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Give that man a Guinness – another wheat record. PAGE 22

Latest tech keeps wheel turning. PAGE 26

Turn to page 1 TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS JULY 28, 2020: ISSUE 706 


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Give that man a Guinness – another wheat record. PAGE 22

Latest tech keeps wheel turning. PAGE 26

NEWS A show stopper or a door stopper? PAGE 7



A ticking time bomb SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

OUR DAIRY industry risks been exposed to a ‘ticking time bomb’ of unethical players unlawfully passing off New Zealand made and packed milk powder products in China as supplements for babies. A Kiwi entrepreneur has warned Rural News that the issue could easily become another food safety headache for the NZ dairy industry in the lucrative Chinese market.

Jane Li, a China dairy market consultant who operates retail stores in China, says formulated milk powders with added whey protein concentrate, lactoferrin and colostrum are being repacked by some Chinese-owned companies here and sold as supplements for infants and toddlers in the China market. After the Covid-19 outbreak, some Chinese consumers are falling for marketing gimmicks around the health benefits of mixing sachets of NZ-made milk powder with infant formula or

year – a 40% year-on-year growth. A 60 gram can of lactoferrin milk powder costs just under 30 yuan (US$4.20) to make and send to China. It is repacked and retailed for between 400 yuan (US$56.40) to 600 yuan (US$84.70). Li calls these exporters unethical. She says the labelling on the cans is misleading, as it has pictures of toddlers. “The product packaging design is clearly targeting young children,” she says.

baby cereal. Li told Rural News that these products are simply not safe to feed to infants especially newborns, due to risk of protein toxicity. “Also, the vast majority of products made here in NZ are not even using infant grade ingredients. Some are even using close to expired ingredients.” The market for formulated milk powder is a fast growing one in China, over five million cans were exported to China from NZ last year. It is expected to reach 7 million this

When it rains, it pours Only a couple of weeks ago farmers in Northland were in drought recovery mode, now they are repairing fences and culverts washed away by flooding. Damage to infrastructure and water-logged pasture are the biggest issues facing many Northland farmers following the devastating flood earlier this month. After months of near-crippling drought, more than 200mm of rain fell over 10 hours in parts of the region. The recent floods washed away culverts and fencing around farms throughout the region and pasture damage is also severe. – See full story page 3

Li wants the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to look into these products before it’s too late. She suggests labelling all formulated milk powder products as ‘unsuitable for infants’. “Previously, MPI has said that these products are safe for adults and they did not know if these products are being made for the purpose of selling to infants in China,” she says. “Now that MPI knows these products are designed and made in NZ as finished products, with the clear intention to export and sell as food for infants in China, can they say what they are going to do to protect NZ interests?” Li warns that with milk prices trending up and the outlook for NZ agri exports looking very positive, the last thing NZ needs now is to be exposed to a ‘ticking time bomb’ like this for the sake of unethical players exploiting our system and cutting corners to make “quick bucks.” She says big processors like Fonterra, Synlait and Open Country Dairy aren’t making such products. “They are smaller, predominately Chinese-owned and operated factories here who are exploiting regulation loopholes to make these low-quality products to pass off as high-quality NZ products in China. “However, all the risk and responsibility is being shouldered by NZ if there is any scandal or sickness in China as a result of these products,” Li said • MPI’s response - p5 @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews





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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Feds’ election wish list



PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

NEWS��������������������������������������1-14 AGRIBUSINESS���������������������� 15 MARKETS��������������������������� 16-17 HOUND, EDNA����������������������� 18 CONTACTS������������������������������ 18 OPINION���������������������������� 18-20 MANAGEMENT��������������� 21-22 ANIMAL HEALTH������������23-25 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS���������������������� 26-28 RURAL TRADER������������� 28-29

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

IF RURAL broadband isn’t improved quickly it will become even more challenging for farmers to comply with new environmental rules and regulations. That’s the view of Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard who, last week, launched what the farmer lobby calls its General Election Platform 2020. This is what Feds used to call its election manifesto and is designed to tell politicians what policies farmers want adopted by an incoming government. Its main wish is for telecommunication systems for rural regions which match those in urban areas. Other policies include: • Advocating free trade, opposing protectionism and recognising the importance of agriculture in rebuilding the NZ economy post Covid-19. • Building regulatory and science systems that empower environmental gains rather than stifling enterprise and innovation. This includes the recalibration of current essential freshwater settings; which Feds say will stifle economic and employment growth –

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

Printed by: Ovato Print

TWO WEEKS ago, many farmers in Northland were in drought recovery mode, now they are repairing fences and culverts washed away by flooding. Damage to infrastructure and water-logged pasture are the biggest issues facing many Northland farmers following the devastating flood earlier this month, says AgFirst Northland consultant Kim Robinson. After months of near-crippling drought, more than 200mm of rain fell over 10 hours in parts of the region.

Editorial: editor@ruralnews.co.nz Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: subsrndn@ruralnews.co.nz ABC audited circulation 79,553 as at 31.03.2019

except for planners and lawyers. • Getting more kiwis to work on farms and recognising the important role of migrant workers. • Continued vigilance on biosecurity and pest management. • Ensuring local government concentrates on key services and that central government spends wisely. • Ensuring the right trees are planted in the right place and preventing good productive land being gobbled up for forestry. Hoggard says quality connectivity

remains a very high priority for the rural sector. He told Rural News that this became particularly evident during the Covid lockdowns, when many people returned to farms to isolate and create their own family bubble. “That put a huge strain on the connectivity in rural areas because you had a whole lot of people trying to carry on with their studies at school or university or jobs in town,” he says. “But the countryside didn’t have the bandwidth to cope.” Looking ahead, Hoggard says farm-

Double whammy for farmers

Published by: Rural News Group


Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard with the farmer lobby’s General Election Platform 2020.

ers are being asked to do a lot more in terms of monitoring what is happening on their farms. However, he believes that unless rural areas get the necessary connectivity, doing this will be an absolute nightmare. Hoggard says the problem is not just confined to the rural sector. “I did a lot of Zoom calls during lockdown and I noticed that a lot of people in urban areas were also struggling with poor broadband” Fed’s 28-page glossy document contains a wealth of useful information. While it focuses on the farmer lobby’s ‘wish list’, it does contain some insightful information about the primary sector. Hoggard says it is designed to help elected members of Feds explain to politicians and others just what the organisation actually stands for. “Often a lot of people like to have their version of what we stand for, but this document clears up any doubts they may have.” Hoggard says in the current political environment there seems to be a dearth of policies and no shortage of scandals. “For those that lack policies we have a very simple answer – our manifesto,” he says.

Robinson says while farmers are “bloody resilient”, they are facing a double whammy. She told Rural News that the drought’s impact on a dairy farm last season was estimated around $1000/ha. For an average 150ha farm, this equates to a loss of $150,000. “Before we got the flooding, farmers were facing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of losses from the drought, that’s a huge amount of money for a little farm,” she says. The recent floods washed away culverts and fencing around farms throughout the region. Pasture damage is also severe. Robinson says because of the

drought, many farms were forced to re-grass paddocks scorched by the drought. “Lots of these new pastures were very short because they were regrassed much later as we waited for rain. “Young pastures, under two inches, don’t cope very well with water inundation, so there’s a lot of pasture loss.” Last week, Robinson visited her clients in Hikurangi where some farms still had floodwater. Despite heavy flooding, there has been no report of stock losses. Robinson says one of her clients in Hikurangi moved calves to safety

during the night through flooded paddocks. Federated Farmers Northland meat and wool chair Roger Ludbrook, who farms in the Bay of Islands, told Rural News little pasture is available and it’s becoming difficult to graze cattle on heavier soils. He says the situation has been exacerbated with no supplementary feed on most farms. Ludbrook has started repairing exclusion fences on his 400ha sheep and beef property but rain is continuing to fall in the region. “We’ve been repairing fencing for three days but it’s a lot harder when rain continues to fall.”

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


China back on track? MPI’S ROLE IN CHINA

PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

LIFE IN China is starting to get back to some semblance of normality, according to MPI’s deputy director general of China Relations. Tim Knox has just arrived back in New Zealand for a brief visit and spoke to Rural News from a hotel where he is isolating for 14 days. After a few weeks back in NZ, Knox and two other Ministry for Primary Industry staff will be heading back to the NZ Embassy in Beijing to become part of a complement of 10 staff MPI has based there. Knox says he noticed that in most areas, volume patterns of food sales are consistent with previous years and

CHINA IS one of NZ’s most valuable export markets. Last year, it took $20 billion worth of products from us. The MPI team headed by Tim Knox plays a vital role in maintaining that flow of primary product exports. He was appointed to head the MPI office in China in February. MPI plays a ‘technical’ role – liaising directly with Chinese officials in their Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on such issues as biosecurity, food safety and product labelling to name a few. For NZ exporters having people with the technical expertise on the ground in China can mean the difference to getting, or not

– in some cases in the past few months – have exceeded what they were a year ago. He has also noticed a gradual return of people to restaurants. However, Knox says the biggest change he’s

getting, products across the border and into markets. MPI also plays a major role in ensuring that Free Trade Agreements operate as agreed and also work to improve or change access arrangements. “We also oversee agricultural cooperation projects which are important for both parties,” Knox told Rural News. “By having an involvement in these, we have a better understanding of the regulations that China is introducing. As well, we are there to fly the flag and tell the NZ story, so I speak at a lot of conferences and events telling the great NZ story about our primary industries and food exports.”

observed is the acceleration in the use of online platforms by consumers as the means of purchasing their food. He says at the height of Covid19, there was a sudden switch from going out to

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eat, which is very much part of Chinese culture, to staying home and ordering online. Knox believes the phenomenon of buying online is likely to continue. “It [online shopping] was already big in China, but it has really gone a lot further forward,” he told Rural News. “People have to eat but the way they are eating has definitely changed and I suspect that may not return to what it was prior to Covid.”

Tim Knox, Left, MPI’s deputy director general of China Relations.

At the height of Covid in China, as in NZ, there was a trend towards people buying food to cook at home as people could not go to restaurants. Knox says NZ food exporters have a strong focus on the Chinese middle class and are well attuned to their needs and adapted well to societal changes. He says they are closely monitoring consumer trends and behaviours, but says the obvious trend is Covid

itself. “There is a heightened awareness about Covid and how it’s transmitted. There has been quite a bit of media comment in recent times about it being present in food markets and packaging so there is a big focus on food in Chinese consumers’ minds. “In the wider sense, they have a focus on food safety, authenticity and quality generally. In that respect, NZ is well positioned on all those points and there is high degree

of confidence by the Chinese regulators about our food safety systems,” he says. Because African Swine Fever has wiped out about a large percentage of China’s pig population, Knox says there is a huge shortage of protein in China. He says NZ has benefited from this situation, but while the opportunities are great now, NZ is taking the prudent step of continuing to export to a diverse range of markets around the world.

PLAN BURN OFFS OTAGO HIGH-COUNTRY land managers are being asked to talk with Fire and Emergency before they start making their burn-off plans. Principal Rural Fire Officer Graeme Still says alerting Fire and Emergency about a planned burn benefits everyone. “We’d like farmers to talk to us early on in their burn preparations. We have the expertise and experience to help with picking the right

days to burn and planning where and how they burn on their land. “We can help ensure the burn off is managed effectively and safely which reduces the risk of it getting out of control.” Fire is a key tool for high country farmers with burns often occurring around late July and August. Farmers undertake burn-offs to clear land, prepare it for replanting, property maintenance and to increase accessibility for stock

movement. Still says Fire and Emergency understands the need to prepare land with fire but wants to ensure everyone impacted is notified. “We encourage land managers to tell their neighbours of planned burns. Telling those living around you avoids locals believing a wildfire may have broken out. Alerting us to planned burns also reduces the risk of our crews getting called out to unnecessarily.”


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor claims there are currently only four active cases of M bovis in NZ – down from the 250 properties that were affected at its peak.

Bovis nearly beaten PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

NEW ZEALAND appears to have got Mycoplasma bovis under control. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor claims the disease, which was first detected in NZ three years ago, has just four active cases – down from the 250 properties that were affected by M. bovis at its peak. “Key to the success have been our programme partners DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb New Zealand. They were part of the bold decision to attempt to eradicate this disease and have been part of our efforts since the very beginning,” he says. “It was estimated that allowing the disease to spread could cause $1.3 billion in economic losses in the first 10 years alone, along with substantial animal welfare issues and serious ongoing challenges for farmers having to manage the disease within

their herds.” O’Connor believes one key measure of the success of the 10-year eradication plan is the Estimated Dissemination Rate (EDR). He says if the EDR is greater than one, then the disease is growing, but if it’s below one, the disease is shrinking. “The EDR is now at 0.4, which is down from over 2 at the start of the outbreak, so we are looking harder to find fewer infected animals.” O’Connor says NZ has been able to do what other countries have not in terms of disease eradication efforts. “That’s something our farming community should be really proud of.” He says allowing the disease to spread would have caused lost productivity in our cattle sector and affected the whole economy.   O’Connor concedes the eradication effort has not been without sub-

stantial challenges and the impact on affected farmers shouldn’t be underestimated. “Farmers deserve a lot of credit for their efforts. We are continuing to improve processes and work hard to support their wellbeing and recovery, including getting their compensation claims paid as quickly as possible. “There is still work to be done, and there will be more infected farms to find – but we’re well and truly on track to do what no other country in the world has done and eradicate this disease.” O’Connor says the next 12 months is about ensuring that all infected herds are found. “This will involve ongoing Bulk Tank Milk Surveillance, nation-wide beef surveillance, and on-farm testing of herds that could possibly have been exposed, to ensure that they are not infected.”

AG SURVEY ON COVID IMPACT WHAT LESSON can we take from how New Zealand’s primary sector dealt with Covid-19 and how does it compare with how other countries coped with the pandemic? This is the task that two AgResearch scientists, Robyn Dynes and Val Snow, have taken on as part of an international study on the impacts of Covid-19 on agriculture and food systems worldwide. The pair – along with Bill Kaye-Blake from NZIER and other researchers in NZ – are pulling together data about how our country coped, which will then be published in the international science journal Agricultural Systems. Essentially the project is

designed to get data now which may be of assistance in the future as the world begins to recover from the pandemic. An online survey has already been set up – aimed at anyone working in agri-food production systems. This includes farmers, rural professionals, processing companies and firms that are involved in the logistics of supplying farmers, foresters or others in the agri sector. “We started picking up stories about how people were coping via the rural and mainstream media. What we are really interested in is hearing it through the lens of the people experiencing the impacts –

so what were the real experiences of those people,” Dynes says. As well as the quantitative data from the online survey, Snow and Dynes will be conducting some qualitative research – longer interviews with selected people to obtain a deeper insight into how individuals or organisations managed their way through the early stages of Covid. The survey is online now and the pair are urging those in the sector to take part. It will close in about two weeks’ time and then will come the task of analysing the data and writing up the report. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ Oceanaagsurvey

MPI SAYS it takes the claims made by Jane Li seriously and where it has evidence that exporters are not meeting their requirements, it will take action. “We take complaints against New Zealand businesses very seriously,” a MPI spokesperson told Rural News. He says that the safety and wellbeing of the public is central to the rules and requirements New Zealand has in place to ensure food and beverages are safe and suitable. MPI says there are strict requirements in place throughout the Jane Li food supply chain to which all manufacturing and exporting businesses must adhere to. “Dairy exporters are responsible for ensuring their products comply with New Zealand’s requirements, as well as any extra importing country requirements that have been agreed between MPI and the relevant government authority of that country.

“These are notified by way of Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR). All trade between countries is governed by such arrangements.” MPI oversees compliance, through formal processes, including audits to confirm companies are meeting requirements, which are carried out by MPI-approved third party verifiers. In addition, dairy companies and MPI also conduct regular and thorough testing to provide further confidence that products, including infant formulas, are safe and meet the necessary specifications. MPI says New Zealand businesses must ensure their products leaving our shores are true-to-label, not misleading and safe. “Once the dairy products arrive overseas, further processing and labelling may occur, and will be subject to the laws and regulations of that country.” – Sudesh Kissun


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Can the strong wool engine be restarted? PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

THE POLITICOS who made the decision to get rid of the wool levy should hang their heads in shame.

“My major concern is that, if we wanted to resurrect, the knowledge and skill set to do this has probably departed and it would take an awful lot of effort to resurrect the skills and knowledge to implement a promotional effort.”

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Former Wool Board member Lochie MacGillivray believes those who decided to get rid of the wool levy have a lot to answer for.

industry, says it saddens him to see the state it’s in at present. He says the experiment to try and forge ahead without any marketing or promotional effort has been a dismal failure. “My major concern is that, if we wanted to resurrect, the knowledge and skill set to do this has probably departed and it would take an awful lot of effort to resurrect the skills and knowledge to implement a promotional effort,” he told Rural News. MacGillivray says when he and his wife went to a store recently to buy new carpet and asked specifically for wool, the conversation with the sales person lasted a mere 30 seconds before there was a strong pitch made to buy synthetic carpet – which they resisted and insisted on wool. He says the reality is that the nylon product was really good, and that wool hasn’t been able to

keep up with nylon in terms of colour blends, fading and moth issues. “I was involved in the Wool Research Organisation of NZ (WRONZ) and we had a whole list of quite cool initiatives coming out of that. “For example, wool that would not fade in the sunlight and kept its same colour, innovative designs that prevent moth attacks and different uses of wool. “Now all of that has just sat around and gone nowhere since my days on the Wool Board. What also makes me pretty sad is that we have lost some very talented people, such as Garth Carnaby and John Grainger, who invested their life in the wool industry.” MacGillivray says years of product development have been lost and the gap between synthetics and wool is widening. He says with the lack of marketing, consumers are not being messaged about

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the intrinsic benefits of wool and their knowledge and confidence in the product has been eroded. “There is a whole generation of interior designers and architects who are completely ignorant about the values of wool.” MacGillivray also claims the technology for the manufacture of strong wool has also fallen behind that of synthetics. He says machines manufacturing nylon can operate at greater speeds than those for wool, which makes their products more competitive. “A lot of the traditional wool manufacturing machines are getting outdated and there are a limited number of manufacturers who produce those sorts of machines now. So, the whole thing has just gone backwards since the Wool Board days and I don’t know how we recover from that.” He says the problem is not just in the promotion of wool, but are also starting to show in the raw product. MacGillivray notes that if you go to a wool shed today it’s likely you will see black spots in a fleece and fibre. He says there is a general deteri-





oration in the quality of many fleeces. He adds that shearing is now becoming a cost and an animal welfare issue for farmers given the low prices for wool. Industry sources tell Rural News that many farmers are just shearing their sheep once a year and that the amount of second shear wool is down. MacGillivray says this whole trend is somewhat ironic given the effort that was put in, many years ago, to get better genetics to improve wool quality. “Unless something is done, farmers may start looking for genetics that produce less wool or more self-shedding sheep such as the Wiltshire.” MacGillivray says when the decision was made to abolish the wool levy, the politicos at the time believed that the industry would pick up costs and do the job. Farmers at the time felt they were not getting a benefit from the 3% levy. “How wrong they were. If things are to change, considerable investment will be needed to restart the engine,” he says.





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A show stopper or door stopper? DAVID ANDERSON

YET ANOTHER report has been produced about trying to resurrect the country’s struggling wool sector. The latest incarnation comes from the Wool Industry Project Action Group (PAG) chaired by Wanaka-based agribusiness man John Rodwell. Rodwell concedes that long-time industry observers will take plenty of convincing that this latest account won’t join its long list of predecessors and be left to gather dust on the shelf. However, he’s convinced that the sector has no other option but to act if it is to survive and thrive. “We do have reason to be confident about the prospects of strong wool and we have given examples of successful examples in the report.” When asked how the PAG report will differ from the myriad of other reports, discussion documents, strategies and plans over the years, Rodwell told Rural News it was the responsibility of the entire sector to implement its recommendations. “It is up to all those industry players – with a

genuine commitment to transformation – to take action and ensure a sustainable future for New Zealand’s wool industry,” he says. Rodwell says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has “issued a challenge” to the industry to partner with government to make the necessary transformational changes the wool sector needs to have a viable and successful future. “That challenge is out there now and we want wool industry interests with a genuine commitment to transforming the industry to get on board.” He says the Government has set aside $100 million in its Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund (SFFF) to co-invest in projects in the primary sector and wool sector needed to tap into this. “In the past, many of the previous reports and plans had no way of turning the many good ideas they contained into action. However, via the SFFF the funding mechanism is there to progress such ideas.” Rodwell says the job now was to get on and develop the plans to take the wool industry ahead. “We now need to get

$18M WINDFALL FARMER CO-OP LIC will pay $18 million in dividends to shareholders after a strong full-year result. The 12.75c/share dividend represents a gross dividend yield of 22.7% based on the current share price of 78 cents. Last year, the co-operative paid a dividend of 11c. The breeding and automation company recorded a net profit of $17.5m, down 21% over last year’s $22.2m net profit, mainly due to a $7.2m decrease in the bull team valuation. However, total revenue was up 3% to $254m and underlying earnings up 16% to $22.7m. LIC chairman Murray King says the strong result was in line with market guidance and achieved despite the impacts of drought and Covid-19. “The strong result enables LIC to deliver a significant dividend to shareholders at a time when every dollar counts on-farm,” says King. LIC reported that despite a challenging season, farmers continue to move up the value chain, investing in the latest genomics and other genetics products, driving revenue up. “The increasing uptake of these products demonstrates the value on-farm of LIC’s ongoing investment to enhance our core genetics business through world-leading genomics to drive genetic gain in dairy herds and high-valued premium genetics products like A2 and sexed semen,” says King.

a coalition of the right people around the table to specifically develop investment-ready cases.” While unwilling to reveal exactly who was coming to the party, Rodwell told Rural News there was already buy in and good interest from various industry players to get around the table.

Meanwhile, at this stage, he says they are not looking at imposing a levy on woolgrowers. “However, after the development case and strategic roadmap is completed we then need to come up with both the right people and funding requirements to take this work forward on a per-

Clostridium Tetani


Clostridium Chauvoei

manent basis.” Rodwell says timing is of essence and it was important that action started now, because if it doesn’t, there is a real risk that this latest report would join the long list of fellow dust-gathers on the shelf. • See more on latest wool report page 17

Clostridium Novyi Type B

Clostridium Septicum

PAG chair John Rodwell says the wool sector has no other option but to act if it is to survive.

Clostridium Perfringens Type A

Clostridium Perfringens Type B

Clostridium Perfringens Type C

Clostridium Perfringens Type D

RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


China keeps dairy prices high “WMP prices are now 1.8% ahead of where they sat at the end of January. In other words, prices have comfortably wiped out the earlier Covidrelated price falls.”

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

WHOLE MILK powder (WMP) prices are now sitting above preCovid-19 levels and New Zealand farmers can thank a resurging Chinese economy for that. Last week’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction consolidated big gains from the previous auction. WMP price rose 0.6% to US$3,218/metric tonne on the back of a whopping 14% rise in the previous auction. Westpac senior agri economist Nathan Penny says WMP prices are now 1.8% ahead of where they sat at the end of January. “In other words, prices have comfortably wiped out the earlier Covid-related price falls,” Penny says. Penny says unlike

Westpac agricultural economist Nathan Penny.

other countries dealing with Covid-19, China’s economy has bounced back. “China’s economy is back above where it was pre-Covid,” he told Rural

News. “Compare that with NZ….our economy will take years to get back to 2019 level.” Penny says while there is a little bit of hangover

from NZ’s drought last season, it’s mostly the resurgent Chinese economy that is driving dairy prices. “There is also a strong demand from the rest of Asia but China is the key one.” RaboResearch dairy analyst Thomas Bailey

$6.50 PAYOUT REAFFIRMED WESTPAC HAS reaffirmed its forecast payout of $6.50/kgMS for the 2020-21 season. Nathan Penny expects dairy auction prices to remain firm through the New Zealand winter. Prices may weaken later in the season – the peak New Zealand production months. Upcoming auctions will see more volumes of dairy products on offer as NZ production ramps up in the coming months. Penny says if prices hold up in the coming auctions, the bank will reassess its

agrees that dairy price stability was been driven by strong North Asian (primarily Chinese) demand. China’s economy is recovering quickly, evidenced by the year on year second quarter GDP growth of 3.2%. However, Bailey notes there is still some con-

forecast milk price. Fonterra this month narrowed its forecast range to $5.90/kg to $6.90/kg, lifting the bottom-end of the range by 50c. The co-op said the lift was predominantly driven by improved market conditions in China. For farmers, the lift in the bottom of the range has allowed Fonterra to increase its advance payments. Penny says the 25c lift in the forecast midpoint, $6.15/kgMS to $6.40/kg equates to $450 million of additional farm income.

cern regarding China’s domestic milk powder inventories. Local milk supply in China lifted 10% in the second quarter of 2020 over last year. Bailey says given this exceptionally strong domestic milk supply growth, it appears demand is stronger than expected and helping

drive prices up. Manufacturers are also struggling to substitute New Zealand WMP with domestic stocks due to differences in taste and colour profiles. “This is a dynamic we will be watching carefully as we make our way through the second half of 2020.”





























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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Chips down for NZ spuds DAVID ANDERSON

NEW ZEALAND potato growers want duties imposed on frozen potato imports coming into the country from Belgium and the Netherlands. Growers’ organisation Potatoes NZ (PNZ) has applied to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment to consider the anti-dumping move, claiming a ‘real threat of material injury’ to the New Zealand potato industry. It believes the situation has arisen due to the Covid-19 global pandemic causing supply chain disruption in hospitality industries worldwide. “The threat is a result of huge surplus inventories of frozen potato products and processing potatoes in Belgium and the Netherlands,” PNZ

NZ potato growers want duties imposed on frozen potato imports coming in from Belgium and the Netherlands.

claims. “The surpluses, combined with the support the European industries are receiving from their governments, will drive export prices down further, increasing dumping margins and threaten the New Zealand industry.”

According to its own analysis, PNZ claims current ‘dumping margins’ are anywhere between 95% to 151%. “We expect these margins to increase. This will lead to price undercutting for the NZ products of between 18% and

38%. The damage this will cause will destroy the NZ industry,” it claims. Meanwhile, a recent report commissioned by PNZ – ‘Economic and Community Impact Report’ – by researchers BERL, claims that in the absence of a duty, potato

processors would be forced to cut production and demand for potatoes from NZ growers would drop. “Inevitably, this would lead to a loss of employment and a threat to the viability of some potato growing businesses. “The imposition of an anti-dumping duty on dumped imports of frozen potato products, would help to maintain demand for New Zealand grown potatoes, and ensure the continuity of employment and business in the growing sector,” it claims. “A duty would mean that the potato growers would experience the same market conditions, including competition between themselves and fluctuations in market prices, as they did before the dumping occurred.”

CAREFUL! MOVES BY the NZ potato industry to have anti-dumping tariffs imposed on European imports could play into the hands of the EU, warns a long-time trade negotiator. Charles Finny told Rural News that the Potatoes NZ (PNZ) stance is “remarkably similar” to the protectionist view held by European agricultural bodies in regard to NZ primary product exports to the EU. Finny, a consultant with Wellington-based government relations firm Saunders Unsworth and an expert in international trade, says PNZ’s timing of its complaint is complicated by the fact NZ is currently trying to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU. “I can’t imagine Fonterra, the meat or other horticultural industries will be overly delighted by Potatoes NZ’s timing,” he says. “This move could annoy European negotiators and lead to a slowdown in the current EU FTA negotiations.” Meanwhile, Finny says the process of gaining this kind of anti-dumping measure is not quick. “No one should anticipate an immediate response, as both domestic and international – including WTO – trade laws needed to be taken into consideration,” he explained. Finny says there is also ministerial discretion, which means, even if a case is found against European potato imports, the Government can choose not to impose any tariff. He says it may decide on this option if any antidumping tariff may hurt the overall NZ/EU FTA process.

Thank you, farmers.


Here for farmers.

RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Ag contractor training gearing up MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

AGRICULTURAL CONTRACTORS are warning about a severe shortage of skilled machinery operators for the upcoming harvest season. The shortage is due to New Zealand’s closed borders, shutting out staff from overseas. In response, a number of training organisations are offering displaced local workers and jobseekers a basic grounding in the sector. In the South Island, the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) is promoting its ‘An Introduction to Agricultural Contracting’ course – based at its Telford Campus, near Balclutha. This initiative was the result of SIT’s discussions with Rural Contactors NZ Ltd (RCNZ) and some key players in the contracting sector in Otago and Southland – who all wanted to do something positive to address the need for trained contracting staff. Following expos at

Queenstown and Te Anau, there has been significant interest from a wide range of potential workers, including displaced hospitality workers and existing farm workers looking for a change of direction, but wishing to remain in the rural sector. The SIT course is six weeks long. Weeks one and two are based at Telford and covers health and safety, basic mechanics, tractor driving, towing and implement attachment. Weeks three and four moves to the Invercargill campus, where – with the aid of the Richardson Group – the focus turns to driver training. Here candidates will cover Wheels and Tracks (W&T) endorsements, Forklift OSH (F) endorsement, loads, fatigue management and defensive driving. The final two weeks are conducted via a work placement, where topics will include Health and Safety, the application of standard operating procedures and basic mechanics – along with coaching

overseen by experienced operators or contractors. Throughout the training period, accommodation and meals are provided by SIT, while work placement accommodation is provided by


Janine Porter and Ben Harris from Waikato-based AG Drive, which will soon be offering a five-day introduction course to agricultural contracting.

the contractor. Course organiser Debbie Rankin of SIT says they are receiving enquiries from many people, spread over a broad age range and from a wide mix of experience.

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Nervous wait for winter THE UNKNOWN of what winter will bring is very much on the mind of the Hawkes Bay Rural Support Trust head Mike Barham. He told Rural News that if the weather remains kind, most farmers will be okay. Barham says people are handling the situation quite well and the mild weather currently being experienced has been the saviour. A large amount of feed for animals has been donated to the Trust and more is on the way. Barham says farmers have also been very proactive in getting feed in and many are now about to start lambing. “We have not had get a get out of jail situation like this for many years

WELCOME RAINS IN THE past few weeks, the rain has come to Hawkes Bay and paddocks are greening up, according to the head of the region’s Rural Advisory Group, Lochie MacGillivray. He says on some farms, conditions have become treacherous because of the mud caused by the lack of substantial pasture growth. Like Mike Barham, MacGillivray says the continuation of good weather holds the key as to how the region will fare though winter. He says with soil temperatures still good, pasture covers are rapidly improving – which is fantastic. “There are a number of farmers who are going to manage through okay. But we have got a bit of tail end that are struggling and, to be fair, they have been behind the eight ball for some time now,” he told Rural News. “What I am seeing is that people are tired and emotionally exhausted after months of feeding out and doing their best to look after their animals.” MacGillivray says the last thing these people want is more advice from experts. “What they probably want is for someone to take over feeding out for a while.”

and the good weather has been a life-line time for farmers.”

He says what will help the situation is that most farms are only about

In the past few weeks, the rain has come to Hawkes Bay and paddocks are greening up the brown landscape like it was in the region when this photo was taken back in June.

70% stocked, which will effectively create a much easier spring because of the lower stocking rate. Barham says the equation is quite simple – bring feed in or take stock out. “Over the years, Hawkes Bay farmers have become better educated and developed a much

better way of handling droughts. This year has been a biggie and it has generally caught people out. One thing that will save them is that they have a bigger component of trading stock and less capital stock than they used to. So, when there is no rain, there are certain

triggers they can pull and one of those is reducing stock,” he says. On the issue of the mental state of farmers in Hawkes Bay, Barham says with things like droughts, issues are always going to arise. He says while they are helping out a number of people, the numbers

are no greater than one would expect for an event like this. “There will always be a few who don’t handle these situations well. On the other hand, some have handled it really well,” he says. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

COUNTRY’S BACKBONE PERFORMS NEW ZEALAND’S primary sector has added steel to the country’s economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recently released report. Economic and research firm NZIER latest Insight report – released last week – says the livestock, forestry and horticulture sector have performed well over the lockdown period and as the Covid-19 crisis has continued overseas. “Our land-based industries have proven themselves to be exceptionally resilient, particularly when it comes to trade” says Chris Nixon, NZIER principal economist and lead author of the report.

The report found that a mixture of strong demand from Asia (particularly China), flexible supply chains that suit commodity products, and strong institutions that govern food processing have all contributed to New Zealand’s strong trading results throughout the Covid-19 pandemic so far. Dairy, meat and horticulture are up by nearly $1 billion year-to-date relative to this time in 2019. “Not only has demand for New Zealand products remained solid, the outlook for all land-based industries looks strong,” Nixon adds. “Supporting this growth are the flexibility of our supply chains

and the institutions that govern the rules around food processing.” However, he warns that as the Covid-19 pandemic continues New Zealand must remain vigilant to how it impacts trade globally. “A reduction in consumption of retail goods in the US could have an impact on Asian demand and incomes. This may mean that other countries have less to spend on New Zealand products and services.” NZIER point out that New Zealand’s exposure to North American markets is limited because their commodity markets are fiercely protected.

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


A $10 payout on the cards! SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

A SMALL but select group of Fonterra farmers are on the cusp of setting a new milk payout record. The co-operative’s 60 organic milk suppliers for 2019-20 season are forecast to receive $9.80/ kgMS for last season’s

milk. A final wash-up payment in October could potentially take that payout into double digits – over the $10 mark – a first for the New Zealand dairy industry. This season (2020-21), Fonterra has opened with a forecast payout of $8.75/ kgMS. With demand for organic dairy prod-

ucts strong, potentially a second $10-plus payout could be on the cards. Fonterra global business manager organic, Andrew Henderson, told Rural News that overall demand for existing organics products is largely up despite Covid-19 and its impact on global

economic activity. “There’s a renewed focus on health and wellness……recent Covidrelated restrictions on eating out with social distancing is seeing an increased spending on retail,” he says. Fonterra’s organic milk is used to produce a range of ingredients and

consumer products like fresh milk, cheese and butter. Key sales regions are the US, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand. Fonterra’s organic suppliers are based in the North Island; milk is processed at sites around the Waikato mostly. The list of organic milk sup-

Fonterra’s 60 organic milk suppliers for 2019-20 season could potentially earn a payout into double digits – over the $10 mark – a first for the New Zealand dairy industry.

pliers is growing. This season Fonterra will collect organic milk from 74 suppliers. Henderson says NZ has a real advantage in organic dairy. “Our pasture-based farming system is very well suited to organic dairy, it is arguably the most cost effective and sustainable way to produce organic dairy,” he says. “It also has the strongest consumer story in terms of ‘grass-fed’ and the animal welfare benefits.”

Henderson says Fonterra’s organic program is also very fortunate to have the strength of the co-op behind it. “We are backed by our diverse manufacturing assets and dairy expertise in NZ, the value of our brands, sales teams in markets and our strong existing dairy customer relationships are also crucial to our success.” He says Fonterra’s niche organics business can create incremental value for all shareholders by contributing to the coop’s earnings.

Andrew Henderson

SUPPLY/DEMAND BALANCE ANDREW HENDERSON says it is important that supply growth is matched by demand to ensure the co-op can deliver a premium and sustainable organic milk price. In the early stages of growth, the organic dairy market was primarily dominated by fresh dairy which favours local supply in the larger organic markets like the EU and the US. Even today, 60% of the retail dairy market value, according to Euromonitor, is made up of fresh milk and yoghurt.  “What’s changed more recently is we are seeing by far the largest organic dairy growth in paediatrics, cheese and butter, with much of this growth in markets such China, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa and South America where Fonterra and other exporters are able to be significantly more competitive,” he says.

RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


An actual plan or more woolly thinking? DAVID ANDERSON

DESPITE CLAIMS by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor that a new report will be the plan “to revitalise New Zealand’s strong wool sector…” there’s widespread belief it will do no such thing. Earlier this month, O’Connor released the Wool Industry Project Action Group’s (PAG) report – Vision and Action for NZ’s Wool Sector – that will supposedly help the “strong wool sector grow and thrive”. One of the group’s key recommendations is the appointment of an executive officer supported by wool sector experts and government agencies, supporting skills training, research and development, sector data and connection and coordination. It also wants to see stronger governance to oversee development of an investment case. Strong wool prices have slumped 40% since the 1990s. Latest auction results for full fleece make grim reading. Good quality cross-bred, greasy wool is managing just $1.50/kilogram, which rises to $1.90/kg for

PULLING THE WOOL? NZ FIRST is backing a call for NZ wool to be used in government buildings and houses built by the state. “New Zealand wool products need to take priority in procurement decisions for outfitting government buildings,” the party’s primary industries spokesman Mark Patterson says. However, most woolgrowers will take NZ First’s latest claim about this issue with a large grain of salt. Prior to the last election, leader Winston Peters made a commitment that NZ wool would be used in all government buildings and houses and promised to make it a bottom-line condition of any coalition deal that NZ First did. However, when Peters made his agreement to go with Labour, this so-called bottom-line commitment never eventuated. South Otago farmer Amy Blaikie is calling for New Zealand wool to be used in all publicly-funded buildings and KiwiBuild homes. She currently has a petition before Parliament, which closes on July 31, which has been signed by around 10,000 people.

“really good” clean wool – a price drop of between 35 - 40 % over the past quarter alone. Former Federated Farmers meat and wool chair Miles Anderson doesn’t hold a lot of hope for relief in the muchanticipated release of the Government’s report. “I think it will probably be something people will argue over what is right and what is wrong and, at the end of the day, industry will need to take any good and work col-

lectively from a key starting point.” National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests chairman Craig Smith says the big thing missing from the wool working group’s report is an action plan to deliver the recommendations. “We can’t be sitting around waiting for more reports to be written. We need to get on and get stuff done,” Smith says. Even Labour’s own coalition partner New Zealand First is call-

Strong wool prices have slumped 40% since the 1990s.

The report dire state,” the party’s primary industries Mark Patterson says. He has floated a ‘Fonterra of Wool’ concept as an alternative model and claims it should be seriously considered for the wool industry. “A successful co-operative for New Zealand wool similar to that of our dairy industry could reap great rewards for our wool farmers,” Pat-

THE PAG report sets out three key recommendations: ●● Develop a market-focused investment case and strategic roadmap for the strong wool sector. ●● Establish the capability necessary to get the sector match fit and ready for the opportunities ahead. ●● Establish a governance and coordination capability.

ing for more substantive actions following the release of the report. “Conceptually, it is a step in the right direction, but a concrete plan is needed to boost this industry which is in a

terson claims. He says more radical solutions are needed to ensure New Zealand wool is profitable. The PAG, chaired by John Rodwell, admits that increased competition from synthetic fibres has reduced demand for strong wool. It adds that attempts to respond to this threat and revitalise the strong wool sector have failed in the past. “However, we believe we are on the cusp of a natural fibre renaissance, led by more environmentally and socially conscious consumers, and that a new approach is

needed. The wool sector has a significant opportunity to leverage New Zealand’s unique farming systems and the natural and sustainable qualities of wool to further expand markets by targeting discerning consumers who value these attributes.” The PAG recommends “identifying opportunities” for players in the strong wool sector to “invest and work together to target high-value consumers and end users”. Rodwell believes any strategy must put the consumer at the centre, rather than relying on commodity prices and NZ’s heavy dependence on the Chinese market. O’Connor concedes that the new strategy will not be a silver bullet for the wool industry’s current woes. “There’s no single idea or government policy to solve the wool sector’s problems. Our challenge now is to bring the people who are really going to shift the dial together and connect them with the support they need to succeed.” MPI has been charged with working with the wool sector to progress the next steps.

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020

global agribusiness research analysts sharing market outlooks


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Commodity prices continue to hold SO FAR, NZ agriculture is doing remarkably well in the Covid crisis with demand for NZ products remaining strong. For sheep and beef, weak end-demand has been offset by supply disruptions in other markets including ASF (African Swine Fever) in China, US meat processing plant restrictions and heavy falls in Australian production, as the industry restocks after years of drought. Demand for NZ dairy products has been supported by government intervention in the US and the EU. This has underpinned farmgate prices that for most NZ producers remain above breakeven, despite the lack of significant softening in the NZ dollar.


NEW ZEALAND milk production for the month

global markets through the Northern Hemisphere peak is less severe than originally expected. However, there are still global risk ahead for export markets. Many dairy markets are still dealing with imbalances from demand destruction due to government lockdowns. Heightened retail sales and lower foodservice sales will begin to converge, returning to a more normal balance, but it will take time.

imported beef prices and procurement pressure domestically. Tighter cattle supplies in the North Island relative to the South Island have seen a greater than normal pricing gap develop between the two islands. As at the end of June, the North Island bull price was NZ$ 5.40/ kg cwt, up 6% MOM, with the South Island bull

North Island bull price

Beef of May was up 3.8% on a milksolids basis, compared with May 2019. This means the 2019/20 season closed as a record season for New Zealand at 1,896m kgMS of milk produced (the previous record was 2014/15). Rabobank is expecting milk production to expand marginally in

2020/21. Based on the latest data, Fonterra’s milk intake reached 1,517m kgMS for the season. This equates to just over 80% of the milk pool. Rabobank’s revised farmgate milk price forecasts now stands at NZ$5.95/kgMS for 2020/21. Damage done to

RABORESEARCH EXPECTS the seasonal tightening of domestic cattle supplies, combined with solid export returns, to put further upward pressure on farmgate prices during July. Farmgate prices made some strong gains through June, underpinned by high US

Source: AgriHQ Rabobank 2020

price sitting at NZ$ 4.65/ kg cwt, up 4% MOM. US beef processing capacity is back to near normal levels, and as a result, US imported beef prices have weakened from their May highs. NZ exporters are also likely to face increased export competition from the US in high-value common markets such as Japan and Korea.

NZ beef exports to China performed well in April and May, but high levels of Chinese protein imports in recent months are increasing the risk of inventory build-up, which could have a negative impact on China’s demand for NZ beef in 2H 2020.



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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020



Content supplied by Rabobank - Growing a Better New Zealand Together has seen average export returns for lamb weaken, as NZ exporters become increasingly reliant on China. Procurement competition remains a key factor in favor of farmers with lambs still to process.


Source: AgriHQ Rabobank 2020

SURE is expected to continue to put upward pressure on farmgate prices out to the end of the season. But softening export returns combined with ongoing Covid-19-related risks are set to limit price lifts below what has been experienced in recent seasons. Tightening lamb supplies (particularly in the North Island) underpinned a healthy lift in farmgate prices through June. As of the end of June, the price in the

North Island averaged NZ$ 7.15/kg cwt (+7% MOM), while South Island lamb averaged NZ$ 6.80/kg cwt (+4% MOM). Despite these gains, prices in both the North Island (-9% YOY) and the South Island (-12% YOY) remain well down on where they were at this stage last season. Prices are still above long-term average levels in both islands. The ongoing impact of restricted foodservice activity due to Covid-19

NEW ZEALAND fresh apple exports in 2020 have continued apace with both export volume and value, and are ahead YTD, compared to 2019. Price pressure can be seen emerging in some

markets, but overall export prices are holding up very well in NZ$ fob terms. An almost doubling of export volumes to Vietnam, which has a large drop in fob prices YOY, will influence price reductions to that market. In local currency terms, some softening is observed for some markets when the influence of the depreciated NZ$ is accounted for. A resurgence in the NZ$ has not assisted in recent weeks, but our expectation is

for further depreciation across 2020. Kiwifruit exports also continue their good run with global markets continuing to take volume of fruit ahead of the same period in 2019, with strong pricing in fob terms also being observed to date.

Exchange rate

THE NZ$ rose 3.5% against the US dollar in May. At USc 65, is now just 1.3% down on pre-crisis levels. The NZ dollar has clearly outperformed our expectations through

the second quarter. There is plenty to be concerned about when assessing the health of the NZ economy. Despite Covid’s pain only arriving in the dying weeks of March, GDP contracted 1.6% in Q1 – the biggest contraction in 29 years. And ANZ’s NZ business confidence index was still -34.4 in June vs. -41.8 in May, despite the virus having been beaten locally. But the NZ$ continues to be pushed higher by a combination of optimism regarding the global eco-

nomic outlook, rising investor risk appetite, Chinese economic recovery and an earlier reduction in infection rates in NZ compared with many other countries. Rabobank expects global optimism to be tested in the coming months and sees risk appetites waning. Nonetheless, we have softened our expectation for the damage this will cause to the NZ dollar. And now expect the NZ$ to bottom out at USc 60 by Christmas in our 12-month forecast.



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What’s different? LONG-TIME WOOL industry observers have greeted the latest report aimed at resurrecting the ailing fortunes of the country’s struggling strong wool sector with a healthy dose of cynicism. The latest incarnation, Vision and Action for NZ’s Wool Sector, was produced by the Wool Industry Project Action Group (PAG), chaired by Wanakabased agribusiness man John Rodwell. Even he concedes that farmers will take plenty of convincing that this latest report won’t join its long list of predecessors and be left to gather dust on the shelf. The PAG report sets out three key recommendations for revitalising the sector: • Developing a market-focused investment case and strategic roadmap for the strong wool sector. • Establishing the capability necessary to get the sector match fit and ready for the opportunities ahead. • Establishing a governance and coordination capability. Wool growers have heard these types of woolly ideas before. Is there any wonder they are cynical that this latest report will be any different to the myriad of others that have been produced in the past – including the infamous McKinsey Report from the dying days of the Wool Board? Meanwhile, growers have seen strong wool prices slump 40% since the 1990s. Latest auction results for full fleece make grim reading. Good quality cross-bred, greasy wool is managing just $1.50/kilogram, which rises to $1.90/kg for “really good” clean wool – a price drop of between 35 - 40 % over the past quarter alone. “We believe we are on the cusp of a natural fibre renaissance, led by more environmentally and socially conscious consumers, and that a new approach is needed,” the PAG report says. Really? Currently shearing for most strong wool growers is a cost and more of an animal welfare issue, given the low prices for wool, rather than a viable income stream. As former Wool Board member Lochie MacGillivray told Rural News, if the strong wool sector’s fortunes can be resurrected, much of the knowledge and skill set to do this has already departed the industry and it would take an awful lot of effort to revive this. MacGillivray also points out that the technology for the manufacture of strong wool has also fallen behind that of synthetics. He claims machines manufacturing nylon can operate at greater speeds than those for wool, which makes their products more competitive. Unfortunately, the latest wool report looks like yet another glossy document that will sit on the shelf.


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“We’ve been approved for drought relief assistance!”

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

THE HOUND Sexist spending?


Buyer’s remorse

About time!

YOUR OLD mate always shudders when he sees the Government spending our money on dumb things. Of course, the list of dumb government spending is a mile long. However, the latest by Minister of ‘Wimen’, Julie Anne Genter, will take some beating. Genter recently announced that funding for the Covid-19 Community Fund for women and girls will be doubled from $1 million to $2 million. “Women and girls across the country have suffered because of the effects of Covid-19, and I am pleased to announce financial support for 155 community groups doing the much needed mahi,” the oh-so-woke Green MP said in a statement. As a mate of the Hound’s rightly commented… “I wonder if Genter has noticed that the suffering from – or because of – the effects of Covid-19 does not discriminate between the sexes”. Imagine the outrage if a special government fund was established to just help out boys and men….

SPEAKING OF woke moves, your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s competition winner Nick Bertram, following his politically incorrect tweets being made public. Even the Hound was taken aback by some of the publicly available comments Bertram had made on social media over the years. One would have thought, in this modern day and age, the organisers of the NZDIA would have done an audit of all its award participants’ social media profiles – just to ensure that nothing embarrassing would come back to haunt them. Clearly, this was not the case and now a large amount of egg is all over the NZDIA’s collective faces. However, the Hound suggests Bertram’s biggest crime was not his unsavoury tweets, but his appalling spelling and grammar and he should have been ruled out of the competition on this alone!

YOUR OLD mate reckons the lefty types have had a bad couple of weeks. Not only are they now facing the prospect of Judith ‘Crusher’ Collins ousting their heroine from the Beehive in September, but they’ve also had to contend with news that their fervent belief about climate change is destroying the planet – may well have been over-cooked. This revelation came in a written apology by long-time and highly respected, US-based, environment campaigner Michael Shellenberger earlier this month. “On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologise for the climate scare we created over the past 30 years,” he wrote in his 1700-word article. Apparently, Shellenberger’s “apology for the climate scare” has unsettled many environmental activists as their ‘chicken little’ approach to climate change debate has been seriously questioned. Meanwhile, this old mutt is not overly upset.

YOUR CANINE crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past 20-30 years, have ranked the agricultural portfolio so low down the Cabinet placings. It is an insult and a disgrace that an industry and sector so important to the NZ economy has been ranked so poorly by different governments and not been a front bench position over the years. Current agriculture minister Damien O’Connor sits at 15 in the present cabinet line-up, while his predecessor, the retiring – but not so shy – Nathan Guy held a similar rank. So, your old mate is delighted to see that new (another one) National Party leader Judith Collins has promoted the agriculture portfolio and spokesman David Bennet to the front bench of her shadow cabinet line-up. Let’s hope no matter who gets into government post September 19, they have its agriculture minister sitting on the front bench.

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

RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Consider your vote carefully I WELL remember being tuned into some talkback radio when I was on the road in late 2008. The pending US presidential elections were big news at the time. Democratic candidate Barack Obama had made his VP pick, as had the Republican candidate, John McCain. McCain had surprised many in choosing Sarah Palin, the Republican Governor from Alaska, to be his running mate. Some rather clever, or perhaps I should say, rather cheeky, reporters had gone downtown in one of their major cities,

look a little more seriously at policies than you may have in the past. And try and spare a thought for our country right now too – if you can. Permanently living on handouts from borrowed

especially over the next few weeks. I encourage you not just to vote, but to vote prayerfully. Till next time, take care of yourself and your family. God Bless. • To contact the Farmers’

Chaplain Colin Miller email: farmerschaplain@ ruralnews.co.nz


Colin Miller

choice! Amazing, yes, but in many ways not at all surprising, I guess. Well, we have an election ourselves coming up in just a few short weeks’ time. Here’s hoping we can manage to vote a little

I encourage you to look a little more seriously at policies than you may have in the past. to talk with people on the street about the coming vote. An audio clip from this was played for listeners to hear. As I recall, questions about policy, and who they thought would make the best president were put to the good folks. Who would make the best president? Most went for Obama. Now, for the policy questions the reporters sneakily mixed them up. Obama’s policies, they said, were McCain’s, and some of McCain’s policies they quoted, were actually not his but Obama’s. A very clever mix up for sure! The answers given clearly illustrated that in general, when it came to policies the folks were totally clueless. If it was said to be Obama’s then that was great. As long as it had his name attached it was good policy! Forget the facts; forget that it was actually not his at all! And some of McCain’s policies, which were actually Obama’s, were mocked by the good folks on the street. Then came what I thought was the classic question: What do you think of Obama’s choice of Sarah Palin to be his running mate? Yep, you guessed it; most thought he had made a really great

money is certainly not sustainable and hardly a wise way for us to move forward! For those of you readers who have an effective and real faith, as I do, then let’s be prayerful,

more intelligently than the examples given above. Today’s politics are more about personality, charm, image and what’s perceived as personal charisma. Actual policy used to matter way back, once upon-a-time. Character used to matter too, but that was right back in yesteryear, many, many sunsets ago. In my experience, many people tend to vote for who offers them the most. Forget about what may be best for the country – it’s who has the most ‘lollies’ for me. The ‘Nanny State’ paradigm in spades! With the tourism industry and businesses attached to it now shot to pieces, the rural sector, that was once termed a ‘sunset industry’, is now the very lifeblood of our nation’s economy. When you consider the huge percentage of our national income that currently comes from the farming sector, it magnifies what an essential service the rural sector truly is. A vote for what is best for our country financially then, would be to vote for whoever will truly appreciate and look after our major financial contributors the best. Our rural people, our farmers. I encourage you to


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


The great goat meat price mystery Top farms produce more meat and fibre per hectare with better production. But per animal increases made in the last 30 years will be more difficult to match in the future, even with a higher reproductive rate, consequent lamb and ewe deaths, plus increased feed and management costs. However, adding goats has a key role in improving profitability now, especially on hill country. Garrick Batten reports.

Garrick Batten

NAIT ready for calving? Help build lifetime animal traceability Make sure you can tick off the following: Selling calves: All my calves are NAIT tagged correctly I have registered the calves in my NAIT account – after tagging them first I have recorded a movement in NAIT for the calves I sold – within 48 hours of them leaving. Note: This is not required when selling to a saleyard. I’ve filled out an ASD form and have a Declaration to Livestock Transporter (DLT) form ready – if required

Buying calves: I’ve checked the calves I bought are tagged and NAIT registered I received an Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form from the seller I have recorded a movement in NAIT for the calves I bought – within 48 hours of them arriving I’ve updated the calves’ production type to beef – if brought in from a dairy farm. Bobby calves moved direct to slaughter are exempt from all NAIT requirements. Check with your meat processor about their requirements for accepting bobby calves.

Failure to comply with NAIT obligations may result in fines or prosecution issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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A QUESTION must be, why there are not more goats on pastoral farms now? In part, the industry has not appreciated improved goat farming knowledge, or how to compare goats with other stock. That can be measured not only by added meat income, but also by their pasture improvement role that enhances clover, reduced biological weed control costs and associated inputs – plus lower animal husbandry and management costs. Goats can reduce hill country negatives and increase bottom line and personal values. Improved clover content in mixed pasture has a direct quality benefit, reflected in improved growth rates of other stock, but how to credit that to goats in the accounts? Their lower labour costs are difficult to measure when provided by farmer and family. Each farm will have different weed problems that need particular assessment of both direct and indirect costs, plus evaluating intangibles such as effects on production, health and safety. Profitability from associated goat benefits is easy to forget until balance date. Economists, academics and consultants use stock units to compare enterprises’ profitability, but goats as stock units are misleading as goat size and diet varies on each farm. What is a goat? There are significant differences between breeds, and even in a typical hill country herd range, a 40kg animal is much bigger than a 25kg animal. A major SU cost is feed and the standard uses animals fully fed on sheep/cattle type pasture. A wider goat diet can include an unknown intake of non-pasture such as weeds, plus ungrazed flowering and seedhead pasture plants, and grazing wasted pasture between tracks, not eaten by sheep and cattle – so reduced feed cost. Gross margin analysis assumes that labour and capital costs per SU are similar between various enterprises, but goat costs can be significantly lower. It is difficult to evaluate goats using traditional analytical tools. Goat profitability should not be compared on the basis of kg DM or SU. A better system is to measure and compare biological efficiencies based on saleable product. RMPP KPI benchmarking guidelines have ewe efficiency at 40 -70% with sector mean at 57%, and breeding cow efficiency in the 25-40% range with sector mean of 33%. The minimum for pastoral goats is 75% with 100% achievable. Using another measure, hill country ewe efficiency factor is 2.4 compared with a pastoral doe herd of 3.5. • Garrick Batten is a lifetime commercial goat industry expert and published author. More information: www. caprinexnz.com


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Feed the most critical factor MAINTAINING EWES in good body condition and the provision of shelter are two important management factors in maximising this year’s lamb crop. While scanning percentages are back in many regions due to dry conditions and feed shortages, Will Halliday – Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s senior advisor for animal welfare – says the focus will be on minimising wastage between scanning and tailing. While this country’s temperate climate allows farmers to operate world class, grass-based outdoor farming systems, which have significant animal health and welfare benefits, adverse weather is inevitable. But there are several measures farmers can take to minimise the impact of weather on livestock, particularly over lambing and calving. Feeding is the most critical factor. Lambs born to well-fed ewes will have energy stored as fat reserves and are better able to survive times of reduced feed such as during windy or wet conditions or in extreme weather. A well-fed ewe is considered the best shelter a lamb can have. However, protecting ewes from bad weather by

Lambs born to well-fed ewes will have energy stored as fat reserves and are better able to survive adverse times.

Lamb survival falls by 5% for every half a BCS lost between scanning and lambing. Wind-chill is a major threat to livestock welfare and lamb survival. The ambient temperature experienced by a new-born lamb depends on the air temperature and wind-chill which is directly determined by wind

providing shelter before lambing will contribute significantly to the chances of good lamb birthweights and survival. Lambs from a ewe with Body Condition (BCS) of below 3 have poorer vigour and take longer to stand. While the ewe is less interested in her lamb and has a poorer developed udder.


speed. The greater the wind-chill, the greater an animal’s heat loss. Any type of shelter slows the wind speed and reduces wind-chill. Critical extra minutes of a lamb’s life may be gained by providing shelter, during which time a ewe could return to her lamb after lambing and get it to suckle. This shelter may include trees,

hedges, bushes, tussocks or rocks, although topography, slope, aspect and microclimate also play a role and some paddocks can be sheltered without any vegetation. Multiple lambs are typically lighter lambs. These lambs are more vulnerable to heat loss as they have lower fat reserves than heavier lambs and a higher surface area to bodyweight ratio, increasing heat loss. Providing shelter for ewes known to be carrying multiple lambs should be a priority both to protect the ewes before lambing and give lambs a better chance of survival once born. In extreme weather, even well fed, well bonded lambs may succumb to extreme cold, and weak lambs can be given a 20% mix of Dextrose (Dextrose differs from table sugar and can be sourced from homebrew shops or supermarkets) directly into the abdomen. This can give the lamb the energy boost it needs to survive. Orphan lambs are inevitable, irrespective of the weather. There are several resources on rearing orphan lambs on the B+LNZ website.

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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Give that man a Guinness – another world wheat record! NIGEL MALTHUS

GOING TO liquid fertiliser is the big innovation which allowed Mid-Canterbury arable farmer Eric Watson to break his own Guinness World Record for wheat yield. Watson, who farms 490ha at Wakanui, near Ashburton, produced 17.398 tonnes per hectare to beat his own previous record of 16.791t/ha set in 2017. Bayer regional business manager for Mid & South Canterbury, David Weith, who handled all the agronomy for the record crop, praised Watson’s attention to detail and constant striving to improve. “What he does differ-

ently to everybody else is attention to detail and his skill to get his timings and everything else right,” he told Rural News. However, Weith says the game changer was the move to liquid urea – Watson introduced a 48m spray boom applicator to replace his 32m granular fertiliser spreader. “In 2017, we had a beautiful crop but it was strippy and there was huge variation in yield between runs of the fertiliser spreader,” Weith explained He says granular fertiliser is handled multiple times before getting to the farmer, making the pellets highly variable and difficult to get a consistent spread.


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“The target audience [for fertiliser] now is the dairy farmer who is probably spinning to 12m – when cropping farmers are trying to spread to 24 or 32 metres and they’re just not getting there.” Weith believes that Watson buying that sprayer and going to liquid meant it “evened the fields up dramatically.” The record crop used liquid urea produced and stabilised by Molloy Agriculture using Ravensdown-supplied urea. Watson told Rural News that the liquid sprayer produced an even spread, and even quite high winds didn’t distort the pattern at all. “That’s a huge advantage in Canterbury,” he says. Watson also added that it had also been a very good arable season. “It was probably one of the best we’ve had for years, not too hot and just dry enough.” Watson did not want to rest on his laurels after the 2017 record. “We saw ways in which we could make

Ashburton wheat grower Eric Watson, left, with Bayer’s David Weith in the paddock of wheat which has yielded a new world record. SUPPLIED

CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT DAVID WEITH says when he started in the industry, a normal wheat yield was about 4t/ha. However, he believes a visit by some UK farm consultants to NZ 15 years ago turned it on its head with new methods around sowing and controlling diseases and pests. “That brought about a ‘quantum leap’ in yield, to 8t/ha, then 10t/ha,” Weith claims. Now, most people are “relatively satisfied” to achieve 12t/ha on irrigated

land, while some get a little more. “But the average is still around 12 tonnes,” he adds. “To me, we shouldn’t be happy with that because we can make a hell of a lot more money out of cereals if we get into yield, because yield is king.” Weith told Rural News that Bayer is focused on improving yields through innovative products and crop management. “Our aim is to assist New Zealand to sustainably become the highest yield producing country in the world.”


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improvements and achieve an even higher yield. “By trying new cultivars, switching to liquid nitrogen and monitoring plant health more regularly we were able to achieve another incredible result,” he says. “Because of the high wheat yields we can grow on our farm, we are pleased if we see yields increase year-on-year by 100-200 kg/ha. So, to beat my last crop by almost 600 kg/ha exceeded even my hopes.” Watson’s advice to other farmers is attention to detail and making sure all the inputs are right, while being careful not to overspend. Working alongside Watson and Bayer was a team including: PGG Wrightson Rural Supplies, Yara Fertilisers, SGS, Davis Ogilvie and Hill Laboratories. Planted in April 2019 and harvested on February 17, the wheat variety used was Kerrin, primarily a stock food variety, bred by KWS and supplied by Carrfields Grain & Seed.


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Limited feed puts ewes at risk SEVERE FEED shortages in parts of the country mean many ewes are on a nutritional knifeedge heading into lambing and could be at risk of developing metabolic disorders. PGG Wrightson veterinarian Charlotte Westwood says going into set-stocking, some farmers will be considering transitioning stock from a high energy, starchcontaining feed – such as sheep nuts or grain – onto a post-drought, lush leafy pasture-based diet. She warns that this dietary change could put ewes, particularly multiple-bearing ewes, at risk of developing metabolic disorders such as sleepy sickness, milk fever and

possibly grass tetany. Particularly if there’s not enough pasture available to ewes. While there are mineral and vitamin deficiencies associated with these metabolic disorders, Westwood says it ultimately comes down to an absolute lack of pasture, in that ewes are simply not getting enough of all nutrients in their diet – energy, protein, vitamins and minerals. “So it becomes a bit academic about whether it is sleepy sickness causing milk fever or the other way around.” Heavily in-lamb ewes carrying multiple lambs need to have a minimum of 1400kgDM/ha of pasture underfoot at any

stage to optimise their dry matter intake, a challenging requirement for many people this winter. In regions such as Hawke’s Bay, these pasture covers are not possible this season. Many farmers are having to consider continuing to feed out supplements, such as sheep nuts or grain over lambing. “Although this is an excellent way to maintain feed intake for ewes, daily feeding out of supplements to set stocked ewes increases risk of mis-mothering between a ewe and her lambs.” Westwood recommends farmers take an “aircraft oxygen mask” approach. First prioritise the ewe so she is better

able to look after her lambs. “If a ewe ends up with sleepy sickness and/or milk fever, her unborn lambs are at real risk,” she says. “We need to first look after the ewe then follow through with ways to protect any mismothered lambs.” But feeding out supplements and keeping a close eye on wellbeing of new-born lambs could also mean more intensive shepherding over the lambing period, which in itself increases the chances of mis-mothering. More disruption of set-stocked ewes during feed out of supplements could result in more orphan lambs this season,

Heavily in-lamb ewes carrying multiple lambs need to have a minimum of 1400kgDM/ha of pasture underfoot at any stage to optimise their dry matter intake.

which adds extra cost, labour and stress after what has already been a very long year. Farmers could consider setting up handrearing facilitates in preparation for mismothered lambs and consider asking for help from friends and family with hand rearing lambs over the lambing period. Westwood acknowledges there is no easy answer this season. However, she strongly recommends that going into lambing farmers update

their feed budget – irrespective of how little feed they have. She also suggests they work alongside their vet or consultant to make a plan on which ewes to prioritise – based on scanning results, other stock classes on the property, average pasture covers and supplementary feeds available. “For example, it might be worthwhile feeding supplementary feeds to the single-bearing ewes to allow pasture covers to build on other parts of the farm so that twin

and triplet ewes can be set stocked and left uninterrupted to lamb onto appropriate amounts of pasture. “Mis-mothering may be less risky for ewes with one lamb at foot than those with triplets. Alternatively, make well-conditioned singlebearing ewes a lesser priority and focus feed and resources on the multiple-lambing ewes.” Westwood encourages farmers to talk to their vets about what might be required.


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Nitrate poisoning risks post drought Cases of nitrate poisoning are being reported in the Hawke’s Bay region after recent rain. Ginny Dodunski of Total Vets provides a summary for Beef+Lamb NZ on the issue about this often fatal condition. Why is the risk higher after drought? Drought conditions allow a build-up of nitrate in and around roots of the plant. When followed by a significant rain event we get a sudden uptake of nutrients and rapid plant growth. The warm and overcast weather that accompanies these good growing conditions limits photosynthesis, and plants are unable to convert nitrates into protein. Forage crops, especially cereals, and autumnsown new pastures are the top candidates for this phenomenon. How does it happen? Ingested plant nitrates get changed to nitrite in the rumen. This is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream where nitrite binds with haemoglobin on the red blood cells and prevents them from doing their job of carrying oxygen to the tissues. Animals become oxygen starved and without prompt treatment can die. Your vet can race out and administer an antidote I/V, but preven-

tion is far preferable! Cattle are the most susceptible, especially pregnant cattle. Pregnant ewes are more susceptible than lambs but be aware that in bad years lambs can go down with it too. What might you see? Rapid breathing, weakness, tremors and imbalance are the first signs. Animals often look ‘drunk’ in the early stages. As the condition progresses, animals salivate and froth at the mouth, and then start to gasp for breath and go down. But the progression of these signs can be so fast that all you find is dead animals. Animals can ingest enough toxic feed in one hour to start showing signs. How do I minimise the risk of nitrate poisoning? Test any feed that may be a risk. Don’t ring your vet or agronomist and ask if your crop/grass is risky, they can’t tell over the phone! Most rural vet clin-

Nitrate poisoning is a real risk following drought with rain encouraging sudden and rapid plant growth.

ics will have a nitrate dipstick test available that they can run in-clinic. Levels under 50mg/L are safe to feed, 50-100 is safe to feed with some provisos, over 100 is dangerous, but levels run up to 500mg/L – ask for the exact number. Others may send your samples to the laboratory; if this is the case for you – ensure to request a QUANTITATIVE nitrate test. This gives the exact percentage of nitrate in the crop: 2% is dangerous, but 5% is far more dangerous. Be aware that nitrate

levels may vary across a paddock, so sample small amounts from many spots. A whole feed bag full of feed is not necessary – half a bread bag of grass or oats is plenty. For brassica crops it is helpful to test the leaf and stem separately – so don’t just submit leaf. Bring in small chopped bits from across the paddock rather than a great big bag of whole plants. Pop samples in refrigerator if not bringing it in for testing immediately. Be aware that high nitrate crops can take many weeks to drop.

Keep checking them at 7-day intervals. Crops at the 500mg/L level may take six weeks or more to fall into the safe range. Can I feed off a high nitrate crop? The answer to this is ‘maybe’. Get good advice and have a clear plan that everyone understands, if you intend to take this risk. The guidelines above are there for a reason and you take this risk at your own responsibility. This is where it’s important to know the exact nitrate level. Any access to feed at 500mg/L

is probably too much of a risk, whereas extremely careful access to feed at 100mg/L may be lower risk. Crops in the 1-2% range or at the 100mg/L level may be able to be fed off in a limited way. Remember the one hour rule above. Stay close and don’t allow more than one hour of access at first (20 to 30 minutes is much safer), small breaks, and strong power going through your fence are all good rules. Put animals onto their break with full tummies (feed out baleage or hay

first), and if possible, also a good source of high carbohydrate/energy food, to enable rumen bacteria to work at full speed. Graze in the afternoon when the crop has had maximum exposure to sunlight, which may help drop the nitrate levels. However, hopefully by testing you will be able identify the sources of feed on your farm that you’re able to safely feed now, while you wait for the nitrate levels in others to drop. • For more information: www.beeflambnz/ knowledge-hub

It’s a lifesaver for your lambs and your profit. Nilvax.® The specialist pre-lamb 5-in-1. Nilvax combines a powerful 5-in-1 with a powerful immune booster. The immune booster increases the immune response, increasing the antibodies available to the lambs for longer. The vaccine gives higher levels of clostridial protection for your lambs for up to 4 months. That’s why it’s the specialist pre-lamb 5-in-1.

Ask your animal health advisor for Nilvax.

ACVM No’s: A3832, A3977. Schering-Plough Animal Health Ltd. Phone: 0800 800 543. www.msd-animal-health.co.nz. NZ/NLX/0518/0003b. © 2020 Intervet International B.V. All Rights Reserved.

RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


Latest tech keeps wheels turning MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

TURLEY FARMS is a Canterbury-based, family-owned enterprise that grows vegetable, seed and pasture crops â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including wheat, barley, potatoes, white clover, onions, grass seed and carrot seed. The operation also produces hybrid radish, spinach, canola, sunflowers and peas for processing. During the winter, they finish store lambs, some dairy cow wintering â&#x20AC;&#x201C; along with finishing some beef cattle. The business is largely self-contained, backed by technology to keep the many wheels of its 12 prime movers rolling. The Case IH tractors on the properties run from 75 to 550hp. Many of these are fitted with Case IH

Advanced farming Systems automated guidance, offering precision seed placement down to 2cms, delivered by Trimble RTK. With this technology available, real-time data monitoring from the Vantage system offered by Trimble gives insight into farm areas such as soil moisture levels. Then, by comparing the results from a weather station reading, they can calculate soil deficit and crop demand. For fertiliser application, each paddock is grid referenced and soil tested. From this a variable application map is created, which is then sent to a suitably equipped spreader. This then can deliver the expensive product at variable rates from 50 to 200kg per hectare.

at the peak, feeding different crops or varieties of the same crop back to multiple drying and storage facilities â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so attention to detail is paramount.â&#x20AC;? Preventing crop contamination is a real focus of the team, from the farm managers, agronomists, permanent staff, and seasonal harvest staff. Crop hygiene starts with the agronomists in the paddock, moves onto harvesting, drying and storage â&#x20AC;&#x201C; then away to market. Given whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s at stake, particularly in the case of high value vegetable seed, crops hygiene is king. Turley Farms uses a large air compressor and an industrial vacuum cleaner to clean the combines, during crop or variety changes and at the end of the season.

Turley Farms manager Andrew Smith says his bottom line is cab comfort and strong support from the dealership.

Turley Farms manager Andrew Smith says his bottom line is cab comfort and strong support from the dealership. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter what colour the machine is, or what bit of machin-

ery it is â&#x20AC;&#x201C; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve all got the risk of breakdowns,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For us, the key question is how well the problems are addressed when they arise.â&#x20AC;? Turley Farmsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Case IH equipment is sup-

ported by the local dealer Cochranes, who â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in turn â&#x20AC;&#x201C; are backed by Case IH NZ. When it comes to machinery and technology, Turley Farms looks for ease of operation.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Last year during harvest, we ran 17 fulltime and 13 overseas staff working on the farms,â&#x20AC;? Smith explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Five combines might be working simultaneously in different crops

JACKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S UNIQUE SOLUTION MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

JASON JACK was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stopped him getting out and about in difficult environments. A keen outdoorsman, Jack refused to let reduced mobility get the better of him. So over the years, he built several motorised conversions, largely based on quad bikes. Unfortunately, those quads didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go down too well with others, as they were considered noisy and harsh on the environment. This led to Jack heading down the electric route, where after five years of research and development, he

recently released the TRX-Max. This is a purpose-built vehicle that offers able and not so able-bodied users the ability to head into difficult terrain with ease. The unique vehicle is centred on an easy-access platform, which in turn houses a supportive rally-style bucket seat. Power is derived from a 60-volt lithium-ion battery pack that drives twin electric wheel motors at each side of the machine. The running gear features Camoplast composite tracks running on intermediate idler rollers, with the belts centralised via integral lugs that engage with the drive wheel. Largely self-cleaning, the tracks offer the ability to travel over the most difficult conditions.

Jason jack on the TRX-Max.












range of genuine spare parts and lubricants for all our machinery and providing overnight nationwide delivery is a top priority for us. Additionally, we can also source and supply parts for a variety of other machine


This includes mud, gravel, sand and snow by offering a large footprint. This also imparts amazing stability, particularly on sidling ground. Weighing in at around 160kg and capable of a 20km/h maximum speed, the TRX-Max has an overall footprint of 1200mm wide by 1300mm long. This makes it is easily transported in a small trailer to the intended area for use. The $30,000 plus GST price makes it comparable with high-end side by sides. Jack reckons that a $2 plug-in recharge will result in three to five hours running time â&#x20AC;&#x201C; depending on terrain and speed. It also has the ability to also carry a spare battery.






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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


New faces and challenges for association WITH COVID-19 effectively cancelling the annual meeting of the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA), which is normally held at National Fieldays, this year’s event was conducted by tele-conferencing. John Tulloch, who has headed TAMA for the past two years, has made way for new president Kyle Baxter of Norwood. He will be backed by new vice president Alistair Tulloch of the Power Farming Group. Also elected to the management group were Josh Vroombout (AGCO), Brian Matchett (Piako Group) and Tim Brown (Southland Farm Machinery). “The relevance of TAMA is now even more important as we move through these challenging times,” Baxter says. “This has already seen us move away from just reporting monthly sales figures, to working closely with government and other industry bodies to play our part in the primary industry’s recovery of the New Zealand economy. “Over the last few years, we have welcomed new members from the machinery retailing sector. That means TAMA can speak as a united voice in areas such as


New Tama president Kyle Baxter.

apprenticeships, recruitment of skilled staff from within NZ or from overseas, while continuing to raise the profile of an industry sector that is worth in excess of $1.6 billion annually.” In other TAMA news, the provider of statistics for the association, Agriview is reporting that sales of tractors in NZ to June 30, was down by 25% to 1275 units (2019 saw 1702 for the same period). Meanwhile, the rolling 12-month total was down by a similar amount to 3580 machines. TAMA has also been lobbying government to raise the current asset value write-off levels to $150,000 to align the allowance with Australia. Currently, the level in NZ

is only $5,000. So far, the Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash have declined the suggestion and talks of future tax policy reviews. Meanwhile, National’s spokesman for agriculture David Bennett says the writeoff allowances need looking at. He has indicated that if elected, National would raise the figure to $150,000 for two years. TAMA has also been in discussions with the National Fieldays organisation. It is hoping to gain concessions for its members, which will see the organisation waive the contentious Premium Reserve site fees for the 2021 event.

WHILE MOST motive industries are focused on hybrid or EV power plants, JCB has developed the construction industry’s first hydrogen powered excavator. The 20-tonne, 220X is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. This works by reacting hydrogen with oxygen, to create energy to power electric motors – with the only emissions being water at the exhaust pipe. Currently undergoing testing at JCB’s quarry proving ground, the

excavator joins a list of the company’s other emission-beating technologies. This includes its first fully electric, mini-excavator, the 19C-1E. This was recently complemented by an electric version of the JCB Teletruk telescopic forklift, the JCB 30-19E “The development of the first hydrogen-powered excavator is very exciting as we strive towards a zero-carbon world,” JCB chairman,

Lord Bamford says. “In the coming months, we will develop and refine the technology with advanced testing of the prototype machine.” In other news, the company also appears to be leading the way with its in-house Dieselmax engines. JCB claims the latest Stage V versions have reduced emissions of nitrous oxide (NOx) by 97%, soot particulates by 98% and carbon dioxide (CO2) by close to 50%.


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RURAL NEWS // JULY 28, 2020


McIntosh Farm Machinery 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 week, machinery editor Mark Daniel takes a closer look at Palmerston North-based McIntosh Farm Machinery, catching up with Brett McIntosh. Q – When was the company founded, by whom and why (was it to solve a problem or market a product)? Back in 1951, my dad Bill and uncle Bryant started doing general engineering for the farming sector in a shed at Palmerston North. Building farm machinery started in the early 1970s with a feeder wagon built for New Zealand conditions. Q – Where are you located – is it single or multiple sites and how many people are employed? In 2008 we relocated to Armstrong St, Palmerston North, to a site that combines our Farm Machinery and our Cranes &Transport business. This allowed us to re-think the production of machinery from start to finish. It enabled us to set up a new factory that

flowed efficiently – from fabrication to sandblasting and painting. During the development we also ensured our 50 dedicated staff had a better working environment, which in turn has led to a more productive team overall. Q – What are your key products and which markets do they serve? We manufacture single, double, multi-4 bale, and trough bale feeders, forage wagons, tip trailers, chaser wagons, muck spreaders, and beater wagons. We distribute through a loyal NZ dealer network, TracMap Farm Equipment in Australia and Cooprinsem, a farming co-operative, in Chile. Q – Are your products unique? If so, what are the four key benefits? If not, what are the four unique

selling points? When you buy a McIntosh product, you’re buying strength, durability, quality and performance. Bill’s early attention to build quality, while keeping designs simple and strong, has become our brand identity. As an examMADE IN NZ ple, our bale feedA LOOK AT ers have a wider HOME-GROWN COMPANIES cradle than most other machines on the market, allowing cleaner feeding out and less wastage. We listen to and understand changes? our market, then deliver With bigger farms, solutions that are trusted come bigger machines. on farms both at home So much so, that when and overseas. I joined the company Q – Looking at an ever35 years ago, our largest evolving market, what forage wagon was 9 cubic changes do you envisage? Or what will you have to do metres – today it’s 35 cubic metres. moving forwards, to enter One of our latest new markets or industry projects, working with our Australian distributor, has been to develop a machine for the vineyards of South Australia to apply straw and compost. With wider row spacing than in New Zealand vineyards, this offered us a unique opportunity that makes this unit the


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McIntosh Farm Machinery’s Palmerston North-based factory site.

only one of its type in the country. Another success has been the sale of Beater Wagons in Australia, while interest in NZ is also growing as farmers use more diverse feed combinations. Q – What has been the company’s greatest success since its formation? The company is built on honest family values; a legacy started by Bill & Bryant. This has led to McIntosh Farm Machinery earning a reputation for the toughest, most durable and reliable farming machinery on the market. All accompanied by customer service and support that won’t let you down when the going gets tough. Q – In contrast, what


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has been the biggest “Oh Bugger” moment or the steepest learning curve? Our biggest “Oh Bugger” moment is currently a very personal one, as the family has been dealing with Bill’s rapid onset of Alzheimer’s Disease over the last 12-months. He was diagnosed after a fall at last year’s CD Fieldays from where he has deteriorated rapidly. Q – If you were approached by someone looking to start a business, what would be your three key pieces of advice? Build strong relationships with your customers, dealers, and your staff. Care about the business and your product. Listen to your staff and

customers and keep innovating. Never under-estimate the importance of cashflow to your business – a point we learnt that from Bill at an early age. 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 pride ourselves on the relationships we have formed over the last 70 years in the farming industry, leading to a strong and loyal customer base. Over the next ten years, we will continue to listen, develop and support our products, while ensuring they remain relevant and add value for our customers.


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THE FEELING’S MUTUAL. At FMG we like being local to support and be involved with those that support us. We like to do business face-to-face when we can too. This is why we’ll often come to your farm and share specialist insurance and risk advice—and if we can’t we’re always here to chat things over the phone, person to person. If that sounds like the kind of insurer you’d like to deal with, ask around about us. Or better still, call us now on 0800 366 466.

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Profile for Rural News Group

Rural News 28 July 2020  

Rural News 28 July 2020

Rural News 28 July 2020  

Rural News 28 July 2020