Page 1

MANAGEMENT

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

NEWS

Not so Horrible on the Mount for family business.

Crop planting and regrassing for all types of situations.

Fed Farmers – politicians gun reforms misfire. PAGE 5

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TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS APRIL 16, 2019: ISSUE 674 

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Climate change risk PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

AGRICULTURE MINISTER Damien O’Connor has warned farmers that if they don’t take account of climate change in their production systems they could be jeopardising access to major markets. He says customers worldwide expect producers to look at the implications of climate change. If they fail in this NZ could face more trade barriers in negotiations with the EU and UK especially. “They are expecting us to be part of the climate change movement,” he told the Agricultural Climate Change conference in Palmerston North last week. Farmers may not always get an extra dollar for doing this but must make some changes to be allowed to

keep operating. However some of the changes may see farmers get paid more for the value they offer. O’Connor concedes that some farmers find dealing with greenhouse gas issues scary, as do many people. “Farmers are dealing day to day with climatic issues and uncertain pricing; so to add another layer of complexity with climate change obligations is a big concern. But we have to address that, giving farmers clear honest signals and

then offering them pathways to try to address these things.” O’Connor says farmers have been receiving confusing signals, but there are many young farmers out there, and older ones, who get it. “They just want to know what they have to do to meet the obligations and they must get the clarity they seek via guidelines and advice.” It’s important to ensure that if farmers make change they will be heading

in the right direction, O’Connor says. “We can’t expect them to keep chopping and changing on the basis of different science or different levels of knowledge.” It’s important to make the Emissions Trading Scheme work for farmers, he says. “It may not be simple but it has to be workable and pragmatic with better outcomes.” • See pp 6-7

Huge turnout Whangara Farm chair Ingrid Collins says she was “blown away” by the 250 visitors to their property, a finalist in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Maori sheep and beef farm, earlier this month. Whangara Farms is 8500ha, 35km north of Gisborne running 45,000 sheep and 6000 cattle and employing 17 full time staff. It is a partnership of three Māori incorporations – Whangara B5, Pakarae A and Tapuwae Whitiwhiti. Field day visitors were welcomed at the local marae located 100m from the beautiful East Coast beach where the movie Whale Rider was filmed. After the welcome, a convoy of 4WD vehicles took guests on a tour of some key parts of the farm where they saw prize Angus cows and the farm’s Romney sheep. • See more from the field day on page 16 and the farm’s partnership with McDonalds on page 22.

LOCK THEM UP! THE AUSTRALIAN government is promising tougher sanctions against animal activists. Attorney-General Christian Porter last week announced a new law to deal with the threat posed by animal activist groups like Aussie Farms, which publishes an interactive map with the locations of hundreds of rural properties countrywide including livestock farms, meat works and dairy factories. The government, facing an uphill battle for re-election next month, has pledged to create a new offence with up to 12 months jail time for people who use a carriage service, such as the internet, to disclose personal information and incite others to trespass on farmland and livestock facilities. “We have seen with Aussie Farms the malicious use of personal information, including farmers’ names, addresses and workplaces, designed specifically to encourage others to trespass on properties and damage businesses,” Porter said. Deputy Prime Minister and National’s leader Michael McCormack pledged the Federal Coalition would introduce the legislation if they formed government after the election. McCormack said militant activists should be punished with jail time. “They tie themselves to milking machines, tractors and other farm equipment but... they should actually be locked up for a good time to serve as a lesson to others not to do the same thing.”

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

NEWS 3

Lamb prices hold firm

ISSUE 674

www.ruralnews.co.nz

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NEWS�������������������������������������1-20 AGRIBUSINESS���������������22-23 MARKETS������������������������� 24-25 HOUND, EDNA���������������������� 26 CONTACTS����������������������������� 26 OPINION��������������������������� 26-29 MANAGEMENT��������������� 30-31 ANIMAL HEALTH������������32-33 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS���������������������� 34-38 RURAL TRADER�������������39-40

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LAMB PRICES have held up at much stronger levels than expected, says ANZ’s agricultural economist Susan Kilsby. The going rate is about $7/kg in the North Island and $6.60/kg in the South Island, depending on the processor. “Generally at this time of the year we would be seeing a lack of space at the processors and they would pay a little less for lamb,” she told Rural News. “But this year the lambs have been slower coming through. And the strong international market has allowed the processors to keep prices strong.” ANZ’s March Agri Focus report says the number of lambs processed from the beginning of October until the end of February was 460,000 fewer than at the same time last season. Throughput during that time was particularly low in the South Island, where it was 9% behind. In the North Island numbers are running about 1% behind, with

Lamb prices have held up at much stronger levels than expected.

processing catching up only recently, but not a lot. “We certainly haven’t seen the chains running at full capacity like we have in other years, or any backlog. Right through, farmers have been able to get lambs away as they’ve wanted to,” she added. “We had good growing conditions earlier in the year and farmers have held onto lambs so the average processing weight has been 18.8kg rather

than 17.9kg which is pretty significant.” But there’s no improvement on the horizon for coarse wool though. “I am sure at some stage someone will come up with a great use for it and the markets will improve but certainly there’s no light in the short term,” says Kilsby. “But at the moment the lamb returns are so strong that is outweighing the negativity in the wool sector to a great degree. As for farmers who

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TAX IMPLICATIONS for farmers receiving big Mycoplasma bovis compensation payments is one of the issues farmers are raising in meetings now underway NZ-wide. The MPI-organised meetings include public and closed-door, daylong sessions with affected farmers, described by one MPI staffer as “robust”. Speaking to Rural News after the farmers’ session in Ashburton, MPI’s director of response Geoff Gwyn

Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print CONTACTS Editorial: editor@ruralnews.co.nz Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: subsrndn@ruralnews.co.nz ABC audited circulation 79,599 as at 30.09.2018

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acknowledged some anger from the affected farmers but said it was a “mixed bag”. “Some farmers are standing up and saying this has been the worst experience of their life and they have real examples of it not having worked well for them,” he conceded. “Then there’ve been other farmers who say ‘actually this was difficult at the time, but it went quite smoothly for me’.” Gwyn says one issue not previously considered in any detail was the

tax implications for farmers getting compensation. He says MPI’s advice had always been to talk to Inland Revenue. “Farmers are more interested in some sort of formal position by Inland Revenue so I’ll be talking to my IRD colleagues about what we can do in that space.” Gwyn says their aim in the meetings is to listen to farmers to understand how the experience is affecting them and make the process as easy as possible. “We receive feedback from the

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farmers on how this process can be better and we make changes to reflect that. [It may be] how we better support them in welfare and recovery, or how we give them more certainty on testing timeframes, which is difficult,” he told Rural News. Gwyn told the meeting that everyone involved in the decision to go for eradication knew it was “a bit of a punt”, but it was the only chance the country had.

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are more reliant on wool – your finer wool producers’ wool [prices] have held up much better than the coarse wool prices.” The beef processing volumes are starting to rise as they typically do at this time of year, she says. “The dry weather spurred that along. “The markets are doing pretty well and it’s China that is helping that out. Normally we are sending most of our poorer quality manufacturing beef through to the United States whereas this year there has been stronger demand for that meat as well from China. That means we are sending less to the US which has helped keep US prices strong and we’re also getting returns from China.” It’s a positive for the industry to diversify a bit more away from the US market we have always relied on heavily, she said. Horticulture is still the industry with good growth expectations in general, says Kilsby. A lot of the crops are being harvested now: apples are virtually finished and kiwifruit is going strong.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

4 NEWS

Rewards for top quality milk

FARMER FORUMS KICK-OFF

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

FARMERS WHO supply high quality and safe milk to Fonterra will now be recognised by the co-op. Its new programme The Cooperative Difference will award farmers plaques, certificates and publicity in the co-op’s publications. However, it isn’t offering extra payments for top quality milk. Fonterra is also signalling a tougher stance on farmers who persistently fail to meet minimum standards of sustainability. The co-op says through the new programme it plans to become more sustainable in five key areas: environment, animals, milk, people and communities, and co-op and prosperity. The new initiative stems from strategy, now being developed by the board and management, that will put sustainability at the heart of everything the co-op does, empowering it to maximise its New Zealand heritage and uniqueness and remain globally competitive. Full details of The Cooperative Difference programme will be announced at the MyConnect conference in Dunedin next month. Fonterra cooperative affairs managing director Mike Cronin says sustainability for the co-op is about more than the environment. “It’s about looking after our people, caring for animals, adapting

to changing customer and consumer expectations, and respecting the communities and land where we live and

MAKING A DIFFERENCE THE COOPERATIVE Difference will support Fonterra’s new strategy by: ●● Recognising farmers who go beyond the minimum requirements to supply high-quality milk, care for their animals, protect the environment, support their people and community, and engage in their co-operative ●● Helping other farmers follow suit by making existing onfarm requirements easier to understand and by providing tailored, industry-leading support services to those who want to improve ●● Providing more information and advance notice to farmers about the co-op’s aspirations so they can plan and progress towards shared ambitions ●● Streamlining reporting and auditing to save farmers time and energy, and help the co-op protect its market position, strengthen its sustainability claims and drive demand for products that customers and consumers value most ●● Supporting farmers wanting to improve, while taking a firmer line with those who persistently fail to meet minimum standards, and exercising our rights to suspend collection.

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work. “We are proud of the global reputation Fonterra farmers have for producing high quality milk. Farmers have made tremendous progress onfarm to date and The Co-operative Difference will help us take that good work to the next level so we can continue to create goodness for generations to come.” For milk suppliers, a clearer edition of the co-op’s Terms of Supply and Farmers’ Handbook will be delivered in time for the 2019-20 season, outlining the minimum requirements onfarm. “We will streamline processes for managing non-compliance and ensure farmers are adequately supported in minor non-compliance issues,” the co-op says. The existing demerit scheme for milk quality issues, the liquidated

damages regime and a number of issue-specific consequences for failing to meet required standards will remain in place. “The co-op will take a firmer line with [farmers who] persistently fail to meet minimum standards, ultimately suspending collection when justified,” it says. Cronin says consumers and customers increasingly want to know that their food choices support a sustainable future. “How we farm and make our products needs to reflect these aspirations so we can remain a globally competitive NZ cooperative,” he said. “Our cooperative’s strong dairy heritage and pasture-based system separates us from the pack, but we must continue to earn our customers’ and consumers’ trust and loyalty,” says Cronin.

DAIRYNZ FARMERS’ Forums start next week with dairy’s future and opportunities heading the agenda. The forum’s theme is ‘Future perspectives’ – local and global impact. DairyNZ says speakers will explain developments in New Zealand and overseas, how they may impact local farmers and how farmers can prepare with confidence. Each year the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forums alternate between a national event and regional events; six forums will be held NZ-wide for the next six weeks. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor will speak at two of the six forums – Timaru (by video-conference) and Westport. The Timaru event is the first one, on April 17. Keynote speakers will vary with locality. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones will speak at the Whangarei forum. Other keynote speakers are Massey University professor of farm and agribusiness management professor Nicola Shadbolt, NZ special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen, DairyNZ principal economist Graeme Doole and NZX Ltd head of analytics Julia Jones. Other speakers at specific events include: • Jamie Fitzgerald, adventurer and member of the Institute of Directors will tell stories of bridging the gap between strategy, leadership and teams. • Robotics Plus Ltd chief executive Dr Matt Glenn will speak about developing robotic and automation solutions for global agriculture and horticulture. Workshops and science snapshots will show the latest R&D to help farmers improve how they farm. Topics include finding new traits to improve cow genetic merit for fertility, plantain-based pastures for production and environmental benefits, and ‘tightening up our belch’: how we’ll reduce methane emissions.  The forums will have information tailored for each region. They are free for levy-paying farmers and their staff. Register at dairynz.co.nz/farmersforum.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

NEWS 5

Politicians gun reforms misfire – Feds RURAL REPORTERS

POLITICIANS ARE accused of missing the target and badly letting farmers down over new gun law reforms. Federated Farmers says the Government has failed in its commitment to farmers to allow them access to the firearms they need to kill pests and so effectively control their spead. “We feel duped by this process,” Feds rural security spokesperson Miles Anderson told Rural News. “It is particularly galling when we were given assurances that there would be exemptions for those who needed them.” Anderson has taken aim at all the political parties in the process, but especially calling out National and NZ First politicians as real disappointments as the “purported representatives of rural NZ”. He is also highly scathing of the Greens. “I thought they were about protecting the environment. What a bunch of hypocrites.” The select committee – which only took two days to consider submissions on new gun legislation – has recommended that landowners, despite having big pest problems, be denied access to mili-

tary-type guns. “The whole select committee has shown both a lack of trust and a complete lack of understanding of the needs of the rural sector on this issue,” Anderson says. “We publicly backed the Government on this important issue from day one, based on the need to [have them] protect public safety and to ensure continuing access to the appropriate firearms for those who have demonstrated a genuine need.” However, Anderson says they have failed in this, causing him to ask whether the select committee process was just a PR exercise in which the politicians had already made up their minds before hearing the submissions. He says although he does not need militarytype weapons on his property, in common with other landowners, but they are a vital means of killing pests in the high country. Anderson explained that these type of guns are ideal for killing deer, tahr and goats – especially as a shooter may lose for opportunity for a kill if forced to often reload the kind of weapon the proposed new laws would restrict farmers to.

Fed’s rural security spokesman Miles Anderson.

“It is just nonsense to suggest that farmers will have to rely on contractors to control these pests when they are not around and are unlikely to be available when required,” he said. “Pests don’t wait around for contractors to turn up.” Anderson says there are 5 million hectares of privately owned high and hill country in NZ, and the proposed regulations would reduce these landowners to “the equivalent of painting the Auckland harbour bridge with a toothbrush”. He said farmers and landowners are more

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than ever being loaded with extra responsibility for looking after native biodiversity on their properties, while at the same time the Government is taking away one of the tools needed for the job. “We were astonished that the Department of Conservation (DoC), which constantly advocates for conservation on private land, appears to have simply looked after themselves when it comes to controlling pests that threaten NZ biodiversity,” he says. “Where were the agriculture, biosecurity, for-

estry, conservation and land information ministers when common sense was needed on this important issue?’’ Anderson accuses all these ministers and their departments of being missing in action. He also asks how the select committee could have deemed that DoC and regional council staff can be trusted with these firearms but not “a small number of carefully vetted private landowners”. “Farmers would like an explanation why a junior DoC field staffer on freely accessible

public land is somehow safer with these firearms than a landowner on thousands of hectares of a back-country station with strictly controlled access.’’ Anderson also asks how the proposed laws would prevent these types of weapons from falling into the wrong hands. “Instead of a limited number of rural landholders having these firearms locked away in a safe on the property where they will be used, we are being told that having people travelling the country with these

firearms in their vehicles and staying in temporary accommodation with no firearms security is a safer option. “It is completely illogical,” he says. Anderson says Federated Farmers is asking only that rural landowners – who can show a genuine need to use these firearms as part of their business – be eligible to apply for an exemption, just as will be provided for other professional firearms users in the Bill. “None of the changes we seek undermine public safety.” Police Minister Stuart Nash has claimed bowing to Federated Farmers demands would have opened a large loophole. “There is no doubt in the South Island that we have a pest problem. That’s why we’ve given an exemption to licenced and registered pest control organisations to go out and shoot these things. “If a group of farmers want to get together and perhaps form a pestcontrol business themselves, there’s nothing from stopping them from doing that.” However, Anderson criticised Nash’s comments about farmers setting up their own business as a “simplistic and naive response”.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

6 NEWS

What to do? PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

FARMERS ARE unsure about what they can and should do to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, says the director of the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Centre. Dr Harry Clark told the Agricultural Climate Change conference last week in Palmerston North that the broader rural professional sector lacks clear information, expertise and knowledge of GHGs. He attributes this partly to the greater emphasis on water issues in recent years, and now the focus must be on to GHGs. “Just as when the focus came on water there had to be a lot of upskilling by rural professionals and knowledge transfer on how to handle water,” he said. “We are now in the same position with GHGs. We need advice and knowledge, and I think we can catch up relatively quickly.” Clark says agricultural emissions are an extremely important issue for NZ. But we need to balance any

reduction in our emissions with our economic performance and consider what the impact that would be on the farming community. “How do we grapple with trying to get agriculture to reduce in the context of Dr Harry Clark maintaining a vibrant rural and national economy? That isn’t an easy balance to achieve,” he said. “There are many competing interests. We need to... grasp the opportunities and minimise the threats.” The dairy sector could reduce stocking rates but still maintain profitability and reduce GHG emissions, Clark says. “That would be the kind of winwin scenario we are looking for.” Many at the conference discussed farmers’ needs for financial incentives to enable them to make changes. One delegate claimed the best way to send messages to farm-

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ers is to write them on a cheque. But Clark says while financial incentives may be one way of changing farmer behaviour, another is the reality of the demands from discerning customers in some of NZ’s high value markets. “In international markets you have to meet certain environmental standards just to be in the marketplace – not necessarily to get a reward. But meeting those standards is critical for access to that market,” he told the conference. Clark says farmers must think carefully about the social licence to farm and must work within the social boundaries people find acceptable. These boundaries change and everyone works within a socially dynamic environment. “Farmers are under pressure from the broader NZ population to do their bit for climate change, so achieving this transcends just a simple profitability issue. It goes into what is acceptable in the general society,” he said. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

They are what they eat CAN CHANGING what New Zealand livestock eat reduce the country’s emissions of methane and nitrous oxide? Scientists are studying this as part of NZ’s aim to lower its greenhouse gas emissions to internationally agreed targets. To help people understand the complexities in reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, the farmersupported Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc) and NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) have published fact sheets including one on low greenhouse gas emitting feeds. Nearly 30 studies measuring methane emissions have been made of 17 different NZ feeds: pasture and various crops including brassicas, chicory, fodder beet, lucerne, maize and clovers. Only two had noteworthy impacts on methane emissions. Brassica rape was the crop most rigorously tested. Compared to a traditional ryegrass/ white clover pasture diet, a 100% brassica rape diet reduced emissions by an

average of 30%. Fodder beet was the other standout, although its impact on methane emissions was less dramatic and consistent. Trial results to date indicate it can reduce methane emissions by about 20%, but only when it makes up at least 70% of the diet. A potential issue with brassica rape and fodder beet is the amount of nitrous oxide emissions created through urine leaching in NZ’s typically wet winter soil. More work is needed to see whether the decreases in methane emissions from these crops are sufficient to offset increases in nitrous oxide emissions. Regardless, the research shows that large changes in diet are needed to effect much change in methane emissions from livestock. The researchers conclude that there are no definitive, easy or dramatic ways to reduce emissions through diet alone. Visit the PGgRC website to download a pdf of the fact sheet: http://www. pggrc.co.nz/


RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

NEWS 7

Agriculture’s wicked problem PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

A WICKED problem: that’s how the chief science advisor to the Ministry for Primary Industries describes the issue of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as they affect agriculture. Speaking at the NZ Agricultural Climate Change conference last week in Palmerston North, Dr John Roche said climate change is a wicked problem lacking a simple solution. He told 200 scientists, farmers, policy makers and rural professionals that while there are levers you can pull to solve the problem, doing so often has unintended, unwanted consequences elsewhere in the system. “There is not an easy solution. These are political, scientific, social, and ethical problems. All of these combine to be a complex problem without one simple solution,” he said. Roche says a mish-mash of information is available on climate change, some from people not qualified to speak on the subject. This confusion makes it hard for farmers to get to grips with the issue. And social media have advantages and disadvantages in

Dr John Roche

the climate change debate. NZ has a unique GHG footprint because our economy is primarily farming based, with about 50% of our GHG emissions coming from agriculture, Roche says. “In most developed countries agriculture would generate closer to 10% of their emissions. Their major GHGs

tend to be from industry or transport, for which there are solutions, e.g. alternative sources of power or electric vehicles, etc,” he said. “These are not simple solutions but they are solutions. Whereas with our agricultural emissions, especially methane from enteric rumen fermentation, we are dealing with 60 million

years of evolution.” This is a difficult problem because of the near impossible task of trying to fight nature. NZ scientists are trying to find solutions and are making progress on various fronts such as developing better genetics, breeding forages that reduce methane emissions, and vaccines and feed supplements that can make a difference. Roche says despite all the good work NZ is doing it still tends to give itself a bad rap. “I call it self-flagellation, whipping ourselves. We hold ourselves to the highest possible standard because we live in a lovely peaceful country free from political and social turmoil,” Roche says. “But we often don’t celebrate our successes and tend to be very critical of ourselves. Often we don’t put that criticism in the context of the wider world and [don’t] celebrate the things we do very well, such as producing milk and meat with relatively low carbon footprints. “We are not as bad as we think we are and we need to celebrate that and continue to do good work to improve further,” he says.

DON’T VILLIFY DAIRY, MEAT ROCHE SAYS in NZ and other countries some people vilify meat and dairy products. Various interest groups would like us to believe that these products are bad for us and that their production harms the environment. “NZ can’t ignore the fact that all food production has effects on the environment and as a country we are working hard to correct any negative effects. In government we are working to ensure that our regulations are suitable to allow our economy to grow while making sure our rivers and atmosphere are as clean as they can be,” he said. “The criticism of the effect of meat and dairy on human health also tends to be simplified, with comparisons of other diets often based very much on calories. But people need to look at the wholesome, high quality food we produce and eat a balanced diet.” As for dealing with agricultural GHG emissions, Roche insists there are no silver bullets coming soon. But several technologies are being worked on and if they come to fruition they could be change agents. He says NZ research into mitigating the ruminant animal problem is world class and capable of yielding a striking breakthrough.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

8 NEWS

Many heed call for banking reform DAVID ANDERSON

SUPPORT IS growing from farmers all around New Zealand for a petition currently before Parliament for a select committee inquiry into banks’ conduct. This follows a story that ran in Rural News on March 19, reporting on former Marlborough vineyard holder Lyn Berry, who blames the actions of a bank for the loss of her  vineyard. Berry started the petition and wants the inquiry to look at introducing laws to level the power imbalance between banks and farmers. Berry claims she lost her property because of unreasonable decisions made by her bank and is now reduced to living in a rented property in Wellington and relying on NZ Super to ‘scrape by’. Her petition has the support of long-time banking campaigner Gray Eatwell, who has fought for banking law reform since losing his farm 20 years ago and has even written a book on the subject. One of the farmers featured in Eatwell’s book was the late, great All Black legend Colin Meads who was caught up in interest rate

swap loans about the same time. Berry and Eatwell are hoping for changes in the NZ banking industry similar to those now happening in Australia following the recent Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Australia looks set to overhaul its farm debt mediation schemes to create a national scheme with big penalties for banks that try to avoid it, and to

put an onus on banks to offer mediation quickly. In his final report, commission chairman Kenneth Hayne said banks often treated mediation as nothing more than a step required in the process of issuing a final demand on farmers. He recommended that banks should ensure distressed farm loans are only managed by experienced agricultural bankers, and that farmers are offered farm debt mediation as soon as

a loan is classified as distressed. Hayne also suggests that banks should manage every distressed loan on the principle that working it out would be the best outcome for bank and borrower and enforcement the worst. “The outcome of the Australian Banking Commission saw banks ordered to give restitution to businesses and farms they treated unfairly,” Berry told Rural News. “We want the

findings of the Australian inquiry to be applied to NZ banks as they are the same banks.” Currently in Australia and Canada, banks must engage in mediation with farmers before calling in loans and putting farmers off their land. The process is designed to give farmers a voice, and to force banks to engage with them via mediation conducted by a neutral third party. A farm debt mediation bill modelled on the schemes in Australia and Canada and supported by Government and National MPs is expected to go to the Cabinet in May. Meanwhile, several farmers have contacted Rural News seeking more information on Berry’s petition since reading her story in the March 19 issue. Many of these farmers have shared similar stories and claim ill treatment by their banks. The petition now has at least 100 signatories. It closes on May 31, after which Parliament will decide if it will hold an inquiry or not. Those interested can look up the link to the petition on the parliamentary website: https://www.parliament.nz/ en/petitions/sign/PET_82596.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

NEWS 9

Truly outstanding in their fields PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

THE EAST Coast of the North Island features prominently in this year’s Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award for Sheep and Beef. Two of the three men work on farms on the East Coast, the others in the South Island. The three finalists were selected from entrants NZ-wide: Kristy Maria Roa, a shepherd on Iwinui Station near Tolaga Bay on the North Island East Coast; Tumoanakotore-IWhakairioratia (Tu) Harrison-Boyd, a shepherd at Whareopaia Station near Tolaga Bay on the East Coast; and Taane-nui-aRangi Rotoatara Hubbard a shepherd on Caberfeidh Station in the Hakataramea Valley near Kurow, northwest of Oamaru. The Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award, first held in 2012,

is designed to recognise talented up-and-coming young Māori farmers, to encourage young Māori to make farming a career, and to showcase to prospective employers the talent among Māori. The awards have always created interest within and outside te ao Māori and has given finalists and winners a huge sense of pride and achievement. All have gone on to greater things since winning. This award runs in tandem with the senior Ahuwhenua Trophy competition whose winner is announced during the Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards dinner, to be held in Gisborne on Friday 24. Lead judge Peter Little says it is never easy to select finalists given the pool of young Māori who, in a short time, have been making great progress in their farming careers. Little says the finalists’

training has helped them establish themselves in good jobs and provided an excellent platform to progress them to senior positions in the industry. He says the farming

sector needs talented, motivated young people and this award recognises their achievements and shows other young people the career opportunities in the primary sector.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

10 NEWS

More value and less focus on volume PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE FONTERRA board’s thinking is focused on value rather than volume as it has meets regularly to thrash out its new strategy, according to director Brent Goldsack. He says it still hurts to say the co-op lost $200 million last year. “Whatever we do as a board over the next few months will determine the future of our co-op for years and for our children and our children’s children,” he told the Northland Dairy Development Trust’s annual meeting in Whangarei earlier this month “So we don’t want to be rash on this. Some of us like speed… so we have to slow down, take a breath. “The decisions we make, they won’t be tampering at the edges. The directional thought on where we are heading today is clear but we need to understand why it is.” Goldsack points out that Fonterra board has

none of the directors who years ago decided on various business strategies, e.g. going into Chile and Sri Lanka in the 1970s, with their effects today on the New Zealand ‘bucket of milk’. He says the board will provide updates on strategy in May and hopefully about September they “can really start to say ‘here are some concrete things we are focused on in strategy’.” “We are a globally competitive NZ co-op. I don’t think we should lose sight of what a co-op means to us. Goldsack says it was “incredibly sad” to see what was happening at Westland. “Maybe it is the demise of another co-op where the profits do not reside in NZ but go offshore. “We all know that in Fonterra about 50% of our milk price gets spent in our local communities. And we should never underestimate that: the profit stays here.” Sustainability is at the

heart everything we do, he says. “This is the driver: why are we here, why do we do what we do, and the consumers -- what do they want, what are they demanding, what are they willing to pay for, where is the premium? “Sure we have 30-35% of the traded dairy in the world, but we are still relatively niche. People talk about whole milk powder being a commodity, but is it when we have 60-80% of what is traded? Skim is a commodity. “When we talk about proteins and whey protein concentrates – a few years ago we sprayed whey on paddocks, we fed it to pigs. Now we feed it to the Americans and they pay us a lot of money for it. “We convert that into very high quality product. The US is a very important market for us because, again, about 13-15% of our product goes there, but a disproportion of our profit comes out of that market because of the value they

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sometimes very important. “We have done some things incredibly well when you look at China and other markets and

the amount we’ve grown there and the amount of money we bring back to NZ both in profit and in particular in our milk price; we should never underestimate that.” Fonterra will prioritise NZ milk, Goldsack says. “NZ milk is valuable and I think you will see it become more and more valuable. The way in which we make our milk, the quality of our milk, the standards for it, are important for us. So the question is, how do we get the value for that? “But we are a globally competitive cooperative. Scale is important to us. We are very good traders.” When Fonterra has taken “whole buckets of milk offshore sometimes we have struggled and had volatility,” Goldsack says. The directors are looking at how to create value and bring it back to NZ from a portion of that bucket of milk -- “maybe in the proteins or fats, and using our expertise and technology, our logistical scale and our ability

to trade in 140 countries”. “If you build a valuable asset, maybe you sell it when the timing is right and bring that value home to NZ too.” The board is looking at simplifying the product range to focus on strengths. “We are good at ingredients, we are very good at proteins, we are good manufacturers, we are great at powders. The functionality of food and our products is important, it is where we get so much value.” The fact that a product works consistently every time is worth a lot of money to Fonterra’s big customers, says Goldsack. “Maybe that is why we get paid 15% more for our skim than our competitors do in Denmark or Holland; they are very good producers but we get paid roughly 15% more. That is worth more than 20 cents to us in our milk check -- the same as our earnings range this year.” @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

NEWS 11

Mixed signals – despite high prices SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

THE RURAL property market is lacking ‘zing’ despite high primary product prices and low interest rates, says BNZ’s agribusiness report Rural Wrap. It notes that primary product prices are buoyant: global dairy prices have cumulatively gained 27% since November last year and lamb prices in 2018-19 are tipped to average $7.50/kg, even higher than last season’s very strong $7.40/kg. Product prices are generally buoyant across the various primary industries at present, the report says. “Indeed, for many, prices are enjoying multiyear strength. Not only are many product prices above year-earlier levels but most are also above their five year average. “The recent gains and level of prices are helping underpin generally positive revenues within the primary sector.” The official cash rate remains at a record low of 1.75%. BNZ says the combination of buoyant product prices and low interest rates is often fertile ground for farm investment and an active rural property market. However, current indicators on those are mixed. “The rural property market is one that appears to lack ‘zing’.

Sure there will always be variation across regions, industries and grades of properties but, in general, given the product price and interest rate backdrop the property market tone has been rather subdued.” According to the Real Estate Institute of NZ, the average farm sale price in the year to February 2019 was nearly 8% below the previous year. But this measure can be highly influenced by the characteristics of the particular properties sold. The REINZ farm price index, which attempts to account for different farm characteristics, is nearly 4% higher than a year ago, the bank notes. “To us, the latter is a better measure. In any case, it is always difficult to generalise about property prices across the rural market given the diverse features of individual properties. “No doubt the performance of individual sectors and regions will vary – potentially by a lot – from the national average figure.” The number of transactions clarifies details: REINZ’s statistics show just over 1470 rural properties sold in the year to February 2019 -- 3.5% fewer than in the same period a year ago, which was itself down nearly 14% on the year before that. Sales over the past year were 23% lower than

PRICES RISE ON SOLID DEMAND GLOBAL DAIRY prices have recovered strongly with a cumulative 27% gain since November’s low, says BNZ’s Rural Wrap. Solid demand has bumped up against tight supply. Poor weather has affected production in NZ, Australia and the EU. The 2018-19 milk price looks likely to finish in the top half of Fonterra’s forecast $6.30 - $6.60/kgMS range, the bank says. “Our point forecast is $6.50/kgMS. “Current market conditions give optimism for a high next season. But we are wary of heightened international economic uncertainty and the possibility that the intensity of the current milk supply squeeze will fade.” The bank is forecasting a $6.70/kgMS opening forecast for the next season, based on lower international prices.

their most recent peak in 2014, with obvious weakness in dairy but strength in finishing properties. On the five year average the bank comments that property transac-

tions are 14% lower, and primary product prices are nearly 10% higher, “[seemingly] a reasonable difference, especially with the added context of low interest rates”.

Farm sales are subdued despite high returns in dairy and meat.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

12 NEWS

DIRA changes are coming PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

THE REFORM of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) need not be radical but there will be some changes, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has indicated. “Fonterra is the biggest and best company we have in this country and the DIRA review underway is a really important one,” he told the Northland Dairy Development Trust annual general meeting. O’Connor claimed the previous government had done a review and almost got to the point of passing legislation, but “chickened out at the last minute” so the review was left ‘sitting on the table’ during the last election. “I have taken... a fresh look at everything in dairy and how DIRA affects both Fonterra and the wider consumer and international market. “We are [near to] getting feedback and advice from officials [who have] listened to people all over the country. I’d say it is balanced feedback and we will be making decisions on what that might mean. “Key issues are open entry, open exit

Damien O’Connor

and then the provision of milk for competing companies and how to set the milk price. “I am not convinced there needs to be radical reform but there needs to be change [to protect] Fonterra’s position as the biggest company we have on the international market [and to protect] farmers’ rights [and ensure] that consumers are getting a fair go. “You will certainly hear about it and have an opportunity to submit on the changes when we decide the direction of travel in that area.”

O’Connor spoke by Skype because Parliament was reaching the final stages of the Budget process in which some of his bids for funding were under discussion. He said the result was positive and told farmers “hopefully that will be good news for you on Budget day”. “We are rolling out a real big budget and that will not be just about the social side but the income-generation side as well -- on sustainable use of land.” Issues of water quality, land use, nitrate leaching and sustainable forestry planting are at the forefront of

MPs’ thinking. Through MPI O’Connor is aiming to get a template for a farm management plan that would help farmers to meet all the basic requirements imposed by regional councils on nitrate leaching, water quality, water safety and biosecurity. “And there are many other issues -- you would say burdensome or challenging issues -- in being farmers in a new and emerging international environment”. O’Connor says he knows farmers’ concerns about regulation and pending legislation. “We don’t want to impose anything we don’t think is absolutely necessary. [But] international trends mean consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and the ones who can afford to pay for our high value products want to know that we are doing everything in an ethical and sustainable way.” Hence the need to prove good environmental management, labour standards, animal welfare and food safety standards, he says. A lot of his efforts as minister are to get enough resources to move farming forward to meet those increasing international requirements.

GETTING PERSONAL THE GOVERNMENT needs to look at the issue of foreign ownership of businesses, O’Connor says. The likelihood of the sale of New Zealand’s second-biggest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, is “personally of concern for me coming from the West Coast,” he says. “But it is an indication of the level of interest in our agribusiness sector from offshore investors. “They come from all over the world. There is a large amount of money coming out of Europe that can be and is looking to buy dairy farms. And so from a Government perspective we are taking a cautious approach to ensure we have, hopefully, some control over investment in our primary sectors and the wider economy into the future. “We have made a call on farmland, and it will be very difficult for foreigners to buy that; we have made a call on houses but we have not made a call on businesses and that is one of the areas we need to look at.”

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

NEWS 13

Overseas visitors needed to pick crops SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

OVERSEAS VISITORS are being offered temporary work visas to help pick kiwifruit in Bay of Plenty. The seasonal work offer was unveiled last week by the Government as it tackles the industry’s labour shortage. The industry in Bay of Plenty is short of 1400 workers and this is expected to increase to 3800 at the harvest peak this week. Last year at the peak it was short by 1200 workers. New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) says it supports the Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD) declaration of a labour shortage in the kiwifruit industry in Bay of Plenty and the extension of the labour shortage in Hawkes Bay from April 15 to May 27. NZKGI chief executive Nikki Johnson says the industry has worked hard to attract labour for this year’s harvest. “NZKGI has been running a media campaign to promote work in our sector and early signals indicate this has gone some way in reducing the number of vacancies. “However, it is vital to our industry that there is enough seasonal labour for harvest, and we currently don’t have enough people to pick and pack the intended crop. So it is entirely prudent and good risk management for MSD to take this step in support of our campaign. “We would encourage people – Kiwis and visitors -- to come and enjoy working in an industry that exports an iconic

piece of Kiwiana.” Kiwifruit industry employers have been working with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to place New Zealanders in vacant roles. Between January and April 2019, MSD has placed nearly 500 job seekers in the kiwifruit industry. Despite this more workers are still needed. The declaration of a seasonal labour shortage allows overseas visitors who already hold visitor visas to apply to vary the conditions of their visas so they can work in kiwifruit in Bay of Plenty. The New Zealand Immigration website gives details about varying the conditions of a visa. To date at least 90% of this season’s total kiwifruit crop is yet to be harvested. A quantity similar to last year’s pick is forecast to need packing, including 12% more SunGold fruit which must be packed quickly. Johnson says NZKGI seeks to employ NZers as a first priority, especially Kiwis who live in regions with orchards and packhouses. Work and Income has helped people who need transport from other parts of Bay of Plenty; other Work and Income clients who need this should contact their local office. “However, because of NZ’s low unemployment rate this is not always possible, and other sources of workers, such as people in the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and backpackers, are also required.” She says the indus-

TALE OF THE TAP •​ Kiwifruit is NZ’s largest horticultural export • NZ kiwifruit production is expected to jump from 123 million trays in 2017 to 190 million trays in 2027 • The industry’s global revenue is expected to jump from over $2 billion in 2017 to $6b by 2030 • A critical labour shortage could hinder this growth • In comparison to 2017 numbers, the industry will need 7000 more workers by 2027 • In 2017 when the minimum wage was $15.75, the average wage for picking kiwifruit was $20.95 • The hourly pay rate for pickers in 2019 is expected to be $23.50.

try is pressing the Government to increase the number of workers available under the RSE scheme, and is exploring other avenues to meet demand during harvest. NZKGI has recently

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

14 NEWS

Farmers learning from farmers PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

EXTENSION 350 will make a significant difference to the Northland economy over time, says chairman and Northland farmer Ken Hames. “I am really happy with it. It’s had some challenges on the way but the big picture is it has made a real difference to Northland.” Extension 350 (E350) involves clusters based around a target farm working with a mentor farmer and consultants with five associate farms each linked and applying the target farms learnings. Hames says they have reached the target of 10 clusters of 350 Northland farms. “It is based on farmers learning from farmers. That has been our catch cry all along and it has proved its worth and it is working well.” It is based on three key planks: lifting productivity and profitability, environmental sustainability and farmer wellbeing. “Extension 350 is very well supported by some good consultants and tech experts and we are using that to drive the changes in our farming systems. We will have 10 clusters either operating or operating soon through Northland; each has 35 farms and there will be seven dairy clusters and three sheep and beef clusters. “Each has 35 farmers and they have targets for the mentor, target and associate farmers. The mentor farmers put in a

E350 chair Ken Hames says the project will make a significant difference to the Northland economy.

lot of effort and it is great to see the results of them working alongside the consultants.” Tangiteroria target farmer Graham Beatty says when he and his wife Kyle first started with E350 two years ago he wondered what he had got into. With all the questions, five months into it he wanted out. But when the consultants and mentors kept turning up he realised they were there to help them. The couple sharemilk on his parents’ farm with 520 cows on a 210ha platform with a mix of kikuyu hills and flats. He had come back to the family farm in 2011 and although the farm had always focused on

development, he realised they needed to make changes and stick with them. “Extension 350 isn’t a cookie-cutter approach and focuses on things important to us and recognising our non-negotiables.” Some goals are to raise per cow production and lower the empty rate. “The results speak for themselves. At the end of year one we were 3% up on production and had lowered our empty rate to 9% from 12%. Towards the end of year 2, given the dry weather, we are still 10% ahead; we were up 20% at Christmas. We have also come down to a 6% empty rate.” Progress comes from

pasture management and harvesting, focussing on growing and using grass better, improved use of N and feeding cows to match demand. They have also reduced the amount of imported palm kernel from 150 tonnes to 90t. They feared production loss but they followed advice and managed the grass and got better production. “This is what I call a win-win. Being part of extension 350 has helped me gain confidence to make better decisions in and around the farm, having other farmers there to share ideas with and knowing they are speaking from experience. We make decisions

that will suit me and the way I learn, not what the book says.” The next stage is to share their journey with associate farmers and helping them towards their goals. When the project finishes in 14 months he says he hopes to keep attending industry events and keep learning. Mentor farmer Travis Parry says when approached and asked to be a mentor he thought it was a good opportunity to repay some of the support and encouragement he and his wife Lisa had received so far in their farming careers. This included working on their parents Waiuku dairy farm, three seasons

in Southland and 50/50 sharemilking in their current Northland job. “E350 has been a great experience for me. I get to see Graham and Kyle move forward with their business. “We have been able to see that first-hand and support the small steps such as getting their herd records to a high standard, move to 50/50 sharemilking and they can now confidently employ labour with efficient systems for their staff to work under.” Being a mentor has made him think hard about what he is encouraging the Beattys to do. “It has been great to see Kyle get much better understand-

ing of the business and become more involved. It has also been rewarding to see Graham come to grips with managing his own well-being and having time to be with his family.” Parry says their personal benefit from E350 was the opportunity to attend a mark and measure course at Tutukaka. They were “pretty pumped up” after the three day course and it bought them together as a team. It has given them the confidence to take on an additional sharemilking job which they start in the coming season. “In my experience E350 is achieving results onfarm from farmers learning from farmers.”

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

16 NEWS

Big crowd turns out for Ahuwhenua field day PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

“THE HUGE turnout to our field day has blown me away.” That’s the response of the chair of Whangara

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Farm, Ingrid Collins, to the 250-strong crowd that came to see their property, a finalist in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Maori sheep and beef farm. Whangara Farms is

8500ha (6900 effective) 35km north of Gisborne, running 45,000 sheep and 6000 cattle and employing 17 full time staff. Whangara Farms is a partnership of three Māori incorporations –

Whangara B5, Pakarae A and Tapuwae Whitiwhiti -- meaning three major incorporations of Ngāti Konohi are under one management system. Field day visitors were welcomed at the local

A 250-strong crowd turned up to the Whangara Farm field day earlier this month.

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marae located 100m from the beautiful East Coast beach where the movie Whale Rider was filmed. After the welcome, a convoy of 4WD vehicles took guests on a tour of some key parts of the farm where they saw prize Angus cows and the farm’s Romney sheep.

incorporations’ cooperation in forming Whangara Farms. She said it isn’t always easy to get Maori to work so well together. The farm board has a representative from each incorporation and two independent directors. “The reason we only

“I didn’t think we would get so many people here. When we had our own field day in February we had 164 turn up. We had said we may get 200, but there were easily that and more today.”

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Lambing percentage on the farm is 145%; calving of mixed age cows is 94%. By a special radio system the farm manager, Richard Scholefield, broadcast a commentary from his vehicle, heard by visitors in their vehicles. At two stops Scholefield and other staff talked about various aspects of the farm and their goals which include producing a ewe flock that is facial eczema tolerant and whose wool is higher quality. The visitors saw the farm’s flats and steep hill country, getting spectacular views of hills and coast. Later, Scholefield and other staff gave formal presentations about the farm in a hall near the marae and took questions. Ingrid Collins, chair of the farms for 13 years, expressed amazement that so many turned out. “I didn’t think we would get so many people here,” she told Rural News. “When we had our own field day in February we had 164 turn up. We had said we may get 200, but there were easily that and more today.” Collins is proud of the three Maori

have two independent directors is so that we are never overruled by the independent people,” she says. Collins assured the field day attendees that Maori can be very successful in a regular farming operation. She is full of praise for manager Richard Scholefield whom she says has done a wonderful job on the farm and has embraced all the key Maori values. “We can show here that this is not only a good Maori farm, but that it equals or is better than any other farm in the country,” she says. The Whangara Farms field day is the first of three running in the next three weeks. Similar events are running on the other two finalists’ farms: Te Awahohonu Forest Trust’s Gwavas Station, at Tikokino, 50km west of Hastings; and Eugene & Pania King’s Kiriroa Station, at Motu, 70km northwest of Gisborne. The winner of the competition will be announced at an awards night in Gisborne on Friday May 24. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

NEWS 17

Journey to sustainability will pay off PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

CHANGING TO a more sustainable method of farming will be “in the money” in the long term, but the transition years are uncertain for a traditional farmer, says Weibe Draijer, chairman of Rabobank’s managing board. If there is a downside in the change phase, they will hesitate, which is understandable, he told Rural News at the Farm2Fork seminar in Sydney. “Our role and our mission is to ask ‘okay, how can we limit the downside in the transition so you can do the investment and reap the benefits over the long term and survive the intermediate change period?’ ” Draijer says New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands have all gone through an amazing agricultural revolution, bringing them to the forefront of productivity and to their role in the global food supply. But what got them there will not win the next era; they need to change to more sustain-

able processes. He says other countries face the same challenges, such as Brazil where the farmers have to stop felling the forests. “And it is the same in the Netherlands. I talk to dairy farmers who have to move to a less intensive use of the land… giving back some of the land to nature and going more in circular practices,” Draijer says. “I think it would be the same in New Zealand. It is not so much that there is no money in the change but that there is uncertainty in the transition and that makes them nervous and rightly so. “It is on us to think through how we can take out the uncertainty and bring the stakeholders together, like the Government, to make sure they don’t add to the uncertainty -- which generally they do. “To take away the uncertainty they need to give clarity and direction, they need to provide financial services to help them navigate that uncertain phase.”

Making the change is “in the money” already with consumer demand starting to move in that direction. “Whenever you hear farmers say ‘it is not economically viable’, that is just not true. In some part of the changes it might be, but a number of changes will put them to the fore.” Draijer spoke earlier at the conference about the need to reduce food waste. Asked how to achieve buy-in by farmers for that, he said farmers would much rather their food be eaten than lost. An example is tomatoes: growers are incentivised by the system to throw away those not ideal-looking. “If we adopt a system where [the imperfect-looking] are more acceptable they would get more revenue. Whether it is bananas or apples or pears there is a lowervalue use; if you could bring higher value and get paid for it they would benefit,” he explains. “Waste can go to feedstock for animals, which is fine, but it can be used for higher value.”

Rabobank chair Weibe Draijer addressing the “Farm 2 Fork” conference.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

18 NEWS

Farmers want clarity – Guy PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

FARMERS WANT policy certainty and are petrified about “kneejerk popular politics” similar to what the Government did with the oil and gas industry, says National agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy. “The agriculture community is very concerned that they could be next,” Guy told Rural News at the Rabobank Farm2Fork seminar in Sydney. “I am picking up at this conference, talking to Kiwi farmers, that there are already headwinds. So while prices are looking quite good for our farmers, there are very strong headwinds coming at them, to do with water

quality, biological emissions, biodiversity and, importantly, capital gains tax and environmental taxes. “All the work I’ve done on the taxes, the tax working group, says it is in the vicinity for environmental tax of $20,000 to $25,000 a farm, and a capital gains tax for an average farm in 10 years’ time – if implemented – is likely to be $600,000. “So these numbers are scary and that is why farmer confidence is at the lowest it has been since the global financial crisis. “Farmers right now are feeling brow-beaten,” Guys says. “The Government needs to be very mindful of the fact that if

Nathan Guy

they impose more taxes and regulations on farmers they will slow down the New Zealand economy and that will have detrimental long term impacts on everyone.” Meanwhile, he says National is waiting for the Zero Carbon Bill to hit the parliamentary process to see if it can get cross-party support and

TRUE TO IRELAND

TRUE TO IRELAND Éire’s ‘conscientious objectors’ in New Zealand in World War II

be enduring. Guy believes the recent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, report ‘Farms, Forests and Fossil Fuels’ is worth a read. “It basically says agriculture and carbon emissions should be treated differently. And if biological emissions enter the ETS (emissions trading scheme) then funding should be reinvested back into the communities where it came from to deal with things like greenhouse gases, water quality and biodiversity. “I believe this is smart thinking and gives farmers more ownership of local outcomes. Collecting a levy or tax on bio-

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logical emissions at the processor end, i.e. per kilogram milk solids or carcase weight is quite a crude measure and won’t do enough to change behaviour inside the farmgate. That’s why farm plans are vitally important.” Guy said DairyNZ’s onfarm trials of 44 farms are also well worth a read. “They are saying no one size fits all, when you think about the regional aspects, different stocking rates, different grazing regimes and different feed inputs. All of these things change the emissions profile so I think it is vitally important that DairyNZ and the Government carry on doing this research.” He says when we talk about the climate change debate farmers don’t get acknowledged for the great work they have already done over the last 15 years in a voluntary capacity. “They have fenced from Auckland to Chicago and back,” Guy says. “In a lot of cases, they have done a lot of riparian planting. So they know there are benefits in environmental enhancements inside the farmgate and most of them want to leave their farms in a better state.”

NZ CASHING IN ON BOUTIQUE FOODS NEW ZEALAND HAS been better than Australia at capitalising on the market for boutique foods, according to a top Australian scientist. Dr Stefan Hajkowicz told the Rabobank Farm2Fork seminar, in Sydney, this was being done through the High Value Nutrition Programme – a joint government-industry initiative. The CSIRO senior principal scientist – strategy and foresight, was giving a perspective on the next 20 years of food production. He says this programme is “a really logical positioning play into a massive market” as there is huge demand for food and different types of food. Hajkowicz says demand for protein is rising considerably. Analysis of the China economy showed they absolutely had to sign the free trade deal with Australia (which came into effect in 2015) because if they hadn’t they could not have got enough food into China. He says this, and the growing wealth of Chinese consumers, had opened up markets. For instance, 10 years ago the Chinese did not eat bananas because they could not afford them; now there is a massive demand. There is literally a “hungry economy” and “a hugely diversified table and provenance really matters”. He says there is a huge demand for boutique, specialised foods with a provenance story. This is where New Zealand is capitalising better through the High Nutrition Programme. He says the whole world economy has shifted and he cited a study by a London economist, which showed the hot-spots for global GDP. In 1980, the hot-spot was in the Atlantic Ocean between the US and Europe: they had most of global GDP. By the year 2030, it will be between India and China – two massive economies which will continue to grow at 6-9% per annum vs the OECD economies growing at 2%. – Pam Tipa

WE TALK YOUR LANGUAGE! Communications experts WRITEHERERIGHTNOW know and understand NZ’s rural and agribusiness sector.

PETER BURKE “May I commend Peter Burke for not only recovering the memory of his father and his comrades, but for deepening our understanding of the shared history of Ireland and of New Zealand.” — Michael D. Higgins Uachtarán na hÉireann / President of Ireland Available from good bookstores and www.thecubapress.nz

With more than more than 25 years’ experience servicing the agribusiness and the rural sector we have provided specialist communications and public relations advice and services to a range of rural and agricultural clients across New Zealand. We are skilled communications professionals who are passionate about the agribusiness and rural sectors. WRITEHERERIGHTNOW are experts in communicating with rural and agribusiness audiences via newspaper and magazine columns, online, media releases, client newsletters and blogs. WRITEHERERIGHTNOW is experienced in managing media enquiries, interviews and providing media advice for companies and organisations. We can prepare and brief appropriate spokespeople on how to respond to and/or front media enquiries. WRITEHERERIGHTNOW prides itself on its relationship management with key business and political personnel, from chief executives and senior management, to chairmen of top companies, as well as mayors, councillors and MPs.  

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Quality

Commitment

Belief

RPR, ONEsystem prilled urea, and other nutrients

to protecting the quality of NZ’s waterways and groundwater

in the future of New Zealand farming

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Dr Bert Quin

QUINFERT NEWSLETTER AUTUMN 2019

It contains 12.7% P, which all becomes available to plants. No non-RPR P is present. Also contains about 7% free dolomite, which adds to its intrinsic liming value.

Rated in the highest reactivity group in an international review of phosphate rock as fertilisers conducted by the FAO (2004).

The Algerian RPR deposit consists of one deep (35m) layer, with a thin vein(1-1.5m) of dolomite running through it. This dolomite reduces its citric solubility in short lab tests, but has no adverse effects on its field performance.

It is not likely to meet the definition of an RPR used by Fertmark, which requires 30% solubility in the 30-min citric acid test. This test is not used by other RPR-using countries.

It passes all known longer-duration (60-120 mn) citric acid solubility tests used overseas, both ground and unground. Fine grinding normally increases RPR citric P solubility by 2-3% P in any given test.

QUINFERT ALGERIAN RPR Protecting Kiwi Waterways

Like all true RPRs, it has a short crystal a-axis, which creates instability or ‘reactivity’, greatly increasing its dissolution in even slightly-acid soils. This is caused by it’s high substitution (>20%) of phosphate by carbonate in the crystal lattice.

It has passed rigorous XRD crystallographic testing conducted by the IFDC, who have consequently defined it as a ‘Highly Reactive Phosphate Rock’.

It has relatively low dust compared to some other RPRs and mixes of RPR and non-RPRs, and even the low dust level it has can be eliminated with only 3% Controlled-Moisture (CM) water.

It also has low levels of all other heavy metals such as uranium (U), mercury (Hg) and chromium (Cr). Note some Moroccan contain high Cd and U.

It has been concluded by the International Fertilizer Development Centre in Alabama to have better or equal agronomic performance than North Carolina RPR. The IFDC have also demonstrated that it has equal agronomic performance to Gafsa (Tunisia) RPR, but much lower Cd than Gafsa. It has a low cadmium (Cd) content of 18ppm or 140mg Cd/kg P. This is only half the limit used by some other companies in NZ. It is below BioGro’s maximum, and is registered.

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Quinfert RPR range:

N

P

K

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Ca

Mg

NI price/t SI

Quinfert RPR (7% dolomite)*

0.0

12.7

0.0

1.3

35

0.75

$319

$365

Quinfert RPR/EG (eco-gypsum) Quinfert RPR/low S Quinfert RPR/med SB Quinfert RPR/hi SB

0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

10.0 12.3 11.7 11.3

0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

3.5 4.0 8.4 11.1

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$289 $339 $359 $377

— $382 $393 $399

The enviromentally protective way forward for NZ hill country. SB is sulphur bentonite, containing 90% fine elemental S in water-dispersable miniprills. BioGro certification. Ask for ‘CM’ RPR (controlled moisture) to get zero dust. Specs will be reduced 3%. All blends available.

Quinfert QSR range (quick and sustained-release P combo): Quinfert QSR ‘N-vig’ low S Quinfert QSR ‘N-vig’ med S Quinfert QSR ‘N-boost’ med S Quinfert QSR ‘N-blast’ med-S

N

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Ca

Mg

NI price/t SI

1.9 1.7 6.0 9.0

14.0 12.7 11.0 9.7

0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

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27 25 21 19

0.65 0.6 0.55 0.4

$454 $476 $458 $464

Quinfert RMA range for dairy and intensive beef farms: Quinfert RMA GP 1 (general purpose) Quinfert RMA Autumn 1 Quinfert RMA Summer 1 Quinfert RMA Spring 1

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6.0 5.0 8.4 6.0

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6.9 4.0 5.1 8.0

15 15 20 14

2.0 2.9 1.9 1.4

$444 $444 $444 $444

$474 $474 $474 $474

P 18.0 16.0 14.0 13.5

K 0 0 0 0

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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.

• Ideal for low soil P and/or high ph and/or very low rainfall

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Quick and sustained - release P combo maintains growth of the most vigorous pastures! 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. If you have been scared off straight RPR by disinformation, this is the product for you.

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Ca 16 14 12.5 10.0

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Phone 0800 QUINFERT (0800 784 633), Office email info@quinfert.co.nz 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 bert.quin@quinfert.co.nz Name:........................................................................................................................ Phone: ................................................ Mobile: ........................................................... Address: .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Email address: .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Farm type: ........................... Hectares (effective)..................................... Soil tests available:

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

20 NEWS

Flood-affected farmers hold ground NIGEL MALTHUS

WESTLAND DISTRICT mayor Bruce Smith isn’t buying suggestions that productive farmland at Franz Josef should be abandoned to the floodprone Waiho River. The river, fed by the Franz Josef Glacier, burst its banks in late March as torrential rain washed away the State Highway 6 bridge, just south of the township, and damaged downstream stopbanks and farmland on the river’s old floodplain. Army and Downer engineers are urgently replacing it with new Bailey bridge spans and it is expected to be usable again by mid-April. The bridge had been raised to cope with the river bed rising because of accumulating gravel (‘aggradation’) -- a phenomenon believed made

HELP ON HAND DAIRYNZ WEST Coast consulting officer Angela Leslie said farmers needing help and advice could contact her, DairyNZ or the Rural Support Trust. Leslie said damage to farm infrastructure had, fortunately, been limited -- mostly to fences. “It’s unclear at this stage how much damage has been caused to pasture but we have had reports of loss of topsoil.” No stock had been reported affected. “Fortunately, farmers had time to prepare and many moved cows to higher ground and away from rivers. “Farmers on the coast are a resilient bunch and will get through this but I encourage them to tap into the resources and support available to help,” she said.

worse by the stopbanks restricting the river’s flow. The flood highlights a suggestion that for the river’s long-term management the stopbanks should be removed so it can re-occupy its flood plain. Smith said the suggestion was contained in just one of many reports to

the West Coast Regional Council. “It’s been driven by the regional council but... a full analysis of the economic cost hasn’t been done.” Smith said the river flats are home to 83 people, four dairy farms with 5000 cows, 15 properties carrying beef, sheep, horses and bees

An aerial view of the work site where Downer and Army engineers are preparing the Bailey bridge replacement for the washed-out State Highway 6 bridge at Franz Josef. SUPPLIED/DOWNER

and at least 20 tourism businesses. “We’ve got 18 kids who live on the south side and they’re a significant part of retaining teacher and class numbers in the local school.” It is a bigger community than some other Westland settlements such as Bruce Bay and Okarito, he said. “It’s significant, and its contribution to the [economy] of Westland is important. If you abandon it will Westland Dairy continue to collect milk from Fox? Because the volumes would be right down. A whole lot of questions need to be answered.” More people had been evacuated after a second bout of heavy rain because of damage to

the south side (Milton) stopbank and Smith said locals want it rebuilt urgently. Meanwhile, getting milk out and supplies in remains a problem for farms cut off by the washed-out bridge. With road access only via Haast Pass, milk tankers from Open Country Dairy in Southland are collecting milk from the four Waiho River flats dairy farms and from Kerry Straight’s farm about 20km further south near Fox Glacier. Straight’s is the only dairy farm – among several beef units – on the Fox River flats. With his phone and internet knocked out for a few days after the rain, Straight was relieved to see the Open Coun-

try truck arrive, meaning he did not have to dump milk. “We came very close to it but managed to avoid it,” he said. The farm has frontages on the Fox River and the smaller Cook River, both of which burst their banks in the storm, washing away a few hectares of land and two or three km of fencing. Straight said “the one thing” farmers in the district need is access to rock for river protection. An engineer had estimated that Straight needs 6000 tonnes of rock to repair one section of his Cook River frontage, but the only approved rock supply was from Whataroa, about 50km to the north and still cut off by the lost bridge. Local people need

access to their local resources, said Straight. “There’s any amount of rock in our rivers but they won’t let us touch it.” Straight says all his usual connections are to the north and he is looking forward to getting the Waiho Bridge back. Meanwhile he is getting small amounts of supplies including fencing wire across the Waiho by the shuttle services set up by local helicopter operators. “Fertiliser and lime and stuff like that will become a major issue if [the bridge] stays out too long. And getting stock away -- most of our stock goes north, culls and so on. But obviously they can go south if we have to.”

NEW SUSTAINABILITY ROLE RAVENSDOWN HAS appointed Allanah Kidd to the newly created role of sustainability manager. The fertiliser co-op says the move continues how it manages its environmental, economic and social impacts. With a background in environmental management, Kidd has 14 years’ experience supporting national and international organisations with similar challenges. “Ravensdown is already doing a lot to help farmers reduce their environmental impact and it’s

important that it does what it can to lower its own,” Kidd says. “It’s already made a start and has an ambitious vision and there’s an opportunity to bring initiatives together and demonstrate progress in a transparent way.” Kidd was previously a United Nations climate change officer in Fiji before joining Beca as a senior environmental scientist in Waikato. Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell says the new role is a key addition to the company and he was delighted to attract high-cal-

ibre applicants. “Signing up to the Climate Leaders Coalition and reporting on progress throughout the business sends a signal that sustainability matters to us. But signals need to be turned into action plans and then delivery needs to take place on a broad range of fronts,” he said. “This is why Allanah is a critical appointment for Ravensdown. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from the environmental sector and will allow us to accelerate our efforts.”


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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

22 AGRIBUSINESS

How McDonalds changed a farm A large East Coast Maori-owned farm has the McDonalds restaurant chain to thank for its recent improvements. Last year it became the first farm outside Europe to win McDonalds ‘flagship’ status – one of only 29 to do so. Peter Burke reports on a recent visit to Whangara. WHANGARA FARMS, just north of Gisborne on SH35, is a partnership of three Māori incorporations running 75,000 stock units. Always a special farm, this year it has gained another accolade by being named as one of three finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition to determine the top Maori sheep and beef farm. The 8300 (6900 effective) property winters 50,000 sheep and about 6500 cattle. It’s a mix of steep and flat land with 17 full time staff. Whangara has contributed a lot to R&D in the region. It’s

has been a Beef + Lamb NZ demonstration farm, a BLNZ innovation farm and a BLNZ beef progeny test site. It’s also a Farm IQ focus farm and AgResearch has pasture and forage plot trials there. According to manager Richard Scholefield, Whangara has always sought to lift its game. For example, five years ago McDonalds asked them through their processing company, Silver Fern Farms, if they would be willing to do a project to improve their beef cattle operation. The project also involved BLNZ.

“Like most people we imagined it would be about more money for us so we said we’d have a look at the idea. “We looked at what they were after and it was about modelling and sustainability as a whole farm and how it relates to beef cattle in particular. “It was a three year project to analyse the effects of the cattle on the farm.” Once started, Scholefield says they quickly realised they needed to complete their land environment plan to a higher standard. They brought in a consultant to help and the result was a ‘gold

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standard’ plan. “It’s a major document that has mapped every part of our farm and also looked at land capability. For us it’s a guiding document and has changed the way we think. We were always big on sustainability, but this lifted our game to a new level and changed the way we look at things,” he says.

Whangara Farms manager Richard Scholefield.

Cows are queen IN PARTICULAR, the project shone the spotlight on the beef cows. Richard Scholefield says he is the first to admit that he was brought up in the school where beef cows were there to groom the pastures for the sheep and in the process were treated quite hard in terms of the feed they were allocated on the farm. “What we have learnt out of this project and also the Beef Progeny Test, is that if you look after your cows you can get a lot more production out of them and they will

perform a lot better than in the traditional old ways,” he told Rural News. “In the old days we had awesome pasture for the sheep, but our cows weren’t treated very well. We have come a long way from that. We condition score the cows and look after them a lot more than we ever did,” Schofield explains. “There is a lot more monitoring and greater awareness of the needs of the cows and the cattle in general because if you don’t look after them they are not going to perform for you.”

While embarking on the beef project, Whangara is also involved in a separate and parallel programme to improve the beef genetics on the property. Scholefield says their calving percentage now sits at 95%, with some mixed aged cows scanning at up to 98% -- well up on the NZ average of about 84%. He says many farmers never realise the potential of their cows and because of this miss out on some excellent financial opportunities.

CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT

Cometh McDonalds WITH THE beef sustainability programme successfully completed, McDonalds proposed Whangara become one of their international ‘flagship’ or model farms. A 12-month audit of the farm focused on all aspects of sustainability including a social audit. “It involved in rigorous screening with a whole different team from McDonalds coming out and looking at the farm,” Schofield said. “They went through everything. A guy from downtown New York came out and did a

social audit of our farming practices from a social point of view which is basically how we treat our people. It was full on.” Scholefield says once it became clear they were going to be named a ‘flagship’ farm he was invited, along with Whangara Farms chair Ingrid Collins, to McDonalds annual convention in Orlando, Florida attended by 23,000 people worldwide. “They invited me to be part of a panel and I was able to tell the Whangara story to all those people. It was an awesome opportunity,” he says.

THE LEARNINGS from this experience were different from what Scholefield had originally envisaged. He says he was thinking that such status may lead to premium prices for their beef or maybe even selling directly to them. At present, Whangara produces about 350,000 kg of bull and cow beef and a further 320,000 kg of steer and heifer beef, much of which is sold to McDonalds via Silver Fern Farms. Scholefield says that most of their highquality, lean beef gets shipped to the US where it is mixed with the fatty and less pure US beef and made into hamburgers. For all their hard work they do not get a premium, but they have a customer who will continue to buy from them because of the high quality of their produce. “The big thing from now on is that as farmers in NZ we have a benchmark of success that is level,” he explains. “But McDonalds wants to lift that so the norm is higher than now. This is being driven by consumers wants and demands. “We need to lift our standards, develop our land environment plans, fence our waterways and do a better job on animal welfare. Overall we must lift our game to a higher level,” Schofield adds. “We have a lot of competition out there in the world such as synthetic meat and a whole lot of other things. If we don’t start complying and lifting our standards we run the risk of getting less for what we produce,” he says.


RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

AGRIBUSINESS 23

Embrace challenges – don’t run from them PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

DISRUPTION IS happening whether we like it or not, says Dave Maslen, NZ Merino general manager for markets and sustainability. “We need to embrace that and turn it into an opportunity and remain distinct. “We are a very small part of a very big world and our need for consumer intimacy has never been greater than today.” Maslen spoke to Rural News at the Rabobank Farm2Fork seminar in Sydney on March 28 where a NZ Merino display of Icebreaker, All Birds and ZQ was drawing the crowds. Maslen said it has been hugely useful to attend the event. “Every time you get a gathering of rural professionals together in the same room ideas tend to bounce. As an organisation we are constantly on the lookout for what is coming over the horizon at us that is going to impact on the brands we work with and is going to impact on the growers that supply us. “This is a great way for us to put a way-point in the ground in terms of what is coming over the horizon, be it environ-

mentally, animal welfare, social responsibility and those sorts of things. It has been fascinating.” The main message for him was the rate of change and the rate of disruption occurring in the primary sector “whether we like it or not”. “And the challenge to industry to build resistance to that level of disruption. So how are we going to embrace it and turn it into an opportunity? That has been to me the key theme that has come out of it. “That is something [in which] we are pretty well versed in New Zealand in our industries and it will continue in the long term as well -- the constant need to reinvent, be aware of what consumers are asking for, customise our supply bases to what those consumers need constantly.” NZ Merino is already doing that. “That is fundamental to our business model; the consumers that are using the wool out there in the market, the people who are buying the All Birds or Icebreaker, trying to understand what it is they need today and tomorrow and signalling that clearly to our growers so that they are forewarned and future-

proofed.” Earlier Maslen was in a panel discussion on why the ag sector needs to transform. He said at that discussion that the disconnect between consumer and producer is widening. “You get disrupted by not being aware of what is going on around you. While exceptional R&D

is occurring, whether or not it is actually the R&D required to drive the industry forward in the eyes of the consumers is another big question. Business and educational institutes needed to develop the talent to take our economies to the market and make the best of that new technology.

NZ Merino’s Dave Maslen.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

global agribusiness research analysts sharing market outlooks

24 MARKETS & TRENDS

Rabobank supports clients from farm to fork in

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COUNTRIES

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farmers to connect Content supplied by Rabobank – Grow with the bank farmers for farmers with by worldwide , founded

Sun continues to shine on prices Dairy NEW ZEALAND milk collections slowed across February 2019. February milk production was flat compared to the same time last year, bringing season-to-date milk collections down to 4.4%. We have revised lower our expectations for full-season production growth. Rabobank forecasts milk collections to slow across the final months of the season and ultimately land at 3% YOY. Commodity prices continue to rally as global supply growth remains muted. Combined yearon-year milk production growth from the major dairy exporting regions completely stalled in Q1 2019. This slowdown of the export engine has supported a commodity price rally. The outlook for milk supply growth

pricing levels and offset any downward pressure that would otherwise result from the seasonal increase in domestic supplies over this period. North Island farmgate prices firmed slightly towards the end of March. There was some softening of South Island prices, due in part to elevated bull supplies. As

for key exporting regions looks set to remain modest through 2019. Rabobank expects commodity prices to remain elevated for Q2 as the supply crunch continues. Opening forecasts for next season (2019/20) are due to be announced over the coming weeks. Speculation is building. Processors may choose

at the start of April, the North Island bull price is 2% higher MOM, averaging NZD 5.00/kg cwt (4% lower YOY), while the South Island bull price is down 4% MOM to NZD 4.70/kg cwt (11% lower YOY). Growing demand from China saw it overtake the US as NZ’s largest export market for the

first four months of the 2018/19 season (Oct-Jan). China accounted for 33% of NZ’s total beef export receipts over the period, while the US accounted for 30%. African Swine Fever continues to severely impact China’s domestic pork production, forcing consumers to look for alternative sources of animal protein,

to be more bullish than in prior years given the supply and demand fundamentals at play.

Beef RABOBANK EXPECTS farm-gate prices to hold stable through April. Solid export returns from key export markets, China and the US, will help to underpin current

including beef. US imported beef prices continued to firm during March and are now sitting largely on par with where prices were a year ago, supporting export returns for NZ’s manufacturing beef products.

Sheepmeat RABOBANK EXPECTS prices to generally lift over the course of the remainder of the season, with the seasonal peak in production now all but complete. Farm-gate prices fell through early to midMarch as declining feed availability nationally resulted in a sharp increase in the flow of lambs to the processors. Lamb supplies did begin to ease later in the month to see prices recover. As of the start of April, the slaughter price

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

MARKETS & TRENDS 25

COUNTRIES

Content supplied by Rabobank – Grow with the bank founded by farmers for farmers

from late January when the lamb kill was down 9%, reflecting the lift in lamb supplies experienced through February and early March.

Horticulture SUBJECT TO any further economic downside related to current US – China trade war, Rabobank continues to expect growth in import demand for imported fruit and nuts from China across

2019. This will be positive news for New Zealand fresh fruit exporters and for kiwifruit in particular, with kiwifruit having ridden a significant wave of export growth to China over 2018. During the final six months of 2018, the value of China’s imports of New Zealand fruit and nuts grew at a faster rate than its total value growth from all coun-

tries – with kiwifruit at the fore. For kiwifruit, China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) is the world’s largest single import destination by value, worth over NZ$800M and streets ahead of the next largest, Japan. By contrast, in 2001 China’s kiwifruit imports were less than NZ$60M in total, or put another way, less than a third of Japan’s value. Chinese import value growth for kiwifruit is the strongest in the world (see graph). Elsewhere individual countries across Europe have shown strong import value growth, but there is much inter country trade within the EU that occurs for fresh fruits. In 2018, New Zealand kiwifruit export growth continued to attain a rising fob price per kg across the world. New Zealand export growth also took the heat out of Chile’s kiwifruit exports.

The only market where Chile has kept pace is in India – a market that is more meaningful for Chile than New Zealand.

Currency WE MAINTAIN our forecast that the NZ$ will fall to 63 US cents within 12 months, as monetary policy in the US and NZ diverges. In the US, we still see no further monetary policy tightening this year, with the OCR set to stay put at 2.5%. The Fed itself now also holds this view. We believe that the

that the balance of risks to the outlook has shifted to the downside. We watch in particular for the Q1 Chinese stimulus to wane and caution that the trade war may not be over. At just above 67 US cents on April 8, the NZ$ was down almost a cent since the start of March. It is already below its 5 year average. It likely has further to fall. Rabobank forecasts the NZ$ to hit 63 US cents by March 2020.

prolonged US economic expansion, the longest on record, is coming to an end as recent rate hikes start to bite. Inflation will ease to 1.4% this year, removing any case for tighter monetary policy. In NZ, we think the next rate move is down. The RBNZ had until recently forecast rates to stay on hold, but has now declared that it shares the same view as us. It cited weaker global economic growth and reduced momentum in domestic consumer spending. The bank further noted

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

26 OPINION EDITORIAL

EDNA

A licence to farm THE GOVERNMENT has a clear message for farmers: ignore climate change at your peril. Consumers worldwide are demanding sustainably produced food and are keen to know how the food that lands on their meal table is produced. They expect farmers to be part of the climate change movement and leading the march on sustainability onfarm. With that in mind Fonterra this month announced an initiative that focuses on sustainability at all levels and prioritises the value of milk, rather than the volume, into the future. Its programme The Cooperative Difference focusses on five key areas: environment, animals, milk, people and communities, and our co-operative and prosperity. The firm intention is to make clearer to farmers what their co-op expects of them today and in the future, and to duly recognise the many farmers who conscientiously produce high quality milk in a more sustainable way. Those who produce will be rewarded, but those who persist with continuously poor milk grades will face the consequences. Meanwhile, Beef + Lamb NZ has also moved in the same direction. Last year, it launched its environmental sector strategy and a biodiversity report showing that sheep and beef farmers have 24% of NZ’s native vegetation on their farms. These were not developed just for the fun of it, but as BLNZ chief executive Sam McIvor told the organisation’s annual meeting, “the social licence to farm is a real issue”. “We need to understand the perspectives of the public and our markets; they influence government policy and buy our products.” Just as the public attitude to water quality has changed in recent years, so too will the public stance on climate change. Farmers, their industry bodies and companies selling their products need to understand this and ‘get ahead of the game’. While farmers may not get any extra financial incentives in the form of better prices, they need to understand that this is the cost they have to bear to continue to farm and have their products bought by customers. It also underscores that sustainability concerns are more than the environment. The reality is that while farmers risk having to pay higher compliance costs and face pressures in their quest to farm sustainably, these moves are a huge step in the right direction.

RURALNEWS TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS

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

“Of course we’re going to hand it in, but we might see some feral goats on the way!”

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

THE HOUND Fail! PM Jacinda Ardern may have many talents, but an understanding of business is clearly not one of them. In an effort to gain ‘street cred’ with the business community over plans by her government to introduce a capital gains tax she claimed she … “had experience in running small businesses, having run a small NGO and worked in small businesses ” However, an OIA to the PM’s Office about these claims discovered that her ‘small businesses experience’ was not that extensive. According to the answers: ‘The Prime Minister was the President of international political youth organisation IUSY. The small businesses the Prime Minister worked at were a fish and chip shop in Morrinsville and a gift shop. She has also worked at a supermarket’. Oh dear her only business experience is an after-school job at the local chippy and supermarket.

The good life?

Can he add?

Truth hurts

The Hound notes that former Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) member Mark Patterson is now trying to use the same anti-Chinese sentiment the failed group used to oppose the takeover by Yili of Westland Milk. Patterson these days is a littleknown NZ First list MP and he’s employing the same scare tactics that MIE tried and miserably failed to stop the very successful merger of Silver Fern Farms with China-based Shanghai Maling a couple of years ago. Patterson’s claims that the sale of Westland to Yili risks NZ losing control of its biggest industry – dairy – to overseas ownership is a bit of a stretch when around 85% of the NZ industry is still controlled by the farmer owned-co-op Fonterra!

Your old mate notes that Fed Farmers Marlborough Philip Neal caused a bit of a stir recently when he claimed in a newsletter column that proposed new taxes being raised by the government would hurt farmers and benefit many who don’t deserve it. In a rather blunt and un-PC message, Neal wrote: “Farmers are in danger of becoming an ATM industry, providing the Government with farmers’ hardearned money so the Government can then redistribute money to those they perceive as the helpless and needy, but in my opinion, useless.” Of course, Neal’s words were frowned upon by all sorts of do-gooders and Feds HQ had to also disown the column. However, your old mate suggests Mr Neal was only telling a few home truths.

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

Your canine crusader admires those people in high positions who do not take their own self-importance too seriously and are willing to take the proverbial out of themselves. A recent example of this is Beef+Lamb chair Andrew Morrison who was quick to put the boot into himself at the organisation’s annual meeting late month. The Southland farmer told those attending the BLNZ AGM in Timaru that he had been so busy with Beef+Lamb NZ work in the past year – instead of looking after things on his Gore sheep and beef farm – that: “his family is starting to fat shame him and his dogs won’t listen to him anymore”.

NATIONAL SALES MANAGER: Stephen Pollard ....Ph 09 913 9637/021 963 166 stephenp@ruralnews.co.nz

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WAIKATO SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Ted Darley .......... Ph 07 854 6292/021 832 505 ted@ruralnews.co.nz

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

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

DIGITAL STRATEGIST: Jessica Wilson ........................ Ph 09 913 9621

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


RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

OPINION 27

CGT would hit farmers hardest SIMON BRIDGES

LAST MONTH I had the pleasure of attending the South Island Field Days in Kirwee and I took the opportunity to chat with hardworking farmers from our most profitable sector. Whilst farmers are generally a positive bunch, the general mood was that they’re worried about what’s around the corner from this taxhappy Government. I know from my time as Minister for Economic Development just how important the primary sector is to our economy, and that our engine room needs to be looked after for us to prosper as a nation. As well as the clear economic benefits, our agriculture industry is essential for food security. We produce enough food to feed approximately 40 million people. With our growing population it’s important to continue producing, whilst keeping up our reputation as a safe producer of food underpinned by sustainable farming practices. While farmers are doing all they can, it’s up to the Government to ensure that trade relationships are maintained and that they are getting the best deal possible. There are concerns to be had about our relationship with our biggest trading partner, China, and the PM visited a few weeks ago to try to smooth these over. The PM said prior to her visit that making progress into upgrading our FTA was amongst her priorities whilst over there, although it appeared on her return that no improvements had been made.   The rural community has been challenged in recent times by the Mycoplasma bovis response still ongoing and a dry summer for many regions. I’m always impressed by how resilient farmers are and how the attitude remains to work hard and earn the

rewards. Later this month we expect the Government to respond to the findings of the Tax Working Group (TWG). The environmental taxes proposed by the TWG have the potential to force crippling costs on to rural communities. We’ve crunched the numbers and the annual costs to farmers are extraordinary: $20,000 from the average sheep and beef farm, $25,000 from the average dairy farm and $68,000 from an irrigated dairy farm. This money would otherwise go back into onfarm investment and ensure environmental practice was being improved. A capital gains tax would be a massive burden on farmers and deter people from investing in farmland. The average farm would be getting taxed $600,000 after 10 years. The only people benefiting from this would be property valuers as it is estimated the cost of valuing our 50,000 farms would be over $250 million – another big cost on farmers. If implemented, these taxes would be a cruel blow to farmers who already have to cope with the uncertainty of unfavourable weather and swings in the prices of commodity exports. Farmers are sick of being treated like a cash cow by the Government and need some certainty that there won’t be a multitude of unforeseen costs just around the corner. New Zealand is facing some tough issues with environment, water use and emissions, so but piling taxes on isn’t going to fix them. Dairy farmers have fenced off 98% of waterways from stock at a cost of over $1 billion from their own pockets in recent years; and extensive riparian planting is also contributing greatly to improving water quality in our rivers. Sheep and beef farmers are responsible for look-

ing after 1.2m hectares of native bush that would otherwise be overrun. A National Government would repeal a capital gains tax and has

pledged not to impose any new taxes in its first term. National has launched a petition on saying ‘no’ to new taxes on the primary sector. To

sign head to www.nonewtaxes.co.nz. • Simon Bridges is leader of the National Party @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

National Party leader Simon Bridges.


RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

28 OPINION

A tale of two shows THE REGIONAL field days circuit is done for 2019, leaving only a short march to National Fieldays in June. One thing for sure, the jury was unanimous in declaring winners and losers – singing the former’s praises and holding their heads in their hands over the latter. Is there a place for such events, given that technology sees larger and larger machines emerging while show sites stay the same size? Fact is that for the time being, manufacturers and rural suppliers still support these regional events. Event organisers might be expected to go out of their way to make things easy for exhibitors to display their wares, but... yes and no. The event now making the others appear pedes-

trian in this respect is the South Island Agricultural Fieldays (SIAFD) held at the purpose-built site at Kirwee, 20km from Christchurch. It’s organised by a volunteer force with a high percentage of farmers, and they truly understand what attracts rural folk and, in turn, suppliers to the event. The third biennial SIAFD recently finished at the Kirwee site, where wide metalled roads make access a breeze and large sites hold the largest machines. Its 10ha demo area sports crops of grass, lucerne, maize and fodder beet, allowing manufacturers to put machines through their paces – with an occasional cockup – to the delight of the crowd. Also impressive at the SIAFD is the can-do attitude. Stroll in through the

CRUSHER’S COMMENT

Mark Daniel

gate at 7am with plenty of other rural folk, grab some breakfast at the catering marquee then be out among the sites by 8.00am. Safety is always underlying, but not overbearing: the event staff respect the fact that most rural folk know tractors and machinery can be dangerous and gravity causes things to fall out of the sky. Compare that with the field days at Manfield Park, Fielding, a fortnight earlier. This overtly com-

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mercial event appears to have forgotten who their target audience is and seems fixated only on getting numbers through the gate -- a joke. Large queues form at the outer main gate, are let in to an inner gate but then are told the event doesn’t open until 9am because of site safety. Whoops! Imagine how this goes down with a Hawkes Bay farmer who left home at 6am and needs to get back for afternoon chores. And when she at last gets in

she has to cope with far too many events and safety officials riding round on UTVs and quads. That lesson in safety is also dished out to the exhibitors, particularly during the build-up to the event. Exhibitors recalled stories of over-zealous safety staff boring into them about the key safety tactic of wearing a hi-vis vest. Where’s their understanding of the complexities of modern farm machinery?

Some made fools of themselves with unfathomable demands. One big exhibitor who arrived not wearing a safety vest was ordered to park and then was escorted by a security guard to the headquarters tent to be told of the error of his ways. After the obligatory H&S induction he wondered how he’d managed to drive five hours through the central North Island without such help. He promised to try harder in future. Field days organisers,

at regional or national events, must listen to the people who help create them -- the exhibitors -- as without them they would have only a paddock. Many exhibitors are saying that things need to change. The South Island has its field days finely ordered: alternate years at Gore and Christchurch – a scenario Northland, Central Districts and Mystery Creek might well embrace. Numbers through the gates are not the main thing.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

GET HIM TO THE VET! ONE COULD be forgiven for thinking the Hound has been placed on a vegan diet. If this were so, I would urge caution. The tone of his comments in the March 19 issue suggest indifferent health and mood. His carer needs to monitor his condition carefully otherwise the SPCA may require him to be put down. The baring of the teeth about Fed Farmers reintroducing a levy on wool [is premature because] nothing is set in concrete as yet. The only people making anything out of crossbred wool currently are those outside the farmgate. The stock and station livestock industry has

become the real growth industry as a result of the huge numbers traded and changing hands from paddock to plate. Second- and third-party commission is all about the mighty dollar. Trying to stimulate honesty within the industry -- including farmers’ commitments to honouring written contracts pertaining to all sale agreements -- is what [is needed]. What the Hound must realise is that, with returns diminishing for 30 micron plus wool, should sheep meat prices collapse then a clean-out of sheep could occur. Our reliance on China is a real concern. If spending a few dollars to safeguard our

future [is required to save] our industry then so be it. Hence the need to reinvest in strong wool, and to keep the stock and station industry honest and transparent. Another issue the Hound could get his sharp teeth into is the huge price difference between the North and South Island for both lamb and beef amounting at times to 15 to 20%. The North Island claims to be more efficient than the South Island. But trucking across Cook Strait is not efficient and adds to the carbon footprint. Our beloved Hound could also look at the value for money for subscriptions paid to Fed Farmers vs

levies paid to Beef + Lamb NZ, and what benefits farmers are really getting for the money they spend. In the 1980s there was talk of the two organisations joining forces. Since both have taken on board health and safety, environmental issues, water quality, animal welfare. Currently we have those do-gooder groups who the media seem almost to encourage in their raving on about animals being responsible for so-called greenhouse gas and other problems. It is not the animals but people themselves and too many of them. John Macaulay and Associates Timaru


RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

OPINION 29

Report shows way on climate change ANDREW MORRISON

THE PARLIAMENTARY Commissioner for the Environment’s (PCE) recent comprehensive report: “Farms, Forests and Fossil Fuels” shows the clear way forward for New Zealand on climate change. It sets out the science and the steps we must take based on that science to tackle climate change.  B+LNZ – and the whole livestock sector – are committed to reducing biogenic greenhouse gas emissions in line with their warming impact. The PCE’s previous report identified a 10-22% range for methane reduction in order for the sector to achieve the equivalent of net carbon zero. The sheep and beef sector have committed to moving towards carbon neutral at the farm gate by 2050.  The PCE’s latest report identifies the important difference between biogenic and fossil-fuel sourced greenhouse gases (GHGs). Both must be reduced, but fossil-fuel sourced GHGs have a permanent warming effect. We need early, deep and permanent cuts in fossil-fuel sourced gases.  Farmers are committed to owning their own issues and tackling their own

impact on the climate. The sheep sector has already shown the way, by reducing emissions intensity and absolute emissions by more 30% since 1990, while maintaining production. Other parts of the livestock sector are also committed to playing their part. The PCE’s report recommends changes to the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), so that fossil-fuel GHGs can no longer be offset by planting trees; but recommends that biogenic GHGs should be able to be offset. This is because there is match between the temporary (but still significant) warming of biogenic emissions and the timescales of native and plantation forestry sequestration.  The Commissioner has recommended a sciencebased 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. It is essential that policy drives the right kinds of behaviours for fossil-fuel and biogenic greenhouse gases; to do this policy must reflect the differences between those gases and how they can be effectively

mitigated. 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. • Andrew Morrison is chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) @rural_news

BLNZ chair Andrew Morrison

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

30 MANAGEMENT

Not so Horrible on the Mount for the Haywards NIGEL MALTHUS

FARMING IS a three-generation family affair for the Haywards of Mt Horrible, near Timaru. The business, run by Geoff and Joy Hayward, is a comprehensive sheep, beef and cropping operation. Their farming operation totals 1700ha across several blocks and a variety of soil types, topography, elevation and climates. The Haywards recently hosted an open day for attendees of the Beef + LambNZ annual meeting. Geoff explained that his parents, Donald and Judy Hayward, bought the original 300ha Mt Horrible farm in 1984 when they moved from Duvauchelle on Banks Peninsula. Geoff and Joy joined them in 1994 and progressively took over, buying and leasing further land as it became available. Their sons Joseph and Jack – and Joseph’s wife Taylor – now also work the property, while Donald and Judy remain active, Donald running the business’s senior bull farm up to last year and still busying himself with maintenance. Geoff concentrates on the cropping side of the business while Joy is in

Geoff and Joy Hayward, with BLNZ facilitator Laura Lake, explain how they manage their Mt Horrible farm in the hills overlooking Timaru.

The old-established Mt Horrible farm in the hills overlooking Timaru hosted a field trip for attendees of the recent Beef+LambNZ annual meeting. RURAL NEWS GROUP

charge of the livestock. It is a complex business juggling the changing demands and deciding what goes where. “There’s a bit of negotiation goes on at times,” Geoff grins. With attendees of the open day gathered on an open paddock high on the slopes of Mt Horrible, the view is of Timaru in the distance and the Pacific Ocean horizon beyond. Geoff explains that the main Mt Horrible farm lies on the slopes of an extinct volcano, with a lot of volcanic rock in the soil – a Claremont silt loam which he says is P-retentive and holds a lot of water but takes a lot to get wet again if it dries out. A 100ha cropping blocks is visible on the Pareora River flats, in the middle distance. The block is in five

20ha paddocks “so it’s grass seed, barley, barley, wheat, then a break crop which is usually peas or pak choi”. It has easy access from the main farm. “There’s lambs down there at the moment and there’ll be bulls over the winter.” While his father usually only put one paddock into barley, Geoff says he enjoys cropping and would usually do about 550ha, mainly cereals and “a wee bit of grass seeds” where it fits. The farm works a minimum tillage regime with direct drilling where possible; the rule of thumb is 40 minutes and 30 litres of diesel per hectare to get crops in. This season had been “average” because of the half a metre of rain between November and Christmas which deci-

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mated the crops. However, they were now enjoying a favourable autumn and expected to get about 80ha of new pasture sown “and that can really drive the farm in following years,” he said. On the livestock side, Joy is now running 2500 ewes and 260 Friesian bulls. With the open day attendees gathered at the sheep yards, she points out a large mob of what she calls her “good ewes”, with ear tags showing that many are 5,6,7, or 8 years old. “God help me, there’s one or two that are 10.” She explains that she has bred for a fat sheep that milks really well. “To me it’s just about feed, feed, feed and having fat sheep.” “Sheep are all about body size and milking

ability because this farm is run on getting numbers away at weaning.” The mob is mated to ANZCO-specific Longdown terminal sires, to produce lambs especially for the high-end British supermarket chain Waitrose. They boast a very high scanning and lambing percentage, which means many sets of triplets. Joy explains that she takes one triplet away from the ewes, especially the older ones, and puts them on an automatic lamb feeder that’s “just brilliant.” The feeder automatically weighs out powder and mixes it with water as required so the milk is always fresh and warm. With a lot of feed now on the farm Joy also expects to buy in up to 4000 store lambs for this winter.

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SOME DAYS IT CAN BE MT HORRIBLE got its name, the story goes, from early European surveyors who had finally got back to town after a hard day in the hills. “One asked the other what kind of day he’d had, and they named it accordingly,” explains Geoff Hayward. The BLNZ farm visit took place on a pleasant autumn afternoon when the farm had been in sunshine all day, but there had been thick early fog low down around Timaru. There are days when it can be the other way around, Hayward says. “We can be sitting in fog for days up here. We also get a pretty substantial rainfall. If Timaru gets 20mm in the southeasterly we get 80mm,” he adds. “It can be pretty bleak at times.”

Joy says her only animal health issue is “old age.” She doesn’t put a number on the ewes’ BCS but drafts them by eye into fat, medium, and “needs work.” Separated into small mobs and fed accordingly, they do well and pick themselves up, she says. She has calculated that it cost about $80 to rear a

lamb but has worked out ways to reduce that for next season. “It’s definitely worth it, and ethically we can’t do anything other than rear our lambs. I will not leave a lamb to die.” For the future of Mt Horrible, Geoff Hayward says there’s always fine tuning of the timing of the various productive streams.”

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

MANAGEMENT 31

Large players struggling to adjust to challenges PAM TIPA pamelat@ruralnews.co.nz

Erica Leadley, South Island regional manager of the Ballance Farm Sustainability Team, displays the award at SIAFD.

AWARD FOR PLANNING TOOL BALLANCE AGRI Nutrients’ farm environment planning tool MitAgator last month won the Smart Farming Award at the South Island Agricultural Field Days at Kirwee. Developed jointly by Ballance and AgResearch, it helps farmers navigate issues in water quality and comply with the tighter environmental rules imposed by regional councils. MitAgator helps farmers with environmental planning and the costing of planned changes, and enables them to put all this into practice without without losing focus on productivity and profit. It is based on a detailed farm map, and has software that gives an overview of the four main contributors to poor water quality -- nitrogen and phosphorous leaching, sediments and increasing E-coli contamination. It integrates data from the farm’s OverSeer nutrient budget, then creates a ‘view from space’ showing where these problems are occurring, so identifying critical source areas (CSAs) around the farm. These are superimposed on the farm map using a colour legend to indicate risk areas. With the CSAs identified, the MitAgator system can compare the effectiveness and costs of various mitigation scenarios, allowing the landowner to confidently chose the best option for the farm budget. The programme is prepopulated with 24 different scenarios designed and peer reviewed by industry specialists. These include stream fencing, riparian planting, manufactured wetlands, grass buffer strips or feed pads. Some scenarios are tailored to dairy, drystock or deer but most suit a wide range of farming systems. After identifying and validating a farm’s best possible mitigation scenario, Ballance’s farm sustainability service will integrate the risk maps and mitigation scenarios with a farm environmental plan so that the farm complies as necessary. – Mark Daniel

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MANY VERY large food companies, particularly in the US, are struggling to adjust to the changing tastes of consumers, says Nick Fereday, RaboResearch senior analyst consumer foods. “There’s been a huge turnover of chief executives; a very dangerous job to be in right now is to run a big food company in the US. You are likely to be scalped, to have Wall St coming after you for not delivering in the quarter,” he told the Rabobank Farm2Fork confer-

ence in Sydney last month. He cited Kraft Heinz as a case and gave some examples of that company’s latest ‘new’ products, which showed “little innovation and were not Nick Fereday meeting consumer changes”. Fereday says it is not just Kraft Heinz; large food companies spend very little on social research -- just 1%. “They are much more inter-

ested in spending money on persuading you to buy their product than come up with innovative product and talk to the consumer.” He says large companies that have succeeded for a long time, e.g. Kraft with brands 100 years old and Heinz now celebrating 150 years, have survived by being able to adapt to trends. “Increasingly in the last fivesix years they have become very

‘unstuck’ from what’s going on. That has left an opportunity for small companies who see opportunities and move,” Fereday said. “The larger companies are struggling with a mind-set where they have been making, for instance, cornflakes forever so the solution is more cornflakes or better cornflakes and they can’t think beyond that and come unstuck. “This is afflicting more the American companies than the European companies who have caught up and are beginning to change.”

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

32 ANIMAL HEALTH

Seeing the bottom of M.bovis? MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

AN UPDATE meeting on Mycoplasma bovis in Hamilton earlier this month, threw up several questions, not least where were all the farmers? No more than 10 attended, outnumbered three to one by advisory staff led by MPI director of response Geoff Gwyn. It appears that either MPI has answered all Waikato farmers’ questions or the disease does not worry them. The 2017 detection of M. bovis, then the May 2018 decision to eradicate has seen 370 staff working on it, close to one million tests done and $50 million paid in compensation. The meeting, on the eve of the release of the M. bovis 2019 National Plan, heard Gwyn cite estimates that the disease would incur losses of $1.3b over ten years if untreated, with knock on-effects on animal health particularly in low resistance to other diseases. “When we set out to write the plan, we wanted it to be easily understood by the average 13-year-old,”

Gywn said. “Meaning everyone could be clear about what we were setting out to achieve.” The plan is 1) to eradicate M. bovis by effective surveillance and stopping the spread depopulation; 2) reduce the impact of the disease and the eradication for all those affected; 3) leave NZ’s biosecurity system stronger by applying the lessons learnt during the M.bovis incursion. There will likely be a major review of the Biosecurity Act, now 20 years old, in light of the global economy evolving such that disease incursions are more likely. The meeting talked much about labelling of infected or suspect properties: ‘confirmed properties’ are those that have had M. bovis; ‘active properties’ are awaiting de-population (under cleaning or disinfection and under a restricted notice direction); and ‘cleared properties’ are those now de-populated, cleaned and disinfected, and subject to the 60-day stand-down period and seeing restrictions lifted. To date, confirmed properties number 161, of which 58 are now classed as active; 103 are in the cleared

Geoff Gwyn

category; and 122 are under notice of direction (NOD), having been considered high-risk, maybe because of links to cattle movements. And 216 more properties are also under surveillance, classed as ‘low-risk’, with minimal con-

trols or testing. On animal movements, Gwyn said NAIT has seen about 20% better compliance recently; more work is needed to better understand animal movements in events like this.

Data collected from six round of bulk milk testing using the PCR test (DNA test looking for the disease) and three rounds of the ELISA test (blood test) was reviewed by the technical advisory group. This suggested the incursion was from a single source probably as far back as late 2015 or early 2016. Gwyn says beef and drystock testing is going on in about 150 calf-rearing operations NZ-wide who get stock from various sources; and testing is at the Five Star Feed Lot in Mid Canterbury. (Five Star is a beef finishing operation getting stock from multiple sources then sending animals out for slaughter -- no on-selling.) To date, MPI has received 900 claims for compensation; 50 are settled, costing $50 million. MPI reminded farmers that to be eligible for compensation they must be able to demonstrate a loss because of the Biosecurity Act implementations, or loss of property or goods that are damaged or destroyed. Single or multiple claims will be accepted and usually processed within 24 days of submission with the right paperwork.

Rural News

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

ANIMAL HEALTH 33 PASTURE GROWTH RAISES MORALE

CRV has marketed Connacht in its InSire team for a couple of years now.

Genetic solutions to herd challenges HERD IMPROVEMENT company CRV Ambreed claims its 2019 bulls offer farmers great options. Breeding programme manager Aaron Parker says the bulls include daughter-proven and young genomic InSire bulls. “We’re a future focused company, always planning at least five years ahead,” Parker says. “We made a long-term commitment to breed sires that would produce healthy and efficient daughters. Our efforts have truly paid off and dairy farmers will ultimately reap the benefits by having better genetics to breed better cows.” Product manager Peter van Elzakker stresses that sustainable dairy farming cannot be achieved by index alone, and says more farmers are looking for genetic solutions to meet the current and future demands they face in the environment, herd efficiency and animal welfare. He recommends farmers look more broadly than production figures and choose the right genetics to achieve their overall breeding goals. “Facial eczema tolerance, for instance, is extremely important for animal welfare, and reducing urinary nitrogren levels via LowN Sires is a great option to use for increasing environmental sustainability,” he said. Parker points out that this year’s graduate bulls and the 2019 bulls overall have surpassed CRV’s expectations. “Our selection process is extremely rigorous. Each year we usually choose the best 10 to 12 bulls from a pool of about 120 bulls that have come to the end of the fouryear breeding programme and have herd testing and TOP information,” he says. Parker says breeding for improved health and efficiency works. “Analysis of herd records shows that a sire with an excellence rating (5% or more) on the Better Life Health index will have progeny with lower somatic cell count and higher conception rates. If they have an excellence rating on the Better Life Efficiency index, they will have progeny producing more milk solids and lasting longer in the herd,” he said.

Read us until the cows come home!

www.ruralnews.co.nz

SCATTERED RAIN over the past few weeks has been enough to encourage new pasture growth, helping to raise morale amongst Waikato’s farmers. That’s the view of the Waikato Primary Industry Adverse Event Cluster core group, which met on April 2 to review the dry conditions and how farmers are coping. “The amount of rain that fell

varied greatly across the region,” said Rural Support Trust chairman and group spokesman Neil Bateup. “But combined with rain from a couple of weeks ago it’s been enough to get things going, with paddocks greening up already. “For some dairy farmers though, the rain and pasture growth has come a little too late and they’ve already started to dry

off herds. “We have also heard reports that some farmers have started eating into their winter reserves, so there could be challenges come spring,” Bateup said. “However, forecasters are predicting that autumn in the top half of the North Island is going to be warm, which could bode well for pasture growth. And by the beginning of May, we

should see a return of the usual rainmaking cycles.” Overall, it appears farmer spirits have lifted markedly in the region, so the group has decided to meet only alternate months, Bateup says. “We’ll be keeping an eye on the conditions, and encourage farmers to keep monitoring their positions and make decisions as they need to.”

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

34 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Crop planting and regrassing for all types of situations MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

CROP ESTABLISHMENT, particularly various ways of doing it, was the focus of a recent field day near Taupo. Organised by Farmlands Taupo technical officer Brian Richards, local dealer Taupo Tractors and Nick Gillot from Tulloch Farm Machines, the event was attended by 18 Farmlands technical field officers and agronomists, and staff from local Pamu farms. The theme of the day was alternative and less disruptive methods of cropping and re-grassing, focussing on reduced establishment costs and yield comparisons. It also considered environmental impact, legislative changes, local issues and public perceptions of farming practices. “We wanted to look at alternative methods, taking a proactive stance, rather than wait to be told or forced to find another method,” Richards told Rural News. The key alternative discussed was the Einbock Pneumaticstar unit imported and distributed by Tulloch Farm Machines. The machine is based on the Austrian company’s well-known Grass-Manager harrow with an integrated pneu-

“The team found it easy to set up and operate, while the simple distribution system delivered the seed evenly over the full working width. In our opinion, this allowed seeds to access nutrients, water and sunlight effectively, while also removing the problem of weeds establishing themselves between conventionally drilled regular rows.”

matic seeder unit. The layout sees a heavy-duty toolbar carrying four sections, each with six rows, giving a total of 240, 8mm diameter spring steel tines with an effective 2.5cm spacing. Used on its own, the unit can be used to reinvigorate tired pasture by combing out moss and dead thatch, allowing air to get to the upper layers of the soil. However, when used with the seeder unit it becomes a useful, low cost tool for repairing worn or pugged areas, re-seeding, break crop establishment, or to sow into cultivated ground and sprayed-out paddock in the right conditions. With a 6m unit weighing only 870kg, the system lends itself to the

smaller tractors of, say, 90-100hp typically found on most dairy farms. Transport is easy with the unit folding to 3m. The seeding unit itself comprises a 300L (or optional 500L) hopper with electrically metered rollers that in turn use air flow to deliver seed to 8 deflector plates that deposit seed across the full working width. “The low horsepower requirement, reduced capital cost and minimal running costs make this system a real alternative to more conventional drilling equipment,” says Tulloch Farm Machines’ Nick Gillot. “And there’s the added bonus of reduced running costs and achieving high daily outputs.” Richards said he had recently seen swede

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crops established using the system. He summed up the day by commenting that the Einbock, in addition to reducing wind or water erosion, also can sow a wide range of seed types in many situations.

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“The team found it easy to set up and operate, while the simple distribution system delivered the seed evenly over the full working width. In our opinion, this allowed seeds to access nutrients,

water and sunlight effectively, while also removing the problem of weeds establishing themselves between conventionally drilled regular rows,” he added. “While there is no

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 35

Futuristic sprayer sets standard 340L freshwater tank and a hand wash unit of 32L, extendable (optionally) to 460 and 70L. A choice of piston-membrane pumps offers outputs of 270 to 520 L/min, the latter using a twin-pump configuration. This feeds liquid to the boom assembly that is mounted on a suspended parallelogram frame using a hydraulic-over-nitrogen accumulator set-up. Dependent on preference, booms are 3-D triangular construction in steel or aluminium, with the former offered in widths from 18 to 30m and the latter in 21 to 24m sizes. Booms also have the maker’s Boom Guide Pro control system that uses three ultrasonic sensors to automatically control spraying height. This system has three operating modes: crop mode for constant height above the plants, field mode for constant height above the ground, or hybrid mode with a working height based on the average of both values. Nozzle set-up is the KV Tri-Jet configuration, allowing easy change for differing spray volumes. There is also the option to choose

MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

NOW PART of the Kubota Corporation, machinery manufacturer Kverneland is on a roll, particularly with new products coming to market. This was seen at the recent South Island Agricultural Fieldays, where distributor Power Farming showed the latest addition to the KV sprayer ranges. The KV iXtrack T3 is a futuristiclooking trailed sprayer available now in 2600 to 3200L tank capacities, and coming soon the T4 with capacity of 4600L. The frame design is short and compact, with a low centre of gravity allowing close coupling to the tractor and making it suitable for low horsepower units. Up front, the drawbar is reversible, allowing conventional drawbar hitching, or by swapping over to a highhitch configuration you can increase crop clearance. The tank configuration is such that after use residual spay is no more than 30L. Meanwhile, the unit also has a

Sprayer chiefs (from left) Graham Gleed, area export manager KG Group; Dimo Dimov, product manager KV; and Geoff Maber, managing director Power Farming.

iXclean PRO function takes care of all cleaning and rinsing functions from the tractor seat. For drivers working in multiple crop types, track width can be adjusted between 1.5 and 2.25m in 5cm increments.

individual nozzle switches for controlled applications, e.g. using nine switchable nozzles over a 24m spraying width. Control systems use ISOBUS connectivity on all models, offering easy control of liquid management, and the

A large cut-away in the spray tank allows the fitment of tyres up to 1.9m tall under the standard mudguards. And the steering system allows a steering angle of up to 32 degrees, which helps achieve a tight 3.5m steering radius.

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

36 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Portable power on the farm MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

ERRATIC WEATHER and seismic events, more frequent these days, are prompting many farmers to have standby generators on site. This is particularly so on dairy units so that milking can continue and harvested milk can still be refrigerated. While PTO driven generators have been the go-to solution in the past the complexity of modern milking plants means that tractor driven units have difficulty maintaining a constant output. “This can lead to incorrect voltages or frequencies that in turn can

The JCB units are self-contained and self-regulating to run at 1500rpm while delivering a constant output of 400V and 50Hz outputs. damage sensitive plant or equipment,” says Mitchell Day of Pace Power and Air, New Plymouth. The company imports and distributes JCB portable diesel generators that produce from 8kVA to 730kVA. Most farms would be covered by units from 42 to 75kVA output. Dependent on output, the JCB range uses engines from a wide range of suppliers including Yanmar, Iveco, Scania,

MTU and, of course, JCB’s own DieselMax series. Parts and product support are easily available NZ-wide. The JCB units are selfcontained and self-regulating to run at 1500rpm while delivering a constant output of 400V and 50Hz outputs. Offered in open-frame or enclosed cabinet configurations, all models have a robust base frame to enhance on-site stability. The enclosed cabinet

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 37

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The Mahindra Pik Up has all the right credentials for rural folk looking for a no-frills workhorse or for a side-by-side user wanting to lift their game and cut day-to-day costs.

Puts up and impresses MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

MAHINDRA, SEEKING to reintroduce its products to Kiwis, recently took motoring journalists on a day-long drive from Auckland to Rotorua, an off-road excursion in the Mamakau Forest and a dash to Taupo. The focus was the Mahindra Pik Up, a vehicle with the right credentials for rural folk looking for a no-frills workhorse or for a side-by-side user wanting to lift their game and cut day-to-day costs. First impressions are usually a ‘Vegemite moment’, with the boxy looking truck getting a ‘nay’ from some or a ‘yay’ from those who like its simple lines and lack of curves. Whatever the impression, adding bull bars and side steps are an easy disguise, leaving Joe Public to wonder what brand it is. The single-cab flat-deck is the best looker as the double-cab looks a little stretched. But this is really a work vehicle, so a few hours or kilometres behind the wheel helps things fall into place. Both are powered by Mahindra’s own engine: a 4-cylinder, 2.2L turbo diesel that pumps out a modest 103kW /320 Nm torque – nothing startling. This mates to an Aisin-supplied 6-speed manual transmission as slick and positive as any and better than many. The flexibility of the engine allows relaxed driving at the legal speed or just above. The ride is firm but not uncomfort-

able and the steering has good feedback, with a little judder if the road surface is poor. In the cabin, the S6 flat deck version is utilitarian but has firm supportive seats and standard features like air conditioning, a reasonable stereo, power windows and the like. The S10 double cab, well-deck version, is a bit more up market, with standard items like touch screen audio and navigation, cruise control, reverse camera, climate control, auto headlamps and auto wipers. In all the versions the cabin is particularly roomy, especially in headroom, irksome for this 1.83m tall driver in Japanese vehicles. It is rated to tow 2.5 tonnes, short of some competitors, but how many people need 3.5 tonne capacity all the time? Surprisingly, the Pik Up off-road was an eye-opener, tackling terrain that many higher priced options would have baulked at. The 4WD system offers high and low ratios with engagement ‘on the fly’, and an Eaton speed-sensitive mechanical diff lock helps to keep thing moving when a wheel starts to spin or loses contact with terra firma. Add to that a hill hold and hill descent feature and you couldn’t fault it or get it stuck. Starting at a price of $25,990 the Mahindra Pik Up delivers exceptional value for money.

Your perfect partner CLAAS ARION 420CIS tractor & loader A powerful rugged tractor perfect for New Zealand conditions Long wheel base for safety and stability CLAAS comfort concept for uncompromised driver comfort Maximum efficiency with hi-flow hydraulics Premium factory fitted FL100C CLAAS loader

MAHINDRA MAKES ITS MOVE THE MAHINDRA story started in 1945 when brothers JC and KC set up a business building the CJ5 Willys Jeep under licence. Nearly 75 years later, that business now employs 240,000 people, has 100 companies and generates sales of over US$20.7 billion. The Mahindra family still owns 45% of the business, which some would say has now gone full circle: in 2018 it opened its own automotive factory in Detroit. In New Zealand, a new distributor is expected to raise the profile of this no-nonsense, sensibly priced brand.

This will be a welcome fillip for existing customers who have noted two years of dwindling support. Dealer Direct Wholesale (DDW) has taken over from the used car importer Nichibo Japan Trading. DDW has opened a substantial base at Otahahu and is now setting up a dealer network; it is targeting sales of 1000 vehicles per annum by 2022 to existing users, drivers looking for no-frills workhorses, buyers of used or high-mileage Japanese brands and farmers who operate high-end side by side machines but need greater reliability.

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*Standard CLAAS Financial Services terms, conditions and fees apply. Price subject to dealer delivery & freight costs. Loader excludes attachments. Offer valid until 30/06/2019 or while stocks last. Images illustrative only. Price excludes GST.

Gearing you up for success.


RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

38 WORKSAFE / RURAL TRADER

‘She’ll be right’ is so wrong MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

FARM QUAD crashes continue to inflict serious injury and death on Kiwi farmers. Many of us have known friends and family experience near-misses or suffer crashes on quads. Now is the time to move decisively on this problem and deal with farmers’ ‘she’ll be right’ attitudes. These just aren’t working. Kiwis have, with some exceptions, accepted the need to wear seat-belts in cars. Now we need a culture change – if not laws -- on farms so that quad riders automatically don helmets, only one rider uses a machine, and no rider gets the ignition key unless he/she is well trained and qualified. Most large or corporate businesses running quads have embraced rider training, keeping their employees

safe, getting the best from their machines and raising productivity. But training and competency are lacking on smaller and family farms.Employers are responsible for farm workers’ competent, safe riding of machines. No more ‘she’ll be right’. Will the closure of Taratahi agri training school and the uncertainty about Telford, Balclutha see fewer people trained, or will training providers spring up to fill the void? If so, how would a farmer choose a training provider – one that would truly benefit a farm team and business? A good start is to ask a quad supplier, a friend or acquaintance who has used such a provider. An internet search of ‘quad training in NZ’ raises providers’ names. Of course, each will claim to be the best thing since sliced bread but

Too many people are being killed or seriously hurt on farm through quad bike accidents.

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course delivery will have been officially assessed meaning the course content will be valid, the trainer will hold a valid adult teaching certificate to Level 5, and both these criteria will be subject to ongoing assessment and spot checks as to their standards. If you are thinking about paying for training, ask the would-be provider for proof they are

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RURAL NEWS // APRIL 16, 2019

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We’re built for New Zealand. For dry dusty days, torrential rains and howling blizzards. For endless forests, flooded river plains and grassy paddocks. For steep hills, treacherous rocks and deep muddy creeks. For carrying, hauling, mustering, fencing or any other job you can think of. And we’re also built for great deals up front. So visit your nearest dealer and see how a Can-Am Defender is built for you.

CALL NZ 0800 444 475 OR VISIT WWW.NZ.BRP.COM/OFF-ROAD/ FOR MORE INFORMATION

© 2018 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ®, ™ and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. Always ride responsibly and safely. Always wear protective gear & approved helmet. BRP reserves the right to change the promotion at any time.

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Rural News 16 April 2019  

Rural News 16 April 2019

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Rural News 16 April 2019