saw-tooth profile on the Premium KP unit, with either sawtooth or a new X-cut design in the XStream unit; this has a spiral-cut groove across the roll surfaces. Interestingly, the XStream KP is fitted with in-built temperature sensors to keep the operator informed of bearing temperatures. The 9000 series is available with JD’s AMS precision farming systems that include the HarvestLab 3000NIRsensor to measure crop yields, moisture and other constituents; AutoTrac steering; RowSense guidance and ActiveFill Control to fill trucks or trailers.



Machine ‘rock concert’ wins the night MARK DANIEL

HEAVY METAL addicts of the farm machinery kind made a pilgrimage recently to Morrinsville for distributor and retailer Power Farming’s ‘Big Night Out’. Pulling together a huge display of large-scale products for high-end farmers and contractors, the family owned business showed the latest tractor offerings from Deutz Fahr, Versatile and Kioti. And there were implements from Kverneland, Maschio, Merlo, Jaylor and Aitchison. Alongside showing visitors the latest and greatest, Power Farming also took them on a tour of its premises to show what it takes to be a successful distributor. In logistics alone, 700 containers arrive annually at the MPI-approved facility for unloading and processing through the assembly building; 1600+ items pass through, creating 2000 individual jobs. Inventory is 600 items held in stock at any one time. On the service front, customers now demand around-the-clock technical support, which Power Farming achieves on several levels. At wholesale, this means seven technical/ support staff in New Zealand, 11 in Australia and three in the US. They liase with supplier factories at 50 locations in 10 countries. They also deal with retail support where 23 retail service managers oversee 150+ NZ-certified technicians who keep customers going. Annual spending on training is massive and $500,000 goes on diagnostic equipment. In parts support the company holds at least 100,000 line items with a combined NZ and AU retail value of $50 million. Thirteen personnel oversee order processing and despatch to send 30,000

items per month to users; peak months are October - December. Those items must be available off the shelf at the right time, requiring delivery lead times of up to eight months. Managing director Geoff Maber talked about the challenges of running such a business -- making sound business decisions and forming enduring partnerships with overseas suppliers, in many cases family-owned, as is Power Farming. The company invests heavily in its future, Maber said. It has at least $15m in buildings and infrastructure to create a good environment for customers and employees, essential in attracting the best staff. Maber expects hefty price rises in the coming months -- perhaps 15-20% over 18 months -- because of tariffs in America, Brexit in Europe and changing global trends. Exchange rate changes have caused the NZ dollar to fall 25% against the USD and 10% against the Euro, Maber said. Steel prices have risen in the last year by 17-20%. Higher oil prices have caused a 10% rise in the price of plastics and tyres. But Maber says it’s a great time to be in the agricultural industry, given that increasing populations need increases in food production and Asian consumers are eating more fats and meat proteins. In NZ all Power Farming’s key brands are tracking upwards despite Mycoplasma bovis and negative comment on farming by city journalists. In Australia, after record sales in 2017, the drought this year is already depressing spending on machinery: June alone is down 10%. Power Farming’s confidence is seen in its recent expansion into North America, where at least 200,000 tractors are sold

annually. But there are frustrations, Maber said, notably in arranging retail credit.

Attendees at Power Farming’s ‘Big Night Out’ held in Morrinsville recently.


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Keeping safety simple MARK DANIEL

HEADING INTO September, the buds bursting and calves enjoying the sun on their backs reminds us that the new farming season is about to beginhear comes Spring! Unfortunately, September is also notable for the wrong reasons, with ACC statistics showing that the first month of Spring is also the peak month for on-farm injuries. The range of injuries cover a broad spectrum, from being crushed or bitten by animals, being trapped by stationary or

moving objects or even hurt by explosions. Add to that, the second highest incidences of falls on the same level and muscular strains, then September is a dangerous time. For any business, having staff away injured or sick at such a busy time, is likely to have a serious effect on productivity, while also increasing the likelihood of more stress on owners or workers as their workload increases to cover absentees. Like all employers, farmers have a responsibility for their workers health and safety,


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and as part of that responsibility, should ensure that employees are actively involved in health and safety planning. Its important to understand that involving staff in H&S decisions for numerous reasons. Firstly, it helps address a wider range of issues that need addressing, more chance of evolving practical solutions, but importantly, achieving more engagement from teams and individuals. Human nature is such, that people like working in places that value their opinions, and more so, for those businesses that actively try to look after their health and wellbeing. This perception also leads to the likelihood that staff are retained for longer, that itself means the business benefits from those employees’ experience and greater knowledge of the operation. Getting workers to “buy into” safe practice needs to be kept simple-it shouldn’t be about table thumping meetings or reams of paper, as much more can be achieved at an informal morning “Smoko” with coffee and sausage rolls, although the waistlines may be in some danger. In real terms, the issue is about identifying and discussing the risks on your farm and how to manage them, because after all, there are no better people to know the farm, and manage those risks? Farmers also need to be mindful that safetyrelated conversations

Keep it simple: clearly communicate risks to staff, involve your team and form a clear list together. It’s not about table-thumping meetings and reams of paper.

SAFETY BRIEFING TIPS ✔ KEEP IT SIMPLE ✔ GET BUY-IN ✔ INVOLVE YOUR STAFF don’t just happen at the start of the season, but become an ongoing topic, mindful that risks may change, maybe because of weather, the arrival of new plant or machinery, or even changing ground conditions. Farmers and their managers should strive to create a culture where workers aren’t afraid to speak up for fear of being shouted down or ridiculed when raising

their concerns. Encourage everyone to report “near misses” and discuss solutions in a positive manner so the same things don’t happen again. Think about investing in a whiteboard or if you’re on a budget, an old white shower lining for the Meeting Room or centralised area, so everyone can put up or list items of concern, and any

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near misses for discussion. It can also be used to list changing risks, but importantly it helps to reinforce a positive safety “buy-in”. Think about taking things further by producing a Farm Hazard Map, that is populated following a farm walk with staff, and useful to hand to farm visitors such as contractors. Also make sure to give workers the power to

identify risks, that might cause serious injury or death, while also encouraging them to confront any co-workers or visitors who they believe are at risk or aren’t abiding by the farm safety plan. But most of all, lead by example, by taking the lead in risk planning, opening up about your own “near misses”. • Keep Safe-Keep Farming at


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Enter online or by post. Go to

Enter online or by post. Go to


Or fill in this form and post it to: Rural News, Win a Suzuki Kingquad competition, PO Box 331-100, Auckland 0740

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

Rural News 18 September 2018  

Rural News 18 September 2018

Rural News 18 September 2018  

Rural News 18 September 2018