Rural News 24 May 2022

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China’s lockdown impacts NZ.

What makes you happy?

Rural health will be met in reforms – Minister. PAGE 9




Hopeful Christians SUDESH KISSUN

THE RECLUSIVE Gloriavale Christian community stands to lose $9 million a year if Westland Milk suspends milk collection from its dairy farms. Hokitika-based processor Westland says it is looking at suspending milk collection from Canaan Farming Dairy Ltd, which operates the Gloriavale dairy farms, following an Employment Court ruling that members of that community working long hours from the age of six were employees. The ruling referred to “strenuous, difficult and sometimes dangerous” work done by children. Gloriavale’s farms supply around 900,000 kgMS a season to Westland Milk. Based on next season’s average opening forecast of $9/kgMS, this would mean a $9 million loss of income annually for the community. It is highly unlikely any other milk processor would be keen to pick up Canaan’s milk.

Canaan Farming spokesman, Stephen Standfast told Rural News that it is in consultation “with the appropriate bodies and agencies to ensure impacts of potential suspension of milk supply are considered and addressed to ensure responsible outcomes”. He says Westland Milk has been in contact with Canaan Farming and they are in discussion with the company about the concerns raised. “We have always supported West-

land Dairy Products and will comply with government legislation and, in particular, the conditions of supply to WDP,” Standfast told Rural News. “It is our commitment to adhere to continuous improvement and implementation of sound principles, fairness and dignity.” Westland chief executive Richard Wyeth says following the recent Employment Court decision, the company is investigating legal

LUXON COUNTRY National Party leader Christopher Luxon made a brief tour of the Manawatū, earlier this month. This included a stop at the Feilding saleyards where he chatted to local farmers and media. He saw a few pens of store sheep being sold and got a good briefing on the state of the market from staff at the yards. Luxon says any changes to the farm sector should be driven by industry. He says a big item on his ‘to do’ list for rural NZ is improved infrastructure. He says rural people should be able to live their lifestyle in the country and still feel connected to the world. See full story page 4


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avenues to suspend milk collection from dairy farms operated within the Gloriavale community. Wyeth says Westland will work through a range of other issues that would be caused by abrupt cessation of milk collection – such as animal welfare and environmental issues caused by milk disposal. “Suspension of milk from farms controlled by Gloriavale will have minimal impact on Westland’s operations,” Wyeth adds.

FPA WARNING FARMERS ARE being warned that the proposed fair pay agreements (FPAs) could cause upheaval in the agriculture sector. Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope claims the Government will target all sectors with FPAs. He wants the agriculture sector to join its campaign ‘Your Work, Your Way’ in opposing the final FPAs regulations passing in Parliament. Hope told Rural News that the proposed legislation means an FPA will become compulsory once either 10% of the sector workforce or 1000 workers are signed up. “For the farming sector, say each farm has five workers it will be relatively easy for organisers to reach 1,000 workers. “It may take a little bit of organising but there are unions and groups who have started mobilising workers to join FPAs.” But Hope points out that the legislation to pass in Parliament soon will let FPAs apply to just about any sector, including the farming sector. “So, it could certainly be forced on the entire farming sector.” Hope says collective bargaining is currently almost unknown in the farm sector. “Not being bogged down in collective bargaining has helped contribute to NZ farming’s great economic success. It would be a tragedy if a FPA was unleashed on the farming sector.” – Sudesh Kissun

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Fast-tracking farm emissions science PETER BURKE

NEWS ��������������������������������������1-12 AGRIBUSINESS ���������������������� 13 HOUND, EDNA ����������������������� 14 CONTACTS ������������������������������ 14 OPINION �����������������������������14-16 MANAGEMENT ���������������������� 17 MARKETS ���������������������������18-19 ANIMAL HEALTH ������������������ 20 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS ����������������������� 21-22 RURAL TRADER ��������������22-23

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A NEW government-funded organisation, in partnership with industry, is to be set up in an attempt to fast track solutions that farmers can use to deal with climate change emissions. The Government is setting aside $339 million for the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions, which Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says is designed to gather and accelerate the knowledge and innovation to reduce climate emissions in agriculture. It comes in the wake of a report earlier this year in which the general manager of the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc), Mark Aspin, said there are few, if any, silver bullets coming in the near future to

they will probably contract to places such as AgResearch and Plant & Food or others – and then ensure that that information and knowledge goes out to farmers,” O’Connor told Rural News. The final shape of the organisation has still to be worked out between industry and the Government and whether it will be a stand-alone organisation or come under the umbrella of a government department. “We can’t wait for this to be completed,” O’Connor says. “This is a new entity that will gather all that information from the CRIs and universities, bring it into one place and then move it along at an accelerated rate.” It’s believed a favoured model could be along the lines of what Zespri and Plant & Food have struck recently to fast track plant breeding: A joint venture between government and the pri-

vate sector, but with a strong industry voice. Still being finalised is which industry companies and organisations will sign up to the deal. O’Connor says the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions effectively will become an information bank or hub for R&D on issues relating to climate change as it affects agriculture. He wants it to be an industry-led organisation that can provide direction and leadership in an area that is the source of much angst and frustration in the rural sector. O’Connor says he wants the new centre up and running as soon as possible. “The money is there. We need to get the partnership formalised to get structure in place and move as quickly as we can, as there is no time to waste to meet the 2025 targets.”

NZ ploughmen Ireland bound TWO VETERAN NZ ploughmen have won themselves a trip to the World Ploughing Championships, which is being held in Ireland in September. At the recent NZ Ploughing Championships, Ian Woolley of Blenheim won the Silver Plough conventional competition and Timaru’s Bob Mehrtens the reversible event; both will now compete in Ireland. Paul Houghton won the vintage tractor competition, while John and Sharon Chynoweth took out the Rural News Group-sponsored horse ploughing event.

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deal with nitrous oxide and methane on NZ farms. Aspin told Rural News that presently the only way farmers can realistically reduce their emissions is to shrink their businesses. This has led to some industry and government frustration at the overall science system and lack of pace and progress on taking mitigation tools through to commercialisation. O’Connor says NZ has done a lot of good work with the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, along with work being done internationally through the Global Research Alliance. But he adds there’s no one place someone can go to submit ideas or gather information about where things are heading. “The new organisation will have a mandate to gather the information, design and undertake research – which

This year’s NZ championships were held at Seddon in the upper South Island. Woolley says soil conditions were really great for the competitions, which attracted about just over 30 contestants from around Ian Woolley the country. He says the numbers of competitors were slightly down – due mainly to Covid. “The weather on Saturday was a bit overcast but still warm and really nice and it attracted a decent crowd

of onlookers,” Woolley told Rural News. “On Sunday, the weather deteriorated with a sort of misty rain but not cold. The venue was superbly prepared and considering that Seddon is renowned for being dry, as a competitor you couldn’t have asked for anything better.” Woolley is excited about the prospect of ploughing in Ireland and says the Irish are renowned for their hos-

pitality. He and Mehrtens will borrow tractors in Ireland, rather than try and ship their own there. Irish Ambassador Peter Ryan was at the event and because he finishes his posting to NZ in August, will meet up with the NZ team when they come to Ireland. The World Ploughing Championships will be held near the village of Ratheniska, about 90km south-west of Dublin. The event is huge and incorporates displays of farm equipment and services, much like our national Fieldays – only bigger. Up to 400,000 people are expected to attend the event. – Peter Burke

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Chris Lewis says the farming sector made the most gains when governments are less arrogant.

Give farmers a chance! SUDESH KISSUN

OUTGOING FEDERATED Farmers leader Chris Lewis believes successive governments have failed to give farmers the chance to resolve key issues facing the agriculture sector. The Waikato dairy farmer says that instead of telling farmers what to do, the Government should let farmers figure out the solution. He says the current Labour Government is doing the same: telling farmers how to resolve issues like sustainability and climate change on farm. Lewis told Rural News that the last National

Government, led by John Key, acted the same in its first few years in office. “National Government were bit like this current government during the first few years in office,” he says. “Then they realised they had a bit of problem in the polls and that’s when they became a really good Government to work with the Feds.” He says the farming sector made the most gains when governments realised they couldn’t be so arrogant. The Labour Government has been under fire from farmers for unloading a slew of policies on the agriculture sector around water quality, climate change and winter grazing.


TIME’S UP CHRIS LEWIS, a Feds national board member and spokesman on immigration and labour issues for the past two years, will leave at its annual meeting in Auckland early July. He is one of two high profile Feds leaders to call it quits. Another national board member and spokesman on water and biodiversity, Chris Allen, is also stepping down. Lewis says stepping down a year before his threeyear term ends should also help the incoming board members. “Both Chris Allen and I thought the right thing is to stand down this year and let two new people in this year,” he says. Federated Farmers will hold its board elections next year when president Andrew Hoggard will step down at the end of his three year term.

The relationship between Labour and Feds has been testy in recent years. Lewis says skirmishes

between Feds and government aren’t unusual. “We had issues with the last National Government; don’t get me

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wrong we butted heads with them,” he told Rural News. Lewis says it took a long while for Feds to convince current government ministers to accept they got it wrong kicking the farmer lobby out of a couple of things. “Feds sits squarely in the place of being between the over ambition of Government policy and the practical realities of a rural community.” Lewis says being allowed back into the fold by Labour means “there was some truth in what we were saying”. But he admits that Feds could have delivered the message better and not been as blunt as they were.

NATIONAL PARTY leader Christopher Luxon says a fresh look is needed at the primary sector to ask what problems the country is trying to solve and what sort of regulation is needed to solve such problems. He believes there are a lot of solutions in search of problems going on at the moment and that problem definition is very poor. “A lot of ideas are being dreamed up which are poor and full of errors, such as the recent winter grazing rules,” he told Rural News. Luxon made these comments during a brief tour of the Manawatū recently, which included a stop at the Feilding saleyards where he chatted to local farmers and media. He saw a few pens of store sheep being sold at prices ranging from $150 to $175 and got a good briefing on the state of the market from staff at the yards. Luxon says a key priority for him is to get a mindset change towards the rural sector, where all New Zealanders understand that our famers are the best in the world and are constantly improving their operations. He says farmers are just like chief executives who run a business and need to be respected and supported for what they do. “They have been beaten up and down so much with a government that has been piling regulation onto them and intimating that they are villains, when they are not.” Luxon says the biggest thing that needs focus is global consumer trends, which he believes is about meeting and delivering for the market and making sure we innovate and keep our world leading position in place. He says that means we have to spend a lot more on R&D and ag-tech to achieve that. “The reality is the consumer is changing and we have to recognise that we sell products to consumers,” he adds. “We may wish we could keep doing it the way we have always done, but every business or sector cannot afford to lose the voice of the consumer. “Today is all about consumer demand and when you see what’s happening in other parts of the world it’s clear people want to know who’s the behind the product; the country, the brand policies and the social and environmental practices behind that product.” Luxon singled out Zespri for the exceptional job they have done in this respect, where a good, sustainable story is well understood by growers and consumers and all those in the supply chain. – Peter Burke



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


High jump for the high country! DAVID ANDERSON

“AN END to generations of thoughtful stewardship of the South Island’s high country” is how the newly-enacted Crown Pastoral Land Reform bill has been labelled. That’s how National’s spokesperson for Land Information Nicola Grigg describes the new legislation governing high country pastoral leases, passed into law by the Government earlier this month. “It ends a decades-old relationship between the Crown and high-country pastoral leaseholders,” Grigg says. “This Government seemingly has no idea or little care for the consequences that these changes will mean to these leaseholders and the real consequences these will bring.” However, Damien O’Connor, the minister responsible for shepherding in the Crown Pastoral Land Reform (CPLR) Bill, claims it “modernises the management” of 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land – primarily in the South Island high country. “It strikes a balance between recognising the place of pastoral farming as a legitimate use of the land, while protecting the importance of the unique values of our high country to New Zealand,” O’Connor claims. “The CPLR Bill reaf-

National’s Nicola Grigg claims the Government has no idea or little care for the consequences these changes will mean to leaseholders.

firms the leaseholders’ rights as pastoral farmers while amending the existing regulatory system to manage these leases in a way that balances the ecological, landscape, cultural, heritage and scientific values inherent to the land,” he adds. “This includes clarifying day-to-day farming practices, while improving consenting of activity that might impact those inherent values of the high country and addressing public expectations around access.” Grigg disagrees and says the new rules are attempting to adopt a

TENURE REVIEW OVER THE NEW legislation also ends the tenure review process. Tenure review was a voluntary process that gave pastoral lessees an opportunity to buy land capable of economic use from the Crown, while land with high conservation values was protected and restored to full Crown ownership as conservation land. “Tenure review, which commenced in 1998, had reached a point where the process is costly and uncertain for both applicants and the Crown,” Damien O’Connor says. “I believe the process had run its course.”

one-size-fits-all approach. “It fails to recognise the diversity, different ecologies, different ecosystems, different topography and different weather patterns. It will do nothing to deliver

better environmental outcomes.” Grigg says high country stations are sophisticated farming operations that put the ecology and preservation of the natural environment first and foremost.

“This is a bill that is ideologically driven; it is devoid of any understanding of any practical, pragmatic implementation whatsoever. It is, as usual, a top-down approach – rather than grassroots driven.” She says high country operations are a deeply traditional way of life. “The land is all the better for it and these farms are evidence of decades and decades — often multi-generations — of hard work, care and attention.” Grigg says National is not opposed to change for opposition’s sake.

“But, in this case, this change will result in worse outcomes for everyone and everything—not least the land and the leaseholders involved.” She points to the “ridiculous new notion” that a leaseholder will require consent to eradicate pest plants and noxious exotic weeds—the likes of gorse, broom, wilding pines, crack willows, grey willows. “There’s also a new invocation that farmers can no longer maintain roads and tracks without consent,” Grigg adds. “So, now a farmer cannot

maintain these due to natural slippages, erosion, floods, high winds and all of the severe weather systems that these parts of the land bring.” She says the new legislation will fundamentally change the relationship that has existed between pastoral leaseholders and the Crown for decades. “It will change it from one of working partnership to one based on regulation and policing. It is punitive, it is pernicious, and it will bring an infringement regime that will do nothing but erode generations of goodwill between the two parties.” Grigg claims this new law creates an adversarial system of management with rigid rules and complex processes that will increase costs, and undermine the security of tenure granted. “The bill’s objectives would have been better achieved by the Commissioner for Crown Lands and LINZ working collaboratively with the leaseholders, the 150 contractual partners on legally binding farm environmental plans,” she adds. “This would be built on the current regime and the many environmental benefits that have been delivered over the past 70 years.” Grigg says National will repeal the law when it next forms a Government.

RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


A tough nut to crack! SUDESH KISSUN

DAIRYNZ CHIEF executive Tim Mackle says reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions “is a tough nut to crack”. Mackle says work is continuing to find additives, genetics and vaccines for New Zealand

farming systems. He says the Government’s R&D commitment of $339 million to reduce farm emissions is “a shot in the arm” and will help Kiwi dairy farmers remain high-performing. Mackle told Rural News that there has been progress and some technology close to being

available. “There are some serious candidates for our pasture-based system. But because Kiwi dairy farmers are already so efficient, there’s no silver bullet,” he adds. “We need new highimpact technologies and to accelerate their uptake to continue reducing our

environmental footprint, while enabling farmers to run successful businesses.” Mackle notes that DairyNZ has worked with the Government to ensure they understand the scale of the climate change challenge affecting farmers, and the opportunity to remain

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Dairy NZ chief executive Tim Mackle believes the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions will accelerate technology and tools to really drive further farm emissions reductions.

world-leading sustainable dairy producers. “DairyNZ has advocated strongly for Government to invest significantly more in supporting the sector to play its part to address climate change.” He says the $339m fresh funding is a step in the right direction to accelerate the development of new technology needed on-farm as soon as possible, and to support farmers to adopt these tools. “We’ll continue to advocate for how this R&D funding is invested, as new solutions develop. This will bring the best outcomes for farmers and New Zealand into the future,” says Mackle. Kiwi dairy farmers already have the world’s lowest carbon footprint for on-farm milk production and want to retain that competitive advantage – to continue contributing for their families, the economy and local communities. “We already have a

world-leading position with low carbon dairy and a world-first emissions reduction plan in He Waka Eke Noa. “This new increased investment will help dairy improve our position even further.” Mackle says the dairy sector, including DairyNZ, is investing in a range of research into new solutions, including methane inhibitors and low methane feeds. He adds it is also working together on ways to adapt overseas technology solutions to New Zealand farming systems. “The sooner we get new technology for farmers, the sooner we will meet our goals,” says Mackle. Mackle also welcomed the establishment of the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions. “It will accelerate the development of technology and tools to really drive further emissions reductions by the ag sector,” he says.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Farmers fighting for their future in wake of farm emissions plan DAVID ANDERSON

WITH THE final He Waka Eka Noa (HWEN) proposal on farm emissions expected to be presented to the Government in early June, the farming sector is at a “critical crossroads”. That’s the belief of outspoken North Otago agriculture advocate and environmentalist Jane Smith. “Farmers are fighting for their future right to produce food and the Government is fighting for headlines and hyperbole – and they have been cunning enough to allow us to design our own fate.” Smith told Rural News that the farm sector levy groups have been suckered in by the Government and warns that the country’s farmers must fight for their livelihoods over the next 12-18 months. She also questions whether DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb NZ have advocated or abdicated the farm sector’s responsibility. “We have paid the price for a government that refuses to confess the conundrum of decreased fossil fuel use is too difficult in our geographically isolated country with a proportionally low intensity population, high dependency on freight and poor public transport uptake.” She believes even before HWEN was developed, farming leaders should have recognised that the Government was going to ask NZ farmers to do more than their “fair share” and leave biogenic methane to do the heavy lifting in

order to meet NZ targets. “They should have considered how NZ agriculture could contribute to global emission reductions in the most efficient manner, without risking food production,” Smith adds. “They should have never been allowed to develop into a broadbrush attack on livestock farming in the form of a tax.” Smith concedes she’ll get pushback from calling it a tax but stands by her words. “A tax only ever goes one way – up.” She believes, at most, it should have been a modest levy – within the existing levy structure – to promote research, development and extension and help uptake new technologies in order to make NZ farmers even more efficient than they already are. “Our industry has lost its way and built a behemoth of a programme – resembling the Titanic, instead of an innovative, fit-for-purpose speed boat, which would keep NZ at the leading edge of land-based food production.” Smith believes that if HWEN is accepted in its current form – including its complexity, unclear pricing principals and focus on emissions intensity – then the NZ public must be prepared to endorse a dairy sector/pine plantation land-use duopoly in order to meet emissions targets. She says this will relegate beef, sheep, deer and pig farming surplus to requirements. “Be careful what you wish for New Zealand!”


North Otago farmer Jane Smith believes that the farm sector levy groups have been suckered in by the Government.

JANE SMITH suggests with 13 HWEN partners around the table and a steering group it was never going to be an easy task. “Their inability to keep an open mind, to accept unscripted farmer feedback and outside expertise, defies logic and should make all farmers question how their levy organisations gain a mandate for taking positions on issues,” she told Rural News. Smith believes a major factor in HWEN’s unclear design is the disingenuous distinction between science and politics and the demarcation between the two remains undefined and unclear. “What started

out with a commendable, fact-based conversation about why the spilt gas concept made rational, scientific sense has now developed into a rhetoric of ‘don’t you dare question the politics behind this or you will lose the only asset you have gained – split gases and the ability to design our own emissions pricing plan’.” Smith and others believe that beef, deer and sheep farmers should be genuinely concerned about the speed and direction that HWEN is travelling in. “The dairy industry has been happy to be conveniently put into one big melting pot with the other sectors when it comes to accounting for total emissions over the past two decades,” she says. “It has then rolled out an emissions intensity assessment that makes beef, deer and sheep look like climate change criminals from an emissions per kg of product point of view.” Smith has been vocal in calling this out and has suggested that a reward for production per animal (high production hence lower emissions per unit of meat or milk) is the opposite of what water and biodiversity regulations are targeting. She believes this will result in an accelerated loss of hill and high country to large scale forestry plantations and a mass exodus of people and production from the sheep, beef and deer sectors. Smith says she does not want HWEN to fail, but questions whether it will achieve its original intent, “Which was actually reasonably simple, with clarity and purpose”.

RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Supply chain disruption hits meat sector PETER BURKE

WHILE GLOBAL demand and prices for red meat remain strong, supply chain disruptions and significant processing constraints in New Zealand are having an impact. Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva says one of the big issues is the severe lockdown in the key Chinese port of Shanghai. She told Rural News that sheepmeat exports to China were down by 46% and beef by 7%. However, she adds that beef exports to China still represented the third highest

March volume on record. “The slowdown in meat exports to China was not NZ-specific, as Chinese import data shows that there was a drop in the volume of all meat imports into China in March,” Karapeeva explains. “Probably reflecting the impact of the various lockdowns and port disruptions.” She says the increase in exports to markets other than China, including good volumes to Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, demonstrates how agile NZ exporters are. Karapeeva says companies have sound strategies in place to manage different markets

Despite all the difficulties, NZ’s red meat exports still exceeded $3 billion during the first quarter of 2022.

depending on the global conditions. Despite all the difficulties, NZ’s red meat exports exceeded $3 bil-

lion during the first quarter of 2022. Total exports for the quarter totalled $3.1 billion, a 17% increase on the same

period in 2021. Exports to most markets increased, apart from China, which dropped 1% to $1.2 billion.

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Red meat exports during March were worth $1.15 billion, representing an 11% increase on March 2021. The value of exports to China dropped 17% to $384m during March, but nearly all other major markets saw an increase. During March, overall meat exports to the US rose 48% to $288m and the sector saw a record monthly volume of sheepmeat exports to the US (4,295 tonnes worth $83.4m). Overall exports to the UK rose by 22% by value ($65m) and by 18% to Japan ($50m). However, chilled sheepmeat exports to the UK fell by 80% year-on-year to

433 tonnes, reflecting the ongoing logistics issues with transporting chilled product. Meanwhile, Karapeeva says the chronic labour shortages in NZ continue to be a problem with cattle processing down 11% during the first quarter and sheep processing down 16% compared to 2021. However, processing capacity has since improved. She says processors are also having to ensure they align livestock volumes at plants with their ability to ship products to markets in the face of the widespread ports congestion, container availability issues and vessel delays.



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Rural health needs will be met in reforms – Minister HEALTH MINISTER Andrew Little is defending his party’s decision not to give ‘rural’ special legal status in the new health reform bill – Pae Ora Health Futures. Rural General Practice Network chair Dr Fiona Bolden has described the omission of ‘rural’ as outrageous, which leaves the 750,000 people enrolled in rural practices out in the wilderness. National’s health spokesperson Shane Reiti says health services should be based on need and health services in rural areas are broken. Under the new reforms, Māori, Pacifica, women and those with disabilities have all been given special legal status, meaning the new health authorities are legally required to produce spe-

Health Minister Andrew Little claims the new health reforms will ensure better services to rural people.

cial health strategies for these groups. However, rural health was not given such status. Little says while there will be specific plans for the four groups mentioned, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be specific plans for other groups in the community. He says under the new

bill, provision is made for local strategies to be developed and this will ensure better services to rural people. “When we were debating this in the select committee, a number of people turned up arguing for their particular group and we could spend all day carving up the popu-

lation into different definitions,” he told Rural News. “What is most important is what we are putting in place is new and different and that will make a difference to the rural community.” Little claims the new system, which sees the number of DHBs cut from 20 to 12, will signal a shift in funding from hospitals to primary care health. He acknowledges one of the proposals will not be liked by rural GPs. But Little says this is necessary because the present business model GPs are operating under is no longer fit for purpose. He wants to see local healthcare facilities, which not only include GPs but other health professionals such as physiotherapists,

MENTAL HEALTH AN ISSUE long raised in rural areas is the need for providing better mental health services. Minister Andrew Little says they have programmes in place now which funds suitably qualified mental health nurses to work alongside GPs and, at a lower

practice nurses all collectively and supporting each other and the community. “A lot of people go to hospital for treatment that can be effectively done in the community setting. For example, some cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and renal dialysis could

level, ‘health coaches’ who can deal with people who lower level mental health issues. He says Covid has been extremely disruptive to most people’s routines and there is growing demand for mental health services.

be done locally and save people having to travel long distances to get that sort of care.” Little says this does not mean doing away with hospitals, but it may mean giving GPs the opportunity to work in a hospital for a period to develop new skills. He says one of the aims of

the reforms is to try and take some of the pressure off GPs who are often working alone and provide help from others to ease their burden. He says while the reforms will help, it will be impossible in some cases to provide better services for people who live in very remote areas.


Join the industry that keeps on growing

NEW BEE GUY! FORMER AGRICULTURE Minister Nathan Guy will take over as the independent chair of Apiculture New Zealand (ApiNZ). Guy will step into the role in July when Bruce Wills, who has held the role since the industry organisation was established in 2016, steps down. Guy’s experience includes 15 years as a Member of Parliament and nearly nine years in governance as a Minister of the Crown, with five years as the Minister for Primary Industries. Apiculture NZ

says he has built extensive networks, including at a government and international level, and brings strong governance, strategy and business skills to the role. “The board is delighted that Nathan Guy is to be the new chair of Apiculture New Zealand,” says outgoing ApiNZ chair Bruce Wills. “Nathan’s commitment to New Zealand’s primary sector, his understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by the apiculture sector, and his ability to connect with key stakeholders here

in New Zealand and abroad will be welcomed by the industry.” Wills says Guy’s time as agriculture minister saw him gain specific experience and knowledge of key areas including biosecurity and honey regulations, as well as experience of international markets and consumers. Meanwhile, Guy says the apiculture industry plays a critical role in NZ’s agri-sector, contributing over $5 billion to New Zealand’s economy. @rural_news



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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Public round up on glyphosate DAVID ANDERSON

THE COUNTRY’S environmental regulator agency has released the public feedback it has received on the glyphosate weed killer – commonly known as Roundup. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) says it called for information about

glyphosate last year because it “felt it was the right time to take another look at the chemical”. Submissions closed last October and the public feedback was released earlier this month. While glyphosate is commonly known as the active ingredient in Roundup, there are 89 mixtures containing glyphosate approved for

use in New Zealand. Some 465 responses were received by the EPA. Its general manager of hazardous substances and new organisms, Chris Hill, says the public contributed just under half of all these responses, at 48%, with professional users such as councils accounting for 42%. The remaining 10% of the responses


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Glyphosate, if used according to controls and regulations, is safe and highly beneficial.

were from organisations, and those involved in the supply chain. “The responses


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included concern about possible health effects of glyphosate and the potential for environmental harm. People were also worried about the overuse of glyphosate and the possible effects of glyphosate formulations on bees,” Hill says. Others raised the many benefits of glyphosate, especially how it has enabled no-till agriculture that does not disturb soil. “Glyphosate kills weeds when preparing seed beds for planting. Responders said that without glyphosate, outcomes for the environment and the economy would be worse.” Hill says the responders who were professional users said that glyphosate, if used according to controls and regulations, is safe and highly beneficial. Others pointed out that any chemical is dangerous if used incorrectly, but that risk can

be avoided or mitigated through appropriate protective measures. The majority of the public who responded to the EPA’s call for information on glyphosate (60%) did not use the product and think it should be banned or restricted. The others were domestic users who mainly supported glyphosate use, perhaps with extra restrictions. Hill says no decision has been made about whether to reassess glyphosate overall. “We initiated the public call for information about glyphosate so we have a greater understanding of the New Zealand context. “The European Chemicals Agency and the European Food Safety Authority are reviewing the classification and approval of glyphosate, and plan to release their findings in 2023.”

Hill says the information that the EPA received from the public will better prepares it to assess the European findings and consider further actions for New Zealand. The agency’s next steps include seeking the views of Māori about glyphosate. “We need more information about the impacts of glyphosate use on Māori so we will be making efforts to deepen our understanding of Māori perspectives. This will help us make more informed decisions in future,” Hill adds. The EPA will also review polyoxyethylene amine (POEA), a nonactive component of some glyphosate-based products and other pesticides. It is a surfactant added to help glyphosate penetrate into weeds. There are claims that POEA is more toxic to people and the environment than glyphosate.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


A defining year ahead! PETER BURKE

THE COMING year is looming as a defining one for New Zealand farming, according to Rabobank agricultural analyst Genevieve Steven. She says there are a whole lot of things happening in the world, such as the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic,

some of our key markets – particularly China. “Two things to recognise around China at the moment [are] the really big lockdowns in Shanghai and Beijing; Consumers are in their homes and they are not able to go to supermarkets and ordering groceries online, but the supply chains are absolutely munted,” Steven adds.

“What we are seeing is a change in the world order in terms of how countries work together and potentially we could see a change in trade flows in the longer term.” which have broader implications for NZ – especially in terms of inflation and higher commodity prices. “What we are seeing is a change in the world order in terms of how countries work together and potentially we could see a change in trade flows in the longer term,” Steven told Rural News. “In NZ we have a number of things happening around climate change and freshwater regulation coming into place.” She says NZ has experienced record sheep and beef prices over the past year and we’ve had really stable markets with strong, growing demand for our products, which has helped push prices up. The issue now is that we have headwinds in

“As a result, they are having great difficulty getting those online groceries delivered to their homes. “So, there is really good demand for beef and sheepmeat, but the challenge is for people to actually get the product.” Steven says the other challenge facing China is economic headwinds, with GDP growth forecast to be 5.5% this year. This she says is slowing the economy down, and adds that there are questions around what that country’s relationship with Russia is going to look like and how that unfolds, with the risk of sanctions against China. With this turmoil in China, especially the lockdowns, Steven predicts that our export volume of

OTHER FACTORS WORLD MARKETS will be affected by the global shortage of grain caused by the war in Ukraine. Genevieve Steven says Eastern Europe is a major producer of grain and the shortage will affect animal production in the US. She adds that this situation is also being compounded by droughts in the US and Brazil. On the home front, Steven says high prices in our overseas markets is to some degree masking rising farm-input costs. She says fertiliser prices will remain high for the remainder of the year. “This is going to have an impact on margins… on the back of inflation in the US and in EU, all of which could impact on consumer spending.” Amid all the turmoil the sector is facing, the mood of farmers is a mixed bag, according to Steven. She says some have got their heads around the situation, while others are overwhelmed by what’s happening.

sheepmeat and beef will be lower over the coming months. She says while prices will remain elevated, maybe a bit of the shine will come off them.

“Bear in mind, there is still good demand there and we have still got really good demand from some of our other markets, such as the US. Over

the next three to four months, it’s still looking pretty good for NZ exporters.” Steven says. @rural_news

Rabobank agricultural analyst Genevieve Steven says there are headwinds in some of our key markets – particularly China.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


FMD scare puts NZ on watch DAVID ANDERSON

A RECENT outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia has the NZ agriculture sector and its officials on high alert. Indonesia formally notified a FMD outbreak to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) earlier this month. Stuart Anderson, deputy director-general Biosecurity NZ, told Rural

“We will continually assess the risk from Indonesia and strengthen our biosecurity requirements if needed.”

What is FMD? ●

Foot and mouth disease causes painful lesions on cloven-hoofed animals including sheep, cattle, pigs and goats. Infected animals are destroyed to halt the spread of the infection. FMD caused billions of dollars of losses during an outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2001.

News his organisation is closely monitoring the situation in Indonesia.

EMERGENCY POWERS AN FMD outbreak would trigger the declaration of a Biosecurity Emergency under Part 7 of the Biosecurity Act 1993. Declaring a Biosecurity Emergency would provide very broad powers to MPI for the management of the outbreak and to facilitate disease control. These powers could cover surveillance, investigation, movement control, organism management and other powers to manage the crisis.

“We met with key primary sector stakeholders on May 10 to discuss the situation in Indonesia and will continue to work closely with them,” he says. “We are in contact with our Australian counterparts who are also taking a cautious approach and we will offer our expertise and help to Indonesia.” Anderson says there are strong import health standards in place in NZ for products coming

Biosecurity NZ’s Stuart Anderson says his organisation is closely monitoring the situation in Indonesia.

from Indonesia – especially PKE. “An audit last year of the PKE supply chain in Indonesia showed they were following our

Director: OSPRI OSPRI is the lead biosecurity agency for New Zealand’s animal industries, jointly owned by DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ and Deer Industry NZ. Currently, OSPRI’s operations include managing the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) and TBfree programmes, which are jointly funded by OSPRI’s owners and the Ministry for Primary Industries. OSPRI is seeking an additional Director, to broaden and deepen the Board’s skills and experience. Applicants should bring:

• Understanding of te ao Ma-ori and Ma-ori organisations relevant to animal biosecurity operations.

As a primary attribute: • Governance experience, with time at Chair or Committee Chair level

The appointment will take effect from the Annual Meeting in November 2022, for an initial term of 3 years.

In addition to: • Demonstrated understanding of and connection to key primary industry sectors, throughout the value chain

The OSPRI Shareholders’ Council is responsible for recommending Board appointees to shareholders.

• Relevant and up-to-date knowledge of the regulatory environment related to biosecurity • Strategic understanding and leadership relevant to organisation change, people and performance management and culture change • Technology and innovation awareness, relevant to biosecurity and information systems

Further information is available from the Stakeholders’ Council Chair – Dr James Buwalda E T 021 678318

requirements,” he added. “However, we will seek further assurances from them.” Anderson says the risk of PKE carrying FMD is low because of the heat process used to produce it. “We will continually assess the risk from Indonesia and strengthen our biosecurity requirements if needed. But it’s important to note we have some of the strongest FMD measures in the world at present.” Anderson explained these include: • Strict import health standards for goods coming into the country, such as products like palm kernel, to prevent the introduction of

pests and diseases. • MPI’s risk assessment, visual inspections, X-ray screening, scanning technology, and detector dogs to prevent risk goods from being carried into New Zealand by travellers or arriving by mail. • All shipping containers and imported goods are assessed for biosecurity risk. Containers and goods may need inspection or treatment at transitional facilities before they can be cleared for entry into New Zealand. • Travellers to New Zealand must declare all goods, equipment, and food that could carry unwanted pests or diseases into New Zealand. Travellers must also declare when they have been in contact with livestock. MPI checks any passengers and baggage identified as being at high risk of carrying FMD. • People who forget to declare items or who make false declarations are fined or can be imprisoned. “At present, there are no direct flights between Indonesia and New Zea-

land. This helps lower the risk, but our staff at the border are on alert for risk cargo, mail or passenger behaviour,” Anderson adds. Meanwhile, he says while the current risk is low, Indonesia’s FMD outbreak a timely reminder for farmers to keep a watch on the health of their animals. “Especially for symptoms including, high fever, mouth and feet blisters or erosions and lameness,” he explains. “People should call their veterinarian or MPI’s exotic pest and disease hotline (0800 80 99 66) if they have concerns.” It is also understood that the various farming sector groups have also be talking to their members about the increased risk on the back of the Indonesian FMD outbreak. “The M. bovis response has provided valuable lessons, including the importance of work closely with the sector and farmers onthe-ground and they have been included in our FMD preparedness,” Anderson added.

HOW READY ARE WE? NEW ZEALAND has some of the world’s toughest biosecurity measures for FMD, claims Biosecurity NZ deputy director general Stuart Anderson. “We’ve worked closely with the primary sector on FMD preparation over many years and will continue to do so,” he says. “For many years, we’ve worked on FMD preparedness with primary sector groups, including running exercises of what would happen.”

Applications should be submitted by 8 June 2022.

Anderson adds that in this year’s Budget, the Government announced an extra $42.9 for biosecurity. “Some of that funding will be dedicated to our FMD preparedness work with our primary sector partners.” More: biosecurity/plans-for-respondingto-serious-disease-outbreaks/ foot-and-mouth-disease/response-tofoot-and-mouth-disease

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


China’s lockdown impacts NZ DAVID ANDERSON

CHINA’S COVID lockdowns are impacting on New Zealand agriculture, according to Rabobank. The agribusiness banking specialist says the current strict lockdowns in many major cities in China – as the country tries to eradicate Covid – are not only affecting its local citizens, but also having flow-on impacts on trading partners, including New Zealand. RaboResearch general manager for Australia and New Zealand Stefan Vogel says there are four specific impacts of the lockdowns that are set to have increasing ramifications for New Zealand agribusiness: disruptions to freight logistics, Chinese corn plantings, dairy demand and hog pricing. “The already-stressed global container logistics situation is becoming more complicated due to massive delays around the Shanghai port,” Vogel explains. He says prices paid for the transport of dry bulk materials increased five-fold through 2021 as a result of Covid lockdowns in different parts of the world. Vogel adds that while these prices have dropped from the September 2021 highs, the ongoing lockdowns in China will add to con-

Dairy demand in food service is slowing in China.

tinued container logistics issues and keep container freight prices well above historic levels for 2022 and well into 2023. Meanwhile, he says disruptions to corn plantings in China – the world’s second-largest corn producer and also the world’s main corn importer – are complicating already extremely tight global grains markets. “Chinese corn planting faces delays in two key provinces – responsible for 20% of the country’s crop – as some farmers are trapped in major cities and are unable to access their fields due to the Covid lockdowns.” However, Vogel concedes these delays in planting Chinese corn are not the biggest driver

of current global grain prices. World corn prices hit a 10-year high in April this year, primarily driven by concerns about a dry season in Brazil and below-normal rainfall forecast for the next three months, which could reduce Brazilian corn yields. “There are also cool and wet conditions for corn planting in the US and an expected reduction of about 50% in Ukrainian corn production in 2022, putting upward pressure on global grain prices.” Meanwhile, Vogel points to the spread of the Omicron variant and China’s “zero-Covid” policy bringing strong headwinds to the country’s food service sector.

He says this is playing out in reduced dairy demand. “Dairy demand in food service is slowing in China while, according to our calculations, dairy products in China produced from imported Oceania whole milk powder (WMP) are now more expensive than those from locally-produced dairy for the first time in eight years.” Vogel says after a record-breaking 2021 in milk powder imports by China, the demand uncertainty from Covid restrictions is likely to dampen the country’s import appetite in 2022. In addition, China’s Covid restrictions have resulted in a big drop in food service sales of meat products, which have impacted hog production

and prices, Vogel adds. “Chinese hog producers have liquidated herds to avoid further losses, imposing further downward pressure on Chinese pork prices which can also impact China’s feed grain import needs. “This also has potential implications for Chinese beef and sheepmeat demand.” He says while retail prices in China for both beef and lamb are currently at record highs, New Zealand exporters will be keeping a close eye on how demand for these products holds up, “as consumers potentially look to trade down to pork and other cheaper animal protein alternatives”. @rural_news

ANZCO POSTS RECORD PROFIT MEAT PROCESSOR and exporter ANZCO Foods has joined other NZ agri-sector businesses and reported a record net profit of $75m for the 2021 year. The company says it successfully navigated the challenges of the year – including ongoing impacts of labour shortages and supply chain disruptions – to post more than twice the profit of 2020 ($35.7m) on turnover of $1.64b. “The successful 2021 result builds on the previous two years’ results with a focus on core business activities and increased investment in business systems and data analysis to ensure good decision making,” says chief executive Peter Conley. “It is important to recognise the efforts of our people who have worked incredibly hard in challenging times to deliver a strong performance across the ANZCO Foods business.” Conley says the result also reflects the company’s continued focus on consumer needs and customer relationships in key markets and being able to navigate supply chain pressures occurring as a result of Covid-19. “In addition, ANZCO Foods’ focus on revenue, yields, and value-add performance, has enabled the payment of consistently high farm-gate returns during the last three years,” he adds. Conley says the company has a clear strategy to derive more value from the livestock it processes. “This priority continues to differentiate ANZCO Foods, with our manufacturing and healthcare operations contributing strongly to the increased revenue and net profit reported for 2021.” He says the recent acquisition of the global biotechnological business Moregate Biotech, complements ANZCO’s existing business Bovogen Biologicals and builds the company’s capacity in the healthcare industry. “This capability will continue to deliver valueadd opportunities for ANZCO Foods.” Conley adds that with the 2022 year well underway, demand remains strong for its products, but challenges remain. “ANZCO Foods remains committed to doing all we can to help New Zealand’s recovery from Covid-19 by continuing to deliver strong returns and ensure the red meat sector remains in good heart.”

2021 AT A GLANCE ● ● ● ● ●

Turnover – $1.6 billion EBITDA – $100.9 million Pre-tax profit – $75 million NPAT – $54.3 million Operating cash – $44.4 million

RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022



No free lunch! THE INK was barely dry on the Government’s newly released emissions reductions plan before the whining began. “Agriculture – New Zealand’s largest emitting sector – has got off scot-free, again!” the whiners cried. “And it is getting $339m for a new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions, despite the sector not paying any money into the Emissions Trade Scheme.” On the surface, that may be true. However, you only need to dig a little deeper to see there are no easy answers to agriculture’s emissions profile. New Zealand is unique in that almost half of the country’s greenhouse gases come from the agricultural sector. However, as has been shown in the wake of Covid and the demise of NZ’s once bustling tourism sector, it’s our dairy, meat, horticulture and other primary produce that this country now relies on for income. If the brains trust at Greenpeace and the like had their way, we’d just cull half the nation’s dairy herd and stop the use of nitrogen fertiliser. Easy! NZ’s climate ‘crisis’ would be resolved. Not so fast. Just how would the country earn the necessary income to pay for things like schools, hospitals, subsidies for EVs, cycle lanes and trains etc, etc? Ask Sri Lanka how its recent move to organic farming worked out! Not even the current government is silly enough to want to hamstring the country’s main source of export income without any solutions. As a recent report by the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium pointed out, there are few, if any, silver bullets coming in the near future to deal with nitrous oxide and methane on NZ farms and the only way farmers can currently realistically reduce their emissions is to shrink their businesses. As DairyNZ’s Tim Mackle says reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions “is a tough nut to crack”. Therefore, the $339 million to establish a Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions should be seen as an investment for all of NZ, not a freebie for farmers. By the way, when the finalised He Waka Eke Noa proposal is announced shortly, farmers will be paying for their emissions – so there’s no free lunch.


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“I see each one as a budget decision I disagree with, and after that it’s easy!”

Want to share your opinion or gossip with the Hound? Send your emails to:

THE HOUND Joined at hip?

Done deal

All Claas!

Yeah, right!

The Hound suggests if there was any doubt that our so-called farmer industry bodies are little more than a bunch of quislings who are fully in the Government’s pocket, then a recent publicity stunt will have quelled that doubt. Earlier this month, PM Jacinda Ardern – joined by her chief handbag carrier Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor – was in the Waikato for a pre-Budget publicity photo shoot. This stunt wasn’t held on just any old Waikato farm, but on the property of current DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel. When most farmers wouldn’t want to be seen dead in the company of possibly the most anti-farming Government in NZ’s history, van der Poel couldn’t have seemed happier. Makes it hard to argue that the lack of fight and push back from DairyNZ at the avalanche of govt regulations on farming doesn’t come right from the top!

This old mutt continues to be flabbergasted by the sheer audacity and mendacious behaviour of the current inhabitants of the Beehive. Take for instance the Government’s claim that it is still working with local communities and councils on its proposed 3 Waters reforms. One would think this might actually mean it is still listening to local communities and taking on board their concerns before pressing ahead with any reforms. Don’t be silly! A recent ad on the Seek website promoted a very highly-paid role for ‘Head of Communications, Three Waters Programme’. The ad said one of the key parts of this new job was to, “advance the Government’s reform objectives in a way that supports successful adoption of the reforms…” It reminds yours truly of that old saying: How can you tell when a politician is lying? Answer – their lips are moving!

Your canine crusader – like many in the sector probably would have – raised an eyebrow when he heard the news that UK Tory Party MP Neil Parish was recently forced to resign after he “accidentally” opened an X-rated video while looking at machinery online. Parish quit last month after admitting he twice watched adult clips in the House of Commons. However, the farmer claimed he had only viewed the porn by accident because he had been looking for “tractors” online and had got “into another website with sort of a very similar name”. According to reports from his friends, the former MP was actually looking for Dominator combine harvesters when the search resulted in the hardcore filth. Oh yeah? The Hound reckons if that is the case then quite a few machinery buffs in rural NZ could find themselves in trouble if they go online looking for a new harvester or tractor!

Your old mate reckons recent ‘research’ carried out by consultants PWC – claiming that ‘actively managed carbon forestry’ creates 25% more local jobs than sheep and beef farming on low productivity land – is about as accurate as a bent rifle. The ‘research’ was conducted and paid for by an ‘independent’ group called the Climate Forestry Association, which consists of, among others, “foresters, consultants, and investors” who apparently “recognise that we are in a climate emergency and that forestry and forest management has a crucial role in combating climate change”. So, no vested interests promoting this then – not! The Hound reckons that if you believe these ridiculous claims being spruiked around various NZ media organisations on behalf of the CFA by an expensive public relations firm, then he has a very good bridge in Auckland that he can sell you!

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Faster kill weights an answer? In the second of two articles, Lincoln University animal health scientist and vet Jim Gibbs outlines what farmers may be able to do to cut on-farm GHGs. MITIGATION STRATEGIES killing off the microbes that construct methane from free hydrogen are ineffective, because that hydrogen must be disposed of. Strategies like vaccination against methanogens, or potions in the feed to kill all methanogens, have never been demonstrated, anywhere, to reduce methane long term and still maintain rumen health. Given vaccines in Australia and then New Zealand have had more than 25 years of sustained research without any success, there is no chance of this approach being industry ready. Other strategies use feed supplements that soak up some of the hydrogen – and these are widely used internationally – with unsaturated fats and nitrates, are the most successful. These have been repeatedly demonstrated to achieve 10-15% methane reduction, when used in barn-fed diets where every mouthful can contain these. But in New Zealand pasture feeding systems, supplements can only be fed sporadically, and there is about 400% more water washing through the rumen than barn-fed diets. Both of these make keeping a rumen concentration of any hydrogen ‘soak’ very difficult, and such supplements therefore have less reduction in methane outputs in these systems. Other approaches target the chemical construction of methane, rather than killing the methanogens. The best known of these is a synthetic compound called 3-NOP, marketed by DSM and in current trials here in New Zealand, independently researched by Fonterra, not the Government. Reductions of about 30% in methane output have been reported in barn-fed diets overseas, but not in pasture-based

diets, for the reasons above. In pasture-based dairy systems – where twice daily shed feeding is possible – it may be possible to achieve the 10-15% reduction, but to date this has not been consistently shown. There are no other similar compounds available for industry use at present. Finally, what about genetics? Can we select out ‘low methane’ cattle or sheep to solve the problem of trying to feed supplements to pasture based stock? While studies have demonstrated differences between animals, there is a natural boundary in the size of reduction possible, for the basic realities of rumen digestion outlined above. So again, reductions less than 10-15% are likely. The realities of breeding such traits into the industry herds and flocks of New Zealand, while keeping the genetic gains they already have, means any such tool is a generation away. Which leaves New Zealand livestock industries in a tight spot, because the Government has promised GHG reductions that the dairy, beef and sheep sectors can’t achieve – except by slaughter. Is there another way? There is a partial solution, for beef and sheep sectors, that could significantly reduce methane output without requiring herd and flock slaughter. If the animal achieves that carcass in a shorter life cycle, because they have been fed better, then the methane output to produce a kilogram of that food product is less. Fewer days to slaughter equals less methane output. Recent Lincoln research by Zivana King and me, quantified methane outputs in various New Zealand beef systems currently in operation. Lifetime methane output is reduced by

more than 50% when beef steers are slaughtered at 16 months, compared with the current slaughter age of most New Zealand steers of 28 months. Similar reductions hold for lamb slaughter age differences. Early slaughter is also associated with lower nitrogen

outputs and water use. Early slaughter through better feed efficiency should be pioneered by New Zealand beef and lamb sectors as an example to be followed internationally. However, even with widespread adoption of this, New Zealand ruminant food producers, as a

single entity, will not be able to meet the Government’s reduction promises.

Jim Gibbs says earlier slaughter through better feed efficiency may be a partial answer to farming’s emissions mitigation problems.

With Moving Day on the way, we are encouraging Farmers to do their bit to maintain the integrity of our biosecurity system.

Moving with the herd?

Moving farm without the herd?

1 Create a new NAIT location number. 2 Create a movement within 48 hours of moving. 3 Deactivate the old NAIT location number. Register any new grazing blocks you are in charge of and record movements in NAIT for any animals sold or sent away to grazing.

If you have followed all of the instructions to update your NAIT details and are still struggling, our Support Centre is geared up to assist you. Call 0800 482 463

Complete and sign a PICA change form at your current NAIT location and make sure you become the registered PICA if you are moving to another farm.

For more Moving Day information see NAIT is an OSPRI programme

Failure to comply with NAIT obligations may result in fines or prosecution issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries. For more information about your obligations as a PICA, please visit our website

RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


What makes you happy? I’M SURE we could have a very interesting discussion around what would it take to make you happy. Would it be just one

thing you need or would it take several? I know many in the rural sector would tell me straight up, a change of government would be a great place to

start! I have been an avid reader for many years and continue to be. There is so much learning readily available in good


Colin Miller

Rain after a long dry spell can make a farmer very happy!



Delivering to your mailbox for over 30 years

books. I find some of the books and research from yesteryear rather amusing at times, but also fascinating and quite informative. Here is a little something from my files. Way back in 1900, apparently Westerners wanted 27 different things, and considered 18 of those things to be essential for one to find happiness. Now in today’s world, the average Westerner wants 500 different things and considers 100 of them essential to finding happiness. Yet the truth is, they were probably much happier back then in 1900 than so many seem to be today. Mrs Google informs me New Zealanders had $6.23 billion out on credit cards, as at 21/08/2020. By 4/11/21, Kiwis were paying $600 million a year in credit card interest. Wow, that’s some serious coin! Do you think it might be connected to all that stuff we just have to have and simply can’t live without? The 100 essentials I mentioned above. Obviously the first 50 haven’t cut it, so here’s hoping something from the next 50 will! I have been in a certain – what gets termed ‘Third World’ – country several times over a number of years. One year I took another friend along with me to assist with the schedule we were given. Like me, he was a father of four. On one of the Sundays, I sent him out to what we had affectionately come to know as ‘The Orphan Church’. A local couple, along with help from their adult daughter, had taken into their home something like 36 abandoned and orphaned children. The youngest would have been around three years

old. Before you get the wrong idea, let me clarify something here: they received no assistance or help of any kind, from their ‘government’! When he joined me for dinner later that Sunday evening, I asked how his day had gone; how did he find the experience? To which he very promptly replied, “It was great; the happiest bunch of kids I’ve ever been with!” Amazing! Now, how does that work? They had next to nothing, certainly nothing of what children have here in NZ. Other than very basic meals and a place to sleep, they had nothing from that list of 100 essentials. No boxes of toys were in sight, no big screens, no label clothing, no Saturday sports, no ‘me time’ every day; perhaps I should stop my list about there! If happiness came from things, then these kids had no chance – none whatsoever. Yep, it’s an illusion to think happiness comes from having heaps of stuff. Any happiness that may attach itself to things can only be fleeting at best. A new model, perhaps the very latest next model coming, will finally do it for you! Really? The truth is, happiness that lasts the distance is really an inside job. External band-aids in abundance and multiple quick fixes won’t fill the void. And peace, inner peace, is a huge player here too. Inner turmoil never produces happiness, the two never mix. And that’s where the one known as ‘The Prince of Peace’ can help like no other. Keep warm and God bless. • To contact Colin Millar email: farmerschaplain@

RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Time for lime to shine!



NEW ZEALAND’S lime industry is pointing to the benefits of locally extracted product to help farmers deal with huge increases in fertiliser prices. The increasing cost of fertiliser has been further exacerbated by foreign shipping costs. However, AB Lime Southland general manager Steve Smith says that with fertiliser prices so high, some farmers may want to concentrate on fixing their soil pH. “Soil acidity has an effect on the availability to plants of nutrients like phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium, and lime helps address that,” Smith explains. He says with today’s focus on agricultures environmental effects – including fertiliser use – farmers need to choose their fertiliser programme wisely, making sure it works with their farm system goals. “Lime is an important component in the mix and it’s a particularly good option at the moment while fertiliser prices are so high,” Smith adds. “But it doesn’t replace fertiliser longterm.” Shaun Cleverly of the New Zealand Lime Producers Association says farmers are having to reassess costs, with fertiliser only one of several factors stretching farm budgets. Cleverly manages two

Canterbury lime quarries for Palmer Resources. He says, while lime has risen in price [a maximum of 16.67%], it hasn’t matched urea’s over doubling of cost or the

10-55% lift in other fertilisers like magnesium, sulphur and potash. “It’s a good time to get pH levels to optimal levels for nutrient availability.”


Meanwhile, Keith Squires – general manager of Avoca Lime in Whangarei – says now is an especially good time to use lime to “sweeten the soil” by boosting pH

levels. “It provides great bang for your buck by fostering optimum availability of all other nutrients.” @rural_news

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A NEW tool that enables farmers to assess the fertility of their soils by looking closely at the pasture quality, vigour and clover content has recently been released. “It is an easy way to score pastures to determine whether these are up to speed and pulling their weight,” says Dr Doug Edmeades, principal of soil science company AgKnowledge Ltd, which is behind the new booklet. Edmeades describes clover as ‘the canary in the soil fertility mine’. “It is the first pasture component to disappear Doug Edmeades, principal if the soil fertility is not of soil science company optimal,” he explains. AgKnowledge Ltd, is behind the new booklet. “For these reasons, the clover content of a pasture is a good proxy for the underlying fertility of the soil.” Edmeades says where clover is growing in the pasture, its leaf size, abundance, colour and vigour, and the presence or absence excreta patches, are all important indicators of the underlying soil fertility. This is where the Pasture Visual Assessment (PVA) booklet comes in. It uses these indicators to systematically score pastures on a 1-10 scale. A poor pasture (say 1-2/10 on the PVA scale), contains < 5% clover, the clover has small leaves and is only growing in the nutrient rich dung and urine patches. Weeds and weed grasses dominate and the excreta patches are obvious. In contrast, a 9-10/10 pastures comprises 30-40% clover and the companion grass is ryegrass. The pasture is uniformly green, and the excreta patches are not apparent. “The PVA booklet provides a simple technical explanation of the system and contains a series of photographs showing the key features of the different types of pasture on 1 to 10 scale,” Edmeades adds. “A farmer simply matches his own pastures against the photographs. Obviously if the pastures are no ‘up-to-scratch’ professional advice should be sought.” The system, Pasture Visual assessment (PVA), has been developed with financial support from DairyNZ and Barenbrug. The booklet is available at: enquiries@ ($20 plus postage) or from www.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022

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Supply chain mayhem Dairy

Global dairy commodity prices presented a mixed bag in April 2022, as weaker demand has begun to appear. Export returns for Oceania butter and cheese prices remained at or near

record levels but softer powder prices crept through as price resistance started to appear. WMP prices slid over April with main buyer China impacted by lockdowns and additional products offered on

the Global Dairy Platform. The first GDT auction for May showed a clear weaker price trend emerging, centred on a cloudy demand picture amidst reverberations from the pandemic and the Ukraine invasion. The milk supply situation in export regions continues to underwhelm, supporting the case for farmgate prices to remain elevated compared to the five-year average. New Zealand March milk supplies were lower by almost 2% YOY, turning the run of weaker milk supply growth into an eight-month streak. With farmers well into establishing new season’s budgets, processor opening forecasts for the season beginning 1 June 2022 are eagerly anticipated. The weak supply

fundamentals support another profitable farmgate milk price.


Global beef pricing remains strong amidst mounting economic and supply chain pressure in

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Significant disruptions are impacting supply chains – from processing and shipping to cold storage and food delivery. New Zealand’s March exports to China were down 10% YOY, despite strong local demand and

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further, decline in urea prices unless hostilities cease in Ukraine, something that is considered unlikely in coming months. High energy prices are likely to keep urea prices trading in elevated ranges over the course of the year. Meanwhile, agrochemical prices have likely peaked but are expected to remain elevated through 2022.

Exchange rate and backlogs in China limit import volumes. However, export values are anticipated to remain strong as consumer demand for beef is still high. But if lockdowns are prolonged then consumer confidence could reduce, negatively impacting beef pricing.


New Zealand sheepmeat export volumes for March were 25% behind the three-year average for the month. Processing delays and supply chain

challenges are limiting export volumes. As of 2 April, the national lamb kill for the season was 14.2% behind YOY (1.67m lambs). Export volumes to the EU-27 countries and UK remain subdued. However, exports to the US in March were 47% higher YOY. Strong demand from the US for Easter lamb is an encouraging sign in the lead up to ‘grilling season’ that the growth in US demand for New Zealand lamb through 2021 is likely to continue. However, with

inflation reaching 8.5% in the US in March, consumer willingness to pay could be tested. RaboResearch anticipates that farmgate lamb and mutton pricing will hold steady in May, supported by US demand. Lockdowns in China are expected to impact export volumes in May.


The ongoing war in Ukraine and sanctions on Belarus and Russia continue to be the main drivers of volatility in fer-

tiliser markets. Global prices for potash and phosphate, in AU$ equivalent terms, rose 10.2% and 10.1%, respectively, during April. Overseas urea prices declined 25% MOM, but the decline is expected to be temporary. The continued flow of fertiliser exports from Russian ports to ‘friendly’ countries and a smaller than expected Indian IPL tender have moved global urea prices down from their March high. We do not expect a sustained, or

For now, we maintain our outlook for the NZ$ to trade at 0.70 on a

three-month view. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) decided to accelerate the pace of monetary tightening and increased interest rates by 50 basis points to 1.5% in April. As such, the RBNZ hopes to mute the risk of rising inflation expectations. The RBNZ monetary policy committee notes that they remain committed to preventing high inflation from becoming entrenched. In short: expect more interest rate hikes. The combination of these growth con-

straints, higher prices, and higher interest rates dampens the economic outlook for the second half of the year. Slower Chinese growth is a headwind for NZ’s economic outlook, in view of the strong trade links between the two countries. A weaker outlook for China, and (by implication) for world growth, also supports the view that the safe haven US$ could be stronger for longer. Our current forecast suggests scope for a move back towards USc 70 by the end of this year.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Main causes of lamb losses Abortions in ewes are the result of many factors that stress the pregnant animal. In the first of two articles on the two main types of abortion, we take a look at campylobacter… THE COMMONLY reported abortion rate in the New Zealand sheep flock is between 1-2%, although in ‘abortion storms’ a single flock can abort 25-40%. This represents a significant loss or wastage. If the abortion occurs late in the pregnancy, dead lambs can be found out in the paddock. If it occurs in early pregnancy, the conceptus may be reabsorbed. This may go unnoticed until the farmer realises there is a high number of dry ewes in the flock. Campylobacter is a bacterium which causes disease in farm animals. Campylobacter fetus (for-

merly Vibrio fetus) subspecies fetus is one of the most common causes of abortion diagnosed in sheep. On rare occasions C. fetus fetus can cause disease in humans, especially immuno-compromised patients. Infection is picked up orally from pasture, which may be contaminated from variable sources, especially from infected ewes and their foetuses or placenta. Other sources of infection include the mechanical transfer of C. fetus fetus by birds and contaminated water supplies. The causative organism may survive for up to 20 days in winter,

in soil or hay. A feature of the organism is its adaptation to the intestine, where it may persist for some time. After initial infection bacteria are found in the blood for 10-14 days, allowing infection of the placenta. Bacteraemia (the presence of bacteria in the blood) arises in susceptible ewes. The bacteria invade the placenta, where they cause placentitis. In the foetus, microabscesses develop in a range of organs. Abortion occurs about seven to 25 days after foetal death. The interval between infection and abortion may range from

Campylobacter is one of the two main causes of abortion in ewes.

13 to 113 days. C. fetus fetus may persist in uterine discharges for up to six weeks. Some ewes become carriers and remain infectious for up to 18 months. Recently purchased, healthy carrier animals are the most likely mechanism for introducing C. fetus fetus into clean flocks. A common sequence of events in affected flocks is for one or two

ewes to abort in the third or fourth month, followed in two to three weeks by a sharply increased rate of abortion (or ‘storm’). Ewes of any breed or age can be affected. Historically the period of susceptibility to abort is roughly the last three months of the gestation period. The disease has been reported from most areas of the world where sheep

are bred. The ewe seldom has any ill effects from the disease. When a definitive diagnosis cannot be obtained by visual inspection of the foetal membranes and aborted lamb, specimens should be taken for laboratory analysis. Lesions in a case of C. fetus fetus infection: • may be variable and non-specific • enlarged red-grey coty-

ledons are observed • sero-sanguineous subcutaneous oedema may be present • in up to one-quarter of foetuses, pale white-yellow lesions on the liver can be seen • excess fluid in peritoneum and chest • This information is sourced from Beef+Lamb NZ’s factsheet on abortion in ewes: https://beeflambnz. com/knowledge-hub


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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


Techno crime hits ag sector MARK DANIEL

THE NEED for vigilance in the digital age has become a reality for the agribusiness sector. This follows recent news that global tractor and machinery manufacturer AGCO released a short statement in early May noting that a ransomware demand had adversely affected its business operations. The manufacturer of brands such as Massey Ferguson, Fendt and Valtra said some of the company’s produc-

tion facilities had been affected and it was likely to take several days or longer to restore all operations back to normality. That process would include reinstalling software and restoring IT software at the affected sites. Reports in the French media suggest that the MF production lines at Beauvais were shut down during the episode, with worker sent home after servers at the plant were rendered inaccessible. Likewise, German media was reporting a similar situation at AGCO’s

French media reports suggest that the MF production lines at Beauvais was shut down after a recent ransomware attack.

Bavarian sites as the IT outage continued. Although there have been no further announcements since the May notification, dealers have been con-

tacted to advise of the actions being taken to rectify the problem. Inhouse emails are suggesting that the entire parts system was knocked out and attempts to restart

it were only partly successful, with invoicing at crediting functions still down. It appeared that parts could still be ordered and dealer inventories

were able to be viewed, but order processing and deliveries were restricted. On a broader scale, it appears that ransomware attacks are becoming more common, with US cyber-security specialists Sophos noting that there had been a 37% increase in such events between 2020 and 2021. It also notes that 45% of businesses “paid up” in the hope of ending the disruption. It is not known if AGCO paid any such ransom demand. In an age where farmers and producers are being encouraged to place


TINDER FOR SHED SPACE GIVEN THAT most rural and lifestyle property owners need shed space – for storage, work or just a place to hang out with yours mates on a Friday evening after work – a new online marketplace has been designed to bring these parties together. Heybarn specialises in matching vacant shed space on rural or lifestyle properties with those looking for more space. It was founded by three friends who are veterinarians and live on lifestyle properties. The idea came to fruition because they recognised the lack of available space for storage or business in New Zealand – evidenced by commercial storage operations reporting occupancy rates of 92% and rising. Owners can advertise available shed space of any size on the Heybarn site, free of charge, potentially allowing them to earn a worthwhile passive income. People looking for space for any reason – including storage, a one-off event or a creative/craft space – can also advertise their need free of charge.

“The website brings together those who have space in their barns or sheds with those people who are looking to store their campervans, boats or other items, plus tradies looking for extra space for the materials or to work from,” explains operations manager Dan Lynch. “It’s like tinder for barns – so to speak.” Founded in February 2022, the startup company originally focused on the Manawatū-Whanganui region and the Lower South Island, but increased demand is seeing a phased expansion throughout the rest of the country. The site has been designed with privacy and security as top priorities, with the hosts and renters able to view each other’s profiles before committing to any viewings. Heybarn suggests that the service will also eliminate the stress of formalising a rental agreement between host and renter, by offering a tailored document that is able to meet the specific requirements of both parties.



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more faith in digital technologies for increased efficiency, while at the same time turning over more information to manufacturers, questions have been raised about what happens when digital crimes shut such systems down. Who will be responsible for such systems if they are hacked, the manufacturer who installed them or the farmer/producer end user? The attack on AGCO might serve as a timely reminder for farmers, growers and manufacturers and their distributors.

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RURAL NEWS // MAY 24, 2022


The 1,2,3 of JCB’s new control and interface system MARK DANIEL

FASTRAC FANS will be breathing a sigh of relief knowing JCB has launched what it describes as an “all-new

electronics infrastructure” offering on its latest Fastrac 4000 and 8000 models. Taking four years to develop, the key to the revised infrastructure has been to separate trac-

tor operation into three key areas. Each section is controlled individually through a common screen, by the new iCon system. The first area addressed is individual


operators’ interaction with the controls, allowing full customisation of the various functions possible. The most obvious sign of the upgrade is the seat-mounted iCon armrest console and a 12-inch

JCB is offering “allnew electronics infrastructure” on its latest Fastrac 4000 and 8000 models.

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colour touch-screen display. The position of the new screen may be altered to allow for easy viewing or moved to one side to offer maximum visibility through the tractor windscreen. Selectable colourcoded levers give proportional control of electrically-operated spool valves, power takeoff (PTO) and hitch controls. Meanwhile, an auxiliary joystick and hard keys – complemented by an encoder dial – remain as a tactile alternative to using the touch-screen interface. Control setup allows you to seamlessly switch between stick, pedal or cruise driving modes simply by touching either control. The second key area of operation centres around precision agriculture technology. The control and monitoring of tractor operations is via the ISOBUS as the communication protocol. This optimises the operation of the latest Fastrac 4000 and 8000 series tractors that are precision farming ready. A factory installed, integrated GPS guidance system will be available, consisting of a Novatel

Smart-7 receiver, a steering controller and JCB user interface, with Section Control and Variable Rate Control available as unlock options. If the customer is already using aftermarket guidance and precision farming, the GPS Ready option allows the Fastrac to quickly embed itself within that. The third area of optimisation is specific to the machines, with updated driveline software that allows operators to set the appropriate forward speed. This leaves the tractor to balance engine revs and gear ratio to achieve the desired speed at the most economical level. The new JCB Pro format simplifies the selection of ground speed, by pushing forward or pulling back on the joystick to effect a change, while moving to the left or right controls the forward/reverse shuttle direction. Away from the new control setup, both the 4000 and 8000 series Fastrac tractors remain largely unchanged, albeit with some subtle repositioning to grab handles and better situated internal door latches.

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SIZES SELLING OUT FAST New Zealand owned & operated

sizes: BOOTS 5 - 13 (NZ)























*Finance promotion available between 1/04/22 to 31/10/22 on new farm vehicles (AG125, AG200, TTR230/A, YFM350FA, YFM450FB, YFM450FB/P, YFM700FA, YFM700FB/P, YXC700P, YXE850P, YXF850, YXM700, YXM700S SE,

YXE1000PSEM, YXF1000PSEM), through participating authorised Yamaha dealers while stocks last. Offer available for specified models, and warranty registered on or before 31/10/22. 3 year warranty available on ATV and ROV models (Excludes AG125, AG200, TT-R230) *FINANCE DISCLAIMER: Zero deposit; annual repayments only with first repayment due after 12 months and 4.95% p.a. fixed interest rate on a 24 or 36 month loan term. Asset backed commercial

applicants only with NZBN registered for minimum of 1 year. Maximum amount financed is $35,000 and applies to AG125, AG200, TTR230/A, YFM350FA, YFM450FB, YFM450FB/P, YFM700FA, YFM700FB/P, YXC700P, YXE850P, YXF850, YXM700, YXE1000PSEM, YXF1000PSEM. Offer available from April 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022 with final settlement date of November 30, 2022. Credit criteria, fees, charges and conditions apply including an application fee of $325, $10 PPSR fee and a dealer administration fee. Finance to approved applicants by Yamaha Motor Finance New Zealand Ltd. (YMF) NZBN 9429036270798 FSP 9622.