Page 1




Top-notch apple crop expected. PAGE 18

Fish & Game commends farmers! PAGE 35

M.bovis levy to hit dairy farmers. PAGE 19





Top-notch apple crop expected. PAGE 18

Fish & Game commends farmers! PAGE 35

M.bovis levy to hit dairy farmers. PAGE 19


Meat tariff whammy? PAM TIPA

WITH A no-deal Brexit looming, NZ meat exporters face the prospect of paying tariffs twice on product going from the UK to the EU. After March 29 the UK moves to WTO rules and countries with trading blocs set a schedule of tariffs with the WTO. The UK has said it has a draft schedule almost identical to that of the EU. The EU tariffs are fairly low except for agricultural products which get very high for lamb or beef – in the 49-50% range, says Nick Swallow, NZ trade commissioner to London. “Even though they have the same schedule it still means you have to pay a tariff if goods move between Europe and the UK,” he told a NZTE seminar on Brexit in Auckland last week. “That means there is no change [to

your tariffs into the UK] if you are a NZ company sending goods into the EU. But if you are sending goods to the UK and then sending them off to Europe you will [pay] a tariff going into the UK and then across into the EU. So you get doubly charged in that sense.” A no-deal situation will come into force if the EU and UK can’t agree on Brexit arrangements before the March 29 exit date. Outlining other considerations for

NZ businesses exporting into the UK and EU if a no-deal occurs, Swallow warned of UK customs officials having a tide of new customs declarations to process and tariffs to collect. Freighting delays with Britain are expected and some large companies are block-booking freight forwarding and trucks after March 29. Delays at the border will be a threat and hard to quantify. Some NZ companies are increasing their UK stock

capacity to allow for border delays ranging from six weeks to 18 weeks. Swallow says businesses should check issues on contracts, data and the status of EU workers in the UK. He also urges them to verify packaging and labelling, shipping – especially in March and April – and terms of trade, and talk to their customers and partners in the UK or EU about how a nodeal Brexit may impact them. • More pages 6,7

Getting prepared Central Hawkes Bay Sam Clark, his wife Gudrun (‘Cookie’) and baby Archie are taking over the family farm Airlie, a 400ha property. The farm, which runs 2000 Romney ewes, 100 Angus cows and 120 finishing bulls/heifers, has been in the Clark family since 1929. Sam is taking over running the medium-to-steep hill country property from his father David. The Porangahau property remains green -- remarkable for this time of the year -- but the Clarks are preparing for the dry they see coming soon. See more page 5


THE GOVERNMENT has paid out $45 million compensation to farmers impacted by the Mycoplasma bovis disease. The state has received 724 claims, expects about 600 to 700 more claims and could pay out about $120 million in compensation. Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) manager compensation Angela Brownie, who took on the role eight months ago, told the Federated Farmers dairy council meeting in New Plymouth last week that her team is now dealing more efficiently with claims. The team includes 45 lawyers and accountants. She says 70% of claims received so far have been dealt with; the average time spent on processing a claim has dropped from 80 working days 12 months ago to 25 working days during the last four months. “We have put in place better processes,” she concedes. Brownie says processing claims can be complex depending on the level of information provided by the farmer and the types of claims associated with each farm. Claims associated with milk loss can vary depending on whether there are sharemilkers or contract milkers or whether it is a singleowner farm. Compensation for loss of milk production is based TO PAGE 4

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MPI dismisses pig fears PIG OF A DISEASE


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FURTHER TESTING for deadly diseases like foot and mouth of confiscated pork is not necessary, says the Ministry for Primary Industries. But New Zealand Pork is questioning whether this country is doing enough to protect against deadly diseases like African Swine Fever (ASF) and Foot and Mouth disease (FMD), after rising levels of ASF and new samples of FMD were detected at the Australian border. Following last month’s discovery of ASF in illegally imported pork products, Australian authorities have undertaken a further round of testing of surrendered and seized pork products from incoming passengers and mail. In the latest test of samples, collected in late January and early February, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) confirmed ASF was present in 15% of samples – a significant jump

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

NZ Pork chair Eric Roy.

from the 5% of products that tested ASF-positive in December. Of potentially wider concern for New Zealand’s whole livestock industry, the DAWR also confirmed FMD was present in a small number of the samples, says NZ Pork. Dr Chris Rodwell, MPI director, animal health and welfare, says MPI takes the threat from ASF and FMD very serious. “Protecting New Zealand from unwanted pests and diseases is our number one priority, and we are mon-

FIRST HURDLE CLEARED FOR PGW PGG WRIGHTSON has cleared the first of many compliance hurdles it needed to jump in getting the go-ahead to sell its seed division to Danish company DLF Seeds: the deal is now approved by the Commerce Commission. PGW agreed last August to sell its seeds business to Danish company DLF Seeds for $421 million. Trevor Burt, PGW’s deputy chairman, says the commission’s clearance is another positive step in moving the deal closer to settlement. “It has already received strong support: 96% of shareholders who voted cast their votes in favour of the proposed transaction.” The agreement still remains conditional on Australian Competition and Consumer Commission clearance, approval under the New Zealand Overseas Investment Act, change of control consents from certain PGW Seeds’ joint venture partners and the completion of required regulatory filings in Uruguay.

DESPITE CONSIDERABLE effort to stop the disease, ASF is continuing to spread through Europe and has become widespread in China, says NZ Pork. “The deadly pig disease, which has no effective treatment or vaccine, would be devastating to the welfare of the animals and the livelihoods of farmers in the local industry. New Zealand’s commercial pig farming industry currently has one of the highest health statuses in the world. ASF is not harmful to humans.” Roy says the major threat to the

itoring the situation in Australia,” he says. “MPI is aware of the findings from Australia, and we accept that some illegal personal consignments may contain ASF or FMD viruses. But as these products are being confiscated and destroyed we don’t consider it necessary to conduct further tests. We believe there are no biosecurity gains in further testing of confiscated pork products as they are destroyed.”    Private consignments of pork and pork products are currently banned in New Zealand except from three countries that are free from ASF and FMD: Australia, Finland, Sweden, he says. Rodwell says any traveller arriving in New Zealand with pork or pork products from other countries will have these items confiscated and destroyed, and penalties will apply for international travellers with undeclared pork products.    “We are monitoring the situation and will change import rules for pork products as needed.   “It is important to note, commercial pork can only be imported into New Zealand if it meets our strict import

local industry is that infected meat gets into the lifestyle or para-commercial pig population through the feeding of uncooked food scraps, a practice that is banned but does still occur when hobby farmers are unaware of the risks. New Zealand’s feral pig population could also come into contact with food waste. Almost 60% of pork consumed in New Zealand is imported from over 25 countries around the world, including China, Poland and Belgium, which are identified as having ASF, as well as Denmark and Spain.

conditions. This requires measures to be taken to ensure it is free from ASF and FMD,” he told Rural News.   But NZ Pork chairman Eric Roy says the latest discovery really raises the stakes for the wider primary sector. “This is a real wake up call for the industry and needs to be treated with the utmost seriousness by our own border agencies,” says Roy. “The discovery of FMD in the latest samples of products found in Australia should be of particular concern for anyone in the livestock sector.” Roy says NZ Pork is exploring the option of a meeting of industry leaders to review the current levels of risk. “At the same time, we are repeating our calls for the Minister of Agriculture and Minister for Biosecurity Damien O’Connor to provide reassurance that we are taking all possible action – including our own testing of samples – at the border,” says Roy. “Given that the level of ASF detected in intercepted products has grown from five to 15% in the space of a month, it’s an extremely sobering indication of how much that risk is increasing.”

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Feed needed in fire ravaged region SUDESH KISSUN

FEED WILL be the biggest issue in the coming months for farmers in Tasman region, says Federated Farmers Top of the South dairy chair Brian Dineen. He says the Nelson

fires have tainted pasture, making them unpalatable for stock. Many other parts of Tasman district have suffered dry weather and grass growth has been minimal. “Feed is the biggest issue going forward, thanks to the fires and

the recent dry weather,” Dineen told Rural News. “The good thing is that we can cope with this challenge; other parts of the country have had good rain and there’s a good amount of feed sitting around.” Federated Farmers is coordinating feed supply

through its Nelson administrator Jan Gillanders and Golden Bay provincial president Wayne Langford. Dineen says he’s amazed by the generosity of farmers NZ-wide. Feed is now arriving in Tasman. “The beauty of Feds and the farming community is that there are a lot of farmers willing to help out.” The fires have affected one dairy farmer, lifestyle block owners and several sheep and beef and deer farmers. Dairy farmer Michael Shearer, who milks 400 cows near Nelson, had flames reach the outskirts of his 160ha farm. Dineen says a neighbouring hops grower who had recently converted a dairy farm has opened his milking parlour for Shearer to continue milking cows. “He is very lucky; I think he may have lost only one day of milking,” says Dineen. Dineen, who has vis-

Top of the South Feds’ dairy chair Brian Dineen.

ited Shearer, says the outpouring of support for Shearer and other farmers has been amazing. He says many animals from affected farms are being looked after by volunteers at the Nelson showground. The prolonged dry weather has also triggered more water restrictions. “This is a challenging time for farmers, the hor-

the second week of the fire.” A medium-scale adverse event (fire and drought) was recently declared for Tasman district, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers. “We are monitoring the situation carefully and are working with other agencies as the situation develops,” Lindsay said.

ticulture and wine industries in the region and, of course, for the whole community affected by wildfire and drought,” says David Lindsay, MPI regional controller. “We are working closely with Tasman District Council, Rural Support Trust and other agencies to ensure rural communities are supported as the drought bites and we move into


on kgMS production onfarm over the last few seasons, milk price and farm production costs. Brownie says only 11 claims have so far been declined. “We are not in the business of not paying people,” she says. To help cashflow on affected farms, MPI is now introducing earlier partial payments for culled animals with a final wash-up payment after the last animal has been culled; partial monthly payment for milk loss is also


available to affected farmers. “This is to ensure that income is coming in to help with cashflow on the farm,” says Brownie. So far 40,000 animals have been culled; the Government’s early estimate was a cull of upp to 150,000. “If there are delays, then it’s not about frustrating anyone or denying payments; we may not have all the information we need.” Brownie urged farmers still frustrated with their M. bovis compensation claims to directly contact her at MPI. Feds dairy chairman Chris Lewis

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says the organisation has been contacted by farmers having issues with their M. bovis claims. But he says things are improving. “It’s clear that two years ago MPI had no idea how to deal with the M. bovis claims.” Lewis questions whether the Biosecurity Act is geared up to efficiently process compensation payments. “Is the legislation fit for purpose? Legislators must ensure that legislation is able to meet all challenges and all issues.”

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Facing challenges Feds back wool levy with gusto PETER BURKE

WHILE THE hills in Central Hawkes Bay remain green, which is remarkable for this time of the year, Porangahau farmer Sam Clark and his wife Gudrun are on the lookout for drought. The pair are taking over the family farm Airlie, a 400ha property on which they run 2000 Romney ewes, 100 Angus cows and 120 finishing bulls/heifers. The farm has been in the Clark family since 1929. Sam is taking over running the medium-tosteep hill country property from his father David. After leaving college, Sam did a farm cadetship, worked on various farms in the region then returned to the family farm about two years ago. Recently he was elected to the Beef + Lamb NZ farmers’ council and began looking at issues that he believes BLNZ should be focusing on. He says while there is feed galore on the farm and stock prices are high, this could all change in a matter of weeks. “There is always a drought in waiting if the

Sam Clark

winds get up; the weather is one thing we have no control over,” he told Rural News. Good weather has enabled Clark to finish most of his stock onfarm whereas normally he would sell about 50% of his lambs as stores. A key to all this, he says, is flexible management enabling him to make decisions quickly if conditions change. On the issues affecting farmers, Clark says compliance issues don’t scare him, “but I can understand how the older generation might feel”. “Young farmers like me have grown up with compliance. I can see more compliance issues coming, especially in animal welfare and traceability. “On M. bovis, I believe biosecurity needs to be

managed better onfarm, but we need better programmes behind it such as the NAIT system which has proven to be poor.” He says broadband and cellphone coverage also need to be addressed. For Clark and his family cell coverage at the farm is nonexistent and they have to go several kilometres down the road to get coverage. “I tell people ‘just call me on my landline’.” He says new technology can help farmers but for many the problem is cost. His wife Gudrun – or Cookie as she is known – says farmers need teaching in how to use technology and to farm better by, for example, embracing better genetics to obtain better yielding animals. The BLNZ farmers’ council could do this, she says. Sam Clark reckons forsees changes and challenges for the red meat sector. However, he doesn’t fear the advent of “lab meat”, saying the need is to promote the qualities of red meat, not rail against alternative products.

IN AN irony not lost on free-marketers, Federated Farmers -- in which farmer membership is voluntary -- supports imposing a compulsory levy on all wool growers. Feds meat and wool council voted last week in favour of a levy on wool producers; but with the proviso that the cross-industry Wool Working Group (WWG) comes up with a “clear, practicable and compelling blueprint for lifting wool’s profile and returns”. Delegates from the 24 provinces, at a meeting in Wellington, agreed that unless a collaborative plan for wool research, development and marketing is formulated -- and widely backed -- the deathknell will be heard for New Zealand’s crossbred wool industry. “Without that plan, we’ve got an industry facing death by a thousand





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Anderson says Feds vote in favour of a compulsory wool levy, assuming a proven plan and structure, was to show that farming leaders are committed to the cause. “In the last decade, two earlier farmer votes on a wool levy were not successful for different reasons. But our reading of farmer sentiment is that there is widespread recognition of the need for urgency in the entire sector -farmer through to manufacturer -to get on the same page and win the market share this great fibre deserves. “But our signal to the Wool Working Group is that if they come up with a workable plan and structure to drive improvements, Federated Farmers will join the push for a referendum to secure a levy to drive progress.”




cuts,” Feds meat and wool chair Miles Anderson said. “My fear is that the next time there is a downturn in sheep meat prices, we’ll lose a critical amount of breeding stock from the sector and ultimately we could see a hollowing-out of rural economies, with mass tree planting on productive farm land.” The WWG, comprising representatives of farmers, buyers and major wool product makers, has since last July been laying the groundwork for a strategy aimed at better promotion to consumers of wool. The WWG met again last Thursday, but already has assurances of Government support for an initial period to set up a governance and staff structure to bed in an industry-agreed plan.

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Prepare for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit PAM TIPA

BUSINESSES SHOULD start preparing for a nodeal Brexit, says the trade commissioner to London, Nick Swallow. As we move closer to March 29 – when the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU – nobody knows what will happen, Swallow told a business briefing in Auckland last week. Brexit was due to go before the UK Parliament again late last week but a deal with the European Union was not expected to be passed at the time of Rural News going to press. New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI), the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) and Customs all told last week’s brief-

ing they were preparing for the worst-case scenario of a no-deal Brexit and advising business to do so. Swallow said if the UK Prime Minister could secure a withdrawal deal there would be a transition period lasting to December 2020 minimum. For NZ business that would mean nothing changing in the near future: the terms of trade for products going into the EU and the UK would remain the same. The EU and the UK would work on a free trade agreement although achieving one by December 2020 would be “breakneck speed”. A FTA with Greenland took six years and there was only one issue at stake. Swallow says an extension of time is now needed for article 50 –

Rural News 2 Wheel Farm Feb.indd 1

NZ’s trade commissioner to London Nick Swallow.

which triggers UK’s exit from the EU – or a deal by March 29. If not, the UK leaves without a deal. The UK and the EU governments have changed their language

slightly on the no-deal: they are encouraging businesses to prepare and the governments are preparing. The UK has boosted funding for a no-deal contingency plan, France

will have 700 more customs officials at the border, Ireland is adding 1000 staff (700 of them customs officials) and Netherlands is putting 900 new customs officials into Rotterdam (the main port city) alone. The UK Government is sending a lot of letters to UK businesses. If there is no deal on March 29, the UK will leave the EU customs union and the single market and will become a third party of the EU. “If you want to send goods from the EU to the UK you will have to pay a tariff and go through customs formalities; that will apply vice versa. “[No deal] means there would be no transition period; this would happen overnight on March 29.”

CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR PRIMARY EXPORTERS BREXIT PRESENTS particular challenges for primary industries because of product perishability, seasonality and tariff quotas, and sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, says Rochelle Ferguson, MPI specialist adviser, market access. MPI is focussed on the worst-case scenario of no deal, she says. It is looking at regulatory issues and making sure stakeholders have up to date information. The veterinary agreement with the UK is significant and other countries are lined up to get the same, Ferguson says. It agrees that the measures we check are equivalent to those of the EU which provides for robust trade between the two countries, she says. MPI has also had a letter from the chief veterinary officer to all UK trading partners saying they will recognise EU model health certificates and establishment listings from the EU for at least the first six months in the event of no deal. MPI also aims to replicate the arrangement it has with the EU in organics and fisheries certification, aiming to have this in place by March 29. MPI policy analyst Zoe Tame says where they cannot mitigate the risk they are doing their best to TO PAGE 7



communicate this to exporters, particularly small ones. Michelle Slade from Mfat says they have been doing everything they can through the WTO and unilaterally to protect NZ access into the EU and the UK. One area of concern is a proposal by the UK and EU to divide up the WTO tariff rate quotas which are important for a number of NZ’s agricultural exports into the EU and UK because of the high tariffs in the out-of-quota environment. “It removes the flexibility currently in place to send up to the full volume of the quota into the EU or UK according to fluctuations in demand. So we have a serious concern about this. “[Mfat has] had assurances from the UK particularly that they are looking to ensure third parties [will not be] not worse off through this process. We are working to ensure they follow through on that.” Equally Mfat is working hard through the Geneva and WTO processes to seek to protect that access. They are seeking to strengthen trade and economic relationships. “Both New Zealand and the UK have indicated publicly that we intend to work to negotiate a high quality comprehensive bilateral FTA,” Slade said. Mfat now has an FTA in process with the EU and wants to do the same with the UK when the British are free to begin this. UK has nominated Australia, New Zealand and the US as priority FTA partners after Brexit and has expressed interest in the 11 country partnership in the CPTPP trade agreement. NZ Customs group manager revenue and assurance Richard Bargh says NZ would like a trust trade relationship with the UK and the EU, but that will have to wait until the UK quits the EU. “Then we will be in the queue as much as any other country. But we will be pressing the UK to put NZ first on that list.”

WOF for new season PETER BURKE

SETTING UP for next year’s production was the theme of a Beef + Lamb NZ field day held last week at Massey University’s Tuapaka farm just outside Palmerston North. The event attracted about 50 people including farmers and consultants. They heard about the red meat sector from Murray Jones of Silver Fern Farms and from Massey scientists Steve Morris and Paul Kenyon. BLNZ’s Jason Griffin says their aim was to provide farmers with information as they gear up for the breeding season. Vet Barney Askin ran a session on choosing rams. “It’s getting their rams checked and in the right condition; we call it a ram warrant of fitness,” Griffin told Rural News. “Also looking at the issue of hogget mating, which means

BLNZ’s Jason Griffin.

getting them up to the required weight and condition or, if they are not, making a decision not to mate them at all.” Griffin says the field day showed some of the research work Massey is doing at Tuapaka, such as its work on water quality monitoring, seen by the farmers during a brief tour of the farm. “I think farmers are pretty positive at the moment,” Grif-

fin said. “They have had a good spring and summer and it’s only of late that it’s gone dry, but people accept that at this time of the year. “Prices have been good and so has productivity. Stock are looking good and ewes should go to the ram in good condition.” Griffin emphasised the need to condition score ewes and gather all necessary informa-

tion as they head into the new season. Meanwhile, farm consultant Gary Massicks, who facilitated the day, said it was great for farmers to see the research Massey University is doing for their benefit, especially in water quality. Although compliance is feared by ome farmers, younger farmers generally don’t see it as an issue as they have grown up in a ‘compliance environment’. “For the younger generation technology is a way of life,” Massicks said. Massicks sees farm labour as a big problem. “It’s a real concern -- getting quality shepherds, stockmen and shearers.” He said some farmers are thinking of moving out of sheep because it is too hard to get labour and it is harder for older farmers -- a pity because there is good money in sheep. “On the other hand, cattle don’t grow dags,” he says.

11/02/19 2:59 PM



Former Fonterra boss farewelled SUDESH KISSUN

DAIRY FARMERS have former Fonterra chairman John Wilson to thank for

the milk price they enjoy today, says Sir Henry van der Heyden. In a eulogy at Wilson’s funeral in Hamilton early this month, van

der Heyden told of Wilson’s relentless push for a fair and transparent milk price. “His relentless questioning and his ability to

process and retain vast amounts of information means we have a tremendous legacy from him in the milk price,” he said. “John is the godfa-

ther of the milk price… the milk price is all dairy farmers really worry about; it represents security. We should light a candle to John every

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season.” Wilson succeeded van der Heyden as chairman in 2012. Illness had forced Wilson to step down as chairman last July and he died at his Te Awamutu home on January 28. At least 1000 people attended his funeral. Van der Heyden, who has stayed out of dairy industry affairs since retiring from Fonterra’s board, said he was “more than a little humbled” to be asked to speak at the funeral. He said Wilson had the ability to “rise to the top the way cream does”. “All by itself and what put him there was his ability to bring farmers along with him. He had enormous ability to absorb, interpret and use information intelligently and persuasively. “He would turn information into visionary concepts that farmers could believe in. “He connected with them in their language and on their terms and they chose him as a director and ultimately as chairman.” Van der Heyden took exception to a newspaper columnist having recently called Wilson his pupil. “He got this totally wrong; John was always his own man and plenty of people can vouch for that.” Van der Heyden explained Wilson’s work on the milk price before and after Fonterra was formed. Before Fonterra the New Zealand Dairy Board handled all dairy exports and the co-ops managed the domestic market.

The NZDB paid farmers for their milk using a basic formula of revenue minus costs; co-ops added a margin depending on how good they were in the local market. Van der Heyden said farmers could see how the co-ops made their money but they could never see what drove the revenue line in the Dairy Board. “This was a multimillion-dollar business but we could never get a handle on their costs: it was all a matter of faith and it drove John mad. He believed to his core that farmers should be able to see the numbers -- warts and all -- and know they were absolutely right. “So, when we introduced Trading Among Farmers, John was like a terrier in getting the milk price right and, above all, truly independent. “He knew it had to stand up to scrutiny from all corners – politicians, competitors, regulators and especially farmers. There could be no possibility of money moving around to benefit investors over farmers or vice versa. “Today we have a model based on revenue less costs which is fully transparent [in both respects] and independently reviewed by the Commerce Commission. So, for example, farmers today know the milk price has benefitted by 40c/ kgMS as a result of efficiencies and savings. They also know the days of lagging behind European dairy farmers are long gone. That price parity is one of John’s legacies.” @rural_news



Beetles help cut council’s crap PAM TIPA

HUNDREDS OF dung beetles were released on the Wither Hills Farm Park in Blenheim on the weekend of February 9 and 10. Marlborough District Council owns the park on the southern boundary of Blenheim. The farm park for economic reasons has grazing animals – sheep and beef – and it has recreational park with walking and mountain bike tracks, communications manager Glyn Walters told Rural News. The council, as landowner, decided to release dung beetles on the farm. “The reasons for that are multiple…. They provide a whole lot of benefits in terms of soil quality, soil stabilisation and water quality outcomes long term. Another issue long term is to try to get rid of cattle dung off the hill because [people] walk through the park, so it would be good to get the dung breaking down a bit quicker; so it has multiple benefits.” Dung Beetle Innovations held a workshop pre-Christmas and the council invited farmers and stakeholders to

explain the benefits of dung beetles. At least three sheep and beef farms have since been looking at releasing beetles on their own land. Regionally the council is taking a lead to encourage other landowners to release dung beetles because it makes good sense in dealing with degraded catchments and water quality issues, says Walters. Great Wellington Regional Council and the Hawkes Bay Regional Council are promoting partnership schemes with farmers for dung beetle release. Greater Wellington is leading the way with 49 farmers having responded positively to the partnership scheme and 200 dung beetle colonies now active. Greater Wellington land management advisor Kolja Schaller says they partnered with Dung Beetle Innovations, spent some money and secured about 30 whole farm releases which they could offer to farmers in the Wellington region at a discounted rate. The council decided to home in on one catchment to get as much uptake there as possible. GWRC’s offer of dis-

counted beetle packages is focussed on properties along the eastern shore of super-trophic Lake Wairarapa, where the lake contains high levels of nitrates and other pollutants, some of which leach into the water from dung. Schaller says a catchment was seen as the best place for seeing what the beetles could do in burying dung, building soils and improving water quality. “We had a lot of interest specifically from dairy farms in the Lake Wairarapa are... we thought it would be a good area to do the catchment scale release.”

Marlborough District Council staff Alan Johnson and David Aires, with little helper Huxley Whitaker-Johnson, releasing dung beetles at Wither Hills Farm Park.

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Working to rule and society’s vibe PETER BURKE

COMPLIANCE MEANS not only meeting the requirements of the regulator, but also the expec-

tations of society. This was a key theme of the annual Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre workshop at Massey University, Palmerston North, last week.

About 250 attendees representing CRIs, universities, central and local government and consultants attended the 32nd, three-day workshop . Speakers came from Ire-

land, Denmark and Australia. The centre’s acting director, Professor Chris Anderson, says the workshop has long looked at nutrients and their man-

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agement which, with compliance, is now critical. He says compliance must be seen as farmers meeting the requirements of a regulator and also meeting society’s expectations. “We are seeing more and more discussion about water quality. People want to know that their water is safe to swim in and they are concerned about food quality,” he told Rural News. “So the FLRC workshop is a platform to look at the science and the policy – track how we are going, look at the current trends and [look at] finding a pathway forward.” Anderson says agriculture and horticulture are crucial to NZ’s economy, but their impact on the environment is scrutinised more than ever before. Primary produc-

Prof Chris Anderson

ers are increasingly challenged to comply with social expectations for “healthy food, healthy environment”. “Regional councils are working on regulations guided by science, which target the balance between production and environmental protection,” he says. Anderson believes Massey University is making a “significant contribution” to finding qual-

ity science solutions to the problems. They are looking at making farm systems more efficient with feed and getting the most from nutrient inputs. “Good science is what Massey is strong in.” Massey is making a point of engaging with farmers in some science work because farmers have the task of implementing policy. “Farmers are doing a good job and we should celebrate this.” They want to do a good job because they are concerned about having a clean environment. This underpins their goal of healthy food and healthy animals. “So farmers are listening, watching and having input and providing feedback to us to make sure we are on the right track,” he says.

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Farms hit by Nelson fires NIGEL MALTHUS

SIX COMMERCIAL farms have been destroyed by the huge fire in the hills southwest of Nelson, according to Federated Farmers. Although the houses were saved, the farms lost buildings, fences and water systems, says Feds national vice-president Andrew Hoggard. Feds called urgently for grazing and feed supplies, and Hoggard said eight truckloads of feed were understood to be on the way, from Mid and South Canterbury, Marlborough and Golden Bay. “We know there are more than 15 primary production properties of concern,” Hoggard told Rural News. “We are currently prioritising those who are reliant on farming as their main source of income to get feed and have a system to allocate feed to other affected properties.” Last week, the fire was burning on, nearly a week after the state of emer-

gency was declared on February 6. Evacuated residents were allowed back into Wakefield last Tuesday, but the state of emergency was extended for another seven days. The Richmond Showground has been made available for stock, but mostly that was being used by the district’s many lifestylers, Hoggard says. Of the commercial farmers, some had been able to get stock off to other farms. He says one dairy farm was reportedly operating out of an old cow shed because the main shed was on the wrong side of the cordon with a good chunk of the farm. Meanwhile, Hoggard says MPI had done “a pretty bloody good job” managing the situation, although some farmers are said to have been upset at not getting access to check their stock. “In these situations everyone’s in high stress,” Hoggard told Rural News.

“Obviously, in the washup we’ll be looking with hindsight over every little decision, but by and large MPI did a pretty good job. They have been giving access to people on a sort of roster basis to check on stock.” Hoggard says anyone going in had to be guided by Civil Defence person-

nel; with so many lifestyle blocks involved, giving everybody access would mean “taking a truckload of people away from the front line”. “It’s a huge balancing act between people’s safety and trying to control the fire and stop it from spreading and affecting even more

people, and at the same time looking after people’s livelihoods and their stock.” Hoggard says inevitably some people were upset that they couldn’t do everything they wanted, but he hasn’t heard any complaints about rampant bureaucracy.

Andrew Hoggard

HAY ARRIVES IN QUEENSLAND TRUCKLOADS OF hay are arriving in flood-hit Queensland where 500,000 cattle are feared dead. Five trucks carrying $65,000 of Victorian hay arrived last week in the central Queensland town of Winton. AgForce, the peak body representing Queensland beef, sheep and wool and grain producers, says while distressed herds are at last getting fodder, the organisation is urging a focus on the future. Chief executive Michael Guerin says courageous and collaborative leadership is required to ensure the long-term well-being of cattle producers in north-west Queensland and the rural communities who rely on them. “There is no doubt that this is a disaster of unprecedented proportion,” says Guerin. “The speed and intensity of the unfolding tragedy makes it hard to believe that it’s just a week since farmers’ elation at receiving the first decent rains in five years turned to horror at the devastating and unprecedented flood that quickly followed.” Some areas had three years equivalent rain in about a week. Gurein says the first hay started arriving in central stockpiles about a week ago. Agencies and organisation at all levels are now helping the many producers and communities in this desperate situation. “AgForce’s emergency fodder drop map is helping pinpoint where assistance is required to enable cattle farmers to access emergency fodder supplies. “So far, [at least] 100 producers in the devastated areas have requested fodder to try to save [at least] 150,000 head of cattle.” – Sudesh Kissun




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Fair pay rules may lead to strikes – Feds SUDESH KISSUN

DAIRY FARMERS are concerned about the Government’s fair pay working group recommendations, says Feds dairy chairman Chris Lewis. Lewis told the Feds dairy council meeting in New Plymouth last week that the compulsory nature of the proposed fair pay agreements and the risk of industrial action and productivity loss are key concerns for the industry. It would be compulsory for business to accept the new wage rate once it was negotiated for that position, Lewis told about 40 people at the two-day meeting. “What if staff strike during calving; who would look after the cows?” he asked. “Sounds outrageous? Staff would never strike during the peak part of the season.... That’s how unions hold

Current Fed dairy chair Chris Lewis and former chair Willy Leferink.

power over the employers. Just ask our dairy companies how the unions have used this in the past.” The Government’s fair pay working group, led by former National Prime Minister Jim Bolger, has made 46 recommendations to the Government which it says will help end the

‘race to the bottom’ in wages. It has also reported on the design of a fair pay agreement system which it says would set minimum standards for industries or occupations. The Minister of Workplace Relations, Iain Lees-Galloway, is now considering the group’s recommen-

dations, which address the initiation of bargaining, coverage of the agreements, their scope and the bargaining process for negotiations. One recommendation, on collective bargaining, suggests workers should be able to initiate a fair payagreement bargaining process if they can meet a minimum threshold of 1000 people, or 10% of workers in the nominated sector or occupation, whichever is lower. Lewis says dairy farmers are all for fair pay. “Also, we promote career progression, where you start at the bottom of the ladder, you increase your skills and knowledge, and work your way up through the industry, getting rewarded with more pay and a better job title along with responsibility,” he says. “The good staff make it to sharemilker or farm manager roles and then have an eye on land ownership.”


NEGOTIATING NIGHTMARE DAIRY FARMERS are also wondering who would represent them in award wage negotiations. Chris Lewis says DairyNZ could represent farmers but “they haven’t done too well with our TB funding and M. bovis levy negotiations”. “Or dairy companies could do this. But they like paying excessive wages and big bonuses to European staff. “Maybe Feds dairy but we would only negotiate on behalf of our members. “It’s a minefield: the difficult thing to work out would be who would represent our industry in employers’ negotiations. I’m sure, if we can’t make up our minds, that the Government would decide on the weakest one -- and that won’t be us.” Lewis has urged farmers to promote better wage packages for the industry and he wants farmers to value the housing component at market rent levels. “Promote the beast in the freezer and milk in the fridge as part of the package,” Lewis says. “And that the only peak hour traffic you will find on the way to your work is 300 black and white cows leisurely making their way to the shed, with views of Mt Taranaki in the background, fresh air; and turning all this into milk -- the best, most nutritious product in the world.”

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Telford gets a temporary reprieve BALCLUTHA’S TROUBLED Telford agricultural training institution has been thrown a one-year lifeline by the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), Invercargill. Its future had been in doubt with the liquidation of Wairarapa’s Taratahi Agricultural Centre which took over running Telford when it was sold by Lincoln University in July 2017. Education Minister Chris Hipkins has now agreed to SIT running Telford this year. The Government will contribute $1.8 million to support SIT’s Telford programmes, enough to teach about 200 students on-campus or by distance learning New Zealandwide. “This is a great outcome for Telford students who want to continue their studies and complete their qualifications, and for the students who were looking forward to starting at Telford this year. It also keeps investment and jobs in the local community,” Hipkins said.

Some staff will lose their jobs, but Hipkins said he was pleased that most Telford staff – about 20 fulltime equivalents – will be employed by SIT, with their existing rights and benefits maintained. Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said he was thrilled that Telford would continue in 2019, but revealed that a proposal to secure its future longer term was rejected by the Government. “Working with the Southern Institute of Technology and other stakeholders to develop a solution, I’m glad the gates of this fine institute will remain open,” Walker said. “Together, we had worked incredibly hard to offer a long-term solution. “However, the Government turned down the long-term proposal last week and asked us to go back with a plan to keep it open for one year.” Walker said the oneyear agreement was only a starting point. “It’s incredibly disappointing the longterm proposal was turned down. Telford’s staff and students, and the wider

Government funding has been allocated to keep Telford running. Inset: Chris Hipkins.

farming community, deserve long-term security and certainty. “Even more disappointing is this Government’s willingness to spend $80m creating a new skills and employment initiative announced in Northland this week, yet won’t spend money down south retaining long-standing services. “This Government does not have a plan for agriculture training... as evident in this process as no direction has been given,” said Walker. Hipkins said the primary industries are a vital contributor to the NZ economy and top-class training and education in the sector is essential. “The Government will be working... to reform

vocational education and training so that it meets NZ’s future needs.”

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NZ trade threatened by WTO stand-off – trade expert PAM TIPA

THE ABILITY of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to hear any New Zealand disputes arising out of Brexit could be under threat. It is just one example of problems which may arise if the WTO does not have enough appellate body judges to hear appeals, says trade expert Stephen Jacobi. Seven major NZ agricultural organisations put their concerns to the Government over threats to the WTO rules before the annual forum of global trade and business leaders in Davos Switzerland last month. Beef + Lamb NZ (BLNZ), the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ), the Meat Industry Association of NZ, Horticulture NZ, the NZ Horticulture Export Authority, SeafoodNZ and NZ Wine Growers collectively urged the Government to use forums like Davos to try to rescue the WTO. “They are absolutely right to draw attention to the state of the WTO because… there will be not enough appellate body judges to hear appeals under the dispute settlement process,” says Jacobi, a former diplomat who is executive director of the NZ International Business Forum. “The US has been blocking the appointment of those judges. It has some technical and more philosophical problems with the way the dispute settlement system works,” he told Rural News. “In some areas NZ also shares some

“That is potentially problematic. To give one example, we may be looking at a WTO dispute with the European Union and Britain over the division of our tariff rate quotas in the event that Britain leaves the EU. Our interests could be directly affected by a slowing down of this (WTO) system.” of those views. But the fact that they are failing to agree to the appointment of new judges means the whole process might grind to a halt later this year. “That is potentially problematic.   To give one example, we may be looking at a WTO dispute with the European Union and Britain over the division of our tariff rate quotas in the event that Britain leaves the EU. Our interests could be directly affected by a slowing down of this (WTO) system. “It is another sign the architecture which has been build up over many years, and on which we have come to rely, has been weakened by these unilateral approaches United States has taken.

Stephen Jacobi says NZ needs to be noisy as it can on the issue.

“Also this reflects the fact we haven’t updated these things because the Doha development agenda was never concluded because of the objections of the US and other major players. “It is a bit late now to start trying to bring the whole system down. I am not sure what could or should replace it but it would be very serious if the dispute settlement system which is the






jewel in the crown of the WTO failed to operate.” The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did raise those issues in Davos. “I think she took that on board, but Davos is not a decision making place. It’s a place where important ideas are discussed and these ideas about the need to continue to support the WTO were well registered there. “We need to make as many noises

as we can in as many forums as we can; that was the message of those agricultural groups,” Jacobi said. “But the Government is participating in a number of initiatives. It is part of a smaller group of WTO members looking at ways of reforming the WTO to meet some of these concerns. “It is vitally important that that work continues. There was a ministerial meeting in Ottawa last year that [Trade Minister] David Parker went to and there has been various followthrough from that. It is important that we come up with some ideas on how to move the system on.” Jacobi says for that to work it will have to have the support at some stage of US and China to move forward. “That work has to carry on. NZ is part of a number of other groups – the Cairns group, for example, will continue to make these points. “We need to use every opportunity at our disposal to push this idea and we have to keep pushing on with FTAs which enable us to reform trade rules at a different level while being careful not to undermine the WTO.” The seven agricultural companies said in their joint submission that if the current block in the appointment of appellate body judges is not resolved this year then the disputes settlement process will cease to function, rendering the rules we depend on unenforceable. “This is a grim prospect for a small trading economy like NZ.  The loss of enforceable rules would mean the loss of predictable access to countries when we export our goods from NZ.”




Beltex sheep under the spotlight PETER BURKE

ALL EYES will be on the second annual sale of Beltex purebred and crossbred rams at Rangiatea, Mt Somers on March 1. Some young crossbred ewes will also be on offer. Beltex crossbred lambs sold well at the Surrey Hills sale last month, and the vendors are again hoping for good prices; buyers are expected from around the country. The former head of Invermay Research, Jock Allison, Mt Somers farmer Blair Gallagher and farm adviser John Tavendale brought the Beltex breed to New Zealand in 2017. “It is a double-muscled Texel offshoot from Belgium and it has a seriously big backside and eye muscle,” says Gallagher. He points out that when the original Texels came to NZ from Scandinavia there were no double muscled animals among them. According to Allison, Beltex crosses bring substantial premiums in the UK, particularly in butchers’ markets. “MPI’s decision to allow the direct import of sheep embryos from Europe without quarantine provided the oppor-

tunity, which we have taken on behalf of the NZ sheep industry.” Allison says the the Beltex produces a carcase particularly suitable for premium markets and so provides increased value. “Increased killingout percentage and meat yield are the benefits, and particularly a greater eye muscle area and muscling in the leg.” Allison says there are no lambing difficulties with Beltex rams mated over commercial ewe breeds; the lambs are born “small and vigorous”. He says this is universally accepted in the UK; the pronounced muscling is not apparent at birth but starts to develop shortly afterwards. “In the purebred, lambing performance is on a par with the imported Texels in the early 1990s when they first arrived,” he told Rural News. “NZ breeders will be selecting to improve the pure Beltex over time and to improve other productive characteristics in exactly the same way as with the Texel breed since its introduction.” Gallagher says the breed is used as a terminal sire that offers specific attributes that will enhance the NZ sheep industry. He claims that it

has extra killing-out percentage of live weight to

deadweight and also the dressing-out percentage

of meat to bone is higher than a lot of animals

grown in NZ. “The other major attri-

The second annual Beltex sale will be held at Mt Somers on March 1.

bute of the Beltex is the carcase conformation. In the UK saleyards they pay a 15% premium to get a Beltex-cross carcase,” he says. Beltex rams have made big dollars for breeders: the top price last year for a Suffolk x Beltex ram was $15,000, and a purebred ram made $12,000. Allison says they hope to get similar, if not better, prices at the March 1 sale.

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Top-notch apple crop expected PAM TIPA

THE APPLE and pear crop is forecast to increase only modestly this year but is expected to be top quality. A forecast gross crop of 604,500 tonnes is 2.5% up on 2018’s yield. However, New Zealand Apples & Pears chief executive Alan Pollard says the result of the good growing season can be seen in fruit quality. “Most notable about this year’s crop is the exceptional quality of the fruit. Consumers

can expect to receive the high-quality apples and pears that NZ is renowned for.” Despite hail in Central Otago, growing conditions across the rest of New Zealand this season have been very good, he says. “Adequate rainfall means that all regions have good quantities of irrigation water, and sunlight and warmth are at some of the best levels that we have seen.” A key to the success of the NZ industry is the continued diversification of varieties available

world-wide. “The broad portfolio of varieties that we offer has changed dramatically since the mid2000s, when Royal Gala and Braeburn accounted for almost 80% of NZ exports,” says Pollard. “Today, Royal Gala remains our largest export variety accounting for around 30% of total exports. But varieties such as Braeburn continue to decline: that particular variety’s planted area was down 7% over 2018 and export volumes are expected to be down 8% for 2019.”  

RESEARCH BOOST FOR BIOSECURITY RISKS THE APPLE and pear industry has this month gained funding to help prepare and manage biosecurity threats, from the Government’s MPI Sustainable Farming Fund. NZ Apples & Pears biosecurity manager Nicola Robertson says the $420,000 grant will make a huge difference in protecting the industry’s future. “This grant will help us ensure the industry is ready and able to protect against a range of biosecurity threats, including fruit fly and brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). “Our industry is moving to implement a more proactive and connected response, working with the public as a stronger force to fight any incursion of NZ

shores “We’ve had fruit fly, the stink bug is on the horizon and we must prepare now for whatever comes next,” says Robertson. The grant will fund a three year programme including response options for apple and pear growers, treatment and control options for fruit fly and BMSB, implementing biosecurity hubs in the growing regions and training members. “It also includes developing and publishing response plans and industry biosecurity guidelines and conducting simulations with members to test response plans,” Robertson says. NZAPI will work with the entire industry to get the most out of the project, including greater public awareness.

This year’s apple crop is expected to be of high quality.

The industry expects average fruit size to be smaller than in 2018, with the season running 5 to 7 days later than in 2018 in Hawkes Bay and about the same timing as 2018 in Nelson. The area planted in apples and pears continues to increase at about 3% to 4% per annum and is now at 10,189ha. Meanwhile, a new partnership claims that new, superior tasting apples and pears able to thrive in the planet’s warming climate will soon be available to fruit growers worldwide. T&G Global (formerly

Turners & Growers) has joined NZ’s Plant & Food Research, the Institute of Agriculture and Food Research Technology (IRTA) and Fruit Futur – the latter two both in Spain -- as the exclusive partner in commercialising new apple and pear cultivars designed to withstand sunburn, colour and firmness associated with the warming global climate. The Hot Climate Programme (HCP) was initiated in 2002 by Plant & Food Research and IRTA to address challenges faced by Spanish growers, particularly

in the Catalan region, with traditional apple and pear varieties. They endure hot seasons with increased sunburn, low colour, compromised fruit textures and higher incidence of storage disorders. It was recognised that other apple and pear growing regions will begin to experience these issues as the global climate changes, and that varieties developed for these niche environments would be in increasing demand worldwide. Several new varieties have been identified in the HCP

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M.bovis levy to hit dairy farmers NIGEL MALTHUS

DAIRY FARMERS are being asked to approve a levy of up to 3.9 cents/ kgMS over the next two seasons to pay their share of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication effort. With DairyNZ’s regular levy now 3.6c/kgMS, the proposed levy would more than double farmers’ total levy payments. DairyNZ emphasises that 3.9c is the proposed maximum, chosen to enable the bulk of the M. bovis response to be paid off in the first two years and it “would be substantially decreased thereafter”. A 3.9c/kgMS levy represents about $6100 per year, for those two years, for an average farm milking 430 cows. DairyNZ has published the figure as it began a three-week consultation and “strongly encouraged” to give feedback on the proposal. When the Government decided last May to start eradicating M.bovis, it estimated this would cost $870 million over ten years. The Government will pay $591m, the dairy sector $262m and the beef sector $17.4m. DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ will each strike their own levy after consulting their farmers. “The consultation on the response levy is now underway and we want to hear from every dairy farmer,” says DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel. “Eradication is looking achievable and this is a great outcome

for NZ. Partnering with the Government has greatly cut the costs of managing the M. bovis response, and we are grateful for the support of the government and the public.” DairyNZ has posted information packs to all dairy farmers and will hold nine meetings NZwide from February 18-22. Consultation will end on February 28 then DairyNZ must make a recommendation to MPI. The levy would come into effect on June 1, and be collected and paid in the same way as levies under the Commodity Levies (Milksolids) Order 2014, i.e. dairy processors will pay the levy and recover it from suppliers. Beef farmers will pay their share through a separate levy at slaughter, dairy cull cows will not be subject to the BLNZ levy so dairy farmers will not be paying twice. “We understand that the financial contribution to the M. bovis response, via the levy, will be challenging for some farmers,” van der Poel says. “However, we believe it was the right decision to eradicate rather than let the disease spread through our stock. Letting it spread would have been a more serious challenge with much higher, longer-lasting costs.” The biosecurity response levy has officially been in place, but at a nominal level (essentially zero) since DairyNZ joined the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and

SHE’S STEEP! FEDERATED FARMERS dairy chair Chris Lewis says while there Is general acceptance of the need for eradication, the proposed levy is much higher than some farmers expected. “When it came in at 3.9c/kgMS it made me look again; it is a lot of money.” Lewis says many dairy farmers are still unhappy about the 94:6 split between the dairy and beef sectors, as agreed to by DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ. “What is it paying for? What are we getting for that amount of money?” they ask. Lewis encourages dairy farmers to go to the consultation meetings, ask questions and have their say.

Response (GIA) last year. Ramping it up to tackle M. bovis will be the first time it has been invoked to deal with a specific biosecurity threat. DairyNZ says the rate

will be reviewed annually and will reduce markedly once the costs of the M. bovis response are recovered, unless another biosecurity response is required.









DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel.








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Fertigation - the new buzz word NIGEL MALTHUS

DARFIELD FARMER Peter Abrahamson was a fan of fertigation (fertilisation of crops and pasture by liquids fed through irrigation systems) even before he could irrigate. He is now in his first season irrigating, on Stage Two of the Central Plains Water scheme, and is in the process of commissioning his fertigation system. He runs a dairy support farm, with 70ha in kale and 95ha in pasture for grazing heifers. He began researching fertigation some years ago, and the clincher for him was seeing kale grow to 0.5m high, making it impractical to fertilise by vehicle. Fertigation is the new buzzword in the irrigation industry. IrrigationNZ has just released a guide to its adoption, saying its

use is increasing overseas as farmers see it as good environmental practice. It enables irrigators to apply liquid or water-soluble fertiliser little and often, at the same time as water, and should reduce nitrogen leaching and save labour onfarm. “IrrigationNZ in September 2018 ran a study tour to Nebraska, US,” says Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ’s retiring chief executive. “Twenty-five members joined the tour including farmers, irrigation designers, environmental consultants and irrigation scheme representatives. “Farmers in the state were encouraged by authorities to use fertigation as a tool to help reduce fertiliser use and nitrogen leaching and to save costs by reducing the labour involved in applying fertiliser. Our tour

Darfield farmer Peter Abrahamson.

group were excited about the opportunities to adopt fertigation here. “The new guide is being launched to provide farmers and those working in the irrigation sector with advice on how to correctly use fertigation.” Abrahamson said it is

not like the “dump and run” of applying dry fertiliser by truck then worrying whether you will get the right amount of rain to water it in. “It’s the future of farming; I can see it.” He intends to apply AgriSea seaweed liquid

and liquid urea from a trailer carrying a US-made Agri-Inject electric injection pump and computerised controller, with a couple of small tanks to carry the liquid fertiliser from the farm’s storage tank. The trailer can be

plugged into his three pivots as needed. The pivots were built from the start to accommodate the system, with a special valve body at the base. He says some farmers wanting to retro-fit fertigation may find they are limited by insufficient electrical supply at their pivots. Pāmu Farms (formerly Landcorp) is working with IrrigationNZ to trial fertigation over two irrigation seasons on its Canterbury dairy farms. Pāmu’s general manager of innovation, environment and technology, Rob Ford, says, “By injecting soluble fertiliser through the pivot irrigation systems little and often we are maintaining farm profitability, productivity and growth of high feed value pasture. “Pāmu is using this innovation to reduce its

environmental footprint.” Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a partner in the planned Pamu trial, and it has a grant from the Sustainable Farming Fund. Said Andrew Curtis, “A few irrigators are already using fertigation successfully in NZ. If the trial shows fertigation to be a better environmental practice and practical to implement on farms we would like to see it more widely adopted.” Fertigation can also be used to apply seaweed and selenium to crops and pasture. Andrew Paterson, Matakanui Station, Otago is another early adopter of fertigation on his sheep and beef farm. He says applying fertiliser via pivots is more convenient and efficient than using trucks. @rural_news


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Chinese landing eyed for NZ apples tured approach to growing the brand. “PCNZ and Eric Dai joined in mid-2018 and we have already seen a huge improvement in our knowledge of this dynamic market. Subsequently [Dai] has developed a clear roadmap that will see us align with key partners and achieve our goals over the next few years.” Rockit Global joins other PCNZ clients – Anzco, Mr Apple, Bostock, Freshmax, Pamu, New Zealand King Salmon, Sealord, Silver Fern Farms, Synlait, Taharoa and Villa Maria -- in collectively tackling the China market. Over the last four years these companies have reported several successes including growing sales, deeper

WEED ON THE MOVE THE PASTURE pest Chilean Needle Grass (CNG) is on the move again, with a new infestation found near Waiau, in inland North Canterbury. The weed has spread into neighbouring properties in addition to the two previously known Canterbury sites. Environment Canterbury says a mild winter combined with moist humid conditions in spring and early summer have combined to create a great season, not just for pasture but also for undesirable grass species. ECan’s Laurence Smith, says nasellas – including CNG and nasella tussock – have been able to set a lot of seed with an extended season because “every bout of rain brought new plants sprouting from seed”. Smith says the new infestation near Waiau was discovered by the affected farmer. “He reported it and actually put measures in place to contain it himself before we got there, which is pleasing from our point of view.” Smith says the new find is some distance from other known infestations. He thinks it had probably been there for years, but was discovered because of the seasonal conditions. “CNG stands tall with purple seed heads; there is no better time to spot CNG than right now,” he told Rural News. CNG is regarded as a major threat as it is invasive, very difficult to eliminate, avoided by stock and develops a lasting seed bank. The seeds are a sharp, corkscrew shape, which can drill into pelts and flesh, and are readily moved by animals, people, crops and machinery. If the weed gets established, the costs of control and changes to stock management can be hefty. Current control tools, while effective in the short term, do not have long-term impacts. Ongoing annual control is required. - Nigel Malthus

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Rockit Apples is the latest company to join a NZ-led collaboration in China.


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GOURMET APPLE producer Rockit Global is the latest to join a New Zealand-led collaboration in China. And Rockit Global is hoping another NZ company -- Primary Collaboration New Zealand (Shanghai) Co Ltd (PCNZ) -- will increase its presence and sales in China. Rockit says it aims to tap into PCNZ’s strength and experience in China to accelerate its business growth. PCNZ now represents 13 NZ brands in China and has 22 staff there. Its brands are said to be growing strongly and its understanding of the China market deepening. Rockit Global chief executive Austin Mortimer says its success in China demanded a struc-



Aussie supermarket shelves stripped of NZ formula PAM TIPA

NEW ZEALAND brands are at the centre of infant formula shortages in Australia supermarkets. They are among pop-

ular formula bought by daigou (‘dye-go’ = overseas shopper buying on behalf) and sent to China via ‘grey channels’. Australia restricts the export of Australian-made products but

not imported products, making NZ products a particular target. But Infant Nutritrion Council chief executive Jan Carey says Australian news media do not adequately report that

parents can still buy the formula they want though the various manufacturers’ ‘carelines’ (websites). “The first priority for a company is to make sure there is supply for the people who need it and

for local families to get first priority,” Carey says. “The product is made for the Australian market, and whether it is made in NZ, Australia or overseas, it is [intended to meet] the demands of the Aus-

tralian market.” Carey says the problem of supermarket shortages pertains to Australia, not NZ. “There was a problem in NZ a few years ago and the NZ Government regulated the amount of formula people could purchase and export. Immediately that daigou trade moved to Australia.” A daigou surrogate shopper buys commodities -- mostly luxury goods, but also groceries, notably infant formula -for a customer in mainland China.  Carey says this trade has increased since 201415 and Australian news media have constantly run stories about infant formula shortages in supermarkets. “It has been ongoing for a while and I don’t think it has been out of the media since then,” says Carey. “There is a perception that there is not enough formula for the local market -- that it’s all being bought up by daigou and shipped through the grey channel via cross border e-commerce in China. “It is true: any supermarket in Australia has gaps on the formula shelves. But look at it closely and you see only


SUPER STAR GET 5-STAR RATED SF HUSTLE™ WORKING ON YOUR FARM. TALK TO YOUR LOCAL SEED SPECIALIST OR VISIT SEEDFORCE.CO.NZ ”DairyNZ provides no assurance or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of information in the Forage Value Index or at DairyNZ has no liability for any reliance on that information”.



some brands are popular with Chinese consumers. “Even though all Australian and NZ milkproduced formula are meeting NZ and Australian standards and are high quality, [the daigou] are targeting only specific products, so other formula brands are available. “The other thing -which the news media here don’t seem to want to report -- is that all the companies affected by these shortages have online sales via ‘carelines’ [that enable] consumers to [buy direct] the formula brand they want Also, supermarkets will keep products aside for families who need them.” An export shipment of Australian-made product is limited by law to 10kg, but no limit applies to the size of an export shipment of imported -- i.e. NZ-made -- product. The A2 product is made in NZ; the S26 product available in Australia is made in NZ by NZ New Milk (a brand owned by Aspen in Australia); and Nan – a wellknown Nestle product -- is imported but not from NZ. “Australians, like many people in the world, rely on very good NZ product,” Carey says.

Read us until the cows come home!



Not so wild about pines ecosystems.” He says the problem appears to be worsening with wilding pines slowly increasing their reach and scale. “Infrastructure companies [e.g. power line companies] have to spend significant sums on trimming and removal to protect that infrastructure from potential treerelated damage.” Northland’s sub-trop-


CONCERNS ABOUT the continued spread of wilding pines have come from both ends of the country in recent weeks. Warnings have been sounded about the serious menace not only to the high country but also to Northland’s coastal margins and dune lakes. NZ Deerstalkers’ Association spokesman Bill O’Leary, of Nelson, says recent events have highlighted the fire risk. “We have every good reason to be concerned,” O’Leary says. “Hunters had already reported seedlings growing in remote places from the northern Ruahines to the Marlborough back country and the Mackenzie Basin.” If left unchecked, they will forever change our high country landscape, he says. “The biggest impacts will be on our unique biodiversity, pastoral farming and soaking up our water resources.” The scale of the problem is immense and it has to be tackled on a large scale, O’Leary says. The way pines can seed and multiply rapidly makes the challenge different from killing possums. “Communities and government must consider this a priority for

ical climate also appears to suit the conifers. These trees have minimal commercial value because their poor form and heavy branches result in low grade logs. McKenzie says wilding conifers should be branded pests, as are wild ginger, given their effects. NRC is therefore convening a regional group of key agencies this month to examine the wild-

WE TALK YOUR LANGUAGE! MPI estimates 20% of NZ will be infested with unwanted wilding conifers in 20 years if their spread is not contained.

future funding and control. Proven control methods including spraying and helicopter ‘wanding’, and the work of ground personnel, are having the desired effect. The costs of these operations are significant, but hunters believe there is no alternative; we need to be in for the long haul.” Meanwhile, the increasing impact wilding conifers are having on Northland’s coastal margins, dune lakes and rare gumland ecosystems has prompted local authority calls for a regional stakeholder group to address the issue. The Northland Regional Council (NRC)

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is driving a push to form a group, saying it would be well-placed – with help from Landcare Research – to fully assess the extent and impact wilding conifers are having on the north. Council biosecurity manager Don McKenzie says wilding conifers have long been an issue in Northland, many of them ‘escapees’ from commercial forestry plantations or shelter belt plantings decades ago. However, he stresses the council is not looking to blame or penalise commercial foresters or other landowners for the issue. “What we’re saying is ‘right tree, right place,

right purpose’.” He says wilding conifers may be cedars, pines (including pinus radiata), firs, cypress, larches, and spruces. While the impacts of wilding conifers in the South Island are wellknown and understood – their extermination has been well funded in recent years – the situation in Northland is less clear. “We know from our staff’s own observations in the field, and our examination of recent aerial imagery, that wilding pines are having an increasing… impact on our coastal margins, dune lakes and rare gumland

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ing conifer issue. It was hoping local and central government agencies, commercial foresters and iwi would attend. McKenzie says he favours spending $900,000 annually on the problem for ten years or so. “That would allow us to make reasonable inroads into addressing local wilding conifer issues.”





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What will 2019 bring? Govt policies SINCE TAKING power in late 2017 the Coalition Government has indicated its intention to introduce both new environmental regulations, as well as tightening some existing regulations. To date there has been little detail about exactly what these changes will entail. With draft regulations for water quality, climate change, carbon framing and biodiversity scheduled to be released this year, the sector should begin to get some greater regulatory certainty during 2019. Agricultural activities that have been highlighted for potentially greater controls include intensive winter grazing, hill country cropping, feedlots and nutrient allocation limits.

Meanwhile, in April the Interim Climate Change Committee is due to release findings on how agriculture could be introduced into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Although the Committee’s findings are not binding on the Government. The report will be used as the basis for developing any future policy framework should the Government decide to bring agriculture into the ETS and therefore should provide some early indication of how the agricultural sector may be impacted.

Horticulture NEW ZEALAND’S strong horticulture export growth over a sustained period is expected to

classes across Asia, we expect to see continued demand growth for F&V from New Zealand in 2019, and beyond. Driven by this buoyant backdrop, significant investment continued to be made into productive assets across key horticulture sectors including apples, kiwifruit, avocados, berries and cherries throughout 2018. We expect continued investment by New Zealand horticulturalists in 2019, and beyond. continue in 2019, driving further development. Tempering this, some challenges present themselves. Exports of fresh fruits and vegetables (“F&V”) to key Asian countries including: Japan, China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam and Thailand have

significantly grown over the last ten years. Ten Asian countries accounted for over 63% of the value of New Zealand’s F&V export growth during this period. China (including Hong Kong) represented 40% of this growth and Japan 11%. China continues to

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be New Zealand’s largest F&V export market. Over 2019, we expect consumers in China to continue to seek out fresh produce as part of a heathy diet, which will come at the expense of packaged foods. Combined with continued growth in consumers in the middle

Wine FOR 2019 we expect to see continued export value growth in key markets, but like 2018, at a slower rate than in previous years. 2019 sees an opportunity to continue to penetrate North America. The

premiumisation trend is set to continue in the USA with modest consumption growth in that segment. Competition from other wine exporting nations to the USA will continue to increase in the +USD 10 / bottle category. Under the Comprehensive Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, NZ wine exporters will benefit from the tariff removal in 2019 on all NZ wine imports into Canada. Growth is also expected to continue to occur in other emerging wine markets, such as China where we expect modest wine import growth in 2019. Bumbling Brexit negotiations ensure that the UK market presents considerable uncertainty for

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Content supplied by Rabobank – Grow with the bank founded by farmers for farmers multi-year highs reached late in 2018. The possibility of a 40% fertiliser subsidy has been put on the table, but not yet approved by the Indian government ahead of the April – May elections, which will incentivise local processing and lower import demand. New capacity additions from the Middle East will add supply pressure.

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wine exporters in 2019. Assuming a hard Brexit is avoided (our base view), the market will remain weak but not significantly deteriorate. A hard Brexit would see a tough market get worse. Border disruptions would also likely impact wine shipments, including transshipment of wine into the EU market.

Fertiliser THE DEMAND recovery witnessed during

2018 will sustain fertiliser markets at elevated levels during 2019. For two years, global markets were well-supplied, causing prices of all major nutrients across the fertiliser complex to trade well below respective 10-year averages. During 2018, a resurgence in demand, primarily led by higher CBOT Wheat prices, incentivised farmer spending and in turn elevating fertiliser prices out of a two-year

slumber. Rabobank expects shifts in global corn and soybean markets to add to nitrogen demand during 2019. Encouraged by a bullish outlook for CBOT Corn, US farmers will shift planted area from soy to corn. This will add to nitrogen demand. In 2019, Rabobank expects that the global phosphate market will continue to trade at levels slightly below the

WE EXPECT the NZ$ to further weaken in 2019, bringing the lowest average NZ$/US$ exchange rate this decade. This will ensure positive support for commodity prices in local currency terms. While we are approaching the peak of US rates in this cycle, the Fed is likely to increase rates one more time. Rabobank forecast the Fed to increase the funds target rate 25bps to 2.75% in Q1 2019, before the rate tightening spanner is put back in the drawer

for the balance of the year. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is more likely to cut the Overnight Cash Rate (OCR) in 2019 than it is to raise it. The OCR has sat at 1.75% since November 2016 as the Reserve Bank has awaited signs of increased inflation. We see little chance of them emerging in 2019. The Global economy is now slowing, with the Chinese economy especially a cause for

concern, with insufficient local activity to offset those forces and generate enough inflation to warrant an increase in monetary policy. With the premium of the US central bank rate over the New Zealand rate further widening in 2019, the NZ$ is likely to slide further against the Greenback in 2019. We expect to see the NZ$ hit 63 US cents by the end of the year. This should see NZ exporters enjoy the


lowest average NZ$/US$ annual exchange rate this decade in 2019. • Stay ahead of developments in your industry by subscribing to Rabobank’s podcast channel on your favourite podcast app. Most Apple devices have the Podcasts app preinstalled – if not, you can find it in the App Store. On Android devices, Stitcher and TuneIn Radio are popular podcast apps @rural_news



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Farmers overpay rather than get it wrong PAM TIPA

SOME DAIRY farmers are overpaying staff because they fear being non-compliant, says Dairy Womens Network chief

executive Jules Benton. She says feedback that payroll compliance issues could be a headache was one reason the DWN has partnered with payroll provider PaySauce to run a series of modules start-

ing this month. “Payroll is challenging for any business, whether a commercial business or a SME (small to medium enterprise) in town or on farm.” Benton says PaySauce

chief executive Asantha Wijeyeratne is enthusiastic about payroll. “When he started focusing on the dairy sector his experience was that people were overpaying as opposed to under-


PaySauce’s Asantha Wijeyeratne.

paying because they were so scared of getting it wrong. “I talked to a few farmers about that. They said to me ‘yep, we’d rather overpay than underpay and risk not being compliant’.” She believes the dairy sector may not be alone in that. “Payroll is confusing and I think PaySauce demystifies it with the software and making sure you are compliant with legislation. “Farming is busy; we

filing obligations coming on April 1, PaySauce and DWN recognised it was the perfect time to work together to develop a series of modules to help demystify payroll.” The aim is to provide farmers with all the tools and knowledge to quickly manage payroll obligations, freeing them to work on their core business. Benton says time spent on administration such as payroll is time away from growing the business.

“The majority of our members are owners and/or employers and about 70% are actively on farms, so we’re a perfect test market.”

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need to make sure people are getting paid correctly and on time, and that is easy to do,” Benton says. “The software takes the pain away in ensuring compliance with legislation.” The beauty of the system is you don’t need to be ‘techno savvy’ and it can be used on-the-go, she says. PaySauce also plans to develop ‘dashboards’ for employees to set up personal budgets to help them with financial literacy. “That is a positive view -- helping employees set themselves up for the future whether they want to go contract milking or sharemilking or whatever. They can build budgets, all the information is feeding in, they can see what their Kiwisaver is, how many days leave they have and how much sick leave they have.” Benton in her previous role knew Wijeyeratne for a number of years and when she became DWN chief executive last June year she contacted him. “With new payday

“The majority of our members are owners and/or employers and about 70% are actively on farms, so we’re a perfect test market.” Wijeyeratne says the modules will be run around New Zealand. “Many PaySauce customers are in dairy... which provides us with a specialised knowledge of the unique challenges and issues they face. Through our partnership we want to help address these issues for the entire dairy community,” he says. The sessions will share best-practice guidelines to avoid errors and ensure compliance while minimising time spent on administration. Hands-on learning will be available at the sessions. Following the module series, PaySauce will also provide DWN with online resources, content and features on common questions and issues members face. Benton says other DWN workshops starting early February will include farm accommodation.



Increase in AB boosts LIC’s result MORE DAIRY farmers are opting for artificial breeding (AB), boosting sales for LIC. The co-op has recorded a 5% lift in revenue to $161 million for the half year ending November 30, 2018. AB sales were up on the previous year as more farmers extended their farm’s AB period and opted for short gestation genetics over natural mating bulls, says chairman Murray King. NZ-wide 36% more farms adopted all-AB mating than the previous year, the biggest spike the co-op has seen in the emerging no-bull trend, he says. “This is partly due to the heightened biosecurity focus from M. bovis but with the demand we’ve seen for other solutions it’s evident farmers are looking for opportunities to maximise their profitability and productivity.”

$800K LIC SPENT at least $800,000 on new measures to protect customers from M. bovis. They included a world-leading daily testing regime of its bulls through the peak mating period. Chairman Murray King says the co-op absorbed these costs to avoid more price increases.

Sales of LIC’s products were strong in NZ, including its DNA testing service; more farmers used the service to confirm parentage of their young stock and identify the best herd replacements for productivity. LIC’s earnings before tax for the six months reached $59.3m and net profit jumped 117% -from $15m last year to $32.8m. King said the half-year result reflected recurring benefits from the cooperative’s business transformation, which improved business performance and profitability. The co-op maintained R&D spending to com-

INNOVATIONS LIC’s ‘A2 BULL team’ was introduced to meet growing demand for A2 milk last year. Chairman Murray King says the bulls were in high demand, accounting for 10% of total AB sales in its debut season as more farmers look to breed an A2 herd. “LIC also saw strong uptake of its premium genetics product -- the Forward Pack bull team -- which provides access to elite new genetics earlier to increase the rate of genetic gain onfarm,” he says. During the year LIC continued implementing and improving its SPACE service, which measures pasture via satellite imagery and algorithms. The system is now used by at least 1200 farmers in Southland, South Otago, Canterbury, Manawatu, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

mercialise high-value genetics and technology products for its farmers. The half year results include most AB and herd testing revenues but not a similar proportion of total costs, so are not indicative of the second half, nor the full year, result. No dividend

LIC chair Murray King.

is declared at half year. King expects the coop’s transformation to continue improving earnings.

“LIC’s refreshed business strategy to deliver innovation-led growth by focusing on optimising and enhancing our core

business will build on our transformation to keep LIC and our customers as leaders of the global pastoral dairy system.

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Where’s the ‘wellness’? FORGET THE empty rhetoric about the year of ‘delivery’ and ‘wellness’ coming from the Beehive lately: a survey of ExportNZ members shows exporters are feeling anything but well about what the Government intends to deliver in 2019. Similarly, the Federated Farmers January Mid-Season Farm Confidence Survey shows the worst farmer confidence since 2009. In both cases, domestic regulation by the Government was the major concern. (Both surveys were run before China-NZ relations really started to head south). As National’s agriculture spokesperson Nathan Guy says about soaring costs and taxes on farmers, there’s more to come, as confirmed by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor when he told Rural News last year that farmers need to “get used to it”. The ExportNZ survey zeroed in on industrial relations reforms. Over 400 exporters responded, described as “a good mix of small to medium to larger exporters”. When asked what their major barriers to exporting were, the number-one concern was “domestic regulation, e.g. upcoming changes to the industrial relations laws”. Food and electronic equipment manufacturers said they already pay staff more than the minimum wage because good workers are hard to get. But all workers will want an increase “to maintain their relativity to the minimum wage” adding costs that, as exporters, they were unable to pass on to consumers. Changes to immigration law could hobble growth in the horticulture sector, which is already desperately short of hands. A large commercial kiwifruit grower said, “We need the right immigration rules to support our industry because if we don’t have the people we can’t grow and our sector has big growth plans”. The idea that locals could or would fill the labour gap just didn’t stack up. “We do work with WINZ, but out of 120 people sent to us by WINZ, we only gained four people over the course of a year.” Creeping unionism is also identified by exporters as a concern, not just by manufacturers but also by large scale horticulture operators. No government can deliver ‘wellness’, whatever that means, with growth in the economy already spluttering and diplomatic relations with our biggest customer, China, in trouble. The concerns of the people who drive our economy – exporters and farmers—should not be dismissed by the Government.


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

“Wally says the Chinese make rain by firing salt into the clouds!”

Want to share your opinion or gossip with the Hound? Send your emails to:

THE HOUND More bad news?

Lack of trust?

Unfortunate timing Pull your heads in

A MATE of the Hound reckons that Fonterra’ directors may finally be coming to grips with just how bad its Chinese investments have been for its farmer shareholders. Your canine crusader’s informant claims to have innocently sat recently near a couple of stressed co-op directors in the Air NZ Koru lounge. They were deep in discussion about the co-op’s investment ‘dog’ in China, and were poring over meeting papers on the subject. This old mutt’s informant says his ears pricked up when the directors’ hushed voices rose sharply as they added up the cost of the disastrous investments. He says Fonterra shareholders should brace themselves for more bad news very soon.

MEANWHILE, THIS old mutt’s source also says the Fonterra directors’ meeting agenda had ‘Confidential’, plus each director’s name, emblazoned on every page. The informant asked your old mate if this showed a lack of trust by the dairy co-op’s management and board in its own directors, or was it due to an incident Fonterra had experienced with a former – but now current – board member? Of course, such individual identification of the board papers would make it very easy to trace the source of a leak if Fonterra board information happened to end up in wrong hands – such as the media, rivals – or even yours truly! Or would it?

YOUR OLD mate reckons Fonterra is not the only dairy company in NZ now under pressure. The word on the street is that Westland is hunting around for a potential buyer/investor. In the meantime, on the very day a huge puff piece ran in the country’s largest newspaper on what a success story Synlait has been, the minority Chinese-owned dairy company dropped its forecast milk payout to farmer suppliers this season by 50 cents a kg! The Hound suggests it is probably not the best timing to be skiting about how good and clever you are on the very day you cut the payout to your farmer/suppliers.

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THE HOUND was disappointed but not surprised to see the multinational, tax-dodging environmental group Greenpeace have another crack at NZers this month. However, instead of its usual anti farming rants, this time the lobby group insensitively cashed in on the devastating fires impacting the good people of the Nelson region. Right when the fires were raging out of control – when people in the Nelson region were worried about losing their homes and lives, and many farmers were concerned about the welfare of their livestock – Greenpeace sent out an incredibly insensitive and ill-thought-out tweet claiming the fires were the result of climate change and all fossil fuels need to be banned. The result was instantaneous: people – even its own supporters – told the environmental activists to pull their heads in.

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ABC audited circulation 79,599 as at 30/09/2018

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



Don’t take us for mugs! KATIE MILNE

FARMERS ARE out of patience with local and regional councils treating them as cash cows. A recent Federated Farmers survey shows fewer than 4% of farmers believe they get good value for money from their local government rates. It is local government elections this year and those wannabe councillors chasing farmer votes can expect some pointy questions from our sector. Such as: why have average council rates in New Zealand jumped 79.7% between June 2007 and June 2017, when inflation (CPI) for the same period was only 23.1%? In late January, Federated Farmers launched a survey of its members to get a handle on farm rates to help inform our advocacy to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Local Government Funding and Financing. In the first week, we’d already had 647 responses – with 440 of these landing on the first day. I think that speaks volumes about the level of concern about council costs. In an ironical nod to many farmers’ rates bills topping $10,000 we said the first 200 respondents

to our survey would get a ‘Federated Farmers $10K Rates Mug’. These were exhausted barely three hours after the survey opened. The sad fact is that based on the rising rate costs we’re probably going to have to change that to ‘$20K Rates Mugs’. Of the 647 farmer responses to our survey received in that first week, 544 farmers told us how much they pay in rates each year – an average of $26,949 and median of $21,388. 46 farmers pay no more than $10,000; 199 pay between $10,000 and $20,000; 247 pay between $20,000 and $50,000; 43 pay between $50,000 and $100,000; 10 pay more than $100,000. The highest amount of rates paid was $176,533 a year! The sad thing is that only 3.7% of respondents believe that they get good value for money from their rates – with a huge 96.3% saying they don’t. Some 87% of respondents consider roading to be the council activity that matters most to them; this was followed by planning and regulation (41.7%), land drainage (23.6%), water and

wastewater (23.4%) and governance (23%). Federated Farmers recognises the cost pressures on councils and, as we’ve said before, we’re delighted that the Productivity Commission is now investigating how local authorities might fund infrastructure in the future. It is also going to look into regula-

tory creep and cost-shifting by central government. Rates bills are calculated on the antiquated system of capital or land value-based rates, which often bear little or no relationship to what a family, a business or a farm actually uses by way of council services. Here’s another message

in this election year. We need people with a sound understanding of rural and agricultural issues to stand for council this year to ensure we get that perspective heard in council chambers all around New Zealand • Katie Milne is national president of Federated Farmers

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THE CALL for a ban on imports of sheep semen into NZ (Rural News Feb 5) suggests that MPI should heed lessons from the UK. We recently had guests from the UK who told us that British navy personnel had been the vectors for foot and mouth (FMD) disease in regions of northern UK. Apparently, after exercises in Argentina the navy people had returned to the UK with meat bought in Brazil. Scraps were fed to pigs, introducing FMD. Officials in Britain are now understood to have been trying desperately to contain the outbreak by control measures in a huge area of the countryside. Contrary to MPI assurances this proves it’s semen that we must look out for. I hope MPI will be paying the full cost of any clean-up required should there be an outbreak of FMD or scrapie here. Dave Stanton RD 21 Geraldine

Fed Farmers president Katie Milne.





Beekeepers baulk at honey levy JANE LORIMER

I’M NOT a ‘naysayer’, rather I’m a committed beekeeper -- a responsible business owner, active without pay in beekeeping organisations for many years. From this perspective I’m writing to explain why I oppose the proposed commodity levy on honey. Beekeeping in New Zealand has been successful and has grown enormously. But with this growth has come serious problems and we now need shared solutions. I’d love to be able to get behind a well-thought-out funding proposal backed by a responsible organisation but I can’t support this levy. And I can’t support any more levy funds in the hands of Apiculture NZ as it now stands. That doesn’t make me a naysayer; it just makes me someone who wants the best for beekeeping and is prepared to get involved, to stand up and to say so. Let me explain. Firstly, what things are we trying to fix and how can they best be tackled? We have shared problems in biosecurity and bee health that need atten-

Beekeeping in New Zealand has been successful and the industry has grown enormously. Inset: Jane Lorimer, NZ Beekeeping president.

tion. Industry funding would help here if it is targeted and well managed. We also have the problem of falling prices for some honeys and over-stocking in some regions, but no amount of levy money can fix these problems. And we have a dysfunctional and under-resourced MPI. Levy money certainly won’t fix that but strong

advocacy will help. My experience is that Apiculture NZ is a poor advocate. Giving them more money won’t make them better – just better paid. This levy proposal doesn’t have the focus it should; instead it promises to spend our money on all sorts of distractions and it even strays into mar-

keting. Why? Only the big operators will win from that; they can market themselves. The proposal can’t even make up its mind on biosecurity – included in the explanatory material and yet absent from the voting paper. Just as worrying has been the shifting story on how the levy will be administered. We don’t know what the administration costs will be or how spending decisions will be made. Don’t forget, beekeepers will still be paying the American Foul Brood (AFB) levy and might be asked to pay a GIA levy too. These questions matter, and the answers we’re getting don’t cut it. Apiculture NZ’s record in managing the AFB programme and levy is a worrying sign that incompetence is embedded in the organisation; AFB incidence is rising. We all know how to manage AFB and it shouldn’t be hard for the management agency (i.e. Apiculture NZ) to get on top of it. Yet

we end up with more plans and strategies, and proposals for even more levies. This is not an organisation we can trust with our money. So what would we do? NZ Beekeeping represents a growing number of beekeepers and family businesses. We want to be able to work with everyone to clarify the industry’s problems and propose workable and affordable solutions. That might include levy funding for some projects, but we should always have solutions that fit the problem. Right now, we’re being asked to vote on an expensive solution looking for a problem. It’s just wrong. Finally, the worst argument of all is that we should have this levy because every other primary sector has a levy. Beekeeping is unique with multiple products from the beehive. The commodity levy model does not fit. We have our own problems and we must work out our own solutions. Let’s put this ill-conceived levy aside and get started. • Jane Lorimer is president of NZ Beekeeping Inc, which represents mainly small and mid-size -- usually family -beekeeping businesses.



Not a dirty word GREG CAMPBELL

MANY PEOPLE know overuse of fertiliser harms the environment, but that shouldn’t make ‘fertiliser’ a dirty word. Billboards have been used recently to blame fertiliser entirely for destroying New Zealand waterways and soils; they say the nation could farm without it. It makes for a good yarn, or even a simple billboard, but it’s not true. Fertiliser is simply food for plants. Plants take nutrients from the soil to grow. Fertiliser puts more nutrients back into the soil, enabling more plants can grow again. NZers like to think we have great farms partly because of great soil. But in fact much of our land is geologically new and so it naturally lacks the nutrients needed by the many plants we eat and use. The soil can particularly lack phosphorus, nitrogen, sulphur and potassium. Phosphorus, for example, is used by plants to store and transfer energy; it aids root and flower development and increases growth rates. Virtually everything you will buy this summer from a store will have been grown or fed using fertiliser. Farmers and growers use fertiliser to create the affordable quality food we eat or export and grow nutritious crops for animals. It powers our beef, sheep and dairy farms and the fast-growing horticulture sectors which are taking the world’s chefs by storm. Each year, fertiliser used by all these sectors contributes billions of dollars to our economy and helps to employ tens of thousands of NZers. Fertiliser is simply a tool in a toolbox. Underuse it and you see real affects on what can be created and consumed; overuse it and you risk losing nutrients into the waterways or atmosphere. As a tool, fertiliser can be used smartly or not so smartly. Unlike a corporate listed company,

Ravensdown is a co-operative owned by its farmers; it is not here to maximise profit but to help with the responsible use of its products. Nutrients need to be applied responsibly; they are a huge cost to a farmer and so they need to be managed well and wastage minimised. Too much of the wrong fertiliser in the wrong place at the wrong time can cause environmental problems. Whether in city living or fertiliser use, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can be washed by rain into other parts of the ecosystem, especially waterways. In waterways, nitrogen and phosphorus act as food for waterborne plants including algae. Those plants can choke waterway habitats and they reduce oxygen available for other water dwellers. That’s why many NZ regions impose rules that limit the amount of nitrogen allowed to be lost from farms. Most of the total nitrogen that fuels NZ’s grass-based farming comes from legumes (clover-like plants) that can capture nitrogen from the air. These little plants are worth billions of dollars to the economy, but they only grow at certain times of the year. Plants often need extra support at critical times and places and that’s why farmers use mineral fertiliser selectively. Ravensdown has a range of services and products to help farmers use fertiliser responsibly. These include precision testing, mapping and spreading, so farmers know exactly what to use where. We produce products that reduce nitrous oxide emissions and we have NZ’s biggest network of farm environmental consultants who help farmers come up with ideas to reduce impacts. Whether it’s from too many plants like clover or peas, too much fertiliser or too much extra feed, if the animal or plants can’t use all the nitrogen from those sources, then nitrogen may be lost from the soil. Our certified

advisors guide customers on their inputs and outputs so that they can achieve their goals and farm smarter. At times this has meant advice resulting in less fertiliser applied. This is fine for us; we don’t incentivise our team based on how much they can sell. Representing

a co-operative, they are there to help the customer owner buy the right amount not the highest amount. For more details see fertiliser/facts • Greg Campbell is chief executive of Ravensdown @rural_news

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Native plantings paying dividends NIGEL MALTHUS

MID-CANTERBURY FARMER John Evans is reaping the benefits of native plantings on his farm, in the form of improved pollination and pest control. “I can’t put a number on it, but I am spending less time and less money on spraying for aphids,” he says. Evans farms at Dorie, near the coast just south of the Rakaia River, and has five areas devoted to native plantings, established with the help of Tai Tapu native plant nurseryman Steve Brailsford. One large plot running round three sides of an irrigation pond contains 800 native plants of 36 different species. Brailsford says they were chosen for being native to the Canterbury

Plains in pre-European times, known to harbour insects beneficial for pollination and predator control, and known not to harbour known pests. The plants needed work in the early years but are now well-established and largely selfregenerating. Evans, who acknowledges the work of his partner Kai Tegels in the early upkeep, said the only downside is maintenance, but this is far outweighed by the value. Last year, Evans did not spray a 70ha wheat crop for aphids, yet there was no sign of the aphidspread virus BYDV. Evans produces mainly vegetable seed on his 271ha, growing 13 different crops including corn salad, spinach, beet, Chinese cabbage and radish. He said this year’s

Arable farmer John Evans (left) and forestry and native plant consultant Steve Brailsford at a Better Biodiversity planting site on Evans’ farm at Dorie, near Rakaia. RURAL NEWS GROUP

Chinese cabbage crop was “just humming” with beneficial native hoverflies and lacewings. Brailsford described the lacewing as the “vampire of the insect world” for its voracious appetite for pests such as aphids. The planting was begun in July 2013 as part

of a Better Biodiversity project run by Plant and Food scientists Dr Melanie Davidson and Dr Brad Howlett, with the Foundation for Arable Research and with Sustainable Farming Fund support. Brailsford says while only a few farms joined

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the Better Biodiversity project, he recommends essentially the same mix of native species to all his Canterbury clients. “We’re planting about 70,000 plants across Canterbury each season. So we’re incorporating this type of thing into all of our agricultural shel-

ter plantings,” said Brailsford. “You can’t plant a native without having multiple biodiversity benefits. “Our two main pasture pests -- porina and grass grub -- are actually natives. A whole bunch of native insects will [prey on] them if we provide the habitat for the insects – the native shrubs -- for them to live their lifecycle on,” said Brailsford. Evans, who chairs the LandWISE group (supporting onfarm R&D mostly in vegetable and arable cropping), said he was attracted to the project initially because of his interest in integrated pest management. Both men also emphasise the aesthetic value of native plantings, and how they could attract native birdlife. Evans believes that just a few more islands of native plantings

across the district would be enough to bring bellbirds back to the plains from Banks Peninsula. “You know [farmers] get a kick out of going down to shift the cows and seeing fantails all in the shelterbelts,” Brailsford told Rural News. “You don’t get a lot of biodiversity when you plant one row of pines. But when you put 30 to 40 different natives together there’s a huge amount of biodiversity and wonderful aesthetics.” Evans said it is a good way to use areas such as irrigation pond berms that were otherwise wasted, unproductive or difficult to manage. “Some might run their rams on it but then they fall in.” • More on page 34 @rural_news



FEP template aims to ‘quieten noise’ “Many other businesses have just focussed on environment and then they ECAN HAS approved a farm environment are tying that to farm businesses,” Glass plan (FEP) template for use by farmers told Rural News. “Farmers enjoy the fact under the new Canterbury Land & Water that we understand what they want to achieve as farmers. “That’s why we [proRegional Plan. The plan is the work of the Canterbury mote]: ‘supporting your farming future’.” Glass believes that a lot of “the noise farm consultancy Agri Magic. Under the LWRP, all farms requiring in the media” over farm environmental land use consent to farm must produce an concerns arose from misunderstanding of the issues. environmental plan to support it. “I understand ECan chief executhat some aspects of tive Bill Bayfield says “We guide them to the environment are the Agri Magic temfocus on practical under more pressure plate met the criteria than others, but… the of the LWRP, as mod- changes that will we work with ified by the Nutrient result in resource-use farmers – and I can only comManagement and ment on our customWaitaki Plan Change efficiency first, and ers – definitely have (Plan Change 5) then look at different stewardship values which took effect on practices and at the heart of themFebruary 1. selves and their busi“I was impressed technology that will nesses.” with the explanabe right for them.” The LWRP is funtion setting out how damental to the the template could Canterbury Water be used as part of a package helping Agri Magic clients navi- Management Strategy. Bayfield says ECan encourages all gate and comply with their environmenfarmers to prepare farm environment tal obligations,” Bayfield says. “The template... ensures clients are plans, regardless of whether they’re needed by regulation. clear on risks and priorities for action.” “International markets are increasingly Agri Magic director Charlotte Glass says the template was developed to help demanding proven sustainability and farm farmers identify things they already do environment plans are one way to demand identify areas where they could onstrate this.” Under Schedule 7 of the LWRP, FEPs improve. “Then we support them to develop can be prepared either by landowners practical, long-term onfarm solutions,” themselves using guidance in the LWRP she says. “We guide them to focus on or via industry-prepared templates and practical changes that will result in guidance material. A minimum content is required, and all resource-use efficiency first, and then look at different practices and technology that FEPs must include an assessment of the risks associated with the farming activities will be right for them.” Glass set up Agri Magic, at Templeton, and how those risks will be managed. This 3.5 years ago and it now has 10 full-time- includes irrigation, application of nutrients, effluent management, stock excluequivalent staff. Many other templates are available, sion from waterways, offal pits and farm she says, but Agri Magic is different in rubbish pits. FEPs must be regularly audited by having staff from a farm systems backECan-approved auditors. ground. NIGEL MALTHUS

Charlotte Glass, founding director of Agri Magic, Canterbury. SUPPLIED


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Plaintain can reduce N-leaching NIGEL MALTHUS

GAME-CHANGING NEW research into how plantain crops can reduce nitrogen (N) loss from dairy farms will see upper Manawatu farmers at the forefront of dairy science. In the Tararua catchment, dairy farmers are faced with reducing N loss from pastures by an

average of 60%, to meet the council’s One Plan targets. To achieve those, farmers are adopting a range of onfarm changes – and the region’s new plantain research could be a key component. The Tararua Plantain Project, recently funded from the Sustainable Farming Fund, is a new approach by DairyNZ

to reduce farm N loss through a combination of plantain and good management practice. “Plantain provides us with an excellent low-cost opportunity to meet this challenge,” says DairyNZ catchment engagement leader Adam Duker. He says the crop can be used as a pasture mix

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Dairy NZ’s Adam Duker.

for dairy cattle feed, but its properties have also been proven to reduce nitrogen loss. “Farmers in the catchment have already been making onfarm changes to reduce nutrients and sediment impacting the Manawatū River,” Duker says. “The river water quality is improving as a result and, by adopting plantain as a fodder crop on their farms, we expect to see further improvements over time.” The Tararua Plantain Project involves paddock-scale research on six farms where plantain crops are expected to reduce nitrogen from cow urine. Plantain roots also lock more nitrate into soil, preventing run-off into waterways. “The project is farmerled and focuses on tangible, practical solutions to the environmental challenge by testing the fea-

sibility of plantain at the farm and catchment scale. We’d like to see plantain as a staple part of the dairy cow’s diet in this area by 2025,” Duker says. “It will allow our farmers to maintain similar levels of milk production; we hope the project will demonstrate how to keep their businesses profitable, reduce environmental impact and minimise the effect on the community.” DairyNZ is working with Horizons Regional Council, Massey University, agronomists and a project team of six on the Tararua Plantain Project, which began this season and will run for seven years. The project aims to achieve plantain use on 125 dairy farms to increase farm business and community resilience, and quantified gains in water quality. Form more visit: www.

NATIVE PLANT PROJECT TO CARRY ON THE BETTER Biodiversity project which helped in John Evans’ native plantings is over. However, MBIE funding is allowing Plant and Food scientists Dr Melanie Davidson and Dr Brad Howlett to continue overseeing research into the benefits. Howlett, a pollination expert, says the economic value of the plantings still needs to be quantified, but they are seeing measurable increase in diversity and abundance of wild pollinating species. Because the ground under the natives wasn’t disturbed it is proving a “hot-spot” habitat for groundnesting native bees. “People just think honeybees do all the pollination,” he told Rural News. “In New Zealand, in those areas that have virtuForestry and native plant ally no native vegeta- consultant Steve Brailsford. RURAL tion, we are showing NEWS GROUP that we can support quite a large diversity of native species that we know pollinate the range of arable crops grown on that farm.” Davidson says that less than 3% of the Canterbury Plains below 300m elevation is in native vegetation. But she applauded the work already being done by industry, such as Syngenta’s encouragement of its dairy farmer clients to plant natives, Central Plains Water’s native plantings along their pipeline restorations, and Ngai Tahu’s commitment to plant half a million natives in its Te Whenua Hou dairy conversion scheme. ECan’s push for riparian fencing added another excellent opportunity for native plantings, Davidson says. “Some areas of a farm can be more hassle than they’re worth to try to get a good yielding crop off,” she explains. “So there’s some push to convince farmers that maybe they should look at that as an area for these habitats. “What we’re interested in is seeing the whole farm system and scaling that up to the catchment level.” “It’s natural,” says Tai Tapu native plant nurseryman Steve Brailsford. “And there is a particular look when you compose it that’s uniquely New Zealand. There’s no reason we can’t have this stretching across the plains and then the benefits will be huge.”



Fish & Game commends farmers! NIGEL MALTHUS

NORTH CANTERBURY Fish & Game will make two environmental farm awards for 2018, saying the high calibre of the recipients makes the ‘double’ appropriate. The winners were Manuka Point Station and Lodge at the headwaters of the Rakaia River

country farms to intensify their farming operations. 2004 was the last time fertiliser or chemicals of any nature were applied.” Local F&G staff have long worked with Manuka Point Station, monitoring primary spawning streams on the property. Middle Rock Station has been farmed by Bruce and Lyn Nell since 1973.

“Today we see a property where a lot of the indigenous vegetation remains intact.” and the nearby Middle Rock Station in the upper Selwyn catchment. Manuka Point Station, bought by Don and Julie Patterson 16 years ago, runs a tourism operation as its main source of income, offering international guests hunting and fishing in a pristine environment. It also runs a large livestock farm with Arapawa sheep and herds of fallow and red deer. F&G says the Pattersons are great stewards of the land and run a highyielding, low environmental impact operation. “The existence of healthy tussock drylands and wetland plant species on their property is testament to their desire to keep things as natural as possible, which is commendable given the pressures on many high-

Matagouri in their paddocks, meanwhile, protects stock from the weather and gives them access to winter feed by helping break up snow cover. The Nells diversify

their income with farm and garden tours. The property’s tourist accommodation -- The Shearers’ Quarters -- were purposebuilt in 2015 after the actual shearers’ quarters were lost to fire.

Middle Rock station’s Bruce and Lyn Nell.

Give seed the best possible start.

The station runs sheep, with the Nells chosing a more conservative approach than clearing land and draining wetlands, and resisting economic pressure to intensify. F&G says, “Today we see a property where a lot of the indigenous vegetation remains intact. There are excellent examples of tussock grasslands, tall matagouri stands and wetlands in relatively unspoiled condition.” The Nells’ approach was to use the land’s features to enhance their farming operation, for example using wetlands margins for grazing during drought, and not allowing the impact on wetland vegetation to go beyond a recoverable level.


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GOOD FARM management practices are in some ways only minimum standards, says Fish & Game North Canterbury environmental advisor Scott Pearson. “They’re a good place to start, but we need to see big step changes in the industry.” Pearson says fishers and hunters see “definitely more effort” being put in by land users. “We’re definitely no longer in the denial days and I think there’s been a positive mindset change to do the things necessary.” But the scale of the problem means things are still going backwards in some regions’ water quality and quantity, e.g. drying streams and high-water temperatures. F&G would like to see moves to ‘next-generation’ farming and breakthroughs rather than incremental changes in such as water use and reliance on fertiliser. F&G is legally empowered to manage fishing and hunting resources. North Canterbury is the only one of its 12 regions to make environmental awards, but Pearson is hoping other regions will pick it up. “We’re not looking for the ‘perfect farm’,” he says “but obvious signs work on the environment, mainly freshwater habitat.”



High-energy farming event coming TIM WARRINGTON

HIGH AMONG farmers’ concerns is energy -its source, usage, costs, potential cost savings, operating efficiencies and developments in the renewables sector. This year’s East Coast Farming Expo – on March 6 and 7 at the Wairoa A&P Showground – will again have energy high on its agenda. Specialist exhibitors in the field will include Eastland Group and Water Right Ltd. “Energy usage on farms -- how much we use, opportunities to save

and the exploration of renewable sources -- is a hot topic now,” says expo director Dave Martin. A major sponsor is Eastland Group, which runs the power lines for Wairoa and the East Coast -- 25,000 connections across 12,000sq. km. Eastland Generation includes geothermal, hydro and diesel electricity generation plants and the Electric Village in Gisborne. Electric Village energy champion Jaclyn Findon says the technology industry -- globally and in New Zealand -- is

evolving faster than ever. “It’s an exciting time for energy and emerging technologies, and our region is perfectly placed. “Electric Village in Gisborne is the home of new energy: it’s a place to share ideas, challenge the norm and discover better and more efficient ways of working. “It’s about the future of energy technology, including tips and tricks on clever ways to use your power, and information on solar energy and electric vehicles.” Eastland will have electric vehicles (EVs) at

the expo for test drives, including electric cars, a utility electric 2x2 vehicle by the NZ maker UBCO, ebikes and escooters. Matt O’Kane, of Water Right Ltd, says energy is usually a farm’s highest cost. “We’ve recently been to Europe to look at developments in irrigation equipment and efficiency gains. Several companies have huge R&D focused on solar technologies to power centre pivot irrigators and large pumps.” O’Kane says the gap is currently in storage, “requiring either

Minister of Primary Industries Damien O’Connor, seen on an UBCO 2x2, will be at the expo.


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expensive, inefficient batteries or irrigating during the day which, although commonplace, is nowhere near the bangfor-buck as night-time application. “I’m excited about solar technology and its pace of development, as well as the constant reduction in cost.” O’Kane says although the irrigation sector is not quite there commercially, “a tonne of work is going on behind the scenes, plus a major push to make it cost effective and practical”. The East Coast Farming Expo is industryspecific – sheep and beef farming businesses ranging from extensive hill country to intensive flat operations. It will appeal to husband-

and-wife partnerships, managers, stock managers, shepherds, business partners, accountants and financial advisors. Trade exhibits and public seminars allow Hawke’s Bay and East Coast farmers to talk to industry innovators and experts. The expo is an ideal venue for launching new products or releasing new research and technology. Farmers and landowners can explore new ideas and talk to experts. The popular Evening Muster on March 6 is for attendees and exhibitors to socialise and hear the keynote speaker, rural broadcaster Sarah Perriam. @rural_news

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East Coast

Farming Expo

6-7 March 2019

Wairoa A&P Showgrounds Gates open 9am - 4pm both days

Two days of exhibits and seminars for

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Bad news for sheep, cattle found to cause infections in sheep, deer, alpacas, llamas and pigs. Sheep in Australia have been found susceptible to infections with BVD, and transient infec-


TRADITONALLY, BOVINE viral diarrhoea (BVD) has been considered a disease of cattle. But lately it has been

tions in pregnant ewes have been found to cause severe lambing losses: lambing rates as low as 32% were seen in infected flocks. Lambs were born weak with physical abnor-

Rural News



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NZ must be cautious about the role sheep play in the spread and persistence of BVD, especially in regions where sheep and cattle are co-grazed or housed close together. malities or were persistently infected (PI) with BVD. Their survival, whether infected transiently or persistently, was poor. A study of antibodies to BVD in South Australia sheep flocks indicated that in the flocks tested BVD was not common. How well this translates to New Zealand is unknown. NZ must be cautious about the role sheep play in the spread and persistence of BVD, especially in regions where sheep and cattle are co-grazed or housed close together. NZ in 2017 farmed 27.37 million sheep and 10.08m cattle (dairy and beef). And because beef and sheep farming was

the most extensive agricultural activity in 2016 the risk is high that BVD will persist in cattle herds -- and in sheep flocks. Although the Australian studies indicated that the survival of PI sheep is poor, NZ sheep flocks could nevertheless pose a risk of BVD spread and persistence here. The presence of any PI animal onfarm, no matter for how short a time, poses a risk to the health and productivity of all other animals on that property. So where lambing rates are abnormally low, or many lambs are born with developmental abnormalities, then BVD should be considered a possible cause.


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BVD IS an infectious cattle disease that costs NZ’s 25,000 beef farmers and 12,000 dairy farmers at least $150m per year in direct production losses -- about $4000 per farm. Several European countries have eradicated the disease, bringing big benefits to their cattle industries. From February 1, the BVD Free New Zealand project has begun challenging farmers and veterinarians to quantify the benefit BVD control could have on their herds. The ‘BVD Free Challenge 2019’ includes helping farmers to build in and budget for BVD management for their herd, and so to contribute to a business case for eradicating BVD from NZ. More:

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WARM, WET weather creates perfect conditions for facial ezcema (FE) and, given the right conditions, the risk of the disease could persist until May. So says agricultural scientist Neale Towers, who warns that damp weather coupled with mild night and warm daytime temperatures are ideal for the FEcausing fungus. This fungus lives in dead and decaying grass in the base of a pasture sward. The recent rise in FE spore counts in many North Island regions has coincided with upcoming ewe mating. Towers says if animals are exposed to the toxin, FE can impact negatively on fertility and scanning results. “The number of dry ewes will increase and the number of multiples decrease.” Towers says zinc – preferably in the form of a zinc oxide bullet – is the only direct FE treatment available for livestock when it is too late in the season to be spraying paddocks with fungicide. As the FE-causing fungus only lives in pasture, feed crops can minimise livestock’s exposure to the disease -- although grassy headlands can be a source of contamination. Towers urges farmers in FE risk areas to keep an eye on weather and regional FE spore count reports. “If you see the district averages rising then it is highly likely that counts on your farm will be rising.” FE affects the liver and Towers says by the time clinical symptoms appear – swollen ears and eyes caused by photosensitivity – the damage has already been done. “You are two weeks too late.” He says while only a few animals would display clinical symptoms, a much greater proportion of a flock would be affected sub-clinically. However, while the symptoms of FE may not be visible, the disease would still affect productivity and fertility. Towers says there is a large genetic component to FE susceptibility in sheep and he urges farmers in high FE risk areas to ensure their ram breeders are testing and selecting for FE tolerance. “It is the only long-term strategy.”

ABOUT FACIAL ECZEMA FE affects most ruminants, but especially cattle and sheep in most North Island regions and the northern end of the South Island. FE is responsible for serious production losses estimated at about $200m annually. Affected stock suffer liver and skin damage which together contribute to ill-thrift, reduced fertility, reduced milk and meat production and, if stock remain unprotected, in the worst cases death.

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The tried and true management aid; ram harnesses used at tupping is cheap insurance to check ewes are cycling and rams are working. With harnessed rams, mated ewes can be taken off high quality “flushing” feed and onto maintenance rations. They can also be used to NO MATE Teaser Harnesses are for use with MATINGMARK Harnesses to physically prevent mating. Rams can be temporarily made into teasers before being used for mating. Save on the cost of vasectomies and feed, and get the benefits of earlier and/or condensed lambing and higher lambing percentage*.

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Farmers need to update NAIT details OSPRI IS calling on NAIT users to reregister all their locations and to update their NAIT accounts following a key system upgrade. The NAIT and TBfree manager says the upgrade will assist farmers and industry when using the national animal traceability system. Farmers should update their details before the deadline March 31. The upgrade has seen development of an interactive map which uses Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) parcel data to accurately define a NAIT location. “This is a progressive step for the NAIT system. The new interactive map tool makes it more straightforward for NAIT users when they go online to register their properties, says Kevin Forward, head of NAIT. “Reselecting the land parcels that make up your NAIT location will help us build more effective traceability through precisely identifying the locations where NAIT animals are kept.” Existing and new

NAIT users will be required to update their contact details, declare their herd enterprise type and the number of other species they manage at their properties by March 31. “Updating your NAIT account details is paramount. This is not only mandatory, it has also proved beneficial towards the Government and industry’s Mycoplasma bovis response,” Forward says. “We know that where accurate records have been maintained for registered NAIT locations and the animals kept there, the tracing of animals and their movements has been faster and easier.” He says the system upgrade was made in response to the recent NAIT review recommendations and feedback from NAIT users. “We have listened to farmers, industry and our stakeholders. Our longterm goal is to build trust and confidence in the NAIT system.” Meanwhile, OSPRI

says it has informed stakeholders, farmers and the wider industry of the changes and the necessary actions all NAIT users are required to do. A guide is also available on the

organisation’s website. Farmers needing more information or who are unable to navigate the NAIT online system should call the OSPRI contact centre on 0800 482 463.

All NAIT users need to re-register their locations and update details.

Lambs v ewes DO YOU have enough high-quality feed available on your farm to both finish lambs and have all your ewes in optimum condition going into mating? This is the question many sheep farmers NZwide should be asking as they begin thinking about preparing ewes for the next production cycle, says Beef + Lamb NZ. Farm systems scientist Tom Fraser says farmers need to start planning what they will do with the last of their store lambs, because these lambs will soon be competing with ewes for high quality feed going into mating. “Is it worth trying to put an extra 2kg on lambs at the expense of next year’s production?” Fraser asks. He says farmers must consider their lamb finishing policy now because if the ram goes out on April 1 they will have only six weeks to get any light ewes up to BCS 3 ready for mating. Fraser says sheep farmers should be scoring their ewes now, taking out the lighter ewes and putting them on high quality lamb-finishing feed. Meanwhile heavy ewes can be used to clean up rank pastures. As a rule of thumb, ewes need to gain 7-9kg to lift their body condition by one unit (lifting from BCS 2 to 3) and at a weight gain of 100g/day this would take 70-90 days.

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Built tough for the outdoors MARK DANIEL

IF WE all bought on price there wouldn’t be any choice. So before anyone throws up their arms in despair let’s say it: the Mercedes G-Class Professional is expensive. Now let’s confirm another key point: it’s a very good vehicle. Not for looking cool parked outside your favourite city restaurant, but instead for taking anywhere in New Zealand and being sure of getting home. In fact, this shouldn’t be a surprise, given its heritage dating back to 1979, with continuous manufacture and development at the same factory in Graz, Austria ever since. The ‘G’ isn’t a pimpedout ute; instead it has a

Driving the ‘G’ is a blast once you’ve clambered up into the cab – no running boards, that’s too Ponsonby. heavy-duty cab chassis aimed at hard-arse users such as municipals, lines technicians, fire fighters, bee keepers and highcountry farmers. To says it’s tough would be like saying The Terminator is well muscled. The ‘G’ is military grade tough, with durable mechanicals and minimal interference from any of that electrickery. A V6, 3L turbo diesel engine pumps out 135kW with 400Nm torque appearing early in the rev range. The motor is mated to a 5-speed auto box that’s as smooth as James Bond and, as you’d expect, permanent 4WD.

That’s ok on the road, where the ride is a little harsh, the steering a little heavy and creature comforts are few. But take it into the wop-wops of NZ and then you get what this 2.6 tonne truck is all about. Selecting low range or any of the three differentials is a push-button task. It can be executed on the fly, though quite frankly you just point it where you want to go and it goes there. If it gets sticky, engage the centredifferential, very sticky, switch in the rear. If you get to the stage of ‘oh bugger you don’t want to go there’, switch in

The Mercedes G-Class is a tough, yet smooth, vehicle.

the front diff and get on with it. Driving the ‘G’ is a blast once you’ve clambered up into the cab -no running boards, that’s too Ponsonby. With the snorkel air

intake just outside the driver’s window, you get a great sound of induction as the turbo spins up, and a side-exit exhaust emits an equally pleasing note. And it’s big: over 5 m long, with a 3.5m wheel-

base, a turning circle measured in hectares, 250mm ground clearance and 650mm wading depth. Towing is rated at 3200kg, payload is a useful 2085kg and wheel equipment is 19-inch

alloys with sporting 265 section all-terrain tyres. Creature comforts? In fact the G is sheet metal, rubber, vinyl, hard plastic and a fixed steering column. The slight nod to tech is a central locking system – for both doors – and air-bags up front. But this is for work -bull bars, front mounting for winches, snow ploughs or blowers. Add in twin 12V battery systems, engine speed control to keep up alternator speed for high drain electricals, then you’ll get the idea. It doesn’t have the kitchen sink but it does have rubber bath-plugs on chains for the drain holes in the footwells. Compare it to the Toyota Land Cruiser ‘70 if you dare, but the folk from MB will tell you it’s a whole lot tougher.



Compact fours have plenty of go MARK DANIEL

POWER FARMING will bolster its already popular 6 Series tractors (140 - 226hp in a 6-cylinder format) with the arrival of a pair of 4-cylinder workhorses. With maximum outputs of 126hp and 136hp respectively, the 6130 and 6140DT tractors take their styling from their larger siblings. However, they also have a longer wheelbase and greater unladen weight than the outgoing 5130 models. Already a popular concept in the northern hemisphere, the smaller derivatives have a good power-to-weight ratio, making them ideal for mixed operations. More importantly they are nimble, with tight turning geometry making them suitable for work in smaller paddocks, around yards or in buildings or areas where access is tight. At the heart of the tractor is SDF’s own in-house power-plant in the form of the FARMotion engine. This 4-cylinder, 3.8L layout doesn’t need any aftertreatment to comply with Tier 3 emission rules.

The unit has low fuel consumption, and its low engine noise favours the operator. Transmission options include a 30F/30R semipowershift or TTV for the 6130, or a 60F/60R or the TTV for the larger 6140. The semipowershift option has speed-matching, autopowershifting and 5-stage shuttle modulation. Also, as part of the standard package, the clever Stop and GO function, when selected, allows the operator to disconnect the drive by applying the brake pedal. It’s useful in loader operations, particularly when combined with the QuickSteer system that requires fewer turns of the steering wheel. The TTV transmission gives stepless control of speeds via a new joystick layout taken from the larger tractors. It’s useful during harvesting for baling, or for growers during planting. And given the need for greater hydraulic flow and lift capacity, the 6130 and 6140 are fitted with a closed-centre/loadsensing hydraulic pump layout with a capacity of 120L/minute. This is configured with four sets of rear remote valves with

electronic control of flow rates and time, and a lift capacity of 7000kg. Options include front suspension and 50km/h for the 6140, and both models can be specified with integrated GPS, LED

lighting, cab suspension and front linkage and PTO. @rural_news

Duetz Fahr’s new 136hp offering the 6140 DT.

Grow feed... fast

With a duncan direct seed drill Establish your pastures or crops with good tilth and accurate seed placement in both rows and depth.

DIG OUT THE LONG LEAD ELECTRIC DRIVE systems, clearly gaining ground in cars, etc, still seem to be at the concept stage in agriculture. The global giant John Deere has several ‘electric’ projects on the go, seen in its SESAM tractor; but its latest development seems to indicate a whole new type of agricultural machine. The German-based GridCOM research project diverges sharply from the norm with what appears to be an autonomous electric tractor using a hefty extension lead to supply power, rather than an onboard battery. Automated routing of the tractor and rearmounted implement prevent the rig from tangling with its 1km cable carried on a front-mounted reeler. Power comes from the everyday grid: 100kW is available for the drive train and 200kW for the implement drive system. Operators or technicians control the tractor by means of a wireless remote terminal when, for example, they move it to a different working area or load it onto a transporter. The machine has no traditional cabin. – Mark Daniel




This machine will handle trash and deliver seed evenly on all terrain while giving good ground penetration.

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Power Farming’s Geoff Maber and Morrinsville dealer Richard Clark at the opening of the new facility.

Built for today and tomorrow MARK DANIEL

Everyday just got better. CLAAS ARION 600/500/400 is everything you want in an ‘everyday’ tractor – and a whole lot more! With your choice of 15 models from 90 to 205 hp, a range of super-efficient six and four cylinder engines, smooth continuously variable or POWERSHIFT transmissions, operating systems, deluxe cabins and a host of clever equipment options, ARION 600/500/400 series makes every day more productive and comfortable. Contact your local CLAAS Harvest Centre and find out how ARION 600/500/400 is arguably the best value mid-range tractor available. Ashburton Christchurch Dunedin Feilding Gore

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A NEW chapter was recently written in the story of the Waikato farm machinery business Maber Motors, founded by Laurie Maber in 1946. Now it’s rebranded and operating as Power Farming Morrinsville, a joint venture of Power Farming Wholesale and a well-known local, Richard Clarke, of the rugby dynasty. The company recently welcomed 500 guests to the opening of new premises, an event dubbed ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Over 12 months the business demolished its existing building and sub-

stituted a high-stud building with 2500sq.m of floor space. The entrance area has a large showroom, parts and office space amounting to 1000sq.m. The heart of the building is a 1300sq.m workshop with 18 service bays and a 5-tonne gantry crane. The project cost $4 million, all built and fitted out by local tradies. Power Farming managing director Geoff Maber noted that the company had come a long way “since Laurie Maber started all those years ago in a small wooden shed, selling his first tractor -- a grey Fergie for 475 pounds”. Maber said the investment puts the company

in the right place to support present and future customers. “There will always be a place for farmers who will produce food to feed the world’s growing population,” he said. The dealer principal at Power Farming Morrinsville, Richard Clarke, said they needed to update. “We have to improve and invest in offering a better service for our customers of today and the future,” he told Rural News. “Without customers we have no business. This new building is our commitment to those customers, our 21 staff and the town of Morrinsville.” @rural_news

MANCEL COMING NOT OFTEN is a tractor brand ‘born’, but that will happen next week (Feb 24-28) at the SIMA 19 Exhibition in Paris. Chinese company YTO, formed in 1955 and reckoned the largest maker of tractors there, will use its French subsidiary YTO France SAS to launch a new brand named Mancel. Saying it wanted to make a ‘European’ tractor, YTO in 2011 bought the St Dizier plant in France from Argo Tractors. That plant was founded in 1949 by the International Harvester Co which built tractors there. In its heyday, in the early 1980s, 5000 people worked there; then it switched to making transmissions under the Case IH umbrella. Argo took it over in 2001 as a result of the CNH merger and a ‘sell-it’ order

from the European Monopolies Commission. Since its buy-out by YTO -- a part of the giant Sinomach conglomerate -the plant is reported to have had €60 million spent on it. The new Mancel tractors are expected to be sold from early 2020 and will have 80% European components. Four models will be powered by a Stage V engine with a range of 110 to 145hp. Two smaller ranges are said to be on the drawing board, with outputs of 50 to 75hp and 85 to 105hp respectively. In China the company is field-testing a new 300 - 400hp motor, giving it product offerings from 15 - 400hp. – Mark Daniel



Mule makes a good pack-horse MARK DANIEL

THE KAWASAKI Mule (multi-use light equipment) first saw the light of day in 1988, coining the generic name for a UTV (side x side). The latest offering from the Japanese manufacturer, is the ‘farmerfocused’ Mule Pro-MZ – a mid-sized machine, falling between the threeseated PRO-FX and the compact SX. Measuring 2795mm long x 1525mm wide with a wheelbase of 2005mm, the Pro-MX offers good mobility and manoeuvrability in tight areas – even more so with its 4.2m turning radius. The frame is ladder-style construction in high-grade square section steel, and high stress areas such as suspension mounting points are braced with high tensile plates. The construction follows the Japanese Shinari principles that allow a degree of elasticity, allowing objects to bend then return to their original position. In practice, this means the Pro-MX has a good balance between lateral and torsional stiffness that in turn imparts

The Mule Pro-MZ is a mid-sized, farmer-focussed machine.

good handling and rider comfort. Power comes from a water-cooled, single-cylinder 700cc engine whose fuel injection helps achieve a modest 45hp and 58Nm torque. Working with a CVT transmission, speed increase is linear across the speed range, and good engine braking imparts confidence to riders of all abilities. Electrically selectable 2WD/4WD and diff lock can be accessed easily

for changing conditions. Onfarm with a test machine, this reviewer’s first impressions were of boxiness, with a wheel planted at each corner and robust flat panels. It has a ROPS structure that is square, unlike other brands that taper as they rise. The manufacturer says this is designed to increase the size of the safety cell, hopefully to protect operators in the event of an accident.

Entry and exit are easy through ‘saloon’ doors that also keep the cockpit area clean, and these are at a height that allows users to ‘pull’ electric fence standards while remaining seated. A comfortable bench-style seat offers good support, and a tilting steering column allows adjustment for differing body shapes. Several stowage areas in the dash and bins under the seat and bonnet are

a good nod to daily use onfarm; a 12V DC socket, cup holders and quad headlights are practical fitments. A turn of the key brings the engine to life; it settles quickly and is exceptionally quiet, even through the rev range. Other stand-out features are the slick, positive selection of the high, low or reverse positions and the fingerlight electric power steering system – easy steering with no effort, allowing the operator to concentrate on the terrain ahead. As one would expect, the double-A arm suspension set up at each corner, and twin-tube shocks, give a supple, comfortable ride. And 270mm of ground clearance -- on alloy wheels shod with 25-inch tyres -- allow you to tackle the toughest terrain A large load bed rated to carry 317kg has gas-assisted struts to aid tipping and a useful tie down rail around its top edge. For towing trailers or sprayers, a well-built and accessible 2-inch receiver allows easy hook-ups; towing capacity is 630kg.











Talk to your local dealer to discuss what the Deutz-Fahr 6G could do for your business.






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Stop that ticking timebomb! MARK DANIEL

FARMER AND landowners encounter a wide range of chemicals and fuels onfarm every day. These products might include pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers, veterinary medicines, cleaning products like dairy sanitisers and, of course, diesel, petrol and LPG. Many of these are controlled under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act of 1996, so farmers are required to store and use them correctly. Immediate and long-term risks arise if

farmers don’t take necessary precautions. In 2017, a Taranaki dairy farmer reportedly ended up in hospital intensive care after leaving chemicals to ‘soak’ on the floor of the milking shed. And a product used to clean farm machinery was tipped down a drain, combining with the dairy shed cleaner to produce ‘instant mustard gas’. Some products are formulated to have a toxic effect on the nervous systems of pests, so improper use has the potential to work on human neurological systems in the same way.

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The prolonged use of some substances – and the cumulative effects that typically go unnoticed during use – can over time lead to health problems later in life. Farmers or landowners must understand the potential risks of any product they use, particularly the effects on the user, family members, workers, contractors and visitors to their property. The safe use of such products should start with the person in charge ensuring that anyone using the products is fully trained. That training should encompass the hazards, how to keep safe, seeing that products are stored and used safely and what steps to take in an emergency. Consider an audit of all products in storage, including those that might be redundant, taking note that they are labelled correctly; anyone encountering them must have access to safety data sheets (SDS). If SDS are more than five years old, ask your supplier for up-to-date material. Make sure you know the hazard classification for each product, while also keeping an inventory with a record of volumes in storage. People using hazardous items must know that personal protection equipment is always available, and that the people who need approved handler test certificates are so qualified. Review the storage

facilities onfarm, because dad’s ‘old shed’ used for the last 20 years might not be fit for purpose. Ensure the storage is in a flood-free area, away from rivers or water courses. The building should be made from non-flammable materials, with the internal layout designed to contain leaks or spills,

at least six metres from combustible materials and 20m from habitable buildings. Ensure safety information is prominently displayed, that personal protective equipment is readily available, with first aid kits and a supply of clean water. Anyone who employs or contracts farm workers

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– or controls a farm – has a legal obligation to identify, eliminate, isolate, minimise and monitor hazards on their property. Managing chemicals and fuels is an integral part of this requirement. Good practice will minimise the risk of injury, meet health and

safety and environmental laws and, of course, ensure that you, your family and staff stay well clear of ambulances, hospitals and cemeteries. • For more information visit WorkSafe’s ‘Guide to Working Safely with Fuels and Chemicals Onfarm’ at


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IT HAPPENS MORE OFTEN THAN YOU’D THINK. Being New Zealand’s leading rural insurer, we see it all. So when you suffer the kind of damage to your property that you’d never expect in the city, we not only understand, we’ll have you covered. It’s the kind of understanding and advice that really makes a difference in the country. If you’d like to know more, go to Or better still, call us directly on 0800 366 466.

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FEBRUARY 19, 2019: ISSUE 670

It’s all go for Northland MARK DANIEL

THE NORTHLAND Field Days organisers are getting the grounds into pristine shape ready for February 28, for the 35th running of the event over three days. An opening ceremony will be run at 11am on the first day, outside the headquarters building, where Work-Safe ambassador and former All Black Richard Loe will declare the event open. There are many changes from last year’s event, and many new food outlets in the three food courts; nobody need go hungry. Besides good coffee for the early risers and hot dogs or hot chips for the youngsters, look out for Fijian curries, slow roasted pulled pork, raw fish Mediterranean wraps and even a traditional hangi.

WorkSafe rural ambassador and rural broadcaster Richard Loe will officially open the event on February 28.

A WARM WELCOME TO THE ‘FRIENDLY’ FIELD DAYS LEW DUGGEN The Northland Field Days will be held for February 28 till March 2 at Dargaville.

This year the sheepdog trials will be in a more central spot so people can get close to the action. For those interested in clever equines, the Stronghold Cutting Horses will be found in the same area. The children’s area offers blow-up bouncy castles and lots of rides. Meanwhile, an active market area will be the place for bargains and the tented lifestyle pavilions

will have 70 exhibitors offering home, leisure and health products. For nostalgia, the Clydesdale horses, complete with wagon, are a great way of taking a tour while resting your feet. If you like noise, or suffer from ‘heavy metal disease’, visit the demonstration area to see BRP-Can Am, Polaris and many others putting their products through their paces.

Northland Field Days president Lew Duggan says that despite a difficult year the fieldays, as a charitable trust, has managed to continue supporting Northland farming, giving to students for their tertiary education in 2018, and organisations and clubs. “This field days are a perfect opportunity for town and country to unite,” Duggan says.

IT IS with great pleasure that we welcome visitors to the 35th Northland Field Days. Our dedicated bands of voluntary organisers, associate and community helpers and our sole employee have worked hard over the last 12 months to create another quality event in New Zealand’s friendliest field days. Despite a difficult year we have maintained, in line with our charitable trust status, the commitment to invest in Northland’s agriculture future. We were pleased to again give financial support to Northland students with their tertiary education in 2018 – as well as many other Northland organisations and clubs. We see this event as the perfect

opportunity for town and country to unite, share and promote the wonderful lifestyle sectors NZ offers. We also want to ensure solid foundation support for our primary industry by partnering with exhibitors offering technological mastery, expertise and the best deals to be had. How many other times are there in the year when farmers and the public have all dealers, service providers and attractions in one small place to talk to at their convenience? On behalf of the Northland Field Days committee and all our sponsors, partners and associates, I hope you all experience a great time and enjoy what we have on offer and wish you all a successful and safe 2019. • Lew Duggan is president of Northland Field Days Committee

Something for EVERYONE! Cervus Equipment will have everything from ride-on mowers, compacts & Ag Tractors Plus more on display. There is sure to be something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you there. Sites 037, 039, 092 & 094 Whangarei - 115 Kioreroa Road - 09 438 7228 Waipapa - Klinac Lane - 09 407 0666 0800 333 734



Improving productivity, herd management ADDING NEW technology to your dairy farm is an effective way of increasing efficiency, boosting productivity and better herd management, says dairy supply company Waikato Milking Systems (WMS). WMS Northland & Waikato sales manager Gary Feeney says the company’s integrated management tools can enhance a shed’s performance and automation, helping farmers make the most of their dairy. “At the Northland Field Days, WMS will offer farmers an opportunity to talk to their team on site with Northland

Waikato Milking Systems specialises in dairy shed systems.

Farm Services,” he says. “Since its introduction in late 2018, the WMS NaviGate dairy management system has attracted the interest of farmers worldwide.” Feeney says NaviGate management systems are easily retrofitted into most farm dairies.

But it helps if farmers give WMS an early insight into developing issues and needs. “Know your cows individually, watch their production milking by milking, and understand health issues early, so action can be taken immediately,” Feeney

says. He also notes that the new milk cooling regulations require farmers to review this aspect of their dairy. Worthwhile savings are possible by selecting the right cooling solution, Feeney says. “Given that milk cooling accounts for 30% of the total energy costs in a typical farm dairy, it is important that cooling enables farmers to economically meet industry standards.” Farmers looking to upgrade their dairies will find the Northland field days helpful for discussing options with WMS staff.

Soil Aeration Specialists Are you suffering from:

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FARM-SPEC UTV’S FOLLOWING GREAT reviews since their introduction in 2018, CFMoto’s U800 EPS and U550 EPS Farm Spec models will be on display at Northland Field Days. Farmers will see the value for money in such a side x side vehicle, says the country manager of CFMoto NZ, Anton Giacon. CF Moto’s farm-spec UTV will be on The UTV Farm Spec models show at Northland. offer exceptional specifications Ready to go to work, both models at a great price, he says. “Visitors can visit our stand and have selectable 2WD/4WD drive modes. The U550 EPS Farm Spec is powsee first-hand the Farm Spec U550 EPS and U800 EPS UTVs. Both machines ered by CFMoto’s 500cc single cylinare NZ-equipped to handle NZ farm- der, EFI, 4-stroke engine. The price is ing conditions. And there’ll be special $12,990 ex GST, drive away, The U800 EPS Farm Spec is powfield days pricing.” Features include a full-size tough- ered by an 800cc V-Twin, EFI, 4-stroke ened glass windscreen and wiper, a engine. The price is $15,490 ex GST, heavy-duty PVC rear screen with inte- drive away. Both models are available grated support bar, and the all-impor- in silver, backed by a two-year factory tant, steel mounted, full-length mud warranty and supported by a nationwide dealer network. flap kit.


Heavy Duty Auto Reset


DON’T PUT GOOD FERTILISERS ON COMPACTED SOIL WHICH CAN’T ABSORB IT If your soil can’t support 15cm root growth and good worm population check for compaction, you could need aeration. In dollar terms, what would 20% production increase mean to your yearly turnover? YOUR GREATEST ASSET IS THE SOIL YOU FARM - DON’T DESTROY IT!



Transports and stands wrapped round bales on end for storage Now available as a single or dual unit • Suitable for medium HP tractors • 3PL mounted (no front axle stress) • Bale tipped in one easy movement • No need to reposition bale before tipping

Contact us for your local dealer...

For ripping deep pans and laying alkathene pipe up to 50mm • Optional chute • Standard & heavy models

Call in and see us at the Northland Field Days and find out how the right choice of tyres can make your job easier.


AT THE Maitland RD5, Gore NORTHERN FIELDAYS Ph/Fax: 03-207 1837 SITE 61 Mobile: 027-628 5695

Site #168

Or find a dealer: Tel. 0508 140 140



Test drive a tractor! THE VALTRA Smart Tour now making its way around New Zealand is showcasing the fourth generation of models from this innovative Finnish tractor manufacturer. The tour enables drivers to experience Valtra’s SmartTouch technology, in a new armrest design that takes machine control to new levels. This integrated technology can control the maker’s Guidance, Isobus, AgControl and TaskDoc, helping increase the productivity of any tractor/ implement combination and reduce the workload of the operator. The 9-inch terminal is easier and more intuitive than a modern smartphone, Valtra says. All functions on the terminal are accessed via no more than two swipes or taps, enabling anyone – whether familiar with touchscreens or not – to operate the terminal with little or no practice.

The A series tractors (75-130hp) are light and agile, putting power to the ground and easily handling modern implements. An efficient transmission and powerful hydraulics with up to 5200kg rear lift capacity makes the A series a multi-tasker, and its ergonomics and a low noise levels keep the operator comfortable. The N Series (115200hp) has a 600-hour service interval and low fuel consumption to help lower the cost of ownership. This range, said to offer the best power/size ratio in its class, comes in a choice of transmission options including Auto Powershift or Valtra’s exclusive Direct CVT; models can be customised to suit the buyer. The T Series (170271hp) won the Tractor of the Year award for high levels of comfort, durability, versatility, functionality and visibility. Its cab controls, including a new

FORESTRY ON A ROLL LOGGING TRUCKS are rolling in Northland -- into Northport, to be precise. Rural News recently saw firsthand the constant streams of trucks taking logs out to the wharves at Marsden Point, from where they are shipped out mainly to Asia. Ruakaka locals confirm the trucks just keep coming. Radiata pine planted in the late 1980s and early 1990s is coming on stream -- and not just in Northland -- boosting New Zealand’s export revenue. In 2005, NZ exported $3.242 billion of logs and forestry products. In 2018 it was $6.382b and is forecast to increase by 5% in 2019. Seeing the mountain of logs at Northport you’d be excused for thinking only raw logs are exported, but logs only make up just over half our forestry exports. Official statistics on forestry export revenue show that in 2018 NZ exported $3.337billion in logs, $890 million in sawn timber and sleepers, $833m in pulp, $485m in paper and paperboard, $501m in panels, $56m in chips and $281m “other forestry products” incolding structural or moulded timber, furniture and prefabricated buildings. This makes forestry our third-biggest export earner after dairy the biggest in 2018 ($16.655b) and meat and wool second ($9.542b); then came horticulture a close fourth ($6.020b). Forestry, agriculture and fishing generate about 13% of Northland’s regional GDP. Manufacturing, to which processed wood products are a large contributor, generates 13-14% of regional GDP.

drive lever, are located to minimise driver movement, ensuring plenty of comfort. Contact a Valtra dealer for a test drive.

The Valtra T-Series will be one of the tractors available for a test drive at Northland Field Days.

Lightweight portability. Heavyweight performance.

See at Northland Field Days

Fence further with less Electric Fence Dropper & Insulated Line Post Electric Fence Droppers maintain wire spacing, reducing the number of posts required in a fence line. When combined with Gallagher Insulated Line Posts it provides a flexible, cost effective solution for permanent electric fencing.

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11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39


116 118 120 122 124

Food Court 1

Rural Pavilion 1

134 136 138 140 142 144 146

148 150 152 154 156 158 160 162 164

168 170 172 174 176 178 180 182 184 186 188 190 192 194 171 173 175 177 179 181183 185 187 216

218 220 222 224226 228 230

Gate A

238 240 242 244 246 248 250 252 254





300 302 304 306 308

Exhibitors Car Park No.1

Market 299 301303 305 307 Area

Stronghold Cutting Horse Demo

Exhibitors Vehicle Exit

Danger! NO ENTRY Food & Beverages Attractions/Entertainment HQ

Northland Field Days Office

276 278 280 282 284 286 288 HONDA HIGHWAY

275 277 279 281 283 285 310 312 314 316 318 320


Food315317 319 321 323 309 311 313 Food Court 2 Entertainment Court 2 Area 340 342 344 346 348 350 352 354


339 341 343 Isuzu D-Max Sheep Dog Trials 364 366 368


Public Car Park



First Aid

237 239 241 243 245 247 249 251 253 FIRST NATIONAL REAL ESTATE ROAD


Disabled Toilet


229 231 233 235

265 267 269 271 273

(Portaloos are also placed all around the outer perimeter of the event site)


232 234 HQ

259 261

Permanent Toilet Blocks

196 198 200 202 204 206

195 197 199 201 203 205 207 209 211

Lifestyle Pavilion 1 Lifestyle Pavilion 2 Lifestyle Pavilion 3

Public Car Park

Committee and Rotary Parking

Ticket Booths

Food Hall

189 191 193

256 258 260 262264 266 268270 272 274

Pedestrian Site Entry/Exit


147 149 151 153 155 157

FONTERRA ROAD 217 219 221 223

Disabled Carpark

230c 187c


Pedestrian Access from Car Park to Site

Disabled Parking

95 97 99 101 103 105 107 109 111

117 119 121 123 125 127 129 131 133 135 137 139 141 143 145

Car Park Entry/Exit

41 43 Beer 45 Tent 47 49 51 53 55 57

81 83 85 87 89 91 93







Rural Pavilion 2


96 98 100 102 104 106 108 110 112

60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 61 63 65 67 69 71

What all the symbols mean on this map:





Emergency/ Evacuation Gate

(this map is not to scale and is subject to change )

Polaris/Can-Am Demonstration Area


Gates B & C

Helicopter Rides


THE NEW KING OF THE FARM The all new 2019 KingQuads are here and ready to work.

Power away on a new Suzuki KingQuad 400, 500 or 750 and pay 1/3 deposit, 1/3 in 2020 and a final 1/3 in 2021. TALK TO US TODAY OR VISIT WWW.SUZUKI.CO.NZ FOR MORE DETAILS

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50 years of dairy expertise PPP INDUSTRIES Ltd, New Zealand-owned company, has been designing, manufacturing and installing innovative agricultural equipment for at least 50 years. It installed NZ’s first in-shed dairy feed system in 1967 and has since been improving its products with new features and the latest technology. The systems made by PPP are commissioned NZ-wide by dedicated installers, with sales support from dealers from Kaitaia to Invercargill. Standard herring bone (HB) feed systems are equipped with the new Evolution dispenser or the Experto Feeder. Both systems can be optioned with mineral or molasses add-ons. And the Experto system also allows for the integration of EID readings in HB sheds. Rotary systems come with high-back, stainless feed trays with anti-robbing bars and tray supports. These can also be fitted with platform dis-

pensers for feed and mineral add-ons. PPP offers a wide range of general spare parts for most feed systems, off the shelf and at competitive prices. Whether you’re milling for small-scale farming operations or commercially, the Skiold disc mill system can be configured for any size operation. A key advantage is the ability to mill grain to a higher standard than other systems, and less maintenance than on traditional roller mills. To dispense minerals to stock accurately and effectively, an in-line or platform mineral dispenser system can replace drenching and paddock dusting, saving time and money. PPP systems are available to handle powders or pellets; addition rates are from 30g to 140g/kg of feed, and powders are kept moving by in-built vibrators PPP press screw separators remove solids from

AGCO HITTING ITS STRAPS A GROWING share of the world market for tractor giant AGCO looks to be paying dividends. Net sales in 2018 rose by 12.6% to US$9.4 billion. North America had a 16% surge to US$2.2b with growth in sprayers, grass and grain handling/storage. Sales decreased slightly in western Europe, but the company’s Europe and Middle East region increased 17% to US$5.4b. For 2019, the company expects the upward trend to continue, forecasting net sales of US$9.6b. AGCO says it is planning a big extension in France at its Beauvais plant, regarded as the home of the Massey Ferguson brand. It has already enlarged the site by the 8ha with a 30,000sq.m. logistics department; and it has since bought an adjoining 15.7ha including 4.5ha of buildings. Newly completed the site will be 54ha, employ 2500 people and make 18,000 more units per annum. In the last six years, the company spent €300m on the Beauvais Centre of Excellence, has launched 14 tractor ranges since 2015 and plans to make 14 more ranges by 2023.


Go to

liquids or slurry type waste. The company first imported separators in 2001 and has extensive knowledge of system design and operation.

An Evolution Dispenser set up in a shed.

T H G I R DO IT BE RIGHT’ L L ’ E H S ‘ T O N cooling equipment lutions has the milk tions. Dairy Cooling So ith the new regula w y pl m co u yo lp to he


Packo Ice Banks Installed nationwide

European design and quality - Over 50 years experience in developing milk cooling tanks and one of Europe’s leading Dairy Cooling Systems producers for the needs of farmers around the world – from Mexico to Japan, from Russia to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Horizontal Milk Cooling Tanks with Iced Water Cooling – 50% more effective in cooling the milk compared to standard direct expansion systems without any risk of freezing the milk due to the water temperature of +0.5 > 1.0degC. Highly suitable for AMS (Robotic Farming Systems) with low milk flows – no risk of freezing the milk. Energy Saving with Packo Ice Builders (PIB’s) – thanks to the ice energy store build-up during night time hours, a smaller refrigeration unit can be installed, plus the potential savings of off-peak power rates.

PIB 230 - 370

Water Saving with PIB’s – bore water pre-cooling is not necessary with the correctly sized PIB. This is ideal for drought prone regions or where water supplies are restricted. Improved Milk quality through Snap Chilling = potentially a higher return adding PROFITS to the farm.

PIB 25-160

For 30yrs Eurotec has been supplying the NZ Refrigeration Industry with leading Global Brands. The only NZ supplier of this technology providing nationwide coverage and After Sales Support with branches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with over 30 Approved Refrigeration Installers throughout the country from Invercargill to Whangarei. Check out the DCS website, talk to your refrigeration contractor, and come and see DCS/Packo milk cooling technologies operating at the Northland Field Days 2019.

NFD Site: 206B

Dairy Cooling Solutions

Tradition meets Technology

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Harvester in a league of its own RURAL CONTRACTOR Steve Murray, who runs the family business BA Murray Ltd, Rangiora, has run New Holland selfpropelled forage harvesters for 20 years. However, Murray reckons his newest machine, an FR650, is in a league of its own. “We’ve used New Holland FR harvesters, and FX series before them, going back to 1998,” he says. “We like New Hol-



land for their reliability, strength and manufacturing quality so we’ve stayed with them.” Murray bought the FR650 last season and says it is a huge improvement on previously owned FR600, FR 9060 and FR 9050 models. “Besides being much stronger the FR650 is more fuel-efficient,” he says. “Despite it being more powerful (653hp) it’s burning less fuel.”

Canterbury-based rural contractor Steve Murray reckons his newest New Holland, self-propelled, forage havester – a FR650 – is in a league of its own.

Fitted with the new 6-cyl Cursor 16 engine, specifically for forage harvesting, the unit has an “almost instantaneous” transient response. Compared to a similar FR9060 (fuel consumption 100L/h) the FR600 burns about 80L/h. “They say you can get a 20% fuel saving with it and we would have done that at least over again, burning just under half


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Northland Field Days Site 197 (next to Farmlands)

what we used to burn,” Murray says. “Even when running in Eco mode, the engine will still deliver its full horsepower. Although when harvesting grass silage it isn’t working as hard as it would in maize; we used it on maize last year and the increase in productivity was outstanding.” The FR650 has many technology improvements, particularly in the feed rollers and cutterhead areas. The cutterhead is available in three configurations to match chopping requirements, with 2 x 8, 2 x 10 and 2 x 12 knives for a length of cut range of 6-33mm, 5-27mm and 4-22mm, respectively. The Hydroloc feed roll drive system enables the operator to adjust the

length of cut to match crop conditions on the go. The autoload function sees to filling trailers or trucks to 75% of capacity before the operator needs to take over manually. Other useful features include yield mapping with GPS data, crop moisture readings and an efficient metal detection system. Murray says fuel saving is one of the FR650’s major benefits. “We can’t charge more [for fuel] for the work we are doing, because the farmers aren’t getting paid any more,” he says. “We have to find efficiencies in our operation, so we give the harvester a bigger feed to make fewer runs in the paddock with reduced fuel usage.”



It all happens in threes! MARK DANIEL

DO THINGS really happen in threes? It seems so for the motor industry’s off-road favourite Subaru. At the recent petrolhead heaven -- the Leadfoot Festival at Hahei, Coromandel Peninsula (Rural News attended only to report the facts) – Alistair McRae, of the Scottish McRae rallying dynasty, made it three in a row by consecutively winning the dash up the 1.6km hill climb course in a blistering 47.99 seconds. More mundane -though equally exciting for your reporter -- was a look at another threesome in the shape of the Outback, XV and Forester model ranges. These were all driven over an off-road course recently devel-

The Subaru XV (above) and Forester (right) being put through their paces.

oped by Leadfoot owners Rod and Shelley Millen. These ranged from flat grass paddock to climbs over dirt mounds and descents into blind hollows. Nearly always the adverse cambers had drivers and passengers sitting too close to each other (where were the Subaru stunners when you needed them?) but

the clever trio traversed the course with ease. They were enjoying technology such as the Symmetrical All Wheel Drive System that shares power to all four wheels to maintain traction – even in tough conditions; or X-Mode which cleverly manipulates engine, transmission, AWD and brakes to optimise travel

Rural News



in difficult conditions at speeds of up to 40km/h. The X-Mode came into its own during the steep downhill sections, tackled with aplomb. Subaru marketing manager Daile Stephens said 2018 would be a year to remember. “We were stoked to scoop the Car of The Year title with the new

Forester,” said Stephens. “And being presented with the award on Seven Sharp was the cream on a great year for us.” More importantly, 2018 was Subaru NZ’s record year for sales – 3632 vehicles.

“And that upward trend is building: in January 2019 we delivered 380 new vehicles – our best month ever.” Subaru is hitting the mark with its AWD and outdoor image appealing to ‘Let’s Do It’-minded

Kiwis. The revitalised mid-sized Forester SUV tripled sales since its launch in September. And the Outback and XV – large, compact SUVs – had monthly sales of 100 and 140 units respectively.



VISIT US AT NORTHLAND FIELD DAYS Sites 177, 179, 220 & 222

Bale Feeders

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TPW Xpress Woolpress

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Front-mounted mower speeds up Coaster’s cutting time MARK DANIEL

ZANE WYATT farms 240ha effective at Hari Hari with his wife Tania, milking 500 Jersey Friesian-cross cows. The arrival of a new Pottinger NovaCat Alpha Motion 301 front mower will slash his mowing times, a bonus given the changeable weather conditions in the region. Wyatt bought his first Pottinger mower – a NovaDisc 305 rear mower -- in April 2018. “I chose it for its good reputation and price,” he says. “And the machine has been faultless, bulletproof and easy to put on and take off the tractor.” Because of the performance of the rear mower, Wyatt added a NovaCat Alpha Motion 301 front mower, taking delivery in October and having it installed by the dealer. He says it’s “really quick” and easy to use. “I knocked over 20 acres in two hours yesterday without pushing too hard,” he said.

“A tractor and rear mower would take me nearer six hours to get 20 acres done. With this being our first front-mower we are amazed at how well it travels. Output is huge with no blockages, even in a very thick crop.” The NovaCat Alpha Motion 301 has 3m working width and can mow up to 3ha/ hour. Its suspension has 500mm of vertical travel and inclination angles of 12 degrees upwards and 9 degrees downwards to prevent the cutter bar from damaging the sward. The design allows the guide arms to respond actively to changes in terrain and to the mounting frame itself, resulting in the cutter bar tilting upwards over bumps and downwards into hollows. A rounded, low profile front edge lets the cutter bar move smoothly over the ground and separate the crop from the sward. At the same time, the mower uses the rounded conical surfaces of the mower discs to let the crop flow smoothly and uniformly, for maximum capacity regardless of conditions.

Hari-Hari dairy farmer Zane Harris says the arrival of the new Pottinger NovaCat Alpha Motion 301 front mower will slash his mowing times.



No dogs will be allowed at Northland Field Days. The exception will be an authorised assistance dog such as a Guide Dog, or one authorised in writing by the Northland Field Days to be on an exhibitor’s site.


TR Rotowiper Trailing model towed by a 4 wheel bike


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


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SITE K19 254

New Zealand manufacturer of quality fencing tools & equipment



Hot innovations at Northland



The S200 Portable Solar Fence Energizer.


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TWO YEARS of product development will be on show at the Gallagher Group site, showing lots of innovation, says the company’s national sales manager, Darrell Jones. “On the fencing front, we will showcase the Insulated Line Post fence system,” Jones says. “There will also be plenty of advice on how to make the most of this lightweight, durable fencing option.” And to enhance effectiveness over longer runs the Electric Fence Dropper will be available for the first time. This allows post spacing to be extended, so lowering costs. It suits multi-wire sheep, goat and cattle fences, including the Insulated Line Post and any wood or steel post systems. “These are easily attached with a screw-

ity extends to its compact nature, combining the EID reader hardware into the scales. This makes setting up simple: just connect the TWR to an EID antenna panel and you’re ready to go.”


driver and available in packs of ten, as a simple means to reduce fencepost spacing without compromising on wire spacing.” Jones says farmers considering remote solar power for the electric fence energiser will get to see the company’s extensive solar energiser range; this includes the re-launched S200 Portable Solar Energiser. “The S200 has been re-engineered to enhance battery life and give effective power delivery regardless of daylight conditions or battery status.” High sheep and livestock prices will justify farmers looking closely at Gallagher’s award winning TWR weigh scale range, Jones says. “These are easy to use, with an intuitive menu and a clear display screen easy to see even in bright conditions,” he explains. “The system’s simplic-





Bigger tractor means bigger gear THE MURRAY family-owned distributor FarmChief says that as tractors get more powerful there is also an opportunity to update the machinery being used. They say that in doing so farmers and contractors can reduce costs by saving time and fuel, and preserve soil structure with fewer passes. At the Northland field days the company will show high-performing implements such as the Rollmax folding trailed rollers. Offered in 4.5 to 9.5m working widths, the French manufactured machines use German steel for key components such as the 70mm section axle. These implements are said to have the strongest roller rings on the market, allowing the manufacturer to offer a six-year ring warranty. They use clever geometry to maintain even weight distribution for best consolidation and germination. The units are also said to be stable on undulating ground and in the transport position. For working the tough stuff, particularly in primary situations, FarmChief’s primary discs will be exhibited, e.g. the SOL-V 32 66 23 offset discs.

Ben Parkhurst has operated a set of 4500 Express Plus Speed Discs for four seasons.

With high weight-per-blade ratios these discs can incorporate crop residues easily while opening the ground

to promote more rapid aerobic breakdown. This gets paddocks back into production more quickly. An exten-

sive range is available from 2.7 to 6m working widths. For even faster turnaround, Express

Plus Speed Discs can be used for primary or secondary cultivation. These can be used for working ground after winter feed, stubble incorporation or to break-up paddocks after compaction – typically at twice the speed of conventional discs. Available in widths from 3 to 6m, the discs can operate at up to 16km/h. The optimum disc angle achieves greater precision and accuracy, and the fitment of SKF sealed bearings reduces maintenance costs. For example, Pankhurst Contracting, Greta Valley, North Canterbury cultivates about 1000ha a year on sheep and beef properties between Amberley and the Hurunui River. Ben Pankhurst has operated a set of 4500 Express Plus Speed Discs for four seasons and says the machine has done a lot of work in harsh conditions, including winter green-feed paddocks that’ve been heavily pugged by cattle. “They work well in all soil types and on steep and rocky terrain,” he says. “Their versatility has changed the way we work the ground, at much lower running costs for us and our customers.”

TAKE THE HISUN CHALLENGE We challenge you to compare a Hisun UTV or ATV with an equivalent model of any other leading brand in New Zealand. Because we’re confident that feature for feature, spec for spec, you won’t find a better-value work machine for your farm or lifestyle block. Come visit us on our Northern Field Days stand, site 266

FIELD DAY SPECIALS!!! 550 ATV 750 ATV 800 ATV 1000 ATV 1000 UTV

$9000 $10,500 $10,500 $13,000 $ 19,000

save $2000 save $2000

*Model photographs are indicative only. Colours, specifications and some features may differ from those shown on models featured.



save $3000 save $1000 save $1000

All prices exclude GST

New Zealand distributor: Hisun NZ, 15 Eric Paton Way, Panmure, Auckland. Ph 09-527 3624. Email:

Want to be one of Hisun’s dealers? Enquiries welcomed, and or service agents.

Hisun is a registered trademark of Hisun Motors



High-tech spraying for orchards MARK DANIEL

FMR GROUP ten years ago launched its V-Series vineyard sprayers that improve canopy penetration and chemical application, and reduce spray drift. The 2010 release of its R-Series recycling sprayer raised the bar even higher, allowing vineyards to reduce costs further by recycling spray that would otherwise have been lost as spray drift. Using the technology in this design FMR has now turned its attention to the orchard industry. Working with Richard and Tristram Hoddy, Vailima Orchards, Tasman district, the company has adapted the same base technology as found in the V-Series to design and build a 3-row sprayer specifically for orchard spraying. The O-Series uses key technologies common to all FMR sprayers, including a tangential fan system from Weber, Germany, and Arag valves and electronic control

equipment from Italy. Air-blast or air-shear systems have traditionally relied on high pressure/ low volume jets to deliver spray, but high levels of off-target drift and potentially uneven application to target surfaces risks low efficiency in such setups. Spray drift increasingly bothers rural operators -- especially growers -- as they are pressured to clean up their acts, chiefly by adopting new technology or techniques. The Weber tangential fan works differently, producing a full length ‘curtain’ of low velocity, high-volume air which is uniform from top to bottom of a tree. This air curtain emerges from the tangential fan with a turbulent twisting action that creates leaf movement and facilitates canopy penetration and even application to target plant surfaces. The even air curtain of high volume/low pressure air allows the sprayer to be set up quickly to suit specific canopy styles and to minimise off-tar-

FRONTLOADER MAKER SETS UP IN CHINA A WORLD-LEADING manufacturer of frontloaders and associated implements -- Alo AB -- has set up a factory in China. The plant is said to be running smoothly as planned. Located at Ningbo, it has the space and capacity needed for this maker of 30% of the world’s loaders for tractors 50hp and bigger. Alo now has factories in four countries, sales companies in 11 regions and customers in 50 countries. About 90% of its output is exported. The Chinese plant has 22,172m2 of production area and 1750m2 of office area, twice that of its old factory. The plant is reckoned the most advanced implement factory in the world. It is located four hours by truck from the port of Shanghai, and one hour from the port of Nighbo – the fourth largest in the world. Alo says it will double production of implements and subframes and hugely increase the production of loaders. Most welding is done in one of 10 automated robot cells; an automated powder coating line has twice the capacity of the firm’s previously biggest line and the products are reckoned better-finished than those of the car industry. – Mark Daniel

get drift. Operator comfort and safety are notable in all FMR sprayers, so the tangential fan system is quiet – even when run at full speed -- so improving operator comfort. The hydraulically driven fan can be run at

speeds easily adjusted to suit conditions. Meanwhile, the Arag Bravo electronic control system allows full control from the cabin, using a GPS speed sensor on the sprayer to automatically control system pressure and flow to achieve the

FMR orchard sprayer.

chosen application rate. The sprayers’ tanks are made from fibreglass

water tank for system purging and operator handwashing.

in capacities 2300, 3000 and 4000L. All units have a fresh




• Supreme quality stainless steel feed trays • Exceptional back-up support • Easy to use and maintain first class installations • Robust construction • Skiold Disc Mills • Grain holding siolos • Utility augers / Mobile auger


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SEE US AT REGIONAL FIELD DAYS • Northland Site 248 • Central Districts Sites O11A; O112 • South Island Kirwee Site 387


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Farming on an island LIVING ON an island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf has its perks for sheep and beef farmer George Watson (26). He works on one of three farms on Ponui Island, southeast of Waiheke Island.  The picturesque

island has rolling grasscovered hills, pockets of bush and sheltered bays with white sandy beaches. The hills overlook waters that are great for fishing.  “Fishing is my number one passion,” he says. Watson likes to get

out on the water as often as he can. He and his partner Carly Whitehead (25) moved to the island from Waikato in April 2018. The farm they work on is 600ha and runs 1400 ewes and 300 Angus cattle.

George Watson fencing on Ponui Island.

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chair of Franklin Young Farmers and has qualified for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest. He’s one of eight competitors who’ll go head-to-head at the northern regional final in Warkworth on March 16.  “This is my first regional final. I’m a bit nervous, but I’m really looking forward to it at the same time,” he says.  Contestants will tackle a series of practical and theoretical modules at the Warkworth A&P Showgrounds.  The seven other regional finalists are Brant Julian, Brody Goodmon, Cameron Massie, Daniel Richards, Jack Bellamy, James Robertson and Tim Dangen.  The winner will represent the region at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final in Hawke’s Bay in July.

Living on a remote island has challenges.  Electricity is generated by solar panels backed up by a diesel generator.  “We can’t use an electric toaster or kettle in the kitchen because they’ll blow a fuse,” he explains. “So we’ve got used to cooking toast under the grill on the stove.”  Island life hasn’t deterred the couple from being active members of Franklin Young Farmers.  “Getting to the mainland is weather dependent, but it’s not often we miss a club meeting,” Watson says.  It’s a 15-minute boat ride from Ponui Island to the mainland, near Clevedon.  “It’s not too bad. I have worked on some high-country stations which are more isolated.” Watson is the vice-

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discovering what’s up the driveway... For more than 30 years, Rangiora based Farm To Farm Tours has been taking Kiwis across the globe to experience new places, meet international colleagues, understand markets, make new friends and discover just what is up the driveway in places like Argentina. It’s a magic country to visit - from vibrant Buenos Aires, with its 15 lane central avenue fringed with jacaranda trees and the colourful La Boca port, to the spectacularly beautiful Iguazu Falls and stunning Patagonia. A real highlight for our rural groups, however, is getting out on to the Pampas - a vast plain of productive farmland between the Atlantic and the Andes.

It’s amazing how most Argentinean families retain their estancia for periods as long as 100 years or more. They continue to farm productively but it’s also as an escape from the city for extended family where many of them live and work, often in a professional capacity. The sale of land attracts a capital gains tax so is a disincentive to sell but there seems to be an inborn desire to retain what land you have and, where necessary, earn additional income elsewhere.

Inflation in Argentina is currently over 40%, supposedly due to inept governance and on-going corruption. It’s interesting to hear how farmers cope with financial uncertainty - rather than bank proceeds, On our most recent trip it was fascinating to visit an artificial breeding many sell soya beans etc to buy cattle and vice versa. A type of a barter station with 19,000 cows scattered across 85,000ha of farmland. It trade really. Although it has its challenges, Argentina is a wonderful caters for the five principal sire breeds: Angus, Hereford, Brahman, and diverse country which is a pleasure to visit. The people are warm Brangus and Braford - they retain around 1400 bulls and send out and welcoming to visitors and they really turn it in for Kiwis, especially 40,000 straws a year. The breeding emphasis is on fertility with most when sharing common interests in farming and rugby! of other traits regarded as a given. We also had a memorable day at a property farmed by the same family for over 100 years. This family was also the first to bring Angus cattle into Argentina 140 years ago. They continue to breed top Angus cattle and farm 1200ha of which about half is cropped with wheat, maize and soya beans. The other half carries 1000 cattle including 200 stud cows. At the family’s beautiful colonial styled estancia, we saw stock and enjoyed a wonderful asado (BBQ) of beef, lamb and pork - naturally washed down with Argentina’s iconic Malbec wine! Times like this chatting with the family and farming neighbours, seeing their horses and listening to the guitar is something never forgotten.

Ph 0800 38 38 747

What our travellers say... “The hospitality was exceptional. For us it was about travelling with like-minded people and the really good mix of farming visits and touring the regions we were in... It is simply a wonderful way to see the country and meet the people who live there”.


NORTH AMERICA Canada & Alaskan Cruise West to East - join one of our most popular tours! • • • • • • •

Scenic Vancouver & Victoria’s Butchart Gardens Majestic Rockies & Lake Louise Exciting Calgary Stampede Meeting warm Canadian people Beef, dairy, arable, fruit & more Awe-inspiring Niagara Falls Superb Alaskan Cruise option

United States Discover the productive Midwest and scenic Great Lakes region

• • • • • • • •

Innovation & hi-tech production Value added enterprises Experience the ‘real’ America! Superb on farm hospitality John Deere plant in Iowa Iconic USA sites and experiences Chicago & Lake Michigan Flexible return & NYC options

SOUTH AMERICA Chile, Argentina & Brazil South America awaits - a great way for you to discover Latin America • • • • •

Wonderful cultural experiences Beef, dairy, sheep, cropping, forestry, fruit and vines Spectacular Andes, Patagonia and breathtaking Iguazu Falls Brazil’s expansive production Exciting Buenos Aires, Santiago and Rio de Janeiro!

Cuba & Mexico A wonderful taste of culture, farming, cuisine and more! • • • • • •

Colourful Mexico rich in culture Avocados, arable, dairy, tequila! Intriguing Cuba and Havana Iconic sites and warm beaches Visit both large and small farms providing food and jobs to locals Meet local people and travel with a small but like-minded group

Tours for rural people - travel, learn and enjoy! EUROPE United Kingdom & Ireland Spain & Portugal Ole! Experience the life and farming - a feast for your senses! • • • • •

Mediterranean & Atlantic coasts Merinos, wine, beef, port, dairy, cropping, citrus and more Delicious regional specialties Relaxing multi-night stays Time with locals on their farms

You’ll thoroughly enjoy our longest running tour! • • • • • •

England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland Farms, estates, homes & gardens Charming villages and countryside London, Dublin, & Edinburgh Connect with farming colleagues Attend the Royal Highland Show

Greece & Crete

France, Switzerland & Italy A wonderful European experience

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

From ancient sites to idyllic islands - what a place! Food, wine and farming Idyllic blue skies & clear waters Intriguing ruins and rich history Friendly locals and hospitality Crete & NZ WWII memorials Mediterranean life at its best!

for farmers and foodies alike!

Tuscany, Provence, Rome to Paris Meet local people and producers Diverse farms and enterprises Beautiful cities rich in culture Stunning Swiss Alps and lakes Savour magnificent food & wine!



• • • • • •

• • • •

A diverse country so rich in culture, history and landscapes Beautiful coastlines & landscapes Gallipoli’s Anzac Cove, Chunuk Bair Fruit, livestock, dairy, cropping Aegean Sea Gulet cruise Incredible Cappadocia! Wonderful cultural experiences

Ph 0800 38 38 747

Your chance to discover Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland

Rich viking and sea-faring culture Progressive farms and enterprises Welcoming Scandinavian people Bergen, Copenhagen, Stockholm, & Helsinki Majestic fiords & beautiful regions

AFRICA South Africa & Victoria Falls Discover the best of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ and Victoria Falls • • • • • • •

Superb wildlife encounters Diverse farming & hospitality A day at NAMPO field days Cultural gems throughout Safari to spot the ‘Big Five’ Victoria Falls & Hwange Nat. Park High quality accommodation


Japan • • • • •

Delicious cuisine and food markets Wagyu beef, vegetables, tea, rice Interacting with local people Unique cultural experiences Traditional Kyoto & modern Tokyo


Where old and new meet head on!

• • • • • •

The ultimate small group tour escape to the wild!

• • • • •

Experience the fascinating ‘Land of the Rising Sun’!

Tanzania & Zanzibar •


Dairy, sheep, beef, silk, fruit & rice Wonderful cultural experiences Beijing & awe-inspiring Great Wall Incredible Terracotta Warriors Yangtze River Cruise & Shanghai Unique Inner Mongolia


Meet local people and gain an insight into farming Enjoy Serengeti National Park Thrilling safari experiences A small personalised group tour Kilimanjaro & Ngorongoro Crater Relaxing stay on Zanzibar Island

Discover incredible India on this tour designed for rural people • • • • •

An introduction to life and farming Compare 5M to 1.3 Billion people! See the unforgettable Taj Mahal Wonderful regional specialities Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and more

Escorted - Many meals & tips - Great companions! NEW ZEALAND AUSTRALIA Queensland, Victoria, W.A. & Tasmania Chatham Islands

Plenty of options across the ditch! • • • • •

Spend a week in this unique part of New Zealand

Enjoy true blue Aussie hospitality at its finest! Outback stations and farms - we get you up those driveways! Iconic experiences and sites Comparing farming lifestyles Shorter, closer tour options

• • • • • •

Stay on a beef and sheep farm Quality lodge accommodation Interesting farms and landscapes Abundant marine and birdlife Fishing and Pitt Island options Perfect for your own group!

North & South Islands

Get a group together! Let us know where you’d like to go! We can organise your business or leisure group tours almost anywhere across the globe through our extensive network. Get 10 or more together, let us do the leg work and and you and your cohort can concentrate on enjoying your experience. We’ve customised tours for several breed societies, discussion groups, meat and grain companies, dealerships, vets and friends - it’s a great way to travel!

Enjoying our own backyard!

• • • • •

North and South Island options Getting off the beaten track Connecting with rural colleagues Attending key agricultural events Fiordland & Stewart Island option

What our travellers say... “Our thanks and appreciation to you all for such a comprehensive and varied tour. Once again Farm To Farm Tours has excelled and exceded our expectations! Thanks so much.” L. CLEMENTS

Ph 0800 38 38 747


Professional Expertise

Keeping abreast of international trends, key markets, competitors and opportunities is increasingly important. Farming all over the world faces many of the same issues: fluctuating commodity prices, the need to mitigate environmental impacts, labour issues, technology use and adding value. It’s interesting to see others finding solutions to some of these issues. We have a proven history of customising tours for agri-professionals so get in touch and discuss your options.

We have an extensive network of agribusiness and farming contacts around the world plus experienced agricultural consultants and B.Ag.Sc graduates in our team. This means we understand your tour objectives and will work closely with our international networks to ensure we connect you with right people in the right places. We also have trusted airline and specialist travel partners to ensure high quality experiences for your group.

Why Travel with Farm To Farm? Here are a few reasons to plan your next trip with Farm To Farm Tours:


We connect you with great people Trusted tour operators for over 30 years The best endorsement you can get! We include many meals, activities, tips etc Our tours are stimulating and educational You’ll stay in high quality hotels and lodges Travel with great people and have a great time!

What our travellers say...

“We unanimously agreed it was the best group trip we had ever been on. The perfect balance of farms, towns etc but the farm visits were Just the right mix of town, country, farming, leisure etc extraordinary! We could not fault the organisation and stimulation Wonderful people who add value to your tour we enjoyed through travelling with Farm To Farm Tours”. We really care about your tour experience

Subject to IRD, can be benefits for business travel


About Farm To Farm Tours We have specialised in tours and events for farmers and producers, the agribusiness sector and others with a rural focus for more than 30 years. Our enthusiastic team of agricultural and travel specialists understand your tour objectives and will help you achieve them. What’s more, we have an extensive network of leading farming and agricultural contacts around the globe, enabling us to offer you exclusive, informative and memorable experiences in over 35 countries. We are proud to be a founding member of Agricultural Tour Operators International, a professional body promoting quality special interest tour operations and global partnerships.

Farm To Farm Tours PO Box 239, Rangiora 7440 NEW ZEALAND Phone: +64 3 313 5855

Nicola, James, Desray, Linda, Ross, Rochelle & Kirstie

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Ph: 0800 3838 747


Profile for Rural News Group

Rural News 19 February 2019  

Rural News 19 February 2019

Rural News 19 February 2019  

Rural News 19 February 2019