Rural News 14 July 2020

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Environment farming in the King Country. PAGE 27

Showcasing Ashburton company Sebco. PAGE 35

Putting the fun back into farming. PAGE 12













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Environment farming in the King Country. PAGE 27

Showcasing Ashburton company Sebco. PAGE 35

Putting the fun back into farming. PAGE 12


Map to nowhere? SUDESH KISSUN

THE GOVERNMENT’S new plan to boost primary sector export earnings is bold but needs bigger numbers, says economist Cameron Bagrie. He says the Fit for a Better World Action Plan launched last week by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will

actually see primary sector exports fall from around 16% of gross domestic product (GDP) to 14%. He says lifting primary exports by $10 billion per annum to bring in a cumulative $44b of earnings in a decade sounds big but it’s a growth rate of around 1.5% per year. “Primary exports have averaged around 6% growth since 1990...the

primary sector won’t be leading any recovery at 1.5%,” he told Rural News. Bagrie points out that the baseline is for primary exports to grow at 1.9% without a roadmap. With the roadmap announced by Ardern last week, the aim is to get it up to 3.4% per year. Bagrie notes that the additional 1.5% growth adds $10 billion. A 3.4%

Morale booster Lochie MacGillivray, chair of the Rural Advisory Group set up to help manage the drought recovery in the Hawkes Bay, says there has been an improvement in conditions in the region during the past few weeks. However, he warns that while the mild weather and soft rain has led to phenomenal pasture growth, farmers will still have to conserve feed for their animals. “The good weather has enabled pastures to recover and shortened the time between now and the end of winter.” MacGillivray says the rain has really lifted the morale of farmers, but they are aware that spring is still some weeks away yet. – See full story page 16

growth rate adds a “bit over half” historical primary export experience and would see primary exports shrink as a share of GDP. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the sector’s ability to record 4.5% growth to about $48 billion of exports in the past year despite Covid-19, highlighted demand for our TO PAGE 3


LAST WEEK’S whopping rise in dairy prices is encouraging, but it’s too early to pop the champagne, say analysts. The NZ dairy season is into its second month and last week’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction was the third for the 202021 season. There are 22 more GDT auctions planned before the season ends May 31 next year. RaboResearch analyst Michal Harvey says the key selling season for New Zealand is still a few weeks away but Fonterra (and other exporters with GDT plus price offerings) can lock away some product at decent prices. “But we would still be cautious about calling a sustained lift in prices. The underlying fundamentals will mean global markets will need to price in high stocks on the buy and sell side, lower dairy demand in emerging economies as incomes are negatively impacted, and growing milk pools in all key export regions.” The GDT price index rose 8.3% - the single biggest lift in the index price since late 2016. Most notably, the whole milk powder index price jumped 14% to US$3208/tonne. Harvey says this takes the WMP index price back to a similar level to that of the start of the year; and remarkably 5% higher than at the same time last year.

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Visa changes won’t help



NEWS �������������������������������������� 1-17 MARKETS ���������������������������18-19 HOUND, EDNA ���������������������� 20 CONTACTS ����������������������������� 20 OPINION ��������������������������� 20-23 AGRIBUSINESS ������������� 24,-26 MANAGEMENT ���������������27-28 ANIMAL HEALTH ����������� 29-30 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS ����������������������� 31-35 RURAL TRADER ������������� 35-36

HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: Ovato Print CONTACTS Editorial: Advertising material: Rural News online: Subscriptions: ABC audited circulation 79,553 as at 31.03.2019

A MARLBOROUGH dairy farmer who wrote a scathing letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on migrant worker visas says changes announced last week don’t go far enough. Catherine Tither, milking 630 cows in Canvastown, Marlborough, told Rural News that there is still a lot of uncertainty for the migrant work force. “Yes it solves the immediate crisis of experienced people still being available,” Tither says. “I can’t see Kiwi’s filling the dairy vacancies – even with the unemployment figures. I’m pleased they acted before we lost our valued experienced work force. Dairy will be hell without these people.” Last week, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced a sixmonth extension to temporary work visas. About 3000 dairy farm employee temporary visas are due to expire. He also announced the Government would grant an extra six months of stand-down period that applies to some migrants. Workers who were subject to the 12-month stand-down period and were going to have to leave New Zealand this year, will now be able to stay for the duration of the extension. But Tither says the Government has failed to address the issue of migrant visa holders with NZ jobs being locked out of the country due to border closures. In her letter to the PM, Tither noted that a recent DairyNZ promotion of dairy as a career for New Zealanders got a lukewarm response. “I see the promotion attracted 300 expressions of interest, dwindling to 90 registrations. Even in the unlikely scenario that every one of the 90 registrations starts and continues working in our industry, it will not fill the current 1000-plus vacancies to be filled. “Calving, our most intense work period, is bearing down on us, we have unfilled vacancies and nothing is happening to fill these critical positions.

Catherine Tither sent Jacinda Ardern a scathing letter on migrant worker visas saying the changes announced last week don’t go far enough.

“Many of these positions are for experienced dairy farm employees. It will take new entrants to our industry at least one full season’s work to gain limited dairy farming experience and at least three years to be experienced enough for herd manager responsibility. “In a nutshell, the campaign to encourage new Kiwi entrants to dairy is attracting too few, and the few it has attracted lack the experience we require.” Tither says her farm is considered a large scale operation in the region, which is not known as a key dairy area. Career dairy farmers prefer to be employed in intensive dairy areas like Canterbury or Otago where there are more job opportunities in the same geographical area, enabling less disruption for school children and working partners. Tither says most farms around them are staffed by owner operators and maybe one employee. “Being unable to recruit enough Kiwi employees, we have employed two or three Filipinos since June 2014.

Two of these men have been employed by us for six and four years respectively on one year work visas.” She says the industry needs to retain experienced migrant work visa holders to fill the current vacancies and if insufficient unemployed Kiwi’s enter dairying, we need to be able to fill our vacancies with experienced, motivated

dairy farm employees from overseas in the future. Tither says her letter was acknowledged by the PM’s office and passed to Minister of Immigration. She re-sent the letter to the PM’s office expressing her unhappiness with the changes proposed by Lees-Galloway.


top-quality products. He points out that the $10 billion in additional revenue each year from 2030 generated is on top of other growth that takes place. The cumulative total of additional export revenue over the next decade could reach $44 billion. O’Connor says it is important to understand that the average 6% growth is based on decades of volume growth through intensification and claims it’s widely acknowl-

edged that model is no longer sustainable. “Our Roadmap would see projected growth rise to 3.4%, to $10 billion annually in 2030 – that’s higher than the 1.9% growth anticipated without the roadmap,” he told Rural News. “We have estimated that growth conservatively based on uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Boosting primary sector exports will help grow jobs.” O’Connor says there is a limit on growth fuelled by more production.



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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


A vital role in NZ’s future DAVID ANDERSON

“PRIMARY PRODUCTION is not a sunset industry, but it needs to evolve,” says Professor Sir Peter Gluckman – the Prime Minister’s chief Science advisor for a decade. Gluckman now heads Auckland University think tank, Koi Tu, which recently produced a report highlighting the importance of the sector to New Zealand. The report, ‘Future of Food & the Primary Sector: the journey to sustainability’, is part of a series of papers under the banner of The Future is Now. It suggests New Zealand’s food and primary indus-

tries need to capitalise on our rising international reputation with a long-term food strategy that supports sustainability and can adapt to new technologies and consumers. The paper was produced by Koi Tū through a series of conversations with some of the most senior and experienced food industry leaders, scientists and stakeholders. Gluckman told Rural News the report was not about next year or even the year after, but 20-30 years out. He says the Covid-19 pandemic is changing the economic shape of New Zealand in profound ways. “Although our robust

Sir Peter Gluckman says the primary production is not a sunset industry, but it needs to evolve.

tourism sector has been stopped in its tracks, fortuitously our food industry is growing and global demand is buoyant,” Gluckman adds. “Our

an opportunity to leverage the mounting international interest in NZ’s status as a leading producer of elite primary products as the basis

food production and processing industry remains a key part of our economic and environmental future.” He believes there is


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for the renewal of our national brand. Gluckman says moves towards sustainability are not new for NZ farmers and growers, but the journey already under way needs to be accelerated. He believes this will require an overall strategy from both government and the sector. “The opportunity for New Zealand’s food and primary industries to leverage their rising reputation based on full commitment to environmental sustainability is not without challenges. There must be an integrated strategy with a common set of goals, based on a collective, cross-sectoral agreement that links economic, social and environmental aspirations.” Gluckman concedes this will mean NZ’s food production system will need to become carbon neutral. “Addressing the underlying issues that could make the biggest impact, such as the determination of land use, water-access rights and water-quality issues, has continually been placed in the too hard basket,” he claims. The reality of climate change means pastoral farming systems must adapt to the changing weather patterns that could make some current practices and land uses untenable.” Meanwhile, Gluckman says the common assertion that our farming production is a mature industry is wrong and there are major opportunities to advance the sector, but a more

strategic approach to research and development is needed. “Incentives in the New Zealand research system have a largely short-term focus, and significant changes are needed so that it addresses a clear set of strategic goals,” he says. “New Zealand needs to make decisions about which technologies it should exploit, such as sensors, big data and artificial intelligence, and advances in life sciences such as gene editing, will dramatically change agriculture and food production systems.” Gluckman says there is plenty of reason to believe that New Zealand can approach these challenges with confidence. “Our primary sector produces the highest quality protein meat, dairy and fruit products with a low carbon footprint relative to its competitors. “However, while individual brands may be strong, New Zealand definitely needs to consider how it now promotes itself.” Gluckman concludes that the questions raised and the issues addressed in report need to be advanced in further stakeholder conversations. “Urgent action is needed in some areas, such as the development of a clear national strategy for the primary sectors. Long-standing issues over water and land use need to be tackled, as well as emergent issues such as the pursuit of accelerated partnerships to address sustainability and branding.”

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Farming proves its worth SUDESH KISSUN

HALFWAY THROUGH former Federated Farmers president Katie Milne’s three-year term, Mycoplasma bovis reared its ugly head. Milne says it looked like the bacterial disease was going to be the issue that would provide the biggest headache and heartache for farmers. “We’re still on that bold and worldleading eradication effort, and there’s no doubt M. bovis is continuing to take a toll on many farming families.” However, things changed in early 2020 with the arrival of Covid-19. “But who knew that this year we’d all face an even more destructive disease – one that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world,” she says. “While farmers – like all New Zealanders – now have the unnerving prospect of waiting out how much destruction the pandemic will ultimately wreak on global financial and trade systems, never mind paying back the billions of dollars we’ve had to borrow, Covid-19 perversely deliv-

Katie Milne says farming critics have been drowned out by the consistent messages now hailing the sector as economic heroes.

ered a silver lining for agriculture in helping raise the awareness as to just how valuable our farming families are to the NZ economy.” A small group who have called farmers ‘environment vandals’ have

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been drowned out by the consistent messages from polls, and politicians and media pundits who now hail the sector as economic heroes. Milne says farming was deemed an essential service during the lockdown,

able to offer security in a world turned upside. “We continued producing top quality food to put on the tables of Kiwi families self-isolating in their household bubbles, and continued to earn

export revenue,” she told Rural News. “For farmers feeling misunderstood and under-appreciated, it’s been a real confidence booster. And going forward, those improved relationships we forged with MPI and other agencies as we worked on pandemic solutions can be built upon.” Milne stepped down last month after three years in the role and has been replaced by Andrew Hoggard. She was the first female president of the farmer lobby. She says being president really brought home to her the power of the Federated Farmers brand. “More than ever, we’re sought out by ministries, ministers and media as the organisation that can speak for all farmers, not just one industry group. “And we’re listened to, by policy makers, by councils and by governments. And when they don’t hear us, we let them know loud and clear where they’ve gone wrong and what we think they should do differently in as constructive a way as possible. “If members could see for themselves the workload this organisation takes on, they’d be astounded.”





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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


McBride gets the nod SUDESH KISSUN

IT WAS no surprise when Peter McBride was elected chairman-elect by the Fonterra board last month. McBride, who runs a 950-cow farm in South Waikato with wife Linda, will take over from outgoing chairman John Monaghan when he retires at the co-operative’s annual meeting in November. The former Zespri chairman says he is humbled to be selected by his fellow directors and is looking forward to leading the co-op on behalf of its 10,000 farming families. McBride will take the helm of the co-op in challenging times: the co-op suffered two consecutive years of losses and a

NZ/EU TRADE DEAL A TOUGH TASK PETER MCBRIDE says securing a free trade deal with the European Union could be challenging for agriculture. It could be especially confronting for the meat and dairy sectors, he told Rural News. McBride says bilateral trade deals are easier to get. “The problem with multilateral trade deals is that they take longer to finalise and are diluted by the time we get there.

global recession is setting in as a result of Covid-19. He says Fonterra is in a much better position that it was 18 months ago. “There has been a big turnaround and the management has done a great job,” he says. On Covid-19, McBride says from a New Zealand perspective, it has highlighted dairy’s importance.

“It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.” The NZ Government has blasted the EU for its agriculture access offer in trade talks, saying the deal is unworkable in its current form and New Zealand could walk away if nothing changes. Almost two years into the trade talks, the offer on the table would see New Zealand exports heavily tariffed, while European Union farmers would be protected.

“It’s such a critical part of GDP.” But McBride says the industry must get the balance right and work to further improve sustainability. He believes NZ is in a competitive position with one of the lowest carbon emissions per kgMS in the world. McBride will work with Monaghan over the

next few months before “leading our co-op into its next phase and creating value for the benefit of our farmer owners and unit holders”. “When John retires from the board in November it will mark almost two decades of service to our co-op, the last 12 years as a director. He will leave behind a board culture of shared

Peter McBride will take over the helm of Fonterra in challenging times.

responsibility, which is something I will look to build on as the new chairman,” says McBride. He grew up on a dairy farm near Te Aroha before his father sold the farm and moved into kiwifruit horticulture in Te Puke. He holds a Bachelor of Horticulture from Massey University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Commerce from Lincoln University. McBride and his family are based near Tauranga on an avocado orchard. He is an experienced primary producer and

agricultural businessman, specialising in two of New Zealand’s iconic industries, dairy and kiwifruit. A Fonterra statement says his corporate agricultural experience has provided him with exposure to a number of international markets, in particular the Asia Pacific Region, Middle East and Latin America. “Peter has leadership experience in the New Zealand rural sector through his work with Zespri, particularly in his command of the PSA crisis, which had the

potential to decimate the New Zealand kiwifruit industry,” the statement says. He was previously a director of the New Zealand International Business Forum and a member of the executive board of the New Zealand China Council. In 2018, McBride was awarded Horticulture NZ’s Bledisloe Cup for leadership, and Deloitte NZ Chairperson of the year. He was praised by the Deloitte judges as chairing a united and constructive board.

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


MPI’s launches recruitment drive PETER BURKE

MPI IS set to launch a major advertising campaign to attract people to work in a range of jobs across the agricultural sector. Director general of the Ministry for Primary Industries, Ray Smith, told Rural News that it is a great time to maximise kiwi jobseekers’ interest in the sector. He says many talented people have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and their capabilities may well fit the bill for a role in the primary sector. Smith says the campaign will see advertisements run on radio and online to target people who may be looking to make a career in agriculture. He says the campaign is about positively raising the profile of agriculture. “The ads will talk about jobs that are available in the various sectors and we will ask people to contact us. If they are interested, we will connect them to the various training programmes,

industry organisations or employers,” he told Rural News. “We are just working at bringing this whole issue of job opportunities into a seamless process and encouraging people to work in the primary sector.” Smith says MPI has already given $900,000 to support DairyNZ’s GoDairy initiative to recruit and train more than 1000 workers, which the industry says it needs. He says other programmes are being funded to train people to do pruning in the viticulture and kiwifruit sectors and other courses are being run to train people to drive machines to plant and harvest crops. Smith acknowledges that having experienced people to harvest crops is important and hopes that they will find a balance between recruiting local people and people from overseas. He says the latter issue is currently being worked on. The other issue that Smith hopes can be addressed is the fact that many of the jobs in the primary sector are sea-

sonal and don’t provide continuity of work for a full year. “That is part of the challenge, but over time we have been successful in getting people linked

up across seasons with different employers to help them make a pathway from one seasonal area into another and I think that is achievable,” he says.

MPI is launching a major advertising campaign to attract people to work in a range of jobs across the agricultural sector.


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COVID CHANGES MPI’S ROLE as the lead agency in the primary sector has changed in the wake of Covid. Smith says staff that were working in areas like at the border have been redeployed into other areas, such as job matching where there is a greater need. He says the response from staff has been positive and they are keen to play whatever part they can to support the primary sector. “We are trying to be flexible and support business to be successful,” Smith told Rural News. “We love our primary sectors. They have done an amazing job through Covid and we want them to keep doing well.”

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


How to fill the gap? PETER BURKE

THE RACE is on to find sufficient qualified people to drive the array of agricultural machinery for this season’s harvest. With New Zealand’s border closed at present, Rural Contractors NZ is working with government to see if it’s possible to allow some specialist workers into the country – as they have done in the past – to drive and maintain the equipment to sow and harvest crops during the spring and autumn. One such rural contractor is John Austin, who runs a sizable contracting business at Te Awamutu in the Waikato.He employs about 38 full time staff, but also takes on another 30 staff during the peak

of the season. Austin told Rural News some of the extra people are locals, but the bulk of his casual staff come from places such as the USA, Germany, England and Ireland. “Generally, they are people on working holiday visas, but we also get some who come back for up to four years running – because their skill set is so important to us,” he explains. “They are mostly people with a farming background and some have up to 10 years’ experience driving and maintaining the machines we operate. Some of our machines are quite demanding to drive, and while we can train people, there is a point where experience becomes a factor.” Austin fully supports

Rural contractors around the country are worried if they will be able to find sufficient qualified people to drive the array of agricultural machinery for this season’s harvest.

programmes that are being put in place to train newcomers to the industry. However, he says the reality is that experience counts and there is a limit to how many newly trained staff he could

actually take on. Austin believes the most he could employ would be about five newly trained people as he wouldn’t have the time, or the ability, to supervise any more in his

business. He explains that it’s a bit like when a person gets their driving license. Austin says while they can drive, they lack the experience to go on a racetrack and compete

with experienced drivers. “We really understand the risk of Covid-19 and don’t want to open our country up to the risk of the virus. We totally get that,” he told Rural News. “The problem we’ve got is that we do need to get experienced people into the country to fill this skills gap.” He adds that he and other contractors are advertising and working with the Ministry of Social Development to try and find people. “We are open to working on training programmes to do whatever we can to get New Zealanders upskilled. But I still am fearful there is still going to be an experience gap if we don’t get overseas people into the country.” Austin says he’s been planning for the plant-

ing and harvesting season and is confident that he will be able to meet all the needs of his clients. He says there is also a bit of time before the main work starts in October and runs through into autumn. “Hopefully, things will look a bit different then and we have been able to find or get the muchneeded experience in from NZ or overseas.” Austin says the whole situation is full of unknowns. For example, he says it could be possible that there is a pool of experienced farm machinery operators in NZ that we don’t know of. He says the industry and government are both working to find a solution that will ensure that this season’s harvest goes without a hitch.



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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Are the workers there? DAVID ANDERSON

DESPITE THE critical function the primary sector has to play in New Zealand’s economic recovery, it may not have the workforce available to carry this role out. In May’s Budget, the Government announced funding of $19.3 million – over four years – for a range of initiatives to help “thousands of recently unemployed New Zealanders access

“The primary sector will need about 50,000 more people. There is no shortage of international demand for our high-quality food and fibre.” training and work opportunities in the primary sector”. “The primary sector will need about 50,000 more people. There is no shortage of international demand for our high-

quality food and fibre. We now need a skilled workforce to help us seize the opportunities that are currently before us,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said at the time.

EXPO AIMS TO ATTRACT WORKERS DURING AUGUST and September, a careers expo – taking place in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch – hopes to cash in on the Government’s recent announcement of $19 million in funding to place 10,000 people into primary sector jobs. NZ Careers Expo director Mark Gillard claims the event is perfectly timed to connect work providers and programmes with young New Zealanders entering the job market. He adds that it will provide the ideal opportunity for primary sector businesses and organisations to connect with New Zealand youth and attract them into the industry. “The expos are for anyone wanting to connect with tomorrow’s workforce – whether to recruit for employment or

training,” he told Rural News. “It will help create a clear idea of the opportunities within the rural sector for young people to plan a career or to attract workers for short or medium-term work.” Gillard says he’s had great interest this year from primary sector employers and organisations wanting to exhibit at the event. “The sector needs to attract many more workers, so the expo is a real chance to profile the industry and highlight the real opportunities that exist,” he says. “Businesses need to engage with young people to ensure the workforce is coming through. The expo is an opportunity for them to break down some of the misconceptions and highlight the advantages of the primary sector.”

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O’Connor Auckland ASB Showground 6-8 August says more Hamilton Claudelands Event Centre 23-24 August New ZealandWellington TSB Arena 4-5 September ers need to get Christchurch Horncastle Arena 10-12 September into farming and an upcomof interest from locals. ers who usually fill these ing advertisPrimary sector organisaroles. Each year, it relies ing campaign will help to tions – along with other on about 6000 migrant promote the course. industries – are callworkers. The dairy sector is ing on the Government Dairy is not the only desperate to fill more to fast-track immigrathan 1000 farming vacan- primary sector facing a tion restrictions to allevicrisis, with both the pork cies as the country heads ate a coming wave of job industry and agricultural into spring calf season, vacancies in many induscontractors scrambling with border restrictries that New Zealandto fill vacant positions tions in the wake of ers seem unwilling to caused by the lack of Covid-19 stopping the work in. migrant workers and lack flow of migrant work-

UNDER FIRE Otago Regional Council chair Marian Hobbs was voted out of the role by her fellow councillors last week. Councillors voted 9-2 in favour of her removal. Andrew Noone has been elected the new chairman. The change in chairmanship took place amid some acrimony, with environmen-

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Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says more New Zealanders need to get into farming and an upcoming advertising campaign will help to promote careers in the sector.




“There are jobs going all over the country, ranging from hands-on work in orchards and on farms to professional roles in engineering, science and management.” O’Connor added that the immediate term goal was to place at least 10,000 New Zealanders in primary sector jobs by “rapidly retraining and absorbing workers displaced from other sectors like hospitality and aviation”. However, despite the growing unemployment number and the millions of dollars being spent by the Government to try to fill hundreds of vacant farming jobs, sign-ups have been slow. Earlier this month, O’Connor was in the Waikato to help launch a new $3 million dairy farming course. But so far, few locals want to take advantage of the course. The new course only signed up eight people – despite having enough space for 12 trainees. Meanwhile, reports from Telford in South Island say a similar course with 180 spots had only 50 applicants.

talists claiming Hobbs faced the vote because she was “a battler for the environment in Otago, and particularly our rivers”. However, councillors rejected the claim, saying the vote was about leadership, not water policy. Hobbs was accused of being out of sync with her team of councillors. Nine ORC councillors signed

letters on June 15 requesting the extraordinary meeting to replace Hobbs. Hobbs, a former minister in Helen Clark’s government, is in her first term as an Otago regional councillor. She was known as a gaffe-prone member of that government and earned the nickname “Boo-boo”.

RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Pig sector joins the chorus DAVID ANDERSON

PIG FARMERS have joined a growing chorus in the primary sector calling on the Government to urgently review its migrant worker policies in the wake of Covid-19. Both agricultural contractors and dairy farming organisations have also recently asked for rule changes around migrant workers. “Each year, New Zealand’s pig farming industry relies on experienced workers from overseas to meet a shortfall in staff with the necessary skills required to work with the country’s pig herd,” explains NZ Pork chief executive David Baines. He says the pig industry is concerned that skilled migrants already working on pig farms in New Zealand may not have their visas renewed or existing workers trying to return from overseas visits will be blocked, leaving many farmers with significant staffing shortages. “The sector’s strong preference would be to have a pool of available skilled and unskilled New Zealand workers,” Baines claims. “However, pig farming is a relatively niche sector in New Zealand and the reality is that there is a significant shortage of New Zealanders applying

for these roles.” He says the pork sector relies on a supply of skilled migrant workers who have been trained in their home countries. “The numbers in total are small, particularly compared to major industries such as dairy, but the productivity of the industry is very vulnerable because of the precision nature of pig farming.” Baines says NZ Pork has requested an urgent meeting with the Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway to discuss the issue. He says pig farmers have raised concerns that migrant staff may not have their visas renewed this year. “Or that migrant workers cannot currently enter New Zealand and that existing staff on visas are facing difficulties returning from overseas visits as a result of immigration measures taken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.” Baines says other issues include the cost of visas, processing times, a lack of pathway to residency and a lack of consistency from Immigration New Zealand in terms of visa length and conditions. “While we recognise that Covid-19 has and will continue to leave New Zealanders out of

work and hopefully create some opportunities locals who are prepared and willing to work on pig farms,” Baines added. “The sector cannot

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Putting the fun back into farming PETER BURKE

NEWLY ELECTED Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard wants to see the fun put back into farming. He says many farmers are worn down by compliance and filling out long forms to multi-

ple organisations, just to prove to each one in writing what they are doing. He says, in many cases, farmers are actually doing more than what is required but get penalised because they don’t tick every last box on a form. Hoggard says sometimes the boxes farmers

are expected to tick aren’t that easy to tick because they don’t quite fit in with how they are achieving the outcomes that are desired on farm. “I personally got caught out because, although I was doing more than was asked of me, I didn’t tick a particular box, which is just

stupid,” he told Rural News. “To me, ticking boxes sucks the fun out of farming. We went farming because we like being outside, fixing fences, moving stock, the fresh air and just feeling the peace and solitude – not to be stuck in a freaking office and typing out

something for the twentieth time to please some bloody clipboard carrier,” he says. Hoggard says it will come as no surprise that Federated Farmers will focus on some key policy areas such as water, RMA, biodiversity, climate change, biosecurity. He says economic and

Andrew Hoggard

trade issues are also high on the agenda. He wants to ensure that any talk of protectionism is strongly countered and that voice and support is given to NZ’s free trade position. “We certainly don’t want to move back to the days of protectionism,” he says. In raising policy issues, Hoggard says Feds will focus on front footing issues and take a proactive rather than a reactive approach. He says NZ should do what it’s doing well and ignore the advice of the ‘latte lot’ in Auckland and Wellington. “I want Feds to put an authentic farmer voice to all conversations,” he told Rural News. On the home front, Hoggard wants to see an improvement in connectivity, meaning quality broadband for all rural communities. He says many local and central government agencies are demanding that farmers do business online, but he says many can’t because of poor connections. Hoggard says students in rural areas are

also severely disadvantaged over city kids in this regard. He says this was particularly highlighted during Alert Level 4 when students were expected to learn online. He knows of one student who has lost all hope of being dux of her school because of the poor internet connection. Hoggard says he’s even prepared to do a DYI to get broadband to some places, but fears that such efforts would quickly be thwarted by the zealous bureaucracy. According to Hoggard there is a lot of talk these days about the need to add value to the basic product produced on farm. However, he says there is also a need to ensure that such a philosophy is not adding more unnecessary costs. Hoggard says Covid19 has changed consumer preferences with an emphasis on cooking at home or restaurants providing simple, readyto eat-meals that can be delivered to people’s homes.

CALLING A SPADE, A SPADE ANDREW HOGGARD says the challenge for Federated Farmers is getting its views across to government. He says there will always be debate on issues and people just have to be mature about this and sometimes just agree to disagree. “I don’t care who’s in Parliament – those whose policies I like I will agree with and policies which I think are dumb, I will say are dumb,” he told Rural News. “If you look back over the last three years, you will see examples of what I call dumb policies and you will see examples of policies which I have said ‘well-done, thank you very much’. “The M. bovis tax issue is probably the most recent one. There have also been plenty of other ones in the area of biosecurity where the Government and the government agencies have worked well with us.”

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Alternative labour sources needed INDUSTRIES THAT depend on migrant labour – like many in NZ’s primary sector – will need to find alternatives. That is one of the key findings of the latest report on the agribusiness sector by KPMG in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The recently released 2020 KPMG Agribusiness Agenda says that there is a stigma attached to a career in the production and processing of food and fibre products. “The jobs are seen as being low skilled, low paid roles which are done by those for which there are no other employment options,” the report says. “While such perceptions are a million miles away from the truth, they have made it difficult for organisations to recruit the labour force they need, even in countries with significant levels of unemployment.” Lead author of the report – KPMG’s head of global agribusiness – Ian Proudfoot says travel restrictions will present challenges to those industries that place significant reliance on transitory labour – be that foreign migrants or people taking working holidays or gap years. “If borders are closed and travel is less free and significantly more expensive, it will mean transi-

“The report says many in the primary sector will need to mechanise some of the highly physical processes required as part of producing food and fibre.”

also see an expectation being placed on organisations to make efforts to employ locals whenever possible.” Proudfoot believes that this will be a big challenge and require careful management. “Trying to fit Ian Proudfoot believes there is a need for a public/private alliance to establish the newly unempathways to enable unemployed New ployed workforce Zealanders to take up opportunities in into vacancies in the primary sectors. primary production sectors will tory labour will not be available to organisations, be akin to fitting square pegs into round holes,” requiring them to rethink he adds. “The immediate their resourcing strateimpact of the pandemic gies,” he explains. on labour availability, in “The probable lift in particular the loss of seaunemployment levels sonal and migrant labour, around the world will

has required some businesses to prioritise available resources to process volume at the expense of producing premium products that require more time and specialist handling.” Proudfoot believes many in the primary sector will need to prioritise the opportunity to mechanise some of the highly physical processes required as part of producing food and fibre, which he claims has not been done in the past. “The availability of relatively low-cost migrant and casual labour has reduced the incentive to accelerate commercialisation,” he adds. “With the structural changes to labour availability,

New Zealand’s agri-food sector,” it says. “The border restrictions in place mean these labour resources are not available to the industry in the short to medium term, requiring alternatives to be found if the sector is to continue to grow, particularly in light of the productivity impacts social distancing requirements will have on businesses for the foreseeable future.” Proudfoot believes there is a need for a public/private alliance to establish pathways that enable unemployed New Zealanders to take up opportunities in the primary sectors, including providing retraining and relocation support.

robotic and mechanised solutions to some of the physical labour challenges which now exist.” However, the report notes that while some premium activities may be able to be mechanised in future, the reality is that people with the right skills will continue to be required if market premiums are not sacrificed in future seasons. “The gap year student yearning for some pocket money, the research scientist seeking overseas experience, the migrant dairy worker looking to create a better future for their family or the winemaker travelling the world to participate in vintage have all contributed to the success of


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Rain in Bay helps, but a long way to go PETER BURKE

A HAWKES Bay farm consultant is pleasantly surprised by what has happened in the region during the past couple of weeks, with raining falling in most places. Lochie MacGillivray, who works for AgFirst and is also the chairperson of the Rural Advisory Group set up to help manage the drought recovery, says there has been an improvement in conditions. He says Hawkes Bay has had mild weather and soft rain, and the pasture response has been phenomenal. “Typically, at this time of the year, farmers might think of having 9kg of dry matter growth, but right now they are getting between 12 and 14kg of

dry matter,” MacGillivray told Rural News. He says farmers will still have to conserve feed for their animals, but the good weather has enabled pastures to recover and shortened the time between now and the end of winter. “Usually winter is a dormant period and we are not expecting to get much from it. But there are a number of green feed crops that have been sown and they are responding really well,” MacGillivray says. “Often when they are sown late we don’t see a huge amount of growth from them and generally the feed available from them doesn’t come until August. But the growth we have been getting is two or three weeks ahead of what we would have

Lochie MacGillivray says there has been an improvement in conditions in the region with recent mild weather, soft rain and a “phenomenal” pasture response.

normally expected.” MacGillivray says the rain had really lifted the morale of farmers, but they are aware that spring is still some weeks away. “When we do the

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numbers, we still see a huge feed deficit across the region that’s going to have to be filled somehow. Either by using

more supplements, the use of more nitrogen or by taking it off the back of the sheep or cattle – meaning lower animal

weights.” As the rest of the country starts to recover from the drought, grazing stock in other regions

becomes a possibility. But MacGillivray says in Hawkes Bay, stock numbers being carried though winter are down by 30%. He says a lot of the trading stock has gone, as has capital stock and replacements such as hoggets. “Personally, I don’t think we have seen it at that level before.” He says many beef farmers in the region completely destocked, but once the pasture covers improve they will be looking for stock again. MacGillivray says, at present, the beef trade is potentially good for many farmers, but he adds that the longer they delay the decisions to get back in, the more expensive as prices in spring will be high.

WHAT’S IN STORE? LOCHIE MACGILLIVRAY has been reminding people that there are three phases to a drought. He says the first is the actual event itself, which is driven by soil moisture deficit. The second is where things are at right now as everyone tries to get through winter. “The third phase is getting business back to usual and that’s going be tough,” MacGillivray told Rural News. “For some farms, that will take

years. The worst possible scenario would be back-to-back droughts. The long-range weather forecast, thankfully, does not predict that this will happen.” As a consultant, MacGillivray says he’s been busy helping farmers put feed budgets together and, along with other rural professionals, generally helping farmers make it through to spring. Farmers in the Tukituki catchment have the added stress of

having to apply for consents to farm. MacGillivray says farmers recognise that they have got environmental responsibilities, but says the consenting process is costly and time consuming. “Unfortunately, this arrived at the wrong time for them when they have got other cashflow requirements and are so busy feeding out. It’s not that they don’t want to do it,” he says.

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Trusts to get extra help PETER BURKE

MPI SAYS it’s looking at increasing its support to Rural Support Trusts and other rural advisory groups. Director general of the Ministry for Primary Industries, Ray Smith, says it seems like the country is moving from one set of issues to another, which are all challenging to farmers. He cites the droughts in the North Island and the feed shortage in the South Island – along with M. bovis and the damage from earthquakes. “It feels like the expectations on those Trusts are growing and we are trying to increase our investment in them to help the local people,” he told Rural News. Smith says the drought can get on top of people, as costs rise and people struggle and are not sure what to do next. He says for some of them the

world appears to be closing in and they need to know we are there to support them. “We don’t want to leave anyone behind and it’s not anyone’s fault that they find themselves in these positions. One thing we can do is keep on supporting these Rural Support Trust and Rural Advisory Group people.” Smith says Rural Support Trusts have been doing an amazing job and now that most of the Covid lockdown restrictions have been lifted, he hopes that it will be easier for people who need help to contact them. “The other factor that is driving MPI to support the rural support organisations is that the weather patterns over the next two decades suggest that the areas that are dry now, will get drier and wet ones, wetter,” he adds. Smith says the extreme position facing the country now is an


indication of what the future may hold and thought has to be given to the future because the weather patterns are not going to make it easy for farmers.

Ray Smith says MPI will keep on supporting Rural Support Trusts and Rural Advisory Group people.








RAY SMITH believes the drought in Hawkes Bay has impacted severely on the community and MPI is also concerned about the situation on the Hauraki Plains. He told Rural News they are keeping a watching brief on Southland as well. Smith says the present drought is about a feed shortage and there has been an excellent response to MPI’s drought recovery programme, whereby farmers can apply for a $5,000 grant to get help to put together a feed budget. He says MPI has also put $750,000 into funding the transport of feed to these areas. “The feed planning service has been working well because farmers who are struggling can get hold of Beef+Lamb NZ or DairyNZ and they will figure out a feed plan with farmers and link with one of the four feed coordinators around the country,” he explains. “They will match the farmers up with feed availability. Feed is becoming harder to access but these people are excellent at doing it.” Smith adds that farmers who were earlier concerned about the lack of palm kernel, need not worry now. “The supply chains are working well and prices should be as expected.”






















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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020

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Farmer confidence slowly returns FOLLOWING A sharp drop in March due to uncertainty created by Covid-19, agricultural sector confidence has rebounded strongly. Fewer farmers now concerned about the impacts of the virus on the agricultural economy, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown. However, Covid-19 does continue to be a key source of anxiety among farmers and overall confidence remains deep in negative territory. The second quarterly Rural Confidence Survey for the year – completed earlier this month – has shown the nation’s net farmer confidence has risen to -26%, up from -44% recorded in the first quarter of the year. The survey found an increase in the number of farmers expecting

Results at a glance ●●






New Zealand farmer confidence rose strongly in the second quarter of 2020, but remains in negative territory overall – with more of the country’s farmers pessimistic than optimistic about the year ahead. Covid-19 continues to be a major concern for those with a pessimistic outlook on the agricultural economy, however farmers are significantly less concerned about the threat of the virus than in the last survey. Rising demand and higher commodity prices were the key reasons cited by farmers now expecting the agricultural economy to improve. Farmers’ expectations of their own farm business performance were unchanged on last quarter and negative overall. Dairy farmers and horticulturalists are now more pessimistic about the prospects for their own businesses, while sheep and beef farmers are more optimistic. Investment intentions were up marginally from last quarter, but remain at net negative levels overall.

agricultural economic conditions to improve in the coming 12 months (up to 16 % from 12% last quarter), while fewer New Zealand farmers were expecting

the performance of the agricultural economy to worsen (42% from 56% last survey). The number of farmers expecting conditions to remain the

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Content supplied by Rabobank - Growing a Better New Zealand Together same stood at 39%, up from 29% previously. Covid-19 was cited as a key concern by 38% of farmers with a pessimistic outlook for the agricultural economy this survey, well back on the 84% in mid-March when the pandemic was taking hold across the globe. Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Todd Charteris said this fall, and the uplift in overall farmer confidence, reflected positively on the industry’s response to the significant challenges faced in recent months. “While most New Zealand farmers have been adversely impacted by Covid-19, the industry has done a fantastic job of coming together to lessen the extent of these impacts,” he said. “Over recent months, we’ve seen the sector adjust quickly to the restrictions in place at various Covid-19 alert levels and this has enabled the country’s

agricultural products to be processed at close-tofull capacity. We’ve also seen exporters acting swiftly to divert products into different markets and channels when demand has waned in others. “This strong industry response has helped to mitigate some of the negative impacts of the virus and has played a key role in lifting farmer confidence from the nearrecord low we saw in March.” Charteris said a

further contributor to improved confidence was reduced farmer concern over government policy. “While many farmers remain anxious about government policy, we’ve seen the percentage of farmers citing this as a reason for concern drop over recent quarters. In this survey, government policy was identified as a concern by a quarter of those with a negative outlook, while back in December last year this figure reached a record high of 91%,” he said.

“The recent changes to freshwater policy announced in early June are likely to be a key contributor to this drop, with these changes expected to reduce the overall costs faced by farmers.” Among farmers who now have an optimistic outlook on the year ahead, 39% nominated increasing demand as a key reason for holding this view, while 18% credited rising commodity prices. “In this survey there

MARKETS & TRENDS 19 were also a significant number of verbatim responses from farmers flagging the country’s increased economic reliance on agriculture and general public appreciation for the industry as a key reason for optimism,” Charteris said. Farm business performance The latest survey found farmers’ expectations for the performance of their own farm businesses were stable, with the net reading unchanged from last quarter at -26%. Some 16% of farmers were expecting the performance of their individual farm business to improve, 42% to worsen and 40% were expecting no change. Charteris said sheep and beef farmers were more optimistic about the prospects for their own businesses than earlier in the year. “Beef and lamb pricing has certainly come back

over the last quarter. But is still holding up reasonably well compared to where prices are normally sitting at this stage in the season. And this is likely to be one of the key factors in these higher expectations among sheep and beef farmers.” Conversely, he said, dairy farmers and horticulturalists were now more pessimistic about the prospects for their own businesses. “Dairy farmers are facing a significant fall in pricing for their products with Fonterra recently announcing a wide pay out range of $5.40kg/MS to $6.90kg/MS for the 20/21 season that – even at the top end – is well back on the 19/20 season pay out. “Prices for horticultural products, such as apples and kiwifruit, have been resilient early in the export year, however, lower confidence among growers is being driven by concerns about the

impact of Covid-19 on demand over the coming months.” Farm investment The survey found farmers’ investment intentions were up slightly on last quarter. However, it remained in net negative territory overall (-4%). “As has been the case for number of quarters, horticulturalists investment intentions were significantly stronger than their counterparts in other sectors,” Charteris said. “Thirty-two per cent of horticulturalists were intending to increase investment in the coming 12 months, while only 11% were expecting it to decrease.” Conducted since 2003, the Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey is administered by independent research agency TNS, interviewing a panel of approximately 450 farmers each quarter. @rural_news

RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020



All sizzle, no sausage DESPITE ALL the hype and political theatre surrounding last week’s release of the Primary Sector Council’s report, Fit for a Better World Roadmap – Accelerating our Economic Potential, this document seems more like a horoscope than a clear guide to anywhere. Unfortunately, we are in election mode and it seems the Government has hijacked the PSC report and turned it into a bunch of slogans, rather than any meaningful strategy. The report claims to want to lift primary sector exports by $44 billion in the next decade. In 2019 the sector’s exports hit $46.5b – so the report’s target requires a doubling of current primary sector returns. The report is padded with pages of case studies – the likes of Allbirds shoes, First Light Wagyu beef and proponents of regenerative agriculture extolling its virtues. All the while, merging existing plans for spending, already announced, on tree planting and water improvements in the Budget. It groups the goals of the action plan under three titles: Productive (changes to what and how we produce food), Sustainable (regenerative agriculture, the Government’s existing emissions targets) and Inclusive (wellbeing, jobs, communities). However, one can’t help but agree with the view of one commentator who described it as: “long on generalities and light on any real detail”. When you look for the ‘how’, as in how is this going to happen, it appears the answer is a reliance on the Maori concept of Taiao – in keeping with the Māori natural world – and regenerative agriculture! Really? That’s where the sector is going to magic up an extra $10 billion per annum in earnings for the next decade? As for attracting 10,000 people to work in the sector – again, how? There has been little interest from New Zealanders in careers in the sector for the past 30 years – hence its reliance on migrant workers. Now, all of a sudden, the good and great are going to be flocking to jobs milking cows and driving tractors? Yeah, right! Meanwhile, the report states that NZ should not be a volume producer – and we should stop acting like one. “Selling commodities in undiversified markets is a race to the bottom.” All this on the back of the latest GDT auction result, which saw prices for the big-volume dairy category, wholemilk powder (an evil commodity), leap by 14%. Clearly this Fit for a Better World Roadmap is not even fit for the paper it was written on!


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“I know we got a good video of how the farmer treats his cows, but I wish we hadn’t turned up on the same day as the AI guy!”

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THE HOUND Where’s Winston?

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Your old mate wonders why there has not been a whole lot of gnashing of teeth and wailing from the xenophobes – more commonly known as failing political party NZ First – about a Canadian pension fund buying a major stake in New Zealand’s biggest corporate dairy farmer, Dairy Holdings. According to company records, Sooke Investments, a subsidiary of giant Quebec public service pension fund manager PSP Investments, bought 24.9% of South Islandbased company, following the exit of an investor – owned by JD & RD Wallace Ltd and former National Government Minster John Luxton. Dairy Holdings other major shareholders remain two NZ farming families – Colin and Dale Armer and Murray and Margaret Turley. The Ashburton-based company is Fonterra’s biggest shareholder.

Your canine crusader understands that dairy farming company, Sidogg Investments Limited, which was recently fined $281,250 in the Ashburton District Court – after a worker was crushed in an onfarm accident by a trailer – has a strong link to dairy sector royalty. According to the Companies Register, its owner director is one Simon Andres van der Heyden, who happens to be one of Henricus Wilhelmus van der Heyden’s (or more commonly known as former Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden) sons. The records also show that Sidogg Investments went into liquidation on May 8 this year – less than two months before it was fined $281,250 by WorkSafe NZ and ordered to pay $90,000 reparation to the injured worker. One hopes the company’s (un) timely liquidation will not prevent it from paying its fines or worker reparation!

A mate of the Hound’s recently contacted this old mutt to report his deep concerns that AgResearch’s fancy new $45 million building at Lincoln did not back our wool sector. There was a rumour going round that AgResearch’s new building had installed synthetic carpets. However, after some sniffing around by yours truly, the Hound can confirm that this claim is, indeed, just a rumour and any carpets in the building are indeed woollen. Meanwhile, the Hound suggests backing the petition currently in front of Parliament by Amy Blaikie, asking that: ‘New Zealand wool products used in public-funded buildings and KiwiBuild homes.’ Speaking of which – Who was it that promised before the last election that one of his coalition bottom lines would include that all new government buildings must have wool carpets? More bull’s-wool from Winston, methinks!

Your old mate nearly choked on his dog biscuit when he read that the Hawkes Bay Regional Council is going to investigate more freshwater storage sites in the region. According to HBRC chair Rex Graham the decision was… “an important step in solving the objective of ensuring Heretaunga has long-term, climate-resilient and secure supplies of freshwater”. The Hound wonders if this is the same Rex Graham – who along with a bunch of other luddites – campaigned to get on the HBRC by vigorously protesting against the then council’s plans to build the Ruataniwha Dam – a new freshwater storage and irrigation scheme aimed at ensuring… ‘Heretaunga has long-term, climate-resilient and secure freshwater’? Perhaps Graham – and his anti-Ruataniwha acolyte deputy chair – Rick Barker owe an apology to the people of the region?

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Where’s the rural proofing of policy? IN 2005, Jim Anderton (RIP) ranked third in Cabinet. He was Minister of Agriculture (and fisheries, forestry and biosecurity) and Associate Minister of Health and for Tertiary Education. In 2008, still thirdranked in Cabinet, Anderton released a guide for government advisers called ‘Rural Proof Your Policy’. It stated that ‘Rural Proofing is a process for considering the circumstances and needs of the rural community (rural people and rural businesses) when developing and implementing policy’. Policy makers were urged to identify positive and negative implications for rural people, and to seek advice from organisations operating within the rural area or representing people


Jacqueline Rowarth

Sir Peter Gluckman (who was the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor for a decade), has highlighted the importance of the sector and all its attributes. The Future of Food & the Primary Sector: the journey to sustainability is part of a suite of papers under the banner of The Future is

Now. It states that ‘New Zealand is a country with high social and environmental values that produces safe, healthy food with a relatively low carbon footprint’, and makes some important points for enabling the sector to do even better. To have an external body validating what

the primary sector has been saying for some time might lead to some action. Education, scientific research and technology, including better rural broadband coverage… all need fixing. And the primary sector, as a whole, needs a strategy. As ministers work through the various

suggestions, and some of their current policies, they might like to use Minister Anderton’s guidelines to see if what their policy makers are proposing will allow what Koi Tu suggests. Rural proofing equals New Zealand proofing… and maybe the importance of

the primary sector in economic recovery will allow the portfolio to rise in the Cabinet rankings again. • Dr Jacqueline Rowarth has a PhD in Soil Science and is a farmer-elected director of DairyNZ and Ravensdown. The analysis above is her own.

ever since – slip sliding down the Cabinet rankings, while the sector has continued to contribute to a growing export revenue and to productivity gains for labour and capital inputs. It has been a massive achievement, and Covid19 has allowed society to recognise the importance of the sector. The recognition of the importance of food is global. Throughout the

Stark data were presented – over 86% of New Zealanders were classed as urban and occupied only 2.7% of the land area. who lived and operated businesses. They were asked to assess whether the proposed policies might affect urban people differently from those that lived and operated businesses in rural districts. Stark data were presented – over 86% of New Zealanders were classed as urban and occupied only 2.7% of the land area. That left 13.8% of the population (including towns under 1000 resident population) on the rest of the land. The difference in population density was clear – as was the point about difficulty of understanding rural issues from any CBD (central business district). If disparities were apparent, the guide stated that proposed policies should be amended to ensure the use of mitigation measures where practicable, and that ministers and relevant departments should be informed of any unresolved implications. Twelve years on, and it has been downhill for the ministers dealing with food production

pandemic, people have been searching for ‘healthy’. The International Food Information Council has reported that 85% of people changed their eating habits during Covid, with over 60% now saying that they consider how ‘healthy’ food is before making a purchase. Taste is still number one (88%), followed by price (70%). Convenience ranks 4th (52%) and environmental sustainability 5th (34%). Only 3% of the people surveyed expected to eat less meat in future and the perceived healthfulness of animal protein (meat and milk) had increased from 2019. Independently, Hartman has reported a 76% increase in consumption of dairy milk. All of this is good news for New Zealand food producers – we know that the mouthfeel of grass-fed meat, as well as the taste, exceeds that of grain-fed. And Omega 3s are higher in grass-fed than grain-fed product. More good news is that Auckland think-tank, Koi Tu, led by Professor

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Is diversity our downfall? JOHN JACKSON

HAVING RETURNED from overseas in 1992, I plunged myself into working life and raising a family over the last 28 years. I’ve personally found it very difficult to look much past the front gate. Perhaps I haven’t wanted to look up much on purpose as the last 30 years have crucified provinces from the mighty economic and social hubs they once were. Primary industry export revenue in 2019 was in the vicinity of a record $46.4 billion and yet our provincial towns, villages and surrounding areas paint a very different picture. Our local schools are closing and school bus runs cut in the name of efficiency. Our banks are leaving towns, so too our stores, supermarkets, garages and service entities. Our local hospitals and rural GPs are under pressure and so is our existence. In the far reaches it is most obvious, with pine trees pervading our pastoral landscape, where once animals and communities existed in harmony. This is despite our

protein being of highest quality and most efficiently produced anywhere in the world. Those of us who have been around a while know that despite the heightened awareness around this issue currently, this is not a new issue. There was plenty of pine afforestation when there was an alternate hand on the political tiller. So too with our councils, our schools and our healthcare. Many of the knock-on effects of central government are much more far reaching and subtle than we care to investigate and our lives seem too busy to rebel against. No one has told us directly we need to leave, for that would cause us to drop tools and bunch our fists. Government policy is just making it more and more difficult to exist—like a noose that slowly tightens around one’s neck. The neck of provincial NZ. Who’s benefiting from this? The large urban areas where the majority vote is held. Where ideological agendas can easily create misplaced perceptions of what we in provincial NZ do and how we do it.

is the bias of the system as it stands, and for as long as MMP has existed, we in the provinces have played along to our detriment. As voting individuals in the provinces, we are on a hiding to nothing. Collectively we could have some clout. To make a difference, provincial NZ needs its own party. One that is centrist and could be part of any government. One to mod-

erate or enhance policy from within, with provincial interest in mind. That might take some convincing to the staunchest of whatever your political colour, but I would argue, what have you got to lose? No colour has your interest at heart. I believe we need more options purely because the choices we have had to date, the status quo, have been of

no benefit to the provinces. Have we still some fight in Provincial NZ – before that noose is drawn tight, or are we already out of oxygen? • John Jackson completed a Bachelor of Agricultural commerce at Lincoln University and read Social Studies at Oxford (Philosophy, Politics, Economics). He farms sheep and beef at Te Akau, North Waikato.



John Jackson

you could be right – that is not my argument. Our provincial diversity is a local strength, but our political weakness. If we vote mainstream blue or red we are lumped in with the same colour in the urban centres, but their numbers and their philosophy will override our needs. That

This noose sometimes has a blue hand on it, sometimes red. Despite the rhetoric you have heard in the past, and will hear leading into the election, neither truly have provincial NZ at heart. Their track record is testament to that! You might argue that one is better than another and










I AGREE with Jeremy Talbot (Rural News, June 30) over the use of more grain in areas affected by feed shortages due usually to widespread drought. He makes a very valid point that silage and hay costs at least three times as much to transport as grain. I was involved with Federated Farmers, distributing donated hay in big snow in 1992. While the generosity was very much appreciated, it was at best, only a very small gesture of feed. It was, however, a much-appreciated morale booster. It would be much better to support the business of farming with discounted rail cartage of grain to districts that are declared drought areas. After all, the Government owns the railway.


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A farmer perspective in the boardroom STUART WRIGHT

THE PHRASE ‘gumboot directors’ came about in the 1970s when co-operatives like Ravensdown were created. Originally intended as a jibe from the corporate business world, it became a badge of honour as farmer shareholders put their hand up to influence the businesses they own. These days, New Zealand’s agri co-operatives are multi-million-dollar operations, with complex business models and risk profiles. And the governance of such organisations has never been more important. Over the years, the

the export dollars that pay for economic and social support throughout the recovery. A co-operative board’s role is to act as stewards for its members and shareholders. Ordinary shareholders vote for those who they think will represent their interests best. The elected directors, who often have a ‘stake in the game’, are more than likely to be members of the community they’re representing. As a representative of the shareholders, there’s an advocacy role. It’s also important to lead and challenge rather than only follow the mood of farmers at any given time.

and create something special and that includes the directors in the board room. • Stuart Wright is the current deputy chair of

Ravensdown and farms 330ha west of Christchurch growing arable crops, seed potatoes and finishing lambs. He is standing down from the board because he

has reached the maximum term of 12 years serving as director for central South Island. Nominations for his director position close on 31 July.

Retiring Ravensdown director and Darfield farmer Stuart Wright.


Being on a board allows farmers to lead and guide transformation in areas where they have knowledge and passion. To stop any individual director becoming too entrenched and thinking becoming too rigid, elections can be set every three years and maximum terms can be written into the constitution. Being on a board allows farmers to lead and guide transformation in areas where they have knowledge and passion. As an arable farmer myself, this is something I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have been a part of during my time as a director at Ravensdown. A good board is one that has mixed representation. So, I urge farmers to throw their hat in the ring, be ready to ask the tough questions, and be at the forefront of a team safeguarding the future prosperity of New Zealand’s primary industries. Co-operatives can be more long-term and people centred in their thinking compared to listed outfits being buffeted by a volatile share market. It’s a business structure well suited to the challenges of our time such as sustainability in its broadest sense. But it’s people that take the co-operative idea





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professionalism and competency of independent, appointed directors has rubbed off on their farmer-elected counterparts. In the modern era, shrewd strategic decisionmaking, fresh thinking and networks of relationships have complemented the traditional director role of ensuring financial solvency. In that time, many agri-sector enterprises have also become more sophisticated and commercially driven. As a result of all this, the farming leaders of today are better equipped for the boardroom than the farmers from a bygone era. In addition to the many boards, trusts and committees arising out of the intensely community-minded rural sector, a large number of agribusinesses operate under a co-operative model (like Fonterra, FMG and Ravensdown). The performance of these co-operatives in a world recovering from Covid-19 is crucial to New Zealand. The creation of food for humans or livestock is a complicated business and critical if the country is going to earn

RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Action groups carry on-line RED MEAT Profit Partnership (RMPP) Action Group facilitator John Stantiall was unsure, at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, how meetings could work. “But then I discovered Zoom and farmers adapted to that far better than I expected,” he says. Stantiall, who is an agricultural consultant with Perrin Ag, facilitates eight Action Groups. His groups broke their usual full-day, on-farm meetings down into three Zoom meetings – including ‘virtual farm visits’. He was also a regular participant in the The RMPP Action Network model weekly online supports small groups of seven support meetto nine farm businesses to work ings RMPP together to explore ideas and invited all their share expert resources to help facilitators to them to make positive changes join throughon-farm. out alert levels using them. The number 3 and 4. This of participants increased enabled them to share significantly. experiences and advice “We are in contact around the different with all our facilitators online tools they were regularly,” says Denise using. Since July 2019, RMPP Bewsell, extension specialist for the RMPP had already been running Action Network. monthly online meet“We get to hear what ings, which all facilitais happening with each of tors could participate in. the groups but thought it However, during lockwould be great for facilidown these were held tators to be able to share weekly to provide addiexperiences and practical tional support and tips directly. We always advice about facilitating remotely and using online say that ‘farmers like to talk to farmers’ – and tools, and to practice


What’s RMPP?

RMPP Action Group facilitator John Stantiall says farmers adapted to digital meetings better than he expected. FILE PHOTO

facilitators like to talk to facilitators,” she adds. “Increasing that to weekly meetings worked really well. There were really varied responses from facilitators at the start of lockdown in terms of how they felt online meetings would work. Some were confident it would work, while others felt it would be hard and were concerned about broadband or that farmers would not have the right equipment. “It was really good for them to talk about their experiences and for those who were concerned to talk with other facilitators who were already

trying it. We very quickly had people asking each other a lot of questions, such as ‘how is shared Google Docs working for you’ or ‘how are you finding using Chatbox?’ Shared experience really supported people in getting started with online meetings.” The facilitator meetings will also include sessions with subject matter experts including Australians Dr Ruth Nettle, an authority on extension in rural change, and extension specialist John James. Another upcoming talk is planned with sport development consultant Hugh Galvan of Sport New Zealand.

Stantiall says that he found the RMPP weekly meetings incredibly supportive and kicking off online Action Group meetings with a relaxed approach worked well. “In the early ones, in particular, farmers were still facing a lot of issues alongside the lockdown,” he says. “It was still very dry, and many needed to sell stock. They really appreciated the meetings continuing and being able to just talk to other farmers. “Without Zoom it would have been difficult to have any meetings at all and that could also potentially have been a threat to my work.”

JOHN STANTIALL’S specialty is looking at all the components that make up the farm system. As well as the eight Action Groups, he has facilitated several farmer discussion groups, including four he’s been working with for the past 20 years. “Having talked with the different Action Group members, we felt that three Zoom meetings would equate to our usual quarterly full-day meeting,” he says. “The first one included each member of the group providing an update on what had been happening on their farm for the past three months. We would normally hold meetings at a member’s farm and I always work with that farmer to provide notes on their farm for everyone beforehand.” Stantiall still did that and then the farmer they were ‘visiting’ described their farm in detail, talked about their systems and any challenges and used pictures and even drone footage to illustrate their talk. He says even without seeing the property in person, members were still able to have useful discussions and provide feedback. “For the third meeting, groups opted to either have an expert speaker or to talk in more depth about a particular topic. Several groups used this to discuss gross margins and that worked well, as I could put calculations and analysis up on the screen.” He says there were no problems with connections. Some people called in from computers, some from cellphones and one from a landline. “Some people would take part from the top of a hill or somewhere on farm in between jobs, but everyone managed it.”

Stantiall also sees greater opportunities for engaging with farmers remotely in the future. “This has opened up a whole new range of opportunities for expert speakers,” he says. “Coming out of lockdown, we have had Action Group meetings

back on farm and we have enough to focus on in the short to medium term, but in the longer term planning, options will include getting expert speakers via Zoom for a lot less cost, when you don’t have to take travel and accommodation into account.”

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Nats hit the rural hustings MARK DANIEL

WITH THE general election less than three months away, National’s Waikato team of David Bennett and Tim van der Molen have been spreading the party word at a series of farmer meetings around the region.

Bennett, now the party’s agriculture spokesman, following Todd Muller’s recent move to leader, focused on the issues likely to affect agriculture. He claimed National’s ag polices aimed to drive momentum. Starting out by commending the current

Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bennett raised the question of how New Zealand will pay its bills in the future. He intimidated that the current Labour/ NZ First coalition’s policies were reactionary, rather than visionary. With all the major political parties agree-

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ing that sustainable agriculture, horticulture and viticulture will be vital in a post-Covid future, Bennett suggested that the current drive for sustainability needs to be addressed. He says this needs to be driven by using good scientific evidence and a consistent approach that

doesn’t hurt the key primary sector players. He also adds that these key players and the regulatory authorities must be open to discussions about structured changes and redevelopment. On the vexed issue of water, Bennett – a dairy farmer in Te Awamutu, Waikato – says three

National’s agriculture spokesman David Bennett suggests the current drive for sustainability needs to be driven by using good scientific evidence and a consistent approach that doesn’t hurt the key primary sector players.

nett warned of a looming issue for the rural contracting sector as we approach the harvest season in August/September and the possibility of harvest being delayed or corners cut. “As the borders are likely to remain closed, they [ag contractors] will be unable to secure the traditional cohort of skilled northern hemisphere operators for high value, high tech harvesting machinery.” Bennett suggested that the “re-training” of displaced New Zealanders should have started earlier to address this escalating problem. He also disputes claims by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, who suggested specialists coming to NZ annually amounted to around 350 people. “In my region alone, the Irish army measures around 100 people, so the Government does not really understand the scale of the problem nationally.”

areas need to be investigated. “Namely, water storage to combat summer shortages or drought conditions. Water-takes to ensure river and streams remain viable in the dryer months. And the needs of urban NZ – in the domestic and industrial sectors.” Bennett suggested that unemployment will rise to around 10%. On the vexed issue of employment and migration, he says the farming sector faces a serious shortage of skilled labour and will need to bring more skilled migrant workers into the country. “This will undoubtedly prove to be a major challenge, given that our borders are unlikely to open at any time soon,” he explained. “So, the Government should be working to extend the terms of any immigrants already in NZ, whose visas are coming to an end in the near future.” In the same vein, Ben-

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Not hard being green – farmers Fish, eels and a 1.5km farm walk were the highlights of a field day held on a King Country sheep and beef farm this month. Hosted by Ballance Farm Environment Awards Waikato supreme winners Mark and Felicity Brough, the field day attracted 130 people. Sudesh Kissun reports... DURING THE farm walk, visitors were shown how fenced-off waterways are teeming with life. Longfin and shortfin eels and upland bully fish that thrive in the streams on the farm were retrieved by Waikato Regional Council ecologists. The Waitomo sheep and beef, breeding and store fattening farm runs 170 weaner bulls and steer calves and 2150 sheep. Native birds have returned and water quality has improved since the Broughs took over Paerua about 20 years ago – reflecting their respect of land, ani-

mals, soil and water. Land use is carefully matched to land capability and the couple is embracing upcoming regulatory changes. The couple say they entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to demonstrate that it’s not hard to be an environmental farmer and how enjoyable the end product is. The award judges praised the Broughs for skilfully matching land use to land capability. They were also impressed with grazing management that maintains pasture cover and minimises the risk to soils.

Native birds, fish and invertebrates are flourishing on the property, thanks to extensive planting around streams and ponds, and significant fencing of wetlands and drains. The judges commended an innovative biosecurity map that indicates where significant species live. Two large dams with wetland areas have been created and the couple is planning to fence off significant blocks of mature native bush. Poplar poles control erosion, almost all paddocks have water troughs, and beehives encourage clover growth.  Mark Brough told the

field day the investment in fencing waterways and native bushland has been a no-brainer. “It’s the enjoyment you get out of it…there has been no great negative or positive financial impact on the business. “We haven’t lost any major farm area from these investments so it’s been a win-win.” He says fencing off one creek, they would have lost one acre (0.4ha) of productive land. “We run five sheep to the acre, so that’s $500 a year and we can afford to give up that for the environmental gains.” The judges were


Ballance Farm Environment Awards Waikato supreme winners Mark and Felicity Brough.

impressed with how the Broughs are approaching upcoming regulatory changes such as freshwater standards, embracing them as a positive step for both themselves and

the farm. At the field day, Waikato Regional Council freshwater ecologist Bruno David spoke about the importance of respecting waterways.

David says each farmer must work towards passing good, clean water to the neighbouring farm. “If each farmer does this, we are all in a good position.”


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Free phone feed service FARMERS IN many regions are experiencing feed shortages and are being encouraged to plan for their stock needs and seek help if required. Coordinators have been appointed to help connect farmers with available feed and a free phone-in feed planning support service is available to all farmers, including lifestylers. One who’s found the planning support service particularly useful is Kate Luff who runs 10 hectares in Central Hawke’s Bay. She has used the free feed planning service to decide how to get her stock and business through the winter. “Despite keeping all

our baleage this year, I looked at stock numbers – including lambs due to start arriving in June – and available feed and had a sinking feeling that it did not look good. But that I was guessing,” Luff says. “So, I looked into the feed budgeting service and called the 0800 number.” She adds that within an hour of speaking with Mark Harris, I knew exactly how many days feed I had on hand. “The spreadsheet he sent enabled me to play with the stock numbers and work out what we could carry through winter. In our case the right decision was to sell


Mark Harris, from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, discusses feed needs with Central Hawkes Bay lifestyle farmer Kate Luff.

80% of our cattle, based on good factual information.” Mark Harris, from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, is the man most likely to pick up the phone when sheep and beef farmers or lifestylers

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call the free feed planning service He has had decades of farming experience. He’s also been on his own mental health journey and understands the situation and the stress callers may be under. “We’ve answered about 130 calls since we started the planning line in the first week of April,” Harris says.

“The biggest farm we have advised is about 4000ha and the smallest 2.5ha. Everyone’s situation is different, and we can work through it. The later people have left planning, the more stressed they are and it’s a vicious cycle.” He says there is a real challenge for lifestyle blocks or hobby farms where they haven’t expe-

FARMERS IN dry parts of North Canterbury are likely to get a phone call to check in on how they are doing as the region moves from drought to winter. The North Canterbury Rural Support Trust are driving a phone tree campaign, says coordinator Claire Ford. “Our calls just remind people of the support that is available and give us a chance to get a feel for farmer wellbeing after a long lockdown period in drought,” she explains. Winton Dalley, chair of the Hurunui Adverse Events Committee, says that while some useful dollops of rain landed over the last two months, it wasn’t sufficient and timely enough for a full recovery before heading into winter.

rienced running out of food before. “Some of them are carrying up to 20 stock units a hectare on bare dry land and just don’t know which way to turn.” Harris says Kate Luff is a good example of a small block owner who got informed and made

her decisions. “She actually had about 6000kg of feed on hand; enough for 40 days. She looked at the numbers and knew what she had to do. That’s what we are here for,” he explains. “Don’t be shy, pick up the phone and we can help sort it out.”

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Questions over the need for pre-lamb drenching AGRESEARCH SCIENTIST Dr Dave Leathwick believes there’s a strong case for thinking twice about the practice that is routinely carried out by around 80% of sheep farmers as part of their pre-lamb animal health treatments. Speaking on a recent webinar, Leathwick says pre-lambing drenching is ingrained in farmers’ psyche, despite there being a degree of conjecture and uncertainty about the benefits of the practice. He says trials first carried out in the 1960s and 1970s showed inconsistent benefits from drenching ewes, either pre- or post-lambing, and subsequent trials have reinforced these findings. The practice also increases the risk of selecting for drench resistant parasites, particularly when long-acting products are used. Seven years ago, AgResearch helped two groups of farmers carry out 14 anthelmintic trials on eight farms in the Wairarapa over two years. The trials were looking at several variables, including the financial benefits of a pre-lamb treatment with a long-acting drench and what treatments were the most effective. A cost-benefit analysis of the treatments was carried out and showed 47% of the treatments to ewes resulted in a net financial loss, some as much as $10/ewe. This was because some of the treated ewes in the trials weaned fewer lambs than the un-drenched cohort. A follow-up study looking specifically at whether there was a survival advantage or disadvantage to drenching ewes pre-lamb was carried out across New Zealand. While, as before, there was a wide variation between treated

and untreated ewes and between farms, on average there was no advantage or disadvantage to lamb survivability. But the question remained about whether a drench treatment could result in lamb deaths persisted. As part of the investigation into this question, Leathwick’s group have shown that Macrocyclic Lactone (ML) drenches are passed to the young lamb in the ewe’s milk and that Moxidectin can be transferred across the placenta and enter the foetus. “We don’t know yet whether these findings are important or not, but it seem to be an issue worthy of further study.” One of the more surprising findings of the Wairarapa trials was the lack of correlation between Body Condition Score and anthelmintic treatment or Faecal Egg Counts. Body Condition Score was largely irrelevant in terms of the scale of the response to treatment. Scientists found that over the period from prelambing to weaning, a proportion of the ewes increased in body condition, a proportion lost body condition, and some stayed the same irrespective of drench treatments. Leathwick says there was no evidence to show that skinny ewes were affected by parasites any more than fat ewes. And they could not show that there was any greater benefit to pre-lamb drenching ewes in low body condition. “However, there may be other benefits, such as ewe survival over winter that we did not measure” he cautioned. In another, more recent trial, AgResearch found a short-lived liveweight response to drench capsules and injectables in low body condition score ewes.


Go to

However, most of this advantage did not persist through until weaning. He cites several previous New Zealand studies which have shown the same thing. The benefit measured at the time these long-acting

drenches cease working is reduced with time afterwards as the untreated ewes tend to catch-up. Work is on-going, but Leathwick urges farmers to reconsider what they are getting from their prelamb drench programme.

Clostridium Tetani


Clostridium Chauvoei

AgResearch scientist Dave Leathwick says there is a degree of conjecture and uncertainty about the benefits of pre-lambing drenching.

Clostridium Novyi Type B

Clostridium Septicum

Clostridium Perfringens Type A

Clostridium Perfringens Type B

Clostridium Perfringens Type C

Clostridium Perfringens Type D

RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


New research on FE tolerance testing A PILOT study investigating the potential of a facial eczema (FE) tolerance test is being launched this month. The purpose of this pilot study, which is being led by AgResearch’s Dr Axel Heiser and funded by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), is to test the feasibility of a laboratory-based test to determine an animal’s tolerance to the toxin associated with FE. If initial results look promising, the test will

require further development and full validation to make it a readily available test for breeders and commercial farmers. FE has been around in New Zealand for over 100 years. The cause of the disease is attributed to the toxin sporidesmin, produced by the fungus Pithomyces chartarum. This spore-producing fungus sits in the litter at the base of pasture swards. Sporidesmin causes

damage to the bile system of the liver of the animal which can reduce a ewe’s lifetime productivity by 25%. A secondary effect of the liver damage is photosensitisation, which causes skin reddening and peeling, leaving affected area susceptible to other infections. It is suspected that for every clinical case of FE there are 10 more with the disease. This disease causes significant production losses and impacts on the

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FE causes damage to the bile system of the liver of the animal which can reduce a ewe’s lifetime productivity by 25%. A secondary effect is photosensitisation, which causes skin reddening and peeling, leaving affected area susceptible to other infections.

welfare of affected animals. It has been estimated that in a bad year, FE can cost the country $266 million in lost production. More common in warm, moist environments, a changing climate means FE is likely to spread further into southern regions over time. Most research into FE is historical and limited management tools are available. This is despite the significance of FE and the length of time it has been affecting livestock in NZ. “This (latest) work is a great example of B+LNZ investing in research now to find solutions to a problem that farmers face now and that will

Sporidesmin causes damage to the bile system of the liver of the animal which can reduce a ewe’s lifetime productivity by 25%. A secondary effect of the liver damage is photosensitisation, which causes skin reddening and peeling, leaving affected area susceptible to other infections. It is suspected that for every clinical case of FE there are 10 more with the disease. become worse over time” says Dan Brier, B+LNZ’s general manager farming excellence. The pilot study gets underway this month and results are expected by

March 2021. If the pilot is successful – and funding can be secured – validation and implementation of the test is expected to be completed by late 2022.

Heiser says that with new science approaches and technologies, there is an opportunity to find a solution to this serious issue for New Zealand farmers. Alongside this proofof-concept work, B+LNZ will be working with Heiser to build a collaborative funding bid to for a larger research programme to investigate the knowledge gaps of FE in New Zealand. This programme aims to provide several new strategies to reduce the occurrence and impact of FE for farmers. • For more information about Facial Eczema go to: knowledge-hub/PDF/facingfacial-eczema

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Sprayers aimed at reducing costs and enhancing productivity MARK DANIEL

NOW AVAILABLE to order, John Deere’s 4-Series self-propelled sprayers for 2021 feature several changes over existing models. These include the roll-out of John Deere’s CommandDrive allwheel drive system to the R4038 and R4030 models (already available on R4045 and R4060). Additional enhancements

include the optional carbon fibre boom across the entire range. John Deere production and precision ag tactical segment manager, Marko Koelln, says the updates would further boost producers’ ability to apply the right product at the right rate and the right time. “Through these changes, John Deere is not only providing optimised operator comfort but also helping to ensure

we’re working with our customers to integrate features that have direct impact on their bottom line.” CommandDrive allows operators to travel over hills, wet spots and soft ground. The design featuring an intelligent powertrain that uses a single hydrostatic pump to power all four variable-displacement wheel motors. If one or more wheels lose traction, the system

adjusts to slow the slipping wheel and directs more flow to the other wheels with traction to power the sprayer over the terrain. In addition, the system works in tandem with the engine and entire sprayer system to automatically increase RPMs, when more power is needed and to maintain proper spraying rates. An Auto Mode setting allows operators to maintain selected ground speed John Deere’s 4-Series self-propelled sprayers feature several changes over existing models.

A QUICK JUMP START A LIGHTWEIGHT jump starter, developed by Projecta, does away with the need for traditional recharging and can be ready to start another vehicle just 40 seconds after use. Equipped with patented Rapid Recharge Technology (RRT), the ‘Intelli-Start’ 1500A 12V Professional Lithium Jumpstarter (IS1500 the IS1500) recharges itself directly from a started vehicle. It recovers 100% of its charge after staying connected for just 40 seconds. Jump starters that can be used to start multiple vehicles have traditionally been large and heavy to move around a farmyard or workshop, but the

The lightweight jump starter does away with the need for traditional recharging and can be ready to start another vehicle just 40 seconds after use.

IS1500 is more compact, lighter and easier to carry around – weighing in at just 4kg. The Rapid Charge Technology makes use of a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery as the power source. This enables the unit to accept charge from the vehicle alternator, at a higher current compared with other lithium or conventional

lead acid batteries. The technology enables it to safely absorb a charge faster than other battery types and is also designed to allow the current to flow in both directions. Once the unit has been fitted to the vehicle and activated, the RRT automatically engages when enough current is detected in the vehicle’s battery.

Once the vehicle has been started, the unit’s battery will immediately begin drawing power directly from the alternator. Providing 1500A peak amps and 700A clamp power, the unit is capable of starting diesel engines with up to 6-litres capacity and petrol engines up to 8-litres in size. Standard safety features include surge, over-voltage, under-voltage and over-current protection, alongside over-cranking, short-circuit, and reverse polarity (with alarm). The system also monitors battery/switch over-temperature, battery cell balancing and a low voltage indicator. – Mark Daniel

and application rate at lower engine RPMs. This automatically reduces the engine’s RPM to 900 when the machine is stopped, reducing fuel consumption by up to 20%. Another popular option is ExactApply. This is an industry-exclusive

nozzle that minimises overlap by controlling product application with individual nozzles rather than the whole section. Meanwhile, AutoTrac Vision and RowSense options offer a higher degree of accuracy for in-row crop applications using a camera or

paddles. Enhancements to the carbon fibre boom option include new T6 and T7 rope design, an additional breakaway bumper for more stability, new breakaway strap wear plate and new breakaway solenoid design to improve fold functionality.

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Gladiator set to commence battle MARK DANIEL

THE NEW Jeep Gladiator is due to arrive on the NZ market in August. This will mark the return of a nameplate that was first introduced in 1963. Available in the range-topping Rubicon and refined Overland versions, the dual cab layout features a durable, all steel load bed that will make it of interest to rural drivers who want something a little different. Both models feature the well-respected 3.6 litre Pentastar petrol engine that produces 209kW and 347Nm torque. It is mated to an 8-speed, ZF-sourced, automatic transmission. Like the Jeep JL Wrangler, the three-

The new Jeep Gladiator is due to arrive on the NZ market in August.

piece hard top roof can be removed for those seeking a little fresh air, along with the doors for those looking to take things to the extreme. Depending on the model, cloth or leather seats feature accent stitching, lumbar support and a heated seat option. A range of nine colours

include two exclusive Gladiator hues called Gobi and Gator. As part of an integral safety package, which is said to include over 70 standard or available safety features, standouts include: forward collision warning plus; blind spot monitoring; rear cross traffic detection; forward

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facing off-road camera; parkview rear back-up camera; adaptive cruise

control; and electronic stability control with electronic roll mitigation.

The Overland features 18-inch alloys, while the Rubicon takes 17-inch

items shod with 32-inch BF Goodyear off-road tyres in a 225-75 format. Additionally, the Rubicon includes the Jeep Rock Trac Active, On-Demand 4x4 system, Tru-Lok front and rear locking diffs. It also comes with Fox 2-inch aluminium bodied shock absorbers and LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights. Keep an eye out in a future Rural News when it hits the ground in NZ and we get to test drive this American icon. @rural_news

Kuhn’s new GA 13031 rake has a working width adjustable between 8.4 and 12.5metres.

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KUHN HAS announced the latest addition to its four-rotor GA rake series. The GA 13031 has a working width adjustable between 8.4 and 12.5metres. It features a 100% hydraulic rotor drive, which is said to be exclusive in the KUHN range. The design reduces maintenance by removing the need for daily greasing of secondary drive shafts, typically found in mechani-

cal drive trains. Master Drive GIII rotors are configured to achieve 3-D rotor articulation. With suspension springs on the front rotors and support wheels close to the tines, this allows the four rotors to provide excellent ground contour following. This ensures minimal amounts of dirt or stones are drawn into the windrow, preserving the quality of the crop, while also reducing sward damage.

Unlike the larger GA 13131, which is controlled via an ISOBUS terminal, all folding/unfolding, working and windrow width adjustments are made with the tractor’s rear remote valves. This makes for simple and costeffective operation. With a transport width of 3 metres and a sub 4m transport height, road travel is achieved without the need to remove any rotor arms.



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RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Ag contractors frustrated AGRICULTURAL CONTRACTORS are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of skilled workers available amid growing concerns for the industry and farm production in the face of a critical shortage of skilled machinery operators. Industry body Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) is calling on the Government to allow overseasbased operators back into New Zealand to help alleviate the growing problem. RCNZ recently met with Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor to discuss the issue, but no resolution was forthcoming. The RCNZ deputation included current president David Kean, former president and Canterbury contractor Steve Murray, chief executive Roger Parton, Invercargill contractor Daryl Thompson and Otorohanga contractor Julie Clark. Kean says there is mounting concern among contractors that without skilled operators much of their machinery will sit idle, causing havoc for farmers and contractors alike. Kean fronted a stormy meeting of RCNZ members in Gore after the meeting with O’Connor late last month. “We had 60 people,

contractors and their wives and partners. They’re stressed because they’ve financed millions of dollars of machinery. These are in the yard ready to go but in many cases, there are not enough Kiwis with the skills to drive them.’’ Kean says while RCNZ supports the Government’s wish to train more New Zealanders, the reality is the industry relies on experienced overseas workers to get the work done. “We’ve said to the minister, we will do all we can to employ Kiwis and also accept that anyone coming in to meet the shortfall will be in quarantine for two weeks, at our expense,” he says. “The critical thing now is getting numbers confirmed and arrangements underway in time to meet the farming community’s requirements once spring arrives.” Kean says RCNZ has worked with the Southern Institute of Technology to do initial expos and 40 people are now going through the first of six courses at the SIT Telford campus. He says they are also working on North Island courses. “However, while such six-week courses may provide people with sufficient skills to drive a tractor safely, a big piece of equipment such as a com-

bine harvester or silage machine needs much more in the way of training and skills development.” O’Connor says he acknowledges the issue facing rural contractors and others in the ag sector and is working on a solution. “I’m acutely aware of the issue and of the concerns of Rural Contractors NZ – and others in

the primary sector,” he told Rural News. “I am working closely with the Immigration Minister on issues relating to overseas workers across the primary sector.” Kean told the Gore meeting that rural contractors are suffering from the same impacts as many other businesses hit by COVID-19. “If we can’t get some

RCNZ president David Kean says there is mounting concern among contractors that without skilled operators much of their machinery will sit idle, causing havoc for farmers and contractors alike.

of these workers in, there will be major impacts for farming output as well as for contractors,” he warns. RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton says ag contractors have been taking

on New Zealanders displaced from other work in recent weeks. However, he is concerned that if their former jobs open up again in tourism or aviation, they will go back to these roles.

“RCNZ understands it needs to work with the Government to fill all the gaps it can before it looks to bringing in people under the Essential Workers category,” Parton explains.

Swadro Rake The low maintenance and nimble KRONE Swadro produces exceptionally consistent windrows while working at high rates and offers great lift-out heights. T h e s wa g e d t i n e a r m s s h o w n o s i g n s o f wear even after prolonged use. Wo r k i n g w i d t h f r o m 6 . 4 m t o 9 . 3 m .

* Te r m s , c o n d i t i o n s & lending criteria a p p l y.

Low maintenance, high quality and dependable.

EasyCut Mower

K W S e r i e s Te d d e r

Produce exceptional results with the Krone machiner y range.

Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n c o n t a c t

06 370 0390

DEALERS NATIONWIDE le f eaxib ina sk about






ES/EG PLOUGH • • • •

Kverneland NZ | FA5641


ES – 200hp rated, 2-6 furrows. EG - 300hp rated, 4-6 furrows Reduced lift requirements Unique steel and heat treatments a guarantee for durable high performance Hydraulic variwidth standard

Power Farming

Terms and conditions apply. Contact your local dealership for more information.

• • •


Working width ranging from 3 and 5 metres Can be combined with any type of roller and accessories Depth ranges from stubble cultivation at 5cm deep, to deep loosening at 30cm


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Working width between 3 and 7 metres, and requires between 90hp and 180hp 600mm disc blades for high residue incorporation Excellent penetration and cutting quality Simple adjustment

RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


HP and digital tech combo MARK DANIEL

THE LATEST New Holland T8 GENESIS is said to capitalise on the pro-

ductive combinations of Stage V horsepower and digital technology. During 2020, New Holland will extend the T8 range with a new

400 hp full-powershift model. This new powershift will feature a 21Fx5R speed transmission and will only be available on the flagship T8.435

Ultra Command in either wheeled or SmartTrax versions. Operators will be able to personalise the machines with the Side-

This year New Holland will extend the T8 range with a new 400 hp full-powershift model.

Winder Ultra armrest and IntelliView 12 display.


NEW Enviro ATD30 The ultimate triple disc, multi purpose seeder featuring opening Turbo Tilth discs.

Tine/disc: Triple Disc

Distribution: Air

Operation: Medium, Large and Contractor

• V formated double discs for excellent ground penetration • Full 3.1m sowing width • 115mm/125mm row spacing options • Depth control press wheels

The new T8 will carry on the tradition of offering an intuitive ‘jump on & drive’ experience, with new SideWinder Ultra armrest featuring keypads ‘zoned’ for media, climate and hitch controls, with and shortcut keys that allow one-touch navigation to adjustment menus. As an example, hydraulic remote valves can be assigned to the paddles or a joystick of the driver’s choice and individual tractor settings can be stored against an implement name and recalled instantly when switching between tasks. Beyond the basic functions of the tractor, the integration of New Holland’s advanced Precision Land Management (PLM) platform brings an approach to precision farming solutions. Described in four words: Open, Connected, Smart,

Supported. Utilising MyPLMConnect and Data Sharing partners, allows operators to keep completely connected with their trusted agronomy software packages. Using the simple tablet-based user interface, the user can share and analyse data and received enhanced support through their New Holland dealer. The IntelliView connect allows either the farm manager or dealer to remotely view the IntelliView 12 display and monitor the tractor’s performance in real-time, ensuring productivity and uptime. New Holland dealers can proactively manage their customer’s fleet with New Holland remote assistance, identifying maintenance requirements closer to the service interval and reducing travel time.

• Electric drive off ground following radar

Renovator AS3500

Eco Seeder

Air delivery version of the Renovator MK4 for improved seed placement and accuracy, particularly on hills.

Designed to sow a variety of seeds from clover, rape and swedes right through to oats, wheat and peas.

Tine/disc: Tine

Distribution: Air

Operation: Medium, Large

Tine/disc: Tine

Distribution: Gravity

Operation: Small

• Large capacity seed and fertiliser bins

• Entry level drill - 3 point linkage or trailed option

• Large loading platform

• 25mm coil tine and Duncan inverted “T’’ boot

• Superior trash flow • Butterfly valve for controlling different air rates between bins

A division of Giltrap Engineering Limited

• Peg tooth roller metering system • Disc openers optional

0800 177 171 • DUNCANAG.COM


SNIPPETS John Deere JOHN DEERE has enhanced the technology of its new 5R and 6M Utility Tractors. This idea is to give customers an easy, cost-effective way to view AutoTrac (handsfree steering) System information, without having to purchase a separate display. AutoTrac uses GPS coordinates to control the tractor. It offers precise passes and reduced fatigue for drivers in mowing, spraying and other field work. John Deere 5R or 6M tractors can now be ordered with an AutoTrac guidance screen built into the tractor’s corner-post display. So, once a John Deere StarFire Receiver is added and an AutoTrac activation is completed, operators can start using hands-free steering.

Claas and MTU MTU AND Claas have been cooperating to develop Rolls-Royce MTU Stage V diesel engines to power a range of Claas agricultural vehicles. Prototypes have undergone extensive field testing since 2016, to ultimately see 5000 MTU units per annum used in Lexion and Jaguar harvesters. MTU Stage 5 engines are derived from Daimler commercial vehicle engines, with a power span of 115 to 480kW. Enhancements to the heart of the engine include adding an SCR system and additional particulate filter to ensure they comply with the new emissions limits. The commercial agreement developed between the two companies will also include close consultation on drive system and emissions technology issues.

RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020


Businesses MADE IN NZ



Made in New Zealand is a feature that looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in New Zealand, producing productive and cost-effective products for the agricultural sector. This issue, machinery editor Mark Daniel takes a closer look at Sebco, catching up with owner Ed Harrison. Q - When was the company founded, by whom and why (was it to solve a problem or market a product)? Sebco was launched back in 2007, by Ed and Leah Harrison to solve the issue of having to bund old style overhead diesel tanks. There was a need in the market for a new type of storage vessel, bunded and with a modern pumping. One that protected the environment from spills and that kept fuel clean, safe and secure. Q - Where are you located is it single or multiple sites and how many people are employed? We are in Ashburton, Mid Canterbury. At any time, there can be up to 15 people employed in the sales, manufacture, dispatch and delivery of Sebco products all over New Zealand. Q- What are your key products and which markets do they serve? Sebco diesel stations, serving the agricultural and industrial markets for the storage and dispensing of diesel fuel. Sebco Blue stations, serving agricultural and transport operations. These units are used for the storage and dispensing of AdBlue. Sebco Waste oil collection tanks, serving various markets, from ag, industrial and others such as the Defence Force

through to marinas – all needing a clean tidy collection of used oil. Q- Are your products unique? If so, what are the four key benefits? If not unique, what are the four unique selling points? Our unique bunded design stops any condensation build up in the main tank. This design stops any rain or debris entering the bunded area so protection of the environment is enhanced. As there is no condensation, and the tanks are not constructed of steel, there is no rotting or rusting. This means the cleanest possible fuel holding – great for common rail diesel engines. All pumping equipment and fuel management systems are locked up inside the secure bunded area when not in use. The pumps are high capacity with auto shut off nozzles. Delivery to our tanks is on ground. There are no ladders to climb, so they are very safe to use. Q - Looking at an everevolving market, what changes have you made over the last few years, or what will you have to do moving forwards (this might have required design or manufacturing changes, reworks to enter new sectors or the incorporation of electronics)? We have now designed

a specialist chemical range of tanks for the storage of industrial chemicals. We have upgraded our fuel management system to now interface with a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth, providing better security and cloud-based reporting. Q- What has been the company’s greatest success since its formation? When we launched, we won the South Island Field Days Innovation award and then also won the National Fieldays Innovation award. We also won numerous Plastics NZ awards for design and environmental outcomes. Our greatest success, though, would have to be the sheer numbers of Sebco diesel stations that we have sold all over New Zealand. Also, just how extremely happy the users of these are with them. The feedback we get from operators has been as good as: “it’s the best thing I have bought for the farm.” Q - In contrast, what has been the biggest “Oh Bugger” moment or the steepest learning curve? When starting out, trusting that others in the supply chain would do as they say, or work to the same high level of quality was a learning curve. Q - If you were approached by someone looking to start a business, what would

be your three key pieces of advice? Get a good team of advisors around you. Possibly start with your council’s business development officer or someone with business acumen and go from there with advice. People will always help if asked in a positive way. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Test, test and test again. The last thing any new business needs is failures in the field. Know your market as best you feel you can. Q - Where do you see the company in the next three, five and ten years? What changes do you foresee to keep relevant and grow your business? We see the growth in

Sebco managing director Ed Harrison.

technology with regards to reporting information as our area of specific growth. We are introducing new management systems with Bluetooth capability that report direct to smartphones and computers as an example. We will continue to grow our product offering in an organic manner, as and when market forces dictate. With growing environmental requirements coming upon industry our solutions provide an economical and easy to use solution.

Be Safer With Clic Dual Wheels

on Duals for more traction, stability, flotation, towing power, versatility.

Clic Wheel Systems Ltd, ROTORUA

Ph 07-347 2292 / 027 28 28 360


nationwide delivery




DEVAN • PROMAX • CALPEDA • •PURETEC • OASIS CLEARWATER P: 326 8888 P:0508 0508 326 8888 • A: A: 30 30 Turners RoadRoad – Feilding Turners – Feilding

P: 0508 326 8888 • A: 30 Turners Road – Feilding


Earthwalk is 100% New Zealand owned and has been operating for 25 years. These rainwear prices are very sharp. We will likely need to increase our prices in 2021. Flexiskin Max Rainwear - there really isn’t another product to match it for durability, comfort & price. Take the flexible fabric, it stretches as you move so you can get around easier. The hood visor will keep rain from driving into your eyes & the fleece collar will keep you cosy and warm when the wind is howling. The 100% waterproof outer layer will keep you completely dry even during a torrential downpour. PHONE


0800 16 00 24








sold out of size XXL, 3XL

sold out of size XXL



valued at $160

valued at $230

100% Waterproof Fleece Collar Hood Visor


Flexible Acid Resistant Durable Seams


WE ARE NOW STARTING TO SELL valued at $145 OUT OF sold out of size S, M, XL, SOME SIZES' XXL SIZE XS S M L XL






















earthwalk, r d 2, palmerston north

please add $12 freight per order

RURAL NEWS // JULY 14, 2020




NZ’s finest BioGro certified Mg fertiliser For a delivered price call... 0800 436 566


ü Huge 9.5kW output. ü Made in Japan since 1991.


ü Diesel is approx. 30-50% less than “on demand” Electricity or Gas. ü DIY Install or we can arrange. ü No wood to cut, cart or store. ü No mess, NO indoor diesel odours. ü As easy to use as a light switch.

0800 379 247

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




Visit for more quality products


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

HUNTER BOOTS Comfortable, durable and stylish.

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

FLY OR LICE PROBLEMS? The magic eye sheepjetter since 1989

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

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


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

07 573 8512 | –


Free Range & Barn Eggs


10 HALL ROAD, RD5, WHANGAREI Phone 09-436 2794 or 027-436 2793


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

FARMER BOOTS Lastrite’s Farmer boots are made for

• Nest boxes - manual or automated • Feed & Drinking • Plastic egg trays

tunnel houses


A trusted name in Poultry Industry for over 50 years ❖

Phone: 0800 80 8570

Grow vegetables all year round Very affordable and easy to install New Zealand designed and made 40 years producing tunnel houses Range of models sized from 2m - 10m t/f





1 pound makes 500 litres


FLEXIBAR • A flexible joint that allows the bar to flex rearwards in the event of contact with an overhead obstacle • The joint facilitates some sideways flexibility before locking and becoming more of a traditional crush protection device

Recommended by Worksafe. ACC subsidy available Ph 021-683 332

300mm x 6 metre .......................... $410 400mm x 6 metre .......................... $515 500mm x 6 metre .......................... $690 600mm x 6 metre .......................... $925 800mm x 6 metre ........................ $1399 1000mm x 6 metre ...................... $2175 1200mm x 6 metre ...................... $3475

Flexibar includes all the safety and convenience features of the Quadbar with the added advantages of:

Free shipping with NZ post



Quadbar introduces the new


03 214 4262 |


• In the event of a rearwards flip there is negligible movement from the flexible joint • The top section of the Flexibar can also be easily removed for transportation inside a vehicle.

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


New Zealand’s CHEAPEST Culvert Pipes! FREE joiners supplied on request. • Lightweight, easy to install • Made from polyethylene

Check out our NEW website


06 323 4181


0800 625 826 for your nearest stockist

Joiners supplied FREE with culvert pipes

20 7-20 201 Ma rin e E n gi n e s







*Promotion available between 13/05/20 to 31/07/20 on new and eligible four-stroke F50 to F350 outboards, through participating authorised Yamaha outboard dealers while stocks last. Advertised savings amount equivalent to $15 per horsepower off RRP including GST, when an eligible outboard is purchased. Offer available for private buyers only on specified models, and warranty registered on or before the 31/07/20. Promotion is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. See your participating authorised Yamaha dealership for details.








$1000 UP TO















Promotion available between 13/05/20 to 31/07/20 on new and eligible farm vehicles (AG125, AG200, TTR230/A, TW200, YFM350FA, YFM450FB, YFM450FB/P, YFM700FA, YFM700FB/P, YXC700P, YXE850PBL, YXE850PK, YXF850, YXM700), through participating authorised Yamaha dealers while stocks last. Yamaha authorised service includes labour, genuine Yamaha parts and accessories, and is equivalent to $200 inc. GST for eligible 2-wheel vehicle purchases, and $1,000 inc. GST for eligible 4-wheel vehicle purchases. Offer available for specified models, and warranty registered on or before 31/07/20. See your participating authorised Yamaha dealership for details. Zero deposit; zero repayments for the first 12 months and 4.95% p.a. fixed interest rate on a 36 month loan term. Asset backed commercial applicants only with NZBN registered for minimum of 1 year. Maximum amount financed is $35,000 and applies to AG125, AG200, TTR230/A, TW200, YFM350FA, YFM450FB, YFM450FB/P, YFM700FA, YFM700FB/P, YXC700P, YXE850PBL, YXE850PK, YXF850, YXM700. Offer available from May 13, 2020 to July 31, 2020. Credit criteria, fees, charges and conditions apply including an application fee of $325, $10 PPSR fee and a dealer administration fee. Finance to approved applicants by Yamaha Motor Finance New Zealand Ltd. (YMF) NZBN 9429036270798 FSP 9622. Wolverine X2 unit shown with additional accessories; Windscreen and Roof, not standard. At participating Yamaha dealerships while stocks last.