Rural News 30 November 2021

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Shipping costs and delays skyrocket. PAGE 15

John Deere’s new 6R tractor range for 2020. PAGE 27

John Luxton leaves a legacy PAGE 16


Fonterra takes $880 million hit on Chinese investments! SUDESH KISSUN

FONTERRA’S BALANCE sheet took an $880 million hit from its ill-fated China Farms and Beingmate investments. A report prepared for shareholders by Northington Partners, which reviews Fonterra’s 2021 financial year performance, reveals the extent of total losses over the years from its poor investments. A copy of the report was sent to farmer shareholders this month by Fonterra Co-operative Council. While selling the farms and Beingmate shares fetched $750m cash and helped the co-operative reduce debt last financial year, the investments turned out to be costly for shareholders. The co-operative’s total investment in China Farms topped $1 billion – made up of $750m investment and $250m of accumulated losses over the years. The sale of Fonterra’s Ying and Yutian Farm was completed April this year for $552m and the Falcon China Farms JV sale completed two months later for $88m – bringing in $640m with $360m loss on investment. The Beingmate investment was more disastrous for shareholders.

Fonterra Co-operative Council chairman James Barron claims the losses have already been digested by farmers.

In March 2015, the co-operative paid $756m for an 18.8% stake in the infant formula maker. However, Beingmate’s stock began a sharp downturn thereafter. Since the end of 2015, its share value tumbled, devaluing Fonterra’s investment and forcing it to book hefty write downs. According to Northington Partners, Beingmate shares sold over the last two years fetched the co-op $237m,

resulting in an investment loss of $519m over a six-year holding period. Council chairman James Barron told Rural News that alongside farmers, the council is disappointed in these results. But he says they have been reported through the results of the last three financial years. Barron claims these “have already been digested by farmers”.

“It has been pleasing to see the three year targets for the business that were set back in 2019 have largely been met, this is helping to rebuild confidence in performance.” Barron says a key standout from council’s perspective is the reduction in debt to meet both the debt to EBITDA and gearing ratio targets. “Looking ahead the board and management have articulated a clear path-

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way for the co-op out to 2030,” he told Rural News. “This has been well received by farmers, as it outlines that future growth will come from reinvesting cashflow rather than debt.” One year ago, when announcing the sale of China Farms, Fonterra said it had successfully developed the farms alongside local partners. In building the farms, Fonterra has demonstrated its commitment to the development of the Chinese dairy industry, the co-op claimed. The Northington Partners report also compares divestments in previous financial years: in 2020, the co-operative sold its DFE Pharma business for $716m, booking a $467m gain. DFE was a joint venture with Dutch co-op FrieslandCampina. It also gained $12m from the sale of its Dennington plant in Australia for $36m. The $750m cash proceeds from divestments last financial year helped the co-op reduce net debt to $3.8b at the end of last financial year. The Northington Partners report says the reduction was largely driven “by strong profitability and proceeds from divestments completed during the year”. The cash proceeds from divestments also led to a 5.9% decrease in gearing ratio to 35.5%.



Farmers face tough decision

OPTION 1: Farm-leve l levy:


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HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: Inkwise NZ Ltd CONTACTS Editorial: Advertising material: Rural News online: Subscriptions:

“ROBUST DISCUSSIONS” are expected when farmers gather early next year to discuss alternatives to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel anticipates farmers will offer “different positions and different options”. “At the end of the day, we will have to consolidate views and get agreement because not doing so will leave us in the ETS,” he told Rural News. Last week, the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership (He Waka Eke Noa) released a discussion document with two key options for farmers to consider over the next three months. The cross agri-sector partnership includes Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers, as well as Government and iwi. “It’s critical we grab this opportunity and develop a credible alternative framework as the Government has already legislated to put agriculture into the NZ ETS if we don’t,” says van der Poel. The Government has made it clear they will put agriculture into the ETS if the sector does not come up with a credible alternative. The two options before farmers are the farm-level levy and processorlevel hybrid levy options. Both take a split-gas approach, acknowledging short-lived gases like methane have a different warming impact to longlived gases like carbon dioxide, and the price for methane will be separate and delinked from the carbon price. Farmer meetings are being planned throughout the country in February to discuss the two options. The NZ Government aims to cut biogenic methane emissions by 10% on 2017 levels by 2030 and by between 24 to 47% percent lower by 2050. Farmers believe the targets are too high.

This levy would calcu late emissions using farm-sp ecific data, and the farm would the n pay a price for its net emissions. Th is option would reward eligible on-fa rm sequestration additional to that currently included in the ETS that could offset some of the co st of the emissions levy. Any addit ional revenue raised through the levy above the scheme costs would be invested back into the agricult ural sector for further emissions red uctions work and R&D.

OPTION 2: Process or hybrid levy Dairy NZ chair Jim van der Poel.

Van der Poel agrees that most rural organisations would think that the targets shouldn’t be too high. “The Government sets the targets. I expect there will be robust discussions and a range of views among our farmers,” he says. Van der Poel claims there is also pressure from consumers who are demanding and willing to pay for food with lower carbon footprint. A more detailed information pack on the options will be released by the partnership early next year ahead of the roadshow. Farmers will be able to give their feedback online then too. “It’s hugely important farmers get involved and tell us what they think in February. We’re committed to finding a solution that works for farmers and keeps the sector in control of where and how it uses funds for the benefit of farmers,” says van der Poel. Federated Farmers president

THIS LEVY would ca lculate emissions at the meat, mi lk, and fertiliser processor level, based on the quantity of produ ct received from farms, or in the case of fertiliser, sold to farms. It would be paid at a processor level, and likely collected by the processor charging through to farmers based on the quantity of product processed, or fertili ser supplied. Farms (individually or in collectives) could choose to enter into an Emissions Ma nagement Contract (EMC) to ge t a payment for reducing emission s and/or for recognising sequ estration on-farm.

Andrew Hoggard says his personal view is that there are some good points in both options – like rewarding eligible on-farm sequestration, split-gas approach and additional revenues invested back in agriculture. However, he’s worried about extra cost incurred by farmers. B+LNZ chair Andrew Morrison says the framework farmers select should incentivise work underway on-farm including sequestration and riparian planting. “The two options would ensure any revenue raised by the pricing system would go back into R&D for innovative solutions and support farmers’ on-farm work to mitigate their warming impact,” says Morrison. “We’re releasing the draft discussion document now so farmers have

time to consider the options. “At the roadshow meetings, we’ll explain what the options mean for different farming systems, and most importantly answer questions and hear farmers’ views,” says Morrison.


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Bovis affected farmers remain sceptical NIGEL MALTHUS

FARMERS AFFECTED by Mycoplasma bovis are cautiously welcoming a report that the eradication programme is approaching a successful conclusion. However, there is concern at the disruption and stress caused to those caught up in the process and cynicism at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI’s) assurances that it will do better next time. The independent review found the programme is on track to achieve a world-first eradication. It also recommended improvements to the wider biosecurity system, and

MPI says many of those are already in place or underway. However, Rangitata farmer Duncan Barr remains sceptical that MPI has significantly improved its practises. A self-appointed advocate for M. bovis victims who started a Facebook support group following his farm’s infection in 2018, Barr said his biggest complaint was “not what they did, it was how they did it”. “They say they’ve learned their lessons. No, they haven’t,” Barr told Rural News. “The biggest thing is that the lessons learned of the collateral damage along the way must never be relearned. To do the harm to people

Ashburton dairy farmer Frank Peters describes the report as “giving themselves a pat on the back”.

FEEDLOT TO BE DEPOPULATED MID-CANTERBURY FARMERS Frank Peters and Duncan Barr have both raised concerns about the Five Star Beef feedlot at Wakanui, near the Ashburton River mouth, which has yet to be depopulated and cleaned despite having a confirmed M. bovis infection since August 2018. “I’d like to see that Wakanui feedlot thing depopulated like everybody else had to, before they can say that things are honestly clear,” said Peters. Barr called it “a major issue”. “To actually claim eradication when that’s there is a little bit disingenuous.” In July, a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report recommended the feedlot be investigated as a possible source of continuing infections in Canterbury, although it noted that unreported animal movements

and other insecure practises on other farms were a more likely cause. Meat processor ANZCO Foods, the owner of the feedlot, acknowledged the speculation, but disputes that it is the source of continuing M. bovis infection. The feedlot takes beef animals from all over the country and finishes them on grain for export as a premium product – which makes it a high risk for reinfection as long as M. bovis remains elsewhere in the country but a low risk for infecting anyone else. ANZCO Foods Grant Bunting told Rural News that MPI decided to hold off depopulating the feedlot until close to the end of the eradication programme, based on its risk of reinfection. He says all cattle on the feedlot go direct to slaughter – which is what happens to infected cattle from other properties.


Bunting said Five Star Beef disputes the assertion that it was a possible source of M. bovis and has put in place a number of biosecurity steps and measures to protect its operation and the neighbouring farms. Bunting said Five Star Beef will go through the same on-farm depopulation and cleaning process as other New Zealand farms but there were complexities that do not apply to other farming operations. Five Star Beef is part of a significant supply chain – annually taking up to 40,000 head of cattle and 50,000 tonnes of grain and 18,000 tonnes of maize from local suppliers, representing 90% of South Island maize and 8% of New Zealand’s grain production. The timing of the process has not been confirmed.

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we should be getting for those cows, we’ve got to wait to October 2022 before we can even put a milk claim in.” He says about 30% of affected famers had second bouts of M. bovis, which he says suggests the testing wasn’t done well in the early days. Now, he believes the investigators are “digging a lot deeper”. Otago University researcher Fiona DoolanNoble led a team that canvassed rural communities in Otago and Southland in an academic study into the human impact of Mycoplasma bovis. While she said it was great that New Zealand looked like becom-


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they’ve done just shows a level of incompetence.” Ashburton dairy farmer Frank Peters describes the report as “giving themselves a pat on the back”. “Good on them,” he says. “But they haven’t recognised what they’ve done to the original farmers.” Peters has had two M. bovis infections. The second bout was handled a lot faster and “a hell of a lot better” than the first. However, he says he still has a few ideas on how to improve the process. He still has to wait for the end of the season before claiming compensation. “So, the money that

ing the first country to eradicate it, she believes the lessons learned will probably be more into the science of the disease rather than how to handle the human side. Doolan-Noble’s study had shown that traumatised farmers were left feeling isolated, bewildered and powerless – although she says MPI should already have known “what not to do” because of the already documented human effects of the 2001 British Foot and Mouth outbreak and an Australian ovine Johne’s disease outbreak. Meanwhile, a research paper into understanding farmers’ “stressors” during their time in the M. bovis programme, commissioned by MPI and conducted by Wellington consulting firm Litmus came to similar conclusions as DoolanNoble. Chris Ford, who was until recently the Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury dairy chair and was heavily involved in the early M. bovis response, said MPI needs to have fulltime people on the ground in the regions, ready to work and “brainstorm” with farmers and farmer groups in any future biosecurity incident. “The biggest problem with MPI is they aren’t farmers. They’ve got no idea. So, they have to rely on farmers helping them,” said Ford.

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Meat prices breaking records SUDESH KISSUN

RED MEAT prices are continuing their golden run on the back of tight global supply. A ban on Brazilian beef exports and high feed prices are keeping global supply in check while demand for meat around the world remains firm. P2 steer prices in New Zealand have cracked $6.50/kg, with November likely to be the third month in a row of record highs. Lamb prices have also set fresh record highs, topping $9.50/kg at one stage. Westpac senior agri economist Nathan Penny forecasts prices to fall in line with the normal seasonal patterns through to the autumn. However, prices this autumn will be at record highs relative to previous autumns. Lamb prices have been on a spectacular run: since March, prices have jumped by over $3/kg. “Importantly, with that high tide water mark, we expect prices this autumn will also set record highs relative to previous autumns,” says Penny. “Normally, prices fall around $1.20/kg from the spring peak to the autumn low.”

Lamb supplies remain tight in New Zealand and Australia, and demand is strong in China and improving in the US and Europe. “We expect these factors to continue to underpin prices,” he says. Lamb exports, especially to the UK, could also get a big boost from a free trade deal between NZ and UK. Rabobank agriculture analyst Genevieve Steven believes lamb prices will receive a boost when the NZ-UK FTA comes into effect, hopefully from early next year. “The FTA, if ratified as announced in October, would result in sheepmeat quota increase of 44% over the next 15 years from the current quota volume. “The increase in quota could provide exporters with the opportunity to further diversify markets, and to take advantage of off-season supply into the UK, particularly lamb for Christmas and Easter,” she says. Farmgate beef prices have set a string of records, with prices cracking $6.50/kg over the last month. P2 steer prices have jumped over $1.70/kg (36%) since January. Steven expects farmgate beef prices to remain elevated through to December due to strong

Beef and lamb prices are hitting record highs due to growing global demand and lower supply.

demand from key markets and ongoing lower global beef supply. But she says one thing to watch for is the suspension of beef exports from Brazil to China and other countries due to the discovery of atypical BSE two months ago. “This ban remains in place and it is unclear

how long it will continue.” Penny believes beef prices appear to have now peaked. “Demand is firm (for now) in China and US demand is rising as the US economic recovery gathers pace. “Meanwhile, high grain prices and supply chain

issues are still crimping global beef supply. With this in mind and allowing for the normal seasonal patterns, we expect prices this autumn to set record highs relative to previous autumns.” Penny expects the current factors underpinning prices have further to run.

“Global meat supply remains very tight, with feed grain prices still very high,” he says. “With no short-term resolution in sight, we expect tight supply to continue to underpin prices,” he says. Global meat demand remains firm and while slowing Chinese eco-

nomic growth may moderate demand in 2022, Penny expects that the economic recoveries in the US and Europe will generate sufficient demand to offset any Chinese weakness. “With the above in mind, the autumn is shaping up as one for the record books,” he says.


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FONTERRA CHIEF executive Miles Hurrell used his first overseas trip in nearly two years to meet UK farming leaders and allay their fears around the looming free trade agreement (FTA). Hurrell told Rural News that he assured National Farmers Union leaders that New Zealand farming practices are similar to the UK’s and that they have nothing to worry about. Since the in-principle FTA deal was announced in a virtual summit by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Jacinda Ardern on

October 21, UK farmers have been up in arms. UK food lobby Red Tractor has claimed that NZ agriculture relies on growth hormones, dangerous herbicides and is weak on animal welfare because we dehorn animals without anaesthetic, Hurrell says he briefed NFU leaders on NZ farming practices and Fonterra farmers’ work on the environment – like farm environment plans (FEP) – and animal welfare practices. “Clearly, they are on the other side of the world and wanting clarification on our farming practices,” says Hurrell.

FAULTLESS SYSTEM FONTERRA CHIEF executive Miles Hurrell is back in office after completing home quarantine following an overseas trip. The trip – Hurrell’s first in nearly two years – took him to the UK, Europe and Dubai. Hurrell says the home quarantine went very well with the help of “ultra helpful staff” from the Ministry of Health. “It’s a very good process; they were regularly calling me up to check if I was at home and coping,” he told Rural News. “I can’t fault the system.” Hurrell says the visit allowed him to reconnect personally with staff in key overseas markets and “not relying solely on communication from this wide of the world”. In Dubai, he visited supermarkets and key customers to see new products developed by the team. “Our staff are doing really well. Fonterra’s strength is having key people in markets.”

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell used his first overseas trip in nearly two years to meet with UK farming leaders and allay their fears over the looming NZ/UKFTA.

“I told them that our farming practices are right up there with the rest of the world.” Red Tractor claims were based on “outdated information”. “If anything, our farming practices are more similar to theirs.” The FTA is worth an estimated $1 billion over 15 years to the New Zealand economy and is good news for exporters. Some agricultural products like onions and pears will have zero tariffs from day one. Tariffs on apples will be phased out within three years. However, there will be a transition period for butter, cheese, beef and sheep

meat producers, during which time they will enjoy significant tariff-free transitional quotas. For Fonterra the UK isn’t a major market. Hurrell says the FTA is a good from a trade liberalisation point of view. “From Fonterra’s perspective, the UK is a small market,” he says. Meanwhile Hurrell also stopped over in Brussels and Netherlands where he discussed the NZ/EU free trade deal currently under negotiation. He says he told European dairy leaders that NZ milk production was forecast to drop and “we are not going to flood the EU with milk”.


DEVICE SHUTDOWN IRKS RURAL CUSTOMERS A DECISION to shut down Sure Signal devices has some rural people up in arms. All Sure Signal devices will be turned off from 10 December, a decision Vodafone says is because the devices utilise 3G technology so are outdated. Vodafone says it is partnering with the Rural Connectivity Group to build more rural digital infrastructure. It claims these sites will predominantly include 4G and VoLTE technology, as older 3G technology is eventually going to be superseded by 4G and 5G technology. The company adds that all Sure Signal devices sold since late 2019 have included a sticker on the box warning customers the technology would expire in December 2021. Vodafone says customers will be able to utilise Wi-Fi Calling, available across most mobile devices. “Technology is continually evolving, so we need to keep retiring unsupported legacy devices including Sure Signal to make way for newer and more efficient options,” says Sharina Nisha, Vodafone’s head of network services. “With the Rural Connectivity Group building more cell sites in rural NZ, and lots of Vodafone mobile network upgrades in recent years, the mobile network footprint has expanded,” she says. However, Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) board member and technology convenor Claire Williamson says the decision will cut off many rural customers from the outside world.



“Most Vodafone Sure Signal customers have been told that the service will be turned off on 10 December – this cuts off the mobile network to thousands of rural families,” Williamson says. She adds that while Vodafone has assured customers that they are able to use Wi-Fi Calling, this option isn’t feasible for many. “This action from Vodafone means that there are many rural residents who will no longer be able to send and receive texts, pxts or MMS for business and personal reasons. Nor will they be able to use two-factor authentication – they are effectively cut off,” Williamson claims. “Visitors to rural properties – such as rural service providers, family and friends – will not be able to access the mobile network either and we are hearing of many who are concerned about that.” Vodafone says is attempting to allay these concerns through Wi-Fi Calling. To use Wi-Fi Calling, customers need a voice calling enabled mobile plan and an eligible phone with the latest software updates installed and Wi-Fi Calling turned on. Currently, Vodafone sells 46 phones with Wi-Fi Calling enabled, and a further 30 will be available on the market in the coming months. “Wi-Fi Calling is a great alternative for people with little or no cellular connectivity, for example in rural locations or businesses operating in buildings with thick walls,” Nisa says. - Jessica Marshall



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Easing UK farmers’ fears



Alliance reports meaty profit LEO ARGENT

ALLIANCE GROUP has fought off soaring livestock prices and logistical challenges to record a healthy profit. It has just announced an operating profit of $41.9 million before tax and distributions for the year ending 30 September 2021. The meat processor’s annual report says $8.5m of profit distribution will be made to its farmer shareholders – in addition to $16.7m in loyalty payments already paid over the course of the year. The co-operative’s turnover was $1.8 billion. Alliance’s chair Murray Taggart says the improved performance – up from $27.4 million in last year’s report and $20.7 million in 2019 – was a favourable result after a challenging year. He claims it reinforces the validity of the cooperative’s reinvestment strategy, with several years of sustained capital reinvestment in cost reduction measures and livestock management reflected in the profit result. The result also includes allowances for historical employee entitlements – known as donning and doffing – which cost the company around $19.9 million to settle. Taggart says rising

Alliance chair Murray Taggart says the 2021 performance was a favourable result after a challenging year.

and recovering prices across all livestock markets helped keep farmers and shareholders on track. He also praised the way staff had effectively managed the response to Covid-19 and ongoing global supply chain issues. “Similar to many New Zealand businesses, we have experienced significant global supply chain disruption over the last 12 months. Whilst pleased with the improved profit result, we had global customers seeking product which we could not load and ship at the rate we would have liked. This has had a meaningful impact on our inventory and cash flow,” Taggart explained.

“Our people worked with farmers, transporters and shipping companies to make sure we could continue to move livestock off farms and utilise both our plant network and infrastructure to ensure this was almost invisible for farmers.” He says that Alliance offering a minimum price contract for lamb in mid-July, provided many farmers with increased security moving through the year. “A free store stock facilitation service also allowed farmers to move excess stock to other farms as required, easing strains in time of regional drought.” Chief executive David Surveyor says he’s proud

of the way staff had responded to the chal-

lenges and opportunities during the last 12 months. “One of the benefits of our balance sheet is that we have been able to use it in these times,” he adds. “Global logistics and supply chains will be challenged well into the foreseeable future therefore we are improving systems and processes to speed our cash cycle.” Overall, Surveyor says it has been a strong year for the co-op. “We kept our people, partners, and customers safe during all Covid19 outbreaks,” he added. “Our people deserve the credit for this year’s result. They know how important it is that we meet our farmers’ expec-

tations and are always looking for ways to lift performance and deliver results.” Surveyor believes Alliance is now starting to see its investment in premium programmes deliver value to farmers. “Farmers’ support of the co-operative’s premium Handpicked lamb and beef portfolio continued to strengthen as premiums for qualifying animals increased.” He says with the performance of the company’s plants improving year-on-year, it had created greater processing capacity for farmers. Alliance increased its cattle processing capac-

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ity by 10% during year, with the addition of a new facility at Lorneville and expanded capacity in Levin and Pukeuri. “While this is good news for farmers and customers, we now need to leverage capacity and fully realise efficiencies if we are to achieve our ambitions.” However, Taggart warns the next 12 months will continue to be volatile. “We have therefore endeavoured to balance our desire to reward our farmer shareholders with the need for caution in the face of ongoing global logistics disruption.” @rural_news


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Global meat processor trials methane mitigator SUDESH KISSUN

THE WORLD’S largest meat processor has started using a feed additive that reduces methane emissions in ruminants. JBS says it will use Bovaer, a product from Dutch conglomerate Royal DSM, to improve the greenhouse gas footprint in the beef production value chain.

The feed additive is also being trialed on New Zealand farms in a Fonterra/DSM partnership. Fonterra says it is testing whether Bovaer, which reduces methane emissions from cows by over 30% in non-pasturebased farming systems, can do the same in New Zealand’s pasture-based farming systems. The additive is a synthetic chemical com-

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pound called 3-NOP, which has been studied for many years in cows fed in feedlots. In Australia, Bovaer was recently evaluated as part of a Meat and Livestock Australiafunded project on reducing methane emissions in Australian feedlot operations. DSM plans to launch the product in Australia early next year. It says the development of Bovaer took place over 10 years, with 45 on-farm trials in 13 countries across four continents, which resulted in more than 48 peer-reviewed studies published in independent scientific journals. In September, Brazil was the first market to grant full regulatory approval for Bovaer. Bovaer is added to animal feed. A quarter of a teaspoon of the additive a day, per animal, inhibits the enzyme that activates the production of methane gas in the stomach of the ruminant. According to DSM, the effect is immediate. However, if use is interrupted, methane gas emissions is fully resumed. DSM and JBS will jointly develop the implementation of Bovaer in the production chain. The objective is to promote a transition of the global beef industry, through nutrition, and a safe path

JBS will use the Bovaer feed additive to improve the greenhouse gas footprint of its beef production.

KOWBUCHA SPREADS TO THE FARM FONTERRA’S PLAN to use probiotics to reduce cow methane emissions is moving to on-farm trials. The Kowbucha project is shifting from the Fonterra Research & Development Centre (FRDC) to the farm. Kowbucha are potential methanebusting probiotics from the co-op’s dairy culture collection stored at FRDC.

to reduce methane emissions. “We are developing a major action plan to reduce the company’s entire carbon footprint, and this partnership with DSM will contribute not only to our plans but for the whole sector in this

Fonterra head of strategy and innovation, Mark Piper, says the project is about making the most of the co-op’s people’s skills and dairy expertise to unlock the potential of these cultures to help ensure New Zealand stays as a leader in sustainable food production. “The cultures have been selected over decades for their properties

complex issue of methane emissions,” says Gilberto Tomazoni, global chief executive of JBS. To achieve this goal on a global level, an endto-end program will be developed to test the supplement in JBS’ operations. Initially,

in producing different varieties of cheese, yoghurts, sour creams and for use as health promoting probiotics,” Piper explains. “Following analysis of thousands of strains from the collection, specific strains have been identified as those that could potentially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) production naturally from inside the cow.”

the nutritional solution will be provided at cattle feedlots. After six months, the tests will be expanded to a second market, which could be either Australia or the United States, two of the JBS’s biggest operation worldwide.



The plan includes developing methodologies to create assessment tools throughout the entire cycle of the JBS chain, with the technical participation of academic and research institutions. @rural_news


NEWS 9 the traditional

Festive Feast Contractors hit crunch time – no relief in site DAVID ANDERSON

THE SHORTAGE of skilled agricultural machinery operators is reaching a crisis point. Many rural contractors around the country are unable to meet farmer requirements and there are increasing fears for their health and safety. Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) chief executive Andrew Olsen says an urgent meeting was held in the Waikato in November with Federated Farmers to discuss the escalating impacts on contractors and farmers. Olsen says one outcome of the meeting was an urgent joint appeal to the Minister of Immigration to approve more skilled machinery operators to come in for this season. “We are asking to see Kris Faafoi early next week. We warned this would come to a head unless more skilled workers could come in, and now,” Olsen says. “Mr Faafoi needs to hear directly about the emerging consequences for farm production and workers increasingly at risk.” He says a particular factor in the Waikato is that farmers are enjoying top spring conditions, causing them to seek to plant or harvest more crop than initially planned with contractors. “We’ve got contractors arriving to crop six hectares of crop only to

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have a farmer desire 10ha. This is pushing contractors’ mental and physical limits and the meeting was called to find respite and solutions that accommodate both parties.” Rural Contractors NZ president Helen Slattery says messages now being sent to its members by Federated Farmers may provide some relief. “Farmers are being asked by Feds to be patient with their contractors as we have an enormous workload with some of the best growing conditions in November seen for some years, but limited experienced staff,” Slattery explains. “There needs to be better and earlier communication about an area to be worked – farmers can’t just let a mower driver arrive to be told its 30ha not 20ha.” Slattery says farmers are also being asked to help where they can – dropping fences where

practical, having access away from stock or agreeing to wait a week. “Ringing around contractors to see who can get there first adds pressure we just don’t need and is only at best a short-term fix.” Olsen says RCNZ has been petitioning the Government for months for more approved skilled workers from overseas. “In each of those submissions we have emphasised that a shortfall in overseas skilled operators will result in the very things that are happening right now.” He says the entire primary sector is short of the skilled labour it needs. “It’s in Minister Faafoi’s hands to approve some further skilled workers – or let this crisis take an increasing toll on people and farm production.” @rural_news

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Rounding up on Round-Up! LEO ARGENT

THERE’S GROWING talk around New Zealand and the world about glyphosate being a health hazard, possibly carcinogenic. Glyphosate is a broad spectrum herbicide that serves as the main ingredient in weed killers like Round-Up and others. It is the most widely used herbicide in the world. Numerous district councils in New Zealand and foreign countries are attempting to phase out glyphosate, while some are even banning it outright. This has many farmers and others worried. A NZIER report shows that herbicides are worth between $2.7 to $8.6 billion to New Zealand agriculture, with an average impact on output of up to 20%. In a recent press release, Agcarm states that glyphosate’s broadspectrum effectiveness can eliminate nearly all weeds, which many other herbicides cannot. “Without it, producers would face substantial weed pressure – as weeds compete with crops for light, water and nutrients,” it claimed. “Even greater pressure exists with climate change and the need for farming practices to become more sustainable.”

Many studies – carried out in New Zealand and overseas – have come to the conclusion that glyphosate is perfectly safe.

Additionally, Agcarm state that farmers can reduce their environmental footprint by minimising tillage – benefiting soil health, lessening carbon emissions, conserving water and reducing labour and fuel costs. Glyphosate can be applied with fertiliser, seeds and cover crops in one go – saving time and money. A large amount of the product is used by local councils and government bodies to manage weeds

in public spaces, including railways and roadways to improve visibility and enhance safety. Glyphosate works by inhibiting the enzyme EPSPS synthase, which is found in plants. Notably, humans and animals do not contain this enzyme, which explains its previous reputation for safety. In addition, many modern crops have been genetically modified to be resilient to glyphosate – meaning that, for all intents and purposes,

glyphosate should only be able to harm weeds. As an extra note the Environmental Protection Agency in the US has found that even when directly ingested in a suicide attempt, doses of 150ml (almost triple the maximum recommended dosage for the hardiest weeds) or less have not led to death. It pointed out that of all suicide attempts linked to drinking glyphosate herbicides, mortality rates were only

17% -- far lower than bleach, drain cleaner or other commercially available cleaning products or pesticides. Many studies have been carried out in New Zealand and overseas. Most of them have come to the conclusion that glyphosate is perfectly safe or, at worst, no more dangerous than any other similar product when used according to instructions. But there are exceptions. The International

Association for Research of Cancer claims glyphosate is dangerous. However, further analysis reveals that compared to the World Health Organization study that claimed otherwise, the IARC had eight evaluated studies cited compared to the WHO’s 15 studies. Both organisations have had accusations of bias and selectively editing results to favour one outcome. Many conflicting opinions are present regard-

ing glyphosate, even within the same spheres of influence. Agcarm, the body that represents NZ’s chemical manufacturers and distributors, claims that many possible substitutes for glyphosate are either more toxic or less effective. Therefore, it believes that it’s highly important – before making any decisions regarding bans or free application – that all the facts and differing viewpoints are considered.

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New tech eliminates effluent’s methane emissions NIGEL MALTHUS

RAVENSDOWN HAS unveiled new methane mitigating technology that it claims virtually eliminates the methane emitted from effluent ponds. Ponds are the second largest source of methane on a dairy farm – behind direct emissions from the animals themselves. Ravensdown says its EcoPond system could cut total farm emissions by 4% to 5%. It also reduces odour and risk of phosphate loss from pond effluent when spread on farm. EcoPond was unveiled recently at Lincoln University’s Dairy Research Farm. It is an offshoot of Ravensdown’s award-winning ClearTech effluent recovery system and was developed in conjunction with the same team of Lincoln University’s Professor Hong Di and Emeritus Professor Keith Cameron. The automated “plug and play” in-line system can be retrofitted to existing ponds and uses the same ferric sulphate additive as ClearTech,

metered into the pond by a computer-controlled pump and mixing system. Cameron says the larger the pond, the more micro-organisms there are in the pond to generate methane. “This new system has been tested in the lab and at farm scale, where it proves enormously effective at essentially nullifying the methane-creating process.” Di adds that EcoPond reduces the risk of Dissolved Reactive Phosphate loss to water by up to 99%. “This means that this essential nutrient can be recycled with reduced risk of water contamination. The EcoPond system also strips out E. coli so that the dairy effluent is much safer to irrigate to pasture.” The EcoPond is available for farmers to use now. Ravensdown general manager innovation and strategy Mike Manning says the New Zealand dairy sector is already a world leader in carbon emissions efficiency, but the country has set a 10% target of biogenic methane


reduction by 2030. “This new tool in the farmer’s toolbox has the benefit of robust science

behind it and will assist farmers who want to start tracking towards that target now,” he says.

Lincoln University professors Hong Di, left, and Keith Cameron with Ravensdown’s Carl Ahlfeld. The team responsible for the Cleartech effluent management system has now unveiled EcoPond, claimed to be a breakthrough in methane mitigation. SUPPLIED. TONY STEWART / PHOTOSHOTS










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Vaccine rollout fails rural NZ PETER BURKE

THE COVID-19 vaccine rollout was not designed for rural NZ. Rural GP Network chair Dr Fiona Bolden believes the rollout was constructed for an urban setting with large vaccination centres. She says

in rural areas is complex. She believes some of this is due to the distance that people may have to travel to get a jab, others still haven’t got the message that Covid will even-

such a plan simply didn’t work for rural people. Bolden adds that some of the tools for managing Covid in the community have been developed from an urban perspective and don’t fit neatly into the vastly different rural environment. Bolden says the reason for low vaccination rates

Rural GP Network chair Dr Fiona Bolden.

tually come to their area. Bolden notes that rural people are notoriously independent and often don’t like being told what to do and says this could be a factor. She says some of the statistics about vaccination rates in rural regions are misleading and fail to capture key problems


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– such as the low Māori vaccination rates. “Although your overall rate in a region may not look too bad, there are pockets and clusters in some areas that have very low vaccination rates and these are often in the more isolated areas, which again can affect Māori and the rural workforce,” she told Rural News. Bolden says the community care programme is based around wellbeing and social support to help people who have Covid and who are isolating at home. “The difficulty is how is that going to happen in rural areas and who is going to coordinate that? How will it be funded and how will people be supported in rural areas? “What happens if people have to go into an

MIQ facility? We know there are no MIQ facilities in rural areas and we have heard that these are unlikely to be developed. So we need extra help for homecare and from the DHBs and nursing support to be able to particularly help older people who are isolating at home on their own with Covid. That is a huge issue.” Bolden says the news that the Rotorua DHB has only four ICU beds is terrifying and says means that GPs are going to have to manage the majority of people who catch Covid. She warns that the low vaccination rates in many rural communities means that in a major Covid outbreak, unvaccinated people are going to get more severely ill and this will stretch health facilities in many places.


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DR FIONA Bolden says she has huge concerns around holiday times if people, who potentially have Covid, come into rural areas and there is an outbreak. She says for a start, rural health professionals will need help with swabbing. Bolden says the pressure will go on rural GPs who are the logical ones to deal with local people – because they know individuals’ medical history. “To provide the wrap around and support services there needs to be a coordinator appointed to run the programme and not leave it to the few GPs and nurses who work locally,” she told Rural News. “The whole of the community needs to be behind this, including the DHBs and the primary health organisations. There are huge issues such as 24/7 care for people and having ambulances readily available to take people to hospital.” Bolden says she has particular concerns about what is happening in terms of mid-wifery services in rural areas. She also worries about how accidents and emergences will be handled and how proper care will be provided for elderly people who contract Covid.

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DR FIONA Bolden says there has been talk about some doctors and nurses siding with the anti-vax lobby. However, she points out that these people are just a small minority when compared to the many thousands of health professionals who support the vaccination programme. “But their comments are unhelpful. Health professionals need to support the science-based ways of preventing diseases and we need to look at the evidence that is presented and not just small pieces of evidence,” Bolden told Rural News. “I think there is a particular problem when it has a huge impact on a small rural community. It is very sad to see that, because we see rural practitioners who are really committed to the local communities and have worked with them for years,” she says. “There will always be a small number who have different ways of looking at things. It’s hard to understand that when we as doctors are trained to follow science.”

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Toxoplasma is present on 100% of New Zealand farms, and Campylobacter on 88%1 - but both are equally important. These two diseases can cause abortion storms with losses up to 30%, or more, of lambs*2,3. Preventing them takes two vaccines. Maiden ewes require 1 dose of Toxovax® and 2 doses of Campyvax®4 ahead of mating. An annual booster of Campyvax4 to mixed age ewes is required in following years. Protect against abortion storms, and improve flock performance.

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Farmers urged to prepare for Covid PETER BURKE

PLAN FOR the worst case scenario in terms of Covid-19. That’s the message to farmers from Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor. He says farmers need to have a clear plan, mapped out and written up to ensure that their farming operations can carry on if they contract Covid. McIvor says sheep and beef farmers are often owner-operators and could be isolated by distance, which makes their situation all the more complicated. He says not only do farmers have to care for their family and workers, they also have to take care of animals. “Farmers should get vaccinated to manage that risk, they should manage the infection risk from others – in other words put in place a personal biosecurity protocol – and they must base their plan on the worst case scenario,” McIvor says. “This means if a farmer becomes infected and a local district health board says they need to go into isolation off farm, what happens?” According to McIvor, farmers need to have someone set up and ready so they can ring

Beef+LambNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says farmers should plan the worst case scenario in terms of Covid19.

them at the drop of a hat to come in and help, for a couple of days at least. And then plan what might happen thereafter. He says farmers should put in writing all the critical information that person would need to know coming on to their farm – including health and safety protocols. “Farmers need to be thinking ahead and think-

ing what might happen if they have to isolate for two or three weeks. They also need to think whether they get a mild dose or a severe dose of Covid and how that might affect their operation,” he adds. McIvor says farmers can look at options and perhaps decide to set stock, as opposed to rotational grazing. He says

they could see whether it’s possible to delay planting dates for crop and work out if that was an option. He says it’s about thinking about those critical things that need to happen and having a plan around them to minimise the impact on their business. “Think about what your risk profile is in

terms of spread from your farm to others?” McIvor adds. He says it’s not only thinking about the impact on individual farmers, but also the potential impact on others in the value chain as well. He says this is especially the case given that the industry is approaching the peak of the killing season.

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HORTICULTURE PUTS PRESSURE ON FARM PRICES THERE’S A trend of some dairy farms coming on the market to be bought for commercial vegetable growing and other horticultural activities. That’s the view of Real Estate Institute rural spokesperson Brian Peacocke. However, he says such land must have good soil, the right contours and a sustainable water supply. Peacocke says water is key and in Northland a new water scheme will certainly foster more horticultural development. “In the Waikato we are seeing a spill over from the Bay of Plenty in terms of demand,” he told Rural News. “Alternatively, some of the well-established horticulturalists in the Waikato are expanding their operations and that is to kiwifruit, whereas Northland will be a mixture of kiwifruit and avocados.” Just recently, Zespri announced that it is halving the number of hectares for SunGold kiwifruit this year and Peacocke believes this is likely to result in record prices being paid for land in areas where kiwifruit can be grown. He says, last year, prices were around $550,000 per hectare, but says this year it could be up around $700,000. Peacocke reckons the days of dairy conversions are pretty much done. He says there are multiple reasons for this including the cost and difficulty of getting a resource consent to do this, availability of water and other environmental issues. He says people wishing to convert lower classes of pastoral land will struggle to gain a consent – given the way that regional councils have classified land use. “It’s easier to come down a land use category, rather than trying to go up one,” he explains. According to Peacocke, good dairy farms in prime areas are being sold as dairy farms, whereas in some of the fringe dairy areas there is evidence of a change of land use. He says some marginal dairy farms are going back to beef or heifer grazing dairy support. In some of the country that’s further back, more remote or inhospitable, there’s a move into trees and some land that may be integrated into trees. “The trend of larger farming operations absorbing small neighbouring blocks is continuing and there are now very few small dairy farms left.” Peacocke says the demand for good dairy support land is significant and often this land is fetching higher prices than actual dairy farmland. – Peter Burke

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Shipping costs and delays skyrocket MARK DANIEL

COVID-19 HAS brought massive disruptions and huge cost increases to the world’s shipping routes. The latest report by The World Composite Container Index shows that container rental costs have risen 292% over their 2020 value. In New Zealand, extended delivery times has seen goods being delayed with some large items – like tractors and harvesters – pushing out to lead times of 9 to 12 months. Much of this delay can be attributed to factors such as up to 4 million “misplaced” containers around the world, service cancellations and boats being held up at ports. In the case of the latter, freight forwarders Kuehne and Nagel reported that during September, 353 container ships were stuck trying to unload at ports around the world. It went on to suggest that a return to normality could take 12 to 18 months. While congestion at the Ports of Auckland was causing hold-ups at the start of the year, since around March, import dwell times (the time taken to berth and unload), was around 1.94 to 3.4 days. However, the recent Auckland lockdowns has meant that freight warehouses and distribution hubs had been largely closed and holding up the supply chain – particularly for nonessential goods. Of greater concern to the NZ economy is the shipping schedule reliability index. This has slipped to an all-time low of 6%, from 80% prior to the pandemic. This has resulted in some ships arriving into our territorial waters choosing to make only one drop off – rather than servicing coastal ports – to make up time.

Shipping container rental costs have risen 292% above their 2020 value.

This has compounded the problem of mislocated, empty containers, which in some cases has seen “ghost” container ships travelling empty to the southern hemisphere, just to pick up empty containers. Coastal shipping in NZ has also changed over the last three decades, following deregulation, which allowed overseas vessels to visit ports en-route to their destination. In 1994, there were 34 ships servicing the regional ports of NZ. Compare that today, where there is only one – the Moana Chief. This has led the Government, in September, to announce a $30 million

initiative over three years to support the sector. However, as of now, there’s been no detail as to how this will work. While encouraging coastal shipping has merit over the long term, the need for a short-term solution means it may be better to charter smaller container ships to move any backloads – as building or commissioning any new vessels will take several years. Meanwhile, a recent study by the World Bank and IHS Markit shows that Australian container ports were operating inefficiently and well below international best practice – even before the pandemic disruption. The study ranked

Australia’s largest container ports, Melbourne and Sydney, in the bottom 15% and 10% respectively of the 351 global ports in the study. In 2019, the median in-port time for container ships visiting Australia was three times longer than Japan, twice that of China, and 50% longer than Singapore or New Zealand. This had led to some shipping lines withdrawing services from Australia – before Covid-19 had arrived – and calling for that country to take decisive action to remain an attractive destination for global shipping lines. The report also looked at how sys-

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Luxton leaves a legacy DAVID ANDERSON

FORMER AGRICULTURE Minister and Dairy NZ chair John Luxton leaves behind a legacy and lifetime of achievement in the agriculture sector and beyond. Luxton died in late November, following a battle with cancer. He was 75. Born in Morrinsville in 1946, Luxton was raised on the family dairy farm and attended Massey University. He graduated Massey in agriculture and science and with a master’s degree in business studies, and later completed the Kellogg rural leaders programme at Lincoln. Following a career that included a stint in Africa with the World Bank, Luxton was elected as the National Party MP for Matamata in 1987. He took over the seat from his father Jack, who had held the seat for the previous 21 years. In 1996, a boundary change shifted him to the seat of Karapiro, which he held from 1996 to 1999. He then opted to become a list MP, which he held until retiring from politics in 2002. Following the National Party’s election to government in 1990, Luxton was appointed to cabinet. He held several portfolios under the prime ministerships of both Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley, until the election of the Helen Clark-led Labour govern-

Former Agriculture Minister and Dairy NZ chair John Luxton.

ment in 1999. His ministerial roles included Minister of Energy, Minister of Housing, Minister of Māori Affairs, Minister of Police, Minister of Commerce, Minister of Industry, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Lands, Minister of Customs and Minister of Agriculture. He was also an Associate Minister of Education and of Overseas Trade. Former Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English was Luxton’s press secretary in

the mid-1990s, when he held a number of portfolios and ended up number four in cabinet. “He was a minister who was most interested in the long term outcomes for the country, not short term politics. He was always open to new ideas and was a great listener,” English told Rural News. “He was a gentleman and a statesman who had the respect across party lines. He liked getting things done.” Luxton was regarded


by many as one of the more economically liberal members of the National Party. In the late 1990s, Luxton was instrumental in producer board reforms, which was not an overly popular move at the time. However, his foresight led to the deregulation of the dairy industry and formation of Fonterra. These reforms also led to major changes in the meat, wool, kiwifruit and apple sectors. Fonterra chairman Peter McBride said he had a huge amount of

respect for the former Agriculture Minister and founding chairman of DairyNZ. McBride recalled first meeting Luxton during the Christchurch earthquake in 2016. They were both in Christchurch attending a meeting on the Trans Pacific Partnership with US officials. After the meeting was disrupted by the earthquake, McBride and Luxton ended up walking across the devastated city. “He was a lovely guy,”

said McBride. Following his retirement from politics in 2002, Luxton was involved with many agribusinesses. This included co-founding two of New Zealand’s biggest cheese producers the Open Country Cheese Company and Kaimai Cheese company with Wyatt Creech (himself deputy prime minster to Jenny Shipley). He also had longstanding involvements with both Wallace Corporation and Tatua Dairy – both pre and post

his political career. At the time of his death, he had recently retired as chair of the Asia NZ Foundation, was chair of the large-scale dairying Pouarua Farm Partnership, and Crown appointee co-chair of the Waikato River Authority, a role he had served in since 2011. Luxton was chair of DairyNZ between 2008 and 2015. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle described Luxton as a true champion of the dairy sector. “John was a truly great leader. He was, amongst many things, the founding chair of DairyNZ, and I’m forever grateful for his support and guidance to the organisation, and me personally, through our first eight years,” Mackle says. “I absolutely loved working with him. He was a genuinely great chap, a statesman and diplomat who could engage with anyone. He led through his values, and was guided by doing the right thing, not the easy thing.” Former Meat NZ chair and Special Agriculture Trade Envoy Mike Petersen also says Luxton will be sadly missed. “I worked closely with John over many years. He was an incredibly thoughtful, considerate and respectful leader, who contributed so much,” Petersen says. “John left a lasting legacy of leadership with humility and respect.”




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Free resources to help farmers prepare for COVID-19 on-farm Sheep and beef farmers Mike and Cath Cranstone are growing 20 per cent more feed crops this summer as part of a COVID-19 contingency plan for their business. The couple, who have four full-time staff, run 17,000 stock units on 1,650 hectares (effective) at Fordell near Whanganui. “We have been looking at ways to minimise the risk of COVID-19-related disruptions to our farming business, especially as the virus spreads,” Mr Cranstone said. “Animal welfare and protecting this year’s income have been central to our planning. We have planted 80 hectares of summer feed crops, which is up 20 per cent on last year. “Having additional feed will take a bit of pressure off and enable us to keep lambs for an extra week or two, should COVID-19 cause any delays at the meatworks.” It’s one of multiple steps being taken to Mike Cranstone on his farm at Fordell, near Whanganui. Inset: Mark Bridges, of Southern Pastures. shield the business from the effects of Delta. “One option on the table to reduce the work- best defence, if you want to stay on your farm, The Cranstones and their staff are all fully essential farm tasks.” Southern Pastures ramped up its contin- load on-farm, should it be needed, would be is to get double-jabbed,” Dr Butchard said. vaccinated against COVID-19 and they’ve had Fully vaccinated people will also have early discussions with their shearing contractor gency planning back in August, bringing its moving to once-a-day milking. But that would greater freedoms under the new traffic light systeams together online to run through various be dependent on the time of year,” he said. about the virus. Vaccination remains one of the best tools to tem to manage COVID-19 in the community. “Shearing in December and January has the COVID-19-related scenarios. The COVID-19 on-farm checklist can be The company operates 19 dairy farms and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading. potential to be quite a risky time, with contracImmunologist and Otago University Asso- downloaded from the Federated Farmers webone support block in South Waikato and Cantors coming on-farm,” Mr Cranstone said. “We’ll be doing everything we practical- terbury and has an on-farm team of about 80 ciate Professor James Ussher told a recent Fed- site. erated Farmers webinar that a fully-vaccinated ly can to minimise any close contact with the people. “It could hit one of our farms today, in three person had a 75-80 per cent lower chance of shearers, including wearing face coverings.” Check out these free COVID-19 Mr Cranstone is the Whanganui provincial weeks’ time or in three months’ time, but we being infected with the virus. checklists. “If you don’t get infected, you can’t pass president for Federated Farmers. He’s encour- are prepared if it does,” said Southern Pastures’ Industry checklist it on to other people. So, it’s about protecting aging farmers to use a COVID-19 checklist, general manager of farming, Mark Bridges. “Fortunately, our teams are well-placed yourself and protecting others,” he said. developed by the agri-sector and the Ministry DairyNZ Farm Business Continuity Plan The Southern DHB Medical Officer of to cover each other. Our farms have similar for Primary Industries (MPI). “It’s a great, free resource and makes it eas- milking sheds, machinery, and operating pro- Health Dr Michael Butchard revealed some soChecklist for lifestyle block owners bering statistics and emphasised the importance ier for other people to step in and help run your cedures. “In the case of one of our dairy farms that’s of being double-jabbed. farm at short notice,” Mr Cranstone said. The COVID-19 Protection Framework “If you’re not vaccinated, you’re 11 times “The checklist enables you to list contact 45 minutes away from our other properties, details for key people, a basic grazing plan for we’ve put in place a support plan with a neigh- more likely to die from COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to be hospitalised. So, your livestock, instructions to operate machinery and bouring farm, should the need arise.

New app helps farmers’ summer planning Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmers Patrick and Isabelle Crawshaw have a new tool to help make early management decisions onfarm this summer. The young couple own a 280-hectare hill-country property at Patoka where they run between 2,000 and 2,500 lambs and 350 Angus cattle for finishing. Patrick recently started using the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s new drought indicator smartphone app. It’s been designed to help farmers to access climate data and inform early decision-making. “I’m only having to dip into the app at the moment, but I would watch it really closely early on when dry conditions first appeared,” Mr Crawshaw said. The app presents a live rainfall, soil temperature, soil moisture, and evapotranspiration data from across the region, and highlights if drought conditions are emerging. “Easy access to the data is giving me a reference point and a steer on trends. As I build up knowledge of how my farm, which we bought in 2018, responds in different conditions, the information will help im-

Top tips heading into summer • have a back-up water supply • use dry spells to check and maintain dams and bores, and check hoses and fittings • do a feed budget, pre-order baleage and hay from feed suppliers if you cannot produce your own • store supplementary feed • order early and be proactive. For further information visit:

prove the accuracy of my decisions,” he said. “I’ve got a plan in place and when soil moisture and transpiration readings hit a certain level, this will set in train decisions I have to make.” The local Rural Advisory Group was in-

strumental in getting the app off the ground, and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) supported its development. Gisborne-based drought resilience coordinator Kristin Kirkpatrick, whose position is funded by MPI, says having a plan ahead of the arrival of dry conditions is vital. “I hear time and time again about the importance of having the trigger points for action. “Sitting down and creating a dry management plan with dates and actions around growing and storing feed, destocking, feed management and debt servicing helps alleviate stress should the season change,” Ms Kirkpatrick said. She is encouraging farmers who need support to make use of the feed coordination service funded by MPI. It’s currently available until 31 January 2022. The official drought classification in place in parts of the country ends on 30 November following good rainfall and pasture growth in many regions. Get the Drought Indicator app from:, search #droughtapp

Investing in innovation Onions, medicinal cannabis and hemp feature in exciting new projects that have received funding from MPI’s Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund. All three fit closely with MPI’s Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential roadmap. • The ‘humble’ onion will undergo an extreme makeover, with an investment of $2.83 million (alongside more than $3m from Onions NZ) to enhance the competitive advantage of New Zealand’s onion industry. The project aims to produce onions that are light on the environment, and produced sustainably. • The SFF Futures fund is contributing nearly $760,000 to a $1.9 million, three-year programme that aims to establish evidence-based medical cannabis cultivation practices. Researchers at project partner Greenlab will carry out rigorous trials and lab testing to ensure consistently high-quality and effective pharmaceutical products. A successful medicinal cannabis industry will earn significant export revenue, provide jobs, and produce locally-grown pharmaceutical options for patients. • MPI is contributing more than $245,000 to Hemp Connect’s two-year pilot project aiming to establish a hemp seed processing plant in New Zealand that could be a game changer for the local hemp industry.




Hard sell! FARMERS WILL spend their summer deciding what agricultural emissions pricing framework their sector ‘leaders’ will take to government early next year. For many farmers this will be Hobson’s Choice; akin to asking them which foot they want shot off, the left or the right – particularly when most of their overseas competitors are not paying for on farm emissions. According to the self-appointed Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership – a group made up of Beef+Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and government and iwi representatives – farmers have been given two options to choose from or face been dumped into the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS). The two options are either a farm-level levy or a processor-level levy. The former will see emissions calculated using farm-specific data, so an individual farm will pay a price for its net emissions. This option would reward small woodlots and riparian planting – on top of that currently included in the ETS – to offset some of the cost of the emissions levy. The second option would calculate emissions for meat, milk, and fertiliser at processor level, with the processor charging farmers based on the quantity of product supplied, or fertiliser purchased. Both options take a split-gas approach, acknowledging that short-lived gases like methane have a different warming impact to long-lived gases like carbon dioxide, and the price for methane will be separate and delinked from the carbon price. All this stems from the ridiculously named He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) programme – a moniker that may please our politically-correct Government, but something your average farmer has little knowledge of what it actually is. That’s a pity as HWEN is a good idea. Unfortunately, the over-riding desire of the current farming sector leadership to curry favour with the current Government means they blew any practicality and pragmatism, or chance of having HWEN widely understood, in an attempt to be seen as culturally inclusive. Perhaps that explains Feds’ less than enthusiastic endorsement and why a movement like Groundswell has suddenly appeared on the scene. Farmers will have the opportunity to give their feedback in February when Beef+Lamb, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers undertake a nationwide roadshow. They should take the time between now and then to study the options, propose changes and let their farming leaders know what they really think.


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Fond farewell

THE HOUND suggests all the hype around the potential commercial success of plant-based meat alternatives is starting to hit the wall of reality. Beyond Meat – the plantbased ‘meat’ maker – recently reported disappointing thirdquarter results. The company has also issued a gloomy outlook that indicates sales won’t snap back immediately. Financial analysts like JP Morgan and Credit Suisse are now backing off their earlier calls to invest in Beyond Meat, downgrading the stock and telling investors to not buy. “We view the results as further evidence that Beyond’s business is reaching market saturation faster than expected and that the company has deeper problems that won’t be easy to fix,” Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow wrote in a note to clients. JP Morgan’s Ken Goldman told investors that “it’s hard to be completely confident about the future of the category”.

Your old mate is cynical about the real motives of many who push the latest fad in farming, regenerative agriculture. Several groups – as well as a fair few governmentfunded bodies – seem to be cashing in on the regen bandwagon. One is a group called ‘Calm the Farm’ – a self-described investment service that aims to “help” conventional farmers to convert to regenerative agriculture. Its founders are Nathalie Whitaker of Give A Little, data analytics expert Mike Taitoko and physicist Shaun Hendy. If that last name rings a bell, that’s because it is the same Shaun Hendy from the University of Auckland’s Te Punaha Matatini (TPM), the Government’s favoured ‘Covid modelling’ outfit. It seems Hendy is not content with just clipping the ticket on Covid, to the tune of more than $6 million for Covid-19 modelling from TPM, but is now also keen to cash in on the regen ag fad as well!

This old mutt reckons (un) social media is just an echo chamber of self-important, self-professed experts who lecture and pontificate to all and sundry about their self-important views. It’s also a trap for those who think their opinions will only be seen by their ‘friends’. Once a NZ Dairy Group exec and Affco CEO, Ross Townshend learnt this the hard way recently when his rather frank and unflattering comments about Nanaia Mahuta were picked up by the permanently outraged. Unsurprisingly, this cost him his gig at Tatua Dairy. One would have thought someone who has been around as long as Townshend would know that whatever you say, even in a supposedly restricted forum, will sooner or later be widely picked up. The old adage which says ‘what you say today could end up on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow’ is always a good mantra to live by.

Your canine crusader would like to pay tribute and a fond farewell to former Agriculture Minister and Dairy NZ chair (to name just a couple of his huge contributions to the ag sector) John Luxton, who died recently. No matter what criticism or extraction of the Michael the Hound, and others, threw at Luxton – including him renaming the ag portfolio or his zealous promotion of producer board reform – he was always good natured and never took it to heart. Luxton’s contribution to NZ ag continued far after his retirement from politics. Ironically, one of the biggest critics of Luxton’s producer board reforms, back in the day, was the current Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor – who has probably benefitted most from these due to the economic performance of the NZ ag sector in our Covid-infected world today!

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A loss to the Tatua family STEVE ALLEN

IT IS with great sadness that we acknowledge and pay tribute to our dear friend and colleague John Luxton upon his passing on 16 November 2021. John’s family association with Tatua goes right back to 1920. Mr Arthur John Luxton (known as Pat) and his neighbour Mr Ranby had supplied the Thames Valley’s Waitoa plant in the 1920 season. Waitoa offered annual supply contracts. Mr Luxton and Mr Ranby had ridden on horseback to Waitoa to sign up for another year. They were told that the dairy factory might not take their milk for a whole season, which is not what the pair wanted to hear. Disgusted with the situation, Messers Luxton and Ranby turned their horses around, and rode directly to The Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company, where they signed up immediately. There were no half seasons at Tatua. Ironically, the two men had no idea that a financially troubled Waitoa Dairy Company would be closed for six out of the following twelve months. And so began a family association of milk supply and service to Tatua, the local community, and New Zealand’s primary sector, that has endured for 100 years. John Luxton followed in the footsteps of his forebears. John’s grandfather, Mr AJ (Pat) Luxton was a Tatua director from 1922 to 1951 and chairman from 1946 to 1951. John’s father, Mr John Finlay Luxton QSO (known as Jack) was a Tatua director from 1961 to 1978. John, the Honourable MJF Luxton, first became a member of the Tatua board in 1978 and served until 1980, during which time he, and his fellow directors oversaw the innovation of Dairy Whip. He then re-joined the board in 1983, becoming the chairman in 1985, and worked closely with then managing director and respected industry veteran Mr Neil Dewdney.

In 1987, John was elected to Parliament as MP for Matamata and retired as Tatua chairman in 1990, handing over this role to Sir Alan Frampton. During his time at Parliament, John served in various ministerial roles, including Minister of Agriculture. He retired from Parliament in 2002. He again became a Tatua director in 2001 and continued in that role until his retirement in 2016, serving in support of two chief executives, Dr Michael Matthews and Mr Paul McGilvary. John’s final year coincided with Mr Brendhan Greaney starting as our current chief executive. Tatua has therefore been very fortunate to have had John contribute over three tenures and a succession of senior executives. The Luxton family service to Tatua continues to this day, with John’s son Richard Luxton having joined the Tatua Board in 2018. Like many of our board members, John had both strong family links with Tatua and relevant industry experience. For John, this included a number of international agriculture consultancies. He received a Lincoln University Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in 2016. He was chairman of the Asia New Zealand Foundation, co-chair of the Waikato River Authority, and chairman of DairyNZ. He also held a number of directorships in the New Zealand agribusiness sector. It is difficult to express in words our true appreciation for John’s contribution to Tatua, our community, our industry, and our nation, over many years. His wisdom, calm demeanour, sense of humour, and friendship, will be greatly missed. Past and present directors, senior executives, employees and shareholders are all deeply saddened by his passing. Our heart-felt condolences go out to John’s wife Mary Scholtens QC; his children, Nicola and the late Mike, Sarah and Sam, Richard and Claire, Ed

and Caroline; and the wider Luxton family. We would also like to acknowledge John’s late wife, Merryl Luxton, who is fondly remembered by our local community and was a Tatua director from 1990 to 1993. From a personal perspective, John was a great support to me as

a new chairman, during his third tenure on the Tatua board. He also was quietly instrumental in acknowledging those sitting MPs who lost their lives in World War II. A memorial plaque sits near the staircase in Parliament with a short list of names, including my grandfather. This was

the thoughtful, gentle, compassionate John Luxton we all knew. On behalf of the Tatua directors, shareholders and employees we thank you John. We will miss you. • Steve Allen is chair of Tatua Dairy Co-operative @rural_news

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Nutrient claims are crap! A DEBATE has emerged in nutrient management and fertiliser advice, brought to a head by the hype about regenerative agriculture. Proponents of the latter are telling farmers that the soil has thousands of years of nutrients and synthetic fertiliser isn’t required. The theory is that animals, including worms and other organisms, will make the nutrients available in their excreta. The opposite approach from soil scientists is that to maintain soil quality, what is removed in animal and plant harvest (or lost to the environment) must be replaced. If improvements in soil

tests investigated, chosen for appropriateness for New Zealand soils and then calibrated for New Zealand conditions rather than those of the northern hemisphere. Fertiliser advice has been improved and refined over the years, but a basic truth remains – soil organisms cannot create mineral nutrients, they merely change them from one form to another. The same applies to grazing animals – the urine and faeces that they excrete came from what they ate a few hours beforehand. The excreta relocates the nutrients in concentrated areas, but the gain is offset by the fact that the nutrients


Jacqueline Rowarth quality are required (development), more nutrients than removed will be required. This maintenance or development approach was pioneered in New Zealand by soil scientists in the 1970s and 1980s. They initiated the Computerised Fertiliser Advisory Service with soil

have been removed from elsewhere which is now poorer in terms of nutrients. Regenerative agriculture’s adaptive paddock management (moving

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animals frequently to new areas in large mobs – what New Zealand developed during the 1940s and termed rotational grazing) does not overcome the basic principle that the nutrients came from the previous grazing area. The concept of 1000s of years of nutrients in the soil stems from the fact that there are greater quantities of essential nutrients in soil than are extracted by the traditional soil tests. The tests are calibrated for what might be available/ needed for a crop or pasture over a year. To access all the nutrients would require destruction of the fabric of the soil and of the organic matter that is so important in soil quality. As each year passes, nutrient supply is diminished and plant growth decreases, which means animal production decreases. During the 1990s the ‘Withholding of superphosphate trials’ showed

that it took several years before the effect of not adding phosphate could be seen. The timeframe depended on the starting point, with higher P soils taking longer than lower P soils. For nitrogen the effect is more immediate. Increasingly there is pressure on farmers to include nutrients which might be made available from soil during the year in their farm fertiliser budgets. The logic is clear – if you can get the nutrient from the soil, you can cut back on applying the nutrient in fertiliser, thereby reducing costs and environmental risk. The problem, however, is that the nutrients in soil, particularly those in the organic matter, are in association with others. In soil, carbon forms the bulk of organic matter – generally around 58%. Each tonne of carbon is associated with 80-100kg of nitrogen, 20kg of phosphorus and 14kg of sulphur.

As the organic matter breaks down, the nutrients are released and though some might be taken up by plants, the carbon will be lost as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Multiply this by even a decade, let alone 1000s of years, and soil quality will decrease. The final words can be found in the explanation written by Dr Ants Roberts, Ravensdown’s chief scientist, for a document on regenerative agriculture ( “Despite what some people believe, no matter how numerous, active and diverse the very important soil biology is nor how many diverse species of plants are growing in blissful harmony with root systems exuding all manner of elicitors and bioactive substances at different depths in the soil profile, this will not create new nutrients,” he wrote. “The inescapable fact is that if those plants are harvested (by machine or animal) and removed from the location they are grown in then eventually soil nutrients will be depleted to the point where it will be inevitable that externally sourced nutrients will need to be applied to sustain the soil’s life supporting capacity.” • Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, Adjunct Professor Lincoln University, is a farmerelected director of DairyNZ and Ravensdown. The analysis and conclusions above are her own.

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When trust was more than just a legal agreement ONE OF my childhood memories – from many sunsets ago – is my Dad doing business with a handshake. I’m sure some of you will remember the days when you didn’t need to lawyer-up for everything like we do today. A handshake was every bit as good as actually having the money in your bank account. How times have changed! Think about it; when my generation finally leaves the planet, there will be nobody left here with firsthand memories of this now extinct business practice. Of course, an old fash-

New Zealand’s 75 most trusted people. No politicians made it into the top 55! Thought I’d mention that just in case you might be wondering if I would have any politi-

cians in my foxhole! Well, this column wraps it up for me for 2021. I trust I have been able to encourage you, or maybe clear the fog in some small way, as

you traverse life’s journey for you. Thanks to those of you who contacted me over the year, I really appreciated hearing from you. It’s been my privilege to be part of the

Rural News family again this year. So, from me to you, have a blessed Christmas and holiday break… and remember the reason behind this season. And


Colin Miller

shaming them won’t cut it either. What we should be asking ourselves is, what works for us when it comes to trust? What needs to happen to enable you to trust? Or, what causes you to lose your trust?

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I have people in my life, as you will in yours, who I trust implicitly. I have totally no doubts or fears concerning them. As the old saying puts it so well, “I would trust them with my life.” ioned, almost forgotten ideal and value known as trust was a huge part of life back then. Actually, it was all based on trust, and of course, people honouring their own word right there in the mix as well. Since March 2020 when a virus changed our world, I have heard people ask, or state “It’s just so difficult to know who to trust”, or “Yeah, but who can you trust?” etc. on more occasions than I can keep record of. Yep, this trust thing keeps coming up continually. And then added to that we have multiple voices trying to convince us, allure or bribe us, to trust them! Let me take the opportunity here to refresh your thinking a little about trust; about the real thing, not a watereddown look-a-like. Trust is always something that is earned over time. It is never an instant or fasttracked thing. It cannot be bought with money, shoved down your throat or legislated into our hearts. Bullying folk or

yep, He’s definitely the One I trust the most. Looking forward to 22. God Bless. • To contact Colin Millar email: farmerschaplain@

For me, it’s things like honesty, personal integrity, taking responsibility – not trying to spin or twist stuff. And their track record here is very important too. How can you trust people when they lie to you and let you down? For me, I’m staying with the above as I have proved it now over so many decades. I’d suggest you stay with what does it for you too. I have people in my life, as you will in yours, who I trust implicitly. I have totally no doubts or fears concerning them. As the old saying puts it so well, “I would trust them with my life.” There are people I would jump in a foxhole with in a flash, without any hesitation! Of course, that level of trust is earned over time; it’s a relationship thing that gets tested and proved in the ups and downs of life. You can’t just flick your fingers or scratch a card and get that. I have in my files a copy of a survey done a few years back to find

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Fonterra proposal a good move CHARLES WHITING

MAKING A change to any businesses is difficult. Augmenting a capital structure with the diversity of stakeholders and complexity as at Fonterra is a significant challenge. That said, change is needed and the proposal on foot is sensible and coupled with a refreshed executable strategy. Fonterra has been plagued in the last decade with what I call an ‘ambition to ability’ mismatch. In short, it didn’t have the skills and necessary humility to take on the world; the business was well over its skis. Directors were wowed by overseas visits to shiny plants and promises of unlimited riches

in new markets by overpaid, misaligned executives. Board members had, at times, questionable conflicts ‘frontrunning’ ventures in new markets and unworkable factions existed. Visions and dreams were created, however, they were only that – a fantasy or maybe even an hallucination. Execution was lacking. Poor choices were made around strategy. A lack of quality thinking and diligence characterised investments. Fortunately, change at Fonterra is well afoot; the turnaround is underway. Whilst challenges persist in the regulatory framework domestically, the necessity of Fonterra – and more broadly dairy to New Zealand – is now

Charles Whiting

more important than ever. It is often forgotten what would happen if Fonterra didn’t exist in its cooperative format. It is very simple – farmers would be squeezed down to accept lower milk prices just above their breakeven. The profits

made on farm from high milk prices and dividends delivered to those farmers by Fonterra would be lost to overseas corporations. Money wouldn’t end up back in local communities – in rural communities – in local rugby and netball clubs, small businesses and to local

employees and contractors. Tax and GST takes would immediately impact government. This on farm economic multiplier effect, delivered by an efficient cooperative, is more important today than ever to New Zealand. This despite continual pressures from government on farmers’ capacity to operate. The need for quality nutrition underpins the new Fonterra strategy. It is the right strategy that plays to Fonterra’s strengths, one that takes account of likely New Zealand production declines (mostly from said regulatory pressures), the benefits of New Zealand pasturebased milk (both environ-

mental and nutritionally) and Fonterra’s worldleading research and development capabilities. Unfortunately, Fonterra has learnt the hard way that it is not a consumer products powerhouse. Those businesses are hungry for capital and don’t match a risk profile of farmer shareholders seeking high annual dividend payouts. Regardless of the new strategy, there is one thing that Fonterra needs to deliver – performance. You can have any capital structure, however if a business doesn’t fundamentally perform it will fail. Behind performance are three clear requirements: • A clear, articulated strategy • Capable people • Measured execution against the plan It is clear to me that elements of this are coming together. Fonterra needs to complement its number – both at board level and within management – with world leading experts who know how to deliver. Execution previously lacking must be held to account by the board and failing that by shareholders playing a more active role. We cannot afford more mind numbing thought experiments using shareholder capital. There is a lot that needs to be done. Sensible enduring partnerships need to be entered into. R&D needs to be focused and targeted. The manufacturing footprint needs to be reduced and positioned towards value, while still retaining some flexibility around commodity/volume like it has

in the past. The board needs to be held account for performance and in-turn continually test and challenge the management team. Credit needs to be made for work done already. The business is rightly moving back to its core – New Zealand milk provided by New Zealand farmers. Why will I be supporting the proposed capital structure? Put simply, the status quo doesn’t work for a declining milk volume environment. The capital structure needs to better suit supplier flexibility and succession. There will always be elements we don’t like. For me it is farmer leavers (not retirees) continuing to get the benefit of ‘dividends’ once they leave the cooperative – i.e. extracting the value premium and getting a commodity milk price elsewhere. Notwithstanding it is best structure available under the current regulatory framework. We must remember the past lessons hard learnt and not fall into the same traps. Regardless it is time to either get on the bus or get off it. This new capital structure, more importantly with an executable strategy, gives us confidence to invest on farm and let Fonterra do for future generations what it has for past – deliver prosperity and wealth to rural communities and in turn contribute significantly to New Zealand’s global standing. • Charles Whiting is a Waikato-based, former finance executive with investments in dairy and other NZ businesses.

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When to wean lambs? THE IDEAL weaning date should be guided by whether it achieves two key goals. Firstly, maximising profit from feed supplied to lambs and ewes and, secondly, protecting ewe condition so she is productive the following year. Ewe intake increases two to three weeks into lactation and builds to a peak at eight weeks. However, milk production peaks at between two and four weeks. The ewe simply can’t eat enough to meet her lactation and energy requirements. At peak lactation, single ewes consume around 2.5kg DM/day (dry matter per day) and twinning ewes 3kg DM/day. In late lactation, wellfed ewes (especially with a single lamb) can gain weight. Lactating ewes use feed 20% more efficiently to put on LW than dry ewes. But they have 10% higher maintenance requirements which is a cost. Four weeks after lambing, a ewe’s milk production peaks then starts to drop steadily by 19 to 26 g/day (grams/day). Good nutrition is needed to achieve high peak milk production. However, nutrition levels don’t really affect the subsequent milk decline rate. Some breeds produce a higher volume of milk, for example East Friesian. It is estimated that the lamb weight difference between high and low milking ewes is 3kg of weaning weight. Having high-milking breeds doesn’t really benefit a single lamb as they


● ●

The ideal weaning date should be guided by maximising feed supplied to lambs and protecting ewe condition.

can’t consume all the milk produced. Research compared high milking Poll Dorsets to Romneys, with the Poll Dorset having a live weight gain advantage of 13 g/day in single lambs and a 30 g/ day advantage in twins. Suckling duration and frequency alters milk production. Extra suckling from twins stimulates the ewe to produce approximately 35% more milk in early lactation and 18% more in late lactation. Research showed that a pre-weaning intake of 2.07kg DM/ewe can drop to a maintenance feeding level of 0.92kg after weaning. Stopping lactation frees up energy for the ewe herself. Usually, ewe liveweight gain increases by 50 g/head/day after weaning, if fed at the same level. To get ewes to grow at 100g/day, feed worth over 10MJME/kg DM (megajoules of metabolisable energy) is needed. An example would be lucerne or summer brassica. This can be hard to

provide (and therefore expensive) in summer. If weaning is delayed and ewes lose weight when feed is tight, it can be costly to make up ewe weight. Each kg of ewe liveweight lost is equal to 17MJME but it takes 65MJME to put one kg of weight back on. For this reason, on summer-dry farms ewes should be weaned at her target mating weight for the following year e.g. 65kg. Ewes weaned at the target weight don’t have to gain weight over summer. They can be used to clean up aged or dried grass, helping condition pastures. The lamb’s rumen is fully capable of digesting pasture by three weeks of age. Lambs weaned before six weeks are likely to suffer, as they can’t make up for the lost milk by suddenly increasing pasture intake. Feed intake levels are too low. Lambs can increase pasture intake a little if milk intake declines but a lamb under 8 weeks

is likely to grow better on its mother than if weaned. A crossbred lamb born at 4.5kg and gaining 250g/day will weigh only 18.5kg liveweight at 8 weeks. Research shows lamb growth peaks somewhere between day 20 and 40 of lactation (at an average of 250-350g/ head/day). Lambs can partially compensate for lower milk availability by consuming more pasture. Lamb growth can stay high in late lactation if pasture quality is over 10.5 MJME/kg DM e.g. leafy green grass, legumes, brassicas. Single lambs consume more milk and grow around 80g/day faster than twin lambs in early lactation and 35g/day faster than twins in late lactation. This occurs even if twin ewes are grazing high pasture covers. Although ewes produce more milk for twins, these lambs get around 68% and 59% of the milk intake of single lambs in peak and late lactation respectively.

Triplet lambs get even less milk as the ewe can’t physically respond any more to the suckling stimulus. Half the difference in lamb weaning weight between lines of sheep can be attributed to the

Single lambs grow faster than twins, even with preferential feeding. Lambs grow the fastest on a diet of both milk and pasture. If ewes are maintaining condition then extending lactation may boost the overall growt rate of the lamb from birth to slaughter. If pasture covers are low and ewes are competing with lambs, weaning lambs onto saved quality feed may lift lamb growth rates and be a good use of feed. After weaning ewe intake falls by 20%. Knowing how lambs and ewes will respond to weaning under different conditions will help the farmer make the best decision of when to wean

genetic makeup of the lamb. Heavier breed animals typically consume more feed and grow more efficiently. If ewes and lambs are well fed with pasture and ewes are milking well, then weaning between 8 to 12 weeks will reduce lamb growth.


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Research shows that lighter lambs often have less of a ‘check’ than heavier lambs after weaning. It may be better not to wean lambs (especially single lambs) within 2-3 kg of sale weight as weaning will delay sale date. Source: https://beeflambnz. com/






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Farmers should ask themselves a number of questions around weaning and actions to take.

Questions around weaning decisions HERE ARE some questions farmers can ask themselves around weaning and actions to take. Q: Are feed covers low (e.g. under 1000kg drymatter/hectare) in early spring? Are lambs in mid lactation ‘hardening up,’ although ewe condition is holding? Yes. Avoid weaning lambs as their pasture intake is still low. Consider silage/ baleage supplements to get ewes through this pinch period. Consider selling ewes with lambs at foot to free

up feed, especially if a feed surplus is unlikely to eventuate. Next year save more feed and consider applying nitrogen to boost growth. Consider later lambing. Q: Are ewes in late lactation below target weight for next seasons tupping, and will it be costly/ difficult to get them to gain weight over summer? Yes. Wean. It is likely that lamb growth might also be low and less impacted by weaning. No. Ewes can keep lactating.


Q: Are ewes competing with lambs for feed on the lambing blocks e.g. single lambs are growing less than 150-200 grams/head/day in late lactation? Yes. Consider weaning, especially if saved feed is available for lambs e.g. brassica. They may grow faster after weaning with a higher intake and feed quality. No. Don’t wean. Lambs are growing well and will do better with milk and pasture. Q: Are lambs prime but growing too

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slowly to beat the weekly processing plant schedule price drop (i.e. their $ value/head is not increasing each week)? Yes. Wean and sell and put feed into other stock. No. Lambs are increasing in value each week so it pays to keep them on the ewes to make more money. The ewes must not be losing weight, as it may be costly to put weight back on them. @rural_news

WITH CHRISTMAS just around the corner and the annual panic to find a special present for a special person – or even just the old man – it might be worth a trip to the local bookshop. With literature and travel said to broaden the mind, Tim Fulton’s recently published Kiwi Farmers’ Guide to Life is one of the best antidotes to restrictions placed on the latter by Covid. It is aptly subtitled ‘Tales from the Rural Heartland’ as this is exactly what you get. Telling the tales of rural farming operations big and small, from Kaitaia to Bluff, the book is a wartsand-all look at the hard yards put in by New Zealand’s pioneering families. It covers their endeavours from the mid-1800s through to the challenges of today. The guide takes in topics like purchase, establishment, survival and succession, with the odd bit of discrimination, drought and disease. Whether it’s the back country of North Canterbury, where Scargill’s owners make a living from beef and sheep, with a passion for old cars, to the tales of Mike Murphy from Waimate further south, whose prowess with a shearing handpiece has taken him around the world, the book is a wonderful insight into the exploits of real Kiwi blokes and lasses. Told in a no-nonsense, direct way that typifies Fulton’s time in the rural news industry, readers will recognise place names like Whangara, Waikato and Invermay. They will also share an insight into the families whose lives are intrinsically linked to those places. Beautifully presented with high-quality photographs of the past and present, The Kiwi Farmers’ Guide to Life is an ideal gift for the lounge or bedside table. It will soon have you sitting down with a coffee and a ginger nut, just to read another story. The Kiwi Farmers’ Guide to Life is available in all good bookstores. – Mark Daniel



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M.bovis elimination on track A REVIEW of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme has found it is on track to eradicate the disease from New Zealand – a world-first. It has also made several recommendations to improve the country’s wider biosecurity system. The review found that the programme, a partnership between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, has made improvements since it was beefed up to stop the spread of the disease. “We have come a long way since the programme started,” says M. bovis governance group chair Kelvan Smith. He claims the improvements made to the programme have prevented long-term financial and animal welfare costs of endemic M. bovis in herds. “We’ve previously acknowledged the issues at the start of the programme and the Independent Review acknowledges that lessons have been learned and improvements made,” Smith adds. “There’s no denying the disruption and stress experienced by farmers affected by the eradication programme and this review will help to ensure we have better systems and support in the future for disease responses.” The review panel’s recommendations covered areas focused on responding to animal dis-

eases – all of which have been accepted and are being implemented. MPI director-general Ray Smith says the M. bovis programme has provided valuable lessons for future disease responses. He says these are being applied to areas of work like the Foot and Mouth Disease Readiness Programme. “The M. bovis programme has already led to changes across the biosecurity system, however, there’s always room to improve and the review panel’s recommendations will help us in the future,” he says. “One of the key recommendations is that we all need to work more closely together to ensure the right capability and support is in place for people affected by a disease incursion.” Smith says the improvements already made or under way include: • The appointment


The review panel’s recommendations focused on responding to animal diseases, all of which have been accepted and are being implemented.

of a new specialist welfare advisor within Biosecurity New Zealand to ensure a greater focus on the needs of people affected by future incursion responses. • A new chief veterinary officer for MPI to connect its vets who practice across a wide range of activities; and build collaboration with the country’s private veterinary network to enhance disease readiness.

• Investment in a new data strategy to ensure the information needs of biosecurity responses can be adequately met in future. • A programme of projects for increasing readiness for an FMD incursion is underway. • Threat-specific plans are in place for some other diseases of concern. • Working with industry partners and networks outside of MPI, such as veterinarians, to ensure

REVIEW RECOMMENDATIONS IN FEBRUARY this year, MPI appointed Professor Nicola Shadbolt (Chair), Dr Roger Paskin, Professor Caroline Saunders and Tony Cleland to carry out the review, which recommended the following: ● MPI and industry will work to prioritise, support, communicate and monitor the implementation of these recommendations with other industries and partners. ● Develop standing governance of livestock disease preparedness, made up of MPI and industry organisations, with an independent chair ● Develop standing governance of livestock disease preparedness, made up of MPI and industry organisations, with an independent chair ● Develop and resource the livestock disease preparedness structure, capacity, and capability within MPI, particularly for large-scale and complex animal disease incursions ● Build a national contingency plan for animal disease responses, supported by detailed operational procedures and materials ● Develop and resource a data strategy across the livestock biosecurity system

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❱❱ There are now four active confirmed M. bovis properties compared to 16 at the same time in 2019. All current properties are in Canterbury. ❱❱ A total of 268 confirmed properties have been cleared and nearly 173,000 cattle culled. ❱❱ 18 farms are under notices of direction (NOD) compared with 297 at the same time in 2019. ❱❱ The time under NOD has dropped from 97 days average to 27 days in the past two years. ❱❱ $212 million compensation has been paid across 2676 claims. Some 53 claims are currently open – 1.9% of the total. ❱❱ Since the beginning of the response, the average number of working days to pay an M. bovis non-complex claim has reduced from 47 days to 20 days. ❱❱ 2,444,594 tests have been carried out for M. bovis.

the expertise for preparing for and responding to large scale animal incursion are identified, developed and maintained. • Strengthening of importing requirements for cattle semen. • Completion of the new National Biocontainment Laboratory at Wallaceville, which will enable improved disease diagnostic capability and capacity. “We acknowledge the significant impact the eradication has had on farmers and rural communities, as well as those working on the programme,” says review chair Professor Nicola Shadbolt. “A large number of people, including our farmers, worked incredibly hard to get to where we are now. “Unique tools and capability have been built, which put us in a great position and we’re on track to be the first country in the world to eradicate M. bovis.”

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A report by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), released in July, acknowledged the improvements made to the programme to lessen the impact on affected farmers and rural communities. It also confirmed that New Zealand is on track to eradicate the disease.



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NAIT compliance still not up to scratch PETER BURKE

A RECENT review of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the livestock sector were unprepared to tackle a large scale response. The report found there were too few well trained and experienced staff. It adds that there were also issues around training and consistency of decision making, particularly around movement control and dealing with compensation claims. DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb NZ chairs – Jim van der Poel and Andrew Morrison – claim the review shows many improvements had been made to the delivery of the programme. However, the independent review team – headed by Professor Nicola Shadbolt – found that programme is still hindered by poor industry-wide compliance in the recording of animal movements. Shadbolt says despite the best efforts of all con-

cerned there are still problems with sharing data between MPI, farmers and supporting agencies and that this continues to frustrate the implementation of the programme. But she adds it’s a remarkable achievement that NZ is currently on track to eradicate M. bovis. The 196 page report canvasses processes and procedures that have taken place since the disease was first discovered in 2017. It charts the progress that has been made since then and produces a series of recommendations to improve this and other biosecurity incursions. Van der Poel says the biosecurity response and management of M. Bovis has been challenging, especially for farmers directly affected. “The review will help ensure that government and industry are better prepared for any future incursion. It’s vital we get it right for farmers,” he says. Morrison says we owe it to those farmers affected by M. bovis to ensure the eradication

Review chair Nicola Shadbolt says the panel acknowledged the significant impact M.bovis eradication has had on farmers and rural communities.

programme and future biosecurity responses are the best they can be. “Implementing the recommendations of this independent review will go a long way to strengthening our biosecurity system, which will prove vital in the face of any future incursions,” he says. The report says it was widely known, before 2017 when M. bovis was detected, that the NAIT system had significant challenges and that compliance was low. It suggests that the present situation in regard to

NAIT compliance still leaves a lot to be desired. The report adds that there needs to be an improvement in improving animal tracking, compliance and the accurate recording of data. The other issue to come under the spotlight in the report is ‘communication.’ It notes that early participants (likely farmers) found engaging with the M. bovis programme deeply frustrating, partly it says because MPI field staff were often inexperienced and that decision making was cumbersome and

inflexible. A key recommendation is to develop a governance structure for dealing with livestock diseases, which would be made up of MPI, industry organisations with an independent chair. Its role would be to report to the Minister of Biosecurity and to effectively develop and monitor progress on a plan to deal with biosecurity diseases relating to livestock. The review panel also highlights the need for a livestock biosecurity system to have a core group of skilled professionals, trained and experienced in biosecurity responses including epidemiology, diagnostics and leadership. It also wants a ‘reserve’ of trained, skilled people who can be mobilised to help deal with a similar event in the future. The report stresses that it’s critical that people have technical knowledge of farming systems. Other recommendations from the panel point to the need for MPI to establish the new position of Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) – a posi-

TOUGH ON IMPACT PROFESSOR NICOLA Shadbolt says the panel acknowledges the significant impact the eradication has had on farmers and rural communities, as well as those working on the programme. “We now need to make sure we capture these lessons learned, improve our preparedness for the next animal health response, have a world class biosecurity system that all players commit to, and that will deliver,” she says. MPI director-general Ray Smith says the M. bovis programme has provided valuable lessons for future disease responses, including the Foot and Mouth Disease Readiness Programme. He says changes have already been made across the biosecurity system but the review panel’s recommendations will help MPI in the future. “A number of improvements have already made or under way and these include the appointment of a new specialist welfare advisor within Biosecurity NZ to ensure a greater focus on the needs of people affected by future incursion responses,” Smith says.

tion that incidentally existed in the old MAF days. It sees this person having the responsibility to connect with MPI vets based around the country and also with vets in private practice. It wants a much stronger ‘team’ approach to be established with people working outside MPI. While the report contain many criticisms of the way the M. bovis pro-

gramme has been handled and some more changes to the system, it does acknowledge that improvements have been made since the start of the outbreak. It says in many respects the programme has evolved to being an “exemplar of good practice” and says it’s important that the hard-worn lessons of the past are not lost.

MORE FUNDING FOR VET GRADUATES IN RURAL AREAS A TOTAL of 34 graduate vets will be placed in rural areas this year, from Northland to Southland, through the Government’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians (VBS). The successful recipients will each receive funding of $55,000 over five years, in a bid to help ease the short-

age of vets working with production animals in the regions. “It’s well known that there’s a real need for vets, especially in rural areas,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says. “Since it began 12 years ago, the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Vet-

erinarians has made a big difference in attracting and retaining graduate vets to rural communities that can be challenging to recruit staff to. O’Connor says the scheme supports New Zealand to maintain its world-class standards in biosecurity, animal welfare and food safety

“Through this funding, we aim to ensure we have the best care for production animals and working dogs across the country.” Since 2009 when the VBS programme began, 384 graduate vets have been funded to start their careers working with production ani-

mals in rural practice. “The scheme sits alongside other programmes we’re investing in to address skills challenges in rural New Zealand,” O’Connor adds. @rural_news



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JD’s new 6Rs for 2022 MARK DANIEL

WITH THE upcoming market year 2022 (MY22) only a few weeks away, John Deere has released details of changes to its 6R tractor range. This takes the range to 14 models and power outputs of 110 to 250hp. Two new six-cylinder models – the 6R165 and 6R185 – offer maximum horsepower ratings of 182 and 204hp respectively, rising to 213 and 234hp when the IPM boost function kicks in. In the four-cylinder offering, the new 6R140 and 6R150 models kick out max power of 154 and 165hp, rising to 166 and 177hp with IPM. Looking at the 6R165 and 6R185, a compact 2765mm wheelbase – already seen on the 145 and 155 variants – should prove popular with those looking for a pocketrocket. It has extra manoeuvrability in the yard and on transport duties, while offering output for high-demand hydraulic functions. In addition to providing extra power in transport and PTO operations, the IPM power-boost function now also delivers a “kick” in hydraulic applications. This adds up to 20hp in the four-cylinder models and up to 40hp more in six-cylinder variants. This is said to be ideal for those users operating hydraulically driven fans or pumps, typically seen on bale wrappers, drills and slurry pumps. All four-cylinder models are configured to deliver a 4-tonne payload, complemented by a rear lift capacity of 6.4 tonnes and hydraulic flows of up to 155l/min. The MY2022 range also appears to offer more transmission choice, where in addition to AutoQuad Plus and AutoPowr, the customer can also choose the CommandQuad option offering speeds of up to 50km/h, depending on local legislation. The 6R series also features the integrated 1-Click-Go system that offers Auto Set Up for both tractor and implement settings. The company says that the system saves the operator up to 90% of in-field display clicks during operation. All settings can be pre-planned and managed in the Cloud, including agronomic data like field boundaries, guidance lines and prescription maps. When a field boundary is crossed, the stored profile for the area becomes automatically available. Other points of note are the dashboard, which leaves its usual position behind the steering wheel to a new position on the right-hand pillar/corner post. Meanwhile, a relocated windscreen wiper is said to offer a wider field of view. The new E-joystick features hand detection and full programmability. This allows users to select favourite buttons for key features and direction changes via the reverser button. A dynamic weigh option for the loader allows the contents of a bucket to be weighed on the move. Meanwhile, a return to position function allows the loader to return to a pre-defined position with just one button click.

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John Deere’s new 6R tractor range will extend to 14 models and power outputs from 110 to 250hp.

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Vaderstad’s new drill is Inspire(d) A key feature of both models is the ability to control the seeding output in eight separate sections.


TILLAGE, SEEDING and planting specialists Vaderstad has introduced its new Inspire product range – focused on the 12-metre seed drill segment. The Inspire 1200C/S models are aimed at farmers looking for highcapacity needs. They have a clever hopper design that offers one of the highest capacities in its class, while retaining compact dimensions for the paddock and in transport. The heart of Inspire is a double-disc seed coul-

Vaderstad’s Inspire 1200C/S models are aimed at farmers looking for high-capacity needs.

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Offered in 1200S and 1200C variants, the seedonly 1200S is equipped with a 5000-litre hopper for seeds. Meanwhile, the combi 1200C has a 7200litre hopper holding seed and fertiliser in two separate compartments. When leaving the 1200C hopper, seed and fertiliser is mixed into the same airstream and placed together into the soil. A key feature of both models is the ability to control the seeding output in eight separate sections. This give the delivery of a constant and even product flow from the large hopper via 8 Fenix III metering units. Overall, this means that the 1200C/S can conduct a variable rate, as well as sectional control down to 1.5m sec-

tions. This is said to be a unique precision feature in the 12-metre seed drill segment. When in the field, control is via the iPad-based control system Väderstad E-Control. This is also possible to connect with an ISOBUS task control system. The Väderstad Tempo L currently holds the world record for plating 502.05 hectares of maize in 24 hours, a record set in Hungary in 2017. So, the recent introduction of the new Tempo L 16-24 Central Fill – that offers bulk handling of seed and fertiliser – will see the capacity of the worldrecord planter increased even further. The Central Fill functionality means that instead of filling seed in

each of the row units, the operator only has to fill one large central hopper. The Tempo planter then takes care of the distribution of the seeds and fertiliser to each row unit. Available in 16 or 24 row versions, allowing row spacing from 450 to 762mm. Depending on the model, the machine is equipped with a new hopper that holds 2200 litres of seeds and 5000 litres of fertiliser – making a total of 7200 litres. The new hopper is equipped with two fans in the front, ensuring highcapacity metering of both seed and fertiliser. The technology behind the Central Fill system is very intuitive. With no central metering of seeds, each row unit regulates the number of seeds to the individual high-precision PowerShoot seed metering system. Both models will be available from the end of 2022.

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A quick baler unhitch! MARK DANIEL

IN THE hectic baling season, the risk of fire is ever present. The risk is especially high in the summer months, with many reports of balers catching fire from precursors like sparks, flints, accumulated dust or failure of mechanical components. In most cases, the fire can take hold quickly, generating intense heat, with the operator having little chance to disconnect the baler, meaning the tractor is often lost too. To address the problem, Austrian coupling manufacturer Scharmuller has developed an emergency release system for baler drawbars. Featuring a removeable drawbar

shaft, in normal conditions the assembly is held in place by a hydraulic locking cylinder with a pre-load of 140bar. However, if an event like a fire occurs, the operator can trigger a release button in the cabin that energises a solenoid, allowing the drawbar to release and the tractor to move away from the baler in little more than a few seconds. This is achieved without the driver leaving the seat and removes the risk of injury from the intense heat. Used in conjunction with breakaway hydraulic couplers, consequential damage created by hydraulic and electrical connections being ripped out cannot be completely avoided. However, the

cost is minimal compared to losing both the tractor and the baler. In addition to the disconnection function, if the baler is equipped with an air braking system, the sudden drop in air pressure means the brakes are applied and the baler is held in a fixed position.

With a suggested retail price of €5,000 (NZ$8,500) the system is not cheap. However, it will certainly give peace of mind to large scale operators who value their machinery. More importantly, it will minimise risk to them and their drivers.

The operator can trigger a release button in the cabin that allows the drawbar to release the baler in little more than a few seconds.


SNIPPETS Aussie show support


THE AUSTRALIAN Federal Government has announced a second round of support of AU$21m, via its Supporting Agricultural Shows and Fieldays Programme, to help country shows and field days survive the Covid-19 pandemic. Launched in 2020, the first round of the funding program offered financial support to organisers, following events being cancelled due to the pandemic. Under round one, the package provided $34.5 million to 378 show societies and field day organisers who were forced to cancel events.





JD strike settled

DEERE & Company (owner of John Deere) and its union employees have settled a labour agreement, after more than 10,000 employees went on strike in mid-October. The union says its members approved the deal by a vote of 61% to 39%. It is reported talks had stalled over a six-year deal that would have raised wages by 20% and delivered a raft of increased some benefits. Employees from plants in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas, had joined the picket line – the first strike of its type since a 1986 event that lasted 163 days.

Toyota backs YOLO

TOYOTA IS teaming up with New Zealand’s YOLO (You Only Live Once) Farmer, Wayne Langford, making him a brand ambassador and delivering the keys to a Hilux ute. Wayne launched the YOLO Farmer blog on Facebook in 2017, to record his YOLO challenges, using his posts to encourage other farmers to take care of their mental health by putting themselves first, before the farm. The blog now has over 27,000 followers and has documented over 1600 YOLO challenges completed by Langford and his family. Part of the current iconic Hilux TV ad, Wayne is also the co-founder of national charity Meat the Need, run by Kiwi farmers who donate livestock to help feed New Zealand families in need.

The new JCB Series lll has taken telehandling to a new level. Redesigned and re-engineered from the ground up, the JCB Series lll has raised the bar - literally. f

All new CommandPlus cab provides the ultimate operator experience


Smart Hydraulics package improves cycle times and reduces fuel consumption


JCB EcoMAX engine provides fuel-efficient matching of transmission and hydraulics


Designed to be productive, without compromising safety or comfort


New Zealand’s #1 telehandler

For your local dealer go to: *CLAAS Financial Services terms, conditions and fees apply. 1.99% requires minimum 30% deposit, monthly repayments in arrears over 36 months. Offer ends 15/12/2021 or while stocks last. Image illustrative only.



New spray technology is spot on MARK DANIEL

THE DUTCH selfpropelled sprayer manufacturer Agrifac already has an impressive product portfolio. This includes the DynamicDosePlus, a targeted-high accuracy application system working on 25 x 25cm areas. It is delivered from prescription maps and the industry leading AiCPlus – a machine-mounted,

artificial-intelligence driven optical spraying with green on brown and green on green capability. To further strengthen its position in precision application, Agrifac is expanding its offering with the addition of WEED-IT spot spraying technology – from fellow Dutch company Rometron for the Condor and Condor Endurance field sprayers. WEED-IT originated at the German Wageningen

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University & Research in 1997, before being launched by Rometron in 1999. It is claimed to reduce chemical costs by up to 90%, without the need for cameras or images to process. Instead, living plant chlorophyll emits a small portion of near infrared light as a reaction to the light emitted by the boom-mounted WEED-IT sensors. Referred to as fluorescence, the sensors distinguish growing weeds from dead plant matter and soil. This highly effective method of spot spraying, usually applied outside the growing season, has been widely proven in Australia, the United States and Canada. Claimed to detect all weeds at all speeds, the technology also works in the dark. In practice, the technology can be built onto all trailed and selfpropelled sprayers with working widths up to at least 36m. “WEED-IT is a worldwide, commonly used spot spray system to control weeds in a very efficient way,” says Rens Albers, product manager at Agrifac. “The option to combine WEED-IT with our Agrifac field sprayers makes the entire crop protection on your farm even more efficient.” Richard Sheppy, managing director of Agrifac Australia, says the addition of WEED-IT to the Agrifac portfolio is

ONE STOP WATER SHOP 300mm x 6 metre .......................... $410 400mm x 6 metre .......................... $515 500mm x 6 metre .......................... $735 600mm x 6 metre .......................... $989 800mm x 6 metre ........................ $1496 1000mm x 6 metre ...................... $2325 1200mm x 6 metre ...................... $3699 ALL PRICES INCLUDE G.S.T.

The boom-mounted WEED-IT sensors are claimed to reduce chemical costs by up to 90%, without the need for cameras or images to process.

the first OEM offering on self propelled sprayers within Australia.

“We see this as another tool available to our customers as


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

Free Range & Barn Eggs


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

Phone: 0800 80 8570


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




ESCORTED TOURS 2022 "Hassle-free travel for mature travellers’’


A trusted name in Poultry Industry for over 50 years ❖

RAMS AND EWES FOR SALE HARDY, LOW INPUT EASY CARE MEAT SHEEP • No dagging • No shearing • No dip, drench or chemicals since 1989

ü Huge 9.5kW output. ü Made in Japan since 1991. ü Diesel is approx. 30-50% less than “on demand” Electricity or Gas.


Also Tufty (polled Highland) bulls, cows and calves available

• CHATHAM ISLANDS DISCOVERY 8 days, depart 7 & 28 April & 20 October. A special place for a safe and relaxing close-to-home all inclusive holiday.

ü DIY Install or we can arrange.

Shire® Stud Ram Sire “Gladiator” progeny for sale

ü No wood to cut, cart or store. ü No mess, NO indoor diesel odours. ü As easy to use as a light switch.

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0800 379 247

For full details

Phone 0800 11 60 60

Quadbar introduces the new




• FORGOTTEN HIGHWAY & TARANAKI 6 days, depart 8 February. Travel into the Forgotten World. Sightseeing, activities and Northern Explorer on return. • SOUTH ISLAND RAIL EXPERIENCEE 12 days, depart 10 March. Experience NZ’s three great rail journeys and the Interislander from Auckland to Invercargill. • RAROTONGA ‘RELAXER’ 7 days, depart 24 March & 10 May & 23 August. A leisurely South Pacific escape with great sightseeing, food & entertainment.



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

The magic eye sheepjetter since 1989

Quality construction and options • Get the contractors choice

• A flexible joint that allows the bar to flex rearwards in the event of contact with an overhead obstacle


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

• The joint facilitates some sideways flexibility before locking and becoming more of a traditional crush protection device Recommended by Worksafe. ACC subsidy available

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

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

07 573 8512 | –

Call for delivery options




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BUFFALO BOOTS & RAINWEAR 175% more crack resistant




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100% Waterproof Fleece Collar Hood Visor Flexible PHONE


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Acid Resistant Durable Seams


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ZIP STRIP quick lacing






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STEEL TOE X (with Scuff Guard)

STEEL TOE X (with Scuff Guard)

PLAIN TOE (without Scuff Guard)

STEEL TOE (without Scuff Guard)

Colour = Dark Brown Buffalo Leather Stitched On Soles 175% more crack resistant than normal leather

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PLAIN TOE (without Scuff Guard)

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sizes: BOOTS 5 - 13 (NZ)





Order your machinery and equipment for Spring 2022 and lock in the 2021 price. You’ll also receive up to $10,000 credited to your account* with Norwood’s bonus offer. Check out the catalogue online now | 0800 66 79 663 *Terms and conditions apply. See website for details.