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AGRIBUSINESS

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Market outlook strong but there are challenges ahead.

New Italian telehandlers expected to be in NZ soon.

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NEWS Surf’s up again for farmers around the country. PAGE 20

TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS OCTOBER 19, 2021: ISSUE 737

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Good and bad news! PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

PRICES FOR NZ’s main primary exports could rise to new heights in the coming year, but beneath that is a layer of not so good news. That’s the essence of the ANZ’s latest Agri Focus entitled – Scaling New Heights. The report says global food prices are on the rise and that is likely to see average farm-gate returns for beef and

sheepmeat reach record levels. ANZ agricultural economist, Susan Kilsby says lamb products have continued to lift in prices in our international markets. Surprisingly, it notes that lamb flaps and forequarters, which are typically sold to China are now fetching higher prices than they did before the start of the pandemic. One of the reasons for the higher lamb prices, the report says, is that there are fewer lambs being presented to slaughter and processors are having

Bugs are cool! More than 30 Year 2 and 3 students from Southbridge School recently took their classroom environmental learning into the field. They joined a Kids Discovery PlantOut Day, supported by Te Ara Kakariki and Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Inc (ESAI). The students helped to plant 400 eco-sourced native trees along the Lee waterway on Peter Legg’s property, which is a restoration project funded by ESAI’s Tinaku project. Southbridge School teacher Simon Akers said the Plant Out day had been “inspiring” for his students who had been learning about biodiversity and sustainability in the classroom. He said the Plant-Out day worked well in practical support to the classroom learning. The day included a variety of learning opportunities, but the Bug Hunt with Matt Stanford was a particular success. The senior youth engagement advisor from ECan explained the importance of invertebrates in the ecosystem and then asked the students to search through the vegetation for specimens.

to secure what they can. The unknown is what the final lamb tally will be, but the word from B+LNZ is that about 1% more lambs will be tailed this year. There’s also good news for beef farmers with prices on the rise due to a global shortage of the product. Major beef producing countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Australia are all exporting less beef for various different reasons. There is also increasing demand in Asia and in particular China.

Kilby’s team predicts the schedule price for bull and steers in the North Island will be in the $6.15 to $6.25 range and just shy of $6 in the South Island. ANZ believes beef prices will remain at these high levels in the year ahead. As far as dairy is concerned, the report says it’s been a slow start to the season due to wet and cold weather. But ANZ believes dairy prices are trending upwards and believe the farmgate milk price will be $8.20kg/

MS. It further predicts that if commodity prices can be maintained near current levels to January 2022, it could see a further rise in the farmgate milk price. On deer, the report says the tide is turning positively for the sector with good sales of chilled venison being made in Europe. However, it agrees with the deer industry view that it will still take more time for the sector to be back to where it was 18-months ago. International prices for our main horticultural exports remain strong, says the report, but it notes that earnings will be down due to lower volumes exported. Demand for kiwifruit is said to remain ‘robust’ in market and returns will be similar to last season because of the increased volume of SunGold exported. However, labour issues haunt the sector and Rural News has been told that up to 20% of last season’s apple crop was not picked due to labour shortages. This is the bad news in the report, which states that labour shortages are plaguing the whole primary sector. It says the problem is not going away anytime soon. It quotes Zespri as saying the kiwifruit industry will be 6500 workers short this season. Most other horticultural groups are facing similar challenges and the meat industry also has a major problem. Finally, the report touches on what many people are saying is the single biggest problem – logistics. It zeros in on the problems of getting chilled lamb to market in a timely way because it has a much shorter shelf life.


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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

NEWS 3 ISSUE 737

www.ruralnews.co.nz

NZ seeks support for trade deals PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

NEWS ������������������������������������� 1-23 MARKETS ������������������������� 24-25 HOUND, EDNA ���������������������� 26 CONTACTS ����������������������������� 26 OPINION ��������������������������� 26-29 AGRIBUSINESS ��������������� 30-31 MANAGEMENT ���������������32-35 ANIMAL HEALTH ������������36-37 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS ����������������������� 38-41 RURAL TRADER ������������� 42-43

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

TRADE AND Export Minister Damien O’Connor says he’s had positive discussions with top EU trade politicians and officials on his trip to Europe. He claims the FTAs with both the UK and EU are progressing well – but are still not finalised. Speaking to Rural News from Italy last week, where he was attending an APEC meeting, O’Connor says he’s had positive discussions throughout his visit. While he was in Ireland for less than 24 hours, he met the country’s deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar – with the EU FTA being one of the key topics. O’Connor says he was seeking Ireland’s support for a favourable FTA with the EU. “There are sensitive issues and some Irish farmers may see us as direct competitors,” he told Rural News. “But there is a wide understanding in Ireland about the value of having a fair trading partner like NZ operating with the same high standards and values of production systems behind them. They have been good support-

Damien O’Connor and EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.

ers of us and we just want them to continue to do that.” O’Connor says he pointed out that both countries export to the UK and other parts of the world and notes that it would not be uncommon to see Irish and NZ products alongside each other in supermarkets. “It was a very valuable set of meetings where we highlighted the links

between our two countries and the importance of us getting trade deal with the EU and that we would work alongside Ireland and not against it,” he says. After Dublin, O’Connor headed to Brussels to meet with one of the most important EU officials in terms of an FTA, Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis. He described the meet-

ing as being useful at a critical time when some of the “sensitive issues” – meaning agriculture – were being discussed. O’Connor claims “good progress” is being made in the negotiations. Earlier he was in Paris for a meeting of OECD trade and finance ministers and used that opportunity to the raise the FTA issues with relevant politicians and officials. One of these was French Trade Minister, Franck Riester. “Again, we talked through some of the sensitive issues and getting their support for the inclusion of NZ into a trade agreement with the EU,” O’Connor added. “The feedback has generally been very positive, but we are mindful that in the end it’s the detail around sensitive issues for both sides that is challenging.” There was no stopover in London to meet with the new UK trade secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan to discuss NZ’s trade talks. The pair were expected to meet at the G20 APEC meeting in Italy. O’Connor says the FTA talks with the UK are still “progressing”. However, questions are being asked in NZ why it’s taking so long.

RSE flights ramp up

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

SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

QUARANTINE FREE flights, bringing much-needed Pacific Island workers to New Zealand, are being ramped up. This follows the arrival of two flights from Vanuatu in the past two weeks. The first flight, carrying 153 Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers, landed in Christchurch on October 4. Arrivals were mostly for

the Otago region. Another flight from Vanuatu landed in Auckland last week, bringing workers mostly for orchards in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. A third flight carrying Samoan workers was scheduled to arrive in Auckland last weekend. New Zealand Apples and Pears chief executive Alan Pollard says the Samoan workers will be bound for mostly Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Nelson. “The workers will be sup-

porting industries across the growing regions,” Pollard told Rural News. “The first flights have gone well, and preparation is well advanced for further flights at scale from November.” The Government has given the agricultural sector the green light to bring in Pacific Island workers under a quarantine free arrangement. People arriving under the scheme must meet strict health conditions, including being vaccinated with at

least one dose pre-departure, the completion of a period of self-isolation on arrival, and returning two negative Covid tests, on Day 0 and Day 5. Employers are expected to provide the self-isolation facilities. If workers have only received one dose of the vaccine, they are expected to complete their vaccination after they arrive in New Zealand. The scheme is open to workers from Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga at this stage.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

4 NEWS

The ‘Show’ won’t go on! NIGEL MALTHUS

CANCELLING THE New Zealand Agricultural (Canterbury A&P) Show for the second consecutive year because of Covid is devastating to many people. Immediate past president and committee member Chris Herbert says it is the country’s largest A&P show and a traditional highlight of the Canterbury calendar. Around 100,000 people normally attend the show. Herbert says he worries that it may begin to lose the support of the public. AGRICULTURAL AND royal shows acro ss mulating “We don’t Australia received a much needed fund ing lifeline and enjoywant people of A$25 million from the Governme nt. ing the to find other There are 580 ag shows held in Aust ralia each show as things to year, providing a significant contribut ion of over $1 they nordo and billion to the Australian economy. Arou nd 6 million mally do,” not come people attend an ag show each year . Mitchell to Christ“The financial support announced by the said. church Show Australian Government will enable ag shows to In Week,” he plan and implement shows in 2022 and beyond,” August, the told Rural Agricultural Shows Australia chair Rob Wilson Christchurch News. said. “The funding will give local com munities, City CounHerbert show societies and stakeholders the confidence cil approved says the to proceed with their shows for next year.” a $1 million show means loan to the a lot of difA&P Assotion last week, saying the ferent things to a ciation in case of cancelGovernment’s vaccine lot of different people. certificate plans for major lation and Mitchell says “It’s a social catch up, it will now have to draw events will be too late for a lot of stud breeders down some of that loan to save the show. It was it’s the shop window for to cover incurred costs. to have been held from their breeding, showing There will be a series off what they’re doing, for November 10 to 12. of smaller events and “We’re hugely disapothers it’s just a hobby. competitions, but with no And that’s just the exhibi- pointed but we have no public attendance. option, given that there’s tors and the people that Mitchell says they no indication when we are involved in it.” will also further develop A&P Association board will come out of Alert last year’s “highly sucLevel 2. We simply can’t chair Stewart Mitchell cessful” online content, have large crowds accuannounced the cancella-

Aussie shows get $25m Govt relief

Not this year! Cattle fitter Brett Barclay is all concentration as he prepares an animal for the dairy ring on the first day of the 2018 New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch.

which attracted 2.3 million views, allowing the show to “still be seen and be relevant.” Rangiora Lowline cattle breeders Philip and Kay Worthington are hoping the online show can be developed into a more comprehensive event with social media presence. Philip Worthington agrees there is a danger of losing the public. “And that’s why we’re looking at trying to get a bit more onto social media, to try and pull them back in,” he told Rural News. “It is true that we run the risk of just dropping them off altogether, which we don’t want to happen.” Worthington says last year’s one-day cattle event – with exhibitors and handlers only and no

GETTING YOUNG PEOPLE SHOW READY FOR MORE than a decade, the Worthingtons have collaborated with Rangiora High School to offer on-farm training in cattle safety, breaking-in, handling, showing and judging. The students help prepare and parade their Lowline cattle as well as competing themselves in handling and judging classes. “We’ll have about 14 young people in the Young Handlers and Herdspersons and Judges classes,” Worthington told

Rural News. “We have been able to work it so that our judge on the day will actually hold a small tutorial afterwards to try and freshen them up on things she thinks they’re a bit light on.” He adds that it’s a learning experience is much as anything else. “But we had actually been counting on this to get our animals ready to go to the Canterbury Show. Because if they get a show under their belt beforehand those yearlings are a lot more manageable.”

cancel, including the Northern A&P show, which was to have been held at Rangiora at Labour Weekend. Warrick James, who was the Canterbury show president in 2016, agrees that it was “just too risky” to proceed with this year’s show. However, believes the public

public attendance – was “actually quite successful.” But he says it was also very costly because of the need for exhibitors and animals to travel and stay one or two nights at the Canterbury Agricultural Park. Meanwhile, other shows around the country have also had to

will continue to support the show when it returns. “Yes it’s a concern but it might work the other way – they may say, ‘oh gosh we haven’t been to a show for a year or two’,” he told Rural News. “When we do have a show it’ll probably be a damn good one, I would think.”

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

NEWS 5

Deer sector looks to bounce back from Covid low PETER BURKE

LOGISTICS AND MARKET CHALLENGES

peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

NEW PRODUCTS, new markets and a lot of hard work look set to help the NZ deer industry recover from the hit it took at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Deer Industry NZ chief executive Innes Moffat says the industry is quietly confident about the future knowing it has a good product, access to markets and an expanding consumer base. He says this will see the price of venison recover next year. But Moffat concedes that the past 18 months have been very challenging for the industry, which prior to Covid had been doing very well. He says it was one of the most stable primary sectors until it was hit by the Covid whammy, which saw overseas markets literally disappear overnight. He says before that the industry was capturing a greater share of the USA market and beginning to make forays into China. Moffat says most of that growth was in the food service sector, which offered superior returns to farmers. “Unfortunately, with

Deer Industry NZ is expecting venison prices to recover next year.

Covid, two thirds of our outlets – namely restaurants and events catering – shut down and we were just left retail. “The price of venison dropped pretty quickly and importers cancelled orders. In March, April and May last year, exports dropped to very low levels,” he told Rural News. Moffat says this meant the marketing companies had to innovate and find new products and markets to align with cus-

tomer needs, especially as more countries open up. He says they have been successful in this, getting chilled meat into retail in North America and a bit of a focus on retail items for China. They have also been working on new products to suit Chinese cuisine. “The companies have developed some new packaging materials and new items are now securing shelf space in retail. For example, Silver Fern Farms – which has been

developing retail items for North America – is now selling some of those items in more than 800 stores across the USA. “So that’s from a standing start, where last year they didn’t have anything. They have also been developing their online offering, so more sales by third party websites; also more of the home meal delivery service.” But Moffat says while gains are being made, it is simply not possible to

turn things around overnight. He says there are issues in Europe with a hangover of frozen venison left over from last season depressing prices. “It is our expectation that we will see that backlog consumed this year, which means that we will be starting 2022 in a much better position than 2021. Along with the other changes we are doing, we are confident we will be stronger in 2022 than we were a year ago.”

THE DEER industry, like most other NZ primary sectors, is being badly hit by shipping delays and rapidly rising freight costs. Moffat says shipping delays are having a real impact on the ability to get high value, chilled product to overseas markets. He says the season for sending chilled venison runs out at the end of this month, but the window for shipping this product has been cut by a week to allow for the inevitable shipping delays. “Normally you would shift to airfreight and there is good demand for airfreight product, but air freight rates have trebled and also there is a lack of space, which is extremely frustrating for us,” he told Rural News. “There is good demand there for chilled venison but we can’t get as much chilled venison into the market as we would like.” Back on the land, Moffat says most deer farmers are holding their nerve, staying, and hoping that things will improve. The deer schedule is sitting at $7.40 per kg, and he says while it may drop slightly, it is unlikely to hit the low of last season when it dropped below $6.00. However, like other farmers deer producers’ input costs such as fuel and fertiliser are rapidly going up. Moffat says much of the news for deer farmers in the past 18 months has not been good, but he says while a few farmers are exiting the industry or reducing their hind numbers, most are prepared to stay in the game. He knows of some deer farmers who are actually expanding their operations in the expectation that things will get better and they can take advantage of this. “We are assuring our farmers that as our markets reopen, the people who were buying our venison and enjoying this before Covid are still there and they are going to be coming back and buying it again and enjoying it.”

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

6 NEWS

Red tape agitates farmers PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

FARMERS ARE agitated at what’s confronting them in the environmental space. That’s the view of Silver Fern Farms (SFF) chief executive Simon Limmer and one of the

take-home messages from three virtual roadshows the company recently ran. During the round of SFF shareholder workshops, farmers were given the opportunity to voice their concerns and Limmer says top of the list was a whole variety of issues around climate

change. He told Rural News the public perception of farming has been challenged in recent years by the new objectives around environmental objectives of the present Government. He says the recent Groundswell protests showed the deep

concern that farmers and the rural community have and the uncertainty it is creating. “Farmers are feeling uncomfortable about that and think there is gap between where the policies are and realities of where farmers are at – and it’s a case of clos-

ing that gap,” Limmer explains. “Farmers are concerned about the expectations being placed on them and trying to find pragmatic ways of dealing with what they are being confronted with.” Limmer says he’s never met a farmer yet Simon Limmer says recent Groundswell protests showed the deep concern that farmers and the rural community have around environmental objectives of the present Government.

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members what the future holds for their industry. But Covid forced the company to conduct virtual meetings. Limmer says, in terms of the market in the coming year, things are looking pretty good. Although the caveat on that is a dramatic rise in freight costs, which could impact on farmgate returns. He says there is always debate around what is and isn’t ‘premium’ and what the future might hold. “We will continue to execute on our strategy to produce quality NZ products that will have a place on consumers plates for a long time to come.”

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who deliberately sets out to damage his or her environment, because ultimately they depend on that environment for their livelihood. He says the reality is that climate change is going to impact on the primary sector, but farmers are questioning how they can meet the new environmental rules while at the same time focusing on the other government objective of wanting the primary sector to be NZ’s economic saviour. Normally, SFF’s shareholder workshops are held at venues around the country where farmers can get to ask company executives and board

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WHILE SFF were busy holding their virtual shareholder meetings, the industry good organisation B+LNZ was working its way around the country – with the exception of regions in Level 3 lockdowns. Beef+Lamb NZ recently held a series of workshops on climate change – with around 50 held attracting more than 1500 farmers. B+LNZ’s North Island general manager Corina Jordan says the workshops took a whole-of-farm systems approach, with the first step helping farmers understand how actions on farm result in improvements in environmental performance. This includes sustainable management of GHGs, animal wellbeing and increasing on-farm performance. Jordan says the workshops are practical and add value to the farming business. “Farmers need to understand their own ‘why’ in terms of climate response, so it really means something to them,” she told Rural News. “Whether that’s because they want to build a more resilient business, understand the implications of future policy on-farm, or whether they want to unlock market opportunities and meet the expectations of consumers.” Jordan says farmers left the workshops knowing their numbers, including carbon sequestration opportunities, and with a written plan that will future-proof their farming business. She claims what farmers learn in the workshops will help them contribute to the sector’s He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector action partnership milestones. This means by the end of this year, 25% of sheep and beef farmers will know their annual total on-farm emissions and have a written plan to manage their emissions.


RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

NEWS 7

Follow rules or we won’t pick up your milk – Fonterra SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

BE COMPLIANT with regulations or your milk won’t be picked up – that’s Fonterra’s message to its suppliers. The co-operative says its terms and conditions of supply are designed to ensure local environments and communities are protected for generations to come. “So, it’s important that all suppliers play their part,” group director Farm Source Richard Allen told Rural News. His comments follow a High Court ruling that rejected a bid by Marlborough farmer Philip Woolley to claim $2 million from the co-op for uncollected milk that he had to dump in 2014. Woolley was seeking $1.8m from Fonterra to cover the loss of milk, sharemilker costs and an enquiry to find out how much Fonterra should pay towards the $3.4m cost of receivership. In 2014, Woolley put his company Awarua Farm Limited into voluntary receivership after racking up nearly $200,000 in legal fees, upgrading the effluent ponds and getting little income from the 2014 dairy season. The receivership ended in Sept 2016 with $274,688 repaid to unsecured creditors. Justice Andru Isac ruled that Fonterra was not unreasonable in refusing to collect milk from Woolley’s farm. He also ruled that Fonterra’s notice suspending milk collection was properly issued and effective. Woolley’s “unlawful conduct” and failing to meet Environment Court’s enforcement orders resulted in his losses, Justice Isac ruled.

Fonterra’s Richard Allen says it’s important that all suppliers play their part.

Allen says the co-operative is pleased with the outcome of the case. “Strong healthy local environments and communities are the foundation for sustainable, profitable dairy farming,” he told Rural News. “As part of ensuring we’re creating a sustainable future for our co-operative, our farmers and our communities, Fonterra reserves a right to suspend

collection of milk from farms that do not meet the extensive environmental and other compliance standards agreed to in our terms and conditions of supply.” Woolley, who owned two other farms, had several run-ins with the Marlborough District Council (MDC) with his obligations under the Resource Management Act, resulting in several

prosecutions for effluent management breaches. By 2011, Fonterra was coming under pressure to deal with Woolley as media reports emerged about his offending. On July 30, 2011, Fonterra sent a letter reminding him that if his farm effluent systems didn’t comply with council regulations or the co-operative’s sustainability requirements, then

milk collection would stop. Over the next two years, council and Fonterra staff tried unsuccessfully to deal with Woolley to rectify effluent management issues. In August 2013, the Environment Court found Woolley in breach of his resource consent, pointing out that it was “one of the most serious cases” brought to its attention. He was banned from milking cows on Glenmae Farm unless he got an engineer’s certificate approving his effluent pond was well-functioning. In July 2014, Woolley resumed milking cows at the property in breach of the court enforcement order obtained by MDC. This prompted MDC to write to the then Fonterra chief executive threatening legal action if milk was collected from the farm. By the end of August 2014, up to 20,000 litres of milk was being dumped every day into pond 1 at Glenmae, which had become a putrescent problem of its own. Around this time the number of cows on the property peaked at about 1200. Woolley alleged Fonterra was in breach of the supply contract by refusing to collect milk from Glenmae in the 2014-15 season. Woolley claims that he complied with the terms of the enforcement order on 5 September 2014, when he obtained an engineer’s certificate. He says that after that date Fonterra was not entitled to maintain its suspension of milk collection and that it exercised its contractual discretion to do so unreasonably. However, Justice Isac disagreed. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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MPI Update

Vaccine will ‘shield’ farm business from virus Canterbury dairy farmers Dinuka and Nadeeka Gamage believe vaccination against Covid-19 is vital to help protect their family, staff and business. The 2021 Canterbury/North Otago Share Farmers of the Year contract milk 980 cows for Dairy Holdings Ltd at Ealing near Ashburton, where they employ three full-time staff. “Getting vaccinated is important, especially for rural communities. The vaccine is part of our plan to shield our business from the virus,” Dinuka said. “All five of us, and our 15-year-old son, have had the first dose of the vaccine. We’re booked in to have our second dose this month.”

The Gamage’s are from Sri Lanka and their staff come from India and Argentina. Until the borders reopen, they remain cut off from their whānau. “We’re like many people working in New Zealand’s primary sector, we haven’t seen our families overseas for a long time,” Dinuka said.

“The more people we can get fully vaccinated, the sooner borders will hopefully reopen to allow travel and help ease workforce issues.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Federated Farmers. The industry organisation is encouraging all farmers to support their staff to get vaccinated. “I know farmers have been flat tack with calving and lambing, and now mating is starting on dairy farms. But there’s nothing more important than the health of your family, your staff and their families,” said Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis.

Karen Morris.

“If your nearest urban centre has a walk-in vaccination centre, or a GP clinic is willing to take a shortnotice booking, you might even send in a staff member with a few dollars to pick up a morning or afternoon tea shout for the rest of the team.” Lockdowns and limits on gathering sizes have forced the cancellation of events such as field days, discussion groups, sporting fixtures and A&P shows. “We all need social connections. In rural New Zealand we often work on

Dinuka and Nadeeka Gamage with sons Anu (15) and Thejan (10) on their dairy farm in Canterbury. our own or within small teams, more so now with current staff shortages, so

social and networking opportunities are a lifeline for our mental health and wellbeing,” said the president of Rural Women New Zealand Gill Naylor.

“High vaccination rates are one of the tools that will enable restrictions to be eased.” The primary sector’s largest employers have been part of workplace pilots to make it easier for workers to be vaccinated. Dairy co-operative Fonterra employs more than 12,000 people across its New Zealand manufacturing sites, distribution centres, offices and Farm Source stores. “We’ve administered more than 7,500 vaccines to our employees,” said Fonterra’s director of global quality and safety Greg McCollough in early October.

Dinuka and Nadeeka Gamage were the 2021 Canterbury/North Otago Share Farmers of the Year.

“Vaccinations were available on-site at most of our workplaces. Where there were too few employees at any one office or site, those people were given time to go to workplaces where the vaccination clinics were happening.”

“We made it as easy as possible for people who work on our sites to have vaccinations.” The dairy co-op’s vaccination drive is part of sector-wide efforts to prevent disruptions during the busy spring period, when milk production peaks.

Getting your vaccine

Everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand aged 12 years and over can book their free Covid-19 vaccine now. It doesn’t matter what your visa or citizenship status is. Protect yourself, your whānau, and your community. To find out more about getting a Covid-19 vaccination visit www.bookmyvaccine.co.nz

“Keeping milk collection and processing going is crucial for our farmers, the welfare of animals and to continue getting milk on the table for New Zealanders,” Mr McCollough said. The meat processing industry is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing

sector and directly employs more than 25,000 people. As summer looms on the horizon, it’s vital the sector’s processing capacity isn’t affected by positive cases of Covid-19. Some processors have offered on-site vaccinations. In September, Alliance Group’s Smithfield plant in Timaru hosted night clinics, in partnership with Arowhenua Whānau Services (AWS), as part of its ongoing drive to provide easy access to Covid-19 vaccinations for staff. The plant’s vaccination support programme began in June when it hosted a trial clinic for South Canterbury District Health Board (DHB). “Our focus has been on making it as easy as possible for all of our people to get the vaccine. These night clinics provide easy access to vaccinations for workers who might usually be asleep during normal clinic or GP hours,” said the Alliance Group’s Smithfield plant manager Karen Morris. High vaccination rates will enable horticulture businesses to operate efficiently again and source workers to harvest crops. “We’re approaching the busy summer season where our workforce doubles to harvest strawberries and seasonal vegetables. High vaccination rates will ensure people can move freely to where they are needed to pick crops,” said the general manager of Vegetables New Zealand Antony Heywood. • Vaccinations are free and one of the most powerful tools against Covid-19. More information is available at www.covid19.govt.nz


www.mpi.govt.nz | PH 0800 008 333 |

Let’s keep the supply chain humming by getting vaccinated BY MILES HURRELL

farmer owners’ milk.

Our dairy co-operative stretches the length and breadth of New Zealand, with offices, manufacturing sites and distribution centres from Whangarei to Invercargill.

We’ve administered more than 7,500 vaccinations through our workplace vaccination programme and we’re really pleased to see the uptake.

Many of these sites are based in rural communities and that’s a really big reason we partnered with the Ministry of Health to roll out a workplace vaccination programme.

Covid-19 means extra precautions for our employees, including wearing PPE, making sure shift changeovers are done without contact, keeping distance from colleagues and not mixing in staff canteens and the like.

Having our employees vaccinated is one of the ways we can protect our people and operations from Covid-19 and ensure we can keep collecting and processing our

This is really restrictive for our people, but they know their work is critical to the

New Zealand economy and our customers, and that’s a big part of why they are prepared to go the extra mile to get our milk processed and off to our markets.

wider communities safe.

That said, the more people who get vaccinated across New Zealand, the sooner we can eventually ease those restrictions on our people.

Rural communities will know that keeping our milk collection and processing going is crucial for our farmers, the welfare of our animals, the economy and to getting milk on the table for New Zealanders. Vaccination is a really important part of keeping this supply chain humming.

The health and wellbeing of people is important to us and we know initiatives like vaccinations have an exponential effect – by protecting our employees, we’re also helping to keep their families, friends and the

In turn, as the people in the community get vaccinated, they’re helping to protect each other including our employees.

• Miles Hurrell is the chief executive of Fonterra.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell getting his jab.

Nadine Tunley MPI director-general Ray Smith with his wife Ilona and their sons.

Family comes first

BY RAY SMITH

For those yet to be vaccinated, please take the opportunity to do so - for the sake of your family, friends, communities and businesses. In the past few years my wife and I experienced some health problems. Thankfully we are now both very well, but it was important for both of us to get the vaccine.

through issues.

time to go and get vaccinated.

At the core of that work has been keeping people safe and preventing the spread of Covid-19. I’m proud of what we’ve done together.

I’ve heard many stories of farmers, growers and businesses making special arrangements for their workers. It is great to see people prioritising protecting their staff and ‘I WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE communities.

THE MANY FARMERS, GROWERS

I know that operating a business brings its own challenges and it can NEW ZEALAND WHO’VE BEEN ALLOWING STAFF TIME TO GO take time to travel and get a vaccine in some We also have two AND GET VACCINATED.’ locations, but initiatives young children. Getting are under way to ensure vaccinated was a simple Now, as the Delta variant raises step to help keep them safe. everyone gets an opportunity new challenges, it’s vital we Since Covid-19 arrived here continue to protect people in that suits them. last year, I’ve seen just how rural New Zealand and across So, if you see a pop-up vaccine much hard work the primary the primary sector. site at your local Farmlands or sector has put in to keep a mobile vaccine bus please operating and provide food That means a big push to get take the chance to provide for Kiwis and our overseas as many people vaccinated as protection to yourself and your possible. consumers. family. The Ministry for Primary I want to acknowledge the Industries continues to work many farmers, growers and • Ray Smith is the directorclosely with people across businesses across New Zealand general of the Ministry for the sector to manage our way who’ve been allowing staff Primary Industries.

AND BUSINESSES ACROSS

Getting the jab is good for NZ and good for business BY NADINE TUNLEY

My advice to all New Zealanders is simple. Get vaccinated so we can conquer Covid-19, and get New Zealand moving again.

The horticulture industry is proud of the way that it continued to grow fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables for New Zealand’s supermarket shelves during the lockdowns. We did this while safeguarding the health of workers and the rest of New Zealand through stringent health and safety measures.

Growers saw the Government’s Covid protocols as minimum requirements. They were fully aware of the privilege horticulture had been afforded to keep operating, even though the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables to our supermarkets is obviously an essential service.

Growers are viewing the need for as many New Zealanders as possible to get vaccinated against Covid in a similar light. Many growers are liaising with health authorities to set up pop up vaccination centres to make it easy for their workers to get vaccinated. This approach is proving successful with some of the bigger horticulture employers reporting vaccination rates of up to 95 per cent, fully vaccinated.

This speaks to the horticulture industry’s commitment to health and wellbeing, through the world class fruit and vegetables that are grown in New Zealand. Covid has created new challenges and those challenges are here to stay. Our industry is looking to its track record of innovation and food safety for ways to ensure the industry’s ongoing success,

in the Covid affected world. That success is also important to the success of New Zealand and the continued health of the country’s economy. Demand for New Zealand’s fruit and vegetables, here and overseas, has increased during Covid. I am sure that being able to meet that demand has led to people in our industry being quick to get vaccinated, as well as adhere to the new health and safety requirements that are also here to stay. The world is not through Covid yet but there are some positive signs, the vaccine being the chief one. Having as high as possible vaccination rates will help the world and New Zealand conquer Covid and get moving again. • Nadine Tunley is the chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand.


RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

10 NEWS

Ag programme goes gangbusters MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

WITH ALL sectors of agriculture and horticulture screaming out for staff, tertiary establishments are reporting higher levels of interest, suggesting this career pathway is making strides in our secondary schools. The Agri-Business in Schools Project began in 2013 when it was developed at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton. From here, it has gone on to be taught in 97 schools throughout New Zealand. The original St Paul’s project set out to encourage secondary students to consider pathways into the primary sector. It created a great deal of interest – so much so that in 2014 the course attracted 44 students in Years 12 and 13 (15-16 and 16-17 year-olds). Aiming to develop the programme further, St Pauls formed an advisory group made up of representatives from the primary sector. This has gone on to meet twice yearly to help the school understand industry topics and trends to ensure the course stays relevant and sector driven. The school has also gone on to form relationships with industry organisations such as Dairy NZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, AGMARDT, the Meat Industries Association and Rabobank – to name a few. As the course attracted more students, the Government and the Ministry of Education (MoE) were successfully lobbied to create an Agribusiness Trial programme. This was initially established at 12 schools throughout NZ – with the content for the course being accepted as achievement standards at NCEA Levels 1 and 2. This is particularly noteworthy, given that most achievement standards and NCEA course work is normally written by the MoE. Now in its eighth year, the Agribusiness Programme continues to garner strong interest. Last year, 3057 students took part nationwide. The programme also attracted major interest from business partners like BNZ, Greenlea Meats, Waikato Milking Systems and Tetra Pak – helping with curriculum development. Over the past four years, 131 or 27.3% of NZ’s secondary schools have taught Agribusiness Achievement Standards. These are gained from students showing a good understanding of a topic by justifying, analysing, comparing, contrasting, recommending and reasoning. At the same time, they are also expected to have

a higher order of thinking to show their competency, skills and knowledge within academicbased subjects. Ironically, student numbers may be being held back by the shortage of agricultural and horticultural teachers currently available in NZ. It is also hampered by the financial implications placed on smaller schools, which have a limited number of potential students – meaning the agribusiness course is not offered. Around 60% of the schools teaching the subject are urban based, while the other 40% are rural. St Paul’s Collegiate reports around 51% of its students undertaking the Agribusiness Programme continue their primary industry journey at a tertiary level. Another 6% move onto ‘hands on’ on-farm roles. Kerry Allen, St Paul’s agribusiness curriculum director, is working with the Tertiary Commission and schools offering the programme to better understand students’ progression paths and to see what impact the course has on the primary sector, which is crying out for new entrants.

TAKING NZ TO THE WORLD ONE SUCCESS story from the Agribusiness Programme is Maggie Powell. She came to New Zealand from the high rises of Hong Kong to Auckland as a four-year-old when her parents moved here. Powell now works for an industry taking its products to the world – including Hong Kong and mainland China – as part of the Silver Fern Farms Graduate Career Programme. Not having a background in agriculture, she was introduced to the industry after studying Agribusiness from Year 12 at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton. “I had always dreamed of being a doctor or a lawyer but then I discovered chemistry wasn’t my strong point,” she explains. “Agribusiness wasn’t an obvious choice for me, but through the course, something clicked and I discovered the vast opportunities offered by the industry. “Being raised in the city I think you often learn all the negative things about the agriculture industry. I was totally oblivious to it; I don’t think I could have told you how milk was made.” After graduating from high school, she went on to study at Massey in Palmerston North, and did a Bachelor of Agri-commerce, majoring in International Business. Powell started her role on the Graduate Career Programme at Silver Fern Farms in 2021. Currently based in Dunedin in the marketing team, with a focus on brand development for New Zealand and global markets, her role in the Graduate Career Programme will see her gain experience in a variety of roles. “I think it will be a really interesting industry over the next few years. I’m already learning so much,” she adds. “My job involves looking at trends in the market and positioning products as red meat that’s good for you.” Where once agriculture may have once been considered a course with easy credits, Powell says it is now attracting students that are top in class in business subjects and top in class in science.

Former St Paul’s Collegiate School agribusiness programme graduate Maggie Powell is now working in marketing for Silver Fern Farms.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

NEWS 11

No end in sight to shipping delays PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

IT’S HARD to say how long the present shipping delays will last, according to one of the largest shipping lines servicing the country. Hamburg Sud’s NZ general manager Simon Edwards told Rural News that the global supply chain is a complex system at the best of times, which is being compounded by the Covid crisis. He says there are multiple factors contrib-

identified as a major one by NZ exporters. “We launched the FERN service back in March, which adds significant flexibility to our network and strengthens our product to and from Nelson and Timaru,” he explains. “In addition, on the SENZ service, connecting New Zealand to South East Asia, we have added one vessel to the rotation to increase schedule buffers to absorb some of the schedule delays.” Edwards says his ship-

“As well as investing in increasing our container pool, we have also invested in ‘extra loaders’ both to evacuate low grade containers from Ports of Auckland and alleviate depot congestion.” uting to shipping delays – including congestion at the Ports of Auckland and strikes in Australia. Edwards says all these factors are affecting the shipment of NZ primary products to world markets. He adds that Hamburg Sud is fully committed to servicing the NZ market and in the past nine months has increased the number of its vessels calling at our ports to alleviate some of the supply chain congestion. “As well as investing in increasing our container pool, we have also invested in ‘extra loaders’ both to evacuate low grade containers from Ports of Auckland and alleviate depot congestion,” he told Rural News. “We have also been positioning empty reefer and food grade quality containers into the country to support our agricultural exports.” Edwards says Hamburg Sud is well aware of NZ’s dependency on shipping to get its primary exports to key markets in a timely manner. He says they’ve made significant investments in new ships to increase the number of containers in circulation – an issue that has been

ping line will continue to focus on communication with their customers to keep them informed about the current supply chain situation, both in New Zealand and in the Asia Pacific region. He says they have also changed the way they implement vessel contingency plans with increased lead time and a higher focus on structural contingencies to empower customers and enable them to improve their supply chain planning and cargo flows. There has been much talk in the primary sector about rising freight costs. Edwards says these are highly dependent on the supply and demand in their industry, like many others, and this has always been the case over the years. “As a shipping line we are also incurring additional operational costs as a result of contingencies and schedule delays, resulting in increased bunker spend to recover delays, significant increase in chartering cost for additional vessels and additional costs to enable alternative cargo plans,” he adds. “We have seen an increase in the spot rates due to the neg-

ative impact on space availability coupled with the strong demand.” Edwards says it’s hard to predict how long the disruptions will continue, given the complexity of

the global supply system. But says – based on the current market dynamics and continued impact from Covid-19 – he expects the current situation to last well into 2022.

Hamburg Sud’s NZ general manager Simon Edwards.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

12 NEWS

No panacea for rural health JESSICA MARSHALL jessica@ruralnews.co.nz

AN INCREASE in the number of resident visas granted to health work-

ers may not be enough to fill the gap in the rural sector. A government announcement made last month that as many

as 5000 migrant health workers could be granted residency under the new 2021 Resident Visa scheme was seen as something that will pro-

vide certainty. However, some believe that the visa scheme won’t do enough to fill an already growing gap. Dr Grant David-

Chief executive of the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network Grant Davidson.

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son, chief executive of the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network (NZRGPN), says the visa has created an opportunity to keep current locum doctors in the country where we need them. “Skilled people are already here; they want to stay here. The health sector desperately needs them, and we are pleased that it is now an option for them,” he told Rural News. However, while Davidson believes the residency visa is a step forward, he believes it does not solve the issue of a vastly understaffed rural health workforce. “Ideally, we need to train more local doctors and nurses for New Zealand,” he says. “Without enough local GPs, we rely on overseas locums to fill the gaps in our rural health workforce, and we need to be able to bring more locums in easily.” Dr Samantha Murton, president of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) says that is not as simple as that. She says there are only two medical schools which offer courses in rural general practice: the University of Auckland and the University of Otago. “The Otago one has a year in fifth year that you can spend in rural [areas] and that takes 20 or more

students of the 200-300 students. That’s less than 10% and that’s the only way that you get a decent amount of time in general practice training during your training,” Murton told Rural News. Another issue, raised in the Workforce Survey Data released in March this year, is that approximately 15% of doctors intend to retire in one or two years. Murton says to answer this issue 300 or more GPs will have to be trained every year. However, she says that doesn’t guarantee the problem will be solved. She says if there was a 50/50 gendered split among doctors – 50% male, 50% female – there would still be issues when the female doctors had children and needed to go on maternity leave. “If you want to have a family, then as a female it’s actually your job to carry that child and to take them home and to breastfeed them, which is the ideal… if you’re male, you have a wife that’s able to do that, that’s good,” Murton told Rural News. She says that in rural areas, female doctors with families are doing double jobs on top of what can be an already demanding workload. “That makes it very tricky for women to feel like rural is doable when there’s not a lot of support around.”

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

14 NEWS

Milk price on the rise SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

THE COUNTRY’S second largest milk processor is lifting two of its forecast milk price settlements on the back of rising whole milk powder prices. Open Country Dairy suppliers will now get

$8.10 to $8.40/kgMS for milk supplied between June and September – a 30c lift from the previous month’s forecast. For milk supplied in October and November, OCD suppliers can expect a milk price in the range of $7.90 to $8.20/kgMS – a lift of 20c. OCD suppliers get an

“New Zealand production has started the season on the back foot.” advance rate every month and are paid in full four times during the year. Between June and September, they have received an advance rate

ranging between $5.30 to $5.45/kgMS with full payment made next month. OCD chief executive Steve Koekemoer told suppliers that the

OCD chief executive Steve Koekemoer.

business is performing extremely well and expects the company to once again exceed its forecast payouts. “We have made gains with foreign exchange rate and we got the benefit of the recent upswing in WMP prices with some of our sales contracts linked to market pricing. “The upside will continue as we move through the peak.” This month’s first Global Dairy Trade auction recorded a flat result after several rise in prices. WMP prices, used as a benchmark to set the farmgate milk price, have lifted by around 5% since August and remain well above long-run averages. Koekemoer notes that while the most recent GDT results were reasonably flat, it’s encouraging to see Southeast Asia and the Middle East continuing to pick up the China slack. “With milk supply in NZ falling below prior years’ numbers in August, I anticipate prices to hold relatively steady as we move through the peak.” His sentiment is shared by banks, with Westpac upgrading its 2021-22 farmgate milk price forecast by 75 cents to $8.50/kgMS. If achieved, this would be a record high, surpassing the previous record of $8.40/kgMS set back in 2013-14. Meanwhile, Fonterra is sticking with a wide ranging milk price forecast – between $7.25 and $8.75/ kgMS with a midpoint of $8. Westpac senior agri economist Nathan Penny says the key catalyst for the forecast revision is the significant downgrade to NZ’s production forecast for the season. “We now expect New Zealand production to fall this season, and along with soft production in

other key dairy producers, we expect weak global supply to underpin global dairy prices at or around current high levels for at least the rest of year.” He expects NZ milk production to fall by 1% compared to last season, a change from its previous prediction of a 1% rise. “New Zealand production has started the season on the back foot,” says Penny. ANZ is also thinking along similar lines. Last week it revised up its farmgate milk price by 50c to $8.20/kgMS. Agricultural economist Susan Kilsby says the NZ dollar has not appreciated quite as quickly as initially expected, and a relatively large portion of currency requirements will now be hedged for the current season, reducing the risk of a stronger NZ dollar significantly eroding farmgate returns. This means milk price risks reduce as season progresses. ASB economist Nat Keall believes not too much should be read into WMP prices dipping 0.4% in the latest GDT auction to US$3,749/metric tonne. “Given the current strength in prices, anything other than a sharpish decline at each auction continues to imply a solid farmgate price for the season,” he says. ASB is sticking to its forecast milk price of $8.20/kgMS. Keall notes that the overall GDT price index remains up around 30-40% on the same point in the last three dairy seasons. He agrees that milk supply could be tight in the coming months. “Production data is increasingly pointing to tighter supply over the remainder of the season,” he says.


RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

NEWS 15

Time to open up! PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Simon Limmer.

advantage of one of the MIQ slots for the Dubai Expo that is going on at the moment. We have one of our colleagues headed up into the market and they are the first person we have had there in 18-months.” Limmer says SFF is

working with the Government on a number of initiatives to allow business people to be able to travel, and for it to introduce pragmatic ways for them to self-isolate when they return to NZ. He says world markets are looking quite strong

FREIGHT COSTS HIT FREIGHT RATES have gone up about 50% in the last 12 months, according to Simon Limmer. He says this has to be absorbed by all parties through the value chain. Limmer believes this is one of the biggest issues facing his company and a big part of this is uncertainty about the availability of containers. Consumer expectations is that they are going to see their prices go up, but he says as a company they still have to respond to the competitive realities. Limmer says while some of the increased freight rates will be absorbed by the company, some of the cost increases may be reflected in returns to farmers. “The disruption to shipping schedules and ultimately how the ports are coping in North America and China. When you see the number of ships lined up there, it is concerning,” he told Rural News. “The issue for us is getting chilled product to

market because there is a quite a narrow window for doing this. With frozen product there is some flexibility.” Limmer says the logistics is a huge problem and it all goes back to start of the pandemic when key ports around the world closed. “That was 18 months ago and we have never caught up.” Given these issues and the ongoing uncertainty, Limmer says SFF is working hard to engage more with politicians and policy makers in Wellington. He says the goal is to try and demonstrate that as a company they are working hard to develop pragmatic solutions to the issues thrown up by Covid. He adds that they would like to have greater input into future government policy. “Our aim is to demonstrate that we are being very progressive and by demonstrating this we will probably be better able to influence policy.”

of the year usually rise from 4000 to 7000, but Limmer says this year they’ll be about 1000 workers short of their optimal workforce. “Competition for labour is tough out there with very low unemployment,” he told Rural News. “We have a real shortage of skilled workers coming in from overseas for the season. “These people have come in year-after-year and they have the skills and continuity which we can rely on.” Limmer says the competition for labour across the primary sector and elsewhere is driving wages for labour higher and higher. “Ultimately, what we have to do is to reconfigure our planning to capture the best value we can for our products and make ourselves as competitive as possible in this environment.” Limmer says SFF is also thinking about automation and how it can streamline its infrastructure to improve productivity. However, he adds that this is not something that can happen overnight and is a long term fix, which will require a significant capital investment. “The short term solution for us is really about freeing up offshore labour to fill some of those spaces,” he says.

THE NEXT three months will be critical for the primary sector as it tries to get product to key markets in the midst of a logistical crisis. Westland Milk Products chief executive Richard Wyeth told Rural News that the last quarter of the year, which is the peak of the milk production cycle, is when large volumes of dairy products are shipped overseas. He says the dairy industry needs to get its product to China at this time of the year to fit in with free trade agreement quotas. Wyeth says the situation has been fine during the winter months and Westland has hit its export targets, but as volumes of product increase, the logistical issues start to hit home. “Every week there are shipping delays with vessels skipping ports or simply not arriving at all and that certainly impacts on us and others,” he explains. “We are also seeing freight rates going up significantly – whether it’s chilled or dry freight.” He says the costs Westland is expecting to see into next year are significantly higher than the current season, which is going to be challenging. “Globally that means inflation and in turns it means that consumers will end up paying for that sometime in the future.” Meanwhile, Wyeth says Westland’s new butter plant is now fully operational. The company recently installed two new state-of-the-art butter churns, which will allow it to produce up to 40,000 tonnes of butter for retail markets both overseas and in NZ – doubling its butter production capacity. He says there have been no significant issues with the new plant – only minor commissioning issues which anyone might expect. “We are very excited about the quality of the butter coming out of the plant and it will certainly help us achieve our long term goals of doubling our butter for retail sales,” Wyeth told Rural News. “The upgrade includes streamline packaging lines which help us make more butter for retail and less consumer bulk product.” Currently the plant is heading towards producing about 30,000 tonnes of butter in retail packs. – Peter Burke

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SILVER FERN Farms’ (SFF) chief executive Simon Limmer says NZ risks missing out on export business opportunities because it remains quite isolated from the rest of the world. Limmer told Rural News that from a business perspective things are becoming more challenging, and with other countries up and running, there is a risk that if new opportunities arise we will miss them. “We really need to get rolling again,” he says. “We at SFF have taken

and demand in many of the countries SFF trades with is good. “For a number of years, SFF has had a strategy of getting closer to the market, and to that end we have 13 staff in China and people in the USA. This has allowed us to continue to develop important partnerships and give us continuity in these places – we will continue to do this,” Limmer explains. “But, on the other side of the coin, we are exporters and relationships are really critical to us. In some cases, we haven’t been able to sit down face-to-face with people across the world for 18 months. However, I think because of the length and quality of those relationships and partnerships it has been easy enough for us to make contact with them up until now.” Limmer says the sooner they can get back up into the market and find a solution to travel and quarantine the better. Meanwhile, with meat processing for the new season about to get underway in earnest, he adds that the lack of labour is a major issue which is affecting SFF, which has processing plants in regions stretching from Northland to Southland. Staff numbers at the company at this time

CRITICAL TIME FOR DAIRY EXPORTS


RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

16 NEWS

New CE settles in after spending five years in the role. Houghton’s appointment marks the first time the rural services company has had a woman as its chief executive, a milestone Houghton acknowledges. However, she says that despite the significance of being Farmlands’ first

JESSICA MARSHALL jessica@ruralnews.co.nz

FARMLANDS’ NEW chief executive says that agriculture is the “heartbeat of New Zealand”. Tanya Houghton took over the role with the rural supplier last month. She replaces Peter Reidie, who left earlier this year

and has held directorships with The Pet Foundation in Australia and Animates New Zealand. She says that while she doesn’t have experience in the agriculture industry, she would describe it as the “heartbeat of New Zealand”. “Without agriculture, New Zealand wouldn’t

female chief executive, she doesn’t believe that was a consideration in her being hired. “I think the board focused on my skills and my leadership style in their decision,” she told Rural News. Previously, Houghton was the chief executive of Mole Map New Zealand

Tanya Houghton took over the role with the rural supplier last month.

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ers can get involved in. “We really need people to work with us through Covid,” she says. “We really need our customers to be understanding.” Houghton says that customers need to remember and understand that some of the things the rural supplier requests of its customers are to comply with the Government’s Covid guidelines. This includes things like remembering to wear a mask when going into the store or to pick something up from stores. She says that Farmlands is “fortunate” because it has been classified as an essential service and is therefore available to customers during Alert Level Three and Four. However, that can only continue if we pay attention to those guidelines. “As we’ve seen the last couple of days, Covid pops up,” she says, referring to the recent appearance of Covid-19 cases in the Waikato. “Our staff members are on the frontlines and they have families, that’s why it’s really important that you work with us.”

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be the country that it is,” Houghton told Rural News. She says that despite this, much focus in terms of regulations and media focus has been placed on the sector in relation to climate change. “I think it’s important that we also focus on the urban carbon footprint as well as the agriculture industry. Much more needs to be done by those living in urban areas,” she says. Meanwhile, Houghton plans to take the company back to basics, with a focus on three key areas: ensuring the company has safe and engaged people, improving customer experience, and profitability. This is a circular goal, Houghton explains, adding that safe and engaged employees lead to a good customer experience which will, in turn, lead to further profitability. “I’m coming in with fresh eyes,” she says. In terms of keeping employees safe and engaged, Houghton says it’s something that, amid the current Delta outbreak, Farmlands custom-

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

18 NEWS

Govt’s three water reforms Plans to reform the country’s three waters model has hit a roadblock with local councils all over NZ rejecting the changes or asking for a pause. However, it looks as if the Government will just push ahead and mandate its model. David Anderson reports… NATIONAL’S LOCAL government spokesman Christopher Luxon is accusing Nanaia Mahuta of ‘paying lip service’ about listening to councils’ concerns about her three waters reforms. The Local Government Minister plans to merge all 67 local council-held water assets into four regional bodies. The governorship of these four entities will be split

50/50 between Maori and councils. However, this has not gone down well with councils around the country – particularly in regional and rural NZ. Federated Farmers recently joined the chorus of those opposed to the Government’s plans, asking it to go back to the drawing board on reform of three waters. “While it’s clear that billions of dollars of

Many of the water schemes in rural NZ are predominately used for stockwater , with more than 70% of the water consumed in these by livestock rather than humans.

investment are needed to get drinking water, stormwater and sewerage infrastructure up to scratch, there are too many flaws and question marks over the proposed four new mega entities for the Government to just press ahead,” says Feds president Andrew Hoggard. According to the farmer lobby, deep concerns have been raised in the provinces and chief

among these is the risk rural voices and needs will be swamped in the enlarged set-ups. “The complexity of rural water scheme ownership and operations is creating uncertainty in many rural communities,” Hoggard adds. Many councils around the country, which had until the end of September to get to grips with the Government’s three waters plan, have either voted to opt out of the proposed reforms or have asked for a pause. However, so far, Mahuta has indicated she will push ahead with her proposed changes – with or without council support. Meanwhile, Luxon told Rural News – despite

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the pushback from councils and others – Mahuta appears to be pushing ahead with the reforms, which he says is tantamount to confiscating local water assets. “In Parliament, the minister extolled the apparent virtues of an ‘all-in’ legislated approach to three waters reform, clearly paving the way for legislation to come,” Luxon says. “An ‘all-in’ approach would see every council in the country lose their existing control of their water assets, which would then be centralised within one of four new regional water entities.” He adds that National has been warning councils and communities for

months that this outcome would be inevitable and says his party will repeal the model when it is in government. Luxton says the proposed reforms promised benefits are overstated and the Government’s one-size-fits-all approach will not work. “From day one, there has been no other alternatives offered other than the Government’s proposal and this hasn’t changed in 18 months,” he told Rural News. Luxon adds that National supports the formation of new water authority Taumata Arowai to enforce and set standards. He says the Ministry of Health has dropped the ball on this

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NEWS 19

getting murky “Where those councils that have done well on water are monitored by Taumata Arowai, those that have clear infrastructure problems the Government has to get alongside.” He concedes that the Government

currently has a majority in Parliament and can pass these reforms if it wants. “We have – and will continue to – fight these changes all the way and National will repeal these reforms when we are in Government.”

National’s Chris Luxon says his party will repeal the reforms when back in government.

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has been accused of ‘paying lip service’ about listening to councils’ concerns about her three waters reforms.

in the past. “However, we do not support the four water entities taking over all council water assets – especially the governorship and ownership of these,” he explains. “Local accountability is significantly watered down with the arms-length governance arrangements proposed.” Luxon says Mahuta’s model will see councils and iwi appointing a panel, which in turn appoints another group, which then selects unelected board members of the four new mega water entities. “Many rural and regional councils, which have done a good job with managing their local water assets, are rightly concerned about having little or no local voice,”

he explains. “The South Island, for example, will see six council and six iwi representatives making up the panel, which will appoint the panel that appoints the board that will actually run the new water entity,” Luxon adds. “It’s just nuts to claim those 22 councils are fairly represented.” Luxon admits that some councils have done a poor job with water asset management, while others have done a fantastic job. He is also concerned that the proposed model will see those regions with good assets cross subsidising those with poor water infrastructure. “A much more bespoke, tailored approach is needed,” he adds.

WHAT’S 3 WATERS? ‘THREE WATERS’ refers to drinking water, waste water and storm water. Under the Government proposal, 67 councils nationwide would be amalgamated into four water entities – three in the North Island and one covering the entire South Island. On announcing the proposed reform, the Government offered $761 million to councils to help fix water issues. The money was only available if councils opted in to consultation on the proposal. All councils signed up to entering into consultation and received initial incentive payments for doing so, but this did not commit them to any changes. At July’s Local Government NZ conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a further $2.5 billion incentive for councils to opt in to the scheme. Councils had until the end of September 2021 to advise whether they were in or out of the reforms. Since then, the majority of local authorities around the country have either opted out or asked for a pause in the reforms. The Government says it aims to have its new three waters programme operating by July 1, 2024.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

20 NEWS

Surf’s up again this summer for farmers DAVID ANDERSON

SURFING FOR Farmers – a surf therapy initiative that aims to help improve mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand rural communities – will be back around beaches all over NZ this summer. The concept was first launched in Gisborne by Stephen Thomson in 2018. He says people around the country saw the success of the Gisborne model and reached out to him to replicate it in other parts of NZ. It is now run in 21 regions around country. “This learn-to-surf programme provides an opportunity for farmers to step away from what can be an all-consum-

ing business, get fresh air, exercise and interact with other farmers, rural families and industry professionals,” Thompson explains. “The pressure on the rural sector is greater than ever and New Zealand farmers continue to take their own lives at an alarming rate.” According to Surfing for Farmers national coordinator Jack Dunstan, last summer the programme saw a total of 2864 farmer surfs across 16 regions around NZ. “The positive impacts included participants feeling more connected to their community and meeting new friends to go surfing with on weekends,” he told Rural

News. Dunstan adds that other benefits include farmers getting hooked on the natural healing properties of surfing as well as making a habit to get off farm and do something fun. Thompson says Surfing for Farmers runs for approximately 13 weeks, on a weekday evening at regional surf beaches. “Those taking part are provided with surfing gear (wetsuits, surfboards) and lessons free of charge,” he adds. “Local board rider clubs or surf schools provide gear and coaching and the programme has a strong focus on providing a safe and supportive environment.” Thompson says each

session is followed by a free barbeque where participants have a ‘debrief’ about the session and general catch-up. “As we approach kick off of our fourth season, we are excited to back again, bigger and better than last year. Over the winter months, everyone has been busy organising all the logistics in the background.” This summer will see Surfing For Farmers running in 21 locations all over New Zealand coastlines. “It’s amazing to see the growth of Surfing for Farmers of the past year, all of this is thanks to the many volunteers who are all trying to do a something to help our

Last summer, the Surfing for Farmers programme saw a total of 2864 farmer surfs across 16 regions around NZ.

rural communities – a huge thank you to everyone that’s already put their hands up to help out,” Thompson adds. “All we can ask for this summer is for those that haven’t come down before to come and have a go, and those that are regulars to pick up a neighbour on the way.” Thompson says most regions are running a few evenings before the Christmas break and kicking back off mid Jan 2022. • More: www. surfingforfarmers.com

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

NEWS 21

New regs boost Massey Ag course enrolments DEMAND FOR expertise in sustainable nutrient management, environmental planning and improved freshwater outcomes has seen Massey University’s range of agricultural short courses pass the 4300-enrolment mark. Massey says the courses are tailored to the needs of science, industry, policy and regulatory bodies concerned with primary production. The first courses were in sustainable nutrient management and soil science, but other courses have been added along the way, such as Agricultural Green House Gas Emissions and Management and Farm Dairy Effluent: System Design and Management. Senior research officer within the School of Agriculture and Environment, Dr Lucy Burkitt, says the

popularity of the courses shows the significant contribution the university has made to improved environment management in New Zealand. “There was a gap in people qualified in these areas, so we went about filling that gap. Now, we’re sending people back to farms with training that will improve the sustainability of agriculture,” she says. Professor of dairy production systems Danny Donaghy, who has been instrumental in developing one of the courses, says the shorter format of the courses are part of their appeal. “A lot of the people who enroll in our courses are working full time, so travelling to Palmerston North for a face-to-face course just isn’t feasible for them. These courses offer them relevant learn-

ing that can complement their current employment,” he says. Emeritus Professor Mike Hedley has been involved in initiating and continuing the delivery of Massey’s short course

offerings over the years. He says what’s taught in the courses has become an essential skill base for New Zealand farmers. “If New Zealand farmers are to meet the agreed future greenhouse gas

emissions and freshwater regulatory requirements that industry bodies and government have recently agreed on, they need nutrient management and farm environmental planning skills,” he says.

Senior research officer at Massey’s School of Agriculture and Environment Lucy Burkitt.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

22 NEWS

Honours student wins Ag scholarship JESSICA MARSHALL jessica@ruralnews.co.nz

PENNY CHAPMAN, a Lincoln University honours student, is the recipient of the Perrin Ag scholarship.

“I’m very grateful to have it, it feels very cool to be the one awarded it,” Chapman says of receiving the scholarship. The scholarship will go towards her honours study which looks at the

profitability and environmental performance of three different dairy farm systems operating in Canterbury using Farmax and Overseer models. Chapman believes the biggest issue facing farm-

ers is maintaining profit and passion with their farm business, while facing ongoing pressures from the Government and the public as well as environmental pressures. “Profitability is the

Lincoln University honours student and Perrin Ag scholarship winner Penny Chapman.

bottom line of any business and for farmers this is becoming more difficult as they have to adjust farm systems to meet regional rules and regulations. “But through innovation and education, I believe these challenges can be met,” she says. “It might seem daunting at the moment in terms of the Government and public pressure but there are huge opportunities out there to change or alter farm systems to make environmental rules and farm more sustainably.” Chapman grew up on her family’s farm which she says has influenced her passion for agriculture. “I have grown up on a farm and have been surrounded by a lot of family who are all passionate about the agricultural industry, so I guess that’s definitely helped develop

my passion for farming, especially seeing my dad and his love for the land and what he does on our own farm,” she told Rural News. Her family’s farm winters 800 dairy cows and has started to use crops – including barley and peas – grown on-farm as supplementary feed for the cows. “It’s just about using our home farm system as a crop farm and working it,” Chapman says, adding that they are consistently looking at “how we can tie that as best possible to our dairy farm operation”. “So, it’s about maximising both systems to get the optimal outcome,” she says. The Perrin Ag scholarship is valued at $3,000 and will go towards Chapman’s final year of study for her Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours at Lincoln University.

IN BRIEF GUN LICENCE EXTENSION THE GOVERNMENT is giving extensions to existing firearms licence holders whose renewals have been delayed by this year’s Covid-19 lockdown. Minister of Police Poto Williams says the move supports firearms licence holders caught out by Covid-19 Alert Level changes and unable to progress their renewals during this time. “The extensions only apply to licence holders have already been through the Police firearms vetting process, so only to licence holders who Police are already aware of,” Williams says. The extensions apply to licence holders with expiring firearms or dealer licences, if renewal dates land in the following situations: Those who had applied for a licence renewal between 25 September 2020 and on or before 16 August 2021, and the application was not resolved before this date. Those who have a licence renewal date between 17 August 2021 and 30th November 2021. Anyone whose licence renewal falls outside of these dates are not covered by these extensions.

Check out the latest news and information at www.ruralnews.co.nz


RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

NEWS 23

Tatua smashes $10 barrier SUDESH KISSUN sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz

WAIKATO MILK processor Tatua says keeping products moving to overseas customers during the pandemic was one of the highlights of its last financial year. The co-operative released its 202021 annual results this month, reporting record earnings and a final payout of $9.25/kgMS for its farmer shareholders. Tatua chief executive Brendhan Greaney says Waikato was in and out of Covid Level 2 restrictions on three occasions during the financial year. “Fortunately, we weren’t required to move into lockdown as we did the previous year, which meant our operations were less impacted including being able to stay on track with some

important capital projects,” he told Rural News. However, as a business reliant on export, shipping disruption remained an ongoing challenge. “The way our international trade and supply chain teams worked together and with the wider business to keep our products moving has been one of our highlights,” he says. Tatua makes specialised bulk dairy ingredients for export and is also a key supplier of specialised nutritional ingredients to global health and nutritional companies. Greaney says bulk ingredient demand and prices are favourable and the company is well contracted into 2022. The outlook is also positive around its more specialised businesses.

Tatua chief executive Brendhan Greaney.

However, at the same time it remains conscious that with Covid things can change quite quickly especially as they relate to the evolving domestic situation. “Customers in most of the countries we supply have been living with the delta variant for

some time,” he says. “We are expecting shipping to remain one of continuing challenges for the year ahead as the situation doesn’t look to be improving – we will have to pick our way through as we have been.” Tatua announced a

record payout of $10.43/ kgMS before retentions for the 2020-21 season. The co-op retains $1.18/ kgMS for reinvestment, paying farmers a cash payout of $9.25/kgMS. Fonterra last month announced a final payout of $7.74; milk price of $7.50 and 20c dividend. Synlait announced an average payout of $7.82/ kgMS for last season – made up of a base milk price of $7.55 and incentive payment of 27c. Tatua’s 106 shareholder-owned farms had their second highest milk production season on record, supplying 15.65 million kgMS, 3.3% ahead of the previous year. Greaney says the payout has been well received by farmer shareholders. “We’ve had some very positive feedback –

including broad support for retaining some earnings for reinvestment and maintaining a strong balance sheet.” The co-op has retained $18m for reinvestment to improve production capability and sustainabilityrelated projects. “We do have a reasonably weighty capital program planned for the year, including projects with a sustainability focus, as well as others to increase our capacity and capability in the manufacture of our more specialist or value-add products,” says Greaney. In deciding the final payout, Greaney says Tatua sought to balance the needs of shareholder’s farming businesses with the requirement for continued investment in the business to support longer-term sustainabil-

ity, and “a sensible level” level of debt. The co-op’s gearing (debt divided by debt plus equity) averaged 20.5% last year, which was lower than the previous year average. “We have deliberately reduced our debt levels over the last few years to be in apposition that we now think is about right for the environment we are in,” adds Greaney. He paid tribute to the co-op’s workforce, both here and overseas. “Our people have once again shown real dedication and commitment toward the business through another challenging year. Our financial performance and everything that has been achieved is the reflection of the collaboration and collective efforts of everyone.”

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

global agribusiness research analysts sharing market outlooks

24 MARKETS & TRENDS

Rabobank supports clients from farm to fork in

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Prices boom on sluggish growth Dairy

GLOBAL COMMODITY prices have enjoyed a period of strength in September. Overall, the global market fundamentals remain well-balanced, but with several moving parts. A slowdown in milk production in key pro-

duction regions, combined with buoyant import purchasing from Asian buyers, has seen commodity prices lift through August and into September. A slow start to milk production in Oceania could help provide further price support in the near-term.

Northern Hemisphere milk production is losing steam. In the United States, milk production expanded by 1.1% in August, which was below the recent trendline. In Europe, milk production has hit a snag in some key producing member states. EU-27 milk production was down 0.6% in July, driven by large milk producing engines Germany and France. Looking closer to home, New Zealand’s milk production growth has stalled in the lead up to the spring flush. August milk production was down 4.8% (on a tonnage basis) compared to August 2020. There is still time for production to turnaround this season, with October a pivotal month for total volumes. RaboResearch main-

tains a milk price forecast of NZ$ 7.80/kgMS

Beef

ONE GAP in global beef supply will narrow in October. The Argentine government has announced that export restrictions will be lifted – a month earlier than

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after Brazil. Despite an increase in Argentine beef in the market, it is anticipated that shortages will still exist due to the suspension of Brazilian beef exports and reduced Australian exports. The ongoing disruptions to global beef supply is driving New

Zealand farmgate beef pricing positive with strong demand from key markets. Rabobank anticipates farmgate beef pricing to remain elevated through to November due to the global beef shortage and sustained demand for 95CL bull beef from the

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MARKETS & TRENDS 25

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US. However, New Zealand farmers’ ability to capitalise on the strong pricing is uncertain. We suspect that paddock inventory is low due to drought earlier this year and the high numbers already killed this season. Steer and heifer kill are 16.8% and 14.6% ahead respectively for the season to August 31, compared to the 2019/20 season..

Sheepmeat

RECORD LAMB prices continue to climb, with farmgate prices lifting NZ$ 0.20/kg cwt across both the North and South Islands over September. A reduced lamb crop in spring 2020 (300,000 head fewer), in culmination with increased demand from the US, has resulted in procurement pressure late in the season. Lamb exports to the US are up 32% for

the 11 months to August 31, 2021, compared to the 2019/20 season. The US is New Zealand’s fourth largest export destination for lamb and continues to grow – 2021 season-todate exports to the US are 17% above the fouryear average. Increased consumer awareness of lamb presents a positive demand outlook, particularly given the increase in

products being purchased in supermarkets and cooked at home rather than in restaurants. Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of a diversified market channel and retail-ready products. New season lamb will likely take heat out of the market; however, we anticipate pricing will remain elevated. We expect farmgate price support to be maintained

through to the end of the 2021 based on the demand from key markets and the continued recovery of food retail in Europe after Covid.

Exchange rate

AFTER RECOVERING from August’s sharp dip to nine-month lows, the NZ$ spent much of September working its way back down again to end the month below USc70. With multiple rate rises on the cards and still good economic data, we forecast the NZ$ to strengthen on a 12-month

view, but to stay near to current values for the rest of the 2021. Q2 NZ GDP figures released this past month showed a quarterly surge of 2.8% – more than double market expectations and four times the RBNZ’s own forecast. This was alongside a drop in the unemployment rate to 4%, an uptick in wage inflation and booming manufacturing PMI data. Unsurprisingly, this was also accompanied by a spike in the CPI inflation rate to 3.3%, and well above

the RBNZ’s target range. Despite a likely Covid lockdown drag on GDP in Q3, the RBNZ is still expected to take steps up in the rate to target this inflation, and markets are pricing in a total of 50 bps on a three-month view, and a total of 80 bps on a six-month view. Rabobank forecasts the NZ$/US$ will trade near to 0.69 on a threemonth view, and towards 0.72 and 0.74 on a ninemonth and 12-month view respectively. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

26 OPINION EDITORIAL

EDNA

Get vaccinated! RURAL NZ is again getting the rough end of the stick when it comes to services – this time in relation to Covid-19 vaccinations. It appears the boffins at the Ministry of Health and the Government’s Wellingtoncentric, top-down Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme is leaving rural New Zealanders as the poor cousins compared to their urban counterparts. No surprises there. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that unlike urban centres, many rural New Zealanders have to travel a long way to get to a city-based vaccination outlet. Meanwhile, with most in rural NZ classed as essential workers getting a vaccination during the day has also proven difficult. Dunedin School of Medicine research has found that rural Covid-19 vaccination rates are more than 10% behind urban rates. The University of Otago data has found the number of people who had at least one dose of the vaccine was 11% lower in rural areas and up to 19% lower in remote rural areas compared to major metropolitan centres. As New Zealand Rural General Practice Network chief executive Dr Grant Davidson points out these inequities are expected, but still worrying. “What is most concerning is that it confirms that the productive rural backbone of our country is significantly at risk. Due to a lack of accessibility in rural New Zealand, it is no surprise that rural populations are lagging in vaccination rates.” Many rural employers have taken things into their own hands to try combat the hurdles their workers face in trying to get a jab. While not making it mandatory, Fonterra has strongly encouraged it employees to get vaccinated. It has been offering workplace vaccination clinics at it sites across the country, through which more than 7500 vaccinations had been administered to its 11,000 staff. A number of meat companies have also offered workplace vaccinations and Zespri is also encouraging its staff to get vaccinated. Federated Farmers has been telling farmers they should do all they can to enable and encourage their staff to get vaccinations. Meanwhile, some rural and regional health boards have taken it upon themselves to take vaccinations out to the country, by setting up rural mobile vaccination clinics and travelling out to farms and shearing gangs to deliver jabs. Feds employment spokesman Chris Lewis sums it up well: “The sooner we get everyone double-vaccinated, the sooner we might safely take steps to getting back to where we were with travel, events and all the rest.”

RURALNEWS TO ALL FARMERS, FOR ALL FARMERS

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

“Are you sure they know they’re excused from the ‘No jab – no job’ rule?”

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

THE HOUND 20 pieces of silver?

Woke and broke?

Oh dear!

Flag it!

YOUR OLD mate notes that MPI is now trying to buy favour with agricultural journalists for its ‘Fit for a Better World’ (FFBW) programme. Not content with spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on woke ideas like making the primary sector more ‘inclusive’, promoting regenerative agriculture or paying ‘industry leaders’ big bucks to sit on committees. MPI is now offering bribes – sorry, ‘a prize package’ – to ag journos in an effort to have warm and fuzzy PR puff pieces written about FFBW. It is offering a $1,000 prize for a new ‘prize’ – via the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators – to the hack who writes MPI’s favourite story about “supporting sustainability and modern regenerative production systems”. The Hound is surprised to see the guild sell its objectivity so cheaply.

Speaking of woke, Governmentowned entities that love wasting public money and producing fluffy PR pieces, the Hound sees that Landcorp – known as Pāmu – has just released its 2021 annual report. Of course, it is not just your normal annual report, which shows that, again, Landcorp is a dog of an investment for the country’s taxpayers. Instead, the state-owned farmer produces an ‘integrated’ annual report’. This translates – in layman’s (sorry person’s) language – to mean that they talked with a whole of lot of people (mainly their own directors, employees and suppliers – i.e.: people it pays) and got them to say just how wonderful Pamu is. The report also shows that outgoing chief executive Steven Carden was paid more than $3.65 million in salary during the past five years, and last year 165 of its staff earned over $100k. Imagine if Pamu actually made a half decent return on investment?

This old mutt suggests that farmers’ growing discontent with Beef+Lamb NZ’s performance is going to reach fever peak after its latest stunt. The supposedly industry ‘good’ organisation recently teamed up with NZ Winegrowers to pay an exorbitant fee to a New York-based consultancy Alpha Food Labs to produce a study that makes the outlandish claim that “NZ is well-placed to ride regenerative agriculture wave” – whatever that means! Unfortunately, it seems B+LNZ could have saved itself a whole lot of credibility – and its hard-pressed farmers’ funds – by consulting with the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science (NZIAHS), which in a recent special edition of its magazine AgScience, pulled no punches in debunking the claims of regenerative agriculture.

Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O’Connor tried to keep his latest overseas jaunt secret squirrel. He took off to the US and Europe earlier this month in a desperate bid to try in breathe some life into the proposed, but faltering, free trade deals with both the UK and the EU. However, instead of the usual month-or-so notice of his planned trip, O’Connor was planning to sneak out of NZ before letting anyone know. Unfortunately, his covert plans were busted by a US diplomat who posted news of the trip on social media, which led O’Connor and his lackeys to hastily announce the trip. In fact, it was so secret it appears that even those he was meeting with seemed to not know where he is from – with one photo showing O’Connor meeting with his French counterpart Franck Riester in Paris, posing next to an Australian flag.

PRODUCTION: Dave Ferguson ...................... Ph 027 272 5372 davef@ruralnews.co.nz Becky Williams .......................Ph 021 100 4381 beckyw@ruralnews.co.nz REPORTERS: Sudesh Kissun ........................ Ph 021 963 177 sudeshk@ruralnews.co.nz Peter Burke ........................... Ph 021 224 2184 peterb@ruralnews.co.nz MACHINERY EDITOR: Mark Daniel ............................. Ph 021 906 723 markd@ruralnews.co.nz

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WELLINGTON SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Ron Mackay ................................. Ph 021 453 914 ronm@ruralnews.co.nz

WAIKATO SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Lisa Wise .................................. Ph 027 369 9218 lisaw@ruralnews.co.nz

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

ABC audited circulation 79,553 as at 31/03/2019

DIGITAL STRATEGIST: Jessica Marshall ................ Ph 021 0232 6446

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


RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

OPINION 27

Getting broadband to everyone MIKE SMITH

rience of getting into the nooks and crannies of New Zealand and if we can help in any way, we would love to see what we could do. For a list of all New

Zealand’s WISPs go to: https://www.wispa.nz/ wispa-nz-members/ • Mike Smith, the chair of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association of New Zealand (WISPA-NZ).

WISPA chair Mike Smith.

LA

ND

RECENT EPISODES of Fair Go have highlighted the difficulties a number of rural people have in getting access to quality, reliable broadband and how tough this makes their lives.

We already have more than 75,000 New Zealanders connected to the Internet through the huge range of towers built across rural Aotearoa. Our members know who they can reach and how to get a signal to people using some very sophisti-

Businesses can’t operate without a solid connection, kids can’t be educated from home when required, and life is just harder for everyone. As chair of WISPANZ, which represents specialist internet providers who look after many rural users, I understand why having access to the Internet is now a vital part of everyday life. The 37 companies that make up our group are all specialists in using wireless internet technology to get to the places phone cable and fibre don’t reach.

cated technology. There’s also been a major push from the Government to partner with our members to get fast broadband to everyone via the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI). That’s helped to fund towers to extend signals into some of the farthest spots you can imagine. So, if people have no, or very limited internet connections, they should get in contact with their local wireless internet service providers (or WISP) to see what can be done. Our members have a huge amount of expe-

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

28 OPINION

Water entity concerns run deep ANDREW HOGGARD

FEDERATED FARMERS joins the many councilelected representatives and citizens up and down the country urging the Government to go back to the drawing board on reform of its three waters delivery. It’s clear that billions of dollars of investment are needed to get drinking water, stormwater and sewerage infrastructure up to scratch. However, there are too many flaws and question marks over the proposed four new mega entities for the Government to just press ahead. A range of deep concerns with the proposed model have been raised in the provinces, chief among them the risk rural voices and needs will be

swamped in the enlarged set-ups. Right now we have a direct say in the appropriate level of investment and priorities for water infrastructure via our local council. If our elected representatives don’t deliver, we can eject them at election time – and they know it. That accountability is significantly watered down with the armslength governance arrangements now proposed. Councils and iwi get to appoint a panel, which in turn appoints another panel, which selects members of an unelected board. The complexity of rural water scheme ownership and operations is creating uncertainty in many rural communities and the role of Taumata Arowai and the water

service entities needs to be clarified. Serious questions have also been asked about the estimated costs and benefits of larger water authorities. Experience has shown bigger is not always better. While it’s also true that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. Some councils and councillors might have an eye on their future existence if water services are removed from their purview. Federated Farmers argues the Government’s local government, Resource Management Act and three waters reforms are back to front. The three waters and RMA reforms should be parked until after the Government’s current review into the future of local government. Advancing these huge

and costly reforms prior to this review is like putting the cart before the horse. September 30 was the deadline for councils to give feedback on what changes would need to be made to the three waters model for them to ‘opt in’. Patently, with indications more than three quarters of councils are against or deeply concerned by the proposals, it would be extremely unwise and unfair for the Government to make them mandatory. New Zealanders need and deserve the time to debate these crucial water services issues. There is no case for rushing ahead and hoping for the best. • Andrew Hoggard is Federated Farmers national president

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

OPINION 29

Let’s get winter grazing rules right! DAVID BURGER

DAIRYNZ IS pleased by progress to improve winter grazing regulations. However, we want further changes so new rules are fair, practical and workable on-farm. Positive changes have been made to winter grazing regulations, including removing the deadline for spring resowing after grazing and changes to how slopes are assessed. DairyNZ has outlined

cultivating or grazing them to protect the environment. DairyNZ has been working together with Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and southern farmers since last year to recommend changes to winter grazing regulations. Our goal is to make them more practical and to make farming practice improvements. Sector partners also worked together during the latest submission process.

We support farmers being able to carry out winter grazing on a larger area than proposed, without needing a consent. A larger area enables farmers to have more cropping options and better manage their environmental impact. further suggested changes in its recent submission on the Government’s new winter grazing rules. DairyNZ’s submission can be viewed at: www. dairynz.co.nz/submissions. We support farmers being able to carry out winter grazing on a larger area than proposed, without needing a consent. A larger area enables farmers to have more cropping options and better manage their environmental impact. DairyNZ wants a consent requirement to only apply if over 100 hectares is used for winter grazing, or 10% of the farm area (whichever is greater). The Government proposal would require a consent if more than 50 hectares, or over 10% of the farm, is used for winter grazing. DairyNZ would also like to see pugging requirements removed. Farmers are focused on caring for their cows and shifting them out of muddy areas, for their welfare. We fully support careful management of critical source areas. Farmers are identifying where water and nutrients can pool and avoid

We are pleased the Government has adopted changes to winter grazing rules recommended by the primary sector. We support delaying the introduction of the new regulations until November 2022. In future, farmers will use freshwater farm plans to manage wintering practices, and the plans will be phased in by 2025. However, DairyNZ remains concerned that the new Certified Freshwater Farm Plans system will not be available by 1 November 2022. We agree with the Southland Advisory Group’s earlier recommendation that farmers use intensive winter grazing modules as an alternative, interim pathway, until Freshwater Farm Plans are available. During the past winter, farmers have made significant improvements in winter grazing practices, with both councils and the Government commending their progress. We are now focusing on getting future winter grazing rules right so they are workable long-term for farmers and deliver the continued environmental improvements we

all want to see. DairyNZ will continue working on farmers’ behalf to advocate for sensible and fair rules and provide farmers with information and support

once the Government confirms the final winter grazing regulations. • Dr David Burger, DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader – responsible dairy.

DairyNZ says more change is still needed on the proposed winter grazing rules.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

30 AGRIBUSINESS

Market outlook strong, but challenges ahead DAVID ANDERSON

WHILE THE majority of primary sector prices are generally strong, there are also several challenges ahead for the sector, according to the latest BNZ Rural Wrap report. “For many major product categories, prices are above their fiveyear average, and some materially so,” says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel. “These outcomes are mostly the result of buoyant prices in offshore markets.” However, the report also concedes that all manner of disruptions across international supply chains has seen supply struggle to satisfy robust demand. It also adds that a subdued NZ dollar – relative to buoyant offshore prices – has supported primary product prices in New Zealand dollar terms. “The NZ/US dollar exchange rate has lifted from pandemic lows under US $0.60 last year, but it has failed to kick on even as primary prices offshore have risen over the past year,” Steel says. “The last time world prices for NZ’s major primary export prod-

The latest BNZ Rural Wrap reports that many primary product prices are above their five-year average. - CREDIT: PAUL SUTHERLAND PHOTOGRAPHY

ucts were around current levels was in 2014. Back then, the NZ/US exchange rate was well over US$0.80. Firm world prices and a subdued NZ dollar is a positive mix for NZ primary producers.” Steel believes factors keeping the NZ dollar lower include, in the bank’s view, the ongoing overvaluation of the US dollar, lower domestic interest rates relative to those offshore, as well as the loss of net tourism and education foreign exchange earnings, and rising costs.

However, he warns that rising costs are risk. “Official figures show average costs in Q2 accelerating in the primary sector, up 3.4% on average over the year. Of course, some individual costs have lifted significantly more than that.” Steel also points to growing inflation as a potential challenge for the sector and the NZ economy as a whole. “Material increases in both export and import prices reflects the generally more inflationary environment that is percolating at present – the

strongest we have seen for quite some time,” he explains. “Rising costs are a reason to not overly celebrate the generally positive selling prices NZ is experiencing. It is margins that matter more.” Steel adds that costs escalation appear to have continued into the second half of 2021. “Take fertiliser prices, for example. Offshore prices for the likes of urea and DAP have more than doubled since the pandemic started and have continued to rise over recent months,” he says. “This has put

upward pressure on domestic prices, given the limited offset from movements in the NZ dollar.” The report highlights the lift in oil prices – at around double what it was a year ago. “Again, with muted movement in the NZ dollar this has translated into higher fuel costs around the country including for the primary sector.” Meanwhile, Steel says it is not just the cost of products that is on the rise, but also the costs of moving it. “International freight

costs continue to ramp higher. Recent figures show that international freight costs for NZ rose 20% in Q2 alone, adding to the 52% hike in Q1. These costs are up a whopping 112% on a year ago.” He adds that it is not just freight costs that are troublesome, with logistics like shipping delays and container issues adding to the challenges. “Disconcertingly, offshore freight cost indicators show no sign of relief on this front,” Steel explains. “Many expect global shipping conges-

tion issues to extend well into next year, which would only add complexity to logistics through the main primary selling season.” Meanwhile, he says the labour market remains a chronic supply choke point. “Primary producers are in the thick of this. A recent Federated Farmers survey showed a net 49% of farmers reported difficulty finding staff. That is as high as it has been since the survey started more than 10 years ago.” Steel says more RSE workers will help, but only at the margin. However, he believes the recently announced oneoff resident visas that creates a residence pathway for about 165,000 in situ migrant workers and their families (about 9,000 primary sector workers) will be welcomed across the industry. “It will provide much needed certainty and support retention of employees. But we anticipate tight labour market conditions to continue.” The report concludes that given all of these factors, it is no surprise to see farmers expecting cost increases ahead.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

AGRIBUSINESS 31

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tegic choices – continue to focus on New Zealand milk, be a leader in sustainability and be a leader in dairy innovation and science.” Fonterra also plans to boost its annual R&D investment by over 50% to around $160 million per annum in 2030.

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a New Zealand dairy cooperative of scale. “But on the other hand, it gives us more options to be selective about what we do with our coop’s milk. In doing so, we can increase the value we generate for farmers and New Zealand over the next decade. “To make this happen we have made three stra-

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wants what we’ve got – sustainably produced, high-quality, nutritious milk,” he says. “This comes at a time when we see total milk supply in New Zealand as likely to decline, and flat at best. On one hand, this requires the right capital structure to help ensure we don’t lose the benefits of what generations of farmers have built –

monitor the quality of the product and better secure the supply chain so that potential milk contamination issues can’t occur and also better oversee costs.” Chief executive Miles Hurrell says as the co-op looks out to 2030, the fundamentals of dairy – in particular, New Zealand dairy – look strong. “Put simply, the world

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Chilean and Australian businesses where it still collects and processes milk. McGiven, a former Waikato Federated Farmers president, told Rural News that selling assets and returning most of the proceeds to shareholders is the right thing to do “if those plants pose a risk of becoming a burden on the balance sheet”.

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FONTERRA’S PLAN to return $1 billion to shareholders in three years through the divestments of overseas milk pools is the right move, according to Waikato farmer Andrew McGiven. While the co-operative has used proceeds from previous divestments to reduce debt, this is the first time it has signalled a return of capital to shareholders. The co-op didn’t return any capital to shareholders after the sale of its ill-fated China Farms. Over the years, the co-op invested close to $1 billion dollars in the Chinese farms – with little or no returns for farmer shareholders. McGiven believes that after the experience with China Farms, most shareholders and milk suppliers will back the sale of the remaining overseas milk pools. Fonterra believes it has an opportunity to differentiate New Zealand milk further on the world stage, with the aim of getting more value from the co-op’s milk. As a result, it is reviewing ownership its

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

32 MANAGEMENT

The Bay on the road to recovery but bumps ahead PETER BURKE peterb@ruralnews.co.nz

AROUND THE Hawkes Bay region, the grass in the paddocks is looking greener as it recovers from two bad seasons of drought. However, AgFirst farm consultant Lochie MacGillivray warns that – despite the favourable weather conditions – there is high degree of angst and anxiety among farmers as they head into the new season. On the positive side, he told Rural News that recent rains have seen soil moisture levels back to or slightly above normal for this time of the year. But MacGillivray adds that the accumulated rainfall is still behind normal. He says that does have some implications in terms of springs and sub soil reserves which may come into play later. “But at the moment, in terms of pasture production, we are at normal or above normal growth rates for this time of the year, which is positive,” he says. “We have had some nice warm days and you can really see the grass growing.” MacGillivray says stock numbers are back where they have been, but some animals have come through the winter in light condition and

probably won’t catch up in terms of milking and lamb growth rates. He expects weaning weights for lambs to be behind normal, despite the increase in pasture covers, and that target weights for cattle will also be down. MacGillivray believes the lambing percentages will be quite good, but cautions that few if any hoggets were mated in the region last autumn, which will reduce overall lamb numbers. “There are good prices are out there but just a decrease in stock numbers means that some farmers won’t be able to take the full benefit of those increase in prices.” But against a positive outlook, problems loom. MacGillivray says farmers are facing significant cost increases for any products brought in from overseas. “I had one client quoting me that every year they buy a pallet of Roundup. Last year it cost them $3,000 and this year the same volume is $11,000. The unit price hasn’t gone up, it’s just the increased cost in freight,” he says. On the Covid front, MacGillivray says generally farmers and their families are well vaccinated, but the worry everyone has is what

Hawkes Bay stock numbers are back where they have been, but some animals have come through the winter in light condition.

Farm consultant Lochie MacGillivray warns that there is high degree of angst and anxiety among Hawkes Bay farmers as they head into the new season.

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prices, but in actual fact, they are little bit jumpy. He says after two years of droughts they are worried the rains won’t come, and they realise that if there is a spell of strong westerly winds they could be back in drought. Farmers are also worried about the effects of inflation and rising farm costs. “Then you have got the whole water (three waters reform) thing with the Government and that’s big. Almost across the board they are anti this Government,” he

adds. “Farmers feel they are just being pushed down a path without due consultation. Just about to a person they are really upset.” MacGillivray says there is a level of anxiety out on the farm with the Rural Support Trust dealing with a few more cases than normal for this time of the year. “In essence, farmers should be feeling quite good but they are not,” he says. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews


RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

MANAGEMENT 33

More crops now modelled FARMERS AND growers can now model a greater range of crops in the farm management software tool OverseerFM. Overseer Limited says it has worked with crop specialists – including rural professionals, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) and the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research – to use the latest science and crop information to update existing crop parameters. It has also expanded the number of crops represented in the Overseer

crop sub-model. Chief executive of Overseer Limited Caroline Read says a total of 71 crops can now be modelled. She claims the improvement means the tool better represents the diverse range of cropping rotations in New Zealand. “The updating of the crop parameters for some existing crops and the inclusion of new crops is the culmination of a three-year project which began in 2018,” she says. “The improvement reflects our commitment to keep improving Over-

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“The improvement reflects our commitment to keep improving OverseerFM and adding value for farmers and growers.”

Overseer Limited’s Caroline Read says a total of 71 crops can now be modelled.

seerFM and adding value for farmers and growers.” Read adds that the company is continually developing the software,

so it is easier to use. She says this includes both entering data and sharing data with multiple parties, reducing unnecessary duplication and inefficiencies. “We are particularly excited to be able to include hemp as a crop within OverseerFM given the rapidly developing market for this crop.” The following addi-

tional crops can now be modelled for crop blocks: • Forages: forage wheat – spring • Grain: oil seed rape, sunflowers, linseed (flax) • Pasture seed: plantain, cocksfoot • Legume vegetables: broad beans • Crop – other: hemp (fibre), tulip bulbs • Crop seeds – red beet,

carrot (OP), rape – autumn, pak choi, hemp (seed/oil), radish (OP). There are updated crop parameters for some existing crops including: • Forages: annual ryegrass, forage barley – spring, forage oats – spring and autumn, rye corn – spring and autumn, triticale – spring and autumn • Grain: barley – spring, oats – spring and autumn, wheat – spring and autumn • Pasture seed: white clover, rye grass

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

34 MANAGEMENT

New research highlights NZ beef’s differences PASTURE-RAISED BEEF is a cornerstone of the New Zealand meat industry. However, it is not clear if it is understood the benefits consumers get from the meat when

it is raised this way. New research from the Riddet Institute indicates there are differences in meat quality relating to health and digestion, depending on how the animal is raised.

A Massey University research team led by Dr Lovedeep Kaur and Dr Mike Boland compared the digestion differences between pasture-raised New Zealand beef to grain finished beef and a

plant-based alternative. To mimic the human digestive tract, researchers used simulators in the laboratory to observe the differences. They found differences in the fat content of the beef, poten-

It is not clear if consumers understand the benefits they get from NZ grass-fed meat.

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tially leading to better health outcomes. Meat and the alternative plant-based product are made up of various components, including fat and protein. When we digest food, our body breaks it down for us to use for a range of functions, including building muscle and providing an energy source. The research found that what an animal eats impacts the nutritional properties of its meat. This work confirms animals eating pasture raises the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in meat, particularly long chain omega-3 PUFAs, when compared to meat from grain-finished animals. It is well known these fats (that we typically find in fish) provide health benefits such as improving blood cholesterol. Digestion studies show that pasture-raised beef provides more of the desirable omega-3 fatty acids when the meat is digested by people, compared to that released from grain-finished beef. The plant-based alternative used in this study contained no long chain omega-3 PUFAs.

Beef is highly digestible, meaning it breaks down efficiently. The plant-based alternative used in the research had lower digestibility during the course of digestion. This study forms part of a larger programme currently underway examining the nutritional value of New Zealand pastureraised beef, as compared with grain-finished beef and with a plant-based substitute. The research is the second part of the study. Part one was undertaken by AgResearch, analysing the overall nutritional profiles of the meat. Researchers from The University of Auckland will then oversee the final two stages, clinical studies investigating both the short-term and long-term well-being and health effects of red meat consumption. The programme of research is funded by the Meat Industry Association, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd, the HighValue Nutrition National Science Challenge and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

MANAGEMENT 35

Study on sheep’s impact on water While there is clear proof that cattle, deer and pigs cause poor water quality when allowed to graze near waterways, little is known about what impact sheep have. Peter Burke reports on a research project being run by Massey University to find out more about how sheep behave around streams and waterways. THE TRIAL is taking place at one of Massey’s research farms, Tuapaka – just north east of Palmerston North. It’s being undertaken by a team of scientists led by Dr Rene CornerThomas, a senior lecturer in sheep production at the university. The trial involves monitoring a flock of 40 ewes grazing on a section of steep hill country, with a small stream running through the paddock. Corner-Thomas says the actual focus of the trial is a section of the stream which has been set up to monitor the behaviours of the sheep. This monitoring is carried out at specific time of the year to reflect the seasonal effect of the sheep and the stream. “We are using a combination of trail video

cameras that are triggered by motion of the sheep,” she told Rural News. “It records 24-hours-a-day using infra-red technology. “So, we are basically able to spy on the sheep 24-hours-a-day. We are also using GPS collars on the sheep to track their position in the paddock so we can use that to determine where they spend their time. We can also calculate how far they walk, what speed they walk at, when they are most active and when they are least active.” Corner-Thomas says the researchers are also using monitors with bluetooth proximity built into them, which records when a sheep is within three metres of the riparian zone around the water way. When the sheep are

Massey University’s Rene Corner-Thomas is leading the study.

brought into the trial area, a water trough is provided for them. However, after a week, this is covered up so the animals don’t have access to it and would therefore naturally seek water from the stream. She says one of the challenges with the trial is the role the weather plays. If the grass is green and plentiful, the sheep don’t seek out the water because of the moisture

content of the grass. “Basically, what we are seeing is that the sheep are not interacting with the waterway very much and that they predominately spend most of their time on the flatter areas of the paddock where there is plenty of grass available and so they conserve energy,” she explains. Corner-Thomas says the study has, so far, shown that the sheep

spend a mere 0.2% of the study period in the riparian zone. And when they are in this area, 68% was spent grazing, 15.9% resting and only 2.2% actually drinking from the stream. “In terms of drinking behaviour, half the ewes did not spend any time in the riparian area, only five ewes were seen to actually drink and another five just sniffed at the water,” she told Rural News.

The trial has shown no evidence of the sheeps’ hooves damaging the banks of the stream. However, that is not surprising given their small size compared with cattle and deer. Corner-Thomas’s team has set up scientific instruments in the steam below where the sheep are grazing to measure any sediment loss with the results, thus far, negligible. These instruments

also measure E. coli, suspended sediment, phosphorous and nitrates. The study is ongoing and Corner-Thomas and her team hope to have some updated results available soon. However, based on the results to far, it would suggest that the effects of sheep on water quality in farm streams is at best minor. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

36 ANIMAL HEALTH

Farmers cop costly fines over NAIT breaches A HAWERA farmer is one of several farmers who has recently been convicted for failing to

register his animals under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme.

Ross Gordon Clark was fined $20,000 in the Hawera District Court, after earlier pleading

MPI says it’s important for farmers to do the right thing because biosecurity is critically important to the agricultural sector.

guilty to seven charges under the NAIT Act, for not registering 106 cows between May and July 2020. Meanwhile, Waitui farmer Victor Charles McIntyre pleaded guilty to 19 charges under the NAIT Act and was fined $18,900 in the New Plymouth District Court for not registering 175 cattle between April and

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registration tenfold, meaning the maximum fine was increased from $10,000 to $100,000 and these fines are the first under the updated penalties. MPI regional manager of Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance

It’s important for farmers to do the right thing because biosecurity is critically important to the agricultural sector.

September 2020. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has recently secured two additional NAIT convictions which are awaiting sentencing. The NAIT scheme enables MPI to track and trace cattle and deer when they are moved between farms or for processing. It’s a critical factor in our ability to act quickly and decisively in response to biosecurity threats that could have devastating effects for New Zealand. In December 2019, Parliament increased the penalty for non-

Joanna Tuckwell says it’s important for farmers to do the right thing because biosecurity is critically important to the agricultural sector. “We certainly take it very seriously and the increase in fines shows Parliament does too. The higher penalties under the new regime reflect the seriousness of the situation,” Tuckwell says. “People in charge of NAIT animals need to get this right. When they don’t, they potentially put the whole sector at risk if a biosecurity matter involving farm animals was to occur.”

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

ANIMAL HEALTH 37

Drench company to cease NZ production in 2022 BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM says it will stop manufacturing locallyproduced livestock ruminant products in New Zealand by late 2022 – ending more than 50 years of local production. The animal health company says it will cease production from its Auckland site from December 2022. It says it will deliver a more ‘targeted’ range of cattle and sheep products, including brands such as Eprinex, Eclipse and Bionic Plus. However, the company adds that some of these products will be produced locally by contract manufacturing partners in New Zealand. Meanwhile, the company says it will continue to distribute therapeutic medicines such as Metacam, Bivatop and Mamyzin – along with its range of swine vaccines and companion animal products, such as NexGard and Broadline. Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is the second largest animal health business in the world, with a presence in more than 150 countries. NZ country manager Steve Rochester says the company will work with veterinarians, farmers

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health will cease production from its Auckland site from December 2022.

and stakeholders across New Zealand through to December 2022. He is promising to deliver a comprehensive business support plan to help with the transition. “Boehringer Ingelheim, and before that Merial Ancare, has been an integral member of the New Zealand animal health industry for over 50 years,” Rochester says. “We recognise this announcement is a significant change for members of the Boehringer Ingelheim team, farmers, veterinarians and the wider agricultural industry.”

He says the company wanted to communicate the decision as early as possible to ensure those affected have the time to consider what this change means for them. “Our team will be partnering closely with our customers and industry stakeholders over the coming months and will continue to share information as decisions are made,” Rochester adds. “We want to reassure our customers that we will work closely with them to provide ongoing business support and meet their product

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

38 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Rain helps Aussie machinery demand Recent rains, decent crops and a government write-back allowance has put a smile on many Australian farmers and machinery dealers.

MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

WHILE MUCH of urban Australia has its chin on its chest because of Covid, out in the countryside the arrival of rain, decent crops and a government write-back allowance has put a smile on many farmers and rural supply companies – not least machinery dealers. A recent report delivered by the Australian Tractor and Machinery Association (TMA) showed that tractor sales for the year 2020 were up 23.6% to 13,639 units. This heralds the 10th successive year where numbers topped 10,000 units – with a cumulative total of 115,300 delivered over that period. Likewise, sales of combine harvesters were up 25%

to 672 machines for the year, while baler sales topped out at 1295 machines – a rise of 37%. All up, the Australian machinery market is estimated to have delivered AU$3.782 billion in sales. This is made up by tractors at AU$1.396b, combines at

AU$439m, balers and hay tools at AU$355m and self-propelled sprayers at AU$450m. For the first six months of 2021, tractor numbers are up 31% to 9150 units, compared to the 2020 result of 6987. Meanwhile, the 12-month rolling

total shows a market of 15,807 machines. Segmentation shows tractors under 60hp have climbed by 29%, while the 200+hp sector, traditionally a barometer of how broadacre and contractors are doing, rose 57% to 1427 units. Alan Kirsten, from

statistics-collating company Agriview, points out that the distribution channel for agricultural machinery has also changed dramatically over the last decade. Back in 2009, there were 457 ‘single business’ outlets compared to 274 similar outlets in 2021 – a drop

of 40%. In contrast, the 300 ‘grouped business’ outlets had risen to 389, a climb of nearly 30%. In total, the number of outlets in Australia has dropped from 757 to 663 (-12.4%), with the total number of businesses falling from 555 to 373 over the same period – a

slump of 33%. “Considering that in the late 1970s there were around 2500 outlets in the agricultural machinery distribution chain in Australia, things have changed quite dramatically,” Kirsten says. “ With buyouts and consolidations continuing to take place at an alarming pace, I would suggest that anything below 650 outlets will make it near impossible to meet demand – even in a more normal year.” He also went on to discuss, when the “gold rush” for farm machinery will end. Kirsten suggests that it will not be any time soon as Covidrelated production, component shortages and shipping delays will take at least another 12-months to catch up and meet forward orders.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 39

New Italian telehandlers expected to be in NZ soon MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

ITALIAN MANUFACTURER Faresin recently previewed its new FS range of telehandlers. These are said to have been designed from scratch, building on 20 years of experience in the telescopic sector. All the structural components of the new machine – including the software that manages the integrated sensors – were designed, tested and manufactured at the Breganze plant. The specifications destined for New Zealand are yet to be confirmed by importer and distributor Jacks Machinery at Whakatane. The first model of the new FS Range, the FS 7.32 Compact, offers a 3.2t maximum lift capacity complemented by a maximum lifting height of 7.1m. With a wheelbase of 2.95m and a steering angle of 37 degrees, the machine delivers a 3.8m turning radius. This is said to offer agility, without compromising the allimportant stability. Available in Standard or Low Cab configurations, the latter encompasses a maximum working height of 2.06m. The range utilises 4-cylinder Deutz engines of 2.9 to 3.6 litres, with five power outputs from 55.4 to 100kw. All comply with Stage V emission

Faresin’s new FS range of telehandlers are said to have been designed from scratch.

regulations with aftertreatment technology using oxidation catalyst (DOC) or urea (SCR) and particulate filter (DPF). All the engines are common rail, turbocharged, with intercoolers to meet the variable power outputs, with maintenance intervals of up to 1,000 hours said to result in a major reduction in operating costs. The range also introduces the “AutoStop”

system, which turns off the engine when the operator gets up from the sea and restarts autonomously on their return. The hydraulic cooling fan is electronically controlled, automatically adjusting rotational speed according to the temperature, and is reversible to remove debris from the radiator core. All versions of the FS 7.32 are equipped with Ecodrive hydro-

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static transmission – one with a single gear and a maximum speed of 30km/h, while a twospeed mechanical gearbox offers maximum speeds of 40km/h and a reduced ratio for tasks that require greater traction. Differentials take the form of a basic version with 45% limited slip, automatic differential lock and an advanced solution with 100% hydraulically-operated

differential lock. The hydraulic oil circuit offers the choices of a gear or variable displacement piston pump set-up. The latter load sensing, with flow rates from 120 to 180 litres/ min – depending on the set-up. Meanwhile, flowsharing distributors for multi-function operations guarantee excellent multifunctionality and regeneration of oil during boom descent

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The redesigned cab sees controls, grouped by functional logic and a height adjustable steering wheel to suit all operators. All operational information including engine, load charts and accessory control is delivered in the FS Display, a 7-inch, colour touch screen, positioned on the right-hand mast. The driver’s seat offers pneumatic suspension and is fitted with the FS

Joystick on the right armrest. Moving between screens or changing settings can also be done by a wheel control system, positioned on the armrest. Creature comforts include a bottle holder, two USB ports and two larger rear-view mirrors, with lighting provided by a high capacity LED system. @rural_news facebook.com/ruralnews

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

40 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS

Robo planter on the way MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

GERMAN FARM machinery manufacturer Horsch says it is at an advanced stage of developing its aptly named Robo autonomous planter. The company says it will release more details towards the end of June 2022. However, recently on social media, a video showed one of the company’s large red planters being towed to a field by a truck, then being put through its paces drilling corn. This led chief executive Phillip Horsch to confirm that the Robo planter was undergoing real planting trials. “The Robo works well, planting autonomously and making turns unaided on the headland etc,” he says.

Horsch also noted that safety regulations in Germany are so strict for fully autonomous vehicles that a supervisor/ operator had to stay within 600 metres to always watch the machine. He added that two more autonomous ‘concepts’ would follow the Robo by the end of the year. The company also manufactures trailed and self-propelled sprayers and is keen to develop robotic versions of these machines as well. Horsch indicated the autonomous machine was likely to be released for sale in about two years, depending on efforts to change current regulations. Running on a twin-track system, the Horsch Robo is equipped with a Trimble navigation system and fitted with a large seed hopper that supplies the 24 row Maestro seeding element.

German manufacturer Horsch says it is at an advanced stage of developing its autonomous planter.

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Precision buys Headsight

AGCO SUBSIDIARY Precision Planting is buying the precision harvesting solutions manufacturer Headsight – a North American company established in 1998 and is best known for its combine harvester height sensing technologies. These integrate with existing combine circuits and are available for most brands of combine harvesters manufactured in the last 30 years. The system provides automatic height and tilt control in a wide range of different crops. Headsight also manufactures row guidance systems for combines and self-propelled sprayers. Company sources suggest the business will continue to operate from its Bremen, Indiana base.

Another Duetz deal

SHORTLY AFTER informing the market about its allegiance with AGCO Power, engine builder Deutz AG has announced another cooperative venture. This time it is with the Turkish group, ASKO, which owns, among other brands, Basak Traktor. The deal is to be completed in two stages: the first consolidates an existing agreement to supply engines for the larger Basak models, while Phase 2 involves forming a joint company to produce engines in-house at ASKO’s existing plant at Sakarya. Basak has an output of 10,000 tractors annually, largely without the latest electronics, which have become the norm in Western European markets.

Claas heads East

GERMAN MANUFACTURER Claas has agreed to establish a factory in Kazakhstan, where it will build Tucan combines, Cerio headers and Xerion 4500 tractors. It will be in the northern city of Petropavlovsk, a relatively “dry” area that produces around 18 million tonnes of grain annually – much the same as the United Kingdom. It is believed that the location is also influenced by the New Silk Road, with the Yiwu (an Eastern China to London line) passing through the town of Petropavlovsk and across Northern Germany, where the Claas headquarters at Harsewinkel is based. So, the move potentially opens up Asia for future development.

Great year for SDF

EUROPEAN TRACTOR manufacturer SDF, with headquarters in Treviglio Northern Italy, has announced its results for the 2020-21 financial year. It has declared revenue of €1.146 million, down slightly on the 2019-20 year, but with an EBITDA of €109 million – said to be the best result in the history of the company. A net profit of 39.3 million Euro was recorded (3.4%), a similar result to that of 2019 (3.5%). During the year, the company took on 230 new employees, with a total of 1,375 employees in Italy and 4,040 globally.

AGCO plays chicken

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AGCO HAS acquired Faromatics, a precision livestock farming company. The company is the creator of ChickenBoy, the world’s first ceiling-suspended robot that monitors broiler chickens to help farmers increase animal welfare and farm productivity. Using sensors to measure thermal sensation, air quality, light and sound the system also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify risks to health, welfare and farm equipment. “This acquisition supports our vision of being farmers’ most trusted partner for industry-leading, smart farming solutions across every area of our business,” said Eric Hansotia, AGCO’s chair, president and chief executive officer.


RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 41

Krone opens a new future focussed testing facility MARK DANIEL markd@ruralnews.co.nz

GERMAN MANUFACTURER Krone has opened a new testing facility at its Lingen site. The Future Lab complex, built in just under a year at a cost of €20million, covers around 30ha

Making the most of the latest energy saving technologies, the building features solar panels for electricity generation. The indoor facilities are complemented by a 1.1km test track that offers gradients up to 18% that will be used for driving tests, homologation

It will be used as a validation complex to allow the company to test machinery. and houses 30 staff. It will be used as a validation complex to allow the company to test machinery, but also to prove supplier componentry before it is installed into Krone products. On-site, a 4,000 square metre building houses three, large-scale test benches – two for servo-hydraulic testing and another to monitor performance levels. There are also facilities to test components, sub-assemblies, electronic systems and software applications. A further department is available to test transmissions – particularly conducting ‘lifetime usage’ evaluations. This is before these are incorporated into products such as the Big X foragers, Big Pack balers and the recently released Premos pellet harvester.

procedures and software validation. “The facility will provide us with excellent opportunities to explore the industry’s rapidly emerging technologies, such as autonomous driving strategies,” says Krone Group chair Bernard Krone. In other Krone news, following on from the Big X 480, 530, 580 and 630 models being configured to a 3.0m transport width as far back as 2013, the larger 680, 780, 880 and 1180 models are to follow suit, courtesy of a new 680/80 R38 front tyres option. Compatible with all types of headers, using the optional transport running gear for the XCollect maize header, all Big X models now stay within the bounds of maximum permissible axle load ratings, according to the company.

Krone’s new testing facility at Lingen.

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

42 RURAL TRADER DOLOMITE

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RURAL NEWS // OCTOBER 19, 2021

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