Page 1



Maori seek more leadership in kiwifruit sector. PAGE 10-11

New models mark seventh decade. PAGE 28

AGRIBUSINESS Young banker walks the farming talk. PAGE 17



Strong voice needed DAVID ANDERSON

NORTH OTAGO farmer Jane Smith believes continual appeasement to government by industry-good bodies is not serving the sector well and it’s time for a mega-merger of primary sector advocacy groups. She told Rural News a ‘come to Jesus moment’ is urgently needed with DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ and Federated Farmers combining into one strong, coherent farm sector group. Smith cites the recent performances of both Beef+Lamb NZ and DairyNZ over the reforms to freshwater regulations and proposed greenhouse gas rules as leaving farmer levypayers dismayed, disappointed and feeling abandoned by their representatives.

Smith acknowledges the increasingly unpalatable ‘low or no’ consultation processes in the current political environment, but sees this as a catalyst to ensure one united front for primary industry advocacy is formulated, rather than an excuse for poor outcomes. She says this has opened the door for movements like Groundswell NZ to fill the gap. She believes that movements such as Groundswell shouldn’t be seen as threatening to industry advocacy bodies, but as an opportunity for all stakeholders to air grassroots concerns and has seen first-hand opportunities presented at meetings.

That takes the cheese! Moves by the European Commission to grant exclusive use of the term ‘halloumi’ to Cyprus cheesemakers is raising concerns for New Zealand cheesemakers. Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) executive director Kimberly Crewther says an EU claw back and monopolisation of generic cheese names will limit both domestic cheese production and opportunities to further grow the value of New Zealand’s $2 billion cheese exports. See full story page 4.

“I found it enlightening to see farmers, councillors, mayors, rural servicing reps, politicians and the Rural Support Trust having the opportunity to be in the one room at the same time and chew the fat on issues at a grassroots level,” Smith told Rural News. She says the ideal journey would have been to have this dialogue long before the National Policy Statements on freshwater, biodiversity and carbon were formulated. Smith cites the delay in Wintering Rules as an example of this and congratulates the working group tasked with looking at these regulations

closer. “However, if it weren’t for two farmers standing up [Federated Farmers leaders, Geoffrey Young and Bernadette Hunt] and saying ‘enough is enough’ then the working group would have never been formed. It shouldn’t take individuals to go out on a limb to get action,” says Smith. “As an industry, we need to be crystal clear on a line of sight for both the environment and the economy and the vast difference between pragmatic policy and misaligned, misinformed, mediocre outcomes”. Farmer angst – page 6

RURAL HEALTH IS SICK PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

RURAL PEOPLE are underserviced by the current health model, according to Dr Fiona DoolanNoble from the Department of General Practice and Rural Health at Otago University. Doolan-Noble is a nurse with a PhD and who specialises in rural health issues says the focus of the reforms is really good for rural – given the large number of people who work outside urban areas. “Rural communities are the backbone of NZ,” she told Rural News. “More than 700,000 people live rurally so that makes rural NZ the second biggest city in the country and I hope going forward that they are not forgotten.” Doolan-Noble says the approach of the Government’s reforms is hard to argue with, but like others who have a vested interest in the reforms, she says the detail and who sits around the table in a given locality will ultimately shape the outcome for communities. She adds that one of the issues to be addressed is that of dental care. She says this is a significant problem in areas such as the West Coast of the South Island. Doolan-Noble Mental says the changes will take time and the proof will be in the detail. • See more on health reforms page 5


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021



VGL receivership causes dismay SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

NEWS��������������������������������������1-15 AGRIBUSINESS���������������� 17-19 HOUND, EDNA���������������������� 20 CONTACTS����������������������������� 20 OPINION��������������������������� 20-22 MANAGEMENT�������������� 24-25 ANIMAL HEALTH������������26-27 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS���������������������� 28-30 RURAL TRADER�������������� 30-31

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

CANTERBURY FARMER and former Federated Farmers dairy leader Willy Leferink says farmers shouldn’t let banks run their businesses. His comments come in the wake of one of New Zealand’s largest dairy farm operators falling into receivership. With the milk payout at near-record levels and low interest rates, the collapse of Van Leeuwen Group (VLG) has caused dismay among farmers. Leferink points out that VLG encountered difficult days after the outbreak of M. bovis in 2017 when the payout wasn’t as high. He told Rural News that he’d heard an Australian finance company had put Van Leeuwen Group into receivership. “We think of banks as our friends. Now I’m not saying they are our enemies, because I owe lots of money to the bank and they are a good tool,” Leferink told Rural News. “But we’ve got to run our own businesses. Once we let the banks run our businesses, we are in their hands.”

VLG owners Aad and Wilma van Leeuwen.

On April 21, Calibre Partners wrote to VLG creditors saying it had been appointed receivers by Merricks Capital VLG Fund. In a letter to suppliers on the same day, receivers Brendon Gibson, Neale Jackson and Natalie Burrett, said they are now in control of the assets of businesses of VLG. They intend to continue running the business, which comprises 10 dairy

platforms and four support blocks with 8,000ha under management, milking approximately 10,000 cows. It also includes the world’s largest robotic farm. Owned by Aad and Wilma van Leeuwen, the business was among a number of other farms around New Zealand affected by Mycoplasma bovis, which hit the VLG farms in July 2017. The van Leeuwens were also

embroiled in a legal battle with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in a dispute about compensation. They have already been paid out $6.3 million by MPI, but sought further compensation for professional consultancy fees, bank charges and assorted other costs. In late 2019, VLG refinanced its operations under a $140 million deal with Australian-based funds manager Merricks Capital, its first foray into the NZ agricultural market. Merricks described its entry into New Zealand as an opportunity for New Zealand businesses. “In an agricultural industry that is starved of capital, we provide a flexible, agile, alternative lending option for customers in New Zealand. We are here to fill the void left by banks to ensure that the New Zealand market has access to the capital it needs to thrive,” the statement said. In February this year, Merricks announced that a related entity had loaned $12.7 million to Happy Valley Nutrition, the company behind a new $280m milk processing plant in Otorohanga.

$8 payout predicted for 20-21 AT LEAST one bank is forecasting an $8 opening forecast farmgate milk price for the next season. Dairy prices are holding most of their gains from earlier in the year and remain remarkably high, a good omen for the coming season. Westpac senior agri economist Nathan Penny is forecasting an $8/ kgMS opening forecast and ASB has boosted its opening forecast by 20c to $7.50/kgMS. Penny now expects dairy prices to

start the 2021-22 season firmly on the front foot. Penny points out that in milk price terms, the last GDT auction and NZ dollar rate equated to a milk price of over $9/kgMS. Since March, Westpac has lowered its NZD/USD forecasts by around two cents over the season, adding further upward impetus to milk price forecasts in NZ dollar terms. “From the stronger starting point, we have built in a moderation of

global dairy prices over the New Zealand dairy season. “Specifically, we forecast for whole milk powder prices (WMP) to fall by 18% over the season. In other words, we have built in a supply response to the higher milk price.” Another factor that could keep milk prices high is a very modest supply response to the high milk price by historical standards. “As such we expect that dairy prices will remain stronger for

longer,” says Penny. He notes that in New Zealand, dairy supply is constrained for a range of reasons, including environmental constraints, limits on cow numbers, limits on fertiliser usage and higher compliance costs. “As a result, we expect modest production growth next season of 2%.” On the demand side, Penny expects robust demand to continue. – Sudesh Kissun

Why are we sorting our waterways? For these little rugrats From fencing off waterways to riparian planting, we’re cleaning up our waterways. Why? Because we’re dairy farmers, and we rise to a challenge. And it’s in these moments we shine.


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


EU move cheeses off NZ producers “What next? If European producers have their way, we won’t be able to produce ‘squeaky’ or ‘white’ cheese anymore.  The effect on cheese making in New Zealand would be chilling.”

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

MOVES BY the European Commission to grant exclusive use of the term ‘halloumi’ to Cyprus cheesemakers is raising concerns among the New Zealand cheesemaking community. But Fonterra says the decision doesn’t affect sales of its product in New Zealand and in markets outside the EU. A Fonterra spokeswoman told Rural News that the registration of halloumi as a protected term is “a EU decision that impacts sales of halloumi only in the EU market”.  “It does not impact sales in the New Zealand market, where we cur-

A move by the EU to grant exclusive use of the term ‘halloumi’ to Cyprus cheesemakers is raising concerns among the New Zealand cheesemakers.

rently sell Mainland halloumi, or our exports to any markets outside of the EU,” she says. An EU statement says the registration aims at protecting the name halloumi against misuse “by exclusively authorising the marketing the cheese in the EU if it was produced on the island

according to the traditional recipe”. “The registration allows producers of this iconic Cypriot cheese, famous around the world for its characteristic texture, folded appearance, and suitability for serving grilled or pan-fried, based anywhere on the island of Cyprus to benefit from

the PDO status,” the statement explained. But New Zealand’s cheesemaking community is concerned that the European Union is continuing to protect cheese terms that are generic and in common use around the world.  “Halloumi is a popular cheese for New Zealand

consumers, with a thriving and innovative community of New Zealand cheesemakers delivering this delicious product to New Zealand tables,” says Neil Willman, president of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association. “We are concerned at Europe’s continuing campaign to restrict the

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pean producers have their way, we won’t be able to produce ‘squeaky’ or ‘white’ cheese anymore. The effect on cheese making in New Zealand would be chilling.” Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) executive director Kimberly Crewther says an EU clawback and monopolisation of generic cheese names will limit both domestic cheese production and opportunities to further grow the value of New Zealand’s $2 billion cheese exports. She claims the EU GIs agenda aims to limit the flexibility for New Zealand cheese exporters to participate in these new opportunities.  “Maintaining maximum flexibility in terms of products and markets is important to the New Zealand dairy industry.  The opportunity costs of narrowing trade options are always high,” says Crewther.  DCANZ is also concerned about the lack of balance between what Europe is asking of New Zealand and what it is prepared to put on the table itself.  In 2020, reports suggested that the EU’s market access offer to New Zealand equated to just 0.02% of its nearly nine million tonne cheese market. 

use of common names in international cheesemaking, at the expense of producers outside of Europe.” He says in places like New Zealand cheeses such as feta, gruyere, havarti and halloumi are commonly consumed and considered generic. The EU is using an intellectual property rights system, called ‘Geographical Indications’ (GIs) to limit the use of food names to European producer groups, arguing the food’s characteristics are unique to where and how it has been produced.  The move to register halloumi follows quickly behind the recent registrations of cheeses like havarti, despite significant global production outside of the EU.  At the same time the EU is requesting changes to New Zealand’s regulatory settings to adopt a sweeping new intellectual property framework to protect its GIs through the ongoing EU-NZ free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.  A recent decision in the European Courts that extends GIs protection to include food characteristics such as textures and colours suggests the EU has an even bigger agenda, says Willman.  “What next?  If Euro-

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Health reforms get cautious nod Davidson says that the creation of a new Māori Health Authority will provide much needed support to rural Māori communities and involve them in decision making, design and commissioning of any new delivery structure. However, Davidson believes these changes are medium to long term in terms of potential impact and he’s concerned they could cause a major dis-

PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

RURAL MEDICAL professionals, and those with an interest in rural health, have generally welcomed the Government’s move to reform the sector. However, they say ultimately the detail will be the biggest factor for them. The thrust of the reforms is to go back to a centralised system, which includes replacing the DHBs (District Health Boards) with one organisation, Health NZ, setting up a new Public Health Agency and a new Māori Health Authority. Health Minister Andrew Little claims the aim of the changes to is to put greater emphasis on primary healthcare and ensure fairer access for all New Zealanders. “We are going to put the emphasis squarely on primary and community healthcare and will do away with duplication and unnecessary bureaucracy between regions, so that our health workers can do what they do best – keep people well,” he says. NZ Rural General Practice Network chief executive Dr Grant Davidson says they welcome the focus on improved primary and community healthcare and a simplified national structure to ensure fairer

“This was acknowledged in the Health and Disability System Review, along with recommendations that major change was needed. We wel-

come the approach of a national plan that will meet health needs of people no matter where they are, including a digital strategy to assist this.”

RURAL WOMEN SPEAK OUT DR GRANT Davidson’s view is echoed by Rural Women NZ (RWNZ), which says that while they are not averse to having a national health service, it looks forward to seeing the detail. National president of Rural Women Gill Naylor says they want to be sure that by abolishing DHBs, the kind of treatment people get will no longer be determined by where they live. “RWNZ expects to see a rural health and wellbeing strategy which is fully resourced and funded to ensure rural post codes aren’t in the losing lottery,” she told Rural News. “It is our expecta-

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tion that the detail will also include a solid mechanism for including the voice of rural women, children and communities in decision-making by the new national health service. At the very least, there should be both a rural and gender impact analysis done on the affects of a national health service, before too much further work is done, to test if there will be any adverse impact on rural communities and women and girls in particular.” Naylor says RWNZ is looking forward to seeing the detail and hoping that rural women and children will not lose out on the health services.

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people and communities as a priority population. He says the ability for the proposed major system changes to have positive impact on rural communities will now be in the detail of implementation. “Our concern is that without rural being identified alongside Māori, Pasifika and disabled people as priority populations, our voice risks being lost in those implementation discussions.”


NZ Rural General Practice Network chief executive Dr Grant Davidson says the current health system is not servicing people in rural communities.

access to healthcare for New Zealanders. “Our current health system is not servicing people in rural communities,” he told Rural News.

traction from the current crisis in workforce and funding that exists throughout rural New Zealand. “The workforce is stressed, burnt out, and under-capacity. “We need action to deal with that now until these changes come into effect,” he says. The one reservation Davidson has about the changes is in the lack of specific reference to rural

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Groundswell of farmer angst DAVID ANDERSON

ENVIRONMENTALIST AND North Otago farmer Jane Smith says her alliance with Groundswell NZ and the Rural Advocacy Network during a recent South Island tour is not some type of underground gangster movement. “This couldn’t be further from the truth,” Smith told Rural News. “I fully support these groups and what they stand for. They are quite simply ensuring that farmers, councils and rural communities have full, unsanitised narratives on all matters that will affect both them and future generations”. Smith, along with the Rural Advocacy Network’s Jamie McFadden, were the key speak-

Outspoken North Otago farmer Jane Smith believes farmers, councils and rural communities are very worried about proposed regulations changes.

ers at a recent round of Groundswell-hosted public meetings. “There are no hidden agendas here, in fact, quite the opposite,” she says.

tables, boundary fences and country halls up and down the country.” Smith says farmers, councils and rural communities are worried about proposed regula-

“Groundswell is not spending time in Wellington reshuffling the appeasement deckchairs. These issues come straight from discussions around kitchen

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tions changes – such as the new freshwater and greenhouse gas rules. “In many cases, they are more concerned about what they don’t know,” she adds. “Farmers are owed the respect of ensuring that the representation they have on these issues is fit-for-purpose and reflects genuine long term win - win outcomes for both the environment and rural communities.” Smith points to the confusion between the Government-developed farm environment plan (FEP) verses a genuine farmer-driven plan, along with the gross misunderstanding of the magnitude of a Significant Natural Area policy as the rationale for her to support these farmer-led groups in speaking out. “Both of these issues should be top of mind for all primary sector play-

ers. A Crown-generated, generic template served with a $50 million sweetener is RMA driven, not market-led and will be admin heavy and innovation light” she told Rural News. “Anything driven and audited by the Crown can be sought as public information and will never encourage a catchment-wide collaborative approach that is already working so well.” Smith says claims that these farm plans are an alternative to resource consents is bending the truth. “By any other name, these will simply be a lengthy form of resource consent. “There are a myriad of fit for purpose farm environment plan templates already being utilised that actually result in farmer pride and better outcomes.” Meanwhile, Smith describes the Significant Natural Area (SNA) issue as “the most pressing issue for farmers and district councils to understand the implications of immediately”. She believes this makes the proposed water and carbon regulations look like child’s-play and should be keeping every landowner and district councillor awake at night. “It will impose impossible burdens on district councils, severe restrictions on land use, weed and pest control issues beyond any landowner’s



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capability and have implications for farmer equity and land value”. She says, as an environmentalist, the thing that makes her sad – similar to the generic freshwater and wintering regulations – is that this SNA policy is poorly thought out. “It is a sledgehammer to do the job of a scalpel and will not lead to better environmental outcomes. It detracts from the global-leading intergenerational template that the QE II trust has in place – covenants that secure land stewardship in perpetuity, without putting at risk the viability of farming surrounding land.” Smith reckons rural banks should also be right at the forefront on this issue. “Forget the feel-good environmental loans – this policy has the capability to make many farmers insolvent”. Smith believes that the wealth of information that Groundswell and Rural Advocacy Network’s Jamie McFadden has aired is important – not to heighten fears, but instead to give clarity. “The ability to shoot from the hip and expose issues for what they are is a crucial asset to the industry at this point in time” She says heightening awareness, working as one and coming up with concise plans of action is what farmers are looking for.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Making wool great again NIGEL MALTHUS

IN A world where a vast range of everyday items are made of injectionmoulded plastic, Christchurch inventor Logan Williams wants to put New Zealand wool in “pretty much everything.” Williams, who’s already had several successful inventions to his name, joined New Zealand Merino as its director of technology and innovation in late 2019. His brief is to find new markets for wool, especially low-value coarse wools. He has now developed a process to combine wool fibres with various polymers for use in injection-moulding manufacturing. NZ Merino has launched a subsidiary

Logan Williams has come up with a way to use NZ wool as the fibre reinforcing in a range of injection-moulding polymers. SUPPLIED/NZ Merino

company, Keravos, with a purpose-built full-scale plant in Hamilton producing the wool-polymer mix in the form of small pellets. This is the standard form of raw material for injectionmould manufacturing around the world. It has

a capacity of four tonnes a day. Williams says it will put wool into industries where it was never thought possible. “So now you can have a woollen catamaran or a woollen kayak or a woollen cooler bin,”

he told Rural News. Keravos is partnering with 17 companies so far to produce a range of items. The pellets can also be converted into 3D-printing filaments for an even wider potential market.


Named in the Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30” list for 2020, Williams has previously developed a method of producing biodegradable materials from didymo, polarized contact lenses for people with photosensitive epilepsy, a medical nebulizer and a methane-handling system taken up by Fonterra. Williams is scheduled to speak on the wool/polymer development at a major agribusiness event, E Tipu 2021: The Boma NZ Agri Summit, to be held in Christchurch next week. Though not giving too much away, he is promising to have a major new wool-polymer product on display at the event. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

$5/KG FOR PIECES! THE COMPANY has also developed a biodegradable version by using a corn-starch derivative as the polymer component. However, Williams says wool could be mixed with whatever polymer a customer wants. “We can pretty much mix it with any polymer on the planet.” Williams says extensive independent testing has shown that the wool mix is about 20% stronger in both impact and tensile strength and between 10% to 30% lighter than polymer alone. If it’s biodegradable, it will biodegrade faster with wool in it. It also has what he calls a “very cool” veneer. The product is about 20% wool on weight but 70% on volume. “Wool’s quite light so that 20% weight sounds like nothing,” he explains. “But when you’re looking at the product and looking what’s going in, it’s actually a huge amount of wool.” The product was developed primarily in search of a way to use coarse wool, which otherwise has a very low value, and pay a good price for it. “Our aim is to try and make it profitable and not just like scraping the barrel. It’s actually making a decent profit from wool.” Williams says they could use any type of wool. “Ideally we take the cheapest wool off the farmer because we’re fixing the price at $3/kg for the first two years and $5/kg after that. And we take any type of wool – so dags, bellies, side pieces,” he told Rural News.



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Aussies expect to cash in on NZ’s loss SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

AUSTRALIAN LIVESTOCK exporters are optimistic of securing more business as New Zealand winds down its trade over the next two years. Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) chief executive Mark Harvey-Sutton told Rural News that while it’s a bit simplistic to expect NZ’s $500m business to land on their laps, they will see some growth. Harvey-Sutton says livestock exporting is a very competitive business; Australia and NZ competes with South American countries. He says demand for livestock, especially from China, remains very high. Last month, the NZ Government announced a ban on live cattle exports,


Beef cattle – A$1.35 billion Dairy cattle- A$170m Sheep- A$250m Goats – A$10m

with a two-year period to phase out the trade. Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor claimed, while the trade had benefits for some farmers, it was not universally supported in the industry. O’Connor did not expect a direct hit to the GDP as a result of halting the trade. “Those animals will stay here in New Zealand and our reputation is to be the most ethical producers of livestock protein in the world is something we are working to build value from.

I think this will actually play positively into our international reputation,” he claims. In its review submission, the independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

(NAWAC), which advises ministers on animal welfare issues, advised that the practice should stop. Harvey-Sutton was surprised by the NZ decision and says it will be hard on farmers involved

in livestock exports. “This is understandably disappointing news, particularly for New Zealand producers that rely on the trade for competition in their livestock markets as well as their

international trading partners,” he told Rural News. Australia’s beef cattle exports are worth A$1.35 billion annually; dairy cattle exports are worth about A$170 million. Economic modelling has found that Australian livestock exports generate about 10,000 jobs across Australia. A cessation of the trade would impose a net cost of about $300 million annually on Australian livestock producers. Australia also exports cattle for slaughter and feedlots and exporters are constantly under attack from animal rights groups over animal welfare issues. But Harvey-Sutton says Australia has an Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) that ensures livestock exported for feeder and slaughter pur-

poses are handled in accordance with international animal welfare standards. It also provides a mechanism to deal with animal welfare issues when they occur—preventing the need for trade suspensions. “It is important to note that the Australian and New Zealand industries are very different in terms of their scale, market dynamics, and regulatory processes,” says Harvey-Sutton. He says there is no plan to curtail Australian livestock export trade. “We have full confidence in the standards the Australian industry upholds and expect the impacts of the New Zealand decision to have limited bearing on the strength of the Australian industry and its continuing growth.”



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021




Horizons Regional Council chair Rachel Keedwell.

Certainty on the ‘Horizons’? PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

AFTER MORE than a decade of at times acrimonious wrangling, it seems that peace is breaking out on how to manage the environment in the Manawatu, Whanganui and Rangitikei districts. The infamous One Plan – proposed by Horizons Regional Council – that caused farmers in the region so much angst seems at an end with all parties agreeing to what is called Plan Change 2. The plan is designed to set out how natural resources in the region should be managed. When first proposed, it was seen as an omnibus plan that would bring all those interested in environmental issues together – instead, it provoked row after row and court hearings. However, a couple of weeks ago, the council signed off on changes to One Plan proposed by a panel of experts. HRC chair Rachel Keedwell says this will enable them to return to effective regulation of existing farm land uses through One Plan as soon as possible. “Council’s focus is to now turn to implementation of the Plan Change and to continue to improve water quality throughout the region,” she says Keedwell says the council acknowledges that this Plan Change process has created uncertainty and stress for landowners, and that their decision is an interim measure with more work needed in this area. “This includes notifying a revised One Plan by 2024,” she says. As part of the process, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers jointly submitted on the plan and both say they are pleased at the outcome. Feds president and Manawatu dairy farmer Andrew Hoggard, who has been involved in discussions on One plan for more than decade, says the outcome gives some certainty for farmers who have been in limbo. He says Plan Change 2 is an interim measure, intended to address the

pressing issue about the One Plan’s workability, while a more fundamental, regionwide work programme is completed to give effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020. “The council’s decision will provide a pathway for consent for intensive farming land uses located in 32 Targeted Catchments, effectively opening the door to farmers shut out from gaining consent as a result of 2017 Environment Court declarations,” says Hoggard. “We are pleased to see council and commissioners have endorsed our approach, moving away from using LUC [Land Use Capability] as a tool for nitrogen allocation. “The decision also provides for a controlled activity pathway for farms that make a considerable 20% reduction in nitrogen loss based on actual farm baselines (with those in the top 25% having to reduce to the 75th percentile for N leaching),” says Hoggard. The new plan change decision will benefit dairy farmers, the environment and local communities, according to DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader, Dr David Burger. He says version changes to Overseer had unintentionally made it extremely difficult for some farmers in the region to gain consent to continue farming. “Both pathways will now be available for these farmers to seek consent, while looking after the environment. The first consent pathway put forward by the council is for farmers to achieve a series of nitrogen loss targets – these vary based on land use capability class of the farm. The second option put forward by DairyNZ and Feds provides a pathway for farms to make a minimum 20% reduction in nitrogen losses from their previous farm baseline numbers,” he says. Burger says the evidence from both organisations showed the new consent pathway provided balanced environmental and economic benefits.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Maori seek more leadership in kiwifruit sector PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

ANARU TIMUTIMU wants to see more Māori in leadership roles in the kiwifruit industry. Timutimu is chairman of the Māori Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (MKGI) and also a shareholder in the largest Māori kiwifruit operation in the country, Ngai Tukairangi Trust, based in Tauranga. He told Rural News it would be good

to see Māori in leadership roles throughout the industry, as well as being some of the leading growers in the country. At present, Māoriowned kiwifruit orchards produce 13.9 million trays of gold and green fruit each year or about 10% of New Zealand’s total kiwifruit exports. Māori own nearly 1,200 hectares of land devoted to kiwifruit – most of which is in the Bay of Plenty region. The largest Māori kiwifruit

growing areas are Tauranga, Te Puke and Te Kaha. Māori Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (MKGI) was formed in 2016. It is an independent lobby and advocacy group representing Māori growers in New Zealand and beyond. MKGI’s board has representatives of various Māori trusts and incorporations involved in growing kiwifruit across the country. Timutimu says the

Maori Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated chair Anaru Timutimu says it would be good to see more Māori in leadership roles throughout the industry.


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kiwifruit industry is a great one for Māori to be involved in. “It’s a good industry be involved in because it means our people can stay close to where they are from and don’t necessarily have to move to the cities,” he told Rural News. “There are opportunities in all facets of the value chain and the opportunity to travel, learn and work overseas.” Māori’s entry into the kiwifruit industry began in the mid-1980s and early 1990s when trusts such as Ngai Tukairangi and Hineora Te Kaha 15B in the Eastern Bay of Plenty started their respective operations. In the case of Ngai Tukairangi, it involved converting a dairy farm into a kiwifruit orchard. With Hineora it was bringing into one entity, small

blocks of land growing vegetables and citrus trees that in the past had produced poor returns to whanau. Incidentally, both trusts were finalists in last year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for the Māori top horticultural property. Te Kaha 15B was eventually named the winner. Timutimu is full of praise for their efforts. “The Te Kaha Māori kiwifruit growers are an awesome exemplar of the way they have worked in the community by training their own managers and staff,” he says. “The collective also purchased the local lodge for accommodation for the local workers and they also own the local spraying business. “They are looking at ways of utilising their water for all growers in Te Kaha.”

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An ‘amaizing’ change THE SUCCESS of some of the early Māori adopters in the kiwifruit industry is starting to catch on. While Te Kaha may be a hub, other trusts and incorporations are also taking the plunge and moving into kiwifruit. Drive from Opotiki right up to Te Araroa, near Hicks Bay, and you will see a mix of large and small kiwifruit orchards tucked away on the coastal flats and rolling hillsides – many of them covered. In many cases, Māori trusts are incorporating kiwifruit into their overall operations. For example, Tunapahore B2A Incorporation at Hawai has 5ha of kiwifruit alongside its 385cow dairy farm. Along the east coast, maize has been a crop grown by Māori or by others on land leased to them by Māori. But now kiwifruit and other high values crops are starting to appear, says Anaru Timutimu. “It’s daylight between the type of returns you were getting,” he told Rural News. “In the case of maize, you might get $1,500 per hectare, but fully developed orchards can now attain gross returns of $200,000 plus

per hectare.” Timutimu says this means more jobs for young Māori and a cash injection for whanau and the local economy. “There is a distinct advantage in Te Kaha with their mild micro climate, which means their fruit matures earlier than other regions, attracting a premium price for early start,” he says. This change is also being observed by Peter Andrew, a director of AgFirst – based in Gisborne. He says there is a lot of change taking place around the whole East Coast, with some farmland being converted to forestr, but he’s also noticed a big shift to horticulture. Andrew says Māori are not that keen on forestry given the bad experiences they have had; horticulture seems to have more appeal. He says there is a lot more horticultural development around Gisborne itself with high value crops such as kiwifruit and apples pushing crops like maize to less productive land. He is also noticing Māori diversifying their land use. He says there is a significant blueberry operation at Tolaga Bay.

Andrew believes the other advantage with horticulture is that it is often better use of water because it is being used on high value crops. – Peter Burke

Along the east coast, maize has been a crop grown by Māori but now kiwifruit and other high values crops are starting to appear.




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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Report dismisses NZ spud growers claims SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

POTATO GROWERS aren’t giving up their fight against cheaper frozen fries imports from the European Union. This is despite a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) interim report acknowledging the dumping of EU frozen fries in New Zealand, but claiming it’s not threatening

robust enough in terms of imminent and future material threat,” he says. MBIE launched an investigation in August last year after PNZ filed an anti-dumping claim, alleging that dumped frozen potato fries and wedges from Belgium and the Netherlands caused “a threat of material injury” to the domestic industry. NZ potato growers charged that circum-

the local potato industry. Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ) chief executive Chris Claridge told Rural News that a further submission would be made to MBIE in response to their interim report. Claridge says PNZ want to ensure that imminent and future material threat is accounted for in the MBIE investigation. “PNZ contest that the interim findings are not

stances arising from the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in reduced demand for frozen potato products globally, with increased inventories in Belgium and the Netherlands. They claim that available inventories and support being received through government intervention in Belgium and the Netherlands will lead to more Belgium and the Netherlands prod-

NZ potato growers aren’t giving up their fight against cheaper frozen fries imports from the European Union.


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“PNZ industry and grower members are keen to keep fighting this and are concerned that it’s not just the current situation, but how it’s going to look in the next few years,” says Claridge. The MBIE report says evidence does not support this claim. “The evidence does not support the claim by the New Zealand industry that government intervention in Belgium and the Netherlands has assisted potato growers so that producers of frozen potato products can take advantage of lower raw material costs, which means they can reduce prices for exports to New Zealand.” MBIE says based on this there are no grounds to determine that dumping of frozen fries is threatening to cause material injury to the New Zealand industry.



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Charter vessels saviour for Zespri

much the same and the So, at the moment, we are full.” he adds. returns to growers will Hulbert says while the down on container stock peterb@ruralnews.co.nz not be greatly affected. price of freight has gone and that is causing disZESPRI HAS switched However, he says by up, Zespri is somewhat ruption.” far the greatest risk would Hulbert says the other protected because it has to using mostly charbe not having continuity long-term shipping conissue is that the schedter refrigerated container of supply to consumers in tracts, so the price to the uled container services ships this year to get its major markets. consumer will remain often get delayed as conkiwifruit to major margestion builds up in ports kets, rather than relyall around the world, ing on normal scheduled meaning that these ships ships. may arrive in NZ late. He Zespri’s chief global says Zespri foresaw the supply officer Alistair problem back in SeptemHulbert told Rural News ber last year and quickly this is because of the upped the number of ongoing disruption to charter vessels. world shipping schedules “With the charter caused by the Covid-19 vessel it comes directly pandemic. He says Zespri into port on the day we normally operates a split want it, we load it with of 50% charter and 50% our fruit and it goes to schedule ships, but this year it has upped the allo- the port of destination,” Hulbert told Rural News. cation of chartered ships So, with all our major to 70%. markets – such as China, “The problem is that Japan, Europe and Korea there has been a huge – we use the chartered demand for imported ships, which makes us by PMH goods into NZ and this somewhat immune to the has meant that shipping disruption.” lines have focused on the alphabet. Three letters have he says other bringing dry as opposed nes, and build the words in the However, grid markets that aren’t big to refrigerated containd, you will be able to solve the enough to send a charter ers down to NZ in the off LOW COST OF ENTRY season,” Hulbert explains. vessel to – like the Middle East or the west coast “These containers are 9 bringing 10 LETTER of the US – so they will things such as VALUES suffer a little bit 7of dis-8 imported furniture and 13 1 2 3 4 5 6 9 10 ruption. normally those ships I S FOR 12 MONTHS “The beauty of char13 would 6 bring in refriger11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 4.95% P.A ter vessels is that we ated containers to build F FIXED RATE* up 3a stockpile for the hor- can delay its arrival for a couple of days to make ticulture industry exports 3 7 sure the boat goes out from February to June. 24/36 MONTH LOAN TERM PETER BURKE

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Happy Valley dairy plant finally gets off the ground SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

CONSTRUCTION OF Waikato’s newest milk processing plant will finally start later this year. A 6ha site is being prepared at Otorohanga for the $280 million Happy Valley Nutrition Ltd plant that will produce highvalue specialty dairy ingredient powders for export markets. The project has been in the pipeline for several years as Happy Valley sought resource consents and funding. Covid-19 has also delayed the project by a few years. In February, Happy Valley announced that it had taken out a $13m

Construction of Happy Valley’s milk processing plant at Otorohanga will finally start later this year.

loan and secured $7.4m through secured private placement of convertible notes. The money was used to buy strategic farmland to irrigate wastewater from the plant. The ASX-listed company plans to develop a single dryer facility with the site master-planned

to allow for the addition of an extra drier as well as a blending and canning plant. The company says $7 million has been budgeted for earthworks. The factory is expected to be commissioned in 2023. Happy Valley chief executive Greg Wood says the start of earth-

works is a “very notable milestone” for shareholders and investors. “Our earthworks contractors are making solid progress, weather conditions have been favourable and critical works are advancing safely,” he told Rural News. “It is very satisfying to witness this proj-


ect finally emerging from what was until recently a paddock, and these earthworks are confirmation that Happy Valley is well into the physical devel-

opment of what will be one of the most advanced nutritional grade processing facilities in the world.” Site works include implementing access roads, drainage works, public road realignments and ground improvements for the spray dryer building. “Performing earthworks now enables an efficient commencement of the construction phase of the facility,” Wood adds. He says the recent

funding Happy Valley has secured gives the company the necessary financial flexibility to ensure it meets immediate project delivery milestones. Wood claims the company is also making “excellent progress” with respect to securing customers. “Engagement is advancing with groups locally and from Europe, and Asia, which validates the strong demand for the speciality dairy products Happy Valley is targeting.”

FARM DEAL HAPPY VALLEY Nutrition has bought two lots of farmland – Waipa Meadows Farm and Lot 2 on Redlands Road – covering 166ha. As part of the purchase agreement for Waipa Meadows, the fledgling dairy processor will enter into a 100-year leaseback agreement with the vendor who will continue to use the property as a dry stock farm to generate revenue. The deal allows Happy Valley to irrigate wastewater from its proposed factory without relying on third party service providers.

Happy Valley says it will also improve the ecology of the waterways leading into the Waipa River through extensive tree planting and fencing along waterways. Happy Valley chief executive Greg Wood told Rural News the settlement of the farm purchases marks another important milestone. He says the company aims to deliver its first nutritional grade products in less than two years. “It is also further evidence of Happy Valley deploying recently secured capital and senior debt to advance the facility’s development.”

Ten Basic Fertiliser Facts You Mus

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Fact 1. The overuse of soluble P fertiliser is by far the largest Fact 2. Once you have Olsen P levels that are more than a thi environment. Fact 3. If you want to build up your soil P in an environmenta in a sustained fashion for plants. Fact 4. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. RPR-b (sulphur 90) is far more efficient than the excess sulphate in s AERATORS Fact 5. Following 1-4 above will greatly reduce P run-off and huge amounts of money! Fact 6. It is nonsensical to give in to pressure to install expen idea of their long-term effectiveness and maintenance costs, Fact 7. in any case simple fenced-off 3-metre wide grass ripa bacterial and sediment losses. Neither will have any significa Y DUTY AUTO strips can be harvested in summerHE toAV fed out, to improve T SEbe RE Fact 8. In a nutshell, for maintenance of P levels any genuine situations or low rainfall, use a blend of RPR and high-analysi NOW Don’t fertiliser on granular urea, use prilled Fact 9. put Forgood N, rather than urea, spr AVAILABLE, 5, 6 OR 7 LEG compacted soil which can’t absorb cut in half with big savings. MODELS it. If10. yourPotash soil can’t 15cm Fact is support more efficient, and must less likely to cause root growth and good annual amount you worm are using now. Easy to mix with your pri population check for compaction. For more info, email Bert Quin on bert.quin@quinfer You could need aeration. In dollar terms, what would 20% production increase mean to your yearly turnover? MOLEPLOUGH

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Fact 1. The overuse of soluble P fertiliser is by far the largest cause of P run-off an Fact 2. Once you have Olsen P levels that are more than a third of the P retention environment. Fact 3. If you want to build up your soil P in an environmentally-protective way, in a sustained fashion for plants. Fact 4. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. RPR-based fertilisers are (sulphur 90) is far more efficient than the excess sulphate in super. Fact 5. Following 1-4 above will greatly reduce P run-off and leaching. This shou huge amounts of money! Fact 6. It is nonsensical to give in to pressure to install expensive mitigations rip idea of their long-term effectiveness and maintenance costs, and before you hav Fact 7. in any case simple fenced-off 3-metre wide grass riparian strips are essen bacterial and sediment losses. Neither will have any significant long-term benefi strips can be harvested in summer to be fed out, to improve P and N cycling. Fact 8. In a nutshell, for maintenance of P levels any genuine RPR (not an RPR/Bo situations or low rainfall, use a blend of RPR and high-analysis soluble P. Fact 9. For N, rather than granular urea, use prilled urea, sprayed immediately p cut in half with big savings. Fact 10. Potash is more efficient, and must less likely to cause metabolic problem annual amount you are using now. Easy to mix with your prilled urea. Leaching o For more info, email Bert Quin on bert.quin@quinfert.co.nz, or phone

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Farmers fight back on new rules DAVID ANDERSON

MORE THAN 400 farmers attended a recent series of Groundswell NZ meetings around Canterbury and the West Coast to discuss new freshwater and biodiversity rules being imposed on the farming sector. “We have been blown away by the farmer engagement at our meetings,” says Groundswell spokesman and Otago farmer Bryce McKenzie. Farmer and environmentalist Jane Smith, a former Ballance Farm Environment Award winner, was one of the key speakers at the meetings. She told farmers to not just accept everything that is put in front of them. “Once regulations are enshrined in law, they will be with us forever – while those who enact

More than 400 farmers attended a recent series of Groundswell NZ meetings around Canterbury and the West Coast.

them will come and go,” Smith told the meetings. She also believes that

the farming sector needs one, strong voice. “Our advocacy spokes-


people need to be listening to grassroots farmers and not simply appeasing

idealistic lawmakers.” Smith also questioned why the Government

regulations are “unworkable” and would deliver outcomes that will be worse for the country’s natural environment and waterways. He told the meetings there are more simple solutions available to NZ’s environmental issues – such as operating under one, integrated legislation. Following these meetings, McKenzie says Groundswell is looking at implementing a range of actions to put a stop to the regulations. “We are currently looking for regional coordinators to help us share information and keep farmers informed as more protest actions unfold,” he says. “Groundswell is already well established in Southland/Otago and coordinators for the West Coast are now underway.”

Farmers welcome sale of loss-making China Farms. PAGE 3




Sheep milk demand soars.

Precision tech helps farmer get it right. PAGE 31

State of the art accommodation opens at BoP kiwifruit orchard. PAGE 7


seemed hell-bent on destroying the NZ farming sector when NZ farmers are the most efficient sustainable food producers in the world. She says a more pragmatic pathway to good environmental outcomes, without destroying the fabric of NZ’s rural society, included working alongside regional councils to ensure commonsense prevails and the inter-generational, communal work underway – driven by catchment groups – is not undermined by an “outlandish generic consent process”. The other key speaker, Jamie McFadden, of the Rural Advocacy Network based in Canterbury, explained the implications of the proposed freshwater and indigenous biodiversity regulations. McFadden says these


Krone baler PAGE 32


www.ruralnews.co.nz OCTOBER 13, 2020

Payout lifts

ISSUE 457 // www.dairynews.co.nz


SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

THE FORECAST milk payout for this season has gone up by 40c and Fonterra farmers can thank Chinese consumers. The co-operative last week announced a new range of $6.30 to $7.30/kgMS with a new midpoint of $6.80/kgMS. The revised forecast comes just a month after Fonterra announced its annual results. BNZ senior economist Doug Steel told Rural News that he’s not surprised by Fonterra’s announcement, as “underlying tones” in the dairy markets have been improving in recent weeks. In the latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction, the price of flagship whole milk powder price topped US$3,000/metric tonne. The New Zea-

land dollar has also stabilised. Steel says a stable NZ dollar and strong demand for WMP normally provides upward pressure on the payout. However, he says the wide range of Fonterra’s forecast payout means “anything could still happen”. “There’s a wide range of possible outcomes, we are seeing so much

Crisis looms Growers are warning of looming “significant price rises” for fruits and vegetables thanks to the Government’s refusal to allow overseas workers into the country for harvesting and packhouse duties. Pukekohe’s Hira Bhana and Co Ltd say their business grows a lot of spring crops and needs overseas labour to supplement permanent workers like Taniela Vaioleti, (pictured) who was helping harvest lettuce on one of their farms last week. Growers fear that unharvested crops will lead to shortages and price hikes. Full story page 6.

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uncertainty lingering around...anything could still happen, but for now we are seeing better prices.” Steel says New Zealand’s close attachment to China, especially in terms of selling them dairy products, is paying dividends. “They were first in, first out of Covid and the strong demand for

WMP there gives us hope going forward.” Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says the stronger 2020-21 milk price forecast is largely being driven by improved demand in China. He says at a $6.80 milk price, more than $10 billion would flow into regional New Zealand.


NEW ZEALAND’S sheep and beef farms are already close to being carbon neutral and Beef+Lamb NZ believes this strengthens calls for the formal recognition of on-farm sequestration. A study led by Dr Bradley Case at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) estimates the woody vegetation on New Zealand sheep and beef farms is offsetting between 63 and 118% of their on-farm agricultural emissions. B+LNZ chief insight officer Jeremy Baker says the study was initiated as a result of a report last year, which showed that there were about 1.4 million hectares of woody vegetation on sheep and beef farms. He says they wanted to understand how much of that was still sequestering carbon and at what level. “The problem with the ETS scheme is that it is based on planting pines and is very much for the short term and gives a quick hit for carbon sequestration,” he says. “Whereas natives take a lot longer to sequester because they are slower growing but they are there for a longer period and they are also biologically and ecologically more secure.” Report author Bradley Case says there is a strong case for farmers to get credit for the sequestration happening on their farms. – See more page 5


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Young banker walks farming talk tions to high schools and those school leavers.” He also believes that because university is not for everyone there is much better value in school leavers entering the workforce into ag roles – rather than going to uni because it’s the ‘done thing’ and then dropping out. “If they are more informed of opportunities in Year 12 and 13, then they can make better decisions. This is much more important in urban schools where kids may


JAKE JARMAN believes the agri-sector offers young people massive career opportunities. And now the 23-yearold Lincoln and Massey University graduate is walking the talk, becoming an agri-banker with ANZ in Ashburton. However, Jarman has not only done the academic side of the things, he’s also proven he knows a thing or two about the practical side of farming and is a finalist in this year’s Young Farmer of the Year contest. In January, he took out this year’s Taranaki Manawatu regional final, blitzing the competition in every field, in his first year of competing. Jarman will now compete in the 2021 FMG Young Farmers Contest Grand Final in Christchurch, in July. He told Rural News that an agri-sector career was always on his agenda. Born and raised on a Taranaki dairy farm, after finishing school he went to Lincoln to study a Bachelor of Agri-Commerce. This was followed by Masters in Agricultural Science (Dairy Systems) at Massey. “My long term goal, when I reach the age and stage of family and kids, I would like to be farming,” Jarman says. “But until then, I want to make a contribution in the rural professional space and save my pennies for farm ownership.” Hailing from a farming background, Jarman was brought up on a

Jake Jarman believes the agrisector offers young people fantastic career opportunities.

dairy farm in Inglewood, Taranaki. The 420 cow family farm has been in his mum’s family for 100plus years, and he is the fifth generation. However, despite Jarman’s strong rural background, he could have been lost to the sector as a weather forecaster. He says while he always enjoyed ag classes at high school, he was planning to study meteorology at Victoria, as he enjoyed science and maths. “But I enjoyed my Year 13/Scholarship Ag class more and we had an awesome ag teacher who constantly encouraged us to look at tertiary Ag study. I was – and still am – curious about the intersection of biophysical science, business/economics, and people that come together to make food and fibre. After finishing high school, Jarman attended Lincoln for three years from 2016 to 2018, completing a

we were exposed to the cutting edge of NZ ag science.” Jarman strongly believes that the primary sector poses an attractive career option to other young people “It has so many interlinked areas, which means there are so many opportunities to work in agriculture – these aren’t just on-farm jobs,” he told Rural News. “The sector is screaming out for intelligent, curious and diligent young people who have energy to continue pushing NZ ag forward and maintain our competitive advantage. “ However, Jarman does think the sector could do more to attract more young people to work in it. “I experienced a great connection between ag businesses at uni, by them coming to speak to us or getting involved in our courses,” he explains. “This connection was not evident at high school though, so the industry could improve its connec-

Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture). He then started at Massey at the start of 2019 and spent 18 months doing his Master of Science (Agricultural Science) – handing in his thesis in June 2020. Jarman believes one of the best things he gained from his time attending both Lincoln and Massey was networking. “I was able to meet and form great connections with a wide group of people who had common passion,” he told Rural News. “Now those friends are all over the country – so the network is rather widespread.” He says his education at both universities was industry focused saying the courses had a strong practical component. “We visited a lot of farms and were given lectures from a variety of people directly involved in agribusiness,” Jarman adds. “A lot of my lecturers at both Lincoln and Massey were leaders/ experts in their field – so

not have any exposure to ag.” Earlier this year, Jarman started a new role with ANZ as a relationship associate – to see the other side of farming. “I’ve always had an interest in finance and how it plays out in the agricultural sector,” he says. Jarman sees Ashburton as the perfect place to base himself, due to a diversity of agricultural businesses not available in other parts of the country.

“Ashburton is a critical town for the surrounding agricultural industries, and there are so many businesses supporting those farms – you’ve got machinery dealers, seed merchants, livestock companies, banks, accountants, lawyers – a whole developed industry.” With learning the ropes in his new job and preparing for the YFC grand final in July, there will be plenty to keep Jake Jarman busy over the next few months.

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Amazing travels in Ag sector JESSICA MARSHALL jessica@ruralnews.co.nz

THE 2021 Dairy Woman of the Year says her win is “pretty amazing”. Whanganui sharemilker Belinda Price was named winner of the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award at a gala event in Taupo in early April. “It’s still sinking in, I must say. It’s a bit of an honour and a privilege to be nominated and to be successful against the other amazing finalists as well,” Price told Rural News of her win. She says she started in the industry when she started having children. “My husband wanted to buy a dairy farm and I was a travel agent,” she says of her beginnings in the industry. She says she followed this start by doing a course in agribusiness management so she could understand the industry and how to run a business within it. “It’s such an amazing industry

and we’ve just grown hugely, and there’s so many opportunities to access, to grow yourself and to network and to meet amazing people.” She says that women looking to get into the industry should “100% do it.” “The women in the industry are totally amazing,” she says, adding that a lot of the women she’s worked

with on her farm have come from other industries and have done well. “They have all gone so well, they all still keep in touch with me,” she says. She says they have gone from never touching a cow to becoming farm managers in a short period of time. Looking ahead to the future, Price says she will “soak up the opportunity” she’s been given. “I really want to help people, continue on my journey to mentor and to guide and to develop people. So, I think that’s… where my passion lies and where I’d like to continue to head.” As the 2021 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, Price receives a scholarship of up to $20,000 to undertake a development programme, professional and business coaching, a learning experience, or a combination of all three. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

ARRIVEDERCI NIKKI! IN A matter of days, kiwifruit growers organisation (NZKGI) chief executive Nikki Johnson will leave her role at NZKGI. Johnson is moving to Zespri to take up the role of strategic projects manager, based in the company’s office in Bologna, Italy. She’s been with NZKGI since 2016. Johnson says the new role is an opportunity for her to stay in kiwifruit. “It’s also a good opportunity to take my knowledge of kiwifruit and do something different with it. The role is looking across the northern hemisphere business – Japan, Korea, France, Greece, Italy and the north Americas, where there are trials or full production taking place under the Zespri brands,” she told Hort News. “I’ve always wanted to live overseas and in Italy so it’s two good outcomes,” she says. – Peter Burke

Nikki Johnson is off to take up a new role with Zespri in Italy.

RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Primary sector exports defy challenges SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

PRIMARY SECTOR exporters, take a bow. Despite major challenges, New Zealand primary sector exports are holding up well. And it’s not just dairy products leaving our ports in droves – beef, apples, kiwifruit, wine and sheepmeat are also being shipped out. According to BNZ’s latest Rural Wrap, NZ primary sector exports have been impressively resilient to the massive global economic shock over the past 12 months. BNZ senior economist Doug Steel points out that exporters have been facing considerable chal-

lenges – many of which are ongoing. “Difficulty finding labour and logistical issues immediately spring to mind. No one has been immune,” he says. “But the sector, by and large, has found ways to minimise disruption, switch markets, and alter sales channels to continue trading as best as possible.” While export revenue does not necessarily equate to profitability, but it can be a useful barometer, noted Steel. Wine exports to February 2021 were 4% higher than a year earlier, entirely driven by volume expansion, with prices marginally lower over the period. Annual wine exports are now valued at

$2 billion. Steel says the past year’s growth – in obviously difficult circumstances from harvesting through to logistics – continues a period of persistent expansion that now extends back more than quarter of a century. Sheepmeat exports topped $3.8 billion. This is a historically high level, although 3% lower than in the previous year. Steel says prior price declines, a firmer NZ dollar and a smaller lamb crop this season will likely see annual exports ease further in the near term. “Demand from China has been strong of late which we expect to continue.” Around half of NZ

Despite challenges such as labour shortages and logistics around shipping, primary sector exports are holding up.

exports are now destined for China. Kiwifruit continues to go from strength to strength, with exports nearing $2.7 billion in the year to February 2021, a hefty 18% higher than a year earlier. Steel says buoyant growth is the result of

overall record volumes in combination with higher prices, both underpinned by strong demand. Beef exports eased back 2% in the year to February 2021, but Steel says this should be seen in the context of the 34% cumulative increase in the three years prior to

that. NZ’s beef export share to China has eased from a recent African Swine Fever-induced peak but remains high by historical standards. Apple exports pushed above $900 million, up nearly 6% on a year earlier. Steel says the increase

reflected a moderate increase in volumes, following a good harvest and a push higher in average prices. However, things are looking dire for apple growers this season: poor weather and labour shortages could drop export volumes by 14%.





• CAN CEREAL “CATCH CROPS” REDUCE ENVIRONMENT IMPACTS FROM WINTER FORAGE CROP GRAZING • HOW CAN I MAKE CATCH CROPS WORK IN MY SYSTEM? • WHAT QUESTIONS DO FARMERS HAVE ABOUT CATCH CROPS? Plant & Food Research, Lincoln Agritech and AgResearch scientists will share latest research results For more info: https://www.facebook.com/catchcrops/ or contact Brendon Malcolm, Plant & Food Research p: 021-895 126 e: Brendon.Malcolm@plantandfood.co.nz

RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021



One voice? “WHERE THE bloody hell are you?” This was once the infamous catch-cry of an Australian tourism advertisement from a few years ago. However, it could now equally used by NZ farmers to question the performance (or lack of it) by their industry representatives – especially when advocating on their behalf at a governmental level. Two of the sector’s largest agri-sector industry-good bodies – DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb NZ – take multi-millions of dollars in farmer levies each year, yet levypayers are fairly asking what they are actually getting in return. No doubt, both organisations would use their highly-paid communications staff and contractors to run off a myriad of actions claiming they do a wonderful job in representing their respective farmers on the advocacy, trade and on-farm front. One could debate their effectiveness or not on the two latter topics, but most farmers would say they have been hopelessly woeful on the former. In the last couple of years alone, we have seen government either propose or impose carbon charges, freshwater regulations, winter grazing rules, farm environment plans and ban live exports – to name just a few. All of these have either been greeted by muted acceptance or actually welcomed by the supposed farmer bodies. Both DairyNZ and B+LNZ argue that it’s no use jumping up and down and they “have to be at the table” for the Government to hear them. However, many of their levypayers would argue all this has done is help the Government serve farmers on the menu! As farmer Jane Smith argues, “continual appeasement to government by industry-good bodies is not serving the sector well and it’s time for a mega-merger of primary sector advocacy groups”. All this has opened the door for movements like Groundswell NZ to fill the gap. Smith cites the recent performances of both B+LNZ and DairyNZ over the reforms to freshwater regulations and proposed greenhouse gas rules as leaving farmer levypayers dismayed, disappointed and feeling abandoned by their representatives. Is it now time to scrap the old model of farmer representation – which the Government seems to play divide and rule with – and for the primary sector to form one, powerful, united voice for industry advocacy that would have to be listened to rather than dictated at? It is worth serious consideration.


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WHILE YOUR old mate was not surprised by the Government’s decision to impose a ban on the live cattle exports, as it has previous form in pushing antifarming polices. However, he – along with many in the sector – was highly disappointed by the muted response from the supposed industry ‘good’ bodies. Beef + Lamb NZ (BLNZ) and DairyNZ were both very much missing in action on the live export ban. Their deafening silence about the Government’s move only adds to the argument that both BLNZ and DairyNZ are more worried about placating the incumbent administration than fighting for their farmer levypayers. The word ‘quislings’ has been used often to describe the performance of both levy organisations since the election of the Ardern-led government back in 2017. Their gutless (non) performance over the loss of this multi-million dollar income stream does little to dispel that notion.

THIS OLD mutt wonders what it is about tall, balding, ex-Fonterra executives and their (non) ability to handle life once they leave the safety of the big dairy co-op. First we saw Todd (Puddle) Muller plotting and scheming his way to controversially taking over the leadership of the National Party last year, then melting like an ice cream on a summer’s day when the going got tough and quitting. The latest example is recentlydeparted Synlait chief executive Leon Clement who took over as boss of the Canterbury-based, Chinese-owned dairy company in late 2018. Since then, the former darling of the NZ dairy industry has hit a few speed bumps along the way with things not going so swimmingly and lo and behold… Clement is gone burger! Perhaps the executive training programme at Fonterra needs to add a bit more resilience guidance and instructions in dealing with adversity? Just a thought…

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God help us

Bad company THE HOUND is among many in the agriculture sector, including many of our top scientists, who are somewhat cynical about the over-the-top, unproven claims made about the latest farming fad – regenerative agriculture. Of course, the current Government – and its highly paid lap dog, the Primary Sector Council – well and truly drank from the Regen Kool Aide by pumping millions of taxpayer dollars into the hands of a few self-promoters who are pimping this practice. Meanwhile, the alarm bells of government funders should have been loudly ringing when one of Regen’s greatest fans is anti-farming lobby group Greenpeace – let alone the bunch of kooks, pseudoscientists, weirdos and Hollywood vegans who are already backing it. As a mate of yours truly says: “With friends like that, who needs enemies or credibility!”

YOUR CANINE crusader was amused to read about a vegan student doing a farm animal management course in the UK complaining about having to visit a farm as a course requirement. The whinging millennial whined that undertaking the farming unit as part of her qualification was “incompatible with her beliefs”. While she understood that she’d have to attend a farm as part of an animal husbandry unit on the course, the student claims she took that to mean “learning how to care for animals…” When later told by tutors that students may be required to “watch bull castration or visit an abattoir” as part of the mandatory unit, she claims to have felt “really uncomfortable about the idea of having to attend a farm and help in exploiting the animals.” So, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College said the student did not need to complete the unit if she was “uncomfortable” with it. Give me strength!

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Shape up or ship out! TIM GILBERTSON

DAMIEN! WHAT were you thinking, banning the live export trade? You looked earnest and deeply concerned. A worthy graduate of ‘Sincerity School’. But it is an irrational proposal, designed to appeal to urban voters, swayed by a lunatic fringe. Live exports, you say, threaten our trading reputation. From 1915 to 1918, the NZ Mounted Rifle Brigade shipped 10,000 horses to Egypt to fight

When do numbers involved, distance of travel and assumed quality of care become relevant factors that swing approval from sea to sky? The distinction is nonsense. The manner of travel is irrelevant. No MPI officials went on the ships or to farms in China. None of them flew with animals to verify Damien’s airborne assertions. Nor did they ask the expert opinion of anyone involved in the trade. The review was designed to give the

So be sincere and good, Damien. Abandon the dark side. Ban cigarettes. Ban Rio Tinto zinc. Ban Mike Hosking. Ban Auckland from stealing Waikato water and Pukekohe potato fields. Allow live exports and police them. Shape up or ship out. If you ship out, make sure

the engines are working and check the weather report. Good luck, Damien. All the best from all of us here in drought land. • Tim Gilbertson is a Central Hawkes Bay Farmer @rural_news

Damien O’Connor’s recent ban on live exports is an “irrational proposal, designed to appeal to urban voters, swayed by a lunatic fringe”, according to Tim Gilbertson.


From 1915 to 1918, the NZ Mounted Rifle Brigade shipped 10,000 horses to Egypt to fight the Turks. The loss rate was a miniscule 3%. So, we have been shipping successfully for years. The survival rate on shipments to China is 99.9%. answer Cabinet wanted. Cabinet, apart from you Damien, doesn’t know the difference between a heifer and a hyena, so they signed off a travesty. So, a major $300 - $500 million export industry is wiped out to please a minuscule, illinformed minority. Who else gets the same treatment? Once more the message from the top is that rural NZ is insignificant, immaterial and irrelevant. But don’t fret. Because Damien says we now have an opportunity to boost trade through our cutting-edge scientific work into dairy cow genetics and germplasm use. So, there you go, all you thwarted live export wannabees. Sell your babies as bobby calves, set up a laboratory in the cowshed and whack out some cutting-edge scientific discoveries. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. The real tragedy is that Damien is a nice, well-meaning bloke. I’ve met him, shaken his paw and held an amiable discourse. Many of them (politicians) are. They just get caught up in the game and forget that their foolish, thoughtless actions have grave consequences in the real world.

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the Turks. The loss rate was a miniscule 3%. So, we have been shipping successfully for years. The survival rate on shipments to China is 99.9%. How can that be a threat to our trading reputation, rather than a glowing endorsement? Compared to most nations, we are shining stars. How many highlevel complaints have you had (apart from Turkey in 1916 requesting we send our horses home and fight on foot) about our live export trade? None. The tragic consequences were bought home, says Damien, by the loss of 41 crew and 7,000 cattle last year when a ship went down in a typhoon. It sank because the engines failed and the boat went beam on to the waves and tipped over. Which, while indubitably tragic, was about cleaning the spark plugs rather than the rights and wrongs of the live export trade. Once animals leave our shores, we have little ability to ensure their wellbeing. That is unacceptable to us, says the Minister. Air export is okay because travel times are shorter, the animals are better looked after and the numbers are miniscule.

RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Over-the-top, state control Rural Advocacy Network chairman Jamie McFadden was a key speaker at the recent round of Groundswell NZ meetings. He spoke about the push for Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) and why these may not be the great cure-all many are claiming. Here is an edited version of his speech… THERE ARE many different approaches to farm plans. Taranaki Regional

Council has, over the past 25 years, continued the catchment board approach to voluntary

farm plans working in partnership with farmers. In Canterbury, ECan has taken a one-size-fits

all, tick box regulatory approach to farm plans. There are also a myriad of industry farm plan

templates. An actionsfocused, empowering farm plan is very different to the one the Government is mandating through the Resource Management Act (RMA). Under New Zealand law we are supposed to be protected from unjustified state control. The Jamie McFadden believes the Government’s policy on FEPs is unprecedented state control over ordinary citizens.

Government is enforcing mandatory, certified, audited FEPs on every farmer – regardless of whether there is a freshwater issue in your catchment or whether your activity is having a more than minor effect on the environment. The only group of people being subject to mandatory environment plans are farmers. If the Government were being consistent then they would require everyone (including urban landowners) to do an Environment Plan as we all affect freshwater. But imagine the howls of protest against state control. The Government claims that farmers need to do these FEPs to reassure our overseas markets. However, the RMA is related to environmental effects, not issues of market assurance. The Government is using this argument because it insufficient justification under the RMA. Market assurance should be progressed through our industry and exporters, which is already happening with meat companies, Fonterra and industry groups. The Government has attempted to sell their mandatory FEP policy with a $50 million sweetener and the promise ( just prior to the election) of reducing compliance for every farmer. This misleading claim of reducing compliance ignores some facts. 1) A farm plan audit is compliance and a cost to farmers. 2) The new freshwater legislation (and impending NPS Indigenous Biodiversity) increases regulatory requirements on all farmers. 3) Many of the regulatory requirements cannot

be covered by a FEP and will require processing through a consent process. 4) Consents will be more complex, difficult to obtain and cost more. 5) Much of the dryland hill country farming sector do not trigger any consents because they are low environmental impact farming systems. Certified, audited FEPs will significantly increase the compliance burden on these farmers. 6) An audited FEP on a 200 hectare, flat land intensive farm is a completely different scenario to a 1,000 hectare hill country farm with extensive waterways, wetlands, native bush, erosion and the difficulty of getting access around these farms. A market assurance farm plan through your meat or milk company or industry group like Beef+Lamb NZ is confidential. None of your private property information is available to the public unless you require a consent or get caught in a compliance issue or for mapping the likes of Significant Natural Area’s (SNA), but it is only information related to that specific issue. However, when an FEP becomes compliance under the RMA it becomes public information. So, all that information on a dryland farm that was previously not accessible to the public now becomes public. This represents a major breach of people’s privacy rights. It is for all these reasons we should reject the Government’s legislation on RMA-mandated FEPs and call on all farmers to refuse to comply until such time the issues outlined above are resolved.


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Capturing the benefits of catch crops PETER CAREY

WINTER FORAGE grazing is used extensively in the South Island as a lowcost system to feed dairy cows and build body condition prior to calving in late winter. However, the practice is recognised as having a large potential for nitrate

leaching loss from heavy urine deposition, especially in the free-draining soils of Canterbury. Most winter forage paddocks are left bare or fallow prior to pasture renewal or sowing of another fodder crop in late spring/ summer. But with nitrate leaching losses from these wintering sys-

tems – measured at anything from 50-180kg N/ ha annually – reducing leaching is important for ground and surface water quality. Sowing a catch crop after winter forage grazing is one way to take up some of this deposited urinary-N and can reduce N leaching losses

by as much as 40-50%. Now in the third year of a three-year MPI Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) project, researchers from Lincoln Agritech and Plant and Food Research have shown that sowing catch crops on commercial dairy farms during winter is not only possi-


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ble, but profitable – with few downsides. Lincoln Agritech and Plant and Food Research conducted six research trials in Canterbury from 2018-2019 – across three commercial dairy farms in winter forage paddocks at Te Pirita, Hororata and Mt Somers. Trials compared tillage method (direct drill vs. minimum till), crop species selection (Italian ryegrass, triticale or oats) and crop mixes (oats vs. oats/Italian ryegrass). The oats drilled at Te Pirita trial (Intimidator Luisetti Seeds) produced a high-yielding 12t DM/ ha green chop silage crop after only five months, but importantly, took up over 200kg N/ha. Indeed, most catch crops of oats in Canterbury yielded 8-10t DM/ha if sown by early August, with N uptakes ranging from 100-200kg N/ha. This nitrogen resource might otherwise have been lost and farmers could use it more efficiently, having already effectively paid for it. Gross profit margins (before harvest costs) typically ranged from $1400-$2550/ha (at $0.25 c/kg DM standing feed). This more than compen-

Sowing a catch crop after winter forage grazing can reduce N leaching losses by as much as 40-50%, according to Lincoln Agritech field research scientist Peter Carey.

sates for the small loss in crop yield if sowing another fodder crop like kale. However, a note of warning, catch crops need monitoring and a judicious application of N fertiliser (40kg N/ha) in late spring might still be required to achieve optimum silage quality and quantity if the crop starts to show the first signs of N deficiency. Catch crops aren’t limited to oats. Triticale, for example, was an option for those looking at whole crop silage but oats, being more winter active, tended to get away quicker. Italian ryegrass was also trialled alone but wasn’t as high-yielding as the cereals. However, an oats/Italian mix, was found to be

a good option for speedy pasture renewal of a winter forage paddock after the main oats crop has been harvested – providing further grazing or baleage over the summer. Importantly, soil mineral N was significantly reduced by the catch crops. Catch crops, as expected, reduced available soil mineral-N but the soil under the fallow (bare soil/no crop-red circle) increased by 50% over the same period. We can also assume that some of the mineral N under fallow or bare sol is likely to have moved below this depth so the true increase may well be more than 50%. • Dr Peter Carey is a field research scientist at Lincoln Agritech Ltd

KEY MESSAGES EARLY ESTABLISHMENT of a cereal catch crop, even in winter, is the key to success. Oats has proved the most robust and reliable catch crop for Canterbury with DM yields in late November (green-chop silage) ranging from 8-12t DM/ha. Direct drilling the catch crop is preferred but minimum tillage may be required on badly pugged paddocks to help prepare a suitable seed bed Soil mineral-N can be variable after

grazing so monitor the N status of the catch crop to ensure maximum yield and quality. Mixes with Italian ryegrass (using oats) have been found to be a good combination for those wanting to speedily re-grass paddocks after harvest. Give it a go! – Everybody’s farm is different but somewhere in your winter forage rotation there is likely an opportunity for you to experiment and introduce a catch crop into your system.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Support and resources available for farmers impacted by dry FARMERS IN regions facing dry or extremely dry conditions are being urged to tap into the resources available to them through their industry good organisations and MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries). The feed planning service is open to all livestock owners and helps farmers complete a feed plan. The feed coordination service connects farmers who are short of feed with available sources of supplement, such as silage and hay. Mark Harris, Beef + Lamb NZ’s (BLNZ) lead extension manager, says there is no significant rain in the forecast so it is unlikely farmers in affected areas will be able to build pasture covers going into winter. “I really encourage anyone affected by on-going dry conditions to make use of the feed planning and feed coordination services. Having a third party discuss your options with you can often help clarify your thinking and help with the critical decisions that need to be made going into the colder months.” Harris says experience from the Hawkes’ Bay drought shows that seemingly dire situations can be turned around by proactive management

Farmers facing regions facing dry or extremely dry conditions are being urged to tap into the resources available through industry good organisations and MPI.

INFO SERVICES INFORMATION ON all drought management related tools and resources: https://beeflambnz.com/newsviews/extreme-dry-management. • The feed planning service can be accessed by phoning 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) or 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 432 479 69). • Farm debt mediation information can be found at: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-rural-support/ farming-funds-and-programmes/the-farm-debt-mediation-scheme-2. • Rural Support Trusts: 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 78 72 54. • Farm Business Advice Support Fund: http://www.ruralsupport.org.nz/what-we-do/Financial.

decisions. “There are case studies on the BLNZ website, which show the power of having a third party cast an eye over the situation and guide decision making,” he says. “It is important to try and limit the impact of these extremely dry conditions to this year and try and protect the performance of capital stock next spring.” Harris adds that there are a range of drought support tools and resources on the BLNZ website, including a simple feed budget and experiences of farmers who have got through drought in recent years. For farmers who need financial help, or extra wellbeing support, the Government has allocated $200,000 for the Farm Business Advice Support Fund, which is managed

by Rural Support Trusts. Banks are jointly funding the initiative. Qualifying farmers can receive up to $6,000 to seek independent financial or business advice. Farmers and growers can also access the Farm Debt Mediation Scheme, should they need help working through debt issues with their bank. MPI can assist with the costs of mediation through the scheme’s hardship fund. Rural Support Trusts are there to help rural people during tough times. They offer a free, confidential service to rural farming communities. Farmers and farming families who need help are encouraged to call for confidential advice and support.


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Plan for hogget breeding Hogget breeding can be used to increase the total number of lambs weaned on a farm each year and potentially lifetime performance, if they are managed correctly. However, a large proportion of hoggets are not bred on farms due to concerns regarding the ability to achieve suitable performance levels and the economic viability of the practise. Massey University’s Professor Paul Kenyon reports on recent research on the topic. BIOECONOMIC MODELLING, published by Massey University PhD student Lydia Farrell in 2020 and more recent work by the team, has shown that adding hogget breeding to a North Island hill country property would increase cash operating surplus. This is if the farm is already achieving a lambing percentage of 132 with their mixed aged ewes – as long as the hoggets achieved at least 26%. This low figure not only signals how easy it can be for many farmers to be profitable with hogget breeding. It also shows that farmers can focus only on a small percentage of their overall hogget flock and aim to achieve high levels of performance in only these sheep and still be profitable. This targeted approach is likely to suit for many farmers, who are con-

cerned about the risk of putting a large proportion of their hoggets to the ram. Interestingly, the modelling also showed that for a farm achieving 132% in its mixed aged ewes, to have the same cash operating surplus as a farm which did not breed hoggets, but had a mixed age flock achieving 152 percent, hogget breeding would need to be at above 100%.

Hogget breeding can be used to increase the total number of lambs weaned on a farm each year if managed correctly. Inset: Massey University’s Paul Kenyon.

This is an unlikely scenario and many farmers would argue it would be easier to increase the performance of their mixed age ewes to 152%, than to achieve 100% lambing performance levels in hoggets. There are a few simple rules that farmers should follow in the April/May period if hogget breeding is to be successful. Hoggets can be exposed to teasers to increase the percentage successfully bred in the

first 17 days of breeding. If teasers are to be used, it should be for 17 days only, and at a minimum ratio of 1:100 – although they can still be effect at ratios of 1:200. Recent research suggests that hoggets need to be a minimum of 43 kg at breeding, for a flock with a mature ewe breeding weight of 65 kg. This minimum is an individual minimum, and not a flock average. There is also a suggestion that this minimum could be raised, and research funded by Beef

+ Lamb NZ is examining the potential impacts of heavier breeding weights. Farmers need to be brave enough to not breed those hoggets that present too light at ram introduction, as breeding light hoggets increases the risk that they will not last five to six years within the flock. Alternatively, if farmers use body condition scoring as a tool to select hoggets suitable for breeding, they need to be a minimum of 2.5. Hoggets are shy breeders, therefore an ideal

mature ram to hogget ratio is 1:50. Hogget rams are far from ideal, but if used the ratios need to be even lower. When choosing a ram, farmers need to consider the potential impact on birth weight and frame size and therefore dystocia. Sires or breeds that are likely to produce large heavy lambs at birth are not ideal. Hoggets need to gain approximately 20kg in total weight during pregnancy, which includes the weight of the placenta, foetus and associated

fluids. This is a significant amount and equates to 130 g/d total gain throughout the breeding period and in pregnancy. This allows for the hogget, herself, to grow and for the appropriate level of development for the foetus(es). Therefore, farmers need to have a plan for feeding their ewe hoggets appropriately throughout the mating and pregnancy period. This needs to have begun by April. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


New rules for on-farm procedures New animal welfare regulations come into effect on 9 May. These will affect many common procedures carried out on farms, such as tail docking and treatment of bearings. BEEF + LAMB New Zealand’s senior advisor, biosecurity and animal welfare, Will Halliday, says the Significant Surgical Procedures regulations cover a range of procedures undertaken on animals – from specialist veterinary-only operations to routine onfarm procedures. Bearings Under the new regulations, a bearing in a sheep may be treated by any competent person with the appropriate knowledge, experience, and equipment to do so. This includes treatment of a

complete prolapse of the uterus. Halliday says treatment of a bearing in a cow is a more difficult procedure, and this is reflected in the regulations. “A competent person may replace a vaginal prolapse in a cattle beast provided the animal is under the influence of pain relief provided by a veterinarian.” He says failure to comply can mean a fine of up to $3,000 for an individual and $15,000 for a body corporate. “Treatment of a pro-

Lambs under the age of six months can be docked by a competent person using either a hot iron or rubber ring and the length of the docked tail must be no shorter than the end of the caudal fold.

lapsed uterus in a cattle beast can only be undertaken by a veterinarian.” Tail-docking The new regulations stipulate that lambs under the age of six months can be docked by a competent person using either a hot iron or

rubber ring. No other methods of tail docking are permitted. Failure to comply can mean a fine of up to $1,500. “There is also a new requirement that the length of the docked tail must be no shorter than

the end of the caudal fold – the fold of skin that runs from the underside of the tail to either side of the anus,” Halliday explains. He says the new regulations brings New Zealand’s rules into line with those of our major

trading partners, which require the docked tail to entirely cover the vulva in ewe lambs and an equivalent length in males. “Failure to comply can mean an infringement fee of $500, with fines on conviction for repeat

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offences of up to $1,500 for an individual and $7,500 for a body corporate. Tail length will be assessed at the slaughter plant.” Docking lamb’s tails which are older than six months is now a veterinary-only procedure.

RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


New models mark seventh decade MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

CELEBRATING ITS 70th year – and having already released the fifth generation A Series in January – Valtra has just announced upgrades to its N and T series tractors. With new models already rolling off the production line, expect to see redesigned cabins alongside new transmission and engine features. Undoubtedly the standout in the cabin is a new right-hand A-pillar display that replaces the traditional instrument

70 YEARS IN THE MAKING ORIGINALLY NAMED Valmet, Valtra started building tractors in 1951 with the Model 15. Over the years, it evolved into a manufacturer that offered a point of difference by working very closely with its customers. Today this sees the company with its Unlimited Studio customising 1 in 3 of all tractors that come off its production line. To mark the 70th Anniversary, a specially-equipped limited edition of the T series models is being offered worldwide. Featuring a deep red, metallic paint finish, reminiscent of the original Valmets of 70 years ago, the red theme is carried into details like the stitching of the leather upholstery and the interior lighting.

cluster found behind the steering wheel. The new full colour display

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Valtra recently announced upgrades to its N and T series tractors, with new models already rolling off the production line. Inset: The interior of the new N5 Series.

section, while the lower portion is reserved for menus for the tractor and implement control. The same display can also be used on HiTech and Active models to control engine, hydraulic and transmission settings. On Versu and Direct models, it can work in conjunction with the SmartTouch system to divide tasks to the driver’s preferred location. Elsewhere in the cabin, a new steering column – with easier height and rake adjustment – supports a larger steering wheel. The forward/reverse shuttle lever has been redesigned to make directional changes easier and also incor-

porates the park brake system. The new system also makes it easier to switch between using the standard shuttle and the SmartTouch control lever. In the case of the SmartTouch models, the right-hand side of the cabin has been redesigned, allowing the seat to swivel to a greater angle. The Evolution seat also incorporates a swivelling backrest to offer better support when the operator is looking at rear-mounted implements. On the engine front, the N5 models (N135, N155 ECO or STD, N175) and the T5’s (T145, T155, T175 ECO, T195, T215, T235, T235D, T255) fea-

ture a new engine-boost mode to aid start off when in ranges B and C, which should be useful when moving heavy loads from a standstill. Gear range changes are also quicker and smoother and ideally suited to travelling at high speeds on the highway. Offering the latest technology, both the

N5 and T5 models can be specified with Valtra Guide auto-guidance, Task Doc and Section Control management options. A new Auto U-Pilot function combines with Valtra Guide to take control of the implement during headland turns, freeing up the driver for other duties.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


Rising material costs putting pressure on machinery pricing MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

THE WORLD economy is recovering, but a surge in raw material prices is pushing production costs to all-time highs. This is likely to have serious consequences for the agricultural machinery sector, which largely uses ferrous and plastic materials. The latest data on the world economy sees experts forecasting a jump in GDP from -3.9% in 2020 to +5.2% in 2021. Meanwhile, a robust recovery in world trade is expected to go from -6.9% last year to a substantial +8.6% this year. Already dealing with logistics issues – such as soaring container

A surge in raw material prices is pushing production costs to all-time highs and is likely to have serious consequences for the agricultural machinery sector.

costs and significant delays in shipping, alongside reduced production because of Covid-19 safe distancing strategies – now shortages of raw materials and their rising costs is also becoming a

major issue. The average price of materials for industry was up 22% in March compared to January 2020. This is particularly acute in the mechanical engineering sector, with price

increases of more than 40%. In Europe, steel prices reached an all-time high in March, with particularly high prices for rolled products (HRC and CRC) up 70-80% compared to pre-Covid levels.

As for plastics, Europe recorded a 45% increase in the cost of ethylene and 121% increase in the cost of polyethylene in the first quarter of the year. This looks like creat-

ing a major headache for tractor and machinery manufacturers, given – in the case of a tractor – ferrous components make up 75% of the total materials. FederUnacoma, the federation of Italian manufacturers, says in tractor manufacturing there are an average of 1,700 components – 75% of which are derived from iron (cast iron, steel, metal tubes), plus 5% of other metals such as copper. “This means the metal components account for around 80% of the total materials used in the manufacture,” it states. “Of the remainder, more than 10% is covered by plastic materials such as cabin linings, guards and covers – with a further

5% in rubber polymers such as tubes, seals and gaskets.” Speaking with New Zealand importers and distributors, they report good results from the recent regional field day events. This means that forward or indent orders with their supplier factories are in place for spring deliveries at current pricing. However, they warn that suppliers are starting to open discussions about price rises at a much earlier stage than in previous years. The narrative is around reduced availability because of lower output, component availability and increasing raw material costs. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 4, 2021


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Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in this country, producing productive and cost-effective products for the agricultural sector. This week Mark Daniel takes a closer look at Hansen Products, catching up with managing director Steve Sharpe. products – alongside our international and North Island distribution hubs are located in Whangarei, Northland. We also have a South Island distribution centre in Christchurch. Our sales team are based throughout New Zealand, we also have a market manager in Australia. Hansen currently employs 75 people. Q – What are your key products and which markets do they serve? Our key products can

Q – When was the company founded, by whom and why? The foundation of Hansen Products goes back to 1953, when Bert and Dawn Hansen were building a house. They were unable to find a reliable toilet valve on the market, so Bert set about and invented one. Q – Where are you located and how many people do you employ? The Hansen Factory, where we produce our

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be broken down into three main areas: • Fittings (polyethylene pipe fittings, threaded, compression and tank fittings. • Valves of all types including ball, check and foot, tank and trough valves. We also offer a range of other products including the Irripod portable irrigation system, washdown nozzles and a broad range of accessories. We serve a broad array of markets including the agricultural, horticultural and rural sectors, alongside the irrigation, commercial, marine and domestic arenas.

Hansen Products produces a range of fittings, valves and other products including the Irripod portable irrigation system, washdown nozzles.

Q – Are your products unique; if so, what are the four key benefits? Most certainly, our products are unique with one of the key points of difference that they are made by Kiwis for Kiwis and designed to solve Kiwi problems. They are also available in every town in New Zealand, cost effective and – importantly – easy to use. Q – Looking at an everevolving market, what changes have you made over the last few years? We’ve added more items to the range to ensure people do less rework when maintaining their water systems.

Going forward, we have several exciting projects in R & D at present, some of which we will showcase at regional and national field days over the next year. Q— What has been the company’s greatest success since its formation? Without a doubt our previous, current and ongoing success centres around listening to the customer, then designing and manufacturing innovative products that solve their problems. Q – In contrast, what has been the biggest “Oh Bugger” moment or the steepest learning curve? If we were being critical

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of ourselves, I think there may have been times when things were going well that we didn’t look forward early enough and just didn’t evolve into new products or areas quickly enough. Q – If you were approached by someone looking to start a business, what would be your three key pieces of advice? That can be summed up easily – firstly make products that people are likely to use every day, be sure those products are profitable – profit is not a dirty word. Then keep going back to your customers to confirm the products are what they want and need.

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? Our growth and the future will be focussed on being in more markets, both here in NZ and internationally. We will also retain our key point of difference by staying in NZ and employing more Kiwis and continue to develop and introduce more products into the water sector each year. We will explore and develop new ideas to get our products into customers’ hands and on to their sites more easily.

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FARMER BOOTS Lastrite’s Farmer boots are made for ü Huge 9.5kW output. ü Made in Japan since 1991. 600 500 400 300 200 100 0


ü Diesel is approx. 30-50% less than “on demand” Electricity or Gas. ü DIY Install or we can arrange. ü No wood to cut, cart or store.

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

ü No mess, NO indoor diesel odours.



ONE STOP WATER SHOP 300mm x 6 metre .......................... $410 400mm x 6 metre .......................... $515 500mm x 6 metre .......................... $690 600mm x 6 metre .......................... $925 800mm x 6 metre ........................ $1399 1000mm x 6 metre ...................... $2175 1200mm x 6 metre ...................... $3475 ALL PRICES INCLUDE G.S.T.


ü As easy to use as a light switch.

0800 379 247 www.avonheating.co.nz


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

Check out our NEW website www.mckeeplastics.co.nz

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


06 323 4181


0800 625 826 for your nearest stockist

Joiners supplied FREE with culvert pipes

SKP1660 FW


Nine New Zealanders are diagnosed with breast cancer every day, a third of which live outside the main centres. Working in partnership with Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand, Skellerup has created Pink Band gumboots to raise money and show our support for those affected by the disease, particularly in rural communities. Five dollars from every pair of boots sold will go directly to the foundation. Designed and hand-crafted in exactly the same way as the traditional Red Band, these limited-edition gumboots feature pink detailing and a pink ribbon printed on the calf. Sizes range from 3-9 for Women/Youths, and 4-13 for Men.

Pink Bands are available in store and online exclusively from Farm Source, Farmlands and PGG Wrightson.

Profile for Rural News Group

Rural News 4 May 2021  

Rural News 4 May 2021

Rural News 4 May 2021  

Rural News 4 May 2021

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