Page 1




Deer and sheep farmer no quitter. PAGE 26

Double celebration for Waikato company. PAGE 30

Parental block holding kids back from agricultural careeers PAGE 11


Let’s try again! SUDESH KISSUN

TWO UNSUCCESSFUL candidates in the recent Fonterra director election will get another chance to join the board. John Nicholls and Jamie Tuuta will face off in a second election called this month by the Fonterra shareholders council. The first election saw only two of the five candidates secure the minimum 50% ‘yes’ vote needed among shareholders, leaving one vacancy on the 11-member board. The council decided to open the second election only to the three unsuccessful candidates. However, former Fonterra director Ashley Waugh, who also missed out in the first election, decided not to stand again. “I decided not to contest; I have full respect for the shareholders’ decision,” Waugh told Rural News. Voting for the second board election opened on December 3; Fonterra shareholders have until 1pm on December 20 to cast their votes. Results will be announced later the same day. Council chairman Duncan Coull says the rules of the first election state that if not enough candidates obtain more than 50% support there must be a second election. “This is the first time a second director election has been required,” Coull says. “After careful consideration, the shareholders council has determined that the second election will be a vote

between the unsuccessful candidates nominated in the first election who wish to re-stand.” As with the first election, a successful candidate must obtain more than 50% support from shareholders who vote. Coull says if both candidates get more than 50% support then the candidate with the highest level of support will be elected. “If no candidate gets more than 50% support there will not be a third election and the board may exercise its

AMAZING OPPORTUNITY PALMERSTON NORTH Girls High School’s Saskia Gilbert and 31 other teachers from the lower North Island took part in the recent Ag Day Out annual event organised by Growing NZ, DairyNZ and Rural News Group. The teachers toured Wairarapa, visiting a large honey company, the Juken timber mill and manufacturing plant and a rural contracting business. They also heard from recent graduates working in agriculture. Gilbert, who teaches biology and chemistry, says she was amazed at the career opportunities available for young people in the primary sector. “I haven’t had much to do with the agriculture sector, so seeing the kind of opportunities that exist is a huge benefit to me.” – See full story page 4

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constitutional power to make a temporary appointment until the 2019 annual meeting is completed.” However, it cannot appoint one of the unsuccessful candidates. Coull says new candidates will have the opportunity to put themselves forward next year as part of the 2019 director election cycle. In the first election, Leonie Guiney and Peter McBride secured more than 50% support from voting shareholders. Three sitting directors retired by rotation; former chairman John Wilson

stepped down from the board. Another sitting director, Nicola Shadbolt, was not endorsed by the independent selection panel. Waugh also contested and lost the first election despite being nominated by the board. McBride was also favoured by Fonterra’s appointment panel, however Guiney was nominated by farmers. Like McBride, Tuuta – a Maori agribusiness leader – was nominated by the Fonterra board, while John Nicholls – a large-scale farmer – nominated himself.


“THE CURE must not kill the patient,” says Potatoes NZ chief executive Chris Claridge. That thinking underlies the decision to manage the potato mop top virus (PMTV), confirmed in NZ in September, rather than attempt to eradicate it. “We are working with MPI and just going into the transition into long term management,” Claridge told Rural News. “While we don’t believe it is technically feasible to eradicate it, it might well be possible to contain it. But this is a pragmatic move: the difficulties associated with eradication were too high…. “The international advice we had was we couldn’t do it and also there would be too much disruption to the industry if we went down the eradication path. The cure must not kill the patient.” The disease was found in Canterbury in the Innovator variety which is only used for potato chips. That variety was last imported as germplasm into NZ in July 2011. Affected potatoes can display symptoms including distortions of the skin, deep cracking and rustcoloured arcs, streaks or flecks in the tuber flesh. MPI says the disease is endemic to North America and Europe where it is generally managed effectively without causing major production losses.


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Aussie model for rural health


NEWS��������������������������������������1-16 AGRIBUSINESS����������������18-19 MARKETS�������������������������� 20-21 HOUND, EDNA���������������������� 22 CONTACTS����������������������������� 22 OPINION����������������������������22-24 MANAGEMENT�������������� 25-26 ANIMAL HEALTH����������� 28-29 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS���������������������� 30-33 RURAL TRADER������������� 34-35

HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print CONTACTS Editorial: Advertising material: Rural News online: Subscriptions: ABC audited circulation 79,599 as at 30.09.2018

A PROPOSAL by three universities to attract and retain health professionals in rural areas fits well with Government proposals, says Dr Garry Nixon, associate dean rural at the University of Otago. Health Minister David Clark this month rejected the idea of a school for rural medicine. He said it would cost up to $250 million to set up and run. But the Ministry of Health plans a raft of measures to improve the supply of doctors, nurses and midwives in rural areas. “By itself, just training more undergraduate doctors is not the answer,” Clark said. “We need a more comprehensive approach to attract, support and sustain the health professionals that care for rural people.” Nixon says a joint proposal between the universities of Auckland and Otago and the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) fits with the Government’s thinking. He says a national inter-professional school of rural health will bring

Health Minister David Clark.

together a community of rural health academics, dispersed across rural New Zealand and brought together on a “virtual campus”. Rural healthcare professionals would combine academic roles with active rural clinical practice.  The school activities would be based around nodes located in rural towns and integrated with local health services. Nixon told Rural News the Government has said it didn’t think a third medical school is what NZ needs at the moment, and although more doctors

overall are not needed there is a “maldistribution” of the health workforce. Nixon see real shortages in rural NZ. Australia has 18 rural clinical schools and most Australian medical schools have a rural clinical school attached to them. It allows more students to do more of their training in rural areas. “It is also a way of supporting rural health professionals -- doctors and others -- to undertake teaching and research in the same way they would

have those opportunities if they were living in the city,” he says. “It is a very successful model overseas.” Nixon says the health minister’s statements are aligned and the Ministry of Health is keen to look at successful Australian models. “Our proposal is very much based on successful Australian models. We send reasonable numbers of students out into rural areas to get experience, but we don’t have the university appointments in rural areas like they would have in Australia. “It provides the teaching expertise, research and leadership. We have been really held up in New Zealand by not having that.” Nixon says Otago and Auckland are giving rural students opportunities to go through medical school and return to rural areas. And there are opportunities for medical students and other health professional students to train in rural areas. “But where we are falling down is in not putting those university posts -- the university infrastructure -- into rural areas. Compared to Australia we are really falling behind.”

Arrivederci Signor Paravicini! SUDESH KISSUN

ANOTHER FONTERRA executive is leaving the co-op. Lukas Paravicini, the chief operating officer of its consumer and foodservice business will leave the co-op in January 2019 to return to Europe with his family. His resignation marks the departure of another top executive from the era of Theo Spierings, who resigned

ings departed. as chief executive in SepFonterra’s chief exectember after seven years utive officer, Miles Hurat the top. rell, says Paravacini was Paravacini was instrumental in mainappointed to Fonterra’s taining the financial management team in 2013 strength of the cooperas the chief financial offiative, including through cer, and as COO consumer some years of low milk and foodservice business Lukas Paravicini prices and challenging in March last year. global conditions. Paravacini was report“He spearheaded initiatives such edly one of the internal candidates for the chief executive’s role after Spier- as the cooperative support loan, and

championed Fonterra’s business transformation.” Hurrell noted that Paravacini had moved seamlessly from Fonterra’s numbers man to leading its global consumer and foodservice businesses. “The cooperative thanks Lukas for his contribution and wishes him every success in his next venture.” An announcement on the appointment of his replacement will follow. @rural_news

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Investing in staff pays dividends NIGEL MALTHUS

THE ‘BIG thing’ in employing farm staff is to invest in them, says Dunsandel farmer Michael Woodward. “We try to grow these people as much as we can, while they’re in our farming group,” he says. Woodward and his wife Susie were finalists in the inaugural Primary Industries Good Employer Awards, having been nominated in the Agriculture Minister’s Award category. The winners were announced at Parliament last week. He says the key to being a good employer is “making sure we are one of the vehicles on their journey, and making sure that when they leave the farm they are a better person through being involved in our system”.

The couple are 50:50 sharemilkers on 294ha (effective) milking 1020 cows through a 50-bail rotary. They are also now expanding into a small Angora goat operation on their home block. They employ six full-time and have run many properties in the past with up to 19 people on the books at one stage. “So we’ve had a bit of experience employing people on the way through. We found things we were cognisant of when we were employees – things that we liked or didn’t like that our employers did, and we thought we could do better,” said Woodward. He said he was “really stoked” to be nominated for the award by their DairyNZ consulting officer Natalia Benquet. “Not to say that we get it right all the time but obviously [Benquet] believed we

AWARD WINNERS INNOVATIVE EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES AWARD Winner: Ben and Nicky Allomes, Hopelands Dairies Ltd (dairy). Highly commended: Jenny Buckley and Dave van den Beuken, Jaydee Partnership (dairy). EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT AWARD Winner: Kevin and Kylie Ihaka, Forest Protection Services (forestry). Highly commended: Patrick Malley, Onyx Capital Ltd (horticulture). MĀORI AGRIBUSINESS AWARD Winner: Miraka (dairy). Highly commended: Zac Te Ahuru, Ruapehu Agricultural Developments Ltd (forestry). MINISTER’S AWARD Winner: Ben and Nicky Allomes, Hopelands Dairies Ltd (dairy). Highly commended: Bruce Beaton, Kristen Nash and Maurice Windle, T&G Global, Pipfruit (horticulture).

Dunsandel dairy farmer Michael Woodward was a finalist in this year’s Primary Industries Good Employer Awards. RURAL NEWS GROUP

were doing something good for the industry.” Woodward, who is also the Federated Farmers North Canterbury dairy chairman and vice-chairman and regional manager of the Dairy Industry Awards, recently became farm operations manager for his farm owners, the Purata Farms group. “We’re still 50:50 sharemilking but because we employ the team we get to do it how we want within the wider system.” Communication with staff is very important, as is making sure no-one was doing “big hours”. His staff averaged about 45 hours a week through the high workload spring season. Woodward said keeping an extra half to full labour unit employed gives sickness and holiday cover so the others don’t have to “work their butts off”.

AN EYE-OPENER FOR TEACHERS EYE-OPENING! WAS the response of secondary school teacher Saskia Gilbert, from Palmerston North Girls High School, to the recent Ag Day Out she took part in. She and 31 other teachers in the lower North Island went on the annual event organised by Growing NZ, DairyNZ and Rural News Group. They toured Wairarapa, visiting a large honey company, the Juken timber mill and manufacturing plant and a rural contracting business. The teachers also heard from recent graduates working in agriculture. Gilbert, who teaches biology and chemistry, says she was amazed at the career opportunities available for young people in the primary sector. “I haven’t had much to do with the agriculture sector, so seeing the kind of opportunities that exist is a huge benefit to me,” she told Rural News. “I will be relaying this to the girls. “I now realise it’s not just jobs on farms, but other careers such as journalism and managerial roles that aren’t on farm but are important for the sector.” Tracey O’Connor, from Kapiti College, agreed saying the trip was great for her because there are not many rural-based jobs in her region. She said it was great hearing from the young graduates and seeing and hearing about beekeeping. “Students don’t know what they don’t know, so the more information I can learn and transfer to them the better.” Susan Stokes, an Ag Day Out participant since it began, says it was good to show the teachers new options such as beekeeping, forestry and rural contracting. “This is a whole side of the sector they haven’t seen before and what struck me was the passion of all the people we met. They obviously loved their jobs,” she said. Stokes says a recurring theme during the day was the need for employers and staff to build good, strong relationships. She says it’s clear this plays a huge part in the success of organisations and individuals. Desrae Ngatai, from GrowingNZ – who did much of the organisation for the day – says teachers obviously benefited from the experience. She says her organisation is responsible for informing young people of career opportunities in the agri sector. Ngatai thanked sponsors ANZ, Zespri, Lewis Road Creamery, Taratahi Ag Training Centre DairyNZ and Rural News Group for helping to achieve this. – Peter Burke


5pm, 20 December 2018 The Co-operative is now seeking applications for the newly established Board Appointed Farmer Director. To be eligible for this role, candidates must be a current shareholder of the Co-operative and have supplied a minimum of 400 stock units to Silver Fern Farms for each of the two years ended 31 December 2017 and 31 December 2018. FOR ANY ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT:

Clark Taylor Shareholder Relations Manager email. tel. 0800 362 362



Tip Top to go on the block? SUDESH KISSUN

FONTERRA SAYS its asset review process is well underway, but there’s nothing to announce right now. A Fonterra spokesman says people will speculate on “what all this could mean”. “When we are ready, we’ll be open with our people, farmers and the market about any changes,” the spokesman told Rural News. “We are taking a close look at our current portfolio and reviewing all of the co-op’s investments, major assets and partnerships against our

strategy. “This includes assessing their return on capital and whether there is opportunity to scale them up and grow more value over the next twothree years.” Media reports have named the New Zealand ice cream business Tip Top and the South American subsidiary Soprole as the two value-add businesses under review, along with its disastrous investment in Chinese baby food company Beingmate. Fonterra’s strategic review emanates from its 2017-18 net loss of $196 million, the first in its history; the co-op aims

KINGQUAD WINNERS CONGRATULATIONS TO the two winners of our Suzuki Kingquad competition. Craig Whittaker from Waimauku is the winner of the Dairy News competition while Marilyn Redditt from Tapanui is the Rural News winner. Both are eagerly awaiting their brand new Kingquad 500 courtesy of Rural News Group and Suzuki New Zealand. Thanks to everyone that entered.

to reduce its debt levels by $800m to protect its balance sheet. Included in the review is Fonterra’s 18.8% holding in China’s Beingmate, whose poor performance and internal power struggle forced the co-op to write down the value of its investment by $405m from the original $750m paid. Fonterra chairman John Monaghan told the co-op’s annual meeting recently that the reduction cannot be achieved by improved performance alone. “We need to divest assets to meet that commitment,” he said.

Fonterra’s review of assets could see it sell Tip Top.



Pragmatic approach to trade needed by both UK and EU – BLNZ PETER BURKE

REAL PRAGMATISM is needed in Europe to sort out the trade issues on Brexit, says Beef + Lamb NZ chair Andrew Morrison. Just home from his annual visit to Europe, he says this fortuitously coincided with the apparent agreement on Brexit between the EU and UK negotiators. However doubt remains on whether the deal will win the support of UK politicians. Morrison told Rural News, from London, that his key message in talks with officials, farming leaders and commercial entities is the need for rules-based free

NOT ALL ABOUT TRADE ALTHOUGH BREXIT and trade are high on European farmers’ agenda other issues are also worrying them. These include climate change, the environment, water quality and biodiversity – heard for the first time since he began his annual visits there. “They are also talking about the threat from alternative proteins.” Morrison pointedly told the EU farmers that he was not there to put pressure on anyone, but rather to prompt quality dialogue between farmers in the southern and northern hemispheres.

trade, and that any move to break away from this concept will be strongly opposed by NZ. “If you compromise on this issue it doesn’t leave anyone in a good position for any future trade deals,” he says. Morrison talked with the Ulster Farmers Union which told him that if the

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UK left the EU without a deal it would be disastrous. He got the same message from French and Republic of Ireland (Eire) farmers: they all want a deal that supports the free flow of trade. “Pragmatism has to prevail because if there is a hard border between Northern Ireland and

BLNZ chair Andrew Morrison.

[Eire] there will be problems,” he said. “A lot of the lambs are grown in the north, but processed in the south. These are purely commercial issues and a lot of the people we have met – from

cooperatives and sheep and beef processors – want certainty about their investment and the ability to put their products in markets as they currently do.” Meanwhile the issue of tariff rate quotas (TRQs)

for sheepmeat to the EU is high on the agenda for NZ, with a proposal by the UK and EU to arbitrarily split this 50/50 when Brexit takes effect. NZ opposes this move because it would take away the current

flexibility to sell NZ’s 228,000 tonnes of sheepmeat where there is greatest demand. But Morrison says the real objective is to get more lamb onto the shelves of supermarkets and grow total sales of this product. “I think TRQs have been misunderstood in that they are being used as a bit of a political football, whereas the goal is to ensure we supply lamb into these markets when they need it.” Morrison says lamb was in short supply in the EU and UK this past Easter. The point is not so much about NZ filling its quota but about it maximising the value from its sales to these markets.



NZ’s dairy quota concerns post Brexit PETER BURKE

THE DAIRY Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has labelled the proposal by Britain and the European Union (EU) to arbitrarily split NZ’s tariff rate quotas of butter and cheese as unjustifiable and flawed. At present, NZ may export 74,963 tonnes of butter, 7000 tonnes of cheddar cheese and 4000 tonnes of product for processing at reduced tariff rates to the EU, but assuming Britain leaves the EU next March this will change. DCANZ executive director Kimberly Crewther – who has worked in Europe on international trade issues – says the EU and the UK want to split the present quota to the two entities based on the port entry pattern in recent years. The proposed split for NZ butter quota volumes is 63% / 37%. For some of the MFN quotas it is 100% / 0%. Under the current arrangement, which forms part of the EU and UK’s agreed World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments, there is flexibility to best meet the needs of producers and consumers in the UK and EU.

DCANZ executive director Kimberly Crewther.

This could mean using the full volume in either the UK or the EU to respond to consumer demand. Crewther says under WTO rules, any changes made to agreements must

not disadvantage any party. However, she says if the splits proposal goes through, NZ will be disadvantaged in several ways. “The loss of flexibility under their

proposal means that we will not be able to meet market demands in either the UK or EU and that takes away existing trading opportunities for NZ producers. It’s important to remember that the trading relationship with the EU and UK markets are both important to NZ.” Crewther says that even if the proposal to split quotas was justified, DCANZ would also be concerned about the proposed methodology and this and other concerns have been conveyed to both parties. She says the UK and EU have split the quota on the basis of where NZ’s dairy exports are first landed in the EU. “This assumes that the goods are consumed in the countries where the goods landed, which is simply wrong,” Crewther told Rural News. “The port is more likely to be an indicator of shipping routes and supply chain logistics than of point of consumption. Products could have landed in large ports such as Rotterdam in the first instance, but then been transhipped elsewhere in the EU or across to customers in the UK. There is no way of tracing where that product goes within a geography where there

is complete freedom of movement of goods.” Crewther says the complexity of the situation is leading to uncertainty about whether product now traded freely between the UK and the EU may cease. “The UK is a major dairy importer, with most of the product it imports coming from the EU. “If there is a ‘hard’ Brexit, we could expect a level of ‘trade diversion’ – meaning products that would otherwise have been traded between the EU and UK would instead face high tariffs and possibly be instead traded with other markets. If volumes were sizable this would have flow-on effects and be an added distortion in the global market.” Crewther says such distortions typically have a negative influence on the global markets. She says the EU and the UK should honour their WTO commitments and ensure any changes to their own bilateral relationship does not leave other countries worse off in their trade opportunity. @rural_news

27/11/18 5:38 PM



Advice and support keys to success PAM TIPA

BUILD AROUND you a network of people whose advice you trust when starting a rural business. That’s the advice of this year’s supreme winner of the NZI Rural Women NZ Business

Awards, Marie Taylor. Obtaining that good advice is a key factor in success, she told Rural News. Taylor runs Plants Hawkes Bay, which sources local seeds and cuttings to regenerate the local native plant species; farmers are high on

her customer list. She used to work for the QEII National Trust and was a rural journalist. “Those roles gave me a good network of people to use as my customer base,” she says. Initially Taylor started sourcing local natives for a steep east-facing lime-

stone cliff on a lifestyle block at Bayview. Revegetation was about the only option for the site. “So I started learning about what the local species were and what were the best ones to grow and how to grow them and I built on that. “I’d been doing that

for quite a few years just for us, and then people started asking for plants and I thought it would be a great opportunity to start a business.” She set up in 2005 on land Ieased from Landcorp at Ahuriri Station. Taylor slowly grew the business, learning

Rural Women NZ business award winner Marie Taylor.

how to collect the seeds and grow the plants more effectively. Seeds are collected from several farmers who often buy them back. “So they are planting their own plants back on the farm. “It is a good way to

a week, but I definitely don’t think that now. You have to fit in and work with people and make it easy for them.” Entering the awards was challenging. A video was required and she wanted to do something different. She took photos

“It is a good way to retain the integrity of the local landscape. Farmers are definitely some of the key customers.”

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retain the integrity of the local landscape. Farmers are definitely some of the key customers.” Her advice to others wanting to start their own rural businesses is to build a network of trusted advisors. She has a great accountant, banker and lawyer. “Lots of key people help me make strategic decisions about the business; that is important. If you haven’t got those skills yourself it is good to go to the best people and get advice.” She also took advantage of the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise regional business partners programme. “It was really helpful and almost free. Also I joined a business group -- bouncing ideas and getting advice and thinking about things in a different way. I found those two things invaluable.” Taylor also went through the Kellogg course at Lincoln in 2000. “That gave me the confidence to start a business.” She employs three fulltime equivalents – five people on her books – which works well for her and for them. “I used to think people should work 40 hours

of key people she worked with and asked them to hold up a sign telling what they did. She used those shots with a voiceover. “It talked about all the people who support us; that was good fun to do. “You also had to put together a lot of financial material and forecasts and write responses to quite detailed questions about marketing and promotion. A five minute speech was required on the night. Entering was a bit of a stretch. “It is nice to concentrate on your business and get a picture of it… work out what is important to you and what isn’t. I enjoyed that – it is very useful.” She entered also in 2015 and won the same ‘Love of the Land’ award both times before taking the supreme award this time. Then Rural Women president Wendy McGowan encouraged her to enter again when her accounts looked better. “I was only breaking even at that time. Things have increased rapidly since then.” One factor in that is that “farmers are more aware they have to do more remediation to their landscapes”.



Great ways to grow a career PAM TIPA

HORTICULTURE IS a great field for a young person wanting a diverse job and good career prospects, says Danni van der Heijden, an award winning technical advisor in the avocado industry. She didn’t come from a horticulture background, having grown up at Mangere Bridge, in South Auckland “Although I always enjoyed gardening as a child, I didn’t go into horticulture until I had studied chemistry and biology at university,” van der Heijden (24) told Rural News. “I wanted a job where I would be able to go out in the field as well as an office environment, and have a diverse role doing different things each day.

Horticulture ticked all the boxes on that.” Although she went to some career events at university to figure out what she wanted to do after finishing her degree, it was mainly her own research which led her to horticulture. She looked into different roles available. The industry has lived up to her expectations and van der Heijden has proved an asset to the industry, working as a technical advisor for AVOCO in Tauranga, where her role includes technical support, data analysis, mapping and research. This year she won Young Grower of the Year and Young Fruit Grower of the Year and came third in in the Young Horticulturalist of the Year competition.

Danni van der Heijden says the horticulture industry offers many exciting career opportunities.

In the latter competition she won AGMARDT Market Innovation Project award and also took finance, innovation and speech awards. Danni explains in her

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role with AVOCO she does technical support and research on issues along the supply chain from on-orchard to packhouses and to the market -- the importers of the


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Parental block holding kids back from agricultural careers NIGEL MALTHUS

THE BIGGEST barrier to youngsters choosing careers in agriculture is parents’ thinking that agriculture is “just a dumping ground,” says Gillian Koster, head of Rangiora High School’s land-based studies department.

is set up for horticulture studies taught in year 10. But most is in forage crops grazing sheep and cattle. The school commonly takes on dairy cows that have scanned as dry, keeps them through the winter then sells them. Agricultural studies are a significant part of

The school teaches animal husbandry in years 9 and 10, before the students decide which way they’re going to go. It also teaches horticulture to the juniors, but Koster says the students

“like animals too much” for the school to continue offering it in later years. Rangiora High School serves a large rural catchment stretching from Waipara to the Waimakariri River (apart



from Kaiapoi). Koster says not all the students doing agriculture are farm kids, however. The rise of lifestyle subdivisions – particularly in the Waimakariri end of the catchment – means most

students in the courses are now “lifestyle block kids” rather than from traditional farms. Koster attended the school during the early days of the lifestyle block movement.





Gillian Koster, head of Rangiora High School’s land-based studies.

“The parents won’t let their kids do it, in some cases because they see it as just where you go if you’re not very bright,” Koster told Rural News. “And they don’t realise the amount of potential for earnings if their kids are bright and have done the ag science or hort science degree. “Even if you haven’t done the degrees you can go straight from year 12, go to a dairy farm, work your way up to manager and be earning $110,000 plus a free house, free vehicle, food, power by age 22 or 23 years – if you are a good worker. Parents don’t realise that.” Despite recently selling some land for residential development, the school, located on the eastern edge of the North Canterbury town, still runs its own 20ha farm. A part is leased to another institution, the North Canterbury Community College, to run equine courses and some

the school’s programme. From a total roll of 1640, about 500 students a year are involved – about 350 full-time equivalents after allowing for junior courses that each runs for only half a year. Koster says the school runs three courses, all starting year 11: Academic agricultural science through to year 13 and aimed at students intending to take university degrees; A rural skills course which also goes to year 13 and is aimed at students who want to work on farms or go to Lincoln for diploma-level studies such as dip ag or dip farm management; Primary industry trade academy, in which year 12 students work on commercial farms one day a week, all year; this is for students who definitely want to go farming. If they don’t immediately get a farm job they might return for year 13, doing two days a week onfarm.













“30 years ago most would have been on true farms. I went to school here and we were on a lifestyle block, but we were the exception to the rule.”




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Plant-based a real threat to dairy attract much consumer resistance. Penno says whole milks will much better head off consumer resistance against plantbased substitutes. But he acknowledges that many young people – especially women in their late teens and early 20s – are being turned off dairy products. “I’m not saying this is widespread yet, because bovine dairy still dominates over plant. But it is important to look at where the change is [occurring]: in young people who are well informed and concerned


PLANT-BASED PROTEINS pose a threat to the New Zealand dairy industry’s ingredients strategy, says Synlait founder John Penno. Speaking at the Australasian Dairy Science Symposium in Palmerston North, Penno told the audience of 200 that it’s much easier for a manufacturer to substitute traditional dairy ingredients with plantbased ones because they will generally cost less, and these are unlikely to

Former Synlait boss John Penno.

about the impacts of large-animal production, climate change, water and animal welfare issues. Those concerns are driving their behaviour as

consumers.” Penno says young people are also influencing elderly people, especially those they are caring for. He noted

research by a company that went into private homes to talk about people’s dairy preferences. An older woman said she always bought bovine milk, but the researcher looked in the refrigerator and found plant-based milks bought by the woman’s daughter. “The changes we’re seeing now are just the start of a trend by some people to plant based milks.” Penno says the NZ dairy industry has too long been wedded to the commodity business – collecting milk in tankers

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and drying it. Meanwhile farmers have regarded dairy companies as their customers, rather than looking outwards to the consumers. Penno acknowledges the dairy industry is now doing a better job by developing new products to meet the needs of high-end consumers. He says consumers in Asia in particular are well connected via technology and will seek products which offer the best health options for their families. The challenge for the whole industry now is to

change, Penno says. “I firmly believe we have let farmers down because we have focused on efficiency without looking at ways farmers can increase the value of their milk. “If they increase the value of the milk, they will be able to differentiate it and make that milk more valuable to sell to a consumer somewhere in the world. A2 is an example of this. There is a set of consumers who can see the value in some of these new products and are prepared to pay large premiums for it.”

SMALLER, LESS INTENSIVE LOOKING TO the future, Penno believes the dairy industry will be smaller and less intensive. He says the point has been reached where any further expansion of dairy will have a detrimental effect on the environment. “People say technology will solve many of the environmental problems facing the dairy industry, but this is some way distant and may have a limited impact.” A smaller dairy industry will not be a bad thing, he says. “In fact, I am quite excited about it because it will get people focused on value. For example, in Ireland, farmers and processors long ago were frustrated about living under quotas and watching the NZ dairy industry growing,” he says. “But if you add up the total value created in Irish dairy over that time, they have done better than us. This is because while they couldn’t invest on farm they invested in other things, thought smartly and created impressive businesses from which farmers and the whole country benefited.” Penno points to the Irish butter brand Kerrygold that is now the number-two brand in the US. He says if restrictions were put on milk flows in NZ and farmers were encouraged to produce higher value milk, they would also benefit financially. He says there needs to be greater focus on this and creating linkages through supply chains to the world’s best consumers.

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Small herd farmers draw big interest NIGEL MALTHUS

WHEN RANGIORA Lowline cattle breeders Philip and Kay Worthington hit the A&P show circuit it is usually with a small herd of young people as well as animals. For ten years they have worked with Rangiora High School to offer students onfarm training in cattle safety, breakingin, handling, showing and judging. Students visit their farm two afternoons a week then attend four shows: Rangiora and Christchurch in spring, then Malvern (Sheffield) and Oxford in the later season, where they help prepare and parade the animals, and compete themselves in handling and judging classes. The Worthingtons took 15 students to this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Show at Christchurch, their biggest team yet. It included a couple of primary-age children and a couple of recent school leavers, but most were students of the school’s land-based studies department. Department head Gillian Koster says the school teaches animal husbandry and horticulture in the junior school, and agricultural science, rural studies, primary trades and equine in the senior school. Although no subject requires animal handling for credits, she said that without the Worthingtons’ programme the students wouldn’t get “that real good thing of going to the show and the high it gives them when they manage to do this, get these cattle to walk around beside them, perfectly behaved; kids love it”. The Worthingtons run the Woolstone Park Lowline cattle stud at Fernside, near Rangiora, where they also farm Angora goats and expanded into Lowlines about 1999. They started the school programme in 2009, after Philip became aware of a similar scheme run by Queensland Lowline Association members with the Pittsworth

State High School, west of Brisbane. They have maintained the link, with occasional student exchanges and trips to Queensland shows. Their work was recognised recently by Kiwibank which awarded them Local Hero medals. Kay Worthington said she enjoys the programme, despite her initial doubts that taking “other people’s kids” to the show was a good idea. “Basically they’re just learning about handling cattle safely, learning about what to look for in a good beef animal.” Kay said the students all loved handling animals but some needed “a gentle nudge” into the stock judging competitions, in which young people have to judge animals and speak about their reasoning. “We require them to do that because they learn more about the animals themselves, especially those who are talking about getting jobs as stock agents.” The programme allows the stud to break-in and show many more animals than they otherwise could, while for the youngsters “it’s opening doors – or gateways, I guess – into agriculture”. “The idea is the kids get more experience with larger farm animals, but [the Lowlines] are not too large to be intimidating or daunting. It just opens opportunities they probably never knew existed in careers in agriculture.” Some of the students over the years have gone on to roles such as reps in agribusiness: one went to work for Ngai Tahu’s dairying operation as a calf rearer, one is a now a vet nurse and one is a vet technician. Another went to the Five Star Beef Feedlot near Ashburton. “A boy now on a dairy farm in the local district hadn’t thought about going into agriculture at all until he did this in his fourth-form year a few years ago.” With cattle numbers down at this year’s Christchurch show, only

two competitors were showing Lowline cattle. The Worthingtons won all four champion ribbons plus the supreme champion Lowline for cow and calf. They also won a second placing in the

interbreed pairs, and two seconds and three fourths in the all-breeds sections. “Philip always values those all-breeds ribbons because you’re up against South Devons and other big breed animals.”

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Kay Worthington at the cattle ring of the New Zealand Agricultural Show where Rangiora High School students were presenting her entries in the Lowline yearling heifer class. RURAL NEWS GROUP



Alliance rewards to suppliers hits bottom line result MEAT PROCESSOR Alliance says its operating profit dropped 60% because of higher payment to farmer shareholders. The co-op reported an operating result of $8 million for the year

ending September 30, 2018 versus $20.2m the previous year. It paid at least $14m in loyalty payments and another $31.6m in advance payments to support farmers during periods of low cashflow.

Turnover rose to $1.8 billion ($1.5b in 2017) and payment to farmer shareholders for livestock was at least $1.2b. Shareholders will get a bonus share issue based on livestock supply during the 2017-18 financial year.

Alliance chairman Murray Taggart says the co-op is also increasing sheep processing capacity and it added overtime to assist farmers during the summer dry spell, pushing costs higher than anticipated.

“When the rain did come, we made the decision to maintain capacity ahead of the expected second peak in processing volumes. As a cooperative, it is our responsibility to be there for our farmers when

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Alliance chair Murray Taggart.

they need us. “We also added capacity to manage our farmers’ beef processing requirements, which saw bulls, dairy cull cows and the Mycoplasma bovis cull overlap.” Market prices for lamb

not making a profit distribution to shareholders and will instead invest in the long-term future of the business. Our farmers overwhelmingly backed this decision at our recent round of shareholder meetings. We will also

“It was a challenging year for beef profitability with weaker international pricing.”


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eased late in the season and procurement pricing was slow to align, impacting late season profitability. “It was a challenging year for beef profitability with weaker international pricing. We are enacting changes to our business model to improve our capability in this area. “As a 100% farmerowned cooperative, we always work hard to maximise farmgate results and our farmers received strong livestock prices and other benefits over the year.” The balance sheet and shareholders’ equity (64.1%) remain strong. “We have also made good progress improving the operational performance of the cooperative and lifting capability within the business. “The cooperative is

issue 9.5 million bonus shares to shareholders next month.” Chief executive David Surveyor says the company has been building capability, strengthening its sales and marketing activity and moving faster to capture more market value. “Alliance is a more competitive co-operative as a result of our progress in lifting efficiency, improving our operational performance and identifying opportunities,” says Surveyor. “There is still a lot of effort needed to lift the profitability of the cooperative to more sustainable levels that we and our farmer shareholders expect. The next 12 months will continue to see Alliance execute its strategy to bring farmers greater returns.”


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ALLIANCE says it is continuing to invest in new technology and innovation. This includes a $15.9 million venison plant at Lorneville in Southland, a primal cutter at Dannevirke, an upgrade of the engine room at Lorneville and the replacement of the co-operative’s IT system. The company’s new corporate identity, launched in September, has been rolled out to global markets and has been “very well received,” claims Surveyor. “We are combining our world-class processing capabilities with our great relationships with farmers to build a premium food company; we are targeting discerning customers and the new farmgate logo reflects that. “The new identity captures our roots as a co-operative, our farmers’ dedication to raising outstanding livestock and our market focus on food and solutions.”



Research farm breaks new ground NIGEL MALTHUS

FARMERS ARE hearing that Beef + Lamb NZ is “putting your money where our mouth is” as it launches an innovative research partnership. Chief executive Sam McIvor made the remark at the formal launch of the North Canterbury Future Farm, a 50:50 farming partnership between BLNZ and a company formed by local farmers. Together they are leasing Lanercost Farm, a 1310ha sheep and beef property in the Leader Valley, north of Cheviot in North Canterbury. They will run it as a demonstration or model farm to test new methods and technologies. McIvor said farmers want to know how to respond to the demands of customers, regulators and wider society while still running a profitable business. Other research models could test individual components, but the Future Farm could test within a whole farm system, said McIvor. They hoped to operate in the top 5% of profitability for comparable farms, while aiming to develop people and industry leaders, demonstrate best

Carl Forrester (left), Digby Heard, Simon Lee (speaking), and Tim Waghorn will run the Lanercost Future Farm in North Canterbury in a 50:50 partnership with Beef + Lamb NZ. The front row of their audience at the launch of the venture includes Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and BLNZ chairman Andrew Morrison. RURAL NEWS GROUP

practice and be customer focussed, McIvor says. Lanercost’s operation will be fully transparent so other farmers could take “confidence and caution” from what it does or does not achieve. The farm will take calculated risks on new technologies and techniques “so you don’t have to,” he said. Chairman Andrew Morrison said

BLNZ had never gone into a lease operation before. “In some people’s minds that’s a little uncomfortable, but if we’re going to demonstrate and make the changes we have to make, we’re going to have to do that.” Transparency will be crucial and extension a big part of the operation. Morrison says the sector is facing

after the previous lessee vacated with all stock and plant. It is now running 7000 stock units including 300 beef cows and 3500 ewes. Lanercost consists of a mix of fertile flats, rolling downs and steep hill country and includes 20ha of QEII Covenant and a 20ha forestry block. Lee says they are setting it up on a “real low capital” basis and started with nothing. “We’ve got a tractor, but we don’t have anything to tow behind it.” The group said it would have leased the farm even without the BLNZ involvement, which was only confirmed in October when Lanercost was chosen ahead of a number of other candidates for the Future Farm project. Morrison says the idea had been 18-24 months in gestation. BLNZ is planning for more Future Farm partnerships elsewhere, but he could not yet say how many. “We’ll get started and see how this one runs.” Although it is getting into a non-traditional area, BLNZ is already spending on R&D projects like the pastoral greenhouse gas research consortium, beef and lamb genetics and pastoral genomics, Morrison says.

the challenges of alternative proteins, perceptions of animal welfare and water quality and farming’s impact on climate change. “Let’s make this as transparent as we can -- for Government, for regional councils, for New Zealand and for our consumers. “We know we’re rowing the boat out here. There are risks associated with this. We haven’t been in this space before in leasing farms. We will be judged on performance.” BLNZ’s partner is a company formed by the landowner, Julia Whelan, with locals Simon Lee and Carl Forrester. They’ve employed Digby Heard and Tim Waghorn as manager and 2IC. All have strong local links. Forrester, now an AFFCO livestock buyer, had previously worked on the farm as a teenager. “I’ve always had a bit of a connection with Lanercost. I think it’s awesome the way it’s set up and laid out. I always thought if the opportunity ever came up that I’d love to be involved in the property one way or another,” he said. The group took over the property on April 1 and set about restocking







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New role too good to ignore IT WAS a proposition too good to ignore, said Brendon Patchett, speaking of his role as project manager for the Red Meat Profit

Partnership (RMPP) Action Network programme. “What attracted me was the opportunity to be involved with a well-

resourced and focused programme that would make a difference for the agricultural sector,” he said. Patchett grew up on

a small Marlborough farm and has years of experience in the rural sector and IT, which has included developing and rolling out the

RMPP Action Network programme project manager Brendon Patchett.

RMPP Action Network programme. He first worked as a livestock drafter in Marlborough and North Canterbury, then gained a BCom from Lincoln University, followed by 14 years in IT. In 2014 he returned to the rural sector in IT, in a business development role with livestock data management firm Agtrac. There he encountered RMPP and the network programme, which he joined last year. The network is made up of small groups of seven to nine farming businesses; farmers work together with other likeminded farmers and rural professionals to identify ways to improve the performance of their business. Groups are facilitated by rural professionals and $4000 per participating farm business is available to pay for facilitation support and to bring in relevant subject matter expertise. RMPP began rolling out the Action Network in late 2017 and 950 farmers are now involved, with 150 regionally spread groups; 89 groups have submitted their plans and have started receiving funding. The goal is to engage with 2550 farmers and to set up 300 groups. “The network is underpinned by research,” Patchett says. “That informed the development of the model and was

tested via a farmer pilot programme. “The network takes a small group approach with farmers learning from other farmers, supported by other relevant knowledge and expertise. “This helps farmers increase their confidence to act and make positive changes to their farm business, leading to increased productivity and profitability.” He says a common focus, structured approaches and the kickstart funding for each business are key. “Strong facilitation is critical to successfully run groups: 350 rural professionals have been trained to be facilitators, with 74 already approved and working with groups.” Patchett will lead the design, development and roll-out of the network. “There’s strong momentum within the network now. We’re seeing an increase in the number of farmer groups registering. There’s also increased understanding and awareness about the network, including how it can be applied in ways that enable farmers to navigate challenges or investigate ideas.” Backers of the RMPP include Ministry for Primary Industries, Beef + Lamb NZ, six meat companies and two banks. @rural_news

WHAT IS RMPP? RMPP IS a seven-year Primary Growth Partnership programme working to help the red meat sector increase productivity and profitability. It has ten funders: Ministry for Primary Industries, ANZ, Alliance, ANZCO, Beef + Lamb NZ, Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms. RMPP works with farmers and sector businesses to develop, test and introduce information and technology.


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Countdown on for East Coast farming Expo IN A little under four months, the East Coast Farming Expo will return for a fourth year of innovation, interaction and excellence. The two-day event, hosted by the Wairoa A&P Society, will be held

at its showgrounds on March 6 and 7 next year. “If you’re an East Coast/Hawke’s Bay farmer looking for the solutions to keep your business moving forward, or an agricultural innovator wanting to spread

your message, this event is perfect,” says event director Dave Martin. “The whole point of the expo is face-to-face interaction in learning about new technology.” He says farmers on the East Coast miss out

a lot, so the expo is an opportunity for them to interact directly with specialist industry innovators closer to home. “There are huge opportunities for technology uptake, especially in sheep and beef farming,

Expo director Dave Martin, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and the expo manager Sue Wilson at last year’s event.

and our society is excited about the potential of this expo and being able to host it.” Martin says the expo is also an ideal place to launch new products or release new research and technology, straight to a target audience. He says exhibits show innovative or technology-based products and/

role in the way we farm in the future. Knowing what’s available and what technology can do for us on farm can be challenging. “To have access to people researching, producing or selling this technology on our doorstep is a great opportunity for the farmers and the community.”

“The seminar line-up is a real feature of the event with excellent speakers and inspiring topics. Presentations are timed to enable farmers to see exhibitions and attend seminars.”


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or services for the East Coast sheep and beef industry. “Trade sites have been designed for exhibitors to display their products and services. The 2019 event sites will be arranged in a centralised hub for the best experience for exhibitor and visitor. “Equally, farmers and landowners can explore new ideas and have their questions answered in an exclusive and specialised environment.” Martin says support received from exhibitors to hold the event again has been amazing and provided the motivation for the Wairoa A&P Society to host the expo for the fourth time. “The seminar lineup is a real feature of the event with excellent speakers and inspiring topics. Presentations are timed to enable farmers to see exhibitions and attend seminars.” The Hawkes Bay Regional Council northern catchment manager, Nathan Heath, says the council is looking forward to the event again this year and is pleased to be a major sponsor. “Technology is going to play a very important

Local HBRC staff will again be present to answer questions about the work they are doing and what funding opportunities exist for increasing the sustainability of land. Next year will be power company Eastland Group’s third year as a strategic sponsor and will see the company bring a range of electric vehicles to the expo. “The expo embraces innovation and looks to the future of farming and the wider community,” says Katherine Evett, Eastland Group’s energy champion. “Our exhibits will include the latest electric vehicles and bikes, which visitors will be able to test drive in the arena. We’ll also be there to talk about other emerging technologies and sharing ideas about how farms could be powered in the years to come.” The expo sponsors are Eastland Group, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) and Rural News Group. Tickets will be available online, closer to the event, or there will be a $10 gate charge.



China remains the key MARK DANIEL

CHINA REMAINS the key to where the global marketplace is heading in dairy prices, says Westpac economist Anne Boniface. Speaking at a recent Owl Farm focus day at St Peters School, Cambridge,

has improved, hovering just below 400kg MS/ cow versus 260kg MS in 1992-93. She warned the audience to expect rising costs driven by rises in insurance, freight charges, repairs and maintenance and wage costs. The latter are being driven by low

On global milk flows, Boniface said supply is slowing in Europe and had “tanked” in Australia because of drought, but US exports are still increasing.


Boniface said China’s growth had slipped from 6.9% to 6.3% in the past 12 months. However, she believes Chinese consumer spending is still strong, with any economic slowdown due to a squeeze on credit for larger capital projects. Boniface said that while fuel prices are high in New Zealand, the price of crude oil has dropped significantly to US$75 a barrel, contrasting with a 2009 average price of US$145. She predicted more falls to about US$60 by 2019, given likely supply increases including more North American shale deposits. Boniface believes dairy cow numbers have plateaued, while productivity

but US exports are still increasing. Milk exports to the key Chinese market remained relatively flat, prompting questions about NZ’s domestic production. China’s dairy herd is seen as shrinking, largely due to the winding up of small family farms with one-three cows, Boniface said. “However, this ‘slack’ is being taken up by

medium-large herds being established, but at a slower rate than the shutdowns, suggesting one-two years may pass before Chinese milk supply regains the status quo.” She said that while the GDT price index continued to slip, this “re-modelling” of Chinese dairying would cause demand to hold. But she was pessimis-

tic about whether the revised payout for the 2018-19 season of $6.25/ kg MS could be guaranteed; $6.00/kg MS is more likely. Boniface predicted that the next season “was likely” to see a rebound to $6.75/kg MS, based on slower growth in Europe and the US. @rural_news

Westpac economist Anne Boniface says China remains key to where global dairy prices head.


unemployment, meaning staff are harder to find, prompting employers to offer better packages to suitable candidates. Boniface sees dairy farm prices “travelling sideways” following the Government’s changes to overseas investment and ownership, a tightening of thresholds by the Overseas Investment Office and uncertainties caused by environmental pressures and nitrogen usage restrictions. Banks are lending conservatively, focussing on would-be borrowers’ cashflows and ability to service debt. On global milk flows, Boniface said supply is slowing in Europe and had “tanked” in Australia because of drought,

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NZ beef prices face pressure Australia DESPITE SOME falls of rain through eastern states in late October, conditions remain dry, and slaughter numbers remain elevated. However, the generally limited supply of cattle is keeping prices firm. Rabobank expects that limited supplies of heavy, finished cattle will keep prices for these cattle firm while prices for cows and younger cattle will

be heavily dictated by the season. Although prices for cattle are currently at sustainable levels, young cattle will be exposed to some downside pressures over the coming months if seasons do not improve. The EYCI jumped to $AU 5.41/kg in late October – the highest it had been in seven months. It subsequently fell back to $AU 5.18/kg on 8 November (see Figure 3).

Brazil Brazilian beef exports have increased by 10% during the first ten months of 2018. Among the main destinations, China and Chile have showed the strongest gains, rising by 56% and 90% YTD, respectively. On the other hand, the Russian market remained closed to Brazil in this period (see Figure 4). The embargo was lifted as of November 2018 although with a reduced number of plants allowed to export beef to Russia. Russia is an important destination that is likely to contribute to increasing Brazilian beef exports in 2019. Domestic beef consumption is expected to continue recovering in 2019. Rabobank expects Brazilian beef production to increase by around 2% in 2019, after

an estimated increase of 4% in 2018. The anticipated slower growth is mainly due to the significant increase in cow culling that took place during 2018.

Canada CANADA CONTINUES to have an aggressive cattle market. Numbers of cattle on feed are posting a strong YOY gain and at the same time Canadian cattle slaugh-

ter is the largest it has been since 2009. The strong market performance has been driven by not only a solid domestic market, but also strong beef exports to both the US as well as growing exports into the international market (see Figure 5). A view from within the Canadian market is that they will be able to realise increased beef exports due to growing global beef demand, and

also capitalise on the situation where US exports are being constrained because of the tariff and trade battles. The current economic structure of the Canadian market is heavily dependent on strong basis levels to the US holding above historical levels. However, there is growing evidence to suggest basis levels have started to ease back towards more traditional levels.

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China THE CHINESE beef market continues to perform strongly, with prices reaching some of their highest levels in over 15 years (see Figure 6). The tight supply relative to steadily growing demand is the major cause for the strong price. African Swine Fever is also the minor factor as some consumers have reduced pork consumption over food safety concerns and

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Content supplied by Rabobank – Grow with the bank founded by farmers for farmers increased their consumption of other proteins. Domestic beef production increased by 0.6% YOY, but the beef cattle inventory decreased by 0.2% YOY – creating the expectation of lower domestic production in the coming year. Driven by the high price, farmers tend to shorten the fattening time, causing average carcass weights to decline. In the first nine months of 2018, China’s official beef imports increased by 40% YOY, reaching 456,000 tonnes. Strong domestic demand and tight local supply are believed to be driving up imports.

EU RESULTS FROM the spring EU survey show that the total EU cattle herd fell by 1% YOY. In the two main cattle-producing countries, France and Germany, the herd fell by more than 2%, with significant reductions in younger cattle

price is down 2.6% in October compared to the same period last year (see Figure 7).


aged one year and younger. In the Netherlands, herd reduction has accelerated to meet phosphate legislation requirements, and fell 4.4% YOY. The 2% increase in the number of cattle slaughtered in the EU (first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2017) is mainly attributed to the dry summer in northern Europe, but also to reduced EU live exports. Cows and heifers showed a marked increase in slaughter - 3.9% and 7.7% YOY respectively. Winter feed-

stocks for dairy cattle are already being used in parts of France, Germany, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden. If fodder reserves become low towards the end of winter, additional cattle may be slaughtered. Since the beginning of the year, beef prices have been under pressure. The larger domestic supply, coupled with increased EU imports (predominantly from Brazil and Argentina), and the reduced volume of exports, have exerted extra pressure on beef prices. The EU reference

FED CATTLE prices have been lethargic in a narrow trading range for the summer and autumn. As a result of fed cattle prices during the spring never reaching originally-expected levels, late summer and autumn prices never got as bad as was expected. While prices have recovered from the autumn low, limited price recovery is expected for the remainder of the year. 2019 will start with contradictory price signals that could easily lead to extreme price volatility for the year. Total domestic protein production levels for the coming year hold bearish concerns. Beef production is expected to be up 3%, pork production up 5% and broiler production up 3%, causing a massive year-on-year increase of

total meat supplies. The increased product estimates are expected to cause price pressure and increased competition at the retail counter for all species. As a result the US beef complex is starting the New Year with both bullish and bearish market conditions, depending upon which story captures headlines on any given day. The market is going to be vulnerable to price volatility, making risk management a real challenge.

NZ DOMESTIC CATTLE prices have dropped consistently since mid-September on the back of declining demand from the US. While the weakening NZ$ against the US$ has helped mitigate some of the negative impact on New Zealand farmgate returns, prices still took a hit between early August and November. Bull prices dropped 7% in the North Island

and 9% in the South Island. Prime cattle prices, which aren’t as reliant on the US market, are down 6% from their September peak. Rabobank expects prices to face further downward pressure for the remainder of 2018, and into early 2019, as the New Zealand cattle slaughter begins to gain pace against the backdrop of weaker US demand. To limit the extent of any price declines, exporters will be looking to redirect increasing volumes of product into China, where the short-medium demand outlook remains positive.

Beef production for the coming 2018/19 season (Oct-Sept) is forecast to be down 3% (see Figure 10). Export volumes from New Zealand should decline marginally over the next 12 months. While national herd numbers will remain stable, NZ’s cow slaughter is expected to be lower than in 2017/18, when the culling of a maturing NZ dairy herd led to an 8% lift in overall beef production. • Keep up-to-date with the latest food & agribusiness insights. Tune into RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Australia & NZ podcast channel.


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Bring on 2019 WITHOUT DOUBT 2018 will be remembered as Fonterra’s annus horribilis. It is not overstating the case to say that the past year has seen a series of failures and fiascos for the dairy co-op. For the first time, it reported a net loss for the financial year of $196 million. Meanwhile, weaker global dairy prices have forced the co-op to keep lowering its forecast payout from an opening estimate of $7/kgMS in May to an expected $6kgMS by year end (Fonterra was due to update to its forecast after Rural News went to press). On top of this, during the year the dairy company has stumbled from one public disaster to another, notably the under-performance and over-the-top pay to former chief executive Theo Spierings, and the ongoing financial calamity of its investment in Chinese infant formula company Beingmate. This was topped off last month, when only two of the three director positions were filled in the annual director elections, meaning another election needs to be held. Last month’s election saw Leonie Guiney – who was ousted from the Fonterra board in 2017 – as one of the two directors elected, along with former Zespri chair Peter McBride. However, two candidates who were recommended by Fonterra’s ‘independent approval process’ were rejected by farmers. The election process rules meant that the three failed contenders – the two boardapproved and the other self-nominated candidates – were ineligible to stand again when Fonterra held a special election. But, for some reason, the Fonterra shareholders’ council has now decided to change its own election rules. The last-minute rule change means it is holding another ballot this month and only the three candidates who failed to get over the line last time can stand. However, incumbent director Ashley Waugh has ruled out standing again and only Jamie Tuuta and John Nicholls remain on the ballot. No one is suggesting that either men are not credible candidates, but Fonterra’s eleventhhour rule change looks like yet another SNAFU. One can only hope that the upcoming vote for a new director is decisive and clear. Then Fonterra can finally put a difficult and messy 2018 behind it and head into 2019 focussed on getting its house and company performance in order.


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Fire sales?

YOUR OLD mate was always suspicious about the way the Provincial Growth Fund and the man in charge of it – Shane Jones – would administer it. Unfortunately, NZ First’s Jones has a poor track record with public funds: just look at his credit card use when he was previously in government. We’ve already seen a plethora of PGF projects being concentrated in the Northland region, where Jones hopes to get re-elected. Meanwhile, a mate of your canine crusader tells him that former NZ First employee and Winston Peter’s chief man-bag carrier in opposition David Broome – who was dumped after the election – is now riding the PGF gravy train scoping out projects for the fund in the Otago region. The Hound suggests this looks very much like a job-for-the-boys scheme for NZ First and its cronies.

THE HOUND would love to be a fly on the wall at the next Fonterra board meeting, when re-elected director Leonie Guiney returns to the dairy co-op’s the top table. Your old mate hears that the self-nominated Guiney was the top-polling candidate at this year’s director elections. This must have been a double whammy to Fonterra’s network of old-boys who not only engineered Guiney’s departure from the board last year via their Stalinist ‘board candidate nominee process’ but also watched as two of their ‘nominees’ failed to get elected last month. One can only guess there will be some very uncomfortable people with red faces when they welcome the South Canterbury farmer back to Gumboot Castle in Auckland. Awkward, as they say.

THIS OLD mutt has been a longtime critic of the multi-national, tax-dodging, political activist group Greenpeace for its sustained and never-ending attacks on the New Zealand farming sector. So, your old mate was not surprised to see the group’s latest antifarming campaign, this time calling for a ban on the use of nitrogen fertilisers. Greenpeace is nothing if not consistent in its hatred of farming, having spent the last few years blaming the agricultural sector for polluting the country’s waterways and rivers, campaigning against irrigation and criticising agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, what the Dutch-headquartered organisation (estimated annual budget at least $420 million) seem totally oblivious to is the old truism: ‘It’s hard to be green when you are in the red’.

YOUR CANINE crusader hears that Fonterra’s current financial woes could see the dairy co-op dumping many of its key assets. It’s well accepted that Fonterra’s investment in Chinese infant formula company Beingmate has been a dog, and the co-op is expected to dump the rest of its stake in the baby food company quicker than the National Party cut loose Jami-Lee Ross. Also expected to go are its poorly performing farms in China. The Hound understands Fonterra is also looking at quitting its ice cream company Tip Top and is believed to be weighing up a sale of its South American operations. In South America. Media reports estimate Tip Top could be worth about $400 million, while the sale of Fonterra’s South American operation could reap the dairy co-operative $1 billion.

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How do we the tackle meat worker shortage? The meat industry is short of about 2000 workers, a gap needing filling by much more than just signing up foreign workers, writes Graham Cooke, national secretary of the NZ Meat Workers Union. ASK ANY long-term meat worker; things aren’t how they used to be. Sure, the meat industry has always been a seasonal industry. This means that no meat worker gets year-round work and there’s always a gap in their earnings. Meat workers used to call this their ‘holidays’ because the gap was enough to be filled by their accrued holiday pay. But that gap has grown bigger. Wages have been steadily declining for most meat workers over the last couple of decades while productivity has increased. The ‘living wage’ of $20.50/hour doesn’t exist for many process workers and labourers. You have to consider their precarious employment and months dependent on finding other work, or the state filling the gap with social welfare benefits. As for holidays, who gets a paid holiday in the meat industry? When the meat industry was deregulated in 1981, politicians and commentators encouraged closing meat plants where meat workers were readily available. It has become obvious that in the small rural towns where the meat industry predominates there would eventually be a shortage of labour. Young people are more mobile and seek better opportunities elsewhere. The skilled workforce is ageing, and the freezing works are no longer an attractive option. Imagine this: you work in a shitty job (I mean animal faeces) with blood and heat, you’re on your feet on concrete floors for hours a day, wearing increasingly invasive protective gear. You rush to have a break, and get

yelled at or punished if you are late back to the chain, the speed of which is regulated by the employer or, if you are lucky, by a union agreement. Your pay depends on throughput, in other words how many beasts are killed on your shift: that’s called piece work. We’ve been here before. In 2005 the Meat Industry Association said it needed 1000 migrants and were looking to have the meat industry join the Regional Seasonal Employment Scheme. The then Labour Government declined this request and set up a three-party working group including the Meat Workers’Union, Department of Labour (MBIE) and the Meat Industry Association. A lot of work was done to identify what would make the industry more attractive to working people and how to avoid costly competition. That report was shelved as soon as the National Government was elected in 2008. Instead some employers in the meat industry have resorted to downward pressure on wages. They’re relying on the old methods of resisting unionisation, challenging workers who choose to join a union, using aggressive actions such as unlawful lockouts, refusing access by union officials and targeting union activists in layoffs and return to work. I’m not saying the whole industry is like this; it’s not. We have good relationships with most of the industry, but it is time for them to step up. It’s not good enough for their industry association to be moaning about the shortage of workers, when they have largely stood by and allowed

one of the top five meat companies to impoverish and de-unionise workers. There is another solution: we reconvene the industry three-party group. We work together to find short- and longer-

term solutions not only to labour shortages, but also to the challenge of making this industry attractive once again to working people. We figure out how seasonal work can be real work;

and there are options. The challenge for the meat industry is that the companies be prepared to listen. @rural_news

The NZ Meatworkers Union claims the answer to the labour shortage in the industry is more than just bringing in migrant workers.

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Red tape choking primary sector productivity NEW ZEALAND Now, the website of Immigration NZ, declares that ‘Over the last 30 years our economy has gone from being one of the most regulated in the OECD to one of the least

regulated, most free-market based economies’. It goes on to extol the virtues of the land: ‘Fertile soil and excellent growing conditions coupled with sophisticated farming methods

and advanced agricultural technology provide the ideal environment for pastoral, forestry and horticulture activities. Various primary commodities account for around half of all goods

exports…’. These are fabulous words supporting the importance of the primary sector – but ‘least regulated’ might have been a surprise. The result of the com-

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parison almost certainly depends on the methodology of the research, but New Zealand Now states that ‘NZ governments have put a lot of effort into simplifying business rules and taxes. That’s made it increasingly easy for investors to get started and operate here’. For the primary sector, however, the normal day-to-day operations inherent in managing an operation on the land involve more regulations, more compliance requirements and more monitoring by authorities than ever before. There is more observation and reporting by society as well. Most people, including local and national government, probably have the same goal of maintaining and improving NZ’s environment while remaining financially viable. External observers (and commentators) probably don’t realise how very slim the margins are in food production in most years. Nor do they realise how much money has already been spent on plantings, sediment traps and upgrading infrastructure – the ‘sophisticated farming methods and advanced agricultural technology’ mentioned by Immigration NZ. Investment isn’t possible without income. These facts need explaining repeatedly to society. At the same time, changes on the land are needed to achieve the social licence to operate (SLO). 2019 will be the year of measurement – measurement to prove what is being done and how well NZ production systems compare with other countries; and also how the primary sector contributes to NZ’s well-being. SLO is not a new problem: slavery, drugs and smoking are past examples. But since 1997 the term has been applied to the way industries developing or extracting natural resources run their operations. The scrutiny has developed because of failures such

as chemical spills leading to conflicts with communities. Who pays to clean up and restore ‘nature’? Concerns have translated directly into action against resource projects at the local level. Who benefits from and where does the cost fall for mining and hydro dams, for instance? Research on achieving SLO has suggested three factors critical for future operations: trust, fairness and governance. This means explaining, investing in the community and being transparent. In similar vein, the Institute of Directors suggests building trust by telling ‘your story’ in a holistic and transparent way, engaging with the community and being prepared to respond ‘quickly and positively to public scrutiny and criticism, including in social media’. Responding takes money and time, which is increasingly scarce as the paper-war continues. But the alternative is worse, and though other countries survive on government subsides, NZ is still the exemplar of independence. New Zealand Now has been designed to attract immigrants: ‘Our unmatched quality of life and thriving but stable business environment make NZ an ideal destination for savvy investors and entrepreneur’. The same needs to be true for the primary sector. Ongoing explanation and provision of data to independent analysts is vital in gaining the SLO and so is telling the stories of what is being achieved. People need food and NZers produce some of the best in the world. The most powerful stories are based on facts, evidence and data. A domestic equivalent of New Zealand Now is paramount in achieving better understanding. • Dr Jacqueline Rowarth CNZM CRSNZ HFNZIAHS has a PhD in soil science and has been analysing agri-environment interaction for several decades.



Time to rethink on how we farm American entomologist Dr Jon Lundgren speaks at a workshop on biological pest control, organised by the Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University. RURAL NEWS


AGRICHEMICALS ARE an addiction and pests are not the problem, claims a visiting American entomologist, Dr Jon Lundgren. Lundgren promotes “regenerative agriculture” – a term he says is now replacing “sustainable” agriculture. The FAO estimates that the world has only 60 years of topsoil left, he said. “So we can’t just be sustaining a degraded resource. We need to be regenerating that, while producing our food.” That requires re-growing soil and biodiversity on farms. “I think farmers are realising more and more that their profits are decreasing. It’s getting harder and harder to farm the way we’ve been. “We are just degrading that natural resource base and the writing is on the wall about how long we can do that.” Lundgren was speaking at a fourday workshop on biological pest control run by the Lincoln University Bio-Protection Research Centre. He told the workshop that pests are a symptom of underlying imbal-

ance, and monoculture agriculture is the central problem. “The way we approach food production is way, way too simplified.” Lundgren runs a research centre on a small farm in South Dakota, sur-



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rounded by large monoculture cropping farms and continuously grazed beef farms. “This is kind-of ‘ground zero’ for where change really needs to happen.” Biodiversity was how habitats used

to function and when you eliminate the diversity from a system the only thing left is to dose with agrichemicals, yet the ranchers with the most pests are the ones using the most pesticide use, he said.

One researcher showed that avermectins, commonly used in drenches, passed through the animal and then killed 98% of the insects living in dung, when only 1.7% of those were actually pests. The first step to regenerative agriculture is to abandon the pesticides, said Lundgren. “Usually within the first year you see that these natural balances of communities start to re-establish.” Regenerative ranchers who replace pesticide use with good management find it a good business decision, he said. The second step, for graziers, is to mimic natural grazing patterns by high-intensity grazing in small areas, frequently moving the stock and leaving the heavily grazed pasture to regrow for as much as a year before it is grazed again. “We can learn a lot from the way they used to produce food, back before industrialisation. “Technology has shown us what some of the yield potentials and profit potentials are, but I think we’ve reached a plateau in how far we can push things.”



Deer farmer no quitter WHEN 300MM of rain fell in four hours and blew out a year’s worth of environmental mitigation work, Steve Borland admits “it just about broke me”. But the Oparau, Waikato, deer and sheep farmer is no quitter. Now the new fencing is repaired, and work to protect the fragile volcanic soils and water quality on the farm – Shabor – is underway. Borland, with wife Judy, son Chris and business partners Bob and Jackie Sharp, is winner of the NZ Landcare Trust Award in the 2017-18 Deer Farmers Environmental Awards. The award is for excellence in sustainable deer farming by action on the ground. Fellow deer farmers and industry leaders gathered at the Borlands’ home on November 9 for a formal presentation of the award and tour of the farm. The same team had also won the industry’s premier Elworthy Environmental Award for their vision of a sustainable farming system.

NZ Landcare Trust chief executive Dr Nick Edgar was at the presentation and complimented the Borlands for their energy, skills and sheer hard work. He said the award judges had been inspired by the careful planning and attention to detail such as the siting of fencelines to minimise runoff and protection of native vegetation to help enhance biodiversity. “The combination of sensitive soils, high rainfall and livestock on this property means that sediment loss is the greatest environmental risk. “The winners have shown a complete understanding of animal requirements and how they fit within the property.” Borland said the flood last year destroyed much of the fencing they had built to protect the Mangahoanga stream that flows into the nearby Aotea Harbour. But the work to completely exclude the stock is now due to be finished by March next year.

Steve Borland says the sediment trap (background) has helped prevent the loss of tonnes of soil.

He’s also recently built a sediment trap on the property that he estimates has already retained 20 tonnes of sediment that might otherwise have flowed out to sea. Shabor, co-owned by the Borland and Sharp families, bought the Oparau farm in mid-2014. It was run-down and needed 35km of deer fencing, tracks and capital fertiliser. Borland said he

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soon realised the topography and light Mairoa ash soils over clay made the farm unsuitable for some stock classes and farming practices. “This country is not right for cattle and we keep only a few to help with pasture control. It’s also unsuitable for cultivation and cropping; our livestock are fed grass and clover and that works well.”

The main livestock enterprises are a Wiltshire sheep breeding and finishing flock, and a red deer breeding herd that supplies stags for a major deer velvet antler business run with a separate farm. The Borlands are involved in a nationwide AgResearch investigation of the impact of deer farming in high country on water quality.





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Johne’s a major issue for goats RORY O’BRIEN & DEBBIE CRUMP

JOHNE’S DISEASE (JD) is a major productionlimiting disease of farmed ruminants worldwide and – after CAE – it is the biggest animal health concern for goat farmers. Sometimes called paratuberculosis, this bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (MAP), leads to inflammation and thickening of the intestines – resulting in reduced uptake of nutrients, progressive weight loss and death. It is chronic, progressive, contagious and widespread, with no treatment and no cure. Young kids are highly susceptible to MAP infection through ingestion of MAP bacteria in milk or from contact with teats or other surfaces contaminated with dung; dirty drinking troughs are another potential infection risk. Once introduced, the

MAP bacteria become established in the small intestine, causing it to become thickened and reducing the uptake of nutrients across the gut lining and causing the animals to slowly waste away. All the while, huge numbers of MAP bacteria are shed in the faeces into the surrounding environment to continue the infection cycle. While there are no JD prevalence data for dairy goats in New Zealand, estimates from other industries collated from farmer surveys suggest that JD is common and widespread: 60% of deer herds, 68% of sheep flocks, 31% of beef herds and 60% of dairy cow herds harbour some Johne’s infection. Johne’s is often described as an iceberg disease: for every clinically affected animal showing symptoms of disease, many more

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infected animals will be lurking just beneath the surface. Goats are notably less likely than other species to scour (have diarrhoea) from JD so this shouldn’t be considered a reliable diagnostic indicator. More often, affected goats will exhibit weight loss and poor body condition scoring but maintain a normal appetite and faecal appearance until the disease is in the very end stages and the animal is near death. Unfortunately, these signs are common to other conditions also so the only way to know for sure is to test. For dairy goats a drop-off in milk production should also be considered an early warning sign. Infected goats can appear healthy and live for years without any obvious outward indications whilst continuing to shed bacteria and contaminate their surroundings. Once shed onto

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pasture, the MAP bacteria are resilient and survive very well in damp, shaded areas for at least a year or even longer (although they can only multiply inside a host). Exposure to sunlight and dry conditions helps to kill them off. It’s not all bad news though; for farmers with JD confirmed on the farm there is a wealth of management information available and while it is mostly directed towards dairy cows most of it is equally applicable to goat farmers. Management revolves around identifying shedders for culling and preventing newborns from coming into contact with MAP contaminated faeces/milk/colostrum/ feed/water and becoming infected when they are at their most vulner-

able. Management practices can include paying careful attention to sanitation, keeping feed up off the ground where it could become contaminated with dung, keeping kidding areas as clean and dung free as possible, removing test-positive does from colostrum pools (pooled or shared colostrum is a big risk factor as MAP bacteria are shed in milk/colostrum), keeping water sources clean (particularly those used by kids), and using waterers designed to minimise faecal contamination. Johne’s disease prevention requires good biosecurity; if you are lucky enough to be JDfree keep it that way as prevention is far preferable to control in the long run. Keep a closed herd. Failing that, test each

and every replacement (but if considering animals under one year old, better to test mum) while ideally also considering whole herd test data from the originating herd if available. Johne’s disease is bought and paid for: don’t invite it home by purchasing live animals from a herd of unknown Johne’s status as, once introduced, JD spreads quickly and is extremely tough – financially and emotionally – to be rid of again. MAP bacteria also survive well on muddy boots and tyres; if there’s anything good to be said about the current M.bovis saga it’s that it has made farmers take biosecurity more seriously. There is much to be learned that applies equally to other infectious diseases especially in cleaning, disin-

fection and sanitation. Although a direct and causal link between MAP bacteria in dairy derived foodstuffs and Crohn’s disease remains unproven, ongoing debate in the scientific, medical and public arenas suggests it may be timely and prudent for a burgeoning dairy goat industry to take early steps to reduce the incidence of JD on farm and to qualify absence of MAP infection in herds contributing to the production of infant milk formula where competing industries may have missed the boat. Now is the time to put Johne’s firmly on the MAP. • Dr Rory O’Brien is research manager at Disease Research Ltd, Dunedin. Debbie Crump is the manager of Demore Sables Dairy Goats.

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Get a feel for ewes’ body condition WEANING IS an ideal time to body condition score (BCS) ewes as it allows valuable summer feed to be partitioned into lighter ewes to give them a lift before tupping. Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s general manager North Island, Matt Ward, says BCS is a cheap yet valuable way to save feed and improve flock performance. Poor condition ewes (less than BCS 3) at mating are less likely to get pregnant in the first 17 days of breeding, they will have lower scanning percentages and will have less buffering in late pregnancy and lactation resulting in lighter lambs at weaning. Ward says the key drivers of profit in a sheep flock are kilograms of lamb weaned per hectare, weaning weight per lamb and the number of lambs weaned per hectare – and ewe body condition impacts on all three.

Ideally, ewes should be maintained at a BCS 3 or 4 all year round, but lactation, pregnancy, mob pressure and competition for feed will see some ewes falling below this. “Body condition scoring at weaning, mating and scanning will allow lighter ewes to be identified so they can be priority fed or culled,” he says. “It’s about minimising the number of tail-end ewes (BCS 1 and 2) as these are the ones bringing down the overall flock performance.” Ward says BCS is a way of comparing sheep independent of frame size, liveweight, breed, gut fill and stage of gestation. It relates to the production ability of sheep regardless of body weight. It is done by assessing the amount of body fat by feeling the vertical (spine) and horizontal (short ribs) processes. This is done by placing a hand behind the 13th

rib, pushing fingers under the short ribs with pressure and finger on the spine. BCS is based on a scale of one to five -- one being very skinny and emaciated and five being

Weaning is an ideal time to body condition score ewes.

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NAIT FOR SHEEP? BRINGING SHEEP into the NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) system may be a way of getting more value out of the animals, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor claims. O’Connor has previously said NAIT should have worked better during the Mycoplasma bovis response and he’s determined to help transform it into an easyto-use, world-class traceability system. With NAIT now under review, the discussion document is asking whether other species should now be included. “At the moment you have to say what other species you have on farm, but if you’ve got sheep you don’t have to tag them. Should we, or shouldn’t we?” O’Connor asks. “If we have a foot and mouth outbreak it might help to have all the sheep tagged. If they’re worth $150 it might be a good way of identifying, tracing and getting more value.” O’Connor says farmers might see it as a cost, but we learn as we go forward. “All we can do as Government is give clear honest signals,” he says. “If we had had a clearer national policy statement on water quality – right through the times of rapid growth in the dairy industry – maybe we’d have more consistency. We’d probably have a few more drystock farms and we wouldn’t have pushed into areas where it’s pretty marginal,” he says. O’Connor was speaking at the launch of Beef + Lamb NZ’s Canterbury Future Farm initiative, which aims to run a model farm to help identify best practice in all the issues facing the sector.

too fat. Ward says getting exact numbers is not the main thing, but rather identifying ewes that fall below an optimum condition of 3, i.e. the BCS 1 and 2 ewes.

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A double celebration MARK DANIEL

AS WE edge towards year-end, a key agricultural machinery maker and dealer in Waikato is preparing to celebrate two big milestones. Back in 1959, Wilfred Giltrap started a small farm machinery repair and supply business in Otorohanga, making farm gates and the like. Fast-forward 60 years and today that once-small business has become Giltrap Agrizone, led by managing director Andrew Giltrap, the son

of Wilfred. Founded in Cambridge in 2009, GAZ quickly outgrew its town site, so in 2015 it developed its current Victoria Road site where it continues to increase sales volumes. Today, GAZ operates from the Cambridge site and from dealerships in Otorohanga and Rotorua with a staff of around 90 people. The three sites sell Case-IH and a range of complementary products from well-known names such as Kuhn, Manitou and Sigma. And an integral part of

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the business is an import division that distributes NZ-wide products from Hi-Spec, Malone, Major, ProDig and Arcusin. The firm’s second milestone is the recent delivery of the 1000th Case IH tractor sold by GAZ since its 2009 start in Cambridge. The Optum 300 prime mover was supplied to key customer Blue Grass Contracting at Te Poi, near Matamata. Blue Grass Contracting says its relationship with GAZ was based on a mutual trust and understanding of each other’s



businesses. Indeed, that understanding of customers needs seems to be paying dividends for GAZ as the company continues to win sales for the Case IH brand, selling nearly one third of all the brand’s NZ units each year. The 1000th Case IH tractor sold by Giltrap Agrizone – an Optum 300 prime mover which was sold to Blue Grass Contracting.

ROUND BALER UPDATED FOLLOWING THREE years of worldwide field testing, the latest RB5 series balers from Case IH are said to deliver superior bale shape and density, with additional features to give the operator more control. The RB455 and RB465 produce bales of up to 1.5m or 1.8m in diameter, respectively. Both models have a dual-cylinder hydraulic density system, where each cylinder operating at 2000psi combines to provide a force greater than a typical single

unit operating at 2600psi. The manufacturer claims this helps increase bale density, and offers the possibility of better silage quality, more consistency and better-looking bales. Updates also include an in-cab controller that allows the operator to adjust bale densities dependent on crop or weather conditions or the intended final use for the bales. For example, bales can be produced with soft cores for use in mixer wagons, while hard-cored bales might be produced in straw

intended for barns. The pickup of the RB5 series now has 5-tine bars, offering better performance in short crops and more consistent feeding, while a hydraulic drop-floor allows easy unplugging and a quick return to work. ISOBUS class 3 automation stops the tractor when the target bale size is reached, automatically applies net wrap to the bale and raises and lowers the tailgate to eject the wrapped bale. – Mark Daniel






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Tractor and machinery sales on track for record MARK DANIEL

SALES OF tractors are up 17% on this time last year and could set a record by year-end, says NZ Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) president John Tulloch. TAMA year-to-date figures to the end of September showed 3355 retail sales in all horsepower categories versus 2865 in 2017. Tulloch says there was a cautionary approach to spending in the industry. However, despite this

he says sales could hit 4500 for a calendar year record. “Although the reduced Fonterra forecast of $6.25 to $6.50 per kg/MS (down from $6.75) had taken a bit of a shine off the optimism in the dairy sector.” Tulloch recently visited Europe and was shocked at the effects of the drought; some European dairy farmers will have to sell stock because they can’t get or afford extra feed, he says. “That might translate into demand for our milk

TAMA president John Tulloch says tractor sales are on track to set a record this year.

products.” He says the sheep

and beef sectors are still buoyant and the drop in the New Zealand dollar will further assist this buoyancy. The horticulture and viticulture sectors are also looking confident. However, Tulloch says all farming sectors are also facing increased costs with high fuel prices and the currency drop. “You also can’t control the weather, so seeing the

effects in Europe it reinforces the need for all of us in the New Zealand industry to be in a strong position to withstand adverse events,” he told Rural News. “For farmers, this means being in a robust enough position to ride out unfavourable weather or market conditions.  It is also important that farmers support their local farm contractors as this retains strength in

tractors are buying crops before harvesting them, then on-selling. Tulloch believes this also creates a further layer of risk for contractors. “The contractor system is the most efficient use of machinery in a cost effective way. If this system falls over then everyone loses. It’s important that the system is supported as it helps create resilience across the industry.”


VEGE HARVESTING COMBO BEST KNOWN for its potato planting and harvesting technology, the German family-owned Grimme in 2013 bought the majority stake in the Danish company Asa-Lift, a specialist manufacturer of vegetable harvesting gear. Over the past five years, cooperation at technical and sales levels has seen Asa-Lift machines equipped with components from Grimme subsidiaries Internorm (plastics technology) and Ricon (a factory for webs and conveying equipment). Also, all Grimme sales and service companies, and selected Grimme Premium Partners, now sell Asa-Lift products. To increase manufacturing capacity, a 2200 m² building was opened in April 2018 with new sheet metal and tube laser machinery. The next will be incorporating the Grimme ‘feel and look’ to express the two companies’ affiliation. Maintaining its reputation with vegetable growers worldwide, the Asa-Lift brand will retain its logo, but the paintwork of the machines will be changed from the current blue hue to the Grimme red finish during the production year 2019.

the industry.” Tulloch says that in recent years some contractors – especially in the North Island – had had complaints regarding their prices and had faced deferred payment, meaning their business were being put at risk. “In some areas, contractors were making a loss because prices had been driven so low.” He said a new trend is also emerging where con-

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Ford’s revamped 4x4 mounts a number of challenges ADAM FRICKER

THE MODERN trend to fewer cubic centimetres and more gear ratios continues as car manufacturers chase better fuel economy and lower emissions. The revised Ford Everest Titanium does its bit by replacing the 3.2L, fivecylinder single-turbo diesel with a 2.0L four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel, and by replacing the six-speed automatic transmission with a 10-speed. This efficient new drivetrain is the major update to the Everest, the rest being largely a visual refresh inside and out, changes to suspension tuning and some new active safety technology thrown in for good measure. High-pressure fuel injection and low-friction design both feature in an engine that manages to get more from less: more power than the old 3.2L (157kW vs 143kW) and more torque (500Nm vs. 470Nm). Power deliv-

ery is similar to the old engine up to 3000rpm, at which point the 3.2L is done, but the 2.0L keeps making power up to 4000rpm. The small engine also makes max torque as low in the rev range as the 3.2L did. So it’s faster. Towing capacity must be lower, surely? Not according to Ford: it says the new Everest can now tow an extra 100kg at 3100kg braked capacity. And the payoff Ford was chasing -- better fuel economy at a claimed 7.1L/100km (combined cycle) -- is a decent improvement on 8.5L/100km. The only real downside is the loss of tone: the old five-cylinder made a distinctive growl that the new engine can’t match. However, the new fourcylinder is more refined. The new 10-speed can take some credit for the lower fuel consumption and for the better progress across country: with 10 ratios to choose from, the Everest was nearly always in the

The revised Ford Everest Titanium may have replaced the 3.2L, five-cylinder single-turbo diesel with a 2.0L fourcylinder bi-turbo diesel but it still retains power and towing.

right gear for the road speed and conditions. Co-developed by Ford and General Motors, this transmission impressed with its smoothness and quick shifts. Ford says it has fettled the damper tune, lowered spring rates and modi-

fied the front stabiliser bar to improve suspension performance. It’s hard to tell the difference behind the wheel, to be honest, but we’ve always found the Everest handled better than most SUVs with ute-based heritage. That remains the case and for such a high-

rider it inspires confidence on the road, holding a line through corners and not bucking and wobbling like many in this category used to do. Substantial off-road capability no longer requires comprised driveability on the road. Like its Ranger stablemate, the electric steering is also well weighted, nicely accurate and, while a bit numb, still rates at or near the top of a class once known for vague tiller feel, to say the least. Last but not least, the active safety technology has radar and sensors for Africa and now includes adaptive cruise control that matches the speed of traffic in front, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and a lane keeping system. The driver aid we appreciated the most though was the foward alert with collision mitigation, which prevented a nasty rear-ender. At least we know it works in the real world.





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Diesel UTV better by far MARK DANIEL

A COUPLE from the Netherlands have worked hard and long since arriving here in 1998, now farming 114ha in South Waikato. Klaas and Janny Akkersma milk 300 Montbeliarde-cross cows typically found in France. These are larger framed than typical Kiwi crosses: they weigh 700 - 800kg, keep much better condi-

power/high torque engine combined with the manual transmission “allows us to travel at the desired speed at much lower throttle settings, unlike a CVT-style machine that requires more revs to go faster”. “This makes the job a lot quieter, and the diesel motor is also very economical. “At the other end of the spectrum, when we are using slow speeds, perhaps when feeding, the

“This makes the job a lot quieter, and the diesel motor is also very economical.” tion through the season, and importantly for Klaas produce at peak level consistently for long periods. They are now typically producing 620kgMS/ year on a diet of 75% grass and 25% maize and PKE. The Akkersmas had been riding quads for many years, but they were early adopters of a petrol-powered UTV (side by side) and although impressed by its capabilities they were disappointed at the maintenance cost and high fuel cost. Five years later the business took delivery of a new Avatar UTV powered by a 3-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel engine -- used by Renault -- that delivers 66hp, with142Nm torque at 1890 rpm. Drive is through a 5-speed manual transmission sourced from a 1.5 tonne truck, reaching a top speed of 75km/h. Suited to the rigours of agriculture, the machine’s powder coated frame and galvanised steel load deck uses double A-arm independent suspension front and rear with adjustable air/spring shocks. Electronic, switchable 4WD offers the choice of 2WD or 4WD, the choice of front and rear differential locks and an electronic park brake. Klaas says the high

machine is very controllable and carries out the task with no fuss.” Typical duties are transport around the farm, but the Avatar comes into its own during the calving season, when a purpose-built crate offers plenty of room for bringing newborns back to the yard. It easily tackles jobs like moving feed trailers and effluent applicators. A load capacity of 500kg and towing capacity of 990kg makes the vehicle very capable; it stays level when heavily loaded and is adaptable, with fold-down panels on the rear bed to accommodate irregular shaped loads. Although a sizeable unit, the Avatar is said to have the tightest turning in the industry, with electronic power steering, and its operator comforts include a three-person bench seat and front and rear windshields. Klaas also likes the half-doors at the cabin entry points, noting that these were “initially a bit of a pain, but after a few days we realised they kept the cabin area clean and occupants’ legs safe by preventing them from putting their feet down before the vehicle stops. And after a while opening and closing becomes just an intuitive habit”. Summing up the

change to the Avatar, after nine months of ownership and with about 150 hours on the clock, the purpose-built machine has none of the weak-

nesses of ATV-derived competitors’ machines and is a valuable part of the farm’s gear. @rural_news

Klaas and Janny Akkersma say their diesel-powered Avatar UTV is a valuable addition to their farm.


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Apply Chemical in the Breeze Only Apply Chemical to weeds Easy to Use Easy to set up Easy to Flush System after use Two rows of Wicks for double contact with weeds Bruise bar to scrape plant for better Chemical application Strong & Durable Frame Sizes: 2.4m, 4.8m or 6.2m wide 2 Year Warranty -

We’ll Look After You

■ Ideal for shearing sheep, alpacas, goats and cow tails. ■ Variable speed from 2400-3500 rpm. ■ Latest brushless motor technology means minimal heat build up ■ 1400gms means 100-200gms lighter than standard handpiece. ■ At 2700 rpm the 12-volt lithium battery will catch up to 300-400 sheep, 400-500 cow tails. ■ Tough alloy switch box with auto rest fuse for overload or lockup – clips to belt. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE NEW SEASON View in action go to

Ring Walco NOW for Your Nearest Stockist of these Robust Wipers TM

Ph 0800 853 002

Helping Farmers Boost Production


0800 474 327


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

• Lightweight, easy to install • Made from polyethylene

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


0800 625 826

for your nearest stockist

Joiners supplied FREE with culvert pipes







+GST delivered

Proven beyo nd do ubt!

“I have no doubt that if I did not have a Quadbar fitted, my accident would have been fatal!” – Rozel Farms “The Quadbar saved our employee from significant injuries.” – Colin van der Geest

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

Free Range & Barn Eggs SUPPLIERS OF:



• Nest boxes - manual or automated • Feed & Drinking • Plastic egg trays QUALITY PRODUCTS MADE IN EUROPE OR BY PPP




A trusted name in Poultry Industry for over 50 years ❖

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


600 500 400 300 200 100 0


Visit for more quality products



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

Quality construction and options • Get the contractors choice

HUNTER BOOTS Comfortable, durable and stylish.

The heavy duty sole construction makes this a robust boot designed for climbing over rugged ground. This boot has a soft toe and is made from a thick Mad Dog Nubuck Leather, stitched and screwed construction with a rubber, replaceable sole, that is glued and screwed. Soft padding for ankle support and D-Rings for your laces are an added advantage. Great fitting boots full of comfort, ideal for those long hunting and tramping trips.

The magic eye sheepjetter since 1989 Featuring...

• Incredible chemical economy • Amazing ease 1500+ per hour • Unique self adjusting sides • Environmentally and user friendly • Automatically activated • Proven effective on lice as well as fly • Compatible with all dip chemicals • Accurate, effective application

07 573 8512 | –



FARMER BOOTS Lastrite’s Farmer boots are made

for comfort. Constructed from Reverse kip leather they are an ideal farmers, fencers and builders boot. Very sturdy and made to last this boot is robust with a heavy duty construction. It has a leather insole and midsole that is stitched and screwed construction with a rubber, replaceable sole, that is glued and screwed. Update your old boots now and you will never look back.

10 HALL ROAD, RD5, WHANGAREI Phone 09 438 8907




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


GST $565 incl

incl GST

Phone 0800 625 826


New Buffalo Boots have thick buffalo hide uppers which are 175% more crack and water resistant than normal leather. This means they last longer and offer you better value for money. The nitrile rubber outsole won’t crack, split or break down in soil. And it is traditionally stitched to the leather upper so it won’t fall off. To make extra sure of this - the stitching goes all the way through the tread. The Lace Up boot offers superb ankle support on hill country, and a calfskin tongue & collar for great internal comfort. The Slip On boots are ideal for any work application. Both models have a traditional full length back stay for optimum durability around the heel area. Due to time constraints we only have a very small quantity arriving in December/January. Please order early to avoid disappointment. PHONE 9am-5pm

0800 16 00 24



ends 31 DECEMBER�




valued at $320

STEEL TOE (with Scuff Guard)

valued at $280 STEEL TOE (with Scuff Guard)

PLAIN TOE (without Scuff Guard)

PLAIN TOE (without Scuff Guard)

Buffalo Leather - Dark Brown Nitrile Rubber Outsole Traditional Stitched on soles Wide Fit Calfskin Tongue & Collar (Lace Up) Heavy Duty Elastic Sides (Slip On) Outsole won’t Crack or Split 175% more crack resistant Leather Deep Tread

sizes: 7 - 13 (NZ) CHEQUES

earthwalk, r d 2, palmerston north

please add $12 freight per order



Photo courtesy of Trevor James, AgResearch.

IT’S GAME OVER FOR YELLOW BRISTLE GRASS. Dockstar® is now registered for the control of Yellow Bristle Grass in established pastures. Left unchecked it can become a seriously dirty player on the field. Dockstar is a proven way of control before seed formation. So, call time on Yellow Bristle Grass and send it off to the sheds early.

PLUS for every Dockstar purchase, you’ll go in the draw to win 5,000 Priority Partnership points.* See your Rural Retailer or contact your local Nufarm Territory Manager for more information. *Terms & Conditions apply: Competition valid until 31st December 2018. See for further details. ®


Dockstar is a registered trademark of Nufarm Limited.

Rural News 4 December 2018  

Rural News 4 December 2018

Rural News 4 December 2018  

Rural News 4 December 2018