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salmonella survey Southland vets count the cost of Brandenburg. page 29

new ground-shifters New tractors from Case IH include the most powerful ever seen from this maker. page 35

Rural NEWS

nuts about merino Booming demand sees NZ merino move in Tasmania and South America.

page 9

to all farmers, for all farmers

August 2, 2011: Issue 497 

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Record returns flow on a n d r ew swa llow

FARMING’S RECOVERY is starting to filter through to the wider economy with a couple of major input suppliers last week reporting record annual results. Even better, as farmer-owned cooperatives their record rebates/dividends will stay in the sector. “We’re not disappointed with the result, let’s say that,” Ballance Agri-Nutrients chief executive Larry Bilodeau told Rural News after announcing an $85.9m operating profit for the year to May 31. That was nearly 10% more than the Tauranga-based cooperative’s previous best of $78.5m, in 2008, and four times last year’s $20.7m. Shareholders are in line for a record dividend and rebate of $50.29/t, smashing the previous best of $36/t. Bilodeau acknowledges such a rebate risks some criticism that prices could have been kept lower, but he’s confident the cooperative got it right.

“We lead the prices all year and have managed to hold our prices all autumn despite international prices rising. If you look at our prices versus Australia ours have been consistently cheaper so day-to-day New Zealand farmers have been doing extremely well on our pricing.” Sales were up 19% in volume at 1.39mt and 9.7% in revenue at $760m. Bilodeau says it’s “hard to know” if that is solely down to a larger market, or whether there’s been a gain in market share. “We wouldn’t expect our market share to have changed too much.... Sheep and beef has seen the biggest resurgence [in fertiliser use] and

Ravensdown has traditionally been stronger in that area.” Ravensdown says it will report after its board meeting August 9. General manager marketing Mike Witty told Rural News the Christchurchbased cooperative has had a “pretty good” year. “We’ve seen positive returns across all sectors, particularly sheep and beef, and dairy, but there’s a more conservative feeling this time than in the past. Our overall volume is up so the profit will be reasonable.” Earlier last week genetics and farm management systems group LIC reported record annual sales at $166m to May 31, 21.4% up on 2009/10 and

10.2% ahead of its previous best of $151m in 2008/2009. Underlying net earnings more than doubled to $17.1m, which will flow through to a record net dividend to farmer shareholders of $13.6 million. Chairman Stuart Bay says a continued price freeze was “rewarded with record demand for our genetics and farm improvement products and services.” “LIC is positioned well for the year ahead as we continue to invest, innovate and deliver exciting new and updated products to our farmers and look for strategic opportunities to grow the business.” More from LIC p11.

Sticking to his guns

Fighting talk from HortNZ president Andrew Fenton and others at its annual conference in Rotorua. Pages 3-5.

Kids, paint or draw a picture to win...

Don’t push ag pilots plea p et er bur k e

aerial TOPDRESSING companies may have to walk away from work rather than bow to pressure from farmers to operate illegally. The new president of the Agricultural Aviation Associations, Graeme Martin, says in the past farmers have pushed pilots to cut corners to get work done. But this is no longer possible given new rules either in place or about to be. Farmers need to bone up on new rules on safety and the environment, Martin says. Operators have in recent years wound back their businesses to survive in an economic climate when less fertiliser was being applied. But now the economics of farming have changed and farmers want operators to jump to their needs. “We’ll do what we can but we must operate safely and we can’t go out there and push the envelope because, in the worst case someone could get hurt or, worse, an aircraft could crash.” New products are adding limitiations. “It used to be just super-phosphate and lime, but now it’s all these boutique brands of fertiliser. Many of these don’t meet the requirement of the rule to be able to jettison 80% of the load in five seconds.” Many new fertilisers cannot always be spread in one pass. Sub-standard airstrips are also in question, as is the safe storage of products. New rules on the environment, covered in the AIRCARE project are another concern.


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Rural News // August 2, 2011

news 3

issue 497

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Hort grappling with GIAs SUDESH KISSUN

News���������������������������� 1-14 World���������������������������� 17 Agribusiness��������������� 18 Markets������������������ 20-21 Hound, Edna�����������������22 Contacts�����������������������22 Opinion��������������������� 22-25 Management��������� 25-28 Animal Health������29-32 Machinery and Products����������������33-38 Rural Trader��������38-39

HORTICULTURE GROWERS are keeping their cool over biosecurity and still negotiating despite their call for an independent authority to manage Government Industry Agreements being kicked for touch. Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) chief executive Peter Silcock told Rural News growers retain an open mind on GIAs but it will be “quite a while” before agreements are finalised. “We are not opposed to GIAs but we are not ready to sign on the dotted line yet. GIAs are still a long way off.” Horticulture industry groups are studying the detail and “gaps need to be filled” before agreements are reached. His comments are echoed by Fresh Vegetable Group chairman Keith Vallabh who says negotiations are at a crossroads. “We are not ruling anything in or out at this stage.”

Vallabh says consultations with group members continue on the best way to fund GIAs including setting up a biosecurity reserve to deal with incursions. Silcock says Government’s rejection of the independent authority proposal to manage GIAs was disappointing. “It’s off the table and it will be administered within MAF.” However, Government has made concessions, such as agreeing to a committee made up of three industry reps and a MAF official to appoint a man-

Smaller sectors could suffer A CONSULTANT working with HortNZ on biosecurity, Shaun Slattery, warns GIAs may be unfair on small sectors like vegetable and fruit growers, as they will be up against dairy, meat and forestry sectors. “It should be all about consensus decision making,” he told HortNZ conference in Rotorua last week. “Vegetable growers will be small guys at the table and their views should not be sidelined during an incursion.”

RWC great opportunity

Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 Postal Address PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 Published by: Rural News Group Contacts Editorial: editor@ruralnews.co.nz Advertising material: davef@ruralnews.co.nz Rural News online: www.ruralnews.co.nz Subscriptions: fionas@ruralnews.co.nz ABC audited circulation 80,488 as at 30.12.2010

imports of lamb to New Zealand. “As New Zealand Ambassador to A LONG-TIME champion of New Zea- the United States I welcome the fact land lamb, NZ’s Ambassador to the USA, that New Zealand lamb can be bought in the United States, and that Mike Moore, says the Rugby World Australian lamb is in Cup (RWC) is an ideal event our domestic marto promote our lamb. kets. It’s how the He told Rural News world market works from Washington that and it’s how the every industry in New world market Zealand should strive should work. to be a part of that pro“Australian motion. products should “New Zealand lamb be able to enjoy is delicious wherever you market access into New have it in the world, but to have Zealand, just like we it in New Zealand, well that’s just should enjoy access into good sense.” theirs. That is what free Moore says it’s unfortunate trade is about. If consumsheep numbers are down and less Mike Moore lamb is available both domestically ers want to eat Aussie lamb, that is up and for export. But he’s not worried by to them.”

Factions frustrating wool progress

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Head Office Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622

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Keith Vallabh

ager for GIAs. The state will also now fund at least 50% of costs related to readiness and response activities compared to 10% in initial proposals. But HortNZ still harbours concerns around potential costs on growers. Importers not being levied as part of GIAs is another worry. Silcock says importers bring in pests and it’s unfair on the export industry to be paying for biosecurity. Industry groups spend lot of money once a pest establishes itself. Potato psyllid (see p5) is just one example. Agriculture Minister David Carter commended HortNZ on its “practical and commonsense approach” during discussions on GIAs. In his speech – delivered by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges owing Carter being snowbound in Christchurch – Carter reiterated previous comments that stronger partnerships between industry and government will lead to better results in dealing with incursions of pests and diseases.

V I V I ENNE HALDANE

WORKING IN harmony towards the same goal is the key to progress in the wool industry. However, this is still being hindered by dissension betwen players, says Colin Harvey, independent chairman of the Wool Unity Group. “The wool industry is still in a bit of turmoil. It would be good if we could get these major dissensions out of the industry so we could be a little more constructive.” Harvey says the Wool Partners concept is in farmers’ hands and they are concentrating on Wools of NZ. “They are currently working on a

proposal to structure that and we’ve yet to see it.” On a positive note, the Wool Unity Group that emerged out of Wool Task Force, set up last year by Agriculture Minister David Carter “is doing well in R&D strategies and industry standards. It would be good if we get some co-operation on The Campaign for Wool and Wools of NZ, but until these things are sorted out, it’s hard to get everybody to sit constructively at one table.” About the bid for WSI by Cavalier and Wool Equities, Harvey says, “I think the general consensus in the industry is Cavalier’s ownership would be better than losing it offshore.”

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

4 news

Attitude key to hitting $10b target Horticulture New Zealand and its various sector bodies held their annual meetings and conference in Rotorua last week. Sudesh Kissun reports. GROWERS ARE on target to be a $10 billion industry by 2020. HortNZ chief executive Peter Silcock says impending exports of apples to Australia, local investments by vegetable processing companies and free trade agreements stitched together by the Government are helping

the industry achieve its 10/2020 strategy. However, he says the industry faces challenges in the form of psyllid affecting potato growers, Psa in Te Puke kiwifruit vines and a high Kiwi dollar Silcock told the HortNZ conference last week in Rotorua that

achieving the 10/2020 strategy will require attitudinal change among growers. For 30 years, he points out, industry growth has been driven by local population and exports. But now the local and export markets face strong competition from growers in Chile, China, Peru and

Insecticide options needed VEGETABLE GROWERS have been told 25% of insecticides used in the industry are considered high risk. A study by agrichemical compliance consultants Market Access Solutionz found 17 insecticides need to be replaced. Director Nikki Johnson is working with vegetable growers to identify replacements. A three-year project, launched last month and jointly paid for by the Sustainable Farming Fund and growers, looks at registration of sustainable chemicals for growers. The SFF is paying $476,000 towards the project, growers $110,000. Johnson says the project will develop and refine policy for registration to make it more efficient, less costly and more achievable by small industry groups.

Peter Silcock

Vietnam. For New Zealand growers it cannot be business as usual, he says. “If we keep doing the same thing, we will diminish over time.” HortNZ president Andrew Fenton says the horticulture industry strategy “is not a document that now sits gathering dust on a shelf.” Growers and processors are developing intellectual property (IP) and new products to grow the industry value, he says. Fenton urged growers to read industry success stories and grow.

“I hear growers complaining that the big growers are getting bigger and the small are getting smaller, or even getting out. In some cases, this may well be true.” Fenton puts this down to the industry drive to survive. “Growers serious about staying in business have to work through the issues that are limiting their growth and work with other contributors in our industry. That’s what it says in the strategy…. It is cooperation between growers to create scale. “This reduces overheads, increases production and achieves scale that gives you more influence in the supply chain and should ultimately deliver more profitability at the farmgate. “We all need to contribute – grow up and grow smarter.”

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FRUIT AND vegetable farmers have a simple message for price wary New Zealand consumers: buy produce in abundant supply and low prices. Facing a public backlash as winter vegetable prices soar, Horticulture New Zealand president Andrew Fenton says supply and demand controls the market and prices. Farmers sell their produce to the highest bidder and this is a harsh reality New Zealanders face. “And in many products the highest bidder is offshore,” he told the HortNZ annual conference in Rotorua last week. “This leads much of our production to our highly competitive export markets in which we operate successfully and profitably. “In some situations this means higher domestic prices, something Fonterra is very aware of with the price of milk.” The dairy coop responded to public criticism over high retail price of fresh milk by freezing prices until the end of this year. Last week it announced butter and cheese prices will drop next month to reflect a dip in international dairy prices. Fenton says HortNZ will not apologise for high fruit and vegetable prices. The media is quick to focus on high priced food items, calling industry leaders for explanations, but fails to do the same when prices are low. He blames the recent hike in fruit and vegetable prices on “a perfect storm of conditions”: the GST increase, higher petrol prices, floods in Queensland and poor growing conditions. Fenton says high prices mean farmers enjoy “some of the increase in value at the farmgate” but high prices are an indication farmers have low volumes to sell. The opposite happens when produce is plentiful. “At this time, growers are supplying huge volumes to the market and receiving little return, yet the costs in the supply chain remain the same. “This makes for a great opportunity for consumers to enjoy lower priced fruit and vegetables when supply is plentiful, but the media don’t bother writing stories about low prices.” Fenton believes despite what the media says, New Zealanders still enjoy “some of the best quality and lowest price produce in the world.” At the same time local growers need to remain profitable to prevent more imports from other countries. Fenton says New Zealand could become a nation of lifestyle gardeners supplying farmers’ markets if imports continue to rise.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

news 5

Smart marketing for small apples

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Rockit-ing success: Phil Alison at last week’s conference.

HAVELOCK NORTH apple grower Phil Alison has proved his sceptics wrong. When he set out to plant and export miniature apples, not many people were convinced. “A lot of people said to me you cannot sell

small apples,” he told the HortNZ conference last week. “But I thought the apples were sensational.” And he was right. The Rockit apples, sold in fives in a plastic tube, are winning consumers in the UK and Taiwan. Moves are afoot to introduce them in

other countries. They have also found a niche in the domestic market. Rockit apples retail at $4.99 for a tube of five at New World Havelock North. Despite apples available at $1 a kilo at nearby

fruit shops, Alison says there is a market for his product. “We market Rockit apples as a snack for people on the go. We want to see them in cars, on office desks and in golf bags. That’s our vision.”

Psyllid bill hits $60m/year THE POTATO industry’s nightmare with psyllid continues, the insect in the past year costing growers and processors $60 million. “The cost is still increasing with damage to crops and plants now widespread,” says Hort NZ president Andrew Fenton. Psyllid also affects tomatoes and tamarillos. But the potato sector has taken the biggest hit. This season’s trapping data show most potato growing areas recorded higher psyllid numbers. Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ) chairman Terry Olsen says it cannot continue to allocate unlimited resources to the problem, even with voluntary contributions from growers and research organisations. He told PNZ’s annual meeting that reserves had dropped from $667,000 last year to $200,000. “While we have again, in 2011, called for growers and industry partners to make voluntary contributions for psyllid research, there is no expectation we will get the same level of response and support we did in 2010.” Olsen says the psyllid outbreak has united potato growers and the industry is collaborating in a way not seen previously. Potato growers have formed a post-2012 group to look at structure and funding for a new organisation.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

6 news

MAF to correct GIA ‘misinformation’ SIGNING UP to the proposed Government Industry Agreement does not commit farmers to spending a cent on biosecurity preparedness or response, says MAF. Responding to Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen’s comments in Rural News, July 19, MAF director readiness and response David Hayes said they contained “some misinformation.” The article discussed the proposed Government Industry Agreement which would see government and primary industries undertake joint decision making and cost sharing in biosecurity preparedness and response. Petersen is quoted as saying “we want to see the detail before we sign. We’re not going to commit farmers to signing a blank cheque for something whose cost we have no idea of.” Hayes says that, in fact,

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the act of signing the GIA (signing the deed) “does not commit farmers to spending a cent on biosecurity preparedness or response.” “It simply demonstrates that their representative bodies agree to participate in further discussions with MAF over biosecurity priorities and possible activities. “Readiness programmes, to help government and industries prepare for agreed highpriority pests and disease, must be agreed to and signed off by both parties before any activity can be undertaken or any cost incurred. “Response activities in the event of an actual incursion are also initiated only by consensus. This means industry bodies have the ability to say ‘no’ if they feel activity is not worth pursuing.” Hayes says many decision points are in place to

ensure all parties agree to costs generated under the agreed response plan. Each industry can set a ‘fiscal cap’ – the maximum amount they wish

David Hayes

to spend on responding to the organism in question. It acts as a trigger point: once the fiscal cap is reached, the industry will decide whether they wish to withdraw or continue with the response and to share funding. The only cost associated with signing the deed is its administration, and MAF will pay for the secretariat for the first six years of its operation. Beyond

that, administration costs will be shared 50/50. Workshops are planned with industry members over the next few months to identify beneficiaries and relative cost-shares for priorities such as foot and mouth disease. This will ensure the industry has this information prior to signing the deed. Hayes says MAF is heartened that Beef + Lamb New Zealand is willing to participate in planning and response to biosecurity incursions such as foot and mouth disease. “By partnering in biosecurity effort, MAF and the country’s producers will be able to share knowledge and innovation, be better prepared for the pest and disease threats that really matter to industry and ensure faster and more effective responses to incursions that occur.”

Feds board jobs allocated pe ter burke

PORTFOLIOS FOR Federated Farmers’ new board members have been announced. As expected, newly elected president Bruce Wills takes economics and commerce. “That fits well with my experience and background and I’m fairly comfortable with that side of it.” While he doesn’t hold the environment portfolio, Wills is also likely to take a keen interest in that. The science portfolio has gone to vice president William Rolleston, and water and environment – including representing the federation on the

Land and Water Forum – to grains section chair Ian McKenzie. Local government and adverse events are key portfolios for Southlander David Rose; dairy section chair Willy Leferink has labour and immigration. Jeanette Maxwell has responsibility for all issues on meat and fibre including animal welfare and the AHB, plus education. The IT expertise of Anders Crofoot sees him take on telecommunications and animal ID, among others. Wills says he took a transparent approach to determine who got what. “I simply listed all the portfolios

we needed to cover as a board, sent them out to the team asking them to come back to me on areas where they felt they had particular expertise and stating what their particular interests were, even though they might not have expertise in that field.” The new board has something of a ‘corporate’ look because most members have off-farm interests and experience – networks and connections that will work for Feds, Wills says. He remains provincial president for Hawkes Bay; similarly Rolleston retains the South Canterbury presidency. The new board meets next week.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

news 7

RMSS gaining traction p e ter bu r k e

IT’S BEEN a slow start but things are happening as a result of the Red Meat Sector Strategy (RMSS), says Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen. He told Rural News it’s taken much longer than he would have liked to get some initiatives underway. But people have needed time to digest the report and look at what can be pulled out and got underway quickly. This is happening now. A strategic coordinating group has formed: BLNZ chair Petersen; Meat Industry Association (MIA) chairman Bill Falconer; the two organisations’ chief executives, Scott Champion and Tim Ritchie, respectively; Paul Stocks from MAF; and Graeme Milne, the chairman of Synlait. An independent person is yet to join. The group has met twice and things are looking up, Petersen says. “I’d be pretty confident we would have a ‘top ten’ initiatives out in three-four weeks and be communicating these to farmers

Mike Petersen

and the wider industry. “There is a heap of recommendations in the report, some minor, some significant.” The task now is to see what recommendations may be feasible – what may or may not work. Then the group can express a view to the wider industry about what could be put in place. Meanwhile Bill Falconer is at pains to emphasise none of these

recommendations can be achieved overnight; they will all take a lot of work. “There never was going to be an instant solution. The strategy isn’t written that way. It’s now a matter of people in the sector picking up the recommendations and working together to make them happen.” Petersen hopes that once the ideas are out there farmers and the industry will act on them – a

key point because Beef + Lamb and MIA are the promoters and sponsors of the report. “But we’re a very small part of the industry. For example, the behaviour changes talked about in the report make it clear the only people who can make this happen are the people transacting the business: the farmers and commercial companies.” Third parties such as BLNZ, MIA and government agencies can help create the framework for the change but the bulk of the work has to be done by the people doing the commercial business, Petersen says. The strategy will come under the spotlight next month at a joint MIA/BLNZ conference. Bill Falconer says the conference will give opportunity to review some of the themes in the RMSS and look at ways of implementing some recommendations. But it’s a constant work in progress. Petersen is keen for annual review of the report, hard to do more frequently. Measuring over a season makes more sense. So at the earliest progress will not be reported on for about ten months.

Joint meat promotions humming in UK CO-FUNDING OF meat promotion in the UK is working extremely well, says BLNZ director Kirsten Bryant. She told a BLNZ field day near Marton last week that the Meat Promotion Group (MPG), comprising representatives from most meat exporting companies, is doing a good job of finding opportunities for promotion. BLNZ is seeking 50/50 co-funding from the industry and this is now happening.

Following market research in the UK it was decided consumers’ high recognition of the New Zealand brand made it better to try to influence them at the point of sale – namely the supermarkets. Bryant says though lamb supply is short and prices are high, there’s no reason to back off promotion. “Evidence shows if you stop marketing and promoting when things are good, you’ve got a whole

lot of ground to make up when things aren’t so good. So you keep the momentum and when times are bad you don’t have so much ground to make up.” Demographics are changing worldwide on lamb consumption. “Our parents grew up with lamb as a staple and in the UK it’s been a traditional product, but research shows that changing. “Young people in the UK and New Zealand are not after a leg

of lamb, so we’re having to be creative about new markets and new cuts.” Germany has also had a big lamb promotion, Bryant says. One this year will have 700 supermarkets with lamb tasting kiosks in store. Lamb is a niche food in Germany; average consumption is 0.8kg/year/person compared with New Zealand’s 11kg/year. The average German eats 47 pigs in their lifetime.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

news 9

Overseas merino sourcing demand-driven says NZM partners are being protected by the high market but they are using that to secure high prices for the growers going forward.” NZM is working with growers and breeding programmes to make merino more profitable for meat and wool. “Those possibly tempted to look at dairy grazing are now not doing it because merino is looking so profitable.

VIVIENNA H ALDANE

NEW ZEALAND Merino is contracting wool in Tasmania and South America because demand has outstripped domestic supply for its active outdoor clothing market. “The promotion and branding we did for that market was so successful we’ve used up all the wool from New Zealand in a specific micron bracket for the next three-four years,” says NZM commercial manager Keith Ovens. “Because of this we looked to other areas where there are wools and likeminded growers and found Tasmania had a lot of similarities.” A guaranteed supply of merino wool, grown to the same standards overseas, will “still make money and keep our brand partners going without New Zealand growers being affected.” Driving the demand is the Zque brand. “Zque is a fibre ingredient marketing brand that guarantees it can be traced back to the farm. Those farms have to

Keith Ovens

We want to use this to grow the breed numbers and improve their viability.” Meanwhile all NZM growers, by owning the company, “get to make a margin on handling wool from other countries as well,” Ovens says. “They get a double win out of it.”

Ibex and Icebreaker

abide by certain quality and ethical standards. “It’s proved a successful brand with our partners in Europe and America. That’s part of the success, why they want us to source it and register these other farms for Zque, so they can have the continuity of that brand as well.” Ovens says growers here have used the peak in the market – the highest it’s

ever been – to negotiate contracts for another two-three years based on these higher levels. “It’s a jump up from where they’ve been and because of the contracts the brand partners have time to absorb the huge increases in the market price and exchange rates and still be competitive. “The growers have been on the winning side for years and now the brand

NORTH AMERICAN Outdoor Clothing maker Ibex in June reported travelling with Zque representatives to Argentina and Uruguay where Ibex signed its first contract in Uruguay to expand its source of Zque certified merino wool. “We are pleased the team from Ibex were able to see the Uruguayan systems first hand,” says NZM chief executive John Brakenridge. “As with New Zealand’s Zque partnerships it’s important growers and their retail brand partners such as Ibex have a relationship built on mutual respect and understand each others’ quality and integrity requirements.” Meanwhile Ovens stresses Icebreaker still sources 100% of its 19 micron fibre in New Zealand. “They are growing so fast and their need’s so great that they have a 3-year contract worth $100 million with New Zealand growers until 2013. This locks in the highest ever price for 19 micron. It’s a great model.”

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

10 news

Rabobank: ‘outlook buoyant’ p e te r bu r k e

EXPECT VERY good prices for lamb and beef over the next two to three years, says Rabobank food and agribusiness analyst Rebecca Redmond. Global shortages of these commodities are likely to remain and this will ensure the higher prices hold in the short-

“Food safety is still unappreciated, but is a huge drawcard for us selling into Asia. I don’t think we realise how important food safety systems are to consumers in countries such as China.” medium term, she says. With lamb, New Zealand is in a unique position, with Australia, in dominating sheep meat trade. “We’ve looked around

the globe to see where any extra supply might come from and in fact all the sheep flocks have been declining. “Even in big markets

such as China where they have a very large sheep flock, farmers have come under the same land pressure as our sheep farmers. The cost of production has

Rabobank analyst Rebecca Redmond

gone up and more profitable ways of using the land has seen a decline of sheep numbers there.”

Redmond says in some of our mature markets lamb is now a luxury. “For example in the UK we’ve seen a 30% increase in sheepmeat prices at retail level and that’s made some consumers see it as a specialty meat.” Also price conscious are US consumers. Redmond says she has seen statistics showing even consumers earning $100,000 or more have dropped their average daily spend by 30%. “These are people who can afford to spend but who are toning down their spending.” In beef, Redmond says our prospects have always been moderated by the global chain. New Zealand is not a major player in this commodity and in a sense has to be a price taker. “But because the trade globally is in short supply at the moment, that means prices will be maintained at a moderate level and will not go down to some of the lows we’ve seen historically.”

US producers are looking to export beef in an effort to get higher prices and New Zealand is able to backfill the shortfall in the domestic market. Many US beef producers have been turning away from beef production into what they see as more profitable areas of farming. New Zealand is doing well considering the present high exchange rate, Redmond says. Her key message to farmers is the importance some overseas markets place on our sustainable farming practices and an emphasis on food safety. “Food safety is still unappreciated, but is a huge drawcard for us selling into Asia. I don’t think we realise how important food safety systems are to consumers in countries such as China. They are becoming a very food safety conscious nation and they are looking for a supply chain to be able to guarantee that and New Zealand’s in the prime seat.”

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

news 11

Brazilian beef no bother to NZ p e ter bu r k e

LIC reports record result; Bay to retire GENETICS COOPERATIVE LIC had a record year to May 31. Last week it announced revenue of $166 million for the 2010/11 year, 21.4% up on 2009/10’s $136m and 10.2% ahead of its previous peak turnover of $151m 2008/2009. Underlying net earnings jumped $9.1m to $17.1m which is reflected in a record net dividend to its farmer shareholders of $13.6m. Higher sales volume increased

earnings before interest, taxation and fair value adjustments on biological assets, by $7.5 million (or 45%) to $24.3 million. Chairman Stuart Bay points out even though dairy payouts improved in 2010/2011, LIC did not increase its prices. “We’re a farmer owned cooperative, and made a conscious decision that extending the price freeze [from 2009/10] was the best support we could give to our farmers to help them regain lost

momentum during the downturn years.” In dairy genetics record volumes of DNA proven semen were sold and demand is growing in international markets, he says. “Strong growth was also generated in farm automation with LIC’s range of Protrack systems the market leader in New Zealand.  Farmer uptake of new software, customised milk testing, DNA animal identification and disease diagnostics also

increased.” Bay says the record result is gratifying after a decade of LIC operating as a user owned cooperative under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act of 2001. Total assets including cash, software, land and buildings and bull teams, at $236.8 million, increased $13.2 million over the previous year. The equity ratio remains at 78%. Bay says he will retire from the board effective June 2012.

A LEADING Rabobank farm analyst from Brazil says New Zealand beef farmers have nothing to fear from any potential expansion of the beef industry in that country. Guilherme Melo has been giving a series of presentations to beef farmers around New Zealand and says Brazilian beef producers face rising production costs and lower prices. There’s also land use competition similar to that in New Zealand for beef producers. “Other farming operations more profitable include soybeans and sugar cane. The other problem is the cost of labour,” he says.

“Other farming operations more profitable include soybeans and sugar cane.”

Guilherme Melo

Environmental rules are another constraint, notably on the fringes of the Amazon Basin. Melo says any farm developed in this region has to be of sufficient size so that 80% of the land can be retained as forest. Brazilian beef farmers have the issue of foot and mouth disease to contend with. Although the country is technically free of FMD, it is only because cattle are vaccinated against it. This limits the number of countries to which Brazil can export. Despite that, and the fact 80% of production is consumed domestically, nearly 2 million tonnes is exported making it the largest beef shipper in the world. Land area for beef is only gradually expanding but farming systems are improving and stocking rates have lifted over recent years. Production is forecast to increase about 1% this year, much of it being mopped up by increased domestic demand. Between 2004 and 2009 annual consumption of beef rose from around 34kg/person to 37kg/ person. Perhaps the biggest fundamental change has been Brazil throwing off the mantle of being the world’s cheapest producer of beef, says Melo. That is now Argentina.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

12 news

Go OAD to keep NZ competitive? SUDESH K I SSUN

ONCE-A-DAY MILKING may be the means of ensuring New Zealand’s dairy industry remains globally competitive, says consultant Colin Holmes. He says full season OAD milking reduces labour costs and requires less capital than twice-a-

day milking (TAD). It also reduces cows’ daily walking and is less stressful on animals and farmers. But OAD means lower milk yield and Holmes acknowledges Fonterra is not keen to see farms reduce production. Fonterra general manager milk supply Steven Murphy says OAD milking

favour of OAD at the recent South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) conference. He points out the dairy industry’s competitive ability has been based on low cost of production, achieved by efficient grazing and milking. But things have changed over the past 20 years with more inputs

is an individual farm business decision, not one for the co-op. Fonterra will collect milk from every farmer, regardless. “Fonterra is happy to pick milk up from farmers who have decided that once-a-day suits their business best,” he told Rural News. Holmes spoke in

used on farms. “These inputs include extra feeds, machinery, feeding facilities and cow barns. They usually result in increased milk production but costs per kgMS are usually increased too, eroding New Zealand’s ability to be competitive.” Holmes believes OAD milking is one innovation

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Reduced walking time is just one OAD advantage.

offering the potential of lower cost of production per kgMS, without extra inputs, provided reasonable MS yields per cow can be maintained. “It eliminates one whole milking operation every day, along with all the labour and cow walking involved, thereby continuing the steady increases in milking efficiencies of the past 100 years.” But OAD has disadvantages. Milk yield per cow is 15-20% lower in the first year on OAD. Holmes believes this can be offset in the short term by milking more cows, at a higher stocking rate. OAD herds also suffer increases in somatic cell count and black mastitis. Holmes puts this down to longer intervals between milkings, allowing any undetected, early-stage infections to become more established. Early detection and treatment of black mas-

titis is more important in OAD milking than twice a day, says Holmes. OAD also impacts MS production. Accounts of 22 OAD milking farms were analysed in their final year on TAD and for subsequent years on OAD. After changing to OAD, milk production decreased 6% but farm working expenses dropped by 26% or 58c/ kgMS. Spending on wages, supplements and animal health dropped 30%, 22% and 13% respectively. “Those who changed to OAD in order to free up more time and made minimal other changes to the system show little improvement in financial performance,” says Holmes. “Those who changed to OAD in order to improve farm performance and made other appropriate changes to the system did show improved financial performance.”

Ireland looks at BVD eradication ANIMAL HEALTH Ireland last month announced a sixyear proposal to eradicate BVD. The Independent newspaper reports a new study commissioned by AHI found the disease costing dairy farmers the equivalent of $77/year/cow and beef breeders $48/ year/cow. AHI suggests a voluntary testing programme in 2012, becoming compulsory in 2013. Over six-years the total cost is estimated at $79m. Ireland has a dairy herd of 1m, and 1m beef cows. • NZ’s BVD strategy pages: 30-31


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Rural News // August 2, 2011

14 news

‘Mind the detail when scaling up’ sue e dm o nds

DON’T LET the drive for economies of scale lead to inattention to detail, says Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly. The SOE – New Zealand’s biggest farm – these days manages its 110 separate farms as one unit, Kelly last week told the NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management Winter

Forum, Waikato. The concepts ‘whole farm systems’ and ‘on farm extension’ should be the focus of every farmer, consultant and farming organisation, he says. “Twenty years ago a dairy herd was about 200 cows, and the farmer knew either the names or the numbers of each cow. If a cow appeared in the shed with an udder which

Chris Kelly, Landcorp CEO.

didn’t look its normal shape, then the farmer would know it needed

Sector structures ranked ON THE question of implementing the Red Meat Sector Strategy, Kelly ranks the five biggest farming/growing industry structures as follows: at the top kiwifruit, then dairy, red meat, apples and wool. Individual levels of disaggregation are now showing up in levels of profitability (PSA notwithstanding), he says. He demonstrated that meat industry disaggregation showed starkly the difference between in market and farm

gate prices at different stages of the season. And he showed the alarming complexity of our meat selling in international markets. Overseas buyers have the whip hand on pricing, and will not commit to long term contracts when they know they can move from exporter to exporter as prices favour them. Longer hedging, as in the dairy sector, is needed; so is more cooperative marketing to stop weak selling of commodity products.

treatment and take steps to do so. “The situation today – herds of 1500 cows – is entirely different. “What Landcorp found is that as stock numbers increased production rose briefly, then plateaued and then moved downwards.” Landcorp’s solution was to use RFID and individual animal measurement. Now its dairy farms are being equipped with Farmax and a Farm Dashboard system which measures a number of aspects of every cow at every milking. Landcorp had discovered production from some cows in a herd – of similar age, breeding, feeding, etc – could drop by 50% by halfway through the season. Without individual animal monitoring this would not be known, and production and profitability would be lowered for no apparent reason as the

animals could not be identified and culled. Sheep farm monitoring was done on lamb weights. Now work is being done on possible ways to see if high performing lambs differ in their genetics. Says Kelly, “Big is not better unless the available

technology is used to measure everything.” Until recently Landcorp’s only priority was the SOE Act requirement that such organisations operate in a profitable manner like any other company. This had resulted in a narrow focus

on production and profit, and sharing in extension activities had not been a priority. Now, objectives include sharing with other farmers the knowledge Landcorp is gaining in running corporate farms and large numbers of stock.

Next generation and extension challenges REDUCED EXTENSION and technology transfer, and the challenge of attracting a younger generation into farming, were clearly recurring themes at the NZIPM event. How to address these issues was less clear, though some suggested NZIPIM members could help transmit good practice and ideas. Extension activities should focus on the top 25% for maximum efficacy, hopefully pulling the profitability of the middle 50% up and reshaping the current, conventionally shaped bell curve into more like a wedge. The bottom 25%, unwilling to change, should be left to make their own way, went the argument. As for new entrants, profitability – or lack of – in the sheep industry, had not been sufficient to entice young urbanites to see it as sufficiently rewarding, and falling land values were still countering currently raised income levels.

Participants agreed on the importance of progressing the Red Meat Sector Strategy, though doubts were expressed on the reality of B+LNZ and the MIA being able to move from their different individual strategies to one of mutuality. Bruce Wills commented that, from his perspective after three years heading the Federation’s meat and fibre section, the current good prices were simply the result of the mistakes made in past years leading to tight supply, and he doubted it would continue upward for long. Tom Richardson acknowledged that CRIs were now even more aware of the need to coordinate the three phases of current research (outputs, impacts and outcomes, or strategic research, applied research and product knowledge and development) and to work more collaboratively to get information and products to the end users.


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Rural News // August 2, 2011

world 17

Coles’ $A1/litre slammed alan harman

AUSTRALIAN SUPERMARKET Coles has been cleared of predatory milk pricing by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The decision, that by selling milk for $A1/litre Coles isn’t in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, has left a sour taste with the Australian dairy industry. “It is impossible for Coles to buy, transport, store and sell milk in these areas for $1 per litre,” says Australian Dairy Federation vice-president Adrian Drury. He maintains Coles’ discounting is unsustainable and slams the ACCC as a toothless chihuahua for what he believes was a narrow inquiry, and its failure to comment on Coles’ advertising claims that cheap milk doesn’t affect dairy farmers.

“It is clear small retailers and vendors have suffered and lost business as a result of the discounting war started by Coles and that farmers have been directly impacted,” says Drury. “Almost 20 dairy farmers have left the industry in Queensland citing Coles’ actions as the main contributing factor; they know the price is unsustainable.” Milk at $A1/L isn’t enough to support farmers, processors and retailers, he reasons. But ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel says the major impact of the reduction in milk prices since January “seems to have been a reduction in the supermarkets’ profit margins on house brand milk. These price reductions

have benefited consumers who purchase house brand milk.” ACCC says it made industry-wide enquiries with dairy market participants including industry

associations, milk processors, supermarkets and independent retailers to assess whether Coles breached two predatory pricing provisions. “It is important to note that anti-competitive purpose is the key factor

here,” Samuel says. “Price cutting, or underselling competitors, does not necessarily constitute predatory pricing. Businesses often legitimately reduce their prices, and this is good for consumers and for competition in markets.” ACCC says it enquiries found Coles’ purpose in reducing the price of its house brand milk was to increase its market share by taking sales from its supermarket competitors including Woolworths. This is consistent with what the ACCC would expect to find in a competitive market. After Coles’ price cuts, Woolworths and other supermarket retailers slashed house brand milks. ACCC says it found much variation in supply costs and operating margins among supermarket

operators. “As to the relationship between dairy farmers and milk processors, it is the case that some processors pay some farmers a lower farm gate price for milk sold as supermarket house brand milk. “However, on the evidence we’ve gathered over the last six months it seems most milk processors pay the same farm gate price to dairy farmers irrespective of whether it is intended to be sold as branded or house brand milk.” Samuel adds ACCC recently issued a draft decision proposing to allow dairy farmers associated with Australian Dairy Farmers Ltd to continue to collectively bargain with milk processors for a further 10 years. “This strengthens the position for farmers when negotiating with processors over milk prices.”

MLA sheep/beef split call MEAT AND Livestock Australia faces a new challenge from a fledgling group calling for a sheep and beef split. Unnamed beef producers have formed the Australian Meat Producers Group, saying the red meat sector needs a major restructure. Group lawyer Norman Hunt told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation change is needed because of the shrinking national sheep flock. “In the ‘90s, there was something like 170 million head of sheep in Australia. Now there’s something less than 70 million. The feeling is, from people we’re talking to, that there should be separate organisations to look after the interests of each industry.” MLA chief executive Scott Hansen says the organisation is used to facing calls for restructure and it is not worried by this one. MLA is focused on marketing lamb, goat and beef globally and investing in research to improve production in Australia, he says. The independent BeefCentral.com website says the new group claims its plan would substantially reduce unnecessary cost and streamline industry management and policy-setting process. Membership includes large and smallerscale beef producers from northern and southern Australia, corporate producers and meat processors. They are reportedly concerned by what they see as dysfunctional red meat industry structures, and lack of transparency and accountability.

Apple scab lesson from US APPLE SCAB found resistant to four popular fungicides in the US holds a warning for New Zealand growers, says a Purdue University expert. “It’s like multidrug resistance in antibiotics. This is full-blown resistance,” says Janna Beckerman, an associate professor of botany and plant pathology at the University. While Beckerman’s research only covered the Mid-West states of Indiana and Michigan, it’s probable the whole eastern half of the US is affected. “I am not familiar with New Zealand, but I suspect in orchards with a history of intensive spraying for apple scab, selection for resistance will occur and those resistant isolates will become the dominant population,” she told Rural News. In US west, it’s much drier so scab is rarely a problem,

meaning fewer applications of fungicide and less selection pressure for resistance. Apple scab, caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis, is highly destructive to apples, causing brown lesions on leaves and fruit. A single lesion can reduce an apple’s value by 85% and the disease can cause orchard failures. “An orchard grower that has this could lose blocks of an orchard, or depending on the amount of diversity in the orchard, they could lose the entire crop.” The resistant scab has no apparent fitness penalty and of samples treated with dodine, kresoxim-methyl, myclobutanil or thiophanate-methyl, about 12% were resistant to all four. The only options apple growers have, Beckerman says, is to use older fungicides that are more expensive.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

18 agribusiness

More profit from NZ/UK project? EIGHT ENGLISH and ten New Zealand sheep and beef farms will be working together in a UK-funded project to improve production and profit, Silver Fern Farms, has announced. The year-long project, to assess how the computer program Farmax can improve grassland management, is being funded by the UK’s equivalent of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, EBLEX, and premium sector supermarket Marks & Spencer. Silver Fern Farms UK is to manage it and the farmers will use Farmax to monitor and model changes in farm and grassland management. The common language and data capture of information will enable comparisons and benchmarks between UK and New Zealand operations, says Silver Fern agriculture manager Renée Hogg. “We have established a set of key performance indicators for the farm businesses taking part in the project. During the next twelve months we hope to gain real insights into what is driving profit and productivity between UK and New Zealand farms, and look forward to sharing the learnings.” SFF chief executive Keith Cooper says the project demonstrates SFF’s commitment to growing the sustainability of sheep meat production in collaboration with international partners.

“We envisage this initial programme will be potentially further advanced with the learning and systems generated by Farm IQ Systems.... It is another example of how partnerships can be built to enhance global sheep meat production and potentially assist the promotion of the end product to consumers.” Farmax consultants will check data records on farm roughly every other month, providing farm management insight and advice, system support and training. Marks & Spencer’s agricultural manager, Steven McLean, says farming faces many challenges in climate change, input inflation, land use pressure. The firm’s Farming for the Future programme is working with supply partners to address these. “Optimising the productivity of grassland brings benefits to all ruminant livestock producers, regardless of the production system they operate, and this should, in turn, improve profitability on farm, increasing economic sustainability.” EBLEX beef and sheep scientist Liz Genever says the project has “massive potential to help us understand grass supply and feed demand, which is a first for the English beef and sheep sector.” “It will also help demonstrate the benefits of improved grazing management for animal performance and profitability.”

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

Market Snapshot North Island c/kgCWT

South Island

Lamb Prices

Last Year

P2 Steer - 300kg

-10

4.12

4.22

3.93

M2 Bull - 300kg

-10

4.02

4.12

3.85

5.26

P2 Cow - 230kg

-10

3.40

3.50

3.10

7.66

5.26

M Cow - 200kg

-10

3.20

3.30

3.00

4.60

4.60

3.20

Local Trade - 230kg

-5

4.15

4.20

4.03

-2

7.59

7.61

5.03

n/c

7.58

PM - 16.0kg

-2

7.61

7.63

5.25

-10

4.12

-5

4.35

PX - 19.0kg

-2

7.63

7.65

PH - 22.0kg

-2

7.64

MX1 - 21kg

n/c

YM - 13.5kg

4.10

Venison - AP 60kg

+5

8.25

n/c

8.60

c/kgCWT YM - 13.5kg

Mutton SI Lamb

Mutton

7.58

7.58

4.76

P2 Steer - 300kg

-5

4.35

4.40

3.60

n/c

7.58

7.58

5.33

M2 Bull - 300kg

-5

4.10

4.15

3.48

PX - 19.0kg

n/c

7.58

7.58

5.34

P2 Cow - 230kg

-5

3.15

3.20

2.55

PH - 22.0kg

n/c

7.58

7.58

5.34

M Cow - 200kg

-5

3.05

3.10

2.47

MX1 - 21kg

n/c

4.18

4.18

2.95

Local Trade - 230kg

-5

4.35

4.40

3.75

NZ Slaughter

$6.5

1000s

$5.5 5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$4.5

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

NZ Slaughter

Estimated Weekly Kill

Change

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

169

Cattle NI

-15%

21.8

25.5

19.5

44

73

Cattle SI

-13%

5.5

6.3

3.2

4.3

Lamb NZ

+2%

203

198

162

242

Cattle NZ

-14%

27.3

31.8

22.7

26.2

Mutton NZ

-4%

35

37

41

60

Bull NI

-35%

3.1

4.8

2.3

3.7

Bull SI

-20%

0.4

0.5

0.2

0.5

Str & Hfr NI

-12%

12.9

14.7

10.5

11.4

NZ Weekly Lamb Kill Last Year This Year

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Export Market Demand

UK Leg £/lb NZ$/kg

$4.0

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

n/c

2.45

2.45

1.81

1.41

-12

10.24

10.36

8.43

7.88

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

This Year

£2.50

Cows SI

-22%

1.8

2.3

0.7

1.3

80

Last Year

60

This Year

20 0 Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

+3

1.95

1.92

1.63

1.56

-3

5.00

5.03

4.97

4.84

Change 95CL US$/lb

Demand Indicator - US 95CL Beef

$2.20

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

$2.00 $1.80

Procurement Indicator Change 5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$3.0

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

$1.60

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

% Returned NI

+1%

75.7%

74.8%

63.7%

44.8%

% Returned SI

+1%

74.2%

73.4%

64.6%

58.4%

80%

North Island 60kg Stag Price

This Year

$1.20 Apr

May

Jun

Change

60%

Jul

Aug

Sep

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

% Returned NI

-2%

82.4%

84.5%

77.50%

75.1%

% Returned SI

-0%

83.0%

83.5%

70.1%

68.7%

Last Year This Year

50% Apr

$7.5

Last Year

$1.40

Procurement Indicator

Procurement Indicator - North I.

70%

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

95%

Procurement Indicator - North I.

85% 75%

$6.5

5yr Ave Last Year This Year Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

South Island 60kg Stag Price

85%

Procurement Indicator - South I.

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

NI Stag - 60kg

Oct

SI Stag - 60kg

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Last Year This Year May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

+5

8.25

8.20

6.70

6.51

n/c

8.60

8.60

7.15

6.81

Change

90%

Procurement Indicator - South I.

80% 70%

Venison Prices $7.5

This Year

55% Apr

65%

45% Apr

Last Year

65%

75%

55%

$8.5

$6.5 May

2.5 6.8

£2.00 £1.50

South Island 300kg Steer Price

$3.5

$9.5

2.3 6.7

NZ$/kg

$4.0

$5.5 May

3.5 6.0

Export Market Demand

Oct

$4.5

$8.5

3.3 5.8

Last Year

$3.5

$2.5 May

-6% -3%

40

Last Week

Demand Indicator - UK Leg Price

£3.00

$5.0

Str & Hfr SI Cows NI

NZ Weekly Beef Kill

0

$4.5

$2.5 May

21.9

119

66

Change

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

5yr Ave

132

North Island 300kg Bull Price

$3.0

Last Year

55

150

Jun

3 Wks Ago

147

300 5yr Ave Last Year This Year

2Wks Ago

-16%

450

$4.5

Change

+11%

600

$5.5

1000s

Estimated Weekly Kill

Lamb SI

750

$6.5

SI

Lamb NI

South Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price

$7.5

NI

n/c

$8.5 $7.5

c/kgCWT

PM - 16.0kg

North Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price

$5.0

2 Wks Ago

7.61

-5

$3.5 May

Last Week

-2

4.02

$8.5

Change

Last Week

-10

Jun

Last Year

Change c/kg

Bull - M2 300kg

$3.5 May

Change

2 Wks Ago

Last Week

NI Lamb

Beef Market Trends

Beef Prices Last Week

Change c/kg

Lamb - PM 16.0kg Steer - P2 300kg

Lamb Market Trends

Meat

Last Year This Year

60% 50% Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Beef & venison prices are reported as gross (before normal levies & charges are deducted). Lamb & mutton prices are reported nett (after levies & charges are deducted). Note: Freight is paid in the North Island but not by all companies in the South Island.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

Beef Wool Price Watch 21-Jul

07-Jul

Last Year

Coarse Xbred Indic.

-26

6.22

6.48

3.37

Fine Xbred Indicator

-28

6.62

6.90

4.00

Lamb Indicator

-

-

-

-

Mid Micron Indic.

-

10.02

-

6.81

Wool Indicator Trends

750

Change

Last 2 Wks

Butter

-186

5434

5620

5460

Skim Milk Powder

-265

4424

4689

4320

Whole Milk Powder

-242

4402

4644

4493

Cheddar

-151

5199

5350

5460

Indicators in NZ$/T

Dairy Prices Trends

7,000

650

6,000

550

5,000

450

4,000

350

CXI

FXI

SMP But.

LI

250

3,000 Jul

Sep

Nov

Jan

Mar

Jul

May

Sep

Coarse Xbred Indicator

750

Nov

Jan

WMP Ched.

Mar

May

Whole Milk Powder Price (NZ$) Last Year

650 550

Last Year This

5,500

This Year

4,500

450 350 Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

3,500 Apr

Oct

Overseas Price Indicators Indicators in US$/kg

Change

21-Jul

07-Jul

Last Year

5.36

2.40

-3

5.33

Fine Xbred Indicator

-3

5.67

5.71

Lamb Indicator

-

-

-

Mid Micron Indicator

-

8.59

-

4.85

Indicators in US$/T

Sep

Last 2 Wks

Change

Prev. 2 Last Year Wks

4675

4675

3950

2.85

Skim Milk Powder

-94

3806

3900

3125

-

Whole Milk Powder

-76

3787

3863

3250

Cheddar

+23

4473

4450

3950

Dairy Prices in US$/Tonne

585 485

4,000 3,000

0.57

SMP But.

2,000 Jul

Sep

Nov

Jan

WMP Ched.

Mar

May

Whole Milk Powder Price in US$/T

4,500

Last Year 4,000

This Year

3,500 3,000 2,500 Apr

Last Year 0.723

0.90

May

Jul

Aug

Sep

Last Year This Year

0.85 0.80 0.75

0.473

0.70

0.812

0.65 Apr

62.78

Jun

US Dollar

0.561

0.54

Last Year This Year

0.62

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

UK Pound Last Year This Year

0.52 0.50 0.48

0.52 0.47

Aug

n/c

5,000

Wool prices struggle under pressure of higher dollar Three weeks into the new wool selling season and prices have buckled under the pressure of a much higher dollar. The volume of wool on offer has spiked which has added further stress to an unsettled market. Despite the recent softer results, current wool prices are still markedly higher than this time last year.

Jul

Butter

Wool Indicator in US$

Wool

Jun

Overseas Price Indicators

Coarse Xbred Indicator

685

May

0.46 Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

0.44 Apr

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North Island lamb prices under pressure 385 A steady flow of lambs into North Island processing 285 CXI FXI LI plants combined with the high kiwi dollar has pressured 185 prices. Returns for a 16kg cwt lamb eased slightly last Jul Sep Nov Jan Mar May week to just under $7.60/kg nett. There could be rough Coarse Xbred Indictor in US$ times ahead with reports indicating our main overseas 650 lamb markets are lacklustre at present. Domestic Last Year 550 supplies are adequate in both the UK and EU markets and This Year 450 the strong kiwi dollar is also hampering trade. Export 350 lamb prices in the South Island netted $7.58/kg last week 250 with prices holding firm on the previous week. There is a 150 shortage of export quality lambs coming forward for May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct slaughter with current weekly kill rates dropping 16% week on week. Numbers are now 24% behind the 5yr average. This is likely to keep prices firm but if the dollar keeps lifting it Currency Watch could be enough to see some easing in prices in the coming weeks. Last 2 Wks 4 Wks vs. NZ Dollar Lamb kill tops 17 million head Week Ago Ago To date, the New Zealand lamb kill stands at just over 17 million lambs, US dollar 0.860 0.842 0.814 over 2M head less than for the same period last season. However when Euro 0.598 0.595 0.571 compared to the 5 year average, the current supply shortage of lambs UK pound 0.528 0.521 0.508 becomes a lot clearer. Typically by this point in the season, New Zealand Aus dollar 0.794 0.785 0.773 has slaughtered over 22M lambs. Based on the current flow of lambs into Japan yen 67.61 66.64 65.48 the processing plants, the total lamb kill for this season will fall well short Euro of last season’s tally of 20.9M lambs.

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Prev. 2 Last Year Wks

POWER

Lamb

Change

Indicators in NZ$

WHEY

Beef prices knocked by strong dollar Export cattle prices across the country took a hit last week with the high dollar affecting overseas returns. Operating prices in the North Island weakened across the board with some meat companies paying 15c/kg less than previous weeks. On average 300kg cwt bull weakened 10c/kg to $4.02/kg with 300kg cwt steer also slipping 10c/kg to $4.12/kg. The wet and cold conditions in some parts of the North Island will make it tough for some farmers to take cattle through to killable weights, which may increase slaughter rates in the next few weeks. In the South Island 300kg cwt bull prices dropped 5c/kg to $4.10/kg and 300kg cwt steer prices eased to $4.35/kg. South Island slaughter rates are falling week on week though the reduced supplies have not been enough to offset the affects of the dollar. US imported beef market firmer A drop in the availability of imported beef has caused US end users to lift their game in recent weeks. US 95CL bull prices have firmed to US$1.95/lb. However imported lean manufacturing beef is now trading at a premium to US domestic beef, signalling there may not be too much more upside to prices going forward. Beef exports soften New Zealand beef exports are following normal seasonal patterns with June tallies easing on May levels. This is mainly the result of tighter beef supplies coming forward for kill through June but is also the consequence of a drop off in overseas demand seen in the later half of the month. June exports totalled 39,000 tonnes down 21% on May levels and 8% lower than a year ago. US demand for imported product softened through June as their domestic supplies lifted. As a result New Zealand only exported 15,000t to this market in June.

Dairy Price Watch


Rural News // August 2, 2011

22 opinion editorial

edna

GIAs, beer and bullying FOR ALL MAF’s assurances (see p6), Horticulture New Zealand, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Federated Farmers are right to remain concerned about the Government Industry Agreement aspect of the Biosecurity Law Reform Bill. MAF director readiness and response David Hayes says workshops “will identify beneficiaries and relative cost shares for priority pests such as foot and mouth disease” (FMD). Keeping out FMD benefits the entire economy, so the suggestion our livestock industry should meet any more of that bill than it already does through general tax is preposterous. As for cost sharing in the event of an FMD incursion, doesn’t he think lost export markets and stock will hit farmers and their processors hard enough? Frankly the whole cost-sharing concept is suspect. MAF should be engaging with sector representatives about biosecurity priorities, preparedness and response, regardless of whether a sector is willing or able to commit financially to those measures. On a slightly lighter note, do you know what a radler is? If you’ve been paying attention to mainstream media news recently, no doubt you do, but did you before the DB Breweries’ trademark on the term was challenged by the Society Of Beer Advocates? Unless you’ve spent a bit of time in southern Germany or Austria, probably not. So for DB Breweries to have been granted a trademark on the term for one of its Monteith’s brews, and to defend the use of that trademark when others wanted to use it, seems reasonable. However, Fonterra attempting to prevent cheesemakers using the term vintage seems harder to justify, even if the cooperative, and its predecessors, have had it trademarked for 45 years, as TV One reported last week. Vintage may have been a novel term with regard to food in New Zealand in the 1960s, but it certainly isn’t now. As a trademark holder you would need to make a judgement call on what the fallout from defending that trademark will be, especially if you’re the country’s largest company. The television report smacked of big brother bullying the little guy. The fact no-one from Fonterra fronted made it worse. Any positive PR the cooperative’s announcement earlier in the week about dropping butter and cheese prices might have generated was more than undone. OK, on the San Lu scale of bad looks, this is a mere pimple, but there’s still some way to go with getting the whole cooperative rowing in the right direction when it comes to getting the public onside with our biggest dairy company.

Rural NEWS Head office Postal address: PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 Publisher: Brian Hight...................................................... Ph 09 307 0399 General Manager: Adam Fricker.................................................... Ph 09 913 9632 Editor: Andrew Swallow............................................. Ph 03 688 2080 editor@ruralnews.co.nz................................... Ph 021 745 183

“I got the mob off the tops Edna!”

the hound

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

Opuha all clear

Winter wonderland

SURPRISE, SURPRISE – NOT. Nothing untoward, says Environment Canterbury, commenting on a study it commissioned to look at water quality of Lake Opuha after media reports that chemicals were buried beneath it prior to construction. The question is, what has this cost ECan, and indirectly, ratepayers in Canterbury? If I were them, I’d be demanding the complainant and their rural media partner cough up, particularly as the reporter involved failed to declare what appears to have been clear conflict of interest.

WATCHING THE television beat-up of the wintry weather at the beginning of last week, widely reported as the worst in decades, prompted your old mate to muse that maybe it was the best snow in decades. It was forecast days in advance, came at a time of year when we expect snow, stock were in good condition and it didn’t hang about too long. The only bad thing was Christchurch’s quake-struck homes were in the thick of it, but even there, I’ll bet the kids weren’t complaining.

Parity punt anyone? HOW HIGH can our dollar go? With the way things are in the old-guard, debtracked economies of Europe and the US, your old mate wouldn’t bet against Kiwi-Greenback parity before too long. It’s enough to make me pull out the passport and jump on a jet for my hols. Then again, the inevitable impact on our export receipts is going to come home to roost sooner or later, so when it warms up a bit, maybe I’ll just book in as usual for a week at my mucker’s bach.

Flagging issue WITH A Rugby World Cup just round the corner, it’s bound to come up again sooner or later, so let’s revisit it here first: the New Zealand flag. Why don’t we adopt the silver fern? After all, it’s the flag most people elsewhere in the world recognise as being New Zealand’s. Show them the real one and nine out of ten foreigners will tell you it’s Australian. Our politicians are forging ever closer ties across the ditch, and that’s fine, but we do need to retain our identity. As it is, our current colours are just a couple of stars away from becoming Australia’s seventh state.

Election ennui already? JUDGING BY the newspapers recently, including one or two rural rags, you’d think the election was only weeks away, not nearly four months. Haven’t they got anything better to write about? Sure, it’s important, but so is much of the parliamentary business that needs to be done before Nov 26. Little wonder there are concerns about voter turnout; by the time the ballot boxes go out we’ll all be thoroughly bored.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

opinion 23

Carrots better than sticks “How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb has to really want to change.” With apologies to psychologists, the above (listed on Google as the greatest psychology joke ever told) makes the point that changing behaviour isn’t a matter of telling somebody what to do, but of enabling them to see a better future, thereby creating the will to change. Working on the positives, with encouragement and assistance, empowers individuals and builds confidence. The alternative,

punishing and regulating, builds resistance and the feeling of powerlessness that results in inaction. Recent media reports suggesting farmers are not taking advantage of new technologies have ignored what we know about psychology. Encouraging and rewarding good behaviour is more likely to result in a desired outcome than pointing fingers at what are perceived to be the bottom performers. And the evidence is that agriculture as a whole is adopting new technologies. Statistics New Zealand

ag twits Rural News’ irreverent and hypothetical look at what’s happening in the farming world Top Bleats view all henryfonterra@tspieringsfonterra: Welkomst Theo. You’re just what this company needs at the helm – a no-nonsense, hardnosed Dutchman running the cutter. tspieringsfonterra@henryfonterra: Dank u, mijnheer voorzitter. U wijs en geweldige man. (Thank you Mr Chair. You wise and wonderful man.) aferrierfonterra@henryfonterra: Hey Henry, don’t forget about me, regards Andrew.

henryfonterra@aferrierfonterra: I won’t. Make sure your office is cleared and you are out of the building by September 9 – or I’ll have security throw you out! philgofflabourleader: Just a quick reminder to all you tax-evading, ETS-bludging, environment-destroying farmers vote Labour in November and get lots more tax and Russel Norman as Finance Minister! bwillsfedfarmers@philgofflabourleader: Phil, farmers look forward to the prospect of a Labour-led Government later this year about as much as you do hearing about your caucus hosting BBQs without you! mpetersenbeef+lamb: Red meat levy-funded organisation publishes a report early in year and then lamb prices soar. No co-relation, but we’ll take the credit and farmers levies.

More GHG research on organic emissions Further to my previous letter (Rural News, July 19) regarding Professor Jaqueline Rowarth’s opinion piece on methane as a greenhouse gas, my personal opinion is that further research into the benefits and reduction of GHG emissions due the the adoption of organic and biological management practices is much needed. Some has been done clearly demonstrating benefits to water quality run off and other emmissions from both animals and farm, and huge carbon sequestration in soil due to the adoption of organic and biological methods. I am at a loss to know why New Zealand is not persuing this research. Cedric Backhouse, Rongotea

scientifically speaking jacqueline rowarth

productivity data shows agriculture is one of only three sectors (the other

two are communications, and finance and insurance) which have grown year-on-year since 1978, including through the economic downturn, in labour productivity and multifactor productivity. Productivity growth is a major factor in standard of living in the long term. It indicates that a nation

is able to produce more output from available input over time. Multifactor productivity measures how effectively existing resources (the main components being human and capital) are used to produce goods and services. The fact agriculture has grown indicates new technologies are being

adopted. Agriculture, enabled by New Zealand farmers, is a star performer. The question of why more technologies aren’t being adopted by more farmers can be answered with reference to the light bulb: the perceived rewards are not sufficiently great to warrant a

change. Change increases potential risk. It costs money, time and energy. All four factors have been identified as being barriers to adoption of new technologies. Speaking at the AgHort Outlook Summit in Wellington at the end of July, to page 25


Rural News // August 2, 2011

24 opinion

Who’s greenwashing who? EVER HEARD of greenwash? It means misleading consumers about the environmental practice of a company and/or the benefit of its product or service. Accusations of greenwashing usually come from environmentalists, criticising companies, organisations and even countries for not living up to the expectations of

STREAMLINE Oat Roller Crusher Senior All Grain Roller Crusher

these self-appointed green guardians’. Often, agriculture is the subject of such sanctimonious lectures from the Green Party, Greenpeace, Soil & Health NZ – or some other ecological do-gooder group – accusing it of unleashing environmental damage on land, water system and/or animals. Regularly these groups call for whole-

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sale conversion to organics, claiming only this can save the country – environmentally and economically. So to learn that certain types of agriculture, such as organics, are not all that environmentally friendly and/or economically sensible, brings a sense of schadenfreude. An Australian Farm Institute conference

STREAMLINE Hayway Chaff Cutter

heard how relieving world hunger and ensuring food security are inextricably linked to adoption of new farming technology. United Nations figures show the world’s population has been increasing by 78 million/year and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, requiring a 70% increase in food production from today’s levels. Roger Cady, Elanco’s sustainability leader, says this will have to come from new technology due to limitations in land and natural resource availability. He says consumers have been swayed into organics by impressions and intuition without considering the science, productive efficiency and environmental impact per unit of output. “Intensive agriculture is actually significantly more sustainable than most people are aware,” says Cady. “Today’s technology-aided, intensive agriculture is far more environmentally sustainable than historical agriculture because fewer resources, less water and less land are used with less greenhouse gas produced

per unit of food grown than by historical farming methods.” Meanwhile, Brett Stuart, of US agricultural analysis company Global

AgriTrends, told the conference most consumers do not understand the social implications of perceived “socially-responsible” purchasing. “Organic, locally grown, free range and other anti-technology production methods typically increase the use of water and feed resources, and can lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions.” He says it is actually “socially irresponsible” to impose choice restrictions on producers which then lead to higher food costs, felt mainly in the ‘developing world’. “Utilising technology effectively will mean that while we need to double agricultural production by 2050, we will only occupy

13% more land to do this than was used in 2008.” Australian agriculture and science author Julian Cribb says mankind faces its greatest challenge with world demand for food doubling in 40 years or so. This growing demand comes as the scarcity of land and water available for growing food intensifies. In 2010, DuPont assembled an external committee, chaired by former US Senator Tom Daschle, to examine the best public policy and business practices to tackle the global challenge to increase agriculture productivity in a sustainable manner. Its three key recommendations were: • Produce more food and increase the nutritional value of food – unleashing innovation and ensuring farmers have access to the tools they need will be essential. • Make food accessible and affordable for everyone – barriers to moving food, such as infrastructure and government policies, must be removed. • Address the challenge in a continuously more sustainable and comprehen-

sive way – continuously improving agricultural products and practices to address natural resource needs. With the world’s population growth showing no signs of abating, the everincreasing demand for food makes it even more important for farmers to produce more from less. Those pushing organic barrows won’t want to admit it, but the food production increase needed to feed the world’s growing population cannot, and will not, come from organic systems. Footnote: In response to my column in Rural News July 5, on the need for a pan-agricultural sector group, James Horban, of Culverden, says a group – tentatively called Farming For Our Future (FFOF) – is already doing this job. Mr Horban may believe FFOF is filling this void, but I question how an organisation few people know about and lacking a website presence could make any such claim. I applaud the people behind FFOF for taking the initiative, but suggest they need to publicise it better – and more widely – if it is ever going to be anything more than an idea.

Product list points to genetic solution?

Director Positions x 2 Animal Health Board The Animal Health Board’s (AHB) mission is to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) from New Zealand in order to protect farmers’ businesses and New Zealand’s access to export markets for dairy, beef and deer products. The AHB was formed specifically for this purpose and is legally responsible for managing and implementing the National Pest Management Strategy for bovine TB. The AHB is a non-profit making incorporated society, made up of representatives from the farming sector, central and local government. Two directors are retiring by rotation and the AHB is seeking two directors for its Board of Directors for a three-year term. Applications are sought from individuals who have the ability and willingness to make a substantial commitment to the Board. Proven high level governance skills and experience are essential. Relevant primary sector experience would be valuable. Commercial, food industry or experience managing national insurance risk issues would be beneficial. Applications close 5pm, 22 August 2011. Please contact David Burt for an application pack and mail your completed application to: David Burt, Federated Farmers of New Zealand PO Box 715, Wellington 6140 Phone: 04 494 9182 Fax: 04 473 1081 Email: dburt@fedfarm.org.nz For more information regarding the AHB, please visit www.tbfree.org.nz

You really have to wonder about the state of sheep health when you see the list of sheep internal parasite treatments 2011 (July 19 Rural News) which are on the market – presumably to increase sheep profits. You have to ask why on earth do we need 64 different products, from seven companies with mind-boggling differences in active ingredients, ingredient dose rate, formulated dose rate and withholding periods – even up to 128 days! But these horrendous tables show one clear thing – that the only long-term sustainable solution for internal parasites is through genetics and the survival of the fittest, like farmers used to solve Facial Eczema. This will

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at least start to cut down this burgeoning chemotherapy. Many sheep farmers are well down this track. Of course, I don’t expect international pharmaceutical companies and veterinarians to agree with me. Genetic solutions don’t make them money, so why don’t they offer free dagging and drenching services with their products, instead of iPods and golf clubs? Clive Dalton Hamilton

Write and Win! Got a gripe? Want to air an issue? Rural News welcomes your letters on all matters affecting farming and/ or the rural community. To boot, Skellerup has thrown in a pair of classic Redbands for one lucky letter writer every issue. So pull out the pen or keyboard and write, e-mail or fax The Editor.

The winner of this issue’s Redbands is Clive Dalton, Hamilton. Send to: Letter to the Editor PO Box 3855, Auckland 1140. Email: editor@ruralnews.co.nz. fax: 09-307 0122 Correspondence should be brief and to the point. Rural News reserves the right to edit letters as necessary. Please supply name and locality for publication, plus contact details in case of need for clarification.

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NICKY EADE management 25 Rural News // August 2, 2011

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Better than sticks from page 23

various Government ministers and industry leaders acknowledged the large amount of debt in the agricultural sector. This debt is part of the reason for current conservative behaviour, and until the income stream stabilises in the black, risk will be avoided. In Europe, part of the risk in adopting and implementing new technologies is offset by the farm subsidy. The subsidy-free New Zealand farmer believes a new technology should pay for itself by making a difference to the bottom line, but trusting the promises is an issue. There are a huge number of technology transfer experts, information outlets and farmer-based activities available as part of the service of private companies, levy bodies and government agencies. Gaining business by adding value is becoming increasingly difficult and conflicting messages are resulting in confusion. The farmers perceive vested interest and want to know about the research behind any recommended change. Indeed, many farmers feel they are being asked to do the final testing and take the risk themselves as they develop farming systems based on new technologies. The top 10% of farmers are clearly doing the adoption and development successfully, and their neighbours are benefitting. Landcorp also plays a role in implementing technologies, and with its range of farms across the country, is ideally placed to be a ripple generator. Ripples take a while to spread, but change does happen when it is appropriate. Statistics NZ data support the fact that agriculture is changing for the better. With encouragement, assistance and on-farm research proving the bottom line advantage, the change will occur more quickly – because the farmers will see the benefits. • Jacqueline Rowarth is Professor of Pastoral Agriculture, Massey University

HB weather bomb rebuild VIVIENNE H ALDANE

THE APRIL storm blew farm manager Nigel Bicknell’s carefully laid out system to pieces and he had to adopt a new approach to steer Landcorp’s Te Apiti Station, literally, out of the mud. As one of the worst hit farms along the coastal strip between Ocean Beach and Blackhead Beach in Hawkes Bay, the 2000ha property took a hammering and is likely to take years to fully recover. Days of rain and, in the middle of it, a magnitude 4.5 earthquake, turned what was shaping up as a benign autumn into a mud bath. Hills crumbled and slithered into creeks, a muddy lahar unleashed itself and ended up in a paddock near the Bicknell’s house. Bicknell’s family – wife Connie and three of their four children aged

between 4 and 15 – were choppered out to safety and are still living in rented quarters at nearby Kairakau Beach. Eldest son Jordan stayed with his father to lend a hand. In the weeks that followed Bicknell focused on a plan of action. On paper it sounded simple: excess stock off, re-tracking, fences up, water supplies checked, then carry on farming as best they could. “It was hard to drive past a heap of mess and not be able to deal with it at that moment. We had to stay on task and stay focused. The priority was to get the tracks open and the gear to where we needed it.” One of the first things he did was to go up in the chopper to have a look at the lay of the land and see where his stock were. “I was worried about them, but when I saw

Bobby boom needs addressing CALVING HAS begun for New Zealand’s four million dairy cows, and with it the annual bobby calf campaign. According to Waitomo News, July 12, Crusader Meats at Benneydale in the King Country has added bobby calves to its traditional processing of sheep, goats and venison to keep its staff working. Surely more profit could be made for all concerned if older cattle were processed? The white-gold rush is focused on whatever

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of the law? A bobby calf going to slaughter is a newborn animal, taken from its mother, penned and trucked many kilometres to be yarded awaiting the killing chain. Like its mother, the newborn bobby calf experiences an abnormal and therefore stressful environment. Then the question has to be asked, is it ethical to produce such vast numbers of living, sentient ‘by-products?’ In the rush to convert to dairy farming, no thought appears to

have been given to this disturbing issue. As an industry leader, what does Fonterra have to say about this matter? Did no one in management ask, “Have we worked out what to do with surplus calves?” It is already too late for the hundreds of thousands of bobby calves born this spring but it is not too late for thoughtful, ethical consideration of this issue by the stakeholders in the dairy and meat industries. Wendy Ward, Taumarunui

11

TIME IS I RUNNING OUT FOR EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME EXEMPTIONS EMISS If you own less than 50ha of pre-1990 forest land, and wish to be exempt from the Emissions Trading Scheme, the deadline is fast approaching. It does take time to prepare your application, so get in before 30 September. It’s worth your while. For information on allocations and exemptions for pre-1990 forest, visit www.maf.govt.nz/forestry-allocation, call 0800 CLIMATE (254 628), or email climatechange@maf.govt.nz

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knew then I could get back and attack other things.” The next step was to sell off trading stock and send replacement hoggets to another Landcorp block. “That meant we had no young stock left that we had to deal with and could concentrate on our capital stock. In total, we chopped 25% of our stock units” Cattle purchases were halted as well. “Our ewes are the queen of the operation and where we make our money. We have a flexible policy of cattle purchasing; we stock to the conditions and if we don’t have a great autumn, we don’t buy as many.” Scanning percentages were about 148% which is 18-20% less than usual. Bicknell runs a well developed system of small

Landcorp’s Te Apiti Station manager, Nigel Bicknell.

mobs of sheep that can be easily and quickly moved. All that went out the window. Now stock are located in larger paddocks

in big mobs. “That’s taking a whole lot of getting used to. I’m a fan of rotational grazing to page 27

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

management 27

HB weather bomb rebuild from one point to another and used the smaller, four stand shed near Waimarama. We shore twice a week for a month to get them all done.” An environmental plan in conjunction with Hawkes Bay Regional Council has been stepped up on the farm, as a result of the storm damage. Planting of radiata pines and willow poles to control erosion was well underway anyway. The plan to retire 300ha of land on which radiata pine will be planted, has now increased to 630ha. Hydro-seeding of manuka onto slipped areas is being considered, initially as a small scale operation to see how it goes. “If we can ecosource the seed that would be beneficial, but it’s a long term plan and meantime there are other • Te Apiti Station is run as two farms: steep hill and ‘downy’ priorities.” finishing country. Having been through • Wintering 6200 ewes (down from 7000) and 1500-1800 hoggets. severe floods in Tinui • Breed: Landcorp in-house stud: Waihora/Romney cross. in the Wairarapa, when he was starting out as a • All terminal sire, with Texel over them. shepherd, Bicknell said he • Cattle: 700 (down from 1000) bought in autumn and held never expected “lightning to until spring or as pasture dictates. hit twice” but adds, “I’m a pos• Environmental plan with Hawkes Bay Regional Council. itive person; a challenge is a challenge, it’s just another day.” from page 25

and now mobs are spread out and it makes the job of ration feeding much more challenging.” Having a team of capable employees, including a stock manager, two permanent and one casual farm workers, plus fencing and machinery contractors and a builder, makes the recovery job at Te Apiti, easier. “I’ve got good staff who are a big help; they’ve taken on a lot of responsibility, so I can focus on other tasks. “We’re lucky the weather has been kind to us following the storm. The whole farm has been re-tracked in

just two months and there’ll be more to do in summer. “The plan for fencing is: if it looks like it’s going to go again a temporary fence is put in and if it can hold a fence, we do it properly. A lot of the slips haven’t finished moving yet.” Roads at both ends of Te Apiti Station were closed due to slips but the Hastings Council had the northern end open after a week and trucks began to transport stock and bring materials in. Having a wool shed at either end of the property proved useful.”We simply changed our operation around

Te Apiti Station

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WITH LAMBING just round the corner, making sure ewes are getting enough feed should be your number one priority, says a vet and farm consultant. “Once you get into those last few weeks before lambing, the way that you feed ewes with multiple lambs will totally determine the profit they can create,” says Totally Vets’ Trevor Cook. Nothing else should come before ensuring multiple lamb-carrying ewes have adequate quantity, and quality, of feed, he stresses. Feeding ewes before lambing is a higher priority than feeding them after they lamb, he adds. As for the theory that ewes should be starved in their last few weeks of pregnancy to make it easier for them

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to drop their lambs, that’s out of date. “In the days when we had the luxury of under stocking and over feeding, maybe. But in today’s world when we are trying to get as much out from the land as we can, no way.”

Cook says in the past there’s been a tendency to focus a lot on the pasture covers ewes will lamb into. But now it is recognised ewes need to eat much more coming into lambing than when they actually lamb.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is running meetings near you where you can catch up with your local Director. Come along and hear about the Red Meat Sector Strategy. Give us your view on the Strategy and the part we play with levy-funded activities.

Visit www.beeflambnz.com, freephone 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) or email enquiries@beeflambnz.com to find the meeting nearest you.


Rural News // August 2, 2011

28 management

No-tillage facts and fallacies NEW ZEALAND was probably the first country in the world to sow seeds without cultivation. Massey University’s George Robinson and the late Mervyn Cross in the early 1950s began ‘overdrilling’ grasses into clover-dominant bush-burn in the North Island Central Plateau. In the 1960s, instantly

deactivated herbicides Paraquat and Roundup made no-tillage more practical on a wider scale and launched no-tillage as a genuine substitute for conventional cultivate-and-sow approaches in every country of the world. Environmentalists, soil biologists and soil conservators were quick to

tackling tillage john baker

discover the virtues of notillage and demonstrate the cumulative destructive effects of tillage. They

came to realise that as effective as the mouldboard plough had been in transforming unproductive prairies into ‘food baskets’, it was never going to be sustainable. In fact, the mouldboard plough had done little more than enable man to mine the biological resources of the soil that the prairies had built up over centuries.

Not surprisingly, in such situations crop yields have declined over time and required ever-increasing inputs of fertiliser and genetic improvement to keep feeding us all. At the time, few people realised the dust bowls of the 1930s were caused by repeated tillage removing almost all the organic matter from soil, leaving it little better

than talcum powder. If this all sounds like yet another scare scenario it is not meant to be. Unlike ‘climate change’, no theoretical modelling is necessary to realise that the world’s population is going to increase by 50% by 2050, and will require 50% more food from the 7% of the world’s surface that is arable land. Finding a way to feed so many mouths from the same amount of soil, is arguably a more acute issue, and one that man can indeed influence, rather than endlessly debating whether man can or cannot influence climate. No-tillage holds an important key to making world food production

no-tillage. The only zone with similar living standards to New Zealand but which has adopted less no-tillage, is Europe, which has yet to get past the less demanding, and less sustainable, practice of ‘minimum tillage’ in its quest to make food production secure. Perhaps the reason for New Zealand’s relatively low adoption rate is that we have the world’s widest range of no-tillage drill designs for farmers to choose from – from simple, inexpensive models to the ultimate in sophistication. Even though all no-tillage in New Zealand – even with the most expensive

Sustainable practice? Experience elsewhere in the world suggests perhaps not.

sustainable for the first time in history. It has already been called ‘The Silent Revolution’. In New Zealand it is used to establish pastures, forage crops and arable crops in about equal measure. In most other countries, the emphasis is strongly on arable crops alone. According to the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, in 2009 in New Zealand 17.4% of all seeding was no-tillage. That compares with 25.9% for Canada, 26.9% for Australia, 38.3% for Brazil, 47.4% for Uruguay, 58.8% for Argentina, but 15.3% in USA. And yet New Zealand is home to some of the most capable no-tillage drill designs in the world. New Zealand prides itself on exporting its agricultural expertise to most of the above countries, but apparently not when it comes to the adoption of

drills – is much cheaper than tillage, the risk of reduced yield or complete crop failure during no-tillage is drill-specific. Not all pasture and crop failures can be attributed to drill design – poor weed and pest control are also factors – but the mode of fertiliser application is a drill-design issue and whether it is sown down the spout or broadcast can make or break the economic benefits of notillage. Short term the benefits of no-tillage mainly centre on timeliness and reduced costs. Longer term benefits stem from improving soil health and sustainability, in turn increasing crop yield, and cutting erosion, weeds and pests. Tillage is of no longterm benefit to soil other than smoothing the surface: it seldom does anything good beneath.


Rural News // August 2, 2011

animal health 29

Survey reveals Brandenburg impact MARY W I TSEY

ONE THIRD of Southland sheep farmers who responded to a Salmonella Brandenburg survey say their stock were hit last season by the infectious disease. The preliminary results of the VetSouth Southland Salmonella Brandenburg survey show the severe impact the disease is having in the region, say local vets. Fifty five Southland sheep farmers responded to the survey, full results of which will be formally presented later this month at VetSouth sheep and beef seminars. Of the respondents, 21 say their flocks experienced abortions last season, with 16 directly attributing those losses to Salmonella Brandenburg. One of the survey coordinators, VetSouth Gore vet Rebecca Vallis, says one survey respondent lost 200 ewes, another 120. “That’s not including the lambs also aborted – they are big numbers.”

She says the disease is a huge issue in the region and very frustrating for farmers. The survey aims to quantify its impact and gauge how it’s being dealt with, and • Vaccination share further information • Avoid yarding stock for long on minimising its effects. • Limit transport time But it’s not about coming up with a cure, says Vallis. • Maintain good nutrition “It’s given us some useful • Reduce grazing density information on the disease and how farmers have been • Don’t allow dogs to push affected. stock hard. “It could also give us more information to work with on how individual farmers have been managing improve flock immunity to Salmonella. This is ideally carried out ahead of the the disease on their farms.” Part of the difficulty in understand- individual farmers’ risk period.” Vaccination with Schering Plough’s ing Brandenburg is that it is only experienced at significant levels in Southland, Salvexin + B is an option. All breedso only a small percentage of the ing stock are vaccinated twice initially, national flock is affected and research doses being given at 4-6 week intervals, funding is consequently limited. About the second dose about four weeks prior half of seriously affected sheep die; July- to the main challenge period. Although not 100% effective, it will September is the high risk period. “Vaccination is the best way to reduce abortions, ewe deaths and envi-

Tips to minimise Brandenburg risk

Vaccinate for salmonella Brandenburg before the risk period says VetSouths’s Rebecca Vallis.

ronmental contamination with the Brandenburg organism, hence reducing the risk of spread to other properties. Reducing stress on stock also reduces the disease’s impact. With Southland having been hit hard over the past couple of seasons, Vallis hopes that the peak incidence of what is typically a cyclical disease has been seen, and a decline will happen soon. S. Brandenburg also has the potential

to infect humans, causing a debilitating illness, so strict hygiene measures are recommended to reduce the chances of human infection in case of an outbreak. There were 10 notifications of Salmonella Brandenburg in humans in Southland in August-September last year. Southern District Health Board says at least some of those cases were associated with outbreaks on sheep farms.


Rural News // August 2, 2011

30 animal health

Vets armed with The BVD steering committee last week held the last of 15 vets’ roadshows launching its new BVD Management Toolkit. Andrew Swallow reports.

Test any keeper calves to check they are not PIs.

BOVINE VIRAL diarrhoea: you’d think the name says it all, but it doesn’t. The Pestivirus which causes BVD is behind many more ailments in our dairy and beef herds than just scours.

“Diarrhoea is just one facet of the disease,” says LIC research vet and BVD steering committee member Hinrich Voges. “In fact, it’s almost a misnomer. It suppresses the

HI MINERAL COMBINATION SHEEP CAPSULES

animal’s entire immune system.” More mastitis, lameness, ill-thrift and poor conception are among its many effects. Such is the seriousness of the disease that overseas several countries are aiming at national eradication, and a few, notably those in Scandinavia, have already achieved it. However, here in New Zealand we’re still a long way from that ultimate goal, says Voges. “There are enough people saying we need that, but it would be a big step. It would have to involve all dairy and beef farms, and all the smallholdings that maybe take a scruffy calf as a pet. It would need buy-in from every sector.” In the meantime, achieving a consistent approach to the disease

by vets is the goal, hence this winter’s round of 15 roadshows – 11 dairy and four beef – to launch the BVD Management Toolkit. Voges says about 370 vets attended, over a third of the large animal vets practising in New Zealand. “Most practices have sent somebody.” All attendees left armed with a BVD Management Toolkit, detailing a four step process to tackling the disease. On dairy farms the process is: define, assess, action, monitor (DAAM). On beef farms the first two steps are switched (ADAM), reflecting the fact the define step is a little more involved, hence assessing the herd’s biosecurity status and consequent BVD risk is a more rational first step. Risk factors – for both beef and dairy – include

Estimating BVD losses

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The multiple effects of BVD make it a particularly hard disease to cost, but plugging the 2010/11 payout into previous calculation models puts it at about $137m/year in dairy. That estimate accounts for production and abortions attributable to the disease, but not for any calf losses. Similarly in beef, it’s estimated to cost about $3000/year/100 cows due to increased empty rates. “If you were able to quantify the calf [reduced growth rate] costs I wouldn’t be surprised if it was much higher,” says Weir. About 60% of beef herds are currently infected, compared to 15-20% of dairy, though antibody tests of bulk milk samples show many more herds have been exposed in the past (see table). Weir is close to completing a Dairy NZ-funded doctorate study to build a new model of the economic impact of BVD and the effectiveness of control measures.


Rural News // August 2, 2011

animal health 31

new BVD toolkits LIC survey of bulk milk test results from 2500 herds nationwide during 2010/11. Northland and Canterbury had the most herds with high results; Taranaki and the South Island west coast the lowest.

NZ Dairy herd incidence of BVD S/P ratio

% of herds

>1.0

28

0.75-1

25

0.5-0.75

21

0.25-0.5

18

0-0.25

9

bought-in cattle, particularly pregnant cows; grazing cattle off farm; opportunities for noseto-nose contact with neighbours’ herds; stock, fertiliser and other trucks or other potential virus carriers, including people, coming onto the farm. As for the ‘define’, a bulk milk test gives a relatively inexpensive overall view of a dairy herd’s exposure to BVD. Results are expressed as an S/P ratio; over 0.75 indicates recent exposure to the virus; under 0.75 means the herd has probably been virus free for the past few years. While the low result is good news in that production losses are minimal, it also means the herd is vulnerable to infection, and will be hit hard if there is an outbreak. “These are the herds you need to focus on to make sure they don’t have an outbreak. It would have a massive impact if you brought in an infected bull for example.” For beef herds, defining exposure means taking blood or ear notch samples from a randomly selected mob of 15 cattle of

the same age in the herd. The mob must be over 10 months old so any immunity conferred from colostrum has lapsed. An S/P result less than 0.17 suggests the mob has never been exposed to BVD; 0.17 to 0.75 indicates exposure in the past, but little likelihood of current infection; over 0.75 indi-

proximity to infected herds, vaccination or lack of it, and off farm grazing of replacements and cows, particularly in early pregnancy. Infection in early pregnancy is a particular problem as the calf, if it survives, will become a ‘PI’ – persistent infector . Such animals never overcome the disease, and while they are usually sickly and/or low producers, some do make it into herds and survive to old age, shedding “vast amounts of virus through

every orifice,” says Voges. Consequently, a herd with a PI or PIs present will always have a high S/P ratio and some degree of reduced production, in dairy herds through increased empties, mastitis, lameness and other ailments which the BVD virus renders cows susceptible to; in beef herds through low conception rates and poor growth. “In order to control BVD you really need to control the PIs,” stresses Andrew Weir, Eltham District Veterinary Ser-

BVD biosecurity

vices, Taranaki, and fellow BVD steering committee member. “If you deal with the PIs in the vast majority of cases you’ll deal with the problem.” Identifying PIs means screening all cattle, but in a dairy herd targeting low producers, younger cows and problem cows with recurrent mastitis, and/or ill-thrift and low BCS, will increase the hit rate and minimise the cost. Keeper calves should be tested, as should bulls. Weir and Voges say bull

• Closed herd or tested diseasefree imports. • Tested disease-free bulls or all AI. • Test replacements. • Prevent nose-to-nose contact at boundaries – use outriggers, hot-wires or double-fences. • Check infection risks if grazing off. • Beware risk of trucks and people importing infected material (mucous / faeces) – minimise and clean. buyers should insist on seeing a vet certificate showing the bull to be BVD-free, but they need to give reasonable warning

of that. “We need to be telling the bull guys to get the bulls certified now because that’s what we’re going to

SMARTER, FASTER, STRONGER!

Andrew Weir

cates either current infection or recent exposure to the virus. Assess, for both beef and dairy, means evaluating where the infection is coming from if tests show antibodies are present, or the risk of it being reintroduced in the case of a low S/P result. Risk factors include introduction of infected or non-tested animals (calves, cows or bulls),

be needing.”

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

32 animal health

Probiotic positives presented in US ADDING A probiotic to calf milk can boost production of the adult animal by 12%, research by Massey University has shown. The work was recently presented to the American Dairy Science Association

in New Orleans by Massey major leader of animal science Dr Jean Margerison. Controlled research studies on 40 calves given the marine and land plant extract product Queen of Calves in their milk resulted in a 12% or 49kg

increase in milk solids in their first lactation. Meanwhile on-farm survey data involving 6900 cows over two lactation cycles found some farms using the product increased milk production by as much as 18%.

Margerison says the product enhances the nutritional value of milk fed to the calf, increasing energy released from the milk diet, reducing the risk of fat deposition, and promoting calf growth during the early milk feed-

Massey researcher Jean Margerison

ing phase. It costs $60 more pre calf reared than traditional feeding methods. Margerison has done

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almost five years research into the product, studying 120 calves for over three years of rearing and two lactations. Her studies compared calves raised on a diet of whole milk with unlimited access to hard feed and

of age. Calves reared on it required 9% less whole milk to reach target weight and required 16% less pellet feed to achieve target weight. Queen of Calves is one of the only products of its type in New Zealand to

Heifers reared with it should achieve higher levels of mature weight at mating and entry to the dairy herd. straw with those raised on an identical diet, plus Queen of Calves, which was added to the milk every day from day 19 until weaning. The Massey research found Queen of Calves increased daily growth rates by more than 10%, reduced time to weaning by about eight days and produced significantly bigger calves at 12 weeks

have undergone extended research to prove its production outputs. Margerison says heifers reared with it should achieve higher levels of mature weight at mating and entry to the dairy herd, which can reduce herd management costs by reducing the likelihood of lameness and improving the chances of conception.

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PASTURE PARASITE guru Trevor Cook, of Totally Vets, Feilding – and Wormwise – is off to Argentina to contribute to discussion on world-leading worm management. Cook says he’ll be the only practicing vet from New Zealand at the World Veterinary Parasitology conference, Aug 21-25, in Buenos Aires. “I’ve been to these conferences several times before and I’ve come away every time enriched in the knowledge I’ve acquired and the networks I’ve established. “I don’t know that a lot coming out of such conferences is directly applicable to my own farmer clients, but I can use that knowledge and experience to influence at other levels of the industry.” Cook says from a technology point of view New Zealand sits way ahead of the rest of world. “What’s interesting to me is the reason we’re so successful is the close link between our science and our middle extension people and farmers. Nowhere else in the world does that link exist. “I know the rest of the world hankers for how we do it and I don’t quite know how we export that sort of expertise or technology. I don’t even think the Australians have got it to the same extent we have.” Being a small country helps. And a key is no societal or hierarchical barriers impeding the flow of information from scientists to extension people and farmers. “Without question we’ve improved our technology transfer and we can measure the outcomes from that technology transfer quite readily in dairy and in sheep and beef. But there are huge opportunities to do that better and there’s some evidence over recent times that we haven’t done so well.” Cook is keen to use the conference to gauge where New Zealand stands globally in technology, products and market requirements.


Rural News // August 2, 2011

machinery & products 33

Liquid fertiliser turns out simple LIQUID FERTILISER

spraying has been replaced by granular fertiliser spreading on Shaun Ross’s dairy farm at Tutira, Hawkes Bay. The 170ha rolling farm runs 370 cows. Sprayer maker Hustler Equipment says Ross hasn’t looked back since making the change in mid-summer, after researching the idea for six months. He does the spreading with a Spraysmart Condor 800 L sprayer from Hustler Equipment, Hastings. The machine has a mechanical agitator and a 12m hydraulic boom. Ross each year puts up to 20% of the farm into winter feed such as kale and fodder beet. The liquid fertiliser is said to have raised production and cut costs. It first seemed “a bit complicated,” Ross says.

“In fact it’s simple. We dissolve granular urea with water in a mixing tank and add some GibbGro. “We used to spread our fertiliser dry at 100kg/ha but decided the cost was too high for the return. We heard about the success of other farmers so decided to explore the liquid option.” He now applies only 38 kg/ha of urea in liquid form compared to 100 kg/ha of dry urea. But he maintains the same volume of pasture growth, he says. “Its basically halved our costs.” Savings in the first three months have recouped the cost of the new sprayer. “I was achieving such good results my neighbour decided to give it a go. As his sprayer didn’t have sufficient agitation, he found he couldn’t

keep the fluid from settling. This is where the mechanical agitator is crucial.” And while spraying the fertiliser, Ross also sprays for ragwort, including weed spray in with each tank load. The urea is poured straight into the tank and mixed by the mechanical agitator, particularly useful when having to travel a long way from the mixing station to the paddock. He can mix at to page 34

Hawkes Bay farmer Shaun Ross (above right) says spraying liquid fertiliser has halved pasture growth costs.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

34 machinery & products

Fibre feed proves good for profits A NORTHERN Manawatu beef farm has produced bigger and better calves, and boosted its bottom line, by rearing calves on Fiber Fresh, says the feed manufacturer. Warren and Dawn

Jensen switched to Fiber Fresh five years ago to rear their Hereford cross white-faced beef calves and are said to have found it easier and more cost effective to use. Their calves are also heavier

than they used to be, in better condition after weaning, and more resilient to worms and dry summer conditions. Says Warren Jensen, “Rearing the animals is a lot easier with Fiber

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Fresh and the calves do really well on it. They get a better start, keep on growing after weaning, and we end up with bigger animals. It’s because their stomachs are developed a lot sooner. “Another big advantage is the product is delivered to our farm and the trucks have their own fork lifts and can unload themselves. It’s stored outside, ready to use and it doesn’t go off in the rain or the sunlight. That’s a huge timesaver for us.” Fiber Fresh reports the Jensen’s rear up to 140 calves each year on their Kimbolton property, about 60km north of Palmerston North. They take the calves to yearling age then sell them to finishers or beef breeders. Jensen says calves

Warren and Dawn Jensen.

attract a lot of comments about their good condition and fetch higher prices because of their bigger size. “Buyers are prepared to pay good prices for our calves because they know they will finish much earlier.” Jensens also attribute a lower drench bill to Fiber Fresh, the company says. The calves are said to have fewer worming problems, attributable to their superior rumen development. “We used to notice that if the calves went onto grass too soon they would have a worm problem and

they just wouldn’t do as well as the other calves. We’d end up with one mob that needed drenching more often than any other mob and they were always sickly and didn’t do as well as the others.” Jensen has also noticed the calves forage better and cope well with dry, rough grasses. “Our last two summers were quite dry and the stock did so much better than they did in other seasons. Dry conditions used to knock them around quite a bit. [Now] the calves seem to handle the dry much better and when

you go onto supplement feed again in the winter they just get straight into the silage product and carry on growing.” Designed for calves, the Freshstart programme is comprised of FiberGain for older calves and a new stage-one feed called FiberStart. FiberStart has been formulated to encourage rumen development in young calves and ensure they grow and develop correctly. It contains easily digested HNF Fiber with 16% captured oats. Tel.0800 545 545 www.fiber-fresh.com

Liquid fertiliser from page 33

the paddock instead of having to go back to the mixing station. Twin nozzle bodies allows easy switching from liquid fertiliser application to herbicides or post-emergent sprays when spraying winter crops. Says Ross, “I honestly thought something would be broken somewhere after 400ha; I even got tangled in fences a number of times. “But largely because of the forward-and-backward suspension, the boom is saved from a lot of stress”.

The sprayer is mounted behind Ross’s New Holland TS125A, running mostly at about 10km/h across undulating terrain, the boom remaining stable and smooth. Shaun also bought a Raven GPS with e-dif for his sprayer. He says this has more than paid for itself, even just the saving of not having to buy foam concentrate. At first he was a little cautious at going for GPS in place of the traditional foam marker, but he’s glad he took the next step up. Shaun, like a lot of farmers had concerns that in some weather conditions, the GPS unit may not pick up the necessary satellites, “however not once has this proved to be a problem”. He claims it is a good tool for proof of placement too, especially when contracting out to other farmers. Hustler Equipment, Hastings, built its first sprayer about 50 years ago. Three generations later the company is owned and run by the same family.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

machinery & products 35

All-new ground shifters from Case IH PTO Hp@ standard PTO

Hp hr/litre @ standard PTO speed

Max drawbar Hp @ rated RPM

Hp hr/litre @ max drawbar

Hp hr/litre 75% pull power power

Steiger 40 (new)

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69.24

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62.88

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Steiger 435 (previous)

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351.28

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Magnum 340 (new)

333.05

74.72

269.36

64.84

60.53

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305.50

64.69

243.25

54.89

79.89

Tractor

Preliminary Nebraska test data show the new Case IH Magnum and Steiger models deliver more power and improved fuel efficiency compared with the models they replace.

CASE IH will in the next few months launch new versions of its Steiger, Quadtrac and Magnum tractors. These will include five Magnum, ten Steiger and four Quadtrac models, including the most powerful Case IH tractors ever offered: the Magnum 340 at 340 hp (389 peak hp) and the Steiger and Quadtrac 600 at 600 hp (670 peak hp). The global quest for new, more powerful tractors stems from new, more stringent emissions regulations imposed on North American and European engine manufacturers. So Case IH has improved engine performance and introduced new features and improvements. Chief among these is a new family of engines from corporate partner FPT Powertrain Technologies. There are two 6-cylinder in-line 24-valve engines (8.7 and 12.9 L). Fully electronic high-pressure common rail fuel systems give these engines fast response to changing loads even at lower rpm and deliver exceptional power growth, says Case IH. On the new Magnum tractors, the power growth under full load averages 13-14%, with Power Boost up to 35 hp (engine) when needed. Power growth on the new Steiger models averages 10%, or up to 70hp more. “On the Steiger 600, that’s a massive 670 peak engine horsepower,” the company says. But the engines are not all new electronics and induc-

tion systems; they are designs proven in farm and truck applications for much of the past decade, the maker says. A 10.3 L engine from this family powered Case IH 8010 Axial-Flow combines in 2004; the 8.7 L engine is used in 7120 Axial-Flow combines; and the 12.9 L engine has seen duty in previous Steiger tractor models. Options such as exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) or non-SCR machines are available. Based on surveys of its own customer base, Case IH has chosen non-SCR for these new Steiger and Magnum tractors. “Our customers... want equipment that is simple, fuel efficient and cost effective to run,” says Case IH sales support manager Ivan Wildbore. New, optional four-point cab suspension uses springs, shock absorbers and torsion bars for a comfortable ride controlled laterally and vertically. New frameless doors seal more tightly and are easier to open and shut. Farmers had input into the shape and function of the new MultiController Armrest console. It’s exceptionally comfortable to use and puts six key functions used 80% of the time at the driver’s fingertips. Tel. 0800 CASE IH, www.caseih.co.nz


Rural News // August 2, 2011

36 machinery & products

Flats easily drained A FAST, inexpensive rotary drain digger/cleaner – Vortex from Fieldmaster – deals with surface flooding and ponding on paddocks. Winter rain and seasonal storms can damage pasture causing grass

to ‘sour’ and die off, requiring resowing, the company points out. The Vortex prevents waterlogging or helps solve the problem where it has occurred. The machine mounts on tractor 3-point link-

age. It has a high-speed 6-blade rotor designed for 540 rpm rotation, for cutting channels to drains or streams. Minimum power is 40 hp. Operating features include a safety clutch, adjustable discharge

chute and depth shoe. The concave shape of the formed drain is cattle friendly and retains its shape longer than a U-trench dug by an excavator, Fieldmaster says.The machine has lots of on-farm uses – gut-

ters on farm track edges, leading stormwater away from dairy sheds and other buildings, handling overflow drainage from ponds, and even making planting beds for hedgerows and raised gardens.

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LOCAL RUGBY clubs scrummed Tru-Test Group’s ‘Take a Stand’ contest for a chance to win a $5000 makeover of their facilities. Three such ‘prizes’ were offered. Marketing manager Shaun Owen reports at least 150 clubs entered. The winners were Maungakaramea Mid Western, Eketahuna and Pioneer at Gore. Entry numbers “far exceeded our expectations,” Owne says. And the quantity and calibre of the entries led Stafix to extend the prize pool to include five extra packs of training balls, drink bottles, Stafix fencing product and Resene paint vouchers. Owen says the three winning clubs were selected on the quality of their entries, the degree of need for the prize and the contribution each makes to their local community through club rugby. “Each of these clubs brings together their rural communities on a weekly basis, provides access to the clubrooms for other community organisations and displays active fundraising programmes. “We felt they each epitomised the New Zealand club rugby spirit and reinforced the sentiment that club rugby is still the heart and soul of rural communities.” Mid Western will upgrade its kitchen. It cooks up to 350 roast meals on club days using an oven whose door is held shut by a chair. Eketahuna – in the 440-citizen Wairarapa town of the same name – will build and paint a new deck around its clubrooms. Pioneer, at Gore, will upgrade such clubroom plant as its “temperamental” oven, which feeds rugby teams and players from an adjacent netball court. Shaun Owen says “part of Stafix’s commitment to powering New Zealand farming is recognising the importance of rural communities in the lives of customers. “Providing a boost to their rural rugby clubs is one way we can thank customers for their support over the years.”


Rural News // August 2, 2011

Machinery & products 37

MT800 TANKER/MIXER NEW FOR 2011!

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A NEW Zealand-made ‘grid-connect’ inverter is the key to economically viable solar power (PV) generation by householders, says a South Auckland company. What Power Crisis, of Ramarama, says as sure as your building’s roof points to the sky, it can be used to generate power and very likely cash too. Managing director David Keppel told Rural News they call it “power farming.” “You ‘farm’ power on your property. This reduces spending on mains power and generates cash from selling Meridian Energy any power not needed.” There are two keys to this: Meridian’s willingness to pay a good price for household-generated excess power, and a ‘grid connect’ inverter made by Enasolar Ltd, Christchurch. Formerly, excess power from PV set-ups had to be stored in expensive batteries. Now the excess goes up the power line – no batteries needed. Says Keppel, “With prices low for PV modules, and this locally made inverter, there’s never been better value in

grid-connected solar power. “An entry-level system can have as few as five PV modules, then later be expanded to 14 modules. “With built-in AC and DC switchgear saving about $300, and an upgrade path to a 3kW model (with 21 PV modules) we can provide a New Zealand-made system that’s cheaper to buy and install, and technically better than imported systems.” A web statistics package built into the Enasolar inverter allows a customer with broadband to monitor their system on a home PC, or externally via a laptop or smartphone. This option is free with the Enasolar 2kW-GT.

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Grid Connected Farm / Business Pack A LARGER 55-panel 3-phase system, using a German 3-phase inverter, DC cabling and flat tin roof mounts costs $49,995 + GST. This system will generate about the load required for an average house, or 14,500kWh annually in Auckland The company charges $195 for a site suitability audit, deductible from any system purchased. The audit includes roof angle and shading losses to more accurately estimate energy generating potential.

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Rural News // August 2, 2011

38 motoring / rural trader

Fewer rear-enders A CRASH prevention system fitted to Volvo XC60 SUVs has reduced by 27% the number of claims the owners of these vehicles made for rear-end crashes. The US Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) – part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety funded by the auto insurance industry – discovered XC60s with City Safety were less likely to be in low-speed crashes than comparable vehicles without the system. In New Zealand, City Safety is standard on all XC60 models and the S60 sedan and V60 wagon. City Safety is designed to stop rear-end

crashes in slow-moving, heavy traffic. Damage claims were filed 27% less often for the XC60 than for other midsize luxury SUVs, Volvo says. “This is our first real-world look at an advanced crash avoidance technology, and the findings are encouraging,” says Adrian Lund, president of HLDI. “City Safety is helping XC60 drivers avoid the kinds of front-to-rear, low-speed crashes that frequently happen on congested roads.” City Safety is the first system of its kind. At up to 30km/h the system automatically brakes the car if the driver fails to react in time

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when the vehicle in front slows or stops, or if the car is approaching a stationary object too fast. If the relative speed difference between the two vehicles is below 15km/h, the collision can be avoided. If the speed difference is 15-30km/h, the speed of impact is reduced. “These are very large effects,” says Lund, who notes that some differences in driving styles of XC60 owners might come into play. However, “the pattern of results strongly indicates that City Safety is preventing low-speed crashes and reducing insurance costs.”

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THE LAND Rover’s Discovery 4 (3L V6 turbo diesel) has been named the winner of the best tow car in the over 1900 kg class for the second successive year in Britain. It has also been acclaimed in the British Insurance Vehicle Security Awards for its anti-theft protection. The Towcar Awards are organised jointly by Practical Caravan and What Car? magazines and the Camping and

POULTRY EQUIPMENT Feeding and watering equipment. Plus many other products. Backyard to commercial operations. Free catalogue 0800 901 902 or

email: sales@pppindustries.co.nz

• Performance Guaranteed

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P 06 835 6863 - www.craigcojetters.com

Caravanning Club. The awards benchmark tow car performance, and the 1900kg-plus category again recognises the Discovery 4. It outperformed rival contenders including the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz ML and Volkswagen Touareg. Nigel Donnelly, Practical Caravan editor, said: “Last year’s overall champion easily retains its class crown; it’s going to take a really exceptional car to beat it.”

VETMARKER Docking Chute

0800 DOCKER

(362 537)

www.vetmarker.co.nz

Electric FARM 4X4

Organic Nitrogen Fertiliser Manufactured from totally organic material. The best there is! Money back guarantee

OUTCROP ORGANICS Order through website

www.biocosmo.co.nz

Demo from authorised dealers

❤ COUNTRY & CITY

Automated Dairy Feed Systems Farmers invest in your farm with a PPP feed system; • Improved production • Improved animal health • Less on farm feed labour required • Peace of mind – you can feed your cows in wet springs and winters and dry summers

contacts

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Nationwide installers and after sales backup – 7 days a week Feed Systems

0800 38 44 50

Tel: 0800 901 902 • sales@pppindustries.co.nz • www.pppindustries.co.nz

MY STORY ABOUT QUADBAR

After a near backflip on my quadbike in 2010, I decided to buy a protection bar. I rang my Honda dealer. He said that Honda didn’t recommend protection bars after a simulated study in 1998 using a test dummy had shown existing bars could fold on you or trap you in a roll. I saw their video and wasn’t satisfied with their logic or lack of help. I then became aware of the Quadbar in Australia. It had won an award in 2009, was strong, small, rounded, soft-edged and thoroughly tested by Queensland University. It solved the problems of previous bars, offered good crush protection and fitted all quadbikes. More importantly, it was already NZ Certified and ACC and OSH were well aware of its progress in helping to save lives in Australia where it is now mandatory in farm training organisations and supported by the NSW Government, NSW Farmers Industrial and Australian Workers Union. For me, I am a farmer, not a test dummy and I can think for myself. My quadbar should help me avoid being crushed if I ever roll my bike and besides, my family want me alive to pay the bills. ACC records show that most deaths on quadbikes are from asphyxia (i.e. slowly crushed to death). For a Quadbar, call me, Stuart Davidson, owner of Quadbar NZ, on 021-182 8115. Email sales@quadbar.co.nz or for more info go to www.quadbar.co.nz

Multi-Terrain Vehicle

595

$

+GST

For all single, separated, divorced and widowed people. Over half our members find ‘someone special’ or their lifelong partner.

For Information Pack, contact... Country & City Contacts 0800 287 437 or Ph: 03-387 0794 or see our website www.countrycontacts.co.nz

STOP RATS NESTING IN HOME, BUILDINGS

• Pest Free commercial puts 50Hz pulse into live cables (active, neutral and ground) • Rats stress, dehydrate, exit • Suits buildings/plant to 1000sq.m • NSW-made, patented, science proven Used in ten countries

• $1800 incl. GST • Household model for up to 100sq.m $159.90 incl. GST • 100% 60-DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE FAQs, testimonials: Rushton Farmer, 09 833 1931 or 021 230 1863. rushtonfarmer@orcon.net.nz


rs

Rural News // August 2, 2011

rural trader 39

• The magic eye sheepjetter since 1989 NEW • Quality construction and options M ODEL • Get the contractors choice • Direct from the manufacturer • Efficient application and unequalled cost savings

Ph/Fax 07 573 8512 • www.electrodip.com

Your advert here For details contact: tracy fairy Ph 09-913 9637 021-949 226

tracyf@ruralnews.co.nz

DOLOMITE

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

FARM BRIDGES Phone Pat NOW

0800 222 189

The ultimate in paint protection

DAIRYCOAT Advantage Plastics Rangiora call: 0800 668 534 or (03) 313 5750

Rotary Broom Sweepers

Tractor/Loader/Forklift mounting frames available Five models from 1.5-2.3metres Optional collection bin/hydraulic unloader and angling sales@agriquip.co.nz • www.agriquip.co.nz PHONE:

06 759 8402

FOR YOUR NEAREST DEALER

www.bridgeitnz.co.nz

BRIDGE IT NZ LTD

Faster, easier wash up! Non toxic, Hygenically approved Long lasting finish Withstands pressure hosing Resists deterioration from daily use Can be applied to walls and floors

FREE DELIVERY www.enviropaints.co.nz

SCARTT TT

“It’s p r good m etty ate!”

SAMPLE PHOTO WITH EXTRA’S 497

FLY AND LICE PROBLEM?

$10,990 +gst

www.scartt.co.nz

09 912 2555

BEST VALUED UTV IN NZ

FARM BOOTS KIWI MADE FOR 3 GENERATIONS, FEMALE & MALE RANGE MADE IN NZ 10 year guaranteed

Yardmate Soft Toe This is the boot that is designed for heavy duty uses and is perfect for fencers, high country farmers and hunters walking through tough, rugged, country. With an upper constructed from thick full grain leather, an insole and mid-sole, which are brass screwed and stitched, a cleated rubber repairable sole, a tough heel counter for better ankle support and a full bellows tongue for greater water tightness, this boot will handle the tough environment. Yardmate also available in Steel toe. Sizes 4-15 including half sizes.

0800 50 ENVIRO (0800 50 368476) 14 Riverbank Rd, Otaki

Be Safer With Duals

on Duals for more traction, stability, flotation, towing power, versatility.

Clic Wheel Systems Ltd, Rotorua

Ph/Fax 07 347 2292

www.clicdualwheels.co.nz

Tramper/Hiker Padded Boot Soft Toe This is the boot specifically designed for the great New Zealand outdoors with the emphasis on rugged construction and long wearing comfort. The upper consists of thick water repellent high quality leather, a turned out upper complete with a full bellows tongue for added water-tightness. This is complimented with soft leather heel padding, a leather in-sole, a rubber midsole and a cleated replaceable rubber outer sole. This is the boot you can trust when the going gets tough. Sizes 4-15 including half sizes.

Lastrite Footwear Manufacturer

48 John St, Whangarei, 0800 4 BOOTS or 09 438 8907 (26687) Visit www.lastrite.co.nz for more quality products

NEW

THE “MUST HAVE” PRODUCT AS SEEN AT FIELDAYS 2011! Semi open feeder 40 Teat, 550 L $3375.00

FREE STANDING GRAIN & MEAL TROUGHS

50 Teat, 550 L $3650.00 60 Teat, 750 L $4980.00

3m Culvert on Legs $320.00 3m Culvert on skids $470.00

(Tandem only)

All prices incl GST

CALF HAY/GRAIN FEEDER

GRAIN FEEDER 80L on Skids $385.00

PHONE 0800 625 826 FOR YOUR NEAREST STOCKIST

160L on Skids $560.00

Feeder on skids $465.00

Feeder Fence Mount $220.00

McKee Plastics, Mahinui Street, Feilding | Phone 06 323 4181 | Fax 06 323 4183 | McKee Plastics, 231 Kahikatea Drive, Hamilton | Phone 07 847 7788 sales@mckeeplastics.co.nz | www.mckeeplastics.co.nz


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RN-aug-2-497