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NEWS Meat brand tackles food anxiety. PAGE 20


Getting pride back



BEEF + LAMB New Zealand says it is working hard to ensure that the farming sector is valued by all New Zealanders. Chief executive Sam McIvor told the organisation’s annual meeting in Timaru that farmers feel respect for the rural sector has been eroded. “Most commonly we see it in the media, whether its animal welfare, climate change, environmental degradation, alternative proteins or feedlots – there is no doubt that farmers are being targeted.” McIvor told the meeting that he sympathises with farmers in this, having personally been for three years

the face of the NZ pork industry during a media and activist animal welfare onslaught. “It feels like crap to be constantly criticised. We are working hard to restore [your] pride.” He said a BLNZ key objective – to be valued by all New Zealanders –

speaks to farmer pride and to restoring that pride, and he believes acting more promptly on issues that matter would help achieve this goal. “Last year, we launched the sector’s environment strategy. Not only has it put us as a leading domestic industry, but is getting global recognition for

addressing the issues,” McIvor claims. “Last year we released our biodiversity report that shows that you, as sheep and beef farmers, have 1.4 million ha – 24% of NZ’s native vegetative biodiversity on your farms. Now we’re assessing the potential carbon TO PAGE 4

Kirwee turns on a cracker The machinery displays were their usual blaze of colour at the three-day 2019 South Island Agricultural Field Days last week at Kirwee. After a grey start on day one, the weather turned to a classic warm, sunny Canterbury nor-wester. Pictured is Hynds Pipe Systems Waimakariri branch manager Grant James chatting with a visitor to his site. Seen through a roll of Rangiora-made polyethylene pipe, James told Rural News he would not miss the field days, whether in Kirwee or Southland. “This is the one where the landowners, farmers and lifestyle-block holders gather. We get genuine enquiries out of this; they come here with a purpose.” A full rundown of the field days will run in the April 16 issue. RURAL NEWS GROUP

FONTERRA HAS taken a $126 million hit in selling its stake in the Venezuelan consumer joint venture Corporacion Inlaca. The co-op has sold its stake to Mirona, an international food business, for $16m. However, the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency means the co-op will take a hit of $126m on its balance sheet. “The decision to sell Inlaca is the result of ongoing instability in Venezuela which has led to challenging operating conditions,” says Miles Hurrell. “The economic situation in Venezuela is not expected to improve in the foreseeable future, so we have made the decision to act now to minimise the impact on Fonterra.” Fonterra received $16m from the Inlaca sale. In its media statement, the co-op says that like any multinational business it is exposed to currency risk on its overseas operations and the impact of changes is held in a foreign currency translation reserve (FCTR). “The full impact of this transaction, including the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency which has resulted in a negative FCTR balance of approximately $126m, will be reflected in the profit and loss statement.” • $800m debt cut on track, page 5


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THE LOSS of the Waiho Bridge, just south of Franz Josef, on the West Coast is a “disaster”, says West Coast Federated Farmers president Peter Langford. The bridge, carrying State Highway 6, was washed away last week in torrential. It is one of many washouts and closures but will likely take longest to repair. Langford told Rural News not being able to travel up and down the coast was “one huge problem” especially for dairy farmers. Three dairy farms south of the Waiho River and one at Fox cut off by two washed-out bridges would not be able to get their milk to the Westland Milk factory at Hokitika. “I imagine they might have to activate an insurance policy for a day or two,” said Langford. The rain struck on Tuesday and overnight into Wednesday (last week), with a state of emergency declared region-wide and State Highway 6 closed south of Hokitika. Westland Milk Products said it was

still collecting and processing milk despite parts of the factory being flooded. Chief executive Toni Brendish says the West Coast has experienced a major storm which has hit farms, transport networks and the Hokitika factory. “At this stage, we are still able to collect from all but a small number of farms and the factory is still processing,” Brendish said. “However, the flooding means we are currently not processing through two of our milk powder dryers.” Brendish said last Wednesday there were road closures throughout Westland’s collection area, including no access through Arthurs Pass by road or rail, but the company could use Lewis Pass. “We are doing our very best to maintain milk collection and at this stage we do not believe any farmer will have to dispose of milk. However, it is a rapidly changing situation and information on where and when we can, or cannot, get access is changing frequently.” Langford says the Waiho Bridge had

Westland Milk chief executive Toni Brandish.

“obviously” needed some more rock reinforcement around it to hold it. The Waiho River has a history of flooding, and the bridge had previously been raised to cope with the river bed gradually rising because of gravel washed down from the Franz

MPI blame media stuff up

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

THE MINISTRYof Primary Industries has dismissed claims that 100s of new cases of Mycoplasma bovis have been found. It says a recent media report incorrectly said there are newly found or identified farms. “The media outlet involved has started to report restricted places (RPs) that aren’t also infected places (IPs). “MPI has reported both of these

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numbers since the start of the response,” it says. “A farm is only designated an infected place if it has returned a DNA sequenced polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result. Infected places are a subset of restricted places and all restricted places are considered to have Mycoplasma bovis.” According to MPI’s latest update, only 31 properties are still infected with Mycoplasma bovis.

Of the 31 IPs, 28 are in the South Island and three in the North Island -- 14 dairy farms and 17 beef farms. A total of 72 properties remain under restricted place notice; these include all infected farms and those suspected of having M. bovis. Properties under notice of direction total 145; taking animals from these farms is considered risky. A total of 449 properties remain under active surveillance.

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MPI says almost 90,000 animals have been culled; 71 properties have had their IP status lifted and 513 freed from movement restrictions. About 305,000 tests for the disease have been done -- on milk, blood swab and tonsils. On compensation, MPI says 839 claims have been received and 536 have been fully or partially paid. MPI has so far paid $54 million in compensation. – Sudesh Kissun

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Josef Glacier. Flooding washed through a major hotel in Franz Josef three years ago almost to the day, and the Westland District Council responded to that by controversially using emergency powers to build a rock wall stop bank. Langford noted that the council had been criticised for that, “but it protected the place”. Langford farms in the Buller District, at the northern end of the province. He said last Wednesday morning that he had yet to see the band of heavy rain as it moved northwards, but was waiting for the Westland Milk tanker which was evidently running late. However, Langford expected that West Coast farmers – apart from dairy with their perishable product – would not be too badly affected by the weather bomb. He’d spoken with a farmer at Whataroa who at that stage had recorded 187mm, but told him “you can’t see where it’s been”. “They’ll be a bit damp, but they take it in their stride. Most of them are lucky enough to have dry ground somewhere,” Langford said.

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Brexit on the brink PETER BURKE

NEW ZEALAND primary produce exporters’ concerns continue rising about the confusion in the British parliament over Brexit. NZ’s agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen says given the possibility of a no-deal, exporters are making contingency plans for such an event. But they also still hope a deal will be agreed so they won’t have to trigger plans for a no-deal. The whole thing is a terrible mess, Petersen told Rural News last week. “The worrying thing for me is the inability to get an agreement across the UK parliament.... But because they have voted against a no-deal scenario

Mike Petersen

I think they will hold pretty strong. “I have always argued that, in the end, they would do a deal because it would be economically bad for both the UK and the EU not to do a deal; the costs on both sides would be too great.”

According to Petersen, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is clever in saying there is only one deal on the table, and given that parliament has voted against a no-deal the only alternative is not to leave the EU. “I wonder if that is

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going to start to shake the Brexiteers and make them think ‘crikey this thing may never happen now’. That seems to be the argument she is running. “I also think the chances of a people’s vote or second referendum are

very low. No one would want to put the UK through that horrible process – it’s too divisive.” Petersen believes that in the end Conservative Party members will fall into line behind Theresa May because the last thing they would want is an election and the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister. While the shenanigans continues in the British parliament, NZ companies are working out what changes they may need to make when Britain finally leaves the EU. Petersen notes that some are looking at having a stronger presence in continental Europe and moving some staff from London to Brussels, and to Amsterdam where Fonterra is

based. Some companies have registered new offices in Europe. “Where they register these offices will depend a lot on their customer base and key ports of entry to Europe such as

Rotterdam in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium.” Petersen believes any changes brought about by Brexit are unlikely to result in more NZ staff being employed by exporters to Europe.


sequestration; that’s getting ahead of the game putting you in a position to call the shots.” McIvor says BLNZ is putting in place robust measurement of the impact the organisation is having on farmers’ profits, the ability of their communities to thrive and whether or not the ‘dial’ is shifting in Government and public support. “We talk to farmers and hear your issues, we look to the markets, societal and government perspectives and we consider both the risks and returns to farmers -- that is, the impact on your bottom line.” He says BLNZ’s priorities are: • Unlocking market potential • Enhancing our environmental performance • Supporting farming excellence • Government and public insight and engagement • Building a great organisation farmers can be proud of. “Two key activities are overarching and they will touch every part of the industry and BLNZ,” McIvor added. “The first is activation of Taste Pure Nature, our origin brand. The second is the implementation of the environment strategy. “Both of these are urgent: in Taste Pure Nature an opportunity knocks; in the environment strategy both risk and reward knock. The risk is regulatory and reputational.” He warned that the Government has a large policy agenda with potential to negatively impact the meat industry. “We are strongly advocating a farmers’ perspective based on strong science and fact-based analysis; we are good at this and we are having an impact,” McIvor said. “We’re turning our focus to the wider public. The social licence to farm is a real issue. We need to understand the perspectives of the public and of non-governmental organisations; they influence policy and buy our products.”

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Westland keen to sell Yilli deal SUDESH KISSUN

Marc Rivers

Fonterra on track to cut debt by $800m SUDESH KISSUN

FONTERRA CLAIMS it remains on track to reduce debt by $800 million this financial year. Chief financial officer Marc Rivers says the three assets earmarked for sale would help hit the debt reduction target. The co-op is also aiming to reduce its gearing ratio -- the level of debt relative to debt plus equity -- to 40-45% from its current level of 52.5%. “We are well on target; those three asset sales would help us get debt and the gearing ratio down to targets we have set,” Rivers says. Tip Top is one of three assets up for immediate sale; a final decision on its sale will be made before July 31. Fonterra has already bought back the 51% stake in its Darnum plant in Victoria that it had sold to the Chinese company Beingmate. The co-op is mulling the sale of its 19% stake in Beingmate, bought in 2014 for $750m but since written down by $405m due to the company’s poor performance. And the co-op last week said it was selling its 50% stake in DFE Pharma, a joint

venture set up in 2006 with the Dutch co-op FrieslandCampina. DFE Pharma is a large supplier of pharmaceutical excipients used as carrier agents in tablets and powder inhalers. Rivers says DFE Pharma has been “a very successful business” for the co-op. Sales in 2018 reached $346m; the JV achieved a gross profit of $100m. DFE Pharma buys its high quality pharmaceutical grade lactose from Fonterra’s Kapuni plant; the arrangement will continue after the co-op exits the joint venture. Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says Fonterra has told FrieslandCampina that it has started a process to sell its 50% share of DFE Pharma. “At the same time, we [are] maintaining our lactose service and supply agreements from Fonterra’s Kapuni operation in Taranaki and supporting the ongoing operations of the DFE Pharma business. “Together with our partner, we have grown DFE Pharma from relatively small beginnings into a significant and successful business. “While DFE continues to perform well, our ownership of it is not core to our strategy.”

WITHIN 24 hours of signing a deal with Chinese company Yili, Westland Milk Products chairman Pete Morrison was back on the West Coast talking to farmer shareholders. Morrison says the Westland board members were keen to talk to farmers “as fast as we could and explain the deal”. Yili, which owns Oceania Dairy in South Canterbury, will pay $588 million for Westland Milk at $3.41/share. Westland’s farmers paid $1.50 per share. Morrison was accompanied to China for the signing by deputy chair Katie Milne and board members Andrew MacPherson and Brent Taylor. After returning from China, the board held

Peter Morrison

over 20 pocket meetings with farmer shareholders on the West Coast and in Christchurch. Morrison says more meeting are planned in coming months; farmer shareholders will vote on the deal at a special general meeting early July. “The board believes this is a very good deal; farmers will now think about it and then vote on the deal,” he told Rural News.

He admitted that some shareholders were dismayed by the prospect of a proud New Zealnd co-op disappearing. “It’s a big deal for our farmers and the dairy industry throughout NZ. For the deal to pass, at least 50% of Westland’s 350 farmer shareholders must vote, with 75% in favour. Yili has guaranteed to collect milk and pay a competitive payout

of a minimum of the Fonterra farmgate milk price for 10 seasons from the season commencing August 1, 2019. A supplier committee of five representatives from existing Westland suppliers and five representatives from Westland under the new ownership will be formed to maintain communications and transparency between existing Westland suppliers and Westland. Morrison says the board was looking for a guaranteed milk price, guaranteed milk pick-up and maximum value for existing shares in Westland. He says Westland shareholders know they haven’t been receiving a competitive milk price for several years. “Farmers on the West Coast need a really competitive payout for their own survival.”

FONTERRA – ‘NO THANKS’ WESTLAND MILK says discussions with interested parties centered on a competitive milk price, milk pick-up and a fair value for co-op shares. Chairman Pete Morrison won’t comment on unsuccessful bidders, saying “it was a confidential process”. This month Fonterra confirmed that it held talks with Westland to find “a co-op solution”. But the talks

broke down. Morrison was asked if he could talk about discussions with Fonterra. “The key for us is a guarantee that milk would be picked up from one end of the West Coast to another, a guaranteed competitive payout like the rest of NZ was getting and top value for our shares,” he says. Fonterra chairman John

Monaghan says it had “a very early discussion with Westland about finding a co-op solution to the position they found themselves in”. “We weren’t able to progress and they went into another process.” Monaghan expressed sadness at the “demise of another co-op” and said Fonterra would welcome any Westland suppliers willing to continue supplying milk to a co-op.




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Win for farming sector in PAM TIPA

A SIGNIFICANT win for agriculture- and sciencebased theory on climate change is how the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s (PCE) latest report is being described. But Climate Change Minister James Shaw is digging his toes in. Commissioner Simon Upton’s new report suggests that forestry carbon sinks should only be used for offsetting biological emissions like methane. Carbon emissions from, for instance, fossil fuels should be brought to zero by other means. This would demand a major rethink of the proposed ETS ‘reforms’ which allow forestry credits to be traded to offset all emissions.

The PCE report suggests an alternative approach to the Government’s current plans. Upton’s approach would tackle carbon dioxide – the main driver of climate change – as the key priority. He suggests: • Fossil emissions be managed down to zero by the second half of the century, separately from biological emissions and forest sinks. • While biological emissions would need to be reduced, that would not be to zero because of their shorter lifetime in the atmosphere. Biological emissions could also be offset with forest sinks. • This approach more closely aligns the duration of the warming impact of these emissions and the duration of forest sinks that offset these

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emissions. • That the forestry sinks for offsetting carbon emissions should be for biological emissions only. However, Shaw says the Government won’t be deviating from its planned changes to the ETS, which include using forestry to offset all emissions. “The commissioner’s report questions some of the fundamental design principles of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS),” says Shaw. “However, for the sake of providing policy stability and predictability for emitters and the forestry sector, the Government is committed to retaining the use of forestry offsets for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.”

Simon Upton, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

He says the Government’s proposed reforms are the result of five years consultation and discussion and any changes would take that amount of time. But farming organisations say the Govern-

ment must take note of the new findings which align with the latest and emerging science. Beef + Lamb NZ chairman Andrew Morrison says it is now essential that ministers considering the shape of the Zero

Carbon Bill, and members of the Interim Climate Change Committee and the future Climate Change Commission, take the parliamentary commissioner’s findings into account when setting policy. Federated Farmers believes the report puts the challenge out to the Government to let science -- rather than politics -- guide its policy planning. “We’re delighted that the PCE joins the growing list of agencies, scientists and environmental commentators who recognise the fundamental difference between the permanent conversion of inert, long-term fossil fuels into carbon dioxide and shorter term biological emissions from livestock (methane and nitrous oxide),” says Feds

vice-president and climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard. Hoggard says that Upton recognises the fundamental point that it is carbon dioxide that is the main driver of rising global temperatures. BLNZ says the report shows a clear way forward for NZ on climate change. Morrison says the PCE has recommended a science-based approach which fits with the principle of each sector being responsible for its own emissions, and for tackling them. Different sectors should not be able to offload the impact of their emissions onto other sectors, says Morrison. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle has welcomed the recommendation that methane



n PCE report

Climate Change minister James Shaw.

should be treated differently from carbon dioxide and doesn’t need to be reduced to net zero. “This work adds to the growing evidence base developed over the past few years about how methane -- a biological emission from animals

-- differs from carbon dioxide in its impact on global warming,” says Dr Mackle. “The paper states that methane needs to be reduced and stabilised in order to achieve no additional warming, rather than go to net zero. This is consistent with the

international science. “Mr Upton also recommends that nitrous oxide does not need to be reduced to net zero. We would welcome further research into this approach,” Mackle adds. “This paper demonstrates again how the science on

the impact of biological gases on global warming is continuing to develop. This is why the implications of any policy decisions for dealing with these gases needs to be carefully considered. But it is clear that total emissions must reduce.” Many scientists have recently supported the setting of a separate methane target in the Zero Carbon Bill, to reduce and stabilise methane while carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide reduce to net zero. This is aligned with work by the Productivity Commission, research by Dr Andy Reisinger of the NZ Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, and most recently by Professor Myles Allan, of Oxford University, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Foresters not so happy FORESTRY OWNERS oppose the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s proposal to limit forestry offsets to agriculture. They say they need clarity and it is time for the Government to make decisions. The president of the Farm Forestry Association, Neil Cullen, says if the Government decides to limit offsets to agriculture, this would have a dramatic negative impact on the value of carbon units, reduce planting rates and perpetuate “the seesaw policy that forestry has been experiencing for too long”. The Forest Owners Association president, Peter Weir, says Upton’s report is contradicting the Productivity Commission’s paper earlier this year which pointed to planting trees serving as carbon sinks as the main means of getting New Zealand to carbon neutrality by 2050. “The PCE takes a different tack from the Productivity Commission. The PCE makes the argument that long-

lived gases from the burning of fossil fuels should be treated differently from short lived greenhouse gases from biological sources,” he says. Weir concedes that Simon Upton is correct in that forestry can’t offer climate change solutions indefinitely. “The industry has never suggested that we are a solution for all time.  But in the immediate term we just can’t wait for the development of a political will for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, or the evolution of technical solutions to reduce livestock emissions.  “We don’t have time for either of those. “Fast growing exotic plantation trees are a quick fix for getting our net emissions down in the critical next couple of decades.” Cullen points to the Interim Climate Change Panel coming up with yet another set of formulas for addressing greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s time for government decisions.” – Pam Tipa

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Busy year for meat’s main man DAVID ANDERSON

BEEF + LAMB NZ chair Andrew Morrison told last week’s annual meeting in Timaru that the past 12 months have been “an awfully busy year”. He said the year’s key markers were the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak and response, Government expectations over water and climate change, Brexit and the release of the of BLNZ’s environment strategy. “I want to acknowledge what a difficult year this has been for many farmers in this region who have been affected by M. bovis,” Morrison told about 100 people who attended the meeting. Dealing with M. bovis has been a major priority for BLNZ since July 2017 and will continue to be so, he said. “To date, well over 1000 farms around the country have been

directly affected by M. bovis as a result of being put under surveillance, or movement controls, or worse having their cattle culled. More families and people have been affected by the knock-on effects. In Otago alone, 10 farms are currently facing depopulation on top of those where this has already occurred.” Morrison says a number of BLNZ staff have been assigned to MPI to provide expertise about biosecurity and beef farming and to help to identify issues and propose solutions to make the biosecurity system better able to handle future challenges – particularly to traceability and operational capability. He says BLNZ will keep working with DairyNZ on support for all farmers, including the joint compensation assistance team which he claims had to date assisted farmers in completing

M. bovis does not at least 70% of the impact on trade, the claims received by principle considerMPI. Referring to the ations for the panel current 68% / 32% were the impact of split in governthe disease on proment and industry duction and the funding of M.bovis scale of each sector. compensation, Morrison Morrison acknowl- Andrew Morrison explained that M. edged concerns bovis has little about the split in the dairy/beef impact on beef production. contribution. “We agreed to the eradication “I recognize that it will impose programme in support of dairy a significant financial burden on farmers, whose production would many dairy farmers,” he explained. be significantly affected over time. “It was uncharted territory for “We are now working with both BLNZ and DairyNZ and we DairyNZ and MPI on how we can therefore agreed to set up an inde- strengthen our biosecurity syspendent panel to make a recom- tems for livestock production to mendation based on the principles prevent further incursions -- lookof the GIA. ing at traceability, better govern“Both Jim [Dairy NZ chair Jim ment systems for sharing data, van der Poel] and I agreed at the and strengthening the capability outset we would abide with the of farmers, industry organisations decision of the panel. Because and MPI’s front-line people.”

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WELL PLACED FOR FUTURE MORRISON BELIEVES that Beef + Lamb NZ has the correct strategies in place to help the sector successfully navigate its way through the next couple of years. “But it is going to require focus and there will be some hard decisions,” he warned. “As an organisation, we are now trying to constantly look ahead at the challenges coming, do the research about those challenges and come up with strategies to influence the responses and outcomes to them.” He claimed that BLNZ saw the potential rise of alternative proteins and released a major report last year… “before this new product and potential competition was on most NZer’s consciousness”. “We are now doing research to understand the public’s perceptions of our sector, understand our environment footprint and measure our net carbon footprint.” He says meat’s role in human diets is under scrutiny because of environmental and animal welfare concerns. “But there is also growing demand for grassfed, naturally raised beef and lamb which is what NZ produces. We are uniquely placed to capitalise on these growing trends and more strategically position our product in the market.” Morrison says last year’s release of BLNZ’s environment strategy had been “invaluable” in engaging with the Government and other stakeholders about potential policy changes with respect to climate change, water and biodiversity. “For me, our Taste Pure Nature country-of-origin brand and the environment are the two most important pillars for our successfully positioning our sector going forward.”

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Strong demand, low supply lifts prices SUDESH KISSUN

STRONG GLOBAL demand for dairy and constrained milk supply will keep farmgate prices high, say New Zealand’s large milk processors. Demand for dairy products remains high in Asia, including China; milk supply in some large producing regions remains under pressure

hot and dry summer in NZ became visible the company took a conservative approach and slowed sales. “This allowed us to take advantage of the increasing prices over the last couple of months and led to an exceptionally good result for our January settlement period. “Our assumption is that the supply/demand

due to weather issues. NZ’s second-largest processor Open Country Dairy notes that with milk volumes in NZ dropping fast and global supply tightening, prices have recovered over the last seven consecutive GDT auctions. In its monthly newsletter to farmer suppliers, OCD chief executive Steve Koekemoer says when the first signs for a

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dynamics will support higher prices medium term which could bring more upside for the remainder of 2019.” The company settled its January period milk price (for milk supplied in December and January) for 2019 at $6.49/kgMS. Fonterra is forecasting a farmgate milk price of $6.30-$6.60/kgMS, saying it reflects strong global demand relative to supply. Chief executive Miles Hurrell told a recent media briefing that good demand for ingredients was coming from Asia, including Greater China. On the supply front, milk growth has slowed due to trying weather in

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some large milk producing regions. Australia’s milk production is forecast to be down 7-9% on last season due to drought; in the EU, growth has slowed and is forecast to be less than 1% on last year. Hurrell says for Fonterra farmers the strong dry weather has also impacted milk production. The co-op two weeks ago downgraded its milk forecast for the season from 1530 million kgMS to 1510 million kgMS for 2018-19. This is slightly above last season’s collections of 1505 million kgMS, a season also impacted by poor onfarm conditions.

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Nats promise to fight for farmers NIGEL MALTHUS

NATIONAL’S CLIMATE change spokesman Todd Muller has told farmers he will fight to ensure they are only asked to do what is technologically doable as the country grapples with mitigating climate change. Speaking at the recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand annual meeting, in Timaru, Muller said he always “smiles” when he hears people talk about challenges to agriculture, as though they are mountains too difficult to climb. “The whole history of NZ agriculture is one long story of adaptation, of being able to adjust to whatever challenges and signals are put in front of you. You don’t need me to list all of them but I see some on the horizon that we’re going to have to grapple with.” Muller says farmers face increasingly demanding consumer expectations in food provenance and sustainability. Understanding, documenting and measuring a farm’s impact on its environment would be critical in being able to justify the premium farmers quite rightly expect. In that context, Muller says the conversation on climate change and farm emissions is “yet another layer of expectation” on food producers. “We will constantly be working on your behalf to ensure that the policy responses that any given minister or government consider are best to enable that change to happen are anchored in science and are actually doable from a technological perspective; in short, that you can continue your business and be sustainable and successful in the medium term.” Muller says he’s in constant discussion on behalf of the National Party with the Minister for Climate Change Issues and Green Party co-leader James Shaw and the Interim Climate Change Committee, with its particular focus on

agriculture and the Emission Trading Scheme. “It is not particularly usual for an opposition spokesman to be sitting in a room with his ministerial counterpart, trying to design legislation together. But that’s what we’re doing with the Zero Carbon Bill,” Muller told the meeting. “It is seeking to establish a commission like they have in the UK which will sit above politics and essentially advise and guide successive parliaments and governments as to how we wrestle with the challenge of reducing our emissions over the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years.” Muller says while the idea has merit, National would support it only if it adhered to certain key principles. The first is that the commission must have access to broad international science and be flexible to new information. Secondly it had to acknowledge the “enabling” role of innovation. “It makes no sense, in the National Party’s view, to ask of a sector which does not have a technological solution in front of it – apart from farming fewer cows or reducing stock numbers – that they must change... fast.” “The world population is going to grow 15% over the next 30, 40 years. Food production is critical. We’re the most efficient food producers in the world from an emissions perspective. What are we doing just taxing [this ability] into oblivion if you do not have in front of you tools to apply on your farm to be able to make a difference?” Muller pointed out that it was National that signed up for the 2015 climate accord. “There is a great chunk of New Zealand that believes that [the Paris accord] is not ambitious enough. I reject that entirely. Leadership for me is taking a farm system that is already one of the most efficient in the world and look-

ing at ways to improve it incrementally – with the application of technology, smart measuring systems and all the things you are talking about when you reflect on your farm envi-

ronment plans and how they’ve changed over the years and will continue to change. “I reject the view that leadership is having a hugely high ambitious



target, but no sense of how to get there apart from putting huge additional cost on our most productive sectors.” @rural_news

Todd Muller














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Packhouse makes a record profit SUDESH KISSUN

THE COUNTRY’S largest kiwifruit and avocado packhouse operator EastPack Ltd doubled its net profit last year. The post-harvest provider’s net profit for the year ending December

31, 2018 topped $9.8 million, versus $5m the year before. The company puts the great result down to a record volume of kiwifruit packed during the 12 months. Revenue increased to $185m in 2018 (up from $150m in 2017) and

strong profits flowed back to the growers who own the company. EastPack says it paid out $7.9m to transactor shareholders during the year, and investor shareholders also received a fully imputed dividend of 9.36 c/share, up from 5.04c/share in 2017.


EastPack chairman John Loughlin.

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EastPack chairman John Loughlin says 2018 was a record year for the company, with growers experiencing a great return and EastPack delivering high quality service and a robust financial performance on all sites. “EastPack always has growers at heart, so we’re delighted to be able to celebrate a record year of growth in both production and revenues,” says Loughlin.

“EastPack always has growers at heart, so we’re delighted to be able to celebrate a record year of growth in both production and revenues.” The cooperative improved its operational infrastructure to manage increasing labour costs and growth in fruit volume, providing growers with good service


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and strong orchard gate returns. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, fair value adjustments and rebates of $41.8m were up from $29.9m in 2017. EastPack chief executive Hamish Simson says during the 12 months, 41.1 million trays were packed across six sites in the Bay of Plenty region. Gold and Green varieties grew in volume in 2018.  EastPack growers generally observed high Class 1 pack-outs and strong storage performance in a year with later loadouts than 2017. “We also saw increased demand for Prospa, our orchard man-

agement service,” says Simson. Most of Prospa’s new clients have their orchard managed to ensure a consistent labour supply, and to deal with the increasing complexities of producing kiwifruit. The Prospa team now covers 900ha in all growing areas, a 10% increase since 2017. Simson says that EastPack’s strategy and competitive strength is to have sufficient capacity to pack fruit promptly when growers want their fruit harvested and packed. “Over the last three years we’ve [invested enough in] packing, precool and coolstore capacity to keep ahead of rapidly increasing fruit volumes, particularly Gold.  “In Te Puke we’re constructing the first fully automated coolstore in the industry with the capacity to store 1.2 million trays.”

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MORE INVESTMENT ON THE CARDS EASTPACK CHAIRMAN John Loughlin says investment for growth is high on the priority list. “With the impending industry growth, EastPack has signalled the need to invest more in infrastructure alongside innovation. “We’ve begun consultation with shareholders on raising more capital to ensure continued high performance and resilience, and any implications this may have for our capital structure,” says Loughlin. “We will continue to invest in technology and infrastructure to support growth and service for EastPack shareholders.”



More fruit and markets for NZ kiwifruit PAM TIPA

NZ KIWIFRUIT will penetrate deeper into world markets as it heads for another bumper crop this year, says Zespri chief grower and alliances officer David Courtney. The first kiwifruit charter ship sailed from Tauranga last Monday, bound for Shanghai and

Shanghai and Guangzhou, says Courtney. “As you establish there you go out to the next set of cities. It is a constant growth strategy for us in China as we familiarise ourselves with certain cities and get confidence in our distribution.” In Japan Zespri is widely spread and focused on getting people either to eat kiwifruit or

For the first time, Zespri is expecting to supply more gold kiwifruit than green this year. This makes history. Kobe with 4600 pallets of SunGold from Gisborne and Tauranga. For the first time, Zespri is expecting to supply more gold kiwifruit than green this year. Courtney told Rural News this makes history. “The industry has been green-only for a very long time; until 20 years ago it was mainly green and a bit of gold. But this year it looks likely there will be more gold than green. It is a significant change.” With SunGold added to the mix, Zespri is selling a record total of kiwifruit. “People are still buying green but gold has brought more consumers to the kiwifruit category all up. Before we had excellent numbers of people who ate kiwifruit, but now we have even more people who eat kiwifruit -- both gold and green. “Last season we supplied 76 million trays of Green and 65 million trays of SunGold. Our latest estimates indicate we are on track to supply more than 75 million trays of SunGold this season, while Green is expected to be below 75 million trays.” In China Zespri is sending more product into smaller cities (10 million plus) as well as the biggest -- Beijing,

to eat more kiwifruit. “Our focus is on building penetration – introducing our products to more and more people over time.” Zespri has been selling into South East Asia for a long time but every year the footprint gets larger and now includes Vietnam. “The other market we have been looking at for some time is India, with its huge population. How to build distribution and the customer base there is a long term focus for us as well.” Courtney says the first shipment left Tauranga on Sunday night, March 24, headed for China and Japan to get the fruit into the market early. “Once the first one has gone we quickly fill the pipeline afterwards to make sure we can keep the shelves full in those markets that we started. Then we start in other markets around the world.” Zespri expects to export at least 600,000 pallets of kiwifruit this season -- at least 18,000 containers. “We’re also expecting to use 45 charter vessels - three to move our kiwifruit to northern Europe, 12 to our Mediterranean markets and 30 to Japan, China and Korea.” Courtney says most growing regions have had

a very dry summer “which means we’re expecting great tasting fruit this season”.

The Southampton Star with the first load of Zespri kiwifruit of the new season, bound for China and Japan. PHOTO : JAMIE TROUGHTON/DSCRIBE MEDIA

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More water storage needed – Hort NZ outcomes, he says. “But water storage enables you to have healthy rivers and healthy food; it enables streams and rivers to keep reasonable flow during dry periods. “And it allows you to growth healthy vegetables and fruit. Our message that is we need water storage for healthy rivers and for healthy food; that is the message we need to get across. “A lot of water falls in this country; we need to capture it because… it seems we are going to have many more dry periods. So we need water storage to continue grow-


THE LESSON out of the drought this year is that water storage is critical for the prosperity of New Zealand pastoral farms or fruit and vegetable businesses, says Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman. The trucking of water to the Waimea Plains this summer is a prime example, he told Rural News. “The Waimea dam is now in progress, but that will take two or three years, perhaps four,” he said. “We should be looking at water storage across the country -- small and big schemes. We should be enabling our farmers and growers to store water on their farms a lot

Hort NZ chair Mike Chapman.

easier. “There is a myriad of resource consents and engineers’ reports to go




through to get your storage in place and as a country the one thing we have lots of is water.

[But] we don’t capture it when we can to use when we haven’t got it coming. “We need to be a lot

smarter.” Some people are concerned that storage might have environmentally bad


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ing as a means of first feeding NZ.” Chapman says we need to emphasise the message of feeding NZ. “We export a lot of our fruit -- about two thirds -but we don’t export many vegetables. “We grow for NZ and we need to have land and water to grow for NZ. “It is interesting that consumer trends are really going across to more fruit and vegetable eating.” Chapman says growers must persuade “urban NZ to eat a lot healthier, and to eat healthier they need to have good land and water storage”.

DRY TO WET, TOUGH DROUGHT HAS had a profound effect on vegetable growing this year going into winter, says Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman. The glasshouse operations on the Waimea Plain have had to truck in water to survive, which is expensive, he told Rural News. “You obviously need a consistent supply of water for glasshouses. Because of the drought there weren’t as many NZ vegetables about so we have seen a bit of a downturn there. “The dry weather will help with fruit sweetness in apples and kiwifruit but now it is starting to rain while the harvest is on. “For vegetable supply in winter we need reasonable weather for the next few months to [compensate for rain during harvest] and get it working well. “We need those areas where there is drought to have some rain coming through, and those areas that are now getting rain for it not to be downpours. We don’t want to go from drought to flood.” Otherwise horticulture is travelling along well, he says, but may not be as strong as the Ministry for Primary Industries Situation and Outlook report suggests. The March update predicts horticulture revenue will grow 15.7% to $6.2 billion for the year ending June 2019. “It might not be as strong as they are suggesting because of the weather. But if we get a reasonable harvest for apples and kiwifruit things will work reasonably well in terms of that prediction,” Chapman says.


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Feeble voter turnout in BLNZ elections VOTER TURNOUT was poor in the recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer-director elections that resulted in a board member getting the boot and two new faces popping up.

Sitting director Bill Wright from Cave was ousted by Nicky Hyslop of Timaru in the central South Island district. Hyslop, the chair of Irrigation NZ, won 4832 votes, while Wright got

3024 votes – a winning margin of 1808 votes. As usual voting turnout was very poor: the voting return percentage for the ward was just over 21%. BLNZ says this represents 27% of sheep,

28% of cattle and 30% of dairy livestock numbers in the central South Island district. Hyslop and husband Jonty farm Levels Estate, an intensive sheep, beef and arable property on

the outskirts of Timaru. Meanwhile King Country’s Scott Gower has been elected to represent the western North Island district. He replaces outgoing director Kirsten Bryant who did not seek

Nicky Hislop ousted sitting director Bill Wright in the Central Southland ward.



re-election. Gower got 5996 votes while the other candidate, Andrew Stewart from Marton, got 2491 votes – a winning margin of 3505 votes. The voting return percentage for the western North Island ward was even poorer than the central South Island: only 16% of eligible meat farmers bothered to cast a ballot. BLNZ says this represented 27% of sheep, 25% of cattle and 7% of dairy livestock numbers in the district.  Gower and his wife farm High Glades, a 1300ha hill country sheep and beef property in Ohura in King Country.  Other changes at the BLNZ board table include the appointment of a new processor-exporter direc-

tor and a new associate director. Tony Egan joins the board as a processorexporter director, replacing Affco’s long-time chairman Sam Lewis. Egan is the managing director of Greenlea Premier Meats and a member of the Meat Industry Association council.  Anna Nelson also joins the BLNZ board as an associate director, taking over from Kate Acland. An associate director is appointed for a one-year term. Nelson works as a co-ordinator for King Country River Care Incorporated, farms a 1100 ha breeding and finishing property and has taken part in the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme. @rural_news


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A FORMER NZ Army chef and hospitality industry manager has been appointed as a labour coordinator for the NZ Kiwifruit Growers Association Inc (NZKGI). Gavin Stagg will begin work to ensure the industry has the workers it needs for the 2019 season. Stagg has worked in the kiwifruit industry since 2012, in operations management roles at Mount Pack and Cool Ltd and more recently Birchwood Packhouse Ltd in Tauranga, with a focus on health and safety. He has also worked as a recruitment consultant and employment officer, for 20 years managing and interacting with people from many countries and walks of life. In his new role, Stagg will manage seasonal recruitment initiatives with growers, contractors and packhouses. NZKGI chief executive Nikki Johnson says Stagg’s appointment is a key part of the organisation’s labour recruitment strategy.


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It contains 12.7% P, which all becomes available to plants. No non-RPR rock present.

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Quinfert RPR/EG (eco-gypsum) 0.0 10.0 0.0 3.5 32 0.6 $289 Quinfert RPR/low S 0.0 12.3 0.0 4.0 34 0.7 $339 Quinfert RPR/med SB 0.0 11.7 0.0 8.4 33 0.65 $359 Quinfert RPR/hi SB 0.0 11.3 0.0 11.1 31 0.6 $377 SB is sulphur bentonite, containing 90% fine elemental S in water-dispersable miniprills. *BioGro certification is in process. Ask for ‘CM’ RPR (controlled moisture) to get zero dust.Specs will be reduced 3%.


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Quinfert QSR ‘N-vig’ low S 1.9 14.0 0.0 1.0 27 0.65 $454 Quinfert QSR ‘N-vig’ med S 1.7 12.7 0.0 9.0 25 0.6 $476 Quinfert QSR ‘N-boost’ med S 6.0 11.0 0.0 7.5 21 0.55 $458 Quinfert QSR ‘N-blast’ med-S 9.0 9.7 0.0 7.0 19 0.4 $464 Additional N in N-boost and N-blast comes from a combination of ONEsystem prilled urea and SOA. Other nutrients and all trace elements can be added to both the Quinfert RPR and Quinfert QSR ranges.

The Quinfert Real Mitigation Action (RMA) range is designed to maximise healthy nitrate leaching and gaseous losses, and cation leaching caused by excess nitrate and sulphate levels. Quinfert RMA products are fine but very low dust. Their narrower ry to drains and streams.

Phone 0800 QUINFERT (0800 784 633), Office email IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HEAR MORE, FILL THIS REPLY SLIP OUT AND MAIL TO: Quin Environmentals (NZ) Ltd, PO BOX 125-122, St Heliers 1740, Auckland, or ALTERNATIVELY: Scan it and email it to Name:........................................................................................................................ Phone: ................................................ Mobile: ........................................................... Address: .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Email address: .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Farm type: ........................... Hectares (effective)..................................... Soil tests available:



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Beetle find concern for avocado sector PAM TIPA

THE AVOCADO industry is on alert to understand more about the wood-boring granulate ambrosia beetle found in Auckland, says New Zealand Avocados chief executive, Jen Scoular. The beetles are fungus farmers, she told Rural News. “A range of exotic ambrosia beetles have an association with the Lauraceae family of trees, which includes avocado,” she says. “Although the fungi isolated to date from Auckland has not been identified as a major concern to tree health, the avocado industry remains on alert to understand more about this beetle and its ability to vector more serious pathogenic fungi. “Although the granulate ambrosia beetle has only been found on limited types of trees in west Auckland, overseas it has been shown to attack over 100 species in over 40 plant families.”

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) told Rural News while avocado is the main crop affected by a beetle pest found in Auckland, it could also impact other broadleaf crops such as stone fruit. The wood-boring granulate ambrosia beetle has been located in Blockhouse Bay, Kumeu, Riverhead and Titirangi, MPI says. “The beetle tends to mainly affect weak or diseased trees,” MPI says. Scoular explains that ambrosia beetles are fungus farmers, having a symbiotic relationship with one or more fungi, which it introduces into the tree as an exclusive source of food for the adults and larvae; they never feed on the tree itself.   The beetles transmit the fungi into tunnels that they excavate and in doing so leave tell-tale noodle-like sawdust protrusions. Biosecurity NZ is asking the public to report any sign of the wood-boring granulate ambrosia beetle. The pest has been

detected in five Auckland areas since February 20. “This is the first time the beetle has been found in NZ. While it is unclear how the beetle arrived in NZ, the evidence to date suggests it may have been in the country for two years,” says MPI. “The beetle is regarded as a serious pest overseas. It is known to feed on a wide range of broadleaf trees, including horticultural species such as avocado, and can spread fungal diseases.” Biosecurity NZ is assessing the risk from the beetle to NZ, says Brendan Gould, biosecurity surveillance and incursion manager. “We need to know if NZ has a wider population, which is why we are asking the public to report any possible sightings.” The beetle resides under bark, making it difficult to detect. Gould says a tell-tale sign is distinctive protrusions of frass (compacted sawdust) from bark that look like toothpicks. They

are caused by the beetles pushing frass out of tunnels bored into the trees. Other symptoms include sap oozing from the tunnel entrances and branch dieback. He says officials are working with local authorities to identify the extent of the spread, including inspecting known host trees and placing lured traps around the detection sites. Biosecurity NZ has also directed the removal of infested oak trees at one of the sites. The beetle is native to tropical and subtropical East Asia. It has been found in Africa, US, Central America, Europe, some Pacific Islands and most recently in Queensland. Anyone who believes they have seen the granulate ambrosia beetle or any sign of frass on trees should take a photo and call Biosecurity NZ’s exotic pests and diseases hotline on 0800 80 99 66.

NZ Avocados chief executive Jan Scoular.


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Meat brand tackles food anxiety DAVID ANDERSON

THREE YEARS of planning and work has come to fruition in the launch last week of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s brand promotion Taste Pure Nature. Speaking at the BLNZ annual meeting in Timaru, marketing manager Nick Beeby said the launch of the Taste Pure Natural brand in California was a “very exciting day for the NZ meat industry”. Beeby says consumers today are suffering from ‘food anxiety’ – driven by environmental and animal welfare concerns. This has led many to look at meat substitutes such the Impossible Burger and other protein alternatives. “A lot of these concerns stem from more industrialised production methods such as factory farming. That’s not the way we farm. If we don’t want to be affected by these trends, then we

WHAT’S A ‘CONSCIOUS FOODIE’? BEEBY SAYS one reason California was chosen for the launch is because Australia has been winning against NZ chilled meat exports in the US market. He says BLNZ is confident the Taste Pure Natural brand will lift the amount of NZ beef and lamb being sold in California where Australia is now outselling NZ by a factor of 20. A key target consumer in this market is what BLNZ research calls the ‘conscious foodie’ -- consumers who care where their food comes from, look beyond price, reject factory farming and are mindful

need to tell our story to consumers better,” he explained. “Consumers are wanting to connect back to ‘real food’ -- the kind of food their grandparents ate.” Beeby says the NZ meat industry’s future lies in driving a higher premium for our products. “We can’t and don’t want to feed the world. Our research shows that country/place of origin is a primary tool used by

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of the environment and animal welfare issues. Beeby concedes this campaign demands a long-term commitment: it will be some time before BLNZ levy payers will see any benefit. “Market development is a long-term investment, so we do not anticipate seeing change in the first few years. “BLNZ will be working with meat companies to put a strong framework around the origin brand and story to ensure we monitor and measure and adapt the programme as necessary.”

consumers, retailers and foodservice to decide where to buy their products from. Origin branding is also a platform off which greater value can be driven. “With our natural assets and farming systems, NZ is strongly positioned, at an origin level, to establish a level of trust and loyalty with consumers that can’t be replicated by other countries.” He says the idea behind Taste Pure Nature is to use it as a global brand platform to enhance the positioning of NZ beef and lamb. “Taste Pure Nature will provide a marketing umbrella to support NZ exporter brand building

activities.” Beeby explained that research by BLNZ found that NZ’s image as a country in our overseas markets is positive, but weak in relation to red meat. “There is very little knowledge about our natural grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free farming methods.” He says NZ as ‘a country of origin’ for beef and lamb can give consumers a level of assurance they are looking for. “There is growing demand for grass-fed, hormone free, antibiotic free red meat that consumers are willing to pay a premium for. Our farming naturally fits in this category, but we are cur-

Beef+Lamb NZ marketing manager Nick Beeby.

rently not capitalising on the opportunity.” Beeby says underpinning the brand is BLNZ’s environmental strategy, which incorporates environmental and animal welfare assurances. “We have to back up our claims so consumers see that we are walking the talk.”

sumers. Meat companies signed up so far with the new brand includes The NZ Lamb Company (a JV between Alliance Group, Silver Fern Farms and Anzco), Atkins Ranch, Angus Pure and Coastal Lamb.

The Taste Pure Nature brand is now being piloted in two markets – China and the US. Beeby says it will help build demand, visibility and experiences for NZ beef and lamb through in-market promotion of Taste Pure Nature to key distributors, foodservice and retail channels and con-


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Focus is on farming at conference THE TASMAN fires of 2019 and 2018’s Cyclone Gita are a taste of what could be coming as our climate changes, claims a Victoria University scientist. Judy Lawrence, senior research fellow at the Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, will give this message to The New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference 2019 to be held in Palmerston North on April 8-9. Promoted as NZ’s most important agricultural conference on climate change for two years, the event will bring together scientists, government policy advisors, farmers and industry leaders to discuss the theme: ‘Meeting the challenges of climate change with respect to farming’. Lawrence was the co-chair of the

Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working group that reported to the Government in December 2017 and May 2018 on a stocktake of adaptation action and recommendations on adapting to climate change. She says that events like the Tasman fires and Cyclone Gita are possible indications of things to come. “Before that in 2017 the south of NZ experienced very heavy rainfall that stretched our resources. Coastal properties in low-lying roads have been flooded in Hawkes Bay, Wellington and West Coast,” she says. “In Bay of Plenty and Coromandel, estuary margins are increasingly being flooded. These events will become more intense and, as the seas keep rising, flooding will be permanent in some areas and occur also on sunny days.”

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Lawrence says such events underline the need to get organised to deal with the changing climate risk profile that confronts NZ. On day two of the conference she will outline several possible actions to adapt to the changes. The event organisers are NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) with the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc). Presentations will be given by NZ science, industry and policy leaders. The programme will draw on published scientific work and research by the NZAGRC-PGgRc and by MPI’s Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Research Programme. @rural_news

OUT NOW! A compelling story of unflinching loyalty and determination by Rural News reporter Peter Burke.

Region-specific expo hits the spot THE 2019 East Coast Farming Expo organisers are hailing the early-March event at Wairoa a success, saying farmers spoke well of their efforts. Organisers Dave Martin and Sue Wilson say they have had “really great comments from attendees, speakers and exhibitors”. Martin says they started the event as industry-specific for East Coast and Hawke’s Bay  farmers, and now they hear that this sort of targeted gathering is resonating with farmers NZ-wide.   “Time after time we hear how relevant and meaningful the expo is to those who attend, how it introduces new technology, provides new ways of looking at sheep and beef  and introduces farmers to the latest innovations and ideas. That’s exactly what we set out to do.” Former rural broadcaster Sarah Perriam was the keynote speaker on marketing premium produce, including a message about changing the public perception of farmers to one of passionate food producers.  Event manager Sue Wilson says the aim has always been for the expo, now in its fifth year, to be industry-specific so visitors and exhibitors could have quality conversations.  “We were pleased with the attendance  and  we now have great farming ambassadors in Hawke’s Bay and East Coast regions to carry the message for 2020.”   Major sponsors  Eastland Group, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Rural News Group were joined by scores of speakers and exhibitors for

Dan Lynch from Ovis Management was an expo attendee.

the two-day event.    Wilson says the organisers will have a short break then start on the 2020 Expo. “It’s a year-round event in the planning,” she says. This year saw a change to the layout that provided a more centralised hub for exhibitors, and the seminars held in a large marquee.   “We changed the date to take advantage of fairer,  early-autumn weather,” Martin says. “You can’t predict the weather but we had two days of sunshine which lifted the event.”   Newcomer exhibitors included Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).  Martin says continued growth gives the expo a head-start on the farming calendar.    “Industry leaders and attendees are prepared, due to the specific nature of what we’re offering, to make the journey here from all over New Zealand.” – Tim Warrington

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BEEF + Lamb New Zealand will soon start consulting with its farmers on the proposed levy to pay for the beef sector’s share of the Mycoplasma bovis response. Beef farmers will be asked to approve a levy probably set at a maximum of $2.00 per cattle beast at slaughter. BLNZ general manager policy & advocacy, Dave Harrison, told Rural News he was about to put a paper to the board and a recommendation will go to farmers shortly after, probably proposing a levy of up to $2.00. But the levy would “fairly quickly decrease after that because most of the costs are incurred in the first two years,” he said. “We would pay that back over maybe three or four years, then the levy would drop markedly.” BLNZ is in a similar position to DairyNZ, both having recently joined the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) in setting a base biosecurity levy to cope with a worst-case scenario -- a moderate foot and mouth outbreak. In BLNZ’s case that is 45 cents per animal at

slaughter. Both levying bodies now have to raise the levy limit to deal with their share of the M. bovis response. The proposed $2.00 levy would be imposed on beef cattle, not dairy or sheep. Speaking to the recent BLNZ annual meeting in Timaru, chairman Andrew Morrison said it had consulted with farmers when first joining the GIA and it will consult again over raising the levy. The Crown is paying 68% of the cost of the M. bovis response and industry 32%, of which dairy will pay 94% and beef 6%. Morrison said “a maturity of process” has got the parties to where they are now; Dairy NZ and BLNZ got together and agreed to ask an

independent panel to decide the split between them, and to abide by the panel’s decision. Meanwhile, Harrison says the M. bovis tracing system seems to be “getting ahead” of the disease. “The advice from the technical experts is that it’s tracking as well as can be expected -- even better than we expected.... So on the basis of that and the information we get... there’s nothing [saying] we’re not moving in the right direction.” Harrison said that for a long time the response had been well behind in its tracing, with a number of new traces arising from every infected property, all taking time to handle. “It was just expanding, basically. And now we’re at the stage where we’re getting ahead of that.”

Solid support from dairy sector A BIG majority of 1794 submissions received by DairyNZ on the biosecurity response levy were supportive. Sixty-one percent of submissions from farmers backed DairyNZ managing the levy on their behalf and raising the maximum cap to 3.9 cents/kgMS. That totalled 1088 supportive submissions and 706 against. “We appreciated the candid conversations and the opportunity to discuss not just the proposed levy, but also DairyNZ more widely,” DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says in a letter to farmers. He says the next step will be a recommendation to the Ministry for Primary Industries and he will communicate with farmers again this Friday (March 29) to confirm the approach they will take. The strongest themes, by far, during the consultation were general support for the levy and wanting DairyNZ to have a seat at the table instead of a mandated biosecurity levy under the Biosecurity Act, DairyNZ says. Also discussed

raised a number was whether farmof times at the ers were already farmer meetpaying too much ings. The 94% and other queries / 6% was recabout the levy. ommended by “There was an indepensome confusion dent panel, as about the maxdairy is most imum amount impacted by the versus what clinical impacts would be impleof the disease mented, and for DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel and therefore how long that was the reduction in to be applied,” says income from the disease. DairyNZ. “Beef + Lamb NZ has prom“The cap sets the maximum levy rate. The rationale is to pay ised that the beef levy will only be back what we currently owe, and levied on the beef sector, not on then to match the levy with the dairy cull cows. “The dairy biosecurity response same timeframe as costs are being levy will be set at milksolids, so the incurred.” By setting the maximum, farm- split between sharemilkers and ers are not agreeing to an ongoing owners will be the same as the levy at that rate. The rate will be milk cheque split; this is the fairnotified annually prior to imple- est way to apportion the levy as this is a production/income-based mentation.  Another theme was parity with disease.  The bigger the herd, the other sectors and who should and bigger the impact on production and therefore income if a herd is should not have to pay.  “The beef and dairy split was found positive.”

THUMBS DOWN ON ERADICATION A NUMBER of the negative responses were due to the belief that eradication, and the way it is tracking, is not worth pursuing. “There is a lot of misinformation about the eradication process and the success to date,” says DairyNZ.  “While it is extremely difficult for anyone involved, and systems and process can be and are being improved, the actual results achieved by the programme are

more positive than even the technical advisory group was expecting. “The spring bulk milk testing, for example, confirmed that the disease is not endemic and wide-spread throughout New Zealand, and led to only three new properties being identified as positive for M. bovis, and a small number of low-risk farms being put on further surveillance. “This could have been much more widespread; we were

expecting more properties to be identified by the testing programme. The testing is complex, but the layering of tests gives a strong level of comfort that eradication is still possible. “The loss to the sector of doing nothing far outweighs the costs expected as a result of the response – $1.3 billion compared to $870 million (of which dairy contributes $270m).”

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Strong year picked for Ag in 2019 MPI’S LATEST quarterly report on the outlook for the New Zealand primary sector says the industry’s exports performed better than had been expected during the year ending June 2019. MPI releases its Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) report quarterly, looking at the performance of our main primary industries and forecasting how they will perform over the next two to five years. It also analyses the performance of primary industries in NZ and looks at emerging issues affecting trade and production. The latest SOPI report (March 2019) says primary export revenue

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

for the year ending June 2019 is forecast to reach $45.6 billion. This is 6.9% higher than the previous year (ending June 2018) and 3% higher than MPI’s

December 2018 forecasts. It says the increase is being driven by a strong production season and another increase in dairy and meat prices.

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“In 2019, we expect horticulture to be the fastest-growing sector. Improved growing conditions (compared to 2018) for the last harvest led to higher yields of kiwifruit and most other horticultural products,” the report says. “Dairy export revenue is forecast to increase 5.5% from last year to over $17b in the year to June 2019, building on gains in the previous two years.” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says primary industry export performance is up nearly $3b on the previous year. “This news will be welcomed by many, especially in light of the

significant challenges the sector is facing, with dryness being experienced in many in rural areas -- especially the drought- affected top of the South Island -- fires in Tasman and the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.” O’Connor says this performance is even more impressive considering a more modest outlook for the global economic environment and high uncertainty generated by trade tensions. “Import demand from China continues to strengthen for most primary industry products, and exports to the US are still higher than historic levels,” he says.

SECTOR OUTLOOKS DAIRY: - Dairy exports to rise 5.5% to $17.6b - 3.7% growth in milk production onfarm - Higher value products like cheese and infant formula to drive growth in export revenue. MEAT AND WOOL: - Meat and wool export revenue to increase by 6.0% to $10.1b (after a large 14.2% gain in 2018) - Strong demand helping to maintain high prices. FORESTRY: - Forestry exports to now increase by 7.0% to $6.8b due to stronger harvest volumes than previously - Demand is expected to remain steady over the next year, with an expected increase in Chinese residential construction despite the weakening Chinese economy. HORTICULTURE: - Horticulture exports now expected to rise only by 15.7% to $6.2b - Kiwifruit export revenue to rise 33% due to increases in volumes and prices - Wine and apple and pear export revenues are expected to increase by 3.9% and 11.5%, respectively. ARABLE: - Exports for the year ending June 2019 to fall 3.2% to $235 million - A positive long-term outlook for arable exports, with moderate price and volume growth. OTHER PRIMARY SECTORS: - Export revenue to increase to $2.8b, up 3.5% from 2018 - Innovative foods, ‘other’ products, sugar and confectionery products are growing faster than previously forecast.


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Tackling sustainability challenge PAM TIPA

those arising from actions by governments. “Government movements are sometimes just perceived to be a product of what happens if there is a change of government. “[In contrast] these market movements are more durable -- a more durable trend I see by the market itself.” Sherrard says the market direction is set and, as a result, “we will be talking more -- not less -- about sustainability of animal protein production in future”. “We are going to be seeing more demand for sustainability through those product chains -not less.” He says NZ’s pasture-based production system for beef and

lamb is a great advantage. “Look at the US market, for example: I think there is a strong perception on the part of consumers that grass-fed for them as a consumer is better for their health; it is a healthier product and it is also for the animal and for the planet. It kind-of ticks all the boxes for US consumers. “We’ve seen double digit growth in dollar sales in the US market for the last 12 months for products that are marketed as grass fed -- a low double-digit rise of 11-12%. But that is against the background of just under 1% in total market growth. “You have huge growth in grass-fed relative to the total market growth in value sales of meat in the US market, for example.” The pasture system dominant in NZ is perceived to have an advantage in some of the markets this country exports to, he says.

TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS are coming onto the market to assist farmers with sustainability, says Sherrard. “There is often a perception that it’s all well and good talking about sustainability but ‘what are we going to do?’ ” he explains. “There are things farmers can do. There are technology options coming into the market which can, for example, reduce methane emissions from cattle – whether dairy or beef cattle, it doesn’t matter.” Sherrard says there are feed additives proven to reduce methane emissions by 25% to, in some cases, 35% over an animal’s life cycle. “I appreciate there is a certain irony in talking up a pasture-based production system. “You have a feed additive which implies a barnbased production system, but there are options: in grass-fed there are solutions here in NZ; with methane there are solutions.” He refers to devices wearable by cattle and sheep that monitor their health and digestion and help to monitor methane emissions; these can also be used in virtual fencing to redirect cattle away from waterways, for example. “These technologies help to deal with the very expensive problem... where farmers are being asked to exclude stock from waterways.” These technologies are neither free nor easy, he says, “but they are there and once we start to focus on what we are trying to achieve, if we come together as an industry and look for integrated solutions we will find there are solutions out there”.


NEW ZEALAND farmers are starting to struggle to find the certainty they want in their businesses in the face of sustainability issues. This is according to Rabobank’s global animal protein strategist Justin Sherrard who was recently in NZ. “They see changes being talked about, they hear about things that are going to happen onfarm in water quality, the inclusion of agriculture in the Emissions Trading Scheme, for example, and they are uncertain about that,” he says. But Sherrard told Rural News that farmers need to understand this is not just Government-led; it is also being led by the market. “While here in NZ you see the Government getting involved in these issues and wanting to improve outcomes; I also see the market moving,” he explains.

“I see leading animal protein companies, processing companies, making commitments to improve the sustainability of products in production systems. “I see big retailers and food service companies making commit- Justin Sherrard ments to increase the sustainability of all products, in particular meat products they are selling.” However, Sherrard says, most importantly, he sees consumers in some markets -- including markets where NZ is exporting products -- not just saying they want more sustainable products, but opening their wallets to buy more sustainable products. He said he sees markets moving in ways more certain than



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World milk supply dries up THE FINAL milk production tallies for the last quarter for 2018 are in. Collections from the Big 7 regions for Q4 2018 screeched to a standstill, barely lifting at 0.1% YOY. US milk flows struggled to match historic averages with growth at just 1%. The EU continues to trail behind YOY. Tumbling milk collections in Australia look set for a

double digit decline for the season. A challenging milk production environment is set to continue across 1H 2019. Lingering weather impacts on feed quality and quantity will continue to play out for the EU, Australia – and now New Zealand for the closing months of the 2018/19 season. Indicative Q1 2019 Big 7 collections show a small decline in

YOY milk production growth for the first time since 2016, and Q2 production collectively looks set to end in negative territory as well.

EU EU MILK production declined by 0.8% YOY during Q4 2018, driven by lower milk flows across north-western Europe. January 2019 EU milk collections are estimated to be down by 1.7% YOY, while preliminary figures indicate a further decline in February (see graph). Rabobank’s forecast for Q1 2019 milk production was lowered to -0.7% YOY. In the four months to January 2019, German and French milk production declined by 1.6% YOY (167,000 tonnes) and 3.3% YOY (277,000 tonnes), respectively. Due

to phosphate regulations, Dutch milk production dropped by 5.9% YOY (279,000 tonnes) during the same period, while February milk production declined by 1.8% YOY. Moreover, the EU dairy herd declined by 1.6% YOY or 374,000 head in 2018. Five out of seven of the largest milk producing countries reported reduced herd sizes. With a drop

of 113,000 head or 6.8% YOY. Rabobank expects the average EU farmgate price to remain stable for the coming months with some upside as of the end of Q2 2019.

US US MILK production rose by a modest 0.2% YOY in February 2019 after a surprising increase of 0.9% in January (see graph).

January’s growth spurt was driven by a 1.8% yield increase in milk per cow, which offset the 79,000head decrease in the US dairy herd. February’s yield was up 1% compared to a year earlier. Milk production growth continues despite lacklustre prices and steady feed costs. The 2018 US all-milk price averaged US$ 16.20/cwt, the lowest level since 2009. The January 2019 all milk price improved slightly, averaging US$ 16.60/cwt. 2018’s low milk prices contributed to a higher-than-average rate of farm exits, with the number of licensed dairy operations decreasing from 40,199 to 37,468. US milk production growth is expected to be below trend through 1H 2019, with YOY gains improving in 2H 2019

against lower comparables. The US may not realize the full upside occurring in the international dairy market for months to come due to ample domestic supply coupled with trade challenges. With production expected to pick up slightly in 2019 and domestic demand coming under more pressure. The US will have a slight exportable surplus for 1H 2019. However, the exportable dairy surplus will be more difficult to move under current geopolitical conditions unless Mexico and China both remove current retaliatory tariffs.

China AVERAGE MILK prices in China have recovered by 7% from a five

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Content supplied by Rabobank – Grow with the bank founded by farmers for farmers year low in Q3 2018, to CNY 3.61, about the highest level during the past four years. As of late, the attraction of prices of WMP from Oceania is falling. However, for the year-to-date, the upward momentum of the domestic milk price has lost steam. China has entered into a seasonal dairy consumption lull post-Chinese New Year, while spring is beginning to bring the season’s new flush (see graph). A record high import arrival of SMP and WMP in January 2019 (+32%

YOY) has more than replenished the very low inventory level at the end of 2018. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has indicated that milk production in 2018 grew by 1.2% YOY, below our previous estimate of 2% and conflicting with the 2.9% based on the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)’s milk production index. Rabobank has revised 2018 production growth toward NBS’ level of 1.2% YOY. For 2019, Rabobank is maintaining production growth of 1% YOY.

The domestic milk price needs to be at least sustained at the current level in order to give incentives to producers to grow production. The dollar margin for milk production has somewhat improved (although not necessarily in percentage terms) compared with a year ago. Large farms are likely cautiously optimistic at the best, but this is not yet generating any strong signs of renewed investment in farm expansion. Rabobank maintains milk production growth of a slightly higher rate of 1.5% growth in 2020.

Australia AUSTRALIAN MILK production has continued to tumble into the early months on 2019. National milk production was down 11% for the month of January. This brings season-to-date production to 5.7bn litres and represents a drop of 5.8% season-to-date.

Australia’s national milk production has fallen by 350m litres this season so far. Of this decline around 250m litres (or 70%) has come out of the Northern Victoria/Southern New South Wales system (see graph). Milk losses will continue to worsen as this season winds down. Culling activity remains elevated and many dairy farm operators are drying herds off early as feed shortages persist. However, there are some

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regions which have had better seasonal conditions than others. Rabobank is forecasting national milk production to finish the 2019/20 season down 8% at 8.6bn litres. Most prices for the 2018/19 season now sit above the Rabobank modelled commodity farmgate milk price of AU$ 5.75/kgMS.

since the last report. Fonterra lifted its 2018/19 milk price range higher in late February 2019 by NZD 30 cents to NZD 6.30/kgMS – NZD 6.60/ kgMS. Seasonal dry conditions have hit many North Island regions as well as parts of the South Island. Milk production for February was flat on the prior year (see graph). Season-to-date collections are higher by 4.4%: the result of exceptional milk flows in earlier months. But there is now a

clear risk that New Zealand’s 2018/19 season finishes abruptly in the North Island with no meaningful rain evident across the final weeks of March 2019. Some farmers may choose to conserve feed and preserve cow condition prior to winter and call the season to a close early. Accordingly, Rabobank has moderated expectations for milk collections across the 2018/19 season, and now anticipate production growth of 3% YOY.

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The science is settled THE LATEST report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton makes interesting reading for the agricultural sector and its constant critics. Upton’s report marks a departure from widespread calls to drag agriculture into an expanded ‘all gases, all sectors’ version of the current Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Instead, he has proposed separate trading systems for fossil and biological emissions to help tackle climate change. This so-called ‘landscape approach’ would deal with agricultural greenhouse gases and forest sinks together – and separately from CO2. The agricultural sector has been calling for just such a change in policy makers’ views on methane and other carbon emissions. This has been backed, in the past 18 months or so, by numerous scientists supporting the setting of a separate methane target in the Zero Carbon Bill, to reduce and stabilise methane, while carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide reduce to net zero. This is aligned with work by the Productivity Commission, research by Dr Andy Reisinger of the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, and most recently by Professor Myles Allan, of Oxford University, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Farming organisations are calling on the Government to take note of these new findings – which align with the latest and emerging science. “This work adds to the growing evidence base developed over the past few years about how methane -- a biological emission from animals -- differs from carbon dioxide in its impact on global warming,” adds DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. Critics claim this alternative approach would be ‘letting farmers off the hook’. Although these same critics have always argued about the ‘science of climate change’, they seem to conveniently forget this when the science does not back their narrative. As BLNZ says, the PCE report shows a clear way forward for NZ on climate change and recommends a science-based approach, which fits with the principle of each sector being responsible for its own emissions -- and for tackling them. Ministers, policy makers and farming critics must take note: it is difficult to argue against the science.


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“Well I @#%&**!! don’t! – we haven’t even got a ‘BIO’ that needs securing!”

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THE HOUND Hero or hypocrite?

Follow the money

Harsh but true

No grandstanding

YOUR OLD mate was interested to see Trade Minister David Parker recently hailing the success of the revamped TPP trade deal. According to Parker, the deal is “already delivering benefits for New Zealand”. Benefits for the ag sector include a reduction in the tariff on our beef into Japan, an increase in NZ butter exports to Canada and a doubling of our cheese exports to Mexico – in the month after the agreement came into force in January 2018.  This is all good stuff. However, the Hound wants to know if this David Parker now skiting about the success of the TPP is the same man who was marching in the streets in 2015 scare-mongering about the evils of the deal? While your old mate reckons it is good to see that Parker has had a change of heart, others might be less charitable and call him nothing but a hypocrite.

A MATE of the Hound reckons the readers of the darling publication of left-wingers and liberals -- The Guardian newspaper -- should take its stories about farming and animal welfare with a large grain of salt. According to reports, The Open Philanthropy Project has given $886,600 over two years… “to to support journalism on factory farming and farm animal cruelty”. In awarding the grant, these benefactors claim… it “will allow The Guardian to increase its reporting output on issues related to factory farming” … The Guardian claims it will be … “an opportunity to increase the salience of farm animal welfare issues amongst influential journalists, policymakers, and business leaders”. Yeah, right. And if you believe that then this old mutt has a bridge he can sell you.

WELL-KNOWN South Canterbury dairy farmer John Gregan questioned BLNZ chair, at last month’s annual meeting, Andrew Morrison about his organisation’s treatment of dairy farmers. “As a dairy farmer, I feel like the awkward flatmate,” Gregan told the meeting. “You are more than happy to take my rent money but would prefer I stayed in my room when you have friends around to visit.” Apparently the question got a good laugh from the meeting, lots of nods of approval from the dairy farmers in the room and reassurances from Morrison about BLNZ’s love of dairy farmers. Meanwhile, the Hound has it on good authority – from one of Gregan’s ex-flatmates – that his portrayal was a pretty fair description of how Gregan was viewed by his Lincoln College flatmates back in his university days.

THE HOUND, like everyone else in New Zealand, was shocked and stunned by the senseless shootings in Christchurch last month. It has been heartening to see the country come together to condemn such an evil act of violence and show support for the victims and their families. Inevitably, there will now be a debate over gun laws and what type of guns people should be able to own. Hopefully without kneejerk reactions or any politicisation of the debate. Many people have already decided to quietly, voluntarily hand in their guns to the police; good on them. However, what we don’t need is public grandstanding or ‘look-at-me’ types – like a certain wannabe Green MP and toy farmer – telling all the world how good and virtuous he is by giving up his gun. It is not about you so get over yourself!!

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Confusion over Fonterra’s motive for Motif investment IT IS hard to imagine what signal Fonterra thinks it is sending to shareholders with its investment in Motif, a company investigating synthetic milk ingredients. The new word for such ingredients is ‘complementary’, rather than ‘synthetic’, but the Motif investment is yet more money going offshore into a business not core to New Zealand farmers and with no immediate prospect of returns. This expenditure of an undisclosed sum for a stake in Motif coincides with ongoing concerns about Fonterra’s budget, the attempted selling of Tip Top and a downgrading in credit rating by Fitch from a ‘stable’ outlook on Fonterra’s ‘A’ long-term issuer default rating to ‘negative’. Fitch commented in early March that Fonterra’s “asset sale programme will be critical in getting debt under control”. The Motif investment was announced at the end of February.

the value-add part of the Motif is a spinbusiness (e.g. food ingreoff from Ginko Biodients) the returns have works. Its focus is been small. Although the development and the share price lifted in commercialisation of early March (from $4.20 bio-engineered (read to $4.53) it dipped again genetic technologies) after Fitch’s announceanimal and food ingrement and after the dients. Fonterra jusinterim results. tifies its buy-in as COMMENT The big story, howputting it at the foreJacqueline Rowarth ever, is the longer-term front of providing change: a year ago the people with choice, but the co-op says consumers will always share price was $5.95; five years ago want “natural, grass-fed dairy as a pre- it was $6.18. The reference price at launch in 2012 was $5.50 ($5.89 in mium source of nutrition”. The new investment will help Fon- today’s prices). The overall decrease in share price terra be part of the “emerging nextgeneration fermentation-produced suggests that the added-value stratnutrition sector”. The big question egy is not generating confidence in for farmer shareholders is whether the market. Farmer shareholders are feeling it the investment will result in increased and have asked repeatedly for informamoney for them. Since Fonterra launched on the tion on which of the overseas investshare market, with a dividend linked to ments are generating income, but to

no avail. They want to have vibrant businesses that they can enjoy, pass on or sell, but real estate information indicates that the market for dairy farms is far from hot. New chief executive Miles Hurrell has acepted a troubled company in ‘interesting times’. Although he has had the role for only a few weeks, he has been in senior management for a while, so he must have known about the Motif investment, shareholders’ concerns about investments overseas and the likelihood of a downgrading in credit ratings. The next question being asked by shareholders is how he is going to turn the Fonterra ‘ship’ around, and what key performance indicators (KPIs) have been set by the board. Past chief executives have had the milk price as a significant KPI attached to their remuneration. Milk price is important because it determines the bulk of the farmer





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income. When it has gone up the chief executive has been rewarded with bonuses; but when it has gone down, bonuses have still been paid and shareholders have been told that the milk price is outside Fonterra’s control. In addition, statements have been made that some remuneration is attached to ‘added-value’ and that the strategy will pay dividends in the future. Fonterra has not declared the sum invested has not been declared, but it is known that it will not have a seat on the Motif board. None of these factors is likely to inspire the confidence that is needed. It is time for the board to build trust by involving shareholders, ensuring fairness in payouts and dividends, and increasing transparency in governance. Then the signals will be clear and positive. • Dr Jacqueline Rowarth CNZM CRSNZ HFNZIAHS is a Fonterra shareholder.



Innovation rather than regulation may be the answer JASON ROEBUCK

FEDERATED FARMERS’ meat and wool council is calling for compulsory regulation of stock agents. Anyone burnt by a sneaky deal has a very long memory. Instances where stock has been bought, held and onsold at a decent but undeserved gain would be quick to join the chorus. Nothing boils the blood faster than getting ripped off, especially given the work that went into farming the animals for sale or indeed saving the capital to buy them. But is compulsory regulation the answer? This is a conversation we at StockX are keen to be part of. There are plenty of examples of real estate agents taking advantage of their position to buy and sell for their own gain, including turning over houses in a matter of days. Nobody likes a cheat, but to tie up the majority in red tape because of a few dishonest agents may

not be the only approach. Regulations don’t always resolve the underlying problem, and in this case it’s a mostly regional system which relies a lot on trust. That’s not a bad thing; a man should be as good as his word and most are. But there will always be a handful who don’t mind being a bit loose with the truth if it means cashing in on a quick profit. This is something we’ve looked hard at in our development and expansion of the nationwide online livestock trading platform StockX, due to go live later this year. It was clear from the start that livestock trading could be a lot simpler; and simpler, open systems make it harder to cheat. The revised StockX marketplace will introduce livestock agents and an auction-based sales system where sellers offer livestock for sale, buyers bid, payment is secure and there’s only one livestock movement between the farm of origin and the destination farm or

Regulations don’t always resolve the underlying problem, and in this case it’s a mostly regional system which relies a lot on trust.

StockX’s Jason Roebuck believes that technology presents an answer to better regulating and monitoring of the livestock and agency sector.

processor. Issues of misrepresentation will go out the window and farmers’ concerns about transparency, fairness, animal welfare and reduced biosecurity risks will be vastly improved. In farm-to-farm trades StockX will receive actual weights and/or tallies from the transporter and any vari-

ances to the transaction will be settled before final payment is made. In the event of a farm-to-processor deal, the processor will send the kill-sheet and invoice details to the farmer and pay them direct. We are working on other features for the platform that will support easier, more transparent trading, including those that ease compliance with animal movement and traceability regulations. Federated Farmers is correct in saying that discussions about regulating agents have gone on for years

with no resolution. Technology now presents the industry an opportunity to help solve age-old problems. Rural connectivity is better than it has ever been and it’s improving all the time. Farmers are as comfortable with technology as they are with a tractor. The constraints to online trading of livestock have long gone. Whatever direction the regulation discussion takes, we should all be getting behind transparent, traceable technology for our collective benefit, while backing the NZ Stock and Station Agents Association’s code of conduct and its independent body that will act on complaints. Support for the Fed’s in their quest for regulation has its place also, but is best kept as a last resort. It’s crucial that our industry keeps debating these important issues; we will only emerge stronger for it. • Jason Roebuck is managing director of StockX

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RPR by any other name would work too BERT QUIN

THE NAME ‘reactive phosphate rock’ – RPR for short – first became important in the 1970s, when MAF and Massey University researchers demonstrated that the more reactive of phosphate rocks could maintain high pasture production on even very mildly acid soils just as well as soluble phosphate like superphosphate. And it was cheaper per unit of P. In later years, it was demonstrated that RPR, being a non water-soluble, slow-release fertiliser, was far less susceptible to P run-off and leaching. Less reactive phosphate rocks were less susceptible too of course, but they couldn’t maintain high production so there was no point in using them. The term

RPR therefore developed a real ‘cache’. The Algerian RPR is totally accepted overseas as one of the very best RPRs, including by the FAO and by the renowned International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) in Alabama, which describes it as a ‘highly reactive phosphate rock’. However, as a rule it does not meet the 30% solubility in 2% citric acid in Fertmark’s 30-minute test. That test is not known to be in use anywhere else in the world, because far superior tests have been developed. These are particularly useful for RPRs like the Algerian, and NZ’s own Chatham Rise underwater RPR, which contain some free dolomite or lime. These do not adversely affect the field performance at

all (in fact they add to the liming action that all RPRs have). But the dolomite or lime can react preferentially with the citric acid in the 30-minute testtube test meaning less RPR gets dissolved. Chatham Rise has a citric solubility of only 15-20%, but is proven to per-

form every bit as well as other RPRs as a fertiliser. Algerian, even without any of the 7% dolomite removed, still manages about 28% on average. Quinfert makes it clear in its advertising that Quinfert RPR does not generally pass the Fertmark test. For nearly six months

now we have offered a version of Algerian RPR (V2) which has had some of the dolomite removed, just to increase the 30-minute solubility, at the same price. It has been very gratifying to me that not a single client has asked for it. I really think farmers understand exactly what

is going on. Perhaps the greatest failing of the Fertmark test is that the mixtures of Sechura (Peruvian) RPR and manufacturing rock being sold under the name ‘RPR’ out there actually ‘pass’ the Fertmark test. This is despite the fact that no tests or field trial data are avail-

able for the non-RPR fraction, and there is absolutely no requirement by Fertmark on the company selling it to say where it comes from. Need I say more? • Bert Quin is managing director of Quin Environmentals (NZ) Ltd, owner of fertiliser company Quinfert.



IT’S CARS, NOT COWS! THE HEADLINE ‘Review calls for urgent action on livestock emissions’ in the Rural News March 5 has me furious. The implication is that livestock emissions are a major player in climate change and by implication we farmers are major polluters of the atmosphere. This is simply untrue. It is becoming widely accepted that the short lived gases such as methane simply cannot be treated in the same way as long lived gases such as CO2. Put simply, each tonne of methane released into the atmosphere this week is simply replacing one that returned back to CO2 this week. There is no more methane up there now than this time last year. In fact, there is probably less. If you want to see the real culprit in climate change, drive on a motorway or visit an airport. The traffic is insane, it is all emitting CO2 at an increasing rate and it will all be there next year and the year after. Transport emissions are the real problem and even electric vehicles are no solution unless the electricity is produced in a carbon neutral way. Those involved in the New Zealand Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Research Centre would be better employed trying to solve the massive problem we face with transport fuels than mucking around trying to solve the non-problem of enteric methane emissions. Lindsay Brow RD2 Outram

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TURNING PASTURE INTO PROFIT Five years after the conclusion of an intensive lime programme Chris Adams of Kopaki in the King Country region is still counting his blessings. The whole project started in 2010 after Chris had read an article about the benefits to pasture and stock when pH levels were increased up into the 6 plus range. At the time the levels on his 400 ha property were around 5.7. “In the beginning it was very much ‘toe in the water’ stuff” said Chris. “Also, although we were focusing on our bulls, most of the data available at that time only referenced lamb and ewe responses to lime trials”. Chris started off spreading an 80ha section of the farm at a low rate 500kg/ha. As he recollects, part of the block was ground-spread and the other by plane. “Then in the 2nd year we decided to get serious and go the whole hog”. Going the whole hog saw Chris aerial spreading an additional 200 ha at a rate of 4 tonnes/ha. Then in the following year he covered the remainder of the property at the same 4-tonne/ha rate. Throughout the 3-year period he also kept an un-limed control block on the property.

“As I recall one of the early changes that we noticed was in the colour of the pasture which was greener than the control block. We also started to notice that the pasture in the limed blocks has been grazed much more evenly – right out to the fence lines - and an increase in clover content”.

LIME TRIAL STOCK PERFORMANCE/HA - Limed 2 years Stocking: 2.2 bulls/ha. All were drafted. Killed out at 285kg/head to give 627kg/ha.

Soil Scientist Paddy Shannon of Shannon Agricultural Consulting commented on the stock preference for limed over un-limed pasture.

- Limed 1 year

“The grazing responses observed on Chris’s property are consistent with those from a number of other studies and suggest that stock find limed pasture to be more palatable than the un-limed alternative. It also suggests that stock in these limed blocks are increasing their dry matter consumption and this delivers obvious benefits for farmers”.

- Un-limed control area

The third and final year of the trial coincided with the indication of a dry patch on the horizon and pH levels reaching 6.2. Chris made the decision to send his bulls off earlier than he usually would, and at this time, perhaps the most significant benefit of the liming programme, became apparent. As shown in the following figures, the total killed-out kg/ha of stock from the limed 2 years trial block was almost double that of the un-limed control block.

Stocking: 2.0 bulls/ha. 90% were drafted. Killed out at 270kg/head to give 486kg/ha. Stocking: 2.2 bulls/ha. 60% were drafted. Killed out at 265kg/head to give 318kg/ha.

Five years later, with his soil pH still in the optimum 6.2 range, Chris is still getting similar growth performance from his bulls. He is also now enjoying strong and fast weight gains from his lambs, as well as the ability to consistently draft stock off early and avoid drought related problems. Pasture density and clover content are excellent and stock health has greatly improved. “Our liming programme continues to return real dividends for our business”, said Chris. “We now soil test on a regular basis to monitor our soil pH”. For further information Freephone 0800 245 463 or visit

HERE’S A REAL LIFT FOR HILL COUNTRY FARMING Research shows that low rate liming of hill country can deliver significant benefits over time: increased pasture production, less pasture litter, increased worm activity, improved wool production PLUS faster lamb growth.*


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Harnessing better feed and genetic performance RAM HARNESSES are a useful tool for feed allocation, and they can also help identify unmated hoggets that will then have higher lifetime performance. In a recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand podcast, Massey University’s Dr Paul Kenyon describes how ram harnesses can be used to identify ewe lambs that ovulate early in flocks where hogget lambing is not practised. Studies have shown that these early-cycling animals will be more fertile and fecund during their lifetime. “There is a genetic link there,” he says. In a bid to increase the productivity of their ewe flocks, some farmers are keeping back more ewe lambs than they need as replacements, then running a harnessed teaser (vasectomised) ram with them in late April and May. The marked lambs are retained as replacements as these are likely to be the most fertile as adult ewes. “It’s an early screening tool and it works,” Kenyon explains.

Gr ea t de als on

Massey University’s Professor Paul Kenyon.

Used on mixed-age ewes, ram harnesses enable farmers to identify ewes that have been mated and put them back onto maintenance rations – with a back-up ram. During a Red Meat Profit Partnership exercise, the Hodgen family, who farm in North Canterbury, found the

use of ram harnesses gave surprising results: 93% of the ewes were mated in their first cycle and so could be put straight back onto maintenance feed with a follow-up ram. “It’s phenomenal how much feed we have saved for the price of a ram harness and crayon,” says Dan Hodgen.

The ewes remain marked and at setstocking were run in mobs according to their mating dates. This meant the Hodgens were not set-stocking earlier than they needed to and management during lambing was much more targeted. Canterbury farm consultant Wayne Allan says there are pluses and minuses to using ram harnesses but they can provide valuable information that can help in the allocation of feed resources and management at mating and lambing. He says today’s ewes tend to be heavier and more fecund, so a higher proportion of a flock can be mated within the first cycle (80-90%). If marked, these ewes can be put back onto maintenance, although Hodgen cautions against under-feeding ewes at that stage. At lambing, the marked ewes can then be managed according to their lambing date, so later-lambing ewes

can be set-stocked later which again allows more strategising of feed resources. Hodgen says foetal aging at scanning provides this same information, but it is slightly more expensive and doesn’t allow for feed management over mating. He says the downside of ram harnesses is the work involved in changing crayons and, on properties with a lot of scrub, there is always a danger of the harnessed ram getting caught up, or losing crayons On larger, extensive properties with many rams the logistics of finding rams and changing crayons can make them a less impractical option. Where the focus is on determining when rather than whether the ewes have been mated, Hodgen suggests not putting the harnesses on until 10 – 17 days into mating. This reduces the workload and means unmarked ewes will be early lambing or are dry.



Lucerne the N-fixer NIGEL MALTHUS

LUCERNE IS the world’s most important forage, says Lincoln University professor of plant science Derrick Moot. Moot was a featured speaker at the recent open day and official opening of the new Seed

Force Henley research station, near Lincoln. Standing in a plot of healthy lucerne on the station, Moot pointed out that lucerne boasts a very high crude protein level in the leaf of up to 30%, and high metabolisable energy (ME) of about 12. As a legume, lucerne

fixes nitrogen, he says. That meant it looks “nasty” when put in an Overseer budget, and he has spent the last six months defending the use of legumes in farm systems. “My first plea to you is not to take lucerne out and put ryegrass in

with nitrogen fertiliser, as some of the farmers I’ve spoken to have been recommended, based on the farm environmental plan,” Moot explained. “That’s not necessary. Legumes are still the most sustainable way of getting nitrogen into our farms systems and nitro-

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gen is without question the nutrient that is limiting pasture production all the time.” Moot said 20 tonnes of dry matter would be about 3.5% nitrogen, so 700kg of nitrogen would be required to produce it. “You can’t change that, it’s biology” he said.

Lincoln University professor of plant science Derrick Moot discusses lucerne management during the official opening and open day at Seed Force’s Henley R&D centre near Lincoln. RURAL NEWS GROUP

Moot said New Zealand generally provides phosphorus and sulphur “pretty well”, but nitrogen is limiting pasture production, as proven by urine patches. There would not be a urine patch response in a pasture if the pasture was not nitrogendeficient. Moot said his researchers had produced 6.5t DM/ha from a dryland pasture and 10t when fully irrigated. But the pasture produced 20t DM when given both water and nitrogen, and 16t when given just nitrogen. That showed that the added water wasn’t utilised efficiently without nitrogen.

“So, whenever you see a pasture and you can see a urine patch, it is telling you ‘I am nitrogen deficient and I’m using water at the same rate regardless of whether I have or haven’t got N.” Moot says legumes are an environmentally friendly way of getting nitrogen into a system. “That’s why my research team has focussed on getting more legumes into pastures,” he said. “The more legumes we can get into the system, the more nitrogen we can get into the system and the plants will take it up and utilise it. “And it makes a high crude protein therefore it becomes a high quality feed.”

GROW IT, GRAZE IT MOOT OUTLINED the specifics of using lucerne in a grazing system. He showed how lucerne consists of softer palatable tops containing about 12 ME and 24 crude protein and a harder lower stem of about 8 and 14, which animals do not want to eat. He says the ideal height of lucerne – to get grazing animals to eat as much as possible – is 25-30 cm. Growing it any longer only adds to the hard stem, not the useful tops. When used in a spring rotation, however, Moot recommends starting grazing the first paddock at about 10cm tall because starting at 25-30cm would mean the last paddock would be too tall. “What I’m trying to do is look at paddock one so that the second time I come onto it it’s about 25-30cm tall,” he explained. “If the last paddock gets away cut it for hay or silage. Don’t graze it because the animals will take quite a long time – 10 or 14 days -- to eat the useful part instead of two to three.” He says it would be a mistake to think there’s another day in a break when the animals have eaten the tops. “The problem with that is they don’t eat anything for a day because they’ve got this thick stem they don’t want to eat,” Moot explained. “Then they’re empty and you shift them onto a new break and they gorge. And if they gorge then you run the risk of animal health issues.” He says ewes and lambs provide the best benefit out of lucerne. With the ewes milking well and lambs putting on 300-350g/day a farmer could wean early, put the ewes elsewhere and leave the lambs on the lucerne with their guts already used to it, so there is no check to their growth. “The lamb will happily grow 300g/head/day, so in 100 days it can go from a 5kg birthweight to a 35kg lamb now available to be sold,” Moot added.



Simmentals first choice NIGEL MALTHUS

SUPERIOR WEIGHT gain makes Simmentals the breed of choice for Canterbury sheep and beef farmer Mark Copland (prn Copeland). His father first

brought Simmental calves onto the 670ha family farm Westmere, near Chertsey, just north of Ashburton. “They were bloody good,” says Copland. “They are a great breed to mix with Hereford and

are fast growing.” As a finishing farmer, Copland does no cattle breeding but always buys Simmental cross for finishing when he can get them. It is a good breed for finishing, he says. “The Simmental lays

LOWER FIRE RISK COPLAND FARMS on the land he grew up on, settled by his grandfather in the early 1900s. It was run as a dryland sheep farm until bore irrigation went in 15 years ago. The family is also well-known for breeding and showing Border Leicester sheep and the farm is carrying 2500 breeding ewes. They also grow barley and peas for seed, share-farmed process potatoes and some fodder beet for wintering. Last year Copland wintered 1170 beef cattle, 600 r2s and the rest R1s. About 250 18-month-old animals left over from last winter will soon go to the works and he has just started buying R2s for this winter.

He also likes to buy at the front end of the calf market. “There are enough dairy farms around here without us trying to breed them; we’ve got dairy farms on two sides of us.” Copland says the biggest change he has seen over the years is the rise of green belts from irrigation that have vastly reduced the fire risk on the Canterbury Plains. “My grandfather would tell us stories of the steam trains igniting fires all along the railway line; and sometimes those fires went to the beach.” Like all his neighbours, his grandfather would drop whatever he was doing to fight any fire. “And a lot of people did that; it was all hands on deck.”

Mark Copland with Simmental-cross animals on his sheep and beef farm near Ashburton. RURAL NEWS GROUP

down a lot more meat with that first cross. And you get hybrid vigor; that’s pretty handy.” Copland says firstcross Simmental Hereford would be the breed of choice if they were to breed their own. “Herefords produced today are high quality

and with our Simmental/ Hereford mix we are in a strong position for the future.” The perceived temperament problems of Simmentals had never been an issue, he says. “Any breed has its ‘unruly children’ and I’ve never found them a problem.”

Arriving on the farm freshly weaned they are kept in holding pens and quickly get used to human contact. “By the end of the second week they’re following you around.” “They are also easy on the land. You could say they reach the finish line


quicker.” Copland’s preference has recently been vindicated by the Beef + Lamb New Zealand beef progeny trials NZwide in which Simmentals showed better weight gains than Angus, Hereford and Charolais. “It confirmed what was suspected with regard to estimated breeding values (EBVs). EBVs work; they deliver what they predict,” said BLNZ Genetics general manager Graham Alder. “Simmental bulls produced progeny with a 6kg higher average weaning weight and 20kg higher yearling weight. The actual yearling weights for Simmental ranged between 310kg-340kg versus 285kg-315kg for Angus and 280kg-310kg for Hereford.”

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Pneumonia and pleurisy in sheep PNEUMONIA IS a disease that causes lesions in lungs. The most common form is chronic nonprogressive pneumonia (CNP) and it can be caused by bacteria, mycobacteria or viruses. Symptoms are often not very obvious (i.e. they are sub-clinical) but affected sheep will often have trouble breathing, pant after exercise and cough. Sheep with pneumonia are more likely to develop pleurisy (lungs adhering to the chest wall). Affected carcases are downgraded or condemned at processing plants. In 1999-2000, lambs from 14 commercial sheep farms were monitored: 400 lambs on each farm were randomly selected and weighed every four weeks, to gauge the effect of pneu-

monia on growth rate. Lung lesions were assessed monthly at slaughter in 40 randomly selected lambs per farm. In the second study (2000-01), a database of 1719 farms in Canterbury, Manawatu and Gisborne were analysed to see if farm location or within-flock were more important in predisposing sheep to pneumonia. The third ‘case control’ study looked at the links between farm management and pneumonia. The fourth study tested the efficacy of the pneumonia vaccine Ovipast Plus in preventing adverse subclinical effects using 9174 lambs in the North Island. Mortality was not assessed in this trial. The final study estimated the economic cost of pneumonia and pleurisy.

COSTLY COUGHS IN A mob of 500 lambs affected by pneumonia there would be two key costs. It would cost an extra $977 of feed to grow lambs from 30 to 37 kg LW, plus an additional loss of $2920 due to lamb carcases downgraded for pleurisy (based on an average $6.63/kg schedule). Instead of all lambs growing at 150g/day, 9% would be growing at only 75g/ day. Consequently, on average they would take 56 days to reach target weight instead of 47 days. In this time, they would eat an additional 6200kg of DM.

Key findings Slower weight gain The first study of 14 farms showed that pneumonia had a significant effect on lamb growth rate where more than 20% of the lung surface area was affected. The rate of weight gain was halved (i.e. affected sheep grew 50% slower). At the other end of the scale, there was no effect on weight gain if less than 5% of the lung surface

was affected. Usually more than 20% of the mob becomes affected The second study showed that the prevalence of lambs with chronic non-progressive pneumonia ranged from 0% to 100% per flock. On average, flocks had 24% of lambs affected. The number of flocks with some pneumonia present in the surveyed flocks ranged from 40% to 71%.

The region in which lambs were farmed did not significantly affect either the incidence or severity of pneumonia. There was more variation between mob within a flock than between flocks. In other words, flock level factors are more influential than a location of a particular farm. What onfarm factors are linked? The study of associations between pneumonia

and management showed that the factors below may be linked to pneumonia: • Shorn on the day of weaning (i.e. stress, crowding together). This had the most significant association. • Slaughtered late in season (increased time at risk or slow growth rate because of pneumonia). • From flocks where replacements are bred onfarm (increases number of lambs slaugh-

tered later in season, e.g. cull ewe lambs in late autumn and spring). • From larger flocks. • Lambs from stronger-wool type ewes (e.g. Romney in the Canterbury region). • From farms where lambs are purchased post-weaning (i.e. come into contact with affected animals). Other proposed risk factors include high temperature and humidity, crowding, stress, dust, TO PAGE 33

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Tight BCS spread ideal SUDESH KISSUN

ACHIEVING AN average body condition score (BCS) of 5.0 across a herd before mating isn’t all that useful, says vet Danielle Hawkins, Vetora. Farmers should instead aim for a “nice tight spread” of BCS in the herd, she told a Smaller Milk and Supply Herds (SMASH) field day at Te Awamutu in mid March. Hawkins said a good average BCS can still be a problem. “Because

you may have an average score of 5.0 [you may feel] like a hero, but if there’s a whole group of cows [about] BCS 3.0 it is still a disaster. “What you want is a nice tight spread, and a better target is to have no more than 15% of the cows being too light. This would be better than that an average score of 5.0; on average that’s the middle cow score so you would have half the mob below the score and the other half above and it’s not all that flash.

“So, no more than 15% under BCS 5.0 is a better thing to work on.” About 70 farmers turned up at the SMASH field day at the Rogers Charitable Trust Farm. The 52ha-effective farm milks 190 cows and hopes to produce 74,000kgMS this season. Production this season is

expected to top 389kgMS/ cow. Feed includes silage, palm kernel expeller and some home-grown chicory. Farmers at the field day got a chance to assess the BCS of a group of cows from the herd. Hawkins told farmers they must look at the whole cow carefully to

work out its BCS. “Don’t just look at the ribs or the bums but scan the top of the cow and get a better average score,” she said. She emphasised that the BCS among first or second calvers should be 5.5 as they are “low in the pecking order and most vulnerable”.

Vet Danielle Hawkins assesses the BSC of cows at the SMASH field day at Te Awamutu in mid March.


excessive exercise, poor ventilation, low immunity and high loads of parasites. Vaccine study The efficacy of the only vaccine commercially available at that time was tested on 9174 lambs. The lambs were grazed on seven commercial farms in the North Island. The vaccine (Ovipast Plus) did not reduce the extent of pneumonic lesions. It also did not prevent a reduction of lambs’ average daily live weight gains (ADG) caused by pneumonia. No comment can be made on the effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing mortality. Recent research and initiatives Studies of novel and improved vaccines have been ongoing in NZ since 2014. AgResearch has ongoing studies on the nature of disease-causing agents and a programme for development of suitable vaccine products. Collaboration between AgResearch and MSD Animal Health has involved running field trials evaluating a Mannheimia haemolytica vaccine with vaccination of both ewes and lambs, or lambs alone. Indications are that vaccination of ewes and their lambs has greater benefit than vaccination of lambs alone. Further studies are underway with multivalent vaccines containing both M. haemolytica and Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae strains. There are no vaccines for sheep pneumonia licensed for use in New Zealand. Onfarm management Prevention is the best management tool. A healthy animal that has adequate nutrition, up-todate animal health and minimal stressors is less likely to develop the disease. • Keep the time of yarding lambs to a minimum. • Small mob sizes to reduce animal stress and dust inhalation. • Avoid shearing lambs at the same time as weaning. • Try to minimise stock movement at middle of day when dust levels are highest and avoid long-distance movements where practical. • Try to reduce the extent and duration of openmouth panting when mustering and droving lambs; satellite yards to reduce long-distance movement; reducing pressure on lambs when droving; laneways to allow lambs to drift at their own pace. • Beef + Lamb NZ was the source of this information. For more go to: PDF/pneumonia-sheep

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*WHILE STOCKS LAST. ACTUAL DESIGN SUBJECT TO AVAILABLITIY. PROMOTION ENDS 26/04/19. Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health New Zealand Limited. Level 3, 2 Osterley Way, Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand | ARREST®, ECLIPSE®, EPRINEX®, EXODUS®, GENESIS®, IVOMEC®, MATRIX® & SWITCH® are registered trademarks of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group. Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act. 1997 | No’s. A7290, A9270, A10640, A11151, A7191, A10222, A9888, A7353, A9222, A6481, A10131, A10274, A11138 | ©Copyright 2018 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health NZ Ltd. All rights reserved. NZ-19-BAH-001.



Smoother than a Hollywood star! MARK DANIEL

WHILE 2018 heralded the arrival of the longawaited Mercedes X-Class ute, early 2019 brought with it the cream of the crop – the V6-engine X350. Dominating visually

with its large muscular engine hood and broad front grille, the X350 certainly looks the part. But more compelling, if you have a premium ute on your wish or shopping list, is the driving experience. Measured power delivery and a smooth -George Clooney smooth

-- transmission make this vehicle a terrific choice. Under that bulging hood sits Mercedes’ OM642, 6-cylinder 3.0L turbo unit, pushing out a class-leading 190kW (255hp) and a useful 550kW torque. This leads the move from Nissan underpinnings, as does

the fitment of a Mercedes 7G-TronicPlus 7-speed transmission with selectable dynamic driving modes including eco, comfort, sport manual with paddle shifters and off-road modes. The driveline is also configured to deliver the 4-Matic, full-time 4WD, and there’s the additional choice of low range 4WD and rear diff lock that nods towards the vehicle’s capabilities off-road. That ability is enhanced by a 222mm ground clearance, downhill speed regulation and a tyre monitoring system. Out on the road, in this case around rural Waikato and a dash up the Coromandel Peninsula to the excellent Leadfoot Festival, the X350 was certainly easy to live with. The robust ladder chassis and multi-link suspension with rear coil springs imparts a more SUV-type ride, not surprising when you hear that much of the driveline is taken from the maker’s GL Series. Suspension settings keep things firm, with little or no body roll, and the fulltime 4WD set-up means that even when driven with gusto you take the bends in a predictable

The Mercedes V6 ute X350’s driving experience is a combination of power and smooth delivery.

manner with no deviation from the chosen path. The combination of 190kW, seven speeds and 0-100km/h in 7.9 secs means drivers who wishing to push on won’t be disappointed – especially if the sport mode is selected, making it easy to eat up the kilometres. In the background, safety features like lane keep assist, autonomous cruise control, active brake assist and – if required – speed regulation make the operator feel safe. So do the excellent 360-degree camera system, seven airbags and a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. For drivers looking to combine work and play


there yet?’ enquiries. The front seating is a well-upholstered pew offering plenty of support and lots of adjustment, with plenty of room in the rear for children and adults. Leather trim adds to the experience if you’ve ticked the options box, with an overall cabin experience that can only impress with its overall fit and finish. Depending on the trim level – or the option boxes ticked – there’s Thermotronic automated climate control, keyless entry, running boards, sports mouldings on the rear well-deck and a choice of alloy wheels.

there’s 3.5 tonne towing capacity and a one tonne rear tray rating, with a load area dimensioned to easily receive a standard Euro pallet. When the wife and kids are aboard for the weekend they shouldn’t have much to complain about either. In the centre dashboard an 8.4-inch infotainment system offers sound, navigation and vehicle settings, accessed from the multi-function steering wheel or a dial ahead of the centre armrest, although the latter is really an acquired taste. Throughout the cabin, 12V power and USB ports offer a connection to the outside digital world and should stop any ‘are we


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Seed drill brings air to the mix

WELL KNOWN for its NZ-made range of seed drills, Duncan Ag has recently launched the Enviro ATD30 heavyduty, triple disc drill with a pneumatic delivery system. With a frame made from 150 x 150mm section steel, the unit weighs about seven tonnes so shouldn’t have problems penetrating in tough conditions. Connection to the tractor is by a heavy-duty cross shaft connecting to the lower links and incorporating an over-dimensioned swivel joint. Power requirement is 160-220hp depending on operating conditions and terrain. A secondary frame above the drawbar area carries twin 1300L seed and fertiliser hoppers. Ahead of this sits the hydraulically driven air fan and oil cooler package. The twin tank layout also offers the ability to use the drill in a seed-only configuration, achieved easily by running the metering system at a half rate setting. That metering system is powered electrically and uses hardware from Amazone, with interchangeable metering cartridges to achieve seed/fertiliser rates from 0.8 to 300kgs/ ha. Calibration is done by fitting seed trays beneath the metering units, weighing the contents and

main drilling operation. The upper frame is also configured to accept an optional hydraulic crane for bulk filling. The Enviro ATD is available in a 3m working width, with the option

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HEADER Ferist et quati aut pedici te vollab imod quamet atur soleniet quiatibu. PAGE 23


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Stainless steel floor so it won’t rust or be affected by UV light.

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inputting the results to an Artemis RDS controller that adjusts automatically to achieve the target seed rate. From the metering units, material is transported by air via large diameter piping to twin distribution heads mounted high on the rear frame to ensure pipe runs to the seeding element are straight, so eliminating the risk of blockages. Machine control can also be done with an optional ISOBUS control system if required. The drilling module of the new Enviro sees a 406mm diameter wavyedged ‘turbo’ disc up front. This is followed by twin 400mm diameter discs that form a neat, V-shaped slot into which the seed is deposited. The double disc system is suspended in a parallelogram linkage with individual adjustment giving up to 120kg downward pressure. Seeding discs are followed by an adjustable rubber press wheel that pushes the seed to the bottom of the cut to ensure good soil-to-seed contact and promote even germination. The twin hopper layout is accessed by ladder to a loading / inspection platform that can be optionally extended to access the third and fourth hopper areas. These secondary hoppers sit rearwards of the main tanks and can broadcast small seeds or slug baits during the




Delivering big tractor performance tractors under the Massey Ferguson banner. “Redesigned styling, functionality and control placement will make the new MF GC series easy to own and a pleasure to operate,” says Simon Van Kruining, product manager for MF compact tractors. “There are specification options to


MASSEY FERGUSON has launched new models in its MF GC1700 series sub-compact range. This sees the previous MFGC 1705, 1715 and 1720 models replaced by the MF GC 1723E and 1725M models, with similar styling to the larger

suit most users, which will make them ideal for grounds-care and farm work, whether the job is commercial or residential.” The GC1700 series sub-compact tractors are powered by fuel-efficient, 3-cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engines of 23 or 25hp and high torque. A functional, solid metal

MF’s newly announced GC1700 Series sub-compact range will feature similar styling to the larger tractors under the Massey Ferguson banner.

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lower revs to help reduce vibration and noise while improving engine life and reducing fuel consumption. The radiator and radiator fan are located behind the engine, pulling hot air away from the operator and keeping both the operator and engine cooler. The tractors’ tworange hydrostatic transmission allow speeds variable in each range. Hydrostatic foot pedals are located on the right side of the platform, with the brake pedal on the left side. The foot pedals are spring -loaded, returning to a neutral position when released; cruise control is located on the front dash panel and engaged by a single push once the

desired speed is reached. A wide -open, clutter-free platform with an all new flat floor design allows the operator to move on and off the tractor with ease and offers plenty of space for natural leg movement. A new ergonomically designed seat has armrests with adjustment for improved driving comfort. The adjustable tilt steering column allows for ideal positioning of the wheel to match the height and preference of the operator. To the right side of the front console, the hydraulic joystick puts the control lever within easy reach of the operator and uses a refined linkage to provide smoother

operation and less arm movement for the user. A safety lockout lever prevents the operator from bumping the joystick or operating the hydraulics when in the locked position. A loader quick-attach design allows the operator to easily remove each attachment as necessary. An optional frontloader is tailored for high performance, and an optional 54” mowing deck cuts finely. The MF GC 1725M model can also be fitted with a quick-attach, selfstanding backhoe whose boom float feature makes it easy to position the bucket to, say, create an even floor bed in a cut or grade smoothly when backfilling.

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GLOBAL AG machinery maker Claas has reported a 3.4% increase in sales to a record 3.89 billion euros (NZ$6.47b). Its results improved in the core markets Germany, France, UK and North America, offset by lower revenue in Eastern Europe and China. Operating profit before tax increased 22.8% to 226m euros (NZ$442m). It spent 233 million euros (NZ$387m) – equivalent to 6% of its turnover – on R&D during the year. Started in 1913, the family-owned company employs 11,000 people worldwide. During the year it modernised its tractor plant line in Le Mans, France, expanded its parts storage and distribution centre at Hamm, Germany and built new distribution centres in the UK and France. In Germany, the Krone Group’s agricultural machinery division in the 2017-2018 financial year had turnover of €642.3m -- up 10.2% on 2016-17. The home market accounted for 30% of sales, and it enjoyed growth in western Europe (+2%), eastern Europe (+1.5%), north America 11.9% and all other countries 12.0%. Total group turnover for 2017-2018 rose to a record €2.1b. Krone says it spent €67m improving its factories and products, mostly in the commercial trailer division, e.g. a new €40m cathodic dip-painting and powder-coating facility for trailer chassis and semi-trailers at the Werlte site.



Farming System technology; with its New Holland sibling it appeared briefly at the World Ag Expo and National Farm Machinery Shows in the US, leaving groupies gagging for more details. Details are still scarce but it seems there’s a redesigned hood with a grille from the 2016 autonomous tractor; otherwise engines are retained in 6.7L and 8.7L capacities from the inhouse supplier FPT, and the same CVT and Powershift transmissions remain unaltered across the entire range. But the tractor is said to be packed with the


HEAVY METAL fans in the US are getting a glimpse of new tractors from Case IH and New Holland. Those with a foot in the maroon Case IH camp will lean towards the Magnum, while those who prefer blue will favour New Holland’s T8 range. Both tractors had the wraps pulled off and quickly pulled back on in recent weeks. The latest Magnum, at this stage unimaginatively dubbed the AFS Connect Magnum is a nod to the company’s Advanced

latest technology, most of it integrated into a new cab design, notably with four pillars instead of the current five and electronically controlled rearview mirrors. Expect to see improved heating and cooling systems, a hightech 40-degree swivel seat, more storage compartments and data sockets and, of course, more cup holders. Trim will be available in three different levels. On the tech front, a 12-inch Pro 1200 screen becomes standard, replacing the current Pro 700 offering. Also there’s a refined MultiControl


armrest with eight control buttons, a MultiFunction handle with four programmable hot key buttons and an encoder knob for full control at the operator’s fingertips. The new touchscreen is said to be tablet-like to operate, with a maximum of only three menu pages to enable all machine

6-SERIES 130-140HP


operation and guidance functions. A new A-pillar design will have a more logical colour layout for temperature, fluid levels, speed pre-sets and warning information. The company says the general layout and displays will be familiar to current users but will contain enough new

content to keep younger generations interested, including mobile phone integration into the touch screen display. The 12-inch screen can also have up to four camera feeds, one of which will come from a forward-facing unit mounted above the front grille. As for built-in technol-

ogy, the AFS Vector Pro receiver will be integrated into the cabin roof. It will allow dealer service technicians to remotely look at tractor systems and parameters to diagnose faults before visiting the farm. Likewise, technicians will be able to update tractor software without needing to visit.






Red and blue heavy hitters on the horizon

The latest Case Magnum alongside its New Holland sibling made brief appearances at the World Ag Expo and The National Farm Machinery Shows in the US recently.

• All new heavy-duty four cylinder tractor range • Industry leading 120 L/min CCLS hydraulic system • Front and cab suspension provides a premium driving experience • 60x60 transmission with 17 core gears across key working speeds ensures you’re always in the right gear for the application • Long wheel base and true 4WD braking gives excellent stability and traction • Electronic remotes – flow and time control for ease of use when working Be the first to see this innovative new tractor by calling your local Power Farming dealership today to book your demo. Be as impressed as we are and see for yourself why this tractor is set to change the heavy-duty 4-cylinder tractor market.










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14 Sept to 3 Oct 2019

Join me on this personally


principle of yin and yang is applied in composing each meal. You will not only get to enjoy many delightful meals, dine in some truly stunning restaurants, and experience Vietnam’s street food culture (considered the best in the world), but you will also have the opportunity to learn to cook some of the amazing dishes. Cambodia is the poorest country in Asia but has one of the fastest growing economies and has become hugely popular with tourists. The food is light, tasty, and

very healthy, with the national dish fish amok, a sublime creamy fish curry steamed in banana leaves, a must taste experience. Fresh herbs and spices, together with dried fish and noodles form the signature of this delicious cuisine. Vietnamese culture is an eclectic mix of Chinese, Japanese, French, and American colonial influences, which makes for a very lively and colourful people, who have as their core values: humanity, community, harmony, and family. It is a rich, vibrant culture with many festivals and unique customs. Cambodia is old; inhabited as early as 4,000BC. It is so old, laser technology has only recently discovered several cities up to 1,400 years old buried beneath tropical forests.

• Lightweight, easy to install • Made from polyethylene

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

FREE Freight

$1300 inc GST



0800 625 826

for your nearest stockist

Joiners supplied FREE with culvert pipes


RURAL TRADER 43 CRAIGCO SENSOR JET • Robust construction • Auto shut gate • Total 20 jets • Lambs only 5 jets • Side jets for lice • Adjustable V panels • Davey Twin Impellor Pump • 6.5 or 9.0hp motors



Rubber Safety Matting • ATV Carrier Mats • Exit/Entry Areas • Calf Trailers • Horse Floats & Trucks • Weigh Platforms • Bale Mats • Comfort Mats for Wet & Dry Areas • Utility Deck Matting

Phone: 0800 80 8570

PH 06-835 6863 • MOB 021-061 1800 JETTER VIDEO:

The Spreader Specialists Walco Have the Spreader to suit YOUR Needs

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

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

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

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

FLY OR LICE PROBLEMS? The magic eye sheepjetter since 1989

Quality construction and options • Get the contractors choice Featuring...

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

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

07 573 8512 | –


Free Range & Barn Eggs

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

Helping Farmers Boost Production Made in New Zealand


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


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

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

A trusted name in Poultry Industry for over 50 years


GST $850 incl

incl GST

Phone 0800 625 826

Hard wearing seat protection



new BUFFALO Boots! NEW GUMBOOTS! lace up


valued at $320

STEEL TOE (with Scuff Guard)


PLAIN TOE (without Scuff Guard)


sold out of size: 12


$128 valued at $280


0800 16 00 24

Perfect Mid Height

STEEL TOE (with Scuff Guard)

Gumboots will be made to Order Order now for June delivery

sold out of size: 7

PLAIN TOE (without Scuff Guard)

Wide Fit 175% more crack resistant leather


valued at $120

UV Resistant RUBBER Cotton Canvas Lining

Scuff Guard with Kevlar stitching

100% Waterproof Durable Seams Acid Resistant


steel TOE $50 valued at $120

Buffalo Leather - Dark Brown Soles stitched on through tread



plain TOE



JACKET Sizing for these is the same as NZ WORKboot sizing (not NZ gumboot sizing). Available in sizes 7-12.


Sizing for these is the same as NZ womens GUMboot sizing. Available in womens size 5, 6 ,7 8. (plain toe)

earthwalk, r d 2, palmerston north please add $12 freight per order


valued at $230 sold out of size: S, 2XL 3XL



valued at $160 sold out of size: 3XL

sizes: BOOTS 7 - 13 (NZ)



valued at $145 sold out of size: S



Delivering co-operative value





per tonne

EARLY INTERIM CASH REBATE, PAID JUNE 2019 Pictured: Shane Kelly, GM Dairy, Ngāi Tahu Farming with Senior Agri Manager Sonya Perkin

Together, we’re working to help you optimise value from the land and reduce environmental impact. For the fourth year running, your co-operative is returning an early interim cash rebate. Giving you the confidence to responsibly apply nutrients, for the benefit of your farming business. Call the Customer Centre or speak with your agri manager. *Paid early June on eligible solid NPKS fertiliser dispatched between 01/06/18 and 31/05/19. Terms of Trade apply.

Smarter farming for a better New Zealand® 0800 100 123

Profile for Rural News Group

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