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Planning pays off PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

CONTINGENCY PLANNING by the New Zealand meat industry appears to have paid off as Brexit took effect on January 1. Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Sirma Karapeeva told Rural News that all the anticipated disruption at the border between the UK and EU has not been as severe pre-

dicted in terms of NZ meat exports. She says there have been no reports from companies saying they’ve had any problems when the change took effect. However, Karapeeva says some of the meat destined for the UK and Europe was for the Christmas trade and that would have cleared customs in December under the previous regime. “The other thing is that Brexit has been going for such a long time and we

have been working very hard behind the scenes to do a whole lot of contingency planning,” she says. “We’ve worked with the Meat Board to ensure that our quota would be able to be managed from January 1 in the most seamless way possible to make sure that NZ exporters are not facing any issues.” Karapeeva added that her organisation has also worked with the Ministry for Primary Industries to make

sure that the export certificates that were needed to use for the UK were ready in time. “All that was agreed some time ago and sitting on the shelf and ready to go January 1,” she says. While the issue of coping with changes on January 1 seems to have gone smoothly, the MIA says the really big problem with Brexit remains unresolved. Karapeeva says this is the unilateral

Vegetable grower expands FAMILY-OWNED business LeaderBrand is cementing its place in South Auckland’s vegetable growing hub by taking full ownership of Sutherland Produce. LeaderBrand, which owned 50% of Sutherland Produce since 2013, has bought the remaining stake from the Sutherland family, fresh vegetable farmers since 1977. The business on Mill Road, Bombay grows lettuce, broccoli and silverbeet. LeaderBrand chief executive Richard Burke (left) told Rural News that there will be no radical change to the business. The Sutherland family will stay involved and the 60 full-time staff are retained. “The Sutherland family has a legacy of quality growing, excellent systems and a very well run business, so we’re looking forward to continuing our great relationship with John Sutherland (right) and the team,” Burke says. More about LeaderBrand’s business in Hort News, which will come out with the Jan 26 issue of Rural News.

splitting of the beef and sheep meat quotas between the EU and UK as part of their Brexit deal. NZ’s beef quota of 1300 tonnes has been split so that 40% will go to the UK and 60% to the EU. The 228,000 sheepmeat quota has been split 50/50. Both quotas were signed off in 1995, as part of a deal within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). NZ maintains this is a binding agreement which states that NZ should not be disadvantaged if there were any changes to such a deal. Karapeeva says protests by the NZ meat industry and our government over a number of years have been ignored by both the EU and the UK. “The EU and UK have simply not wanted to engage to look for some kind of mechanisms or way to address our real concerns,” she told Rural News. NZ officials at the WTO headquarters in Geneva have been working hard to get the EU and UK to the negotiating table, but Karapeeva says they remain intransigent and won’t budge from their position. She says, in theory there is the option of lodging an appeal to the WTO. However, Karapeeva concedes that the chances of this succeeding are remote because the WTO dispute system is effectively defunct. She says the preferred option is to get the parties around the table to come to a better and fairer deal but says this would require a mind-set change on the part of both the EU and UK.


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NZ seeks Irish support PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

NEWS���������������������������������������1-11 AGRIBUSINESS���������������������� 12 HOUND, EDNA����������������������� 14 CONTACTS������������������������������ 14 OPINION�����������������������������14-16 MANAGEMENT���������������� 17-18 ANIMAL HEALTH������������������� 19 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS���������������������� 20-22 RURAL TRADER��������������22-23

HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group

NEW ZEALAND is looking to Ireland for support as it negotiates a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU). Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor made this comment at a recent gathering in Wellington where he officially launched the Irish Business Network NZ (IBNNZ) report. O’Connor told the large gathering, held in an Irish pub in the city, that NZ was not going to be a competitor in agricultural trade with Ireland. “We will be friends and partners with the occasional bit of competition,” he said. “The reality is that we share a lot around our culture and around agriculture, our connection and our passion for land and the fact we are both trying to build our export focus with thy finest food in the world.” O’Connor says connecting Irish and NZ businesses is very important and the opening of the NZ embassy in Dublin and the Irish embassy in Wellington has done much to formalise the contact between the two nations.

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor and Irish Ambassador Peter Ryan.

Ireland’s ambassador to NZ Peter Ryan hopes that NZ and the EU will negotiate an FTA, which he says will help the NZ/Ireland relationship to flourish and that the agreement will be beneficial to both countries. “The opportunity for both countries to do business with each other has never been greater than it is right now,” he says. “My message to Irish people is that if you meet a Kiwi busi-

nessperson, tell them how easy it is for them to do business in Ireland and open your network to them.” Ryan says about one in five New Zealanders (approximately 600,000) have Irish heritage and the cultural and personal links between the two small nations is huge. He says the way the people of the two nations do business is very similar. Ryan claims the great thing about

IBNNZ is that it is business led and all the people involved are volunteers who are committed to building stronger business ties between the two countries. IBNNZ was established in Auckland in 2015 and now has a membership of more than 1500 based in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch The organisation holds regular networking functions and facilitates connecting business people from both countries. It also works with other Irish trade organisations such as Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, IDA Ireland and Tourism Ireland. As well as holding regular networking events, IBNNZ has also run a series of webinars promoting and encouraging collaboration between the two countries. Irish manufacturing companies have been regular participants at the National Fieldays in Hamilton over the years and NZ companies have also exhibited at the National Ploughing Championships held in Ireland every year.

Dream start for dairy prices

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

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

DAIRY FARMERS can expect a lift in the forecast milk payout if dairy prices continue to climb. Last week’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction, the first for 2021, recorded solid gains in whole milk powder (WMP) and fat product prices, building on gains in the two December auctions. WMP prices, used by Fonterra to set its payout, sit at a 12-month high of US$3306/metric tonne. Last month, Fonterra narrowed its forecast payout range to $6.70$7.30/kgMS. ASB lifted its forecast

to $7/kgMS. ASB senior economist Chris Tennent-Brown notes that last week’s GDT price rise built on gains of December that led to the bank lifting its forecast price. He says WMP prices have now edged comfortably ahead of where they were a year ago. “The contract curve remains flat and stable, so price gains aren’t being driven by short-term supply fears,” he told Rural News. “The latest GDT result provides a buffer to our $7 forecast, and more of the same over the coming events could well see Fonterra narrow its forecast range.” Gains on GDT auctions over the

past two months are being mostly attributed to strong demand from China. While most countries are still dealing with waves of Covid-19, China’s economy is bouncing back after weathering the Covid storm. Fonterra said last month that China was continuing to recover well from Covid-19 and this was reflected in recent GDT auctions. The co-op noted a strong demand from Chinese buyers for WMP. “The impact of Covid-19 continues to play out globally, and we continue to have a watchful eye on the increasing Northern Hemisphere milk production and New Zealand dollar,”

said Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell. “However, we have contracted a good proportion of our sales book for this time of the season, which has given us the confidence to narrow and lift the bottom end of the forecast farmgate milk price range.” New Zealand milk production also impacts GDT prices; a drop in production can spark supply fears. Data released in late December by the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) showed NZ November milk production was down 2.5% on a tonnage basis and down 2.7% on milksolids basis on November 2019.

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Mixed outlook for primary sector PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

AFTER FIVE years of growth, New Zealand’s primary exports are heading for a drop in 2021— but with a bounce back predicted for 2022. Agriculture and Trade and Export Minister Damien O’Connor is putting on a brave face about the situation saying the prospects for the future of the sector are bright and NZ has done well in the Covid environment. But O’Connor warns that the country is facing a tough time internationally with many of countries, notably the USA, UK and Europe, facing major problems with fresh outbreaks of Covid. He says one of the biggest challenges is the logistics of getting our products to market due

to Covid and also Brexit. O’Connor says getting containers has been an issue, as has getting the right ships in the right place at the right time. “Many of our big exporters have moved early to avoid the rush and while it still remains tough for them, there is no indication of crisis,” he told Rural News. In its latest report on the Situation and Outlook for the Primary Industries, (SOPI) the Ministry for Primary Industries says export revenue from the sector will drop 1% to $47.5 billion in the coming year. However, MPI optimistically predicts that in a year’s time, things will change and the value of our primary exports will be $49.2 billion – up 3.6%. The SOPI report says

The latest Situation and Outlook for the Primary Industries report says export revenue from the sector will drop 1% to $47.5 billion in the coming year, but bounce back in 2022.

the outlook for meat and wool exports remains volatile with export revenues expected to drop from last year’s $10.7 billion to $9.8 billion. It puts this

drop down to problems in the food service sector, which has been badly hit by Covid.

The report notes that products sold through large formal grocery stores have performed much better. In the coming year, SOPI is predicting wool exports to fall again and virtually remain static at just over $550 million the following year. The situation for meat is slightly better with beef and lamb exports expected to fall in 2021 and pick up again slightly the following year. The saving grace for the sector appears to be China, where demand has strengthened while

$2 billion. However, while the long term predictions look promising and hopeful, there are potential storms gathering. Global trade, notes the SOPI report, is “subdued” due to Covid. There is the threat of Brexit and how the UK and EU will manage the ‘deal’ they agreed to just before Christmas. NZ will be watching closely how the Chinese economy performs, given that it is one of our key export markets. And lurking in the background is performance of the NZ dollar. Ironically, NZ’s handling of Covid has seen the NZ dollar appreciate and if this continues it could put downward pressure on the value of our export earnings over the coming months.

decline in Australian sheep and beef exports caused by a drought in that country has seen less Australian meat in global markets. Dairy export revenue is forecast to decrease 4.6% to $19.2 billion for the year to June 2021, driven by weaker global dairy prices, as markets continue to deal with the impacts from Covid-19. The only sector bucking the downward trend is horticulture with export revenue forecast to hit nearly $7.1 billion, an increase of 8.9% on the previous year. This is driven by successful harvests in early 2020 and continued strong demand for our fresh fruit and wine. Kiwifruit exports are edging closer to the $3 billion mark and wine in 2021 should make it to

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DESPITE ALL the uncertainty, Damien O’Connor remains upbeat about the future. He says NZ produces a lot of goods and services that are highly desirable around the world – be it meat or dairy. O’Connor reckons NZ is a nation of innovators and has been quick to adapt to the new environment. “We have high quality goods that are still demanded by many consumers, the issue is getting them to the right consumers at the right time, ensuring the logistics chain is not interrupted and marketing products in a way that maximises their value,” he told Rural News. O’Connor claims the message from our customers around the world is that they are looking for quality goods that are produced based on ethical values and produced with a low carbon footprint. He says if they are buying animal protein they

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want very high standards of animal welfare and to be certain that staff on farms and processing plants are well looked after. “We have had good leadership from Beef+Lamb NZ and DairyNZ bringing those key messages back from the market to their levy papers,”




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Resilience kept NZ agriculture strong through pandemic JESSICA MARSHALL jessica@ruralnews.co.nz

A NEW report has found that Kiwi ingenuity and a drive to “make it work” were crucial to New Zealand’s primary sector managing the Covid-19 pandemic. The study was carried out by AgResearch and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) – along with several science research organisations in New Zealand and Australia. Some 194 NZ farmers and workers from the agriculture and food systems sector were surveyed online – along with a further 127 Australian farmers and agri-

culture workers – about the impacts of Covid-19 during the period to June 2020. Many respondents acknowledged overall negative effects, additional stress and pressure from the pandemic and response. The effects specifically mentioned include reductions in the availability of agricultural inputs and specialised and non-specialised labour. Also mentioned were distribution difficulties, reduced capacity in processing plants, and changes in market demand. The report found that NZ’s agriculture industry began to feel the impact of the pandemic in lateFebruary and early-

Researchers found that the ability to cope with adversity, finding new ways of doing things and getting on with the job, were important in how the NZ agriculture sector performed so well during the pandemic. PHOTO CREDIT: KIERAN SCOTT

March. It states that “the reduction in tourist arrivals substantially affected demand for agricultural products through the restaurant and fast food trade, both of which were

shut down.” Despite the difficulties faced by those in the primary sector, only 47% of New Zealand respondents viewed the effects on their farms or busi-

nesses negatively over the period studied. A further 37% said the effect was neutral. Those interviewed in New Zealand said they also found positives

coming out of the pandemic experience, such as opportunities for new markets for their products and increased community appreciation of their sector. “The term resilience is a buzzword that’s probably a bit overused,” says AgResearch senior scientist Dr Val Snow. “But it’s clear from our analysis that the inbuilt ability to cope with adversity through various means, find new ways of doing things and get on with the job, were important in how farmers and their supporting industries performed so well.” Snow says that while many farmers were already dealing with drought conditions, they

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were able to manage through the extra difficulties. She adds that relatively high technology use and strong connections in the New Zealand sector also meant the industry was well-placed to respond to the pandemic. “Although the outlook is more positive now with access to vaccines looming, many of those we heard from expect impacts of the pandemic to linger for some time. We will be interested to see how those impacts change over time, and that is where further research will be valuable.” Snow told Rural News that there is no reason to think that this resilience would dissipate in 2021.

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Scientists criticise latest ‘US fad’ NIGEL MALTHUS

NEW ZEALAND agriculture doesn’t need “the latest fad from America,” according to New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science (NZIAHS) president, Jon Hickford. Hickford, a professor at Lincoln University, was commenting on the release of a special edition of the NZIAHS magazine AgScience, in which several prominent scientists pull no punches in examining the claims of regenerative agriculture. He told Rural News scientists were getting hot under the collar over the way regenerative agriculture was being uncritically embraced. “For some time, we have been disquieted by the ballyhoo in support of regenerative agricul-

ture in the absence of scientific studies into the implications of applying these practices to farm practices in this country,” Hickford told Rural News. “A sound evidence base is needed to test and confirm what works in New Zealand soils, climates, and farming systems.” He says Regen Ag was becoming a political issue, with the central plank of Green Party agriculture policy for New Zealand to go entirely into regenerative agriculture. Hickford says it is also coming through in Labour Party – and thus Government – policy, with “money starting to be thrown at it”. “I’d gladly give a dollar to find out what their definition of regenerative agriculture is,” he adds. “There is no definition.”

Hickford says the phrase ‘regenerative agriculture’ sounded appealing, especially to urban people who don’t understand the complexity of farming systems. But he claims that inherent in the term is the suggestion that our current systems must be damaged and in need of regeneration. “Actually, what we’re doing is pretty good. We could do a little bit better here, and maybe a bit more there, but the system’s not broken and we don’t need the latest fad from America.” Hickford says the special edition of AgScience examines regenerative agriculture in ways that were comprehensive and based on “good old-fashioned, boring science”. “As the more outrageous claims are made by

NZIAHS president Jon Hickford says scientists are getting hot under the collar over the way regenerative agriculture was being uncritically embraced.

the regenerative agriculture fraternity we can say ‘well, actually the science doesn’t support that’.” Hickford says a key

argument of regenerative agriculture appeared to be a belief that we needed to get a lot more carbon into our soil.

But says it is “untrue” that most of our soils are depleted in carbon and there was “not a lot of evidence” that changing

to regenerative systems would improve things. “It (Regen Ag) seems to be promoted as a panTO PAGE 7



A number of regen ag claims questioned by experts THE PUBLICATION of the AgScience special edition coincided with a MPI call for proposals for projects to investigate regenerative farming practices, to be funded through its Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures co-investment fund (SFFF), which Hickford says couldn’t come soon enough. Among the contributors to the special edition are: • Dr Doug Edmeades, who addresses a regenerative agriculture theory of base-cation saturation ratio (BCSR), which is claimed to work by ensuring ‘correct’ ratios of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Edmeades says research over many years shows that ratios are unimportant so long as minimum amounts are present. Another claim promotes biologicals such as composts and seaweed extracts, but testing of biological-based liquid fertilisers found them only as good as the water they contained. “From this it appears that adopting the regenerative agriculture approach and using the BCSR concept and ‘biologicals’ would be a step back to pseudo-science.” • Lincoln University’s Professor Leo Condron, who disputes the worth of fertilising with coalderived ‘humates’ – humic acids, fulvic acids and humin. Condron notes that New Zealand topsoil typically already contains about 45 tonnes/hectare of humates. “It is therefore extremely difficult to envisage that the addi-

tion of small quantities (i.e. kilograms) of humate preparation to soil in the field could make any significant difference.” • Lincoln’s Professor Derrick Moot and Dr Alistair Black say that grazing management is a balance between maximising pasture growth to ensure high quantities and quality of pasture, while ensuring sufficient carbon and nitrogen reserves to provide resilience to pasture plants. “The regenerative agriculture approach emphasises the latter as a way to restore degraded soils from years of continuous cropping or overgrazing in the United States and Australian farm systems. This is not applicable to the largely rotationally grazed systems in New Zealand...New Zealand grazing systems are the product of considerable and ongoing scientific enquiry underpinned by decades of research. Regenerative agriculture cannot make the same claim in any country.” • Massey University’s Associate Professor Kerry Harrington says regenerative agriculture seems likely to worsen weed problems, given its multi-species use recommendations and dislike of herbicides. “New Zealand agriculture is already embracing a move towards biodiversity by retiring land on steep slopes and in riparian zones, and by establishing native plants in these sensitive areas. The apparent dislike for herbicides in regenerative agri-

Scientists criticise FROM PAGE 6

acea but there was no magic regenerative offthe-shelf product or process,” Hickford adds. He says while American agriculture is having to go back to pastoralism to repair depleted soils, a lot of New Zealand farmers were already doing regenerative practices. “We are not disturbing the soil anything like as much as in some other parts of the world.” In his conclusion, to

the AgScience publication, Hickford says there was probably a place for regenerative agriculture. “If it is accepted as a defined system, then that system must be auditable, with clear evidence provided of benefit, be it in food quality, environmental impact or profitability,” he explains. “Wishing your system to be better is not enough, because it must be demonstrably and reliably better.”

culture makes some of this replanting less likely to succeed. Some use of glyphosate in targeted areas helps get native plants successfully established.” • Dr Warren King, of AgResearch Ruakura,

addresses regenerative agriculture’s liking for long-grass grazing systems. He found that while it might increase soil organic matter, biological activity and water retention, it will, among other things, reduce average

forage quality and therefore increase greenhouse gas emissions per unit of animal production. • The magazine is online at https://indd.adobe.com/ view/693a575a-5482-4df0bc4d-f986d3bce648

Professor Dereck Moot has questioned the pasture management claims made about regen ag and says these are not applicable to grazed systems in New Zealand.




Peter Reidie

Gone fishing! LATE LAST year, Farmlands chief executive Peter Reidie announced he’d resigned to take on a new job heading up Sanfords – New Zealand’s largest fishing company. Reidie had at been at the helm of the rural co-operative for five years. “During his five years as CEO of Farmlands, Peter has led the business through very significant change,” chair Rob Hewett said. “Peter’s task when he came on board as chief executive was to complete the merger of two very different rural services co-operatives, not just into one ‘Farmlands’ culture but into a business that could effectively leverage its scale as a rural supplies and advisory company with a true national footprint.”

Hewett added that during his time at the rural co-op, Reidie had initiated major change in the company. “He exited three non-core businesses in real estate, finance and livestock. He led Farmlands’ massive three-year business transformation programme, designed to consolidate all the co-op’s legacy IT systems into one,” Hewett said. “Under his leadership we have also been kept profitable in what has probably been our most challenging year. He leaves Farmlands in a good place, poised to be an increasingly powerful contributor to the success of the New Zealand primary sector.” Hewett says the Farmlands board will work through a replacement for Reidie early in 2021.


MPI IS warning sheep farmers to get up to speed with new animal welfare regulations relating to the docking of sheep which come into force at the end of May. The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Chris Rodwell says although tailing is a common farming practice, it is a significant procedure for the lamb. He says the regulations aim to improve sheep welfare by clarifying how tail-docking should be done, and who can carry it out. There are now new offences and penalties for breaches of these rules. “From May, the

length at which you can dock a sheep’s tail cannot be shorter than the distal end of the caudal fold. This means the tail needs to be long enough to cover the vulva in ewes, and a similar length in rams,” Rodwell explains. “If you dock too short, you can be fined $500, or $1500 for the business. Alternatively, you could face court proceedings for serious offending such as when multiple sheep are involved. Docking of sheep under six months old must be done using a hot iron or rubber ring. If you use anything else, you can be fined $500.” Rodwell says for sheep older than six months, the procedure can only be done by a

veterinarian, using pain relief. Otherwise, farmers could face a criminal conviction and fine of up to $3000, or $15,000 for the business. He says farmers do care about their livestock and want to follow the rules and many will already be meeting these requirements. But Rodwell warns that some will have to make changes to their practices for next year. “These regulations come into effect on 9 May 2021, along with others covering a variety of surgical procedures carried out on a wide range of animals.” More information about the new regulations is on the MPI web site.

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Alliance pays back wage subsidy DAVID ANDERSON

AFTER BEING dogged by claims about its entitlement to the wage subsidy, the country’s largest meat processor will now fully pay it back. Just prior to Christmas, the Alliance Group announced that it “had chosen to return the balance of the wage subsidy to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).” The company had already repaid $21 million of the $34m wage subsidy it claimed during the Covid lockdown and said it will now return the balance. “From the outset, Alliance has been clear we would only use the wage subsidy in the way it was intended by government and our previous re-payments reflect this commitment,” chair Murray Taggart explained.

“Following the filing of our company accounts last month, the Alliance board believes the cooperative is in a position to repay the remaining balance. We acknowledge the support and certainty the Government provided to help us keep many of our people in jobs.” Taggart added that the company had retained $1.9 million for the Leave Support Scheme payment to employees that were required to self-isolate or were unable to work. Alliance had been under pressure to repay the subsidy following the move by rival meat processor Silver Fern Farm to pay it back and had been facing a private prosecution by selfproclaimed professional campaigner Simon Lusk for only returning part of the $34.3 million Covid-19 wage subsidy it claimed.

Alliance chair Murray Taggart says following the company’s annual returns it is now in a position to repay the remaining balance of the wage subsidy.

In September, Lusk sought leave of the court to bring a private prosecution against the South Island meat company’s non-executive directors for Alliance’s “disgraceful” failure to completely repay the wage subsidy. Alliance – along with other meat processors

– was declared as an essential food-producing service and permitted to keep operating during New Zealand’s Marchimposed Covid-19 lockdown. In September, the farmer-owned co-op said it had repaid 50% of the wage subsidy claimed. It has since then paid back

another $4m, leaving it $13m short of what it claimed in total. In November, Alliance announced an underlying profit of $27.4m for the 2019-20. However, adjusted for a one-off historical wage claim of $20 million, its annual profit was only $7.5m before

tax. At the time, Alliance chief executive David Surveyor told Rural News Lusk’s claims were unfounded and show no understanding of the process being run by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). “Alliance Group has

always been open and upfront about the wage subsidy application, which has been widely shared with the public. We have been in ongoing constructive discussions with MSD about the application of the subsidy and stated from the outset that we would return any funds not used to pay people.” Alliance wasn’t the only meat company to claim the wage subsidy. Silver Fern Farms was paid $43.2m and the Anzco Group got $17.3m. Several other smaller meat companies also claimed it. Silver Fern Farms repaid the subsidy in full. Meanwhile, other large meat industry players did not claim the subsidy, including Affco, Greenlea and Hellaby. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews



Drought hits season’s lamb numbers PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

DROUGHT IN the North Island had a significant impact on the number of lambs tailed in the first half of this season. According to Beef+Lamb NZ’s latest economic report, the total number of lambs tailed in the North Island was down 4.8% meaning a decline of 546,000 head to 10.8 million. This is in contrast to the South Island where the total number of lambs increased by 189,000 head, an increase of 1.6%, for a total lamb crop of 12.1 million Overall, the report says total number of lambs produced this season is 357,000 head less than spring 2019. However, despite the problems with the drought, the overall picture is far from gloomy. The actual total lambing percentage for the season was 130.3%, which is just 0.7% lower than last season. The word from industry is that while the number of lambs born was lower, the survival rate was higher than normal. B+LNZ also points out that while the average lambing percentage is slightly lower, 2019 was a high performing season. B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor expects lamb and sheep export volumes to be more significantly impacted by the follow-on impacts of the drought, due to lower animal weights and the retention of sheep for breeding to rebuild stock numbers. “Despite the chal-

lenges of 2020 including drought and Covid-19, sheep farmers demonstrated why they are the world’s best; their resilience and the agility of their farming systems has meant they’ve performed outstandingly and this should be a real point of pride for our sector,” he says The report says that number of lambs available for processing for export markets this year is estimated to decrease by 4.5% to 18.25 million. In the past season, the number of ewes put to the ram remained virtually the same as the previous season. However, it seems that hogget mating was off the agenda for many farmers with the number of lambs born to ewe hoggets down 22% on the 2019 spring. The big drop was on the East Coast of the North Island where the number of lambs born to hoggets was down 53% on 2019. The only region to show an increase in hogget mating was Marlborough/Canterbury and that was just a mere 1.9%. In terms of lamb survival rates, B+LNZ says this was much better in the North Island, and quite good in much of the South Island. However, in contrast to the rest of the country, survival rates in Otago-Southland were poor due to unsettled spring weather. The report by chief economist Andrew Burtt notes that many farmers are concerned about lower farm-gate prices due to global market uncertainty, which is a combination of Brexit and

Read us until the cows come home!


Covid 19 – particularly the logistics of getting product to market. Burtt says farmers are also concerned about low wool prices and the com-

petition of forestry for farmland. He adds that the Government’s Essential Freshwater package is impacting on farmer morale and farmers are

looking for clarity on what’s required of them under the new regulations and some guidance on how to meet these new rules.

BLNZ chief economist Andrew Burt.





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The power of good facilitation “WITHOUT A facilitator, we would just have done that farmer thing and sat round, shuffled our feet and waited for someone else to say something,” says Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) Action Group member Reece Cleland. Cleland, who farms sheep and beef cattle at Springfield in Central Canterbury, is part of an RMPP Action Group focused on members better understanding their farm finances and lifting productivity. The RMPP Action Network model supports small groups of seven to nine farm businesses to work together to explore ideas and share expert resources to help them to make positive changes on-farm. Cleland says that facilitation is the key to the success of the programme and without facilitator Genevieve Steven, the group he is part of would not have experienced the progress it has. “It’s been really good because of Genevieve. She does an excellent job of drawing out everyone’s ideas and making us accountable.” Steven, who works as a rural advisor with KMPG and facilitates four action groups in Canterbury, says making

sure all members’ voices are heard is a key part of her role. “You need to be very organised. Farmers are very busy so ongoing facilitation and contact helps keep them on track. You need to be a good listener, to be able to engage, be confident and comfortable bringing people together and getting them on the same page and heading in the same direction,” she says. “You also need to be able to put yourself out there to get the best outcomes. You do need to hold your members accountable and challenge them to go beyond their norms.” Steven formerly worked for ANZCO and was involved with the RMPP pilot programme for the Action Network. She worked with three groups with ANZCO and was then instrumental in pulling together several new groups after joining KPMG. “From the outset, you have to enable a safe environment for people to share and build trust with other people,” she says. “You are bringing together people who may not necessarily know one another. I deliberately work to get a good mix of ages and experience, to encourage that diversity of thought and sharing.”

“As a facilitator, you have to be passionate about people and actively want to assist them to learn and change,” he explains. “You also need the ability to be impartial. You can’t go in with preconceived outcomes – you have to let it flow.” McLean says facilitators’ work is well supported by the action group model. “RMPP has developed a very good process, you need to trust it, and we are yet to see it B+LNZ IS adopting the action group not work. A lot of extension and adoption model into its what we do is ‘Tell business to help support the delivery of us what you want B+LNZ’s ‘Farming Excellence Strategy’ to know’ and we’ll to ensure all sheep and beef farmers provide the tools pasture and have the opportunity to benefit from the for that learning. crop eaten, success of the RMPP Action Network Pre-work is imporsuccession small group learning approach. As a tant. and back to result, the programme will be supported Meanwhile, basics. beyond the end of RMPP. Cleland says his “A lot experience is that goes into friends in non-facilorganising itated groups are simply share experience and and preparing for each not getting the results his advice. That also means action group day. You action group is experithere aren’t a lot of furneed to prime the farmencing. ther discussions about ers ahead so they know “I was talking to a that during the day, so we what activity they will be friend and he’s in a discan focus on the current doing and what preparacussion group which meeting’s topic.” tion they need to do for doesn’t have a facilitaFraser McKenzie, that meeting,” Manjala director of Oamaru-based tor and they don’t really explains. have any direction. They McKenzie and Co char“For instance, if we go to each other’s places tered accountants and are looking at managing and have a chat and a few business advisors, facilidrenching using faecal beers. I said, ‘You need tates one action group egg counts, then I would to get on to RMPP and and is involved with four ask farmers to bring test get yourself set up as an results that relate to their others facilitated by the Action Group – with a company’s general manfarm so discussion can facilitator.” ager Michelle McLean. be relevant to what they individually need to do when they get back on farm.” He believes the key to making it work is to agree on actions farmers are willing or need to take after the meeting and starting the next meeting by re-visiting how they went. “It’s a sharing session, to discuss any barriers they’ve faced and

Get involved

RMPP Action Network facilitator Genevieve Steven says you have to enable a safe environment for people to share and build trust with others.

North Canterbury sheep and beef farmer George Fox, a member of one of Steven’s other action groups, agrees that having someone to ‘organise’ their group has been critical to its formation and success. “There are nine farm businesses in our group. It would be very hard for us to organise the events,” he explains. “We might be able to arrange a day to meet but Genevieve works to get that extra 20% out of everything we do. She is an awesome facilitator and very good at engaging us all.” AgFirst consultant Tafi Manjala facilitates three action groups in

Northland and says a key role of the facilitator is to bring out of the farmer group. He adds this includes the knowledge, principles, practices and tools to demonstrate what ‘good’ looks like and help motivate farmers to action in their businesses. “Farmers are more motivated to change when they see and hear it from other farmers,” Manjala adds. “A key part of facilitation is having that mix of experience in the group and bringing out those conversations, so they get the most from what other group members or the subject matter expert is sharing.” His groups’ areas of focus include increasing

n ary 2021 e p o s ru ntrie – 5 Feb



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Are they listening? IT will be interesting to see if the Government, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claimed on election night would govern for every New Zealander, will make much needed changes to its freshwater rules after recent feedback. Late last year, the Southland Advisory Group – made up of farmers, industry good organisations, environmental groups and local government in the region – recommended pugging rules and resowing dates be scrapped from the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater. Right from the outset, these rules, especially in a southern NZ setting, were totally impractical. As they are now, the rules require paddocks around the country to be resown by 1 October or 1 November in Otago and Southland. Since day one, government ministers and officials have been told that these rules are completely unrealistic given seasonal variations in rainfall and practically impossible to implement in most years. Meanwhile, an Economic Impact Report on Land and Water Management in the Ashburton District suggests that the new freshwater rules will reduce farm profitability in that region by 83% a year. The report points out that farm expenditure is estimated to decline by $139.9 million per year across the Ashburton district alone – perversely making farmers far less effective managers of their land, which will only negatively impact on water quality. If these figures are extrapolated across the rest of the country the costs in export earnings and tax revenue will be devastating for our economy. Farmers have as much incentive as anyone else to want better water quality. They and their families also want to drink, swim and fish in water that is of the highest quality. However, the rules for achieving this must be practical. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work. Local issues need local solutions. Rather than implementing restrictive sowing dates on winter crops, putting in ridiculous pugging measurements or placing arbitrary rules on what slope a paddock must be, there needs to be flexibility in accommodating seasonal variations in rainfall, climate and other regional factors. The Government must listen to feedback on what are currently unworkable freshwater rules. Recommendations from the Southland Advisory Group have been presented to the Minister for the Environment David Parker and the Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor. Let’s hope they have the good sense to make the necessary changes.


HEAD OFFICE POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 PUBLISHER: Brian Hight ......................................... Ph 09 307 0399 GENERAL MANAGER: Adam Fricker ....................................... Ph 021-842 226 CONSULTING EDITOR: David Anderson .................................. Ph 09 307 0399 davida@ruralnews.co.nz

“Don’t worry girls, I’ll distract him, quick, pass me something red.”

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

THE HOUND Rethink?

Weak and useless!

Good riddance!


YOUR old mate had to laugh at the apparent lack of any intellectual grunt of so-called international ‘independent think-tank’ RethinkX, which produced a report predicting the demise of meat. Its report predicted that in 2019 a total of 10% - and by 2030 a total of 70% - of cattle meat would be replaced by various plant-based alternatives. However, as recently pointed out by Professor Frank Mitloehner, this prediction was somewhat off, with plant-based alternatives in 2020 only making up 0.6% of total meat sales. Meanwhile, the Hound suggests this fanciful claim made on the think-tank’s website: “RethinkX…have been consistently more accurate than mainstream analysts in predicting the speed and scale of technological disruption” may need a serious rethink and rewrite!

Your canine crusader has been concerned for some time about the complete lack of fight put up by the so-called farmerrepresentative bodies on a number of controversial issues – including water reforms. Many view these levy-taking, ‘farmer good’ organisations’ boards and executives as mere Quislings who are more concerned about cuddling up to government and officials than actually sticking up for their levy payers. Rumour has it the chickens will come home to roost next year for this weak leadership when the Government will launch plans for an environmental tax regime as another stick to hit farmers with. Reports say new Revenue (and Environment Minister) David Parker has work well underway of implementing such a regime which could see some farmers facing taxes of between $14,000 and $32,000 annually.

The Hound reckons 2021 is off to a rollicking start with news that professional whinger and anti-farming drone Martin Taylor has departed as head of Fish & Game NZ. Taylor took over as head of the fishing and hunting lobby a couple of years back and did nothing to rid the organisation of its ‘Bitch & Complain’ moniker, with his constant carping (pun intended) about the farming sector. Rumour has it that the powersthat-be at Fish &Game had tried to work with Taylor to garner a more productive working relationship with the agricultural sector, but he was highly resistant to such a move. So, very quietly, at the end of last year, Fish & Game chair Ray Grub announced that Taylor had…“decided to move on” and “wished him well”. In other words, Taylor was given the big DCM (don’t come Monday). How sad, never mind!

Your old mate reckons the nomination of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) management team as a finalists in the 2020 Primary Industry Awards Team of the Year category, shows just how out of touch and hopeless Federated Farmers (who ran the awards) are as an organisation. One could only charitably describe the NZDIA team as a walking disaster last year after the major cock-up it made of the 2020 awards. Remember how NZDIA awarded the 2020 Share Farmers of the Year title last July to Nick Bertram but later controversially stripped him of the title due to inappropriate social media posts made by Bertram concerning the way he treated animals, which the NZDIA knew all about! If Feds believe the NZDIA management team were worthy finalists in the team of the year award, then they couldn’t run a piss-up in a brewery.

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A year of opportunity and challenges! THE YEAR ahead for New Zealand’s primary sector is full of promise and opportunity. Of course, there are challenges and there will be more that haven’t yet been realised. But the very fact that the country is relying on the sector to underpin, enable and drive economic growth means that there will be support. And the goodwill towards the work that the primary sector did during the Covid lockdown is still with us. Internationally we are highly-respected for what we achieved collectively through Covid. New Zealanders listened to the science, obeyed the instructions and achieved a positive result. What applied during Covid reflects our general attitude – when the facts are clear, we comply. This is part of why we are trusted as a food supplier. Our food is safe to eat as well as delicious. It is also what people want for health. AMN and Mintel (consumer trend analysts) released a report at the end of 2020 indicating that half of consumers prefer foods that naturally contain beneficial ingredients. Protein and the omega-3s that are higher in grass-fed than grain-fed meat and milk fit the bill. Almost half of consumers plan to purchase more items related to health and wellness, so grass-fed meat and milk should be high on the shopping list. New Zealand systems are also more efficient in terms of environmental impact (nutrient loss, GHG production and water use) than in other countries – producing more human-accessible protein with a lower footprint. Almond milk cannot compete and nor can lentils! And for those concerned about organic matter and biodiversity, again, New Zealand has the edge. Soils are rich in organic matter and biodiversity is protected in the third of New Zealand that is under Department of Conservation management. It is also in the hundreds of hectares of riparian plantings, wetlands and QEII cove-

Science shows that our food is nutritionally dense before it leaves the farm gate. It shows that the omega-3s are there. It shows that our soils are in a good state and that farmers are managing an everimproving system. COMMENT

Jacqueline Rowarth nanted native forests. The thousands of new native plants cared for by farmers is sometimes overlooked. Biodiversity is part of the New Zealand story, based on science and research, that will assist the marketers sell our products. Science is key. Science shows that our food is nutritionally dense before it leaves the farm gate. It shows that the omega-3s are there. It shows that our soils are in a good state and that farmers are managing an ever-improving system. The research released by Our Land and Water (OLW) National Science Challenge in December showed what has been done. Over the last few decades, land managers have taken action – excluding stock from waterways and implementing new technologies for effluent management and irrigation. The effects are clear in reducing nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways. Planting trees and installing sediment traps has assisted with reducing erosion and intercepting any sediment before it enters waterways. OLW estimates that 30% more sediment would have entered rivers during the two decades 1995 to 2015 if farmers hadn’t changed their practices. More action is required to achieve the goal, and the research that has underpinned the primary sector is vital for the future. Deloitte made this clear pre-Covid in its report “Slice of Heaven – regions of opportunity”. Analysing potential for growth in major sectors, Deloitte pointed out that not all regions are equal, and that investment should be made in areas of natural advantage. NZ’s primary sector has proved its worth and has a worldwide positive

reputation. For people making New Years’ Resolutions

for health and the planet, New Zealand protein can’t be beaten. Add in

mānuka honey, the high antioxidants in blueberries and blackcurrants,

and the vitamin rich kiwifruit, plus the simple deliciousness of other fresh fruits and vegetables and it isn’t surprising that so many people want to return or emigrate to New Zealand. Add in the New Zealand wines and it is clear that the Primary Sector will continue to have a positive future.

Cheers to a successful year ahead. • Dr Jacqueline Rowarth has a PhD in soil science and is an Adjunct Professor at Lincoln University. She is also a farmer-elected director of DairyNZ and Ravensdown. The analysis and conclusions above are her own. jsrowarth@gmail. com

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Cause for optimism in 2021 DAVE HANDLEY

EARLIER IN 2020, we found the primary sector in an optimistic mood, as the NZ economy turned to our food producers to see us through an uncertain time. The BNZ Shift Happens report showed only 58% of primary producers were positive about the opportunities for the future of agribusiness pre Covid-19, compared with 89% during the April lockdown. Much has happened since lockdown. A crystal ball on weather patterns, labour availability and regulatory requirements for 2020 would have saved some sleepless nights, let alone the ensuing trade and market tensions as a result of various governmental responses to Covid-19. However, in general the primary sector was in good shape as we closed out 2020. Product prices were holding up better than they might have over recent months, with both lamb and dairy pricing around their five-year averages, while horticulture was up on 2019 (and more than 10% above average). Low interest rates, and some positive news on Covid-19 vaccines and

associated medium term world growth prospects have no doubt helped. Looking to 2021, cautious optimism may well define the mood as we consider the opportunities for the sector. There are still compliance challenges from environmental regulation, the ever-present weather threat and finding good people, but there are also opportunities: Farm sales market We’re seeing positive movement in farm and orchard sales. Interest from local investors and new entrants, as well as established farmers is helping to buoy the market. Agricultural yields look more attractive for investors as interest rates remain low and banks actively look to support these new opportunities. This is good news for farmers who are considering succession options, exiting the industry or maybe about heading to the beach permanently. Make hay while the sun shines Low interest rates and historically strong commodity prices mean that 2021 is well set-up to deliver cash surpluses, enabling the repayment of debt and further strengthening balance sheets.

Having a clear plan is a great way to get into a strong position, both financially and environmentally. Know your numbers When it comes to environmental management, the same thinking about business strategy applies. 2021 provides an opportunity to ensure your business Dave Handley numbers include not only your financial budget, but also a nutrient budget and ideally an emissions profile. Banks consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when analysing a business’s operations, making lending decisions and assessing risk. Being able to provide evidence of these aspects in business planning and decision making is no longer just a ‘nice to have’. Compliance Compliance related costs are part and parcel of farming. Farmers must have a clear plan, a staged approach and understand what investment their

farm may, or may not, need to achieve compliance while keeping costs manageable. We encourage farmers to consider Good Farm Management Practices and how they relate to their business, what the ESG risks are across their business and what appropriate mitigation options could be. The weather The government has declared a climate emergency and while Mother Nature’s ferocity is nothing new, the droughts, floods and extreme weather events of 2020 will almost certainly continue. For a sector which relies on its ability to grow high quality food, business plans need to have robust contingencies for these events, and a long-term plan for how your business may need to change as the climate does. The rise of sustainable finance With a focus on tackling the “climate emergency” and ensuring business plays its part in delivering a more sustainable economy, the finance

sector will progressively adopt stronger sustainability policies that influence lending and investment decisions throughout 2021. The primary sector presents an opportunity to structure sustainable finance opportunities or link the ESG goals of ambitious farmers, to their cost of borrowings, incentivising them to continually strive for ESG excellence. Supporting farmers to make continuous improvements and excel when it comes to the sustainability of their business and land is essential to the ongoing success and ambitions of the sector. With continued uncertainty for the next 12 months, it pays to be prepared, ambitious and plan ahead. New Zealand’s reputation for safe and natural food remains as strong as ever and as other sectors have struggled with the challenges of Covid-19, our primary sector has stepped into the breach and carried its fair share of the economic load. Not many will tell you in person, but the country thanks you. • Dave Handley is the general manager of agribusiness for the BNZ

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The new programme is said to be the beef industry’s response to increasing demand for high quality food produced with a lower environmental footprint.

Programme to take beef into future Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics is launching a beef programme, which it says is designed to generate more income for beef producers and the economy while also protecting the environment. B+LNZ GENETICS’ general manager Dan Brier says modelling has shown that through this programme farmers can increase the beef industry’s income by $460 million, while improving the environmental and social outcomes for their farms and communities. He says the programme, which builds on previous work by B+LNZ Genetics such as the Beef Progeny Test, is

the industry’s response to increasing demand for high quality food produced with a lower environmental footprint. Brier believes, with the right science and tools, farmers will be able to produce great tasting meat with a good environmental story – while maintaining and improving their production efficiencies. “Our meat companies are already moving in this

direction, with several introducing quality grading systems and working under the Taste Pure Nature initiative to target the ‘conscious foodie’ consumer.” AbacusBio consultant Jason Archer will be providing the science lead on the programme while Matias Kinzurik from B+LNZ Genetics will be the overall manager. The programme incorporates seven areas of

work which start with the development of NZ-centric breeding objectives. Brier says these will be focused on this country’s pasture-based system where cows play a dual role of supporting sheep production while producing a high-quality product. A data measurement and collection system will be developed to collect phenotypic and genotypic data and a new Beef Progeny Test, using Angus, Hereford and Simmental genetics, will identify the performance of the agreed-on traits linking with international beef and dairy beef genetics.

“The Beef Progeny Test will be underway this mating season, having secured a farm and identified bulls to create linkages to international datasets and previous progeny tests. Time is of the essence when dealing with biological systems so we took the opportunity to get started so we have calves on the ground next year.” The fourth area of work is the use of next generation commercial genomic tools to support stud and commercial operations. Commercial farmers, who are performance recording, will be used to ground-truth these tools and provide

broader-based performance data and feedback. Brier says B+LNZ Genetics will use its experience of building a genetic engine for sheep to build a similar engine for beef, combining phenotypic, genotypic and genomic data to calculate breeding values for agreed traits. Ultimately, under the Beef Programme, B+LNZ Genetics plans to extend nProve genetics systems to include stud cattle. This will aim to give commercial users the ability to source the right genetics quickly and easily for their environment and farm system. “The final and argu-

ably most important part of the Beef Programme is industry uptake and we will bring a laser-like focus to this challenge,” Brier adds. “It ensures we are transferring knowledge to commercial farmers and making cutting-edge tools and resources available to the beef industry.” The NZ beef industry is made up of 25,000 farmers and 3.6 million beef cattle. Of these, one million are breeding cows – which combine with the dairy herd to produce 1.4 million animals for processing annually. NZ beef exports total $4.2 billion.


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Mastitis is not contagious SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

MASTITIS EXPERT Steve Cranefield says as long as the basics of mastitis management are followed the risk of one cow spreading mastitis to another cow is quite low. He says some farmers wrongly worry about the term contagious mastitis. “Contagious implies that you have a cold and I am going to get it from you,” he told Rural News. “But mastitis isn’t like that: some bacteria transfer from cow to cow during milking but if farmers have risk factors sorted, like good teat condition, the risk of new infections is low,” he says. Cranefield says farmers shouldn’t worry about transferring mastitis bug on their hands. “We need to stop

thinking that we can’t touch cow’s teats and we can’t strip cows to check for mastitis because of the risk of spreading the disease,” he says. “just keep your hands clean and don’t touch the teat end that’s all” “Because we have this perception that it’s contagious and our interaction of contagious: that it is something bad and we are going to spread it…..that isn’t the case.” Cranefield spoke a Smaller Milk and Supply Herds (SMASH) field day at Tania White’s farm in Te Aroha. White’s farm recorded an average somatic cell count of 31,180 – the second lowest among Fonterra suppliers last season. She was pipped by her parents Graham and Glenys Bell, who farm up the road and

Mastitis expert Steve Cranefield says some farmers wrongly believe mastitis is contagious.

ing period and with our recorded an average SCC testing means we have of 30,050. ●● Clean the teat end, before taking a milk sample or a consistently low cell Cranefield gave the treating the cow count where the milk Bells and Tania a big tick ●● Collect milk sample, run it through Mastatest to know quality is better and we for handling SCC, prothe mastitis bug and best antibiotic treatment or have healthier cows.” duced by a cow to fight submit to lab for culturing bacteria or freeze for later Dr Bert Quin Cranefield says key mastitis. ●● Treat with pain relief (such as KetoMax) to reduce things done by the Bells “They are some of fever or swelling and Tania White is that the best in the country. ●● Treat with antibiotics as per veterinary authorisation they use set cows up well There’s a huge element ●● If the cow is very unwell, see veterinary advice for the next season using of pride involved. They a combination of dry cow know they produce the therapy and teat sealant cleanest milk in the coun- gains and lower vet costs. no secret, it’s just about on cows. doing a good job and “Every time you treat try.” • 89% less P in leachable form than Surephos. All sustained-release P beco “Right from day one paying close attention to cows, it costs you hunCranefield says masthey are focused on masdetail. We love our stock dreds of-dollars. Finan- no Boucraa titis remains the biggest absolutely slimes or manufacturing rock is presen titis. They are collectand want them to be as animal health issue in the cially it stacks up and ing cows in calves twice healthy as possible so we production wise there is dairy industry and farm• Only 11 ppm cadmiumlook (140after mgCd/kg P).asFinea form best coverage. day, sofor freshly calved them as well an element of pride.” ers should take more cows are getting milked we can,” he says. Graham Bell told the pride in tackling mastitis. straight away.” “Getting basics field day that it’s down There are a lot of ben• Excellent value! Waharoa $278the; MaungaTapere $299 ; Dannev right through our hygiene to getting the basics right efits in keeping SCC @rural_news practices, during the calvdown in cows; production every time. “There’s facebook.com/ruralnews


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Perfect conditions for fly and FE WARM WET weather in many areas of the country creates the perfect conditions for the production-limiting diseases flystrike and facial eczema (FE). As well as costing the industry many millions of dollars in lost production and treatments, both issues have significant animal welfare implications and cause farmers a lot of work and worry on top of what is an already busy time of the year. The blowfly species that affect sheep are the Australian green blowfly, the European green blowfly, the Brown blowfly and the Hairy maggot blowfly. Each has a slightly different seasonal pattern, but all are most active over December, January and February. Treatments are based on different chemicals. However, to avoid resistance occurring, it is recommended that farmers only use chemicals they know to be effective and alternate chemicals if sheep are being treated more than once in one season.

By keeping a record of flystrike, farmers will be able to identify farm hot-spots, where the incidence of flystrike is higher. These areas can then be avoided when fly pressure is high in favour of windy, more exposed paddocks. Preventative treatments can also be tailored to match the seasonal behaviour of the most problematic species of blowflies in a particular area. It is recommended that a different chemical is used to treat an active lesion to the ones used for prevention. By keeping a record of flystrike, farmers will be able to identify farm hot-spots, where the incidence of flystrike is higher. These areas can then be avoided when fly pressure is high in favour of windy, more exposed paddocks. Specialist crops that are high in tannins can reduce dags and therefore the risk of flystrike. Genetics can also play a

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part by selecting sheep that are not as susceptible to dags. Strike flies will only affect carcasses up to three days after death, so burying dead sheep as quickly as possible is also a useful mitigation tool. Meanwhile, facial eczema is a seasonal scourge caused by the spores of the fungus Pithomyces chartarum which grows on litter at the base of pasture. The spores release a toxin which can damage the liver and bile ducts. In some cases, the bile ducts may become partly or completely blocked. The liver damage results in photosensitivity and sunburn which are the clinical signs of the disease.

The fungus is ubiquitous, but when temperature and moisture levels are high, the fungus grows rapidly, releasing huge numbers of toxic spores. For every animal with clinical signs of FE – which are obvious skin lesions – there will be many more with sub-clinical disease, which is the invisible on-going liver damage that can cause major productivity losses, especially at mating, lambing and calving. Spore counts (included in the B+LNZ e.Diary but also available on a number of vet and farm service websites) will alert farmers to high-risk periods in their regions. On-farm spore counts will give farmers a measure of the risk on their individual properties. Management strategies such as lax grazing – to avoid the toxic spores concentrated at the base of the sward – or the use of summer forage crops such as chicory can then be implemented to help mitigate the risk of FE. Zinc is an

Warm, wet weather in many areas of the country creates the perfect conditions for flystrike and facial eczema.

effective treatment and can be delivered via regular drenching or rumen bolus. Again, record keeping will help farmers identify the farm’s hotspots which can be avoided during high-risk periods. For sheep, genetic tolerance offers the best long-term protection against the disease and many breeders have been testing rams for many years now. When selecting rams, commercial farmers (who want to include FE tolerance in their trait selection) should ask their breeder how long they have been testing rams, the level they are testing at, the number of rams they test every year and ask to see the Ramguard certificates. (Ramguard is

B+LNZ has a number of resources covering Flystrike and Facial Eczema on its Knowledge Hub.

the AgResearch-managed organisation that carries out the FE tolerance testing.)


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New MF 5S series arrives MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

JUST before Christmas, Massey Ferguson quietly released details of the successor to its popular MF 5700S range in the shape of the new 5S Series. Sharing the same colour schemes and styling of the recently introduced 8S range, with its compact dimensions and a 2550mm wheelbase, the 5S Series is ideally suited to livestock or mixed framing operations. The 5S range consists of five models from 105 to 145hp, dubbed 5S.105, 5S.115, 5S.125, 5S.135 and 5S.145. Each number indicates the maximum power output, which is available at all times, without a power boost function. Meanwhile, maximum torque outputs range from 440 to 550Nm. Offered with three levels of specification – Essential, Efficient and Exclusive – as Rural News goes to press, final specs are still to be confirmed for the NZ market. Power is provided by a four-cylinder, 4.4 litre AGCO Power engine, that in turn is mated with a 16x16

Dyna-4 or 24x24, Dyna-6, semi-powershift transmission. Exclusive and Efficient variants include an AutoDrive function that takes care of automated powershift changes during fieldwork or range changes during transport operations. Featuring a redesigned rear linkage, now rated at 5.7 tonnes capacity, hydraulic systems range from 58 litres/min in the Essential model up to 110l/min – and up to 8 remotes – in the Exclusive version. Also new is a redesigned suspended front axle option said to deliver a super-tight, 4-metre turning radius. In the cabin, the Exclusive and Efficient versions feature the same armrest control as the 8S models. While Exclusive also gets the Datatronic 5, Isobus compatible touchscreen layout. All models benefit from an improved ventilation system with better cooling airflow and demisting functions. A factory source has told Rural News that the MF 5700s Series production will cease at the end of March 2021, with the new 5S range commencing soon after.

Massey Ferguson’s new 5S Series is said to be ideally suited to livestock or mixed framing operations.


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Green machine frugal on fuel MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

GOOD GROWTH YEAR FOR CLAAS WHILE MANY sectors of the agricultural machinery were hit by the ravages of Covid-19, the effects of the pandemic did not prevent the privatelyowned Claas Group from enjoying a 3.7% increase in sales during 2020 The year also saw the company for the first time top €4.0 billion turnover. While sales in its home country of Germany and the rest of Western Europe remained stable, the company reports these grew significantly in Eastern Europe – especially Russia. At 20%, the company also achieved its strongest growth in sales outside of Europe, with North America proving to be the most important growth driver. Meanwhile, Claas says it also implemented several important investment projects as planned during the year, including new production technologies at the Le Mans tractor plant to increase efficiency. At Harsewinkel, the first phase of a modernisation project for combine harvester assembly was completed. Meanwhile, new sales centres in France and the UK were opened, alongside a new high-bay warehouse at the global parts distribution facility at Hamm in Germany. Capital investments in fixed assets for 2020 was €131m (2019: €125m), and R&D expenditure continued at a high level of €237m (2019: €244m). Despite the pandemic, global employee numbers remained stable at around 11,400 people. – Mark Daniel

agement (IPM), alongside a maximum permissible weight that allows a 5.7t payload. Both tractors undertook PowerMix test at the

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ACCORDING TO the industry respected independent DLG PowerMix test, John Deere appears to be the best choice of tractor for transport applications with its new 7R330 model. Having already achieved a best ever DLG PowerMix transport test result in 2018 with the 6250R, and still holding that record, the new 7R330 – with a new Stage V engine – has set the benchmark for all tractors rated at 250hp or more. Delivering a combined fuel consumption of only 375g/kWh diesel and 17g/kWh DEF, the tractor delivered an 8g/kWh diesel plus 28g/

kWh DEF advantage over the next best competitor in this horsepower class. Depending on local fuel and DEF pricing, the result is said to equate to hourly savings of 1.5 to more than 2 Euros in transport applications. Launched at Agritechnica 2019, the 7R330 tractor delivers a maximum power rating of 373hp with IPM and an advantageous power to weight ratio of only 30kg/hp. This has a further positive impact on performance, acceleration and fuel consumption. Available since 2017, the 6R Series flagship 6250R tractor provides up to 300hp – thanks to an engine boost of 50hp with intelligent power man-


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App takes pressure off

SNIPPETS New head honcho at JD A&NZ

JOHN DEERE has appointed Luke Chandler as managing director for Australia and New Zealand. A 25-year industry veteran, Chandler takes over from current incumbent Peter Wanckel. “I’m looking forward to meeting customers and dealers around New Zealand and Australia to get a better understanding of the problems we need to solve,” Chandler says. “I’m also keen to partner with industry bodies and organisations to drive changes that are profitable, productive and sustainable.”

MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

TRS TYRE & Wheel, owned by Trelleborg Wheel Systems, has introduced the TLC Plus App to the New Zealand market. The new app is an advanced, sensor-based check system, which measures potential differences between the optimal and the actual tyre inflation pressure, then relays this information via wireless connectivity to the farmer’s mobile device or PC. Adopting the right pressure can help reduce variable costs by over 20%, with optimal tyre pressures reducing fuel consumption, while increasing traction power and promoting better crop yields. While the standard functionalities of the TLC

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permit the precise calculation of the appropriate pressure for any application, the new app’s premium functionalities check whether the machine fleet is set with the optimal tyre pressure

and recommend adjustments where and when needed. This is delivered via a TLC Plus KIT, which integrates the app with TMPS sensors mounted on the tyre valves, which in turn transmit data to mobile devices. Cloud technology, per-

mits the management of tractor fleets remotely, allowing farmers to assess machines are operating at the optimum with pressure from their office. This configuration ensures maximum safety and efficiency for operations on larger farms or for contractors, who

operate with large fleets of machines. As part of the NZ launch, TRS are offering a free TLC plus system with purchases of a set of Trelleborg radial tractor tyres during the month of February. www.trstyreandwheel. co.nz.

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NEW HOLLAND Agriculture is celebrating the milestone of producing 30,000 large square balers since entering the segment back in 1987. Built at the Zedelgen factory in Belgium, the special liveried BigBaler 1290 Plus machine is part of an extensive range. Over time, this has seen the introduction of new technology like double knotting for bale security, electronic proportional density control and the first 80 x 90cm format. In particular, the BigBaler Plus models have been used to introduce the likes of Smartfill sensors for uniform bale formation and IntelliCruise to automatically control the tractors towing speed to deliver increased productivity.

Japanese, Turkish and Indian

THE TURKISH Division of Japanese manufacturer Yanmar has completed the purchase of the Solis tractor company in Izmir from current owners International Tractor Ltd (ITL). ITL is part of the Indian Sonalika Group that already has ties to Yanmar dating back to 2005. The Turkish plant currently produces a range of Sonalika powered, four-cylinder tractors up to 90hp that will continue and be marketed under the Solis brand.

Cummins fuel cell facility

IN A sign of the times, a diesel engine specialist Cummins has announced it will open a new facility in Herten, Germany. It will initially focus on the assembly of fuel cell systems for Alstom hydrogen trains. Anticipated to open in July 2021, the facility will create new jobs in Herten in the clean technology sector. Cummins has a strong presence in Europe, with seven manufacturing sites, 20 distribution sites, 300+ dealers and 6700 employees. The company already has alternative power facilities located in the UK, Belgium and Germany.


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Profile for Rural News Group

Rural News 12 January 2021  

Rural News 12 January 2021

Rural News 12 January 2021  

Rural News 12 January 2021